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Home > Government > Open Government > City Charter Amendment Election

City Charter Amendment Election

The City of Denton adopted a home rule charter in 1959 establishing the city council/manager form of government Denton uses today. The charter has been amended five times since adoption, most recently in 2009. The Denton City Council has called for a Charter Amendment election on November 7, 2017 that will propose five charter amendments to residents. The following information details the process, the proposed amendments, the charter language if approved, and the anticipated impact.

Charter Election

The City Council created a Charter Review Committee (CRC) by resolution on October 11, 2016. The resolution charged the committee to review 7 different areas of the charter and make recommendations to the City Council. The 21 members of the CRC, appointed by the City Council, convened in December 2016. During its subsequent six month review process, the group held a total of 18 meetings of both the full committee and subcommittees that were created. The Committee reported its findings and recommendations to the City Council on June 27, 2017. The City Council adopted the CRC’s recommendations after incorporating a revision to the ethics amendment. More information on the Committee and its work is available on the Charter Review Committee webpage.

Propositions
  • PROPOSITION A - COUNCILMEMBER RESIDENCY

    Explanation:

    This proposition seeks to clarify the residency qualifications to be a councilmember. The current Charter language states that a councilmember must have “resided” for at least one year prior to his or her election within both the city limits and the geographic district for which he or she is running for election. This proposition seeks to clarify the residency qualification and replace “resided” with “domiciled”, which is defined as the principal place of establishment to address concerns of multiple addresses or residences.

    Ballot Language:

    PROPOSITION A.

    SHALL SECTION 2.02 OF THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO CLARIFY THAT COUNCILMEMBER RESIDENCY QUALIFICATIONS APPLY TO THE COUNCILMEMBER’S DOMICILE (PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE), WHERE THE COUNCILMEMBER MUST HAVE RESIDED FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR PRIOR TO THE ELECTION?

    YES ______________ NO ______________

    Charter Changes:

    Article II, Section 2.02 (a) of the Charter shall be amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 2.02(a) - Qualifications.

    (a) Each member of the council, in addition to having the other qualifications prescribed by law:

    (1) Shall be registered to vote in the city;

    (2) Shall have resided domiciled for at least one year next preceding his or her election within the corporate limits of Denton and, if running within a single member geographic district, or at large place five (5) requiring residency a domicile in district one (1) or two (2), or at large place six (6) requiring residency a domicile in district three (3) or four (4), as set forth in Section 2.01, for at least one year preceding his or her election in the district in which elected; further, shall continuously reside be domiciled within the corporate limits of Denton and, if elected within a single member geographic district, or at large place five (5) requiring residency a domicile in district one (1) or two (2), or at large place six (6) requiring residency a domicile in district three (3) or four (4), in the district in which elected throughout his or her term of office.

    (3) Shall not hold any other public office of emolument;

    (4) Shall have and maintain the eligibility requirements for municipal officers set forth in Section 141.001 of the Texas Election Code, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes Annotated hereinafter referred to as "Election Code" as it may now read or hereafter be amended.

     

     

  • PROPOSITION B - RECALL PETITION

    Explanation:

    This proposition asks if the signature requirement for a recall petition should be increased from 25 percent to 35 percent of the total number of votes. The total number of votes are based on the last election for which that councilmember was a candidate. Signatures must be gathered from qualified voters eligible to vote for the councilmember whose removal is sought, either by geographical district or at large, as the case may be.

    Ballot Language:

    PROPOSITION B.

    SHALL SECTION 4.13 OF THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO INCREASE THE PERCENTAGE OF PETITIONERS REQUIRED TO TRIGGER A RECALL ELECTION FROM TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT (25%) TO THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT (35%)?

     

    YES ______________ NO ______________

     

    Charter Changes:

    Article IV, Section 4.13 (a) of the Charter shall be amended to read as follows:

     

    Sec. 4.13 - Filing and certification of petitions, recall election.

