LARGO — Have you ever wanted to change how the city is run, but don’t want to run for office? Well, here’s your chance.
The city of Largo is now accepting applications from residents to serve on the 2020 Charter Review Committee.
The committee only convenes once every seven years to review and recommend changes to the charter, which serves as the "Constitution" for Largo's government, providing the framework for city operations such as approving a tax rate, electing city commissioners and selling or leasing city property.
Any Largo resident who is registered to vote is eligible to serve and can apply online at largo.com. Applications must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 14. The City Commission will then rank and vote on the members Feb. 18. The committee will be comprised of seven members and two alternates.
As of Jan. 31, 15 residents have already qualified to be considered.
And, unlike the previous two committees, members this time won’t have to dedicate an entire year to the process, City Attorney Alan Zimmet said.
“When I first started, the charter hadn’t been reviewed for 25 years,” he said. “So the first time that we did a charter review, it was a very extensive process where the committee met at least once a month for over a year to review every detail of the charter.”
The committee seven years ago also went through each article of the charter, so Zimmet said he and city staff don’t feel that will be necessary again.
“We’re really looking for people to make proposed changes rather than just sitting there with the committee and going sentence by sentence,” he said.
The committee will examine changes staff and commissioners are recommending, and changes that were recommended last time but not approved by the voters.
Zimmet said it will also seek out ideas from groups such as unions, the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce, and homeowners associations.
Therefore, committee members must be willing to attend at least five monthly meetings and possibly more if needed. Meetings will begin on Feb. 25.
Zimmet said the process also needs to be expedited in order to make it on the November ballot.
“If we don’t make it for the November 2020 election, then any changes would either have to go on a special election, which would be rather expensive, or we’d have to wait till November 2022,” he said.
The committee’s recommendations will be presented July 7 to the City Commission, which will vote on what to put on the ballot.
For more information, call the City Clerk's Office at 727-587-6710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.