A closer look at the proposed city charter amendments
By Tanya Smith, City Secretary
If you plan to vote in the November election, you probably have a pretty good idea about how you are voting to fill national, state and local offices, but you may not have thoroughly examined the proposed changes to College Station’s City Charter.
In April, the city council asked the city attorney and city secretary to review the charter and propose changes. After discussion and debate, the council unanimously voted to add five propositions to the November ballot.
If you wait until you vote, you may find the ballot language a bit confusing, so it’s important to know what you are voting for – or against – before you head to your voting place.
Let’s take a closer look at each proposition and what it means to vote for or against it.
Proposition No. 1: Expansion of Council Terms
Shall Article III (The City Council), Section 17 (Number, Selection, Term) of the College Station City Charter be amended to provide for the regular election of the Mayor and City Council Members to be held in even-numbered years, for four (4) year term lengths for the Mayor and Council Members, and that the Mayor and Council Members be eligible to serve consecutive regular terms totaling no more than eight (8) years?
If you vote FOR the amendment, it means you want the terms of offices for the mayor and city council members to change from three to four-year terms. The term limit would also expand from six to eight years.
Voting for this proposition also allows city elections to remain in November, but elections would only be conducted in even-numbered years. If this proposition carries, the next general election for the council and mayor would still take place in November 2019 to keep the terms staggered.
If you vote AGAINST the amendment, it means you want the mayor and council members to continue serving three-year terms with term limits of six consecutive years. You also want elections every November.
Proposition No. 2: City Attorney’s Residency
Shall Article III (The City Council), Section 29 (City Attorney) of the College Station City Charter be amended to permit the City Attorney to reside either within the City or within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City?
If you vote FOR the amendment, you want to allow the city attorney to live within the city limits or its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), which extends five miles past the city limits. If you vote AGAINST the amendment, you want to require the city attorney to live only within the city limits.
Proposition No. 3: Mandatory City Internal Auditor
Shall Article III (The City Council), Section 30 (City Internal Auditor) of the College Station City Charter be amended to make the appointment of the City Internal Auditor mandatory and to remove the reference to contracting for the duties of City Internal Auditor?
If you vote FOR the amendment, you want the appointment of an internal city auditor to be mandatory. The city has had an internal auditor for several years.
If you vote AGAINST the amendment, you want the city council to have the authority to either appoint an internal auditor, hire an outside firm to fulfill those duties, or leave the position vacant.
Proposition No. 4: City Manager’s Residency
Shall Article IV (The City Manager), Section 40 (Qualifications) of the College Station City Charter be amended to permit the City Manager to reside either within the City or within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City?
If you vote FOR the amendment, you want to allow the city manager to live within the city limits or its ETJ, which extends five miles past the city limits.
If you vote AGAINST the amendment, you want to require the city manager to live only within the city limits.
Proposition No. 5: Competitive Purchasing Notices
Shall Article VII (Finance Administration), Section 68 (Contracts for Improvements) of the College Station City Charter be amended to allow the City to determine by ordinance the methods to be used to satisfy notice requirements for competitive purchasing?
If you vote FOR the amendment, then you want language permitting the city to specify the method of notice for competitive bids and competitive proposals to be set by ordinance to the extent allowed by state law. This change would allow – but not require – the council to adopt an ordinance providing for alternative methods of publicizing notice of bids and proposals.
If you vote AGAINST the amendment, then you want notice of the time and place that competitive bids are publicly opened to be published at least weekly for two consecutive weeks in the newspaper with no alternative method of public notice per state law.
Don’t Miss the Bottom of the Ballot!
When you vote, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the ballot to participate in your local elections. Since municipal elections are non-partisan, a straight-party vote will not include these critical items. You must vote for these issues separately.
Election Day is Nov. 6. Early voting starts Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 2.
About the Blogger
A certified Texas municipal clerk, Tanya Smith is in her second year as College Station’s city secretary after serving 10 years as deputy city secretary. She was city secretary in Madisonville from 1998-2008.
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