Proposed Skamania County Charter

 Overview:

PREAMBLE

 Explains the purposes of the Charter.

ARTICLE 1 POWERS OF THE COUNTY

 Defines the powers of the County and the separation of those powers.

ARTICLE 2 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

1. Establishes Skamania County as an unincorporated political subdivision of Washington State.

2. Recognizes County inhabitants as sovereign individuals with inalienable rights, and states intent to preserve these rights.

3. Establishes this Charter as the supreme law of the County.

4. Makes Oath of Office legally binding.

5. Removes the County from Title 36 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

6. Establishes that any violations of individual rights are actionable in Skamania County courts.

 

ARTICLE 3 LEGISLATIVE

1. The people of the county retain legislative authority.

2. Express consent of the legislative authority required for taxes and laws.

3. Equal application of laws.

4. The Code Books.

5. Informing the voter prior to considering proposed laws.

6. How laws are approved and repealed.

 

ARTICLE 4 JUDICIAL

1. Establishes a County Court and County Court Judge.

2. Establishes a procedure for citizen complaints.

3. Re-affirms the right to be secure against warrantless searches and seizures.

4. Re-affirms the right to jury trial and directs the Clerk to inform potential jurors of their rights and duties.

 

ARTICLE 5 EXECUTIVE

1. Describes the powers and duties of the elected offices.

2. Creates and describes the new elected offices of Legal Advisor, Charity Facilitator, Planning Coordinator and Constable.

 

ARTICLE 6 LAND USE

1. Limits the use of government condemnation of private property.

2. Establishes the regulation of land as a community function.

3. Exempts owner-built and occupied principal residences from the Uniform Building Code.

 

ARTICLE 7 COMMUNITY SELF GOVERNMENT

Establishes self-government through Community Councils.

 

ARTICLE 8 ELECTIONS

Provides for election of officers and registration of voters.

 

ARTICLE 9 TAXATION

Delegates taxing power to the Legislative Authority.

 

ARTICLE 10 PERSONNEL

Establishes a Personnel System for the County.

 

ARTICLE 11 FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

1. Establishes rules for adopting the annual budget and appropriation resolutions.

2. Liability for contracts in excess of appropriations.

 

ARTICLE 12 GENERAL PROVISIONS

1. County name, boundaries and seat.

2. Amending this Charter.

 

ARTICLE 13 TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Review of existing County law.

 

ARTICLE 14 GLOSSARY

Defining special terms in this Charter.

 

 

 PREAMBLE

 

We the Sovereign People of Skamania County, Washington State, in order to:

(A) provide for the defense of our lives, liberty and property;

(B) protect and maintain individual rights;

(C) provide and maintain justice for all, and a republican government guaranteed by free elections;

(D) facilitate independence, self-reliance, voluntary cooperation and promote citizen involvement

do ordain and establish this Charter for Skamania County for ourselves and our posterity.

  

ARTICLE 1 POWERS OF THE COUNTY

 Section 1.10 General Powers

Skamania County shall have all powers possible under the Constitution for Washington State. All such powers shall remain with the people unless specifically delegated according to the Skamania County Charter.

 Section 1.20 Political Power

All political power is inherent in the people. Governments acquire their just powers from the consent of the people. Governments are established to protect and maintain individual rights. The people are sovereign; certain powers are delegated to the government by the people.

 Section 1.30 Separation of Powers

Concentration of power can be dangerous, therefore the powers of government must be separate.

(A) Executive- Administers laws and government offices

(B) Legislative- Makes and repeals laws

(C) Judicial- Interprets laws and conducts trials

 

ARTICLE 2 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

Section 2.10 Intent

With this Charter, we establish Skamania County as an unincorporated political subdivision of Washington State. We recognize that all inhabitants of Skamania County are sovereign individuals, with inalienable rights. We intend to forever preserve these rights for ourselves and our posterity.

Section 2.20 Supreme Law

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of these United States of America. The Washington State Constitution is the supreme law of Washington State.

This Skamania County Charter is the supreme law of this county. Any legislation inconsistent with these documents is null and void.

Section 2.30 Oaths

(A) All Oaths of Office are legally binding contracts with the people of Skamania County.

