Home Rule Questions and Answers
Below are some questions that have been asked during Home Rule Charter Town Hall Meetings.
No specific section in proposed MPR Charter regarding taxes except- Section 7.01 (a) & (b) referendum process does not allow repeal of any ordinance regarding the levying of taxes.Home Rule is about local control, not a chance to increase revenue by raising taxes. If you research other Home Rule Cities, you will see that this is not a warranted view. Texas Legislature also preempted (constitutionally) Home Rule and General Law cities to put a 3.5% property tax cap (with many stipulations and caveats) Home rule generally does not result in higher property taxes, but even when municipal property taxes go up, the effect usually is not dramatic because the City portion of the property tax bill is small compared to other taxing bodies, especially school districts.
The City of Fulshear Section 3.07 and City of Rosenburg both have this same prohibition. MPR proposed 3.06 (c) & (d) City Council (legislative body) can not interfere in employee management. Action must go through City Manager. Terrell Blodgett research found this prohibition to be typical of most Charters. It is an essential charter provision to under gird a sound council-manager relationship. Sets up a “chain of command”. No distinction between a council member and the council (legislative body). Except for information inquiries, a council member is to express concern with City Manager. If not satisfied with response, set up a conference with City Manager…not making contact with the employee…going behind the City Manager’s back. If the council member thinks the employee is a detriment to the City, then council needs to take the legal approach…with investigations.
Currently there are 10 cities in Central Texas that have the same prohibition in their Home Rule Charter
- By charging a filing fee, the City may be denying someone the right to Run for office due to lack of funds.
MPR proposed 6.03- Filing Fee- non-refundable filing fee established by ordinance adopted by City Council
Proposed 6.03 Filing Fee also states that the city ordinance must prescribe an alternative procedure to payment of the fee. This is a requirement by Texas law, Section 143.005
The proposed Section 3.03 City Council Number, Selection and Term & Section 3.07 Powers and Duties of the Mayor. The Charter will increase the council by one to 6 members and gives the Mayor the vote. Instead of a 5 member council (3= majority vote makes decisions for 5,000 residents), the Charter increases majority vote to 4 members. In addition, adding Article VII, Initiative, Referendum and Recall to the Charter, puts more power in the hands of the residents to decide what they do and do not like about how the city is run. Initiative allows voters to vote on an ordinance of their choice; referendum allows voters to repeal ordinances they feel are not good for the city; and Recall gives the voters the right to repeal a city council member or mayor. For balance, the Charter does not allow for recall within 6 months of being elected or more than one recall per election term.
Final thought on distrust. Do you trust your elected officials, and how willing are you to hold them responsible for the decisions that affect your lives?"
- We currently are a council-manager form of government. Why go to all of this effort and have the same things as we have now?
The main advantages to home rule for most communities are:
• More local control and government accountability, noting that voters typically have more influence over local elected officials than they do over state lawmakers.
• More stability in government finances through diversification. Local governments have more options for generating revenue and therefore are less dependent on property taxes.
• Greater ability to spread the tax burden more broadly, getting more revenue from non-residents through tools like sales and gasoline tax Borrowing Authority- Section 5.07
If adopted, after two years a new Charter Commission made up of citizens can be formed to review the charter and recommend any changes which the committee decides to be made. After changes are made, in the third year the citizens will vote on the changes recommended by the committee. If the changes pass then the Charter will be updated.
- Is it legal to run for an office created by Home Rule Charter in the same election as Home Rule Charter is up for adoption
Texas Election Code states
Sec. 9.006. CONCURRENT ELECTIONS. This chapter does not prevent the voters at an election to adopt a charter or an amendment to a charter from electing at the same election persons to hold office under the charter or amendment.
Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.