Biddeford residents will vote Nov. 8 on 19 charter changes that range from prohibiting the mayor from holding elected state office to allowing the City Council to decide if the city manager and superintendent must establish residency in the city.

The changes, recommended by the Charter Commission, appear on the ballot as 19 separate referendum questions. In order for the questions to be considered passed, at least 30 percent of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election must be recorded on Nov. 8. That means 2,337 votes must be cast on each charter question for it to be considered passed. If fewer than 2,337 votes are cast, the amendment will be considered failed even if it received a majority of votes.

Question 1 would amend the charter to replace the existing police and fire commissions with advisory committees.

Question 2 would require that all residential and commercial properties be reevaluated every 10 years.

Question 3 would require the city manager and School Committee to prepare and submit to the Budget Committee, City Council and mayor a five-year capital improvement program every November.

Question 4 would require the City Council during the budget process to appropriate at least five-hundredths of 1 percent of the previous year’s total taxable valuation to fund capital improvements.


Question 5 would increase compensation for city councilors to $150 per month, provide the City Council president an extra $25 per month and increase School Committee members’ compensation to $100 per month.

Question 6 would require the city manager to establish residency in Biddeford within six months of hire unless otherwise approved by the City Council.

Question 7 would require the school superintendent to establish residency in Biddeford within six months of hire unless otherwise approved by the City Council.

Question 8 would require a petition of recall for mayor, councilor at-large or School Committee member to be signed by no less than 15 percent of the number of registered voters from the city who voted in the last gubernatorial election.

Question 9 would prohibit the mayor from holding any other elected city, county, state or federal office.

Question 10 would prohibit School Committee members from being an employee or agent of the city of Biddeford or school department.


Question 11 would require the city to adopt an ordinance establishing procedures to allow residents to speak at City Council meetings and allow city councilors to place items on the agenda.

Question 12 would amend the charter to provide that the following department heads are appointed by the city manager and confirmed by the City Council, with no person holding more than one position: tax assessor, police chief, fire chief, public works director, code enforcement officer, director of economic development, building facilities manager, city treasurer, recreation director, general assistance administrator and finance director.

Question 13 would require a two-thirds vote for the City Council to transfer money from one city department to another.

Question 14 would require the mayor and chairperson of boards, commissions or committees to each nominate a person to fill a vacancy and require the City Council to select a person from those nominations within 30 days.

Question 15 would amend the charter to require that a moderator at a general meeting be selected by a majority vote of the citizens at the meeting.

Question 16 would require the city to adopt an ordinance establishing a code of ethics for all elected and appointed officials.

Question 17 would require that any entity that receives investment, loans or other monetary compensation from the city provide an annual report to the city regarding the use of the funds.

Question 18 would require the budget committee to forward its budget recommendation to the City Council.

Question 19 would make grammatical, formatting, clarity and technical language changes to conform the charter to all state and federal laws and maintain consistency within the charter.

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