The Stephenville City Council approved 14 proposed charter amendments during a called meeting Tuesday. The amendments to the city's charter includes reducing the number of council members from eight to six and increasing the term in office from two to three years.
The amendments will be placed on the November ballot.
Amendments four through 14 were approved in a unanimous vote with one “no” on amendments 1, 2 and 3 from councilman Alan Nix.
“Someone once told me, ‘It’s really not up to the council, it needs to be up to the voters,’” said councilman Rhett Harrison. “I think every one of these are worthy to be on the ballot. Let’s let the voters decide.”
All governing and lawmaking powers of the city of Stephenville shall be vested in the council which shall consist of six councilmen and a mayor.
A quorum at any council meeting will be established by the presence of at least four members.
Increase the term of office from two to three years. The mayor shall be elected from the city at large for a term of three years. Council members shall be elected for a term of three years, three council members being elected every third year.
The mayor and council members will not be allowed to seek re-election to the same office after they have been elected to two consecutive terms in office until they have taken a one-year hiatus.
An immediate vacancy shall be declared should any council member or the mayor move from the city or be convicted of a crime of a grade above a misdemeanor. Vacancies in the office of council member arising from any cause shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term at an election to be held on the first uniform election date not earlier than 30 days after the vacancy occurs. A special election shall be called in the manner provided for city general elections to elect successors to fill such unexpired terms.
Amend sections which reference Board of Equalization.
Amend articles to adhere to state law relating to qualifications, municipal elections, canvassing elections, public sale and oath of office.
Remove invalid or outdated language related to council members, terms of office, power of the city council and powers and duties.
Removal of contingent appropriation section.
Reflect the correct form of government; powers and duties; preparation, submission, content of budget; disbursement of funds; and city manager information.
A budget shall be submitted to the council at least 45 days prior to the beginning of each budget year. Also accounting supervision and control for the director of finance.
Remove the director of finance’s power to approve contracts.
All appropriations, other than those designated for capital expenditures, shall lapse at the end of the budget year to the extent that they shall not have been expended or lawfully encumbered.
Personal property of the city shall be offered for sale in open competition under such rules and regulations as the city council may prescribe. Real property of the city shall be sold in accordance with the Texas Local Government Code. The city council will have the power to reject any and all bids and advertise again.
Any elected city official shall be subject to recall and removal from office by the qualified voters of Stephenville on grounds of incompetency, misconduct or malfeasance in office. More information about petitions for recall.
Nix didn’t think reducing the size of the council was a good idea since the city has grown.
“The reason Stephenville has eight council members is because it use to have four wards with two assigned to each,” said Mayor Kenny Weldon. “They made a good decision based on where they were back then.”
Nix said he still saw no benefit other than cutting funds.
“We need to be ready to explain to the citizens why and frankly, I see no benefit other than the salary, which isn’t significant enough,” Nix said.
Councilman Brady Pendleton added, “We struggle to get people to fill our boards and commissions. I think you’re going to see a lot more participation in this body by reducing that number.”