(B) All officers shall affirm by oath to protect and maintain individual rights.

Section 2.40 Exemption from Uniform Organization of Counties

As provided for in Article 11, Section 4 of the Washington State Constitution, Skamania County is hereby removed from the uniform system of county government established under Title 36 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

Section 2.50 No Immunity from Rights Violations

An individual may bring suit or action to Skamania County courts for any violation of individual rights. Election or appointment to government positions does not provide immunity from these actions.

 

ARTICLE 3 LEGISLATIVE

Section 3.10 Intent

We intend for the people to retain legislative authority.

The legislative authority of Skamania County shall be the registered Legislative Authority Voters. Taxes levied and laws created shall be by express consent of the Legislative Authority, and specifically pursuant to a section of this Charter, the Constitution for the State of Washington, or the Constitution for the United States of America.

Section 3.20 Equal Application of Laws

No laws shall be passed or enforced in the county that apply to one group, class or individual. All humans shall be equal before the law.

Section 3.30 Two Separate Code Books

Two separate Skamania County code books shall be maintained:

(A) The Skamania County Code book for general county laws; and

(B) The Skamania County Administrative Code book.

The Skamania County Administrative Code shall include any:

1. rules for administration of county offices;

2. land use regulations created by community Councils;

3. regulations for chartering schools and social programs.

 Section 3.40 Fully Informed Voter

When proposed laws are presented to the Legislative Authority, each voter shall be given a clear written instruction in English and allowed time to read it before being given a ballot. The instruction shall state that:

Enforcement of law ultimately depends on the use of force. The potential use of force is a serious matter and law should not be made without consideration of this.

 Section 3.50 General Laws.

(A) How Proposed and Approved

Laws may be proposed by the petition of 5% of registered Legislative Authority Voters. Laws so proposed shall be put on the ballot for approval by 66% of the Legislative Authority.

1. Proposed legislation shall be strictly pursuant to this Charter, the Washington State Constitution and/or the Constitution of the United States of America and must identify the specific sections.

2. Petitions for laws shall be presented to the County Auditor, accompanied by a uniform fee. The fee shall be determined by the Auditor, and used to pay for expenses of the Constitutional Review board.

3. Proposed laws shall clearly state:

a) the relevant section from the United States Constitution, Washington State Constitution, or Skamania County Charter;

b) the intended effect of the legislation;

c) who will be affected;

d) the goals to be accomplished; and

e) the costs of implementation.

4. Proposed laws shall be reviewed for constitutionality by a Constitutional Review board consisting of the Prosecuting Attorney, the County Legal Advisor, the Judge of the County Court and the Judge of the Superior Court for the County.

5. After being approved as constitutional, proposed laws shall be publicly debated. The debates shall:

a) be held in each district;

b) be held at a time and place convenient to the voters; and

c) allow for statements and rebuttals from all interested county voters.

6. After the debate(s), a Voters Pamphlet shall be prepared by the Auditor. The Pamphlet shall be distributed with the ballot to all registered Legislative Authority voters. The Voters Pamphlet shall:

a) include all proposed laws debated since the previous legislative ballot;

b) contain the pros and cons discovered in the public debate process;

c) allot equal space for pro and con;

d) be distributed at least two weeks before the vote must be cast.

 (B) How Repealed

1. Laws may be proposed for repeal by petition of 5% of registered Legislative Authority voters. Any law proposed for repeal shall be reviewed by the Constitutional Review Board. If found to be constitutional, the proposed repeal shall be put on the ballot for approval by 40% of the Legislative Authority.

2. Any law found to be unconstitutional after review by the Constitutional Review Board shall be immediately repealed.

3. Any individual accused of violating a law not previously reviewed by the Constitutional Review Board may insist on a review prior to conviction.

4. Any law unanimously declared unjust by a trial jury shall be immediately repealed.

Section 3.60 Administrative Code. How Proposed and Approved

Administrative rules may be proposed by any administrative office of the county. Regulations so proposed shall be presented to the board of County Commissioners for approval by 66%.

 

ARTICLE 4 JUDICIAL

Section 4.10 Intent

We intend to re-establish a system of Constitutional common law courts for Skamania County.

