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Town Charter Forum

The Board of Town Commissioners is looking to update sections of the Town's Charter in the coming months. Mayor Tonga Turner and the Board of Town Commissioners invite all residents to attend a forum on the Town's Charter. The Town Attorney will be present to answer resident's questions and concerns on the charter. 

When: Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 at 7 pm
Where: Town Hall located at 14211 School Lane Upper Marlboro MD 20772

 To read the current Town Charter CLICK HERE 

Recommendations Overview: Below are the four sections that the Town Staff are recommending that the Board bring up for a Charter Amendment Resolution in June/July 2019. Each below section includes the current charter language, and a revised section with recommended edits. 

Recommendation 1- President to Mayor

Current Language: Section 82–13. (Selection).At their organizational meeting, a majority of the Commissioners shall elect one of their members President. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board in accordance with the accepted rules of parliamentary [parliamentary] procedure, except that he may vote on any question before the Board

Recommended Language: Section 82–13. (Selection): At their organizational meeting, a majority of the Commissioners shall elect one of their members [President] MAYOR. The [President] MAYOR shall preside at all meetings of the Board in accordance with the accepted rules of [parliamentary] PARLIAMENTARY procedure, except that he OR SHE may vote on any question before the Board. 

Recommendation 2- Commissioner 2 Year Term to 4 Year Term

Current Language: Section 82–3. (Number, Selection, Term). All legislative powers of the Town shall be vested in a Board of Commissioners consisting of three Commissioners who shall be elected as hereinafter provided and who shall hold office for a term of two years and until the succeeding Board takes office. The regular term of the Commissioners shall expire on the first Monday following the election of their successors. The Commissioners holding office at the time this charter becomes effective shall continue to hold office for the term for which they were elected and until the succeeding Board takes office under the provisions of this charter.

Recommended Language: Section 82–3. (Number, Selection, Term). All legislative powers of the Town shall be vested in a Board of Commissioners consisting of three Commissioners who shall be elected as hereinafter provided and who shall hold office for a term of four years and until the succeeding Board takes office. The regular term of the Commissioners shall expire on the first Monday following the election of their successors. The Commissioners holding office at the time this charter amendment becomes effective shall continue to hold office for the term for which they were elected and until the succeeding Board takes office under the provisions of this charter.

Recommendation 3- Town Treasurer as a Staff Position

Current Language: Section 83–36. [82–36.] (Treasurer). There shall be a treasurer appointed by the President with the approval of the Board. He shall serve at the pleasure of the President. His compensation shall be determined by the Board. The treasurer shall be the chief financial officer of the Town. The financial powers of the Town, except as otherwise provided by this Charter, shall be exercised by the treasurer under the direct supervision of the President. The treasurer appointed may be a member of the Board.

Recommended Language: Section 83–36. [82–36.] (Treasurer). There shall be a treasurer appointed by the President with the approval of the Board. [They] The treasurer shall serve at the pleasure of the President. The treasurer shall be the chief financial officer of the Town. The financial powers of the Town, except as otherwise provided by this Charter, shall be exercised by the treasurer under the direct supervision of the President. The treasurer shall not be an [appointed] elected member of the Board. (Position also added to Personnel Section)

Recommendation 4- Overdue Town Tax Recommendation Rate

Current Language: Section 82–49. (When Taxes are Overdue). Ordinary Town taxes shall be due and payable on the first day of July in the year for which they are levied and shall be overdue and in arrears on the first day of the following October. They shall bear interest while in arrears at the rate of 1/2 of one percent per month or fraction thereof until paid and in addition, thereto, there shall be a penalty imposed for failure to make payment by or after that day of 1/2 of 1% for each month or fraction thereof until paid. All taxes not paid and in arrears after the first day of the following January may be collected as provided in Section 82–50 hereof or may be collected by action of assumes as provided in Section 206 to 211, inclusive, of Article 81 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1957 Edition).

Recommended Language: Section 82–49. (When Taxes are Overdue). Ordinary Town taxes shall be due and payable on the first day of July in the year for which they are levied and shall be overdue and in arrears on the first day of the following October. They shall bear interest while in arrears at the rate of two-thirds of 1% or fraction thereof until paid and in addition thereto, there shall be a penalty imposed for failure to make payment by or after that day of two-thirds of 1% for each month or fraction thereof until paid. All taxes not paid and in arrears after the first day of the following January may be collected as provided in Section 82–50 hereof or may be collected by action of assumes as provided in Section 206 to 211, inclusive, of Article 81 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1957 Edition).

Charter Forum for the Town of Upper Marlboro Background

American incorporated cities and towns are legally corporations; therefore, they need charters, like a constitution, to serve as their principal governing document.  In Maryland, all municipalities have been granted Home Rule and exist to supply services and governance for the convenience and welfare of their residents and the public. 

Home rule means to exercise powers of self-governance and perform functions pertaining to its local affairs as authorized by the State.  A Charter establishes the structure, process, and mechanisms for an incorporated community to make decisions about solving problems and facing the future. 

The Town of Upper Marlboro through its Charter is governed by a Board of three (3) elected Commissioners.  The President of the Board also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Town’s Administration. 

There are basically three forms of municipal government structure (Commission, Mayor-Council and Council-Manager); however, most municipalities have a blended or hybridized form of government. These forms derive from the relationship between the executive and legislative functions. 

The best form of government is the one best designed to meet the needs of your unique municipal corporation. Those needs can change with the complexity of operations and with the presence or absence of certain appointed and elected officials.   The Town would like to facilitate a discussion with its citizens and constituents regarding the Town Charter and the structure of Town Government so that it can better prepare for the future.