The arduous, important process of updating the county charter officially begins at tonight's County Council meeting.
The council will introduce a resolution to create a five-member Charter Revision Commission to review and update the charter, Anne Arundel's constitution.The charter is revised every 10 years.
Also scheduled for introduction is a controversial resolution asking the commission to study several major changes to the way the council and county executive are elected. The changes include staggeringthe terms of the seven council members so all are not elected in thesame year, adding an eighth council district and a County Council chairman at-large, limiting council members to three four-year terms and electing the county executive during presidential election years.
This resolution, sponsored by David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, andMaureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, was condemned by the two Republicans on the council, Diane R. Evans, R-Arnold, and Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, R-Pasadena. They see the resolution as a ploy to dilute GOP strength.
The Republicans especially object to staggered elections. They liketo run with a full slate of candidates for various elected offices.
The council will appoint commission members within the next month.Each council member will nominate an appointee; then the field will be narrowed to five by secret ballot.
The commission has one year to report back to the council. Suggested changes must be approved by voters in the 1992 election.
Tonight's council agenda also includes public hearings on the following bills:
* A new animal control ordinance raising dog license fees and setting stricter standards for the care and treatment of animals.
* A bill raising the retirementage for appointed and elected officials from 50 to 60. The council received sharp criticism for reducing the age from 60 to 50 in 1989.
* An amended bill regulating Anne Arundel's sand and gravel industry. Two public hearings already have been held on this bill, which, among other things, restricts hours of operations for sand and gravel firms, sets noise limits and gives the county regulatory authority.
Industry leaders were disappointed two weeks ago when several pro-business amendments were not approved.
The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Arundel Center in Annapolis.