Citizens' Initiative Petitions to amend the City of Sarasota Charter
(Ordinance 15-5116, effective June 11, 2015)
Amendments to the Charter of the City of Sarasota may be framed and proposed either by the City Commission or by written petition to the City Commission initiated by the electors setting forth the full text of the proposed amendment and signed in person by qualified electors of the city equal to at least 10% of the total number of qualified electors registered to vote at the preceding regular at large election.
Procedures for Citizens’ Initiative Petitions to amend the Charter are outlined below:
Petition should be drafted to set forth the full text of the proposed amendment and summary of the proposal. In the event such petition proposes an amendment to more than one section of the Charter, the petition shall contain a clear and concise summary of the material components of the proposal.
A copy of the petition must be submitted to the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk prior to or on the date that the first signature is affixed.
Once petition is submitted to the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk and certified as received, the 180 day period shall commence, all signatures required (10% of the total number of qualified electors registered to vote in the preceding regular at large election) must be affixed within this 180 day period and must bear the date on which each signature is affixed.
All signatures must be certified as valid by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office. For more information on this process, please contact the Supervisor of Elections office at (941)861-8600.
If the required number of signatures is obtained in the 180 day period, then the fully signed petition may be submitted to the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk.
The City Auditor and Clerk shall place the petition on a regular or special City Commission meeting agenda for presentation to the City Commission.
The City Commission shall within 60 days after the petition has been presented to the City Commission adopt an ordinance which (1) provides the date of the referendum to be held on the proposed Charter Amendment, which may be scheduled at a special election or a general election; (2) provides the language to appear on the ballot; and (3) provides for an effective date if approved by the voters.
If a majority of the qualified electors of the City voting on the referendum vote for approval, the amendment shall become effective at the time fixed in the enabling ordinance or if no time is fixed, then 30 days after its adoption by the electors.