(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, September 20, 2023, the City of Norwalk announced that more than 100 years since the adoption of its Charter, a comprehensive recommended revision has been completed by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the Common Council. The question of whether or not residents of the City of Norwalk want to adopt the new Charter will appear on the November 2023 ballot as a referendum.
Since September 2022, the Charter Revision Commission has been meeting with City department heads, officials from other municipalities, subject matter experts and the public to conduct a comprehensive review of the City's Charter. These meetings have included a series of public hearings to gather the public's input.
In August, the Charter Revision Commission brought its final recommendations to the Common Council, which voted to approve the recommended changes and bring them forward to the public as a referendum this November.
The proposed recommended new Charter aims to create a reorganized and restructured document that is modern and easily accessible to the public. The Charter Revision Commission did not recommend any change in the form of government. The intent of the Commission was to organize the document with an emphasis on clarity, accessibility, and relevance to the times we live in.
"We are proposing a reform of the document," said Patsy Brescia, Chair of the Charter Revision Commission. "The point we want to emphasize is that we are trying to make this governing document as user-friendly as possible. While you will see a number of changes on the edges, they are designed to improve public understanding of the government and, again, not to alter the operations of government."
The proposed Charter is broken down into three distinct parts. Part 1 enumerates all the entities, officials, and processes for the City's general government, including the Board of Education. Part 2 includes all the provisions that govern the First, Second, Third and Sixth Taxing Districts. Part 3 details special action provisions that will be replaced by ordinance. If the majority of voters decide to support the proposed Charter, these transition provisions will be repealed and extricated from the Charter by operation of law.
You can find a summary of all the proposed changes here. You can also access our FAQ: Citizens Guide to Charter Revision here.