Charter study commission question may appear on Holmdel ballot

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HOLMDEL – When residents go to the polls on Nov. 2, they may be asked by the Township Committee if they want to create a charter study commission whose members would examine Holmdel’s current form of government and possibly recommend changes in the township’s form of government.

On July 13, committee members voted 5-0 to introduce an ordinance which proposes placing such a question on the Election Day ballot.

A public hearing and a possible vote for adoption of the ordinance has been scheduled for Aug. 10.

Holmdel is currently governed by the Township Committee form of government. There are five members of the committee, all of whom are elected at large. The mayor is not directly elected by voters. Each January, the five committee members elect one individual who sits on the committee to serve as mayor for the year.

According to the proposed ordinance, state law “authorizes the governing body to adopt an ordinance submitting a public question to the voters on whether a charter study commission shall be elected to study Holmdel’s current form of government and consider a new charter or improvements in the current charter and make recommendations thereon.”

In the ordinance, the Township Committee members said they believe voters “would benefit from a public question on whether to explore alternative forms of municipal government, including options that provide for the direct election of the mayor, rather than the current system that denies voters that opportunity.”

The public question would ask voters: “Shall a charter commission be elected to study the charter of Holmdel and to consider a new charter or improvements in the present charter and to make recommendations thereon?”

If the public question is placed on the Nov. 2 ballot and approved by a simple majority vote, a charter study commission comprised of five individuals would be created to study Holmdel’s current Township Committee form of government and to consider a potential new charter.

If the Township Committee members vote to place the charter study commission question on the Nov. 2 ballot, interested residents will have the opportunity to run for a seat on the charter study commission. The five members of the charter study commission would be elected by voters who participate in the Nov. 2 election.

If, after studying the matter, the charter study commission recommends a change in  Holmdel’s form or government, the recommendation would be submitted to Holmdel voters in a public question at a future election, according to the proposed ordinance.