About Union City’s Charter City Initiative
Union City is currently considering asking Union City residents to decide if the city should become a Charter City. Becoming a Charter City allows Union City voters to determine how our city government is organized and how local legislation is enacted. We are currently a General Law City, which means that the manner in which our city is governed is bound by State Law. General Law Cities have less independence, while Charter Cities may adopt their own procedures related to local, municipal affairs.
More Local Control Over City Decisions
As a Charter City, Union City residents will have a greater voice in the determination of local government policies, such as city election matters, land use and zoning decisions (with some exceptions) and how the city generates local revenue. The primary benefit it serves is that it puts control in the hands of our residents related to local municipal affairs as opposed to being limited by State Law. In other words, a Charter City’s Law concerning a municipal affair will trump a State Law governing the same topic.
Currently, residents give up 29% of their property taxes to fixing statewide budget issues, which equates to $5 million annually. Becoming a Charter City will give residents more local control over the city’s ability to generate revenue that cannot be taken away by the State.
Local Control Over Local Revenue
As a Charter City, residents will have the ability to enhance locally-controlled revenues to maintain high quality of city services, such as public safety, roads, park maintenance and recreation services.
One potential opportunity we have as a Charter City is to adopt a real estate transfer tax, which is a tax that is paid when a property, including commercial property, is sold. As a General Law City, State Law dictates the maximum rate of our current real estate transfer tax, which means we are losing out on millions of dollars annually that could be used to enhance and maintain public safety, streets, parks and recreation services for youth and seniors in Union City.
Opportunities to Learn More
We have several opportunities for residents to learn more about the important financial decisions that City officials will be considering in the future and about the City's long term efforts to maintain fiscal stability.
A new on-line tool will soon be available for residents that will illustrate the complex policy choices that City leaders will decide on in the future, particularly as it relates to maintaining a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, and identifying opportunities to enhance locally-controlled revenue that cannot be taken by the State. This tool will provide residents the opportunity to learn more about city finances, maintaining essential services, and the types of decisions facing Union City residents and the City Council in the future. We hope to launch this in early June 2018.
There will also be several meetings over the course of the next few months, which are opportunities for residents to learn about city finances and potential revenue measures the city is considering. We are also in the process of scheduling community meetings across the course of the summer. We will update this site once we have those scheduled.
We Welcome Your Feedback
Let us know your thoughts on the Charter City Initiative, we appreciate all feedback.
The first Public Hearing for Charter City was held on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Below is the staff report and presentation:
On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, the City Council Fiscal Stability Subcommittee presented its findings about the City's current fiscal condition and future paths to create more fiscal stability after a 60-day evaluation period. Here is the staff report and presentation on the results: