The Killeen City Council reached consensus Tuesday to place 30 propositions on the May 11 ballot to amend the city charter.
The propositions total about 75 individual changes to the document, which is considered the city’s constitution.
One of the propositions calls for an overhaul of Section 113, the provision that stipulates the process for recall petitions.
As a result of legal inconsistencies in the section, the city was limited in its ability to regulate the November 2011 recall that removed five of the city’s seven council members.
In 2011, the city accepted signatures from residents citywide on recall petitions for district council members.
Proposition 26 requires that petitions to recall a district council member must be signed by registered voters in that council member’s district in a number greater than 50 percent of the total number of voters in the last election in which that district seat was filled.
Although the change was not unanimous, the majority of the council supported restricting petition signatures to district voters.
“If you live in your district and you vote that person in, you should be the person to vote that person out,” Councilman Jose Segarra said.
Despite the multitude of changes, the council decided by consensus that extending council term lengths and returning to an all-citywide elected council will not be among the issues decided by voters in May.
The final consensus was no surprise to Mayor Dan Corbin, who does not have a vote on the council.
Corbin had championed the two issues throughout the four-month charter review.
Placing a proposition on the ballot for an all-citywide elected council was unanimously opposed by the other council members.
“We vote and we move on,” Corbin said.
Before the council voted on the individual issues, District 3 Councilman Terry Clark made a proposal to stop the May charter election and form a citizen charter commission to review the changes before the election is held.
Clark’s opinion was that residents will not have enough time to study the proposed changes before the election.
“We are really asking a lot of the electorate,” Clark said. “If we stop trying to race the clock, we could now turn the work we’ve done over to a committee of citizens to review.”
Clark also said it would be best to pair the charter election with a mayoral election, when voter turnout is historically higher.
The next mayoral election will be held in May 2014.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower and Councilman Jonathan Okray supported Clark’s proposal; however, it did not have the majority of the council it needed to stop the election.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Blackstone supported holding the charter election in May. “I think we have given the citizens ample opportunity to study the charter, and most of the changes we’ve made are not substantial,” Blackstone said. “I don’t see that we’re doing anybody any favors by postponing it for another year.”
In order to form 30 propositions from a list of 75 amendments, city staff grouped several of the nonsubstantial changes into single propositions.
City staff grouped 14 deletions or amendments of charter language that is either obsolete, redundant or outdated in order to form Proposition 3. Proposition 4 is composed of 18 changes where state law supersedes the charter and makes a provision unnecessary.
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for voters,” City Attorney Kathy Davis said. “If we can find a way to make it clearer for voters, we are going to do that.”
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552