By Mary Ann Reeves
The Tennessee constitution and subsequent legislature lays the ground for changing the the government of a county (e.g. Anderson County) from its constitutional form to a charter form (also known as home rule).
To make this change in Anderson County three things must happen:
- A charter commission must be created. There are several ways that this is permissible but the one selected was by the petition of registered voters whose number must at least equal to 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the county in the last governor’s race. In Anderson County, 17,760 votes were cast for governor; therefore 1,776 signatures were required (and obtained) on the petition.
- The election of the Charter Commission members. The election for the candidates must be held 75 days or more after the resolution becomes effective. The charter commissioners are elected from the same districts and in the same manner as the county commissioners. The cost of the election is paid out of county funds. In Anderson County, the Charter Commission election is concurrent with the general election (November 8) and Anderson County will incur no cost. The elected charter commissioners will set a budget and they may incur expenses for administrative costs up to a maximum of $50,000. These expenses will be paid by Anderson County.
- Voters must approve any changes in the form of Anderson county government recommended by the Anderson County charter commissioners. Anderson County voters must approve, via a referendum, any recommended changes by the charter commission. The referendum will be done concurrently with the August 2018 election to avoid additional costs to the county. This will be a “for” or “against” vote.