Tempe meeting to present info on ballot props takes place Aug. 1

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Tempe, AZ – The city of Tempe will host an information session on the two propositions that will appear on the city’s Nov. 6 Special Election ballot.  

The meeting will take place Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 6-7 p.m., at the Tempe History Museum, 809 E. Southern Ave.

A sales tax question (Proposition 417) and a City Charter amendment (Proposition 418) will appear on the city’s portion of the statewide ballot

Proposition 417 proposes a new sales tax and use tax of one-tenth of one percent to be implemented when an existing one-tenth of one percent tax expires in 2020. The funds would be used for arts and culture throughout Tempe, as guided by the city’s 2015 Arts and Culture Plan.

The current city sales tax for arts (one-tenth of one percent), authorized by Tempe voters in 2000, expires in 2020. It has funded the construction and operations of the Tempe Center for the Arts sponsored by Northern Trust.

The City Council directed in May 2017 that city staff pursue a future ballot proposition to request a permanent arts and culture sales tax of the same amount (one-tenth of one percent) to fund arts and culture in Tempe.

In 2015, the city finalized its Arts and Culture Plan, which was crafted over months of research and collaboration with nearly 1,000 community members. Since then, Tempe has been working to execute the recommendations of the plan, which include initiatives like developing more after-school and summer arts programs for youth and bringing art of all kinds into neighborhoods to enrich quality of life. The plan is available at www.tempe.gov/arts.

Proposition 418 is a proposed amendment to the City Charter to provide the Tempe City Council with parameters for considering the removal from office of a Councilmember.

Currently, the Tempe City Charter directs that Councilmembers forfeit office if they: no longer meet qualifications to hold office, such as Tempe residency; if they are convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; if they violate a Charter provision; or if they have three consecutive, unexcused absences from regular Council meetings. At any time, Tempe voters also can collect petition signatures to force an election to recall a Councilmember.

In 2009, the City Council voted to establish a Code of Conduct for its members. The code referred to the city’s Personnel Rules and Regulations and its Code of Ethics, both of which pertain to the conduct of city employees. Councilmembers reasoned that they should uphold the same values and behaviors that are required of city employees. According to the Code of Conduct, written censure of the offending Councilmember is the maximum recourse that the Council possesses.

The City Charter can only be amended by Tempe voters.

The proposed Charter Amendment would add a subsection allowing the Council to remove a Councilmember with an affirmative vote of at least five of seven Councilmembers, with due process and clear and convincing evidence, for unlawful conduct involving moral turpitude, fraud or corruption. Charter provisions about voter-initiated recall efforts would not be impacted.

For more about the Nov. 6 election, including voter registration information and details about how to submit a publicity pamphlet argument for or against either of the ballot measures before the Aug. 8 deadline, visit www.tempe.gov/election or call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311.

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