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News / Politics / Election

Camas council endorses new county charter

After 125 years members feel it's time for a change

By Justin Runquist, Columbian Small Cities Reporter
Published: October 6, 2014, 5:00pm

The Camas City Council is throwing its support behind Clark County’s proposed new charter.

With little discussion and much enthusiasm, the council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday night endorsing the new charter, which will be on the November ballot. An elected 15-member board of freeholders drafted the proposal this spring, aiming to make several fundamental changes to Clark County government.

The new charter would divide the county’s legislative and executive powers by hiring a county manager to handle day-to-day operations. It would also extend the board of commissioners to five members, adding two new commissioners — called councilors under the charter.

Furthermore, the charter would nearly cut the commissioners’ salaries in half to $53,000 a year. The councilors adopted the resolution three weeks after Nan Henriksen, former Camas mayor and freeholder chairwoman, visited during a workshop to encourage their support.

“This charter is really quite simple,” Henriksen said, “because our goal was to keep it simple, keep it moderate and keep it cost-effective.”

The council’s resolution noted that the county’s current government structure was created in 1889. Since then, Clark County’s population has grown from about 11,000 to more than 440,000, and Camas officials agreed it’s time for a change.

They also said expanding the commission would strengthen local representation. Adding an at-large commissioner position gives Camas residents a chance to elect two commissioners, they said.

Columbian Small Cities Reporter