Section 4.20 County Court

Except as modified in this Charter, the County Court shall operate under the Washington Court Rules for courts of limited jurisdiction.

Section 4.20.10 Purpose

To provide:

(A) a common law court with Constitutional jurisdiction over misdemeanors, administrative rules and regulations, and civil cases; and

(B) easy access to trial by jury.

Section 4.20.20 Jurisdiction of the County Court

(A) The County Court shall have original constitutional jurisdiction over all misdemeanors.

(B) The County Court shall have jurisdiction over civil claims.

(C) The County Court shall have the power to remove cases from the Administrative Courts and District Court.

(D) The County Court shall be the court of appeals from the Administrative Courts and District Court.

Section 4.20.30 County Court Judge

The office of County Court Judge shall be non-partisan.

(A) Requirements

Candidates for County Court Judge shall:

1. be a resident of Skamania County; and

2. be registered to vote.

(B) Procedures

1. One County Court Judge to be elected at regular election for a term of office of four years.

2. If vacancy occurs, the Constitutional Review board shall appoint a replacement until a special election can be held.

Section 4.30 Superior Court

(A) This Charter shall not affect the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.

(B) This charter shall not affect the election of the Judges of the Superior Court.

(C) The Superior Court shall be the court of appeals from the County Court.

Section 4.40 District Court

The District Court shall be:

(A) as provided for by the Revised Code of Washington.

(B) subject to removal of cases by the Judge of the County Court.

Section 4.50 Citizen Complaints

Any citizen may initiate a complaint, signed before two witnesses and filed in County Court. The citizen may be liable for court costs and damages if the case is found to be frivolous by the jury. Government officials are not immune from civil or criminal prosecution under this section.

(A) Civil complaints shall be filed according to existing rules for courts of limited jurisdiction.

(B) Criminal complaints shall be filed with the Prosecutor. If the Prosecutor does not initiate the criminal process within 30 days, the citizen may proceed to prosecute the case according to Washington State Rules of Courts.

Section 4.60 Warrants

(A) The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against warrantless searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

(B) A warrant shall only be issued if an accuser signs a sworn affidavit and there is probable cause that a crime has been committed. Warrants must describe the places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Section 4.70 Juries

(A) No law shall be made circumventing trial by jury, or placing the burden of proof on the accused to prove innocence.

(B) The County Clerk shall inform all potential jurors that:

1. it is their right and duty to decide the justness of the law and its application first, and then the facts; and

2. each juror must decide cases independently and according to his or her own conscience and sense of judgment. 

 

ARTICLE 5 EXECUTIVE

Section 5.10 General

All Executive Officers are servants of the people. They shall carry out their duties in an efficient and courteous manner. Performance of executive duties must never infringe on any individual's life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Section 5.20 Executive offices

The following executive officers shall be elected from among the qualified voters of the county: County Commissioners, Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, Legal Advisor, Assessor, Auditor, Clerk, Treasurer, Charity Facilitator and Planning Coordinator. Constables may be elected, at the discretion of each community.

(A) The existing offices of County Commissioner, Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, Assessor, Auditor, Clerk, and Treasurer shall continue to have all the powers and duties existing as of the date of this Charter's acceptance, except as specifically modified in this Charter.

(B) The new offices of Legal Advisor, Charity Facilitator, Planning Coordinator and Constable shall have all the powers and duties specifically written in this Charter.

(C) Proposed changes in executive powers or duties shall be put on the ballot for approval by 66% of the Legislative Authority. Any changes approved by the Legislative Authority voters shall be written in the Skamania County Administrative Code book.

Section 5.30 Procedures

(A) Election of county officers shall be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

(B) Term of office shall be four years, and until their successors are elected and qualified and assume office, except for constables. Term of office for constables shall be one year.

(C) Before taking office, every person elected to county office shall take and sign an oath to:

1. faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office; and

2. protect and maintain individual rights.

This oath shall be administered without charge and certified by an officer authorized to administer oaths. Conviction for failure to uphold this oath shall result in immediate dismissal from office.

(D) The board of commissioners shall fill a vacancy in executive office by appointment of a qualified person. Appointment shall be made without regard to party affiliation. Officers thus appointed shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified.

