The Santa Fe City Charter will include new language following Tuesday’s voter approval of nine amendments to the document that functions as the city’s constitution.
Two of the changes could mean a big shift in the seismic activity on the City Council because they’ll give the mayor elected in 2018 more power than ever before.
Voters overwhelmingly adopted measures that reflect current policies about water, audits, limits on campaign contributions and the living wage. They also favored adding the word “neighborhoods” to a list of attributes in the city that are worth protecting.
New ideas that got voter approval include creating an independent commission to determine district boundaries and requiring the City Council to fully explain tax proposals and spending plans.
When it came to adopting the so-called “stronger mayor” form of government, voters seemed less sure. A measure to give the mayor a vote in all matters that come before the council, instead of only voting in the case of a tie, handily earned approval. But the final ballot question, which gives the mayor a higher salary, more hiring and firing authority and other powers, passed muster with about 57 percent of voters.
Carol Roberts, who cast her ballot at Gonzales Elementary School, was among those who voted in favor of letting the mayor vote more, but against the measure to establish a full time mayor.
“If we were in ABQ I would say yeah,” Roberts said. “If our city was bigger than it is, I think, you know, yes we should have one. But as small as it is, I just don’t think there’s much for them to do to keep them busy for the money they want to charge for.”
But more voters apparently saw it the way that her neighbor Paul Roybal did.
“I think it’s long overdue,” he said. “I do think that the mayor should be a fulltime position. It certainly justifies his full attention.”