Delaware voters this November will decide if any of four revisions should be made to the city charter.

Delaware voters this November will decide if any of four revisions should be made to the city charter.

Four proposed amendments to the Delaware city charter deal with dates and language, and city officials recently deemed them necessary.

On July 14, Delaware City Council unanimously voted to present the proposals to city voters on Nov. 4. They include measures which would set timelines for electing council members, as well as new designations for city police and fire divisions and employees.

"The discussions were lively," said Mary Jane Santos, who headed a charter review commission that met numerous times since last March and developed recommendations for council consideration. "I think we came up with some reasonable revisions."

The first proposed amendment would dictate that three at-large city council members be elected in the 2009 general election, and one council member from each of the four city wards be elected in the 2011 general election. After that, all council members would be elected for four-year terms commencing on the second Monday in November following their election.

Those terms would end on the second Monday in November following the general election in the fourth year following the council members' election.

A second proposal calls for amending charter guidelines for the appointment of a department of public safety. It would change the designation of police and fire "forces" in the city, to police and fire "departments."

"We don't call our police and fire divisions forces," Dan Bennington, Delaware city attorney said. "We call them departments."

Similarly, the remaining two proposals would change language in the charter related to police and fire employees. Currently, the charter refers to employees in the respective departments as patrolmen and firemen.

Voters will be asked to revise that language to designate the employees as police officers and firefighters.

If approved, the amendments would represent the first changes to the charter in eight years. By law, the charter only can be amended through citizen votes after recommendation by a charter review commission, to city council direction, or by a citizen-led initiative.

"In all cases, they're voted on by the people," said Lee Yoakum, Delaware's community-affairs coordinator.

In addition to the recommended amendments, the charter commission considerations included making changes to the process for selecting assistant police and fire chiefs, as well specifying that city council must pass a balanced budget. Those changes and others, Bennington said, were deemed unnecessary.

"In the end, the commission felt the charter, for the most part, was fine," he said.