2016 City News Releases

Posted on: April 15, 2016

Early Voting Begins April 25

Sugar Land, TX - Early voting for Sugar Land’s City Council and Charter Amendment election begins April 25. The complete schedule is posted at www.sugarlandtx.gov/earlyvoting.

The mayor and council member at-large positions one and two are on the May 7 ballot; each position serves a two-year term. Voters will also be asked to consider eight amendments to the City Charter.

In order for citizens to ensure their system of local governance is meeting their needs, a process was established in the 1981 Charter for periodic reviews and amendments. Every five years the Charter requires City Council to establish a Charter Review Commission to study the state and condition of local governance and recommend any needed changes.

In November 2013, a five-member citizen Charter Review Commission with municipal, legal and background knowledge and expertise that recognized and understood the complexities of the legal basis of the government structure was appointed; these individuals, without a political forum or platform, brought forth neutral perspectives that promote and support the goal of effective local government.

The commission was charged with the responsibility of reviewing the operations of city government to ensure that it continues to provide reliable guidance on the relationship between the structure and performance of the city government, and that the structure will achieve the goals of efficiency, effectiveness, and equity.

“The charter review commission is a vital part of city government,” said City Secretary Glenda Gundermann. “The leadership and qualifications of the charter commission has a very important role in examining and reaffirming the charter provisions for optimal governance performance and principals, as well as political leadership and professional administration. The document serves as the City ‘constitution,’ permitting citizens to have a voice and participate in the governing process.”

The commission presented its report and recommended a set of amendments for City Council consideration on March 2014. Through a series of workshops, City Council evaluated the recommendations and determined a package of amendments to be placed before voters. With the cancellation of the 2014 and 2015 general elections as a result of unopposed city officer candidates, the decision was made to save election costs and delay placing the amendments on the ballot until May 2016.

The following information details the proposed Charter amendments and anticipated impacts.

  • PROPOSITION NO. 1 (Sec. 1.06 Severability): Shall Section 1.06 of the City charter be amended to clarify that the Charter remains whole even if another section or sentence is declared unconstitutional?
    Impact: Provides clarity to the section and makes the language more understandable.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 2 (Sec. 2.01 and 2.03 Election Term and Term Limits): Shall Sections 2.01 and 2.03 of the Charter be amended to increase the current two-year terms for the council members and mayor to three-year terms; change the term limitations from four consecutive terms in a nine-year period to three consecutive terms in a 10-year period; clarify that the term limitations apply to one person holding any single position; and be effective for the district positions as of the May 2017 election and for the mayor and at-large positions as of the May 2018 election?
    Impact: Provides for three-year terms for mayor and council members; changes term limits from four consecutive terms over nine years to three consecutive terms over 10 years; clarifies that term limits apply to a single position held by one person; defines three-year term effective with election May 2017 for district positions and May 2018 for mayor and at-large positions; provides for not holding an election every third year starting May 2019 and thereafter; and results in election costs savings.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 3 (Sec. 2.06 Vacancies): Shall Section 2.06 of the Charter be amended to provide that vacancies for terms greater than 12 months be filled by election, in accordance with the 2011 amendment to the Texas Constitution?
    Impact: Provides for vacancies to be filled in compliance with state law.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 4 (Sec. 2.07 Powers and Duties of the Council): Shall 2.07 be amended to clarify that the City Council’s powers include exclusive jurisdiction over all public property of the City?
    Impact: Provides clarity that City Council’s powers include authority over all City public property.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 5 (Sec. 2.10 Interference with Administration): Shall the City Charter be amended to add a new section titled “Interference with Management” to provide that neither the City Council nor any of its individual members shall interfere with the daily operations or direct or give orders to any City Officer or employee who is subject to the direction and supervision of the City Manager except through the City Manager?
    Impact: Provides clarity that the City Manager has authority over the management and daily operations of the City.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 6 (Sec. 2.11 Definitions): Shall the City Charter be amended to add definitions for the words and phrases “city council”, “council”, “council member”, “member of the city council” and “member of the council” to ensure consistent application and interpretation throughout the charter?
    Impact: Clarifies that the governing body consists of the mayor and six council members; clarifies “city council” terminology to mean the mayor and six council members; and adds definitions to provide consistent terminology use throughout the Charter.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 7 (Sec. 3.04 Petition signatures): Shall section 3.04(a)(1) of the City Charter be amended to revise the required petition percentage for initiative and referendum from “a number equal or greater than 30 percent of those voting in the last City election” to “at least 15 percent of the registered voters of the City as of the initial petition date?”
    Impact: Provides clarity and changes percentage language for initiative and referendum petition to at least 15 percent of registered voters; changes “those voting in the last election” to “registered voters” to be consistent with state law eligibility to sign a petition.
  • PROPOSITION NO. 8 (Sec. 3.04 Petition signatures): Shall section 3.04 of the City Charter be amended to revise the required petition percentages to recall the mayor or an at-large council member from 25 percent to 15 percent of the registered voters of the City as of the initial petition date and to revise the required petition percentages to recall a single-member district council member from 20 percent to 15 percent of the registered voters residing in the district as of the initial petition date?
    Impact: Provides clarity and changes percentage language for recall petition to 15 percent for the mayor, at-large council members and single member districts for consistency in petition signature percentages.

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Other News in 2016 City News Releases

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Posted on: January 21, 2016