Home Rule Charter

Overview

In April 2010, Nixa citizens voted to make Nixa a Home Rule Charter city, meaning the City’s governance shifted from the state legislature to the community.

What does this charter do?

  • Establishes a more flexible, efficient and responsible government.
  • Permits citizens to have a greater voice (initiatives and referendums) in local government.
  • Still complies with the state and federal constitutions.

Definition of Terms

Charter – A legal document, the local “constitution” which defines the structure and organization of our municipal government.

Home Rule – Refers to the legal process of governing. It means local, rather than state control.

What is a “Home Rule” City?

Home Rule is local governance. Of all the states in the union, Missouri, in 1875, became the first state to adopt Home Rule provisions in an effort to prevail over the traditional “delegation of powers” theory. As amended in 1971, Home Rule now allows cities to come up with their own solutions to local problems, without interference from the State. It brings local government as close to the citizens as possible because citizens prepare and adopt a charter “constitution” that reflects and dictates their desired local conditions.

The powers of a constitutional charter city are defined as “all powers which the general assembly of the State of Missouri has authority to confer upon any city, provided such powers are consistent with the Constitution of the State and are not limited or denied either by charter as adopted, or by statute.”



Benefits of Home Rule:

  • Establishes a more flexible, efficient, and responsible government.
  • Citizens have more control over local government decisions.
  • Citizens will not need to rely on the State Legislature to grant the powers of authority in areas such as:
    • Business licenses.
    • Initiatives. (Gives voters the ability to place local issues directly on the ballot.)
    • Referendums. (Gives voters the ability to repeal or reject local ordinances passed by City Council.)
    • Recall. (Gives voters provision to remove any elected official from office.)
    • Powers in the event of natural disasters.
  • Still complies with the State and Federal constitutions.

What is a Home Rule Charter Review Commission?

Section 13.8 of the Nixa Home Rule Charter requires Council to select members for a Charter Review Commission for a mandatory review within ten (10) years of the approval of the Charter. In 2019, this minimum mandatory commission was convened, however, the city council is also able to seat commissioners for additional reviews following the initial mandatory review. The charter states that the Charter Review Commission shall, within twelve months of its first meeting, report to the voters as many amendments to the Charter as it shall deem advisable.



<strong>History & Past Revisions</strong>

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.



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.