Section 5.40 Commissioners

The commissioners shall be the representatives of the people. The commissioners shall have no legislative authority except as specifically delegated by this Charter. Commissioners shall not adopt ordinances but shall continue to adopt resolutions for administrative purposes. Commissioners shall respond in a timely manner, follow issues through, and be available to county inhabitants.

Section 5.40.10 Duties

The Commissioners shall:

(A) attend the community council meetings in their respective districts and report to community councils the proceedings and actions of all boards and panels on which a county commissioner serves.

(B) inform the legislative authority, when required, through publication in a legal newspaper of the county.

(C) act as advocates for county inhabitants and land owners in cases of disagreement or difficulty with county government or its agencies:

1. provide general information regarding policy and procedures;

2. direct individuals to the appropriate department; and

3. carry grievances from inhabitants to the appropriate agency or department.

(D) fill any vacancies in executive offices by temporary appointment.

Section 5.40.20 Procedures

(A) The Commissioners shall be elected by district.

(B) The three commissioner districts shall remain as currently defined.

(C) The registered voters in each district shall elect a commissioner to represent them.

Section 5.50 Office of Sheriff

(A) The Sheriff is the guardian of the peace in the county and the executive officer of its courts.

(B) The Sheriff's primary objective is to protect and maintain individual rights.

(C) The sheriff and deputies shall perform Constable duties in communities where a Constable is not available.

Section 5.60 Constables

Section 5.60.10 Intent and Purpose

(A) To make a peace officer available in each community, at the community's discretion.

(B) To reduce the number of deputies needed as constables are added.

(C) To organize citizen volunteers for emergency preparedness.

Section 5.60.20 Duties

(A) The Constables shall:

1. respond to neighborhood breaches of the peace;

2. focus on peace keeping rather than law enforcement;

3. mediate disputes; and

4. communicate with the sheriff's department in situations beyond the Constable's ability to handle.

(B) Any Constable may:

1. be deputized by the county sheriff;

2. respond to countywide situations as directed by the Sheriff;

3. Organize citizen volunteers for emergencies such as:

a. search and rescue;

b. natural disasters; and

c. civil defense.

Section 5.60.30 Requirements

(A) A Constable shall be:

1. elected by the voters in the community they serve.

2. Available to respond promptly.

3. Physically and mentally capable of dealing with potentially dangerous situations.

(B) A Constable shall have skills and/or training in:

1. emergency management

2. mediation

3. general peace keeping

4. firearm safety

Section 5.60.40 Procedures

Election of a Constable is at the discretion of the voters in the community.

(A) One Constable per community, to be elected at the community level for a one-year term.

(B) Details of experience, training, skills, compensation and budget required to be spelled out in candidate statement and thus approved by election.

Section 5.70 Office of Prosecuting Attorney

The Prosecutor shall perform all functions set forth in state law, and shall be relieved of the duties delegated to the Legal Advisor.

Section 5.80 Office of Legal Advisor

Section 5.80.10 Intent and Purpose

To have a legal advisor separate from the Prosecutor.

Section 5.80.20 Duties

The Legal Advisor shall:

(A) answer questions regarding county law and policy;

(B) initiate legal proceedings, on behalf of the citizens of the county, against any agency that tries to usurp the law of the county;

(C) watch over the Executive branch and its departments and inform them of any pending actions that appear illegal or unethical;

(D) interpret state law in the county's best interest;

(E) assist county legislators in drafting law to protect and maintain individual rights; and

(F) help citizens determine the proper jurisdiction to bring suits of common law, civil, criminal and equity.

Section 5.80.30 Requirements

(A) Shall be a Washington State citizen.

(B) Shall be a Skamania County resident.

Section 5.80.40 Procedures

(A) One Legal Advisor to be elected at the County level.

(B) Details of experience, training, skills, compensation and budget required to be spelled out in candidate statement and thus approved by election.

(C) Shall communicate with the people of the county and the County Legislative Authority through a newspaper published in the county.