    (a) All papers comprising a recall petition shall be assembled and filed with the city secretary as one instrument. Within seven (7) days after a petition is filed, the city secretary shall determine whether each paper bears the names of five (5) electors who constitute a committee of the petitioners, and the required affidavit of the circulator thereof, and whether the petition is signed by qualified voters of the constituency of the councilmember whose removal is sought equal in number to at least twenty-five (25) thirty-five (35) percent of the number of the votes cast for that councilmember and all of his opponents in the last preceding general municipal election in which he was a candidate. As used herein "constituency" shall mean the qualified voters eligible to vote for the councilmember whose removal is sought, either by geographical district or at large, as the case may be.

  • PROPOSITION C - INTERNAL CITY AUDITOR

    Explanation:

    This proposition would clarify that the City of Denton shall have a permanent, full-time internal city auditor. The proposed revisions also clarify the responsibilities for the internal city auditor: to review policies and procedures, verify information, audit asset management, mitigate risk, and ensure resources are used economically and efficiently.

    Ballot Language:

    PROPOSITION C.

    SHALL SECTION 6.04 OF THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO CLARIFY THAT THE INTERNAL CITY AUDITOR SHALL BE A PERMANENT, FULL-TIME POSITION AND CLARIFY THE RESPONSIBILITIES?

    YES ______________ NO ______________

     

    Charter Changes:

    Article VI, Section 6.04 of the Charter shall be amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 6.04 - City Internal aAuditor.
    The city auditor shall be appointed by the council and shall serve at the pleasure of the council, and shall perform such auditing duties as may be assigned from time to time by the council, or by city manager at the direction of the council.

    The City Internal Auditor shall be appointed by the City Council, shall serve at the pleasure of the City Council, and shall perform such auditing duties herein described or as may be assigned by the Council. The position of the City Internal Auditor is to be held on a continuous, fulltime basis. On an interim basis, the City Council may engage external independent auditing resources to accomplish the Internal Audit function.

    The City Internal Auditor is responsible for providing (a) an independent appraisal of City operations to ensure policies and procedures are in place and complied with, inclusive of purchasing and contracting; (b) information that is accurate and reliable; (c) that assets are properly recorded and safeguarded; (d) that risks are identified and minimized; and (e) that resources are used economically and efficiently, and that the City’s objectives are being achieved.

    The City Internal Auditor is responsible for directing all internal audit functions for the City of Denton to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • PROPOSITION D - ETHICS

    Explanation:

    The current charter has two sections that relate to ethics, section 14.04 related to conflicts of interests and Section 14.05 related to nepotism. If this proposition is approved, both existing sections would be repealed and replaced with an ethics section that would require the City of Denton to adopt an ethics ordinance. At a minimum, the ethics ordinance would need to address certain components and standards, including adherence with standards set by Texas Local Government Code chapter 171 and prohibiting the use of public office for private gain. The City Council may adopt more stringent standards and any other provisions during consideration of an ethics ordinance.

    Ballot Language:

    PROPOSITION D.

    SHALL SECTIONS 14.04 AND 14.05 OF THE CITY CHARTER BE REPEALED AND REPLACED WITH A PROVISION REQUIRING THE ADOPTION OF AN ETHICS ORDINANCE BY THE CITY COUNCIL IN ACCORDANCE WITH TEXAS LAW AND ADHERES TO CERTAIN MINIMUM STANDARDS?

    YES ______________ NO ______________

     

    Charter Changes:

    Article XIV, Sections 14.04 and 14.05 of the Charter shall be repealed in their entirety and the following section to be appropriately numbered shall be inserted to read as follows:

    Ethics Ordinance Requirement.

    The City Council shall adopt an ethics ordinance. The ethics ordinance shall prohibit the use of public office for private gain and shall incorporate the conflict of interest standards that appear in chapter 171 of the Texas Local Government Code and all state law as presently exist or may be hereafter amended or adopted.

    The Council may adopt more stringent standards than those that appear in state law, but