May 1, 2021 Special Municipal Election
What is A Charter?
A municipal charter is the basic document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state’s constitution. The charter is, therefore, the most important legal document of any city. A city charter is adopted when it is approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the city. Voters approved the City of Robinson’s very first charter in May 1999. Robinson’s charter is a Home Rule Charter, meaning that the City of Robinson has the right to self-government and the power to regulate through local ordinances.
Why make amendments to the charter?
Often cities bring before their voters amendments to their charter to either provide for new regulations or change specific sections of the charter based on some of these factors – the growth of the community, new services provided by the City or to bring the City charter in line with new laws passed by the state legislature.
At a Special Called Council Meeting in May 2020, a brief overview of proposed Charter Amendments was brought before council. At the meeting, the decision was made to have each councilmember appoint one member to a seven-member Charter Review Commission. In June 2020, council appointed seven charter commission members, creating the Charter Review Commission. The Charter Review Commission’s responsibilities are to review the proposed changes and present those to Council for consideration. From there, council will determine the amendments to bring before the voters.
These proposed amendments will be the first time amendments have been proposed since the Charter was adopted in 1999.
Are brought about in two ways:
- The Governing Body on its own motion may submit one or more amendments to the electorate
- The Governing Body must submit a proposed charter amendment to the voters for their approval at an election if the submission is supported by a petition signed by a number of qualified voters equal to at least five percent of the number of qualified voters of the municipality, or 20,000, whichever is the smaller.
- A Charter Amendment Election must be precleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ)
- The Order of Election must be for a uniform election date
- A Charter Amendment Election must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality, including with it a substantial copy of the proposed amendment(s), an estimate of the anticipated fiscal impact to the municipality if approved, and must be published on the same day for each of the two successive weeks, with 1st publication occurring before the 14th day before the date of the election.
May Not Be:
- The charter may not be amended more often than every two years, per Texas Constitution
After Charter Elections
IF the charter amendments are approved:
- As soon as practicable after a municipality adopts a charter amendment, the mayor or chief executive officer of the municipality shall certify to the secretary of state an authenticated copy of the charter or amendment under the municipality’s seal showing the approval by the voters of the municipality.
- The Secretary of State shall file and record the certification in his office in a book kept for that purpose.
IF the charter amendments are NOT approved:
- The current Home-Rule Charter will stay in place.
Charter Election Propositions
You can find all 17 charter election propositions and their impacts, in English and Spanish, here.