St. Pete Charter Amendments and Referendum Primer

Posted On 10/29/2019 by Matt Lettelleir

City of St. Petersburg voters will be asked to weigh in on two City Charter Amendments and one Referendum Question on next week’s ballot. Although the items have seen little opposition, it is important for voters to understand what they are voting on, so here is a brief summary of those issues to help our members be informed.

No. 1 Charter Amendment – Creating Exception to Referendum Requirement for Accepting Conservation or Preservation Grants and Clarifying Related Language

Our City Charter contains many protections and rules for our park system. These are meant to protect our parks from development and require voter approval for any changes. This has put St. Pete at a disadvantage when grants are available because the timelines do not always allow for the voters to weigh in. This Charter Amendment would allow City Council the ability to accept grant funds for environmental conservation or preservation of park property without voter approval.

No. 2 Charter Amendment – Aligning Terms of City Council Members and Mayor with City Council Meeting Schedule

This issue is more about process and timing than significant changes to our city governance. Currently the Mayor and Council are sworn in, and therefore begin their terms, on January 2nd of the year following City Elections. This Charter Amendment would amend that date to instead coincide with the first City Council meeting of the year on the first or second Thursday in January.

Referendum Questions – Authorizing Agreement for Operation of St. Petersburg Sailing Center through December 31, 2040.

The City Charter requires any lease of waterfront or park property, longer than 5 years, be subject to a referendum of this nature. This referendum would permit a 20-year agreement with the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, as operator of the city’s sailing center, and provide them the stability to make large capital investments, minimum of $800,000, on the property.

If you have any further questions on this referendum please reach out to

Category: Advocacy, Featured