City voters to consider charter changes
May 11, 2013 | 1745 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Gilmer city voters go to the polls Saturday, May 11, they will not only be choosing a mayor, either incumbent R.D. “Buck” Cross or challenger businessman Steve Dean, but will also be deciding on 15 propositions, which would make various changes to the City Charter.

Following is a summary of the propositions.

(There are no contested races for council positions.)

Propositions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are grouped together, having to do with the makeup of the city council and timing of the annual city election. They will be voted on as one change.

Proposition 1 would change the makeup of the council from the present mayor and five councilmen, one elected at-large and four from districts, to a mayor and six council members, with two of them at-large and four from districts.

Proposition would change from allowing the mayor to vote only to break a tie to having the mayor vote on all matters coming to a vote before the council.

Proposition 3 would change the number required for a quorum from three to four council members.

Proposition 4 would require a favorable vote of four, rather than the present three, members to adopt the city budget.

Proposition 5 would allow the mayor and one at-large council candidate to be elected, along with Council Districts 2 and 3, every odd-numbered year. During even-numbered years, one at-large candidate and Districts 1 and 4 would be elected.

The election date would be on a uniform election date set by the State of Texas. (That currently is on a date in May set by the State.)

Proposition 6 would require the city to publish a summary of any newly adopted ordinance at least one time within five days after its adoption in the city’s newspaper of record (currently The Gilmer Mirror).

Proposition 7 would require the city manager to prepare a budget annual and be responsible for its administration after adoption, required than requiring the new budget on or before July 31 each year.

Proposition 8 would require that the city manager, upon temporary absence or disability, would appoint a qualified department head to temporary perform the city manager’s duties. Currently, the designation is “qualified administrative officer.”

It also provides that, if the city manager fails to make the temporary appointment, the council may appoint a “qualified person.”

Proposition 9 would have the city council approved the appoint of a fire chief elected at the annual meeting of the Gilmer Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Chief would be required to have all certificates required by the State of Texas to administer paid fire personnel. Two assistant chiefs would also be elected at the fire volunteers’ annual meeting.

Proposition 10 would require that the city council adopt the budget no later than Sept. 30 of the fiscal year that is ending. If the council fails to adopt a budget by this date, the budget proposed by the city manager shall go into effect.

Proposition 11 would require filing of a copy of the city budgegt for the fiscal year with the City Secretary, and the Upshur County Clerk, and post a copy of the budget on the city’s Internet site.

Proposition 12 would require the budget to establish the amount to be raised by property tax, but would not let it exceed the legal limit provided by the State Constitution. Words currently in the charter pertaining to Type A General Law City would be eliminated, since the city is now a Home Rule city.

Proposition 13 would require those seeking a city council post or the mayor’s post to file withe the city secretary an applicaiton as prepared by the Texas Secretary of State’s office “at the time set forth in the yearly election calendar prepared” by the Secretary of State’s office. Currently, it reads “not less than 45 days prior to the election.”

Proposition 14 would make minor changes the working of the Oath of Office of elected city officials.

Proposition 15 would change the date for appointment of a Charter Review Commission from a council meeting in January every five year to September, and reducing the number of members of the review commission from 15 to nine.

A copy of the sample ballot is available for review at Gilmer City Hall, located on the northwest corner of the square.

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