By Dan Moffett
The town of Briny Breezes has been running on a largely improvised collection of rules and regulations since its incorporation as a municipality in 1963.
That could change next year after the March election.
Briny voters will get the chance to approve amendments that would give the town a formal charter with detailed guidelines, definitions and procedures for governance.
The Town Council, during its Oct. 22 meeting, unanimously approved an ordinance putting the amendment on the March 9 ballot, culminating six months of review and deliberation, led by Town Attorney Keith Davis.
A citizens charter review committee, chaired by former Alderman Bobby Jurovaty, met multiple times through the summer to put together the proposed charter. Other members of the committee were Jim Phillippi, Karen Wiggins, Susan Atlee, Suzanne Carroll and Jerry Lower, publisher of The Coastal Star.
Most of the new document simply restates practices that the town already has in place. Two of the most noteworthy changes are a measure that makes the job of town clerk an appointed position, rather than elected, and a section that defines the role of the town manager, a position the Town Council created three years ago.
The proposed charter also outlines procedures for the recall and removal of elected officials and clarifies the role of the nonvoting mayor position.
In other business:
• The council unanimously approved during its October meeting a new policy for satisfying large public records requests that require extensive work by town employees. The policy allows 15 minutes of employee work at no charge for requests, but if more time is required, the town now will charge the requesting party a service fee based on the employee’s hourly pay.
Town Manager William Thrasher said some recent extensive record requests have forced him and Clerk Sandi DuBose to lose too much time from doing the town’s necessary work. They are the only employees in Town Hall and both are part-time.
Thrasher said the new policy is modeled after those used in neighboring communities.
• The Town Council has scheduled its regular monthly meetings for Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 to adjust to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Both are to begin at 4 p.m.