What is a city charter?
A city charter is a unique document that acts like a constitution for the city adopting it. It can be adopted, amended or repealed only by a majority vote of a city’s voters. This puts more control in the hands of the residents instead of state legislators and gives a community greater independence to determine its own destiny.
What is the difference between a general law city and a charter city?
There are two types of cities in California – charter and general law. Charter cities follow the laws set forth in the state’s constitution along with their own adopted “charter” document. General law cities follow the laws set forth by the state legislature.
The essential difference between the two types of cities is that having a charter gives cities more local authority over municipal affairs. Charter cities are able to customize operations to meet the unique needs of their community, while general law cities are dependent on the state legislature for their power.
Having a charter does not increase the city’s ability to raise or impose taxes. Charter cities follow the laws of the state’s constitution, which includes constitutional amendments like Proposition 13 (cap on property taxes) and Proposition 218 (the right to vote on taxes).
Why did the City of Carlsbad want to become a charter city?
The City Council believes that local residents should have control over as many issues as possible without being beholden to legislators in Sacramento.
How will the charter help save the City of Carlsbad money?
Charter cities have greater flexibility when it comes to contracting and purchasing of many items and projects. This process mandated by the state can be expensive and can delay projects from moving forward. The longer it takes for projects to move forward, the more expensive projects typically get because of rising costs for supplies.
Will the approved charter cost residents money?
Changing to a charter city will not cost residents more money, and there are no additional taxes involved or ability to raise taxes.
As a charter city, can the City of Carlsbad impose new taxes without a vote?
The city charter fully preserves Proposition 218, including the requirement that taxes may not be imposed or increased without voter approval, and that fees may not be charged to the public that exceed the cost of providing a service.
Does the charter affect the City of Carlsbad’s current “council-manager” form of government?
While some charter cities have what’s known as a “strong mayor” form of government, the city charter calls to preserve the City of Carlsbad’s current form of government, which is known as the “council-manager” form.
Does the city charter change the City of Carlsbad’s eminent domain powers?
No, the city charter does not change the current eminent domain powers of the City of Carlsbad nor replace the property protection provision outlined in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
What other cities are charter cities?
Of the 478 cities listed with the League of California Cities, more than 100 are charter cities. In San Diego County, current charter cities include Chula Vista (incorporated 1911, chartered 1949); Del Mar (incorporated 1959, chartered 1960); San Diego (incorporated 1850, chartered 1931); San Marcos (incorporated 1963, chartered 1994); and Vista (incorporated 1963, chartered 2007).