Section 5.90 Clerk

(A) The clerk shall inform all potential jurors that it is their right and duty to decide the justness of the law and its application first, and then the facts; and that each juror must decide cases independently and according to his or her own conscience and sense of judgment.

(B) The clerk shall be the court clerk for the County Court.

Section 5.100 Charity Facilitator

Section 5.100.10 Intent and Purpose

It is our intent to limit use of government power as much as possible. We therefore encourage inhabitants to unite in fulfilling their needs and wants through voluntary association.

It is our purpose to establish a method of voluntary charity without using force or taxation.

The Charity Facilitator shall:

(A) establish an easy way for people to unite for common causes;

(B) make it easy for those providing aid and those requesting aid to get together;

(C) establish procedures to carry out this section; and

(D) have fees and rules written in the Administrative Code Book.

Section 5.100.20 Duties

The Charity Facilitator shall:

(A) prepare an annual Donation Drive pamphlet.

(B) assist those who wish to prepare a charter for inclusion in the annual Donation Drive

1. provide information to promote functional charity charters, and

2. review charters and annual summaries for completeness.

(C) establish, maintain, and make accessible to the public a database of goods and services needed and offered by individuals.

Section 5.100.30 Requirements

(A) Computer skills sufficient to maintain the database.

(B) Must have good language and communication skills.

Section 5.100.40 Procedures

(A) One Charity Facilitator to be elected at the County level for a four-year term.

(B) Details of experience, training, skills, compensation and budget required to be spelled out in candidate statement and thus approved by election.

Section 5.100.50 Chartered Organizations

Section 5.100.55 How Created

(A) One or more inhabitants of Skamania County may petition to create a charter for a charitable organization, a social service, or an educational facility.

(B) The petitioners must first register the proposed charter with the Charity Facilitator, and then collect signatures from registered voters of the county.

(C) The petitions used to collect the signatures must bear the complete text of the charter.

(D) To be considered for publication in the Donation Drive Pamphlet, a petition must:

1. bear a number of valid signatures equal to 5% of the County's registered voters; and

2. be returned to the Charity Facilitator.

Section 5.100.60 Annual Donation Drive

(A) The Charity Facilitator shall prepare an annual Donation Drive Pamphlet. The Pamphlet shall include Organization Summaries. The Organization Summaries must include a current financial statement, and may include mission statements or other related information.

(B) Organization Summaries shall appear in the annual Donation Drive Pamphlet arranged in order of length, with the shortest first and the longest appearing last.

(C) The fee charged for publication in the annual Donation Drive Pamphlet shall be calculated on a per-page basis. It shall be set at $35.00 per page during the transition period, and the amount thereafter established by the Charity Facilitator. The per-page fee amount should reflect the costs of publication and distribution of the annual Donation Drive Pamphlet.

(D) The Donation Drive Pamphlet shall be distributed to the county taxpayers by the most efficient and inexpensive means, as determined by the Charity Facilitator.

Section 5.110 Planning Coordinator

Section 5.110.10 Intent and Purposes

It is our intent to return to local land use planning based on Skamania County Comprehensive Plan A.

Our purposes are:

(A) to tie the character and quality of a community more directly to the people living there;

(B) for residents to determine the character, needs, and goals of their community;

(C) for the population to be reasonably sustained by the land, water and other resources available to the community, without passing present costs on to future generations; and

(D) to establish strong local self-reliance.

Section 5.110.20 Duties

The Planning Coordinator shall:

(A) work to implement community goals by drafting community land use ordinances;

(B) attend regular public meetings of community councils to discuss land-use issues;

(C) assist in coordinating public services (water, septic, roads, parks etc.);

(D) explain existing land use requirements to the public and provide guidance through the application process for division and/or development;

(E) prepare reports and recommendations to community councils;

(F) prepare reports and recommendations to the board of adjustment;

(G) record final plats with the county Auditor;

(H) facilitate voluntary private deed restrictions for protection of natural or historical resources; and

(I) serve as liaison for the county with local, state and federal agencies and the general public, regarding land use policy.

Section 5.110.30 Requirements

The Planning Coordinator must:

(A) be a resident of Skamania County; and

(B) have the ability to:

1. understand land use planning principles, practices and legal requirements;

2. comprehend and interpret planning laws and ordinances;

3. prepare clear and concise reports; and

4. work well with the public, community councils, and other agencies.

