History of Nixa’s Home Rule Charter:
In the April 2009 election, the citizens of Nixa voted to begin the process of drafting a Home Rule Charter and elected a 13-member Charter Commission to create the Charter. A final draft of the Home Rule Charter was completed in December of 2009.
On December 14, 2009, at the regularly scheduled Board of Aldermen meeting, the Home Rule Charter Commission presented the final draft to the Board of Aldermen. With unanimous support, the Board voted to place the Home Rule Charter on the April 6, 2010, ballot.
In April 2010, the citizens of Nixa voted to become a Home Rule Charter city. With this vote, Nixa’s governance shifted from the state legislature to the community.
In 2019, Nixa’s first Home Rule Charter Review Commission was convened to review and recommend changes to the charter. Four (4) updates to the charter were proposed by the commission and placed on the April 2020 ballot by City Council as separate ballot issues. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor delayed the April election to June of 2020. All 4 ballot measures were approved by voters and the Charter was updated accordingly on June 3rd, 2020.
In 2022, Nixa’s second Home Rule Charter Review Commission was convened to review and recommend changes to the charter. Three (3) updates to the charter were proposed by the commission and placed on the April 2023 ballot by City Council as separate ballot issues. All three ballot measures were approved by voters and the Charter was updated accordingly on April 4th, 2023.
Intent of the Charter Updates Approved in June 2020:
All four of the following propositions were approved by Nixa voters.
- Proposition 1: This proposed update to section 4.4 (G) was intended to clarify the city’s organizational structure so that the City Clerk, City Attorney, and Chief of Police would report directly to the City Administrator regarding day-to-day operations, rather than to the Mayor and Council, who appoint the City Clerk, City Attorney, Chief of Police, and City Administrator.
- Proposition 2: This proposed update to section 7.2 was intended to allow the council to update the personnel code using either a resolution or ordinance. The Charter originally stated that the personnel code could only be updated by ordinance. Resolutions simplify the procedure to update and amend the personnel code. The personnel code is a living document that regularly requires updates, so allowing it to be updated by resolution is more efficient.
- Proposition 3: The proposed update to section 8.5 (A) was intended to ensure the city publishes its annual budget summary report for public inspection and provide a minimum 2-week notice to the public about the time and place of any hearings to discuss the budget, even if “newspapers” in the area were to go out of business.
- Proposition 4: The proposed update to section 11.1 was intended to ensure the city publishes a minimum 15-day notice to the public regarding upcoming hearings to discuss ordinances that would grant public franchise or privileges, even if “newspapers” in the area were to go out of business.
Intent of the Charter Updates Approved in April 2023:
All three of the following propositions were approved by Nixa voters.
- Proposition 1: The proposed update to Section 3.7 was intended to clarify that City Council not only has the power to remove members of the council when they are charged with conduct constituting grounds of forfeiture of office (as defined in Section 3.6), but that the City Council also has the power to remove the Mayor, Judge, or any other elected city official if the elected official is charged with such conduct.
- Proposition 2: The proposed update to Article VI and Section 15.2 is intended to align the city charter with changes to Missouri law regarding the operation of Municipal Courts and to allow the Nixa City Council the ability to potentially bring the Municipal Court back under the operation of the municipal government if/when deemed appropriate by the City Council. It would also force the City Council to reconsider this possibility at least every 4 years. The intent is also to allow the court, if returned, to have an elected chief judge and elected associate judges, for incapacitation to be added as grounds for vacancy of such offices, for Council to be able to appoint substitute judges in the case of absence or conflict of interest in a judge, and to remove outdated sections [6.2 and 15.2(d)] which may create conflict or confusion if/when a municipal court is re-established as an operation of the city.
- Proposition 3: The proposed update to Section 10.3 is intended to raise the required number of signatures required to force a recall vote of any elected official in the Nixa municipal government by changing the benchmark number from 10% of total votes cast in the last election prior to the petition to recall, to 10% of qualified voters registered to vote in the last election prior to the petition to recall. The intent of the Commissioners was to increase the threshold of signatures required to ensure that any recall effort to remove an elected official has at least 10% community support before forcing the city to hold a recall election. This would become consistent with the existing requirements for the number of signatures required by the charter for a referendum petition. However, the Commissioners did not want to raise the threshold to the same levels found in other surrounding communities which are as high as 25% of qualified voters. Some language would also be removed from section 10.3(c) of the charter as the current language limiting who may circulate petitions is no longer valid under court precedent.