Dear Editor,

The November election ballot will offer 14 proposed City Charter Amendments. Although most proposed amendments are housekeeping changes to update or align with state requirements, there are a few that need careful consideration.

Proposition 1 proposes to reduce the number of council members to 6, plus the mayor. 

Currently we have 8 members plus a mayor and we may contact any of the 9 representatives at any time to voice our concerns. 

What are the benefits to reducing the council? Those council members who advocate for less representation say it would increase efficiency. We disagree. Two less people as our voice may decrease the length of meetings; however, we have near perfect attendance at council meetings and workshops and we never mind a few extra minutes to hear two more members who speak on our behalf or offer an opposing view. 

Should Prop 1 pass, quorum would be reduced to only 4 members of which an issue would be passed or failed with as few as 4 votes.  It was stated “we are the only city with 9 members elected at large.”

 Our rebuttal would be we are most likely one of the few Texas cities our size that has experienced 30% growth over the last ten years.  With a population increase, do you want less representation for more citizens?  Our 9 member council has served us well and we see no benefit to less representation.  We will vote AGAINST Prop 1.

Proposition 2 proposes to increase the council members’ terms from 2 years to 3 years. The Texas Constitution requires councils with 3 year terms be elected by majority vote (50% +1) and a 3-candidate race could require a runoff.  A vote against would keep the current 2 year terms which requires election by plurality (most votes win).  A term of two years is long enough for the citizens to decide for a member to remain and could avoid prolonging a contentious atmosphere among the council.  We will vote AGAINST Prop 2.

Proposition 3 proposes to impose term limits. At the local level of government, we currently have control by determining who serves, who goes and how long they serve.  If a council member serves the citizens with integrity, honesty and fiscal responsibility, the citizens may very well welcome their extended service. We will vote AGAINST Prop 3.

If you any questions, contact the city administration.  Please study the 14 proposed amendments and go vote! 

Mark & Keri Wallace,

Stephenville