Section 5.110.40 Procedure

(A) One Planning Coordinator to be elected at the County level for a four-year term.

(B) Details of experience, training, skills, compensation and budget required to be spelled out in candidate statement and thus approved by election.

 

ARTICLE 6 LAND USE

Section 6.10 Intent and Purpose

(A) To protect and maintain the right to private property.

(B) To establish that land use planning in Skamania County is a function of the local community through Community Councils.

(C) To facilitate voluntary private deed restrictions for protection of natural or historical resources.

(D) To establish a class of buildings for exemption from the Uniform Building Code.

(E) This Article shall not affect incorporated areas of the County.

Section 6.20 Limitations on Condemnation and Land Use Regulations

(A) Private property shall not be condemned for the benefit of private interests.

(B) Condemnation may be used to acquire private property for public purposes only:

1. to remedy or prevent a true emergency which threatens life or property, and;

2. when the remedy or prevention absolutely cannot be accomplished by means other than condemnation.

(C) Any regulation of private property or restraint of land use by a government entity shall constitute a condemnation, except regulations:

1. to protect public health and safety;

2. to prevent or prohibit public nuisances, and

3. for zoning commercial uses.

(D) The owner of condemned property is entitled to compensation:

1. for any reduction in fair market value, or

2. at full market value for full condemnation.

Section 6.30 Planning by Community Council

(A) Land use ordinances shall be used only for the protection of the public health and safety or for regulation of commercial development.

(B) All land use ordinances shall be published in the Skamania County Administrative Code.

(C) The Community Council, assisted by the Planning Coordinator, shall do all land use planning within the boundaries of a community. Community Councils shall serve as local planning commission, responsible for final decision on applications.

(D) Proposed land use ordinances shall be presented to the legislative authority of the affected communities for a 66% majority approval.

(E) In Communities without an active Council, the Planning Coordinator shall review all development applications to assure compliance with Comprehensive Plan A; such review may include public hearings.

(F) Planning Coordinator's decisions may be appealed to County Court.

Section 6.40 Skamania County Comprehensive Plan A

(A) All planning and zoning shall be pursuant to the goals established in the Skamania County Comprehensive Plan A.

(B) Proposed amendments to the Skamania County Comprehensive Plan A shall be presented to the legislative authority of the affected communities for a 75% majority approval.

(C) References to the Planning Commission, legislative authority, or County Commissioners in the Skamania County Comprehensive Plan A shall be replaced with the Community Councils of the affected area.

Section 6.50 Owner-built and Occupied Principal Residence

The County shall classify and exempt owner-built and occupied principal residences from the requirements set forth in the Uniform Building Code.

 

ARTICLE 7 COMMUNITY SELF GOVERNMENT

Section 7.10 Community Councils

Communities may choose to govern themselves through Community councils.

Section 7.10.10 Intent and Purpose

(A) To promote community self-government, and provide for local control of community issues, such as land use, crime prevention, service and infrastructure needs; and

(B) to encourage discussion and public debate of county-wide issues at the local level.

Section 7.10.20 Organization and Powers

(A) Community Councils may:

1. organize as set forth in Skamania County Code; or

2. continue as currently organized.

(B) The Community Council has the power to disapprove any ordinance, resolution or special law regarding the land, building, or structures within its area, except those adopted by the community's legislative authority.

(C) Community Councils shall have the power to create land use regulations for their community pursuant to Article 6 of this Charter.

 

 ARTICLE 8 ELECTIONS

Section 8.10 Election of Officers

Except as provided in this Charter, all officials shall be nominated and elected in accordance with the laws of the State.

Section 8.20 Voters Registration

(A) Voters shall qualify and register in accordance with the laws of the State.

(B) Any qualified voter may register to be a Legislative Authority Voter.

 

ARTICLE 9 TAXATION

Section 9.10 Taxing Power

The taxing power is delegated to the Legislative Authority, and shall not be surrendered, pledged or contracted away to any government or private entity.

Section 9.20 Uniform taxation

The rate of tax shall be equal and uniform throughout the county.

 

ARTICLE 10 PERSONNEL

 Section 10.10 Personnel System

Within one year of the effective date of this Charter, the County Commissioners shall establish and place into operation a Personnel System for Skamania County. The rules and regulations for this system shall:

(A) assure that the hiring, firing and/or promotion of county employees is based on merit and fitness;

(B) be published in the Administrative Code Book;

(C) apply to regular County employees; and

(D) not apply to contract employees or volunteers.

 

ARTICLE 11 FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

Section 11.10 General Budget Adoption Provisions

The budget shall be adopted in compliance with state law and this article.

Section 11.20 Meetings on the Preliminary Budget

After the preliminary budget is submitted to the Board of Commissioners and before the budget hearing, the Commissioners shall hold informal hearings with each department head to discuss that department's preliminary budget. Said meetings shall be open to the public.

Section 11.30 Budget Message

(A) The Board of Commissioners shall prepare a budget message, which explains the budget in relation to the goals to be accomplished.

(B) At least ten (10) days prior to the public hearing on the budget, the budget message and supporting tables shall be furnished to any interested person upon request. Copies of the budget shall be furnished for a reasonable fee as established by the Auditor and shall be available for public inspection.

Section 11.40 Appropriations

(A) Appropriation resolutions adopted by the Commissioners shall not exceed the estimated revenues of the county for the next fiscal year for each fund.

(B) If a true emergency exists, the Commissioners may adopt an emergency appropriations resolution to appropriate:

1. contingency funds; and/or

2. funds from any other source available.

(C) Emergency appropriations are subject to review by the Superior Court Judge upon petition from any taxpayer, as set forth in State law.

Section 11.50 Illegal Contracts

Except as otherwise provided by ordinance, any contract in excess of an appropriation shall be null and void; and any officer, agent or employee of the county knowingly responsible shall be personally liable to anyone damaged by his or her action.

 

ARTICLE 12 GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 12.10 Name, Boundaries and County Seat

The name of this county shall be Skamania County. The boundaries and county seat of Skamania County shall remain as they are on the date of this Charter's adoption, until changed as provided by law.

Section 12.20 Amendments to Charter. How Proposed and Approved

(A) Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by the petition of 10% of the number of citizens voting at the last general election.

(B) Amendments so proposed shall become part of this Charter if approved by 75% of the registered voters.

(C) If an amendment conflicts with an earlier section of this Charter, the conflicting section must be repealed in clear language at the same time the amendment is passed or the amendment shall be null and void.

Section 12.30 Severability and Construction

The provisions of this charter are severable; and, if any provision should be declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, it shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of any other provision of this charter.

 

ARTICLE 13 TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Section 13.10 Existing Laws and the Transition

Any existing special laws found by the Constitutional Review Board to be inconsistent and/or not pursuant to specific sections of this Charter, the Washington State Constitution or the Constitution for the United States of America shall be null and void and removed from the code. All other laws shall be codified into the Skamania County Code.

 

ARTICLE 14 GLOSSARY

Section 14.10 Fair market value-

The average of three independent private appraisals, or a higher price as determined by a jury.

 

Section 14.20 Inalienable Rights-

Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. These include (but are not limited to) freedom of speech or religion, due process, and equal protection of the laws.

Section 14.30 Individuals -

Private or natural persons as distinguished from a partnership, corporation, or association.

Section 14.40 Inhabitant-

One who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there.

Section 14.50 Legislative Authority-

The group of County voters who have each registered with the Auditor as Legislative Authority Voters.

Section 14.60 Public Nuisance-

A condition which endangers public health or public safety or unlawfully obstructs the public in the free use of public property.

Section 14.70 Sovereign-

Possessing independent and supreme authority.

Section 14.80 Sovereign People-

The political body, consisting of the entire number of citizens and qualified electors, who, in their collective capacity, possess the powers of sovereignty and exercise them as individuals or through their chosen representatives.

Section 14.90 Special Election-

An election for a particular emergency or need, conducted in the interval between regularly scheduled elections.

Section 14.100 True emergency-

An unforeseen combination of circumstances which threatens life and/or property and calls for immediate action without time for full deliberation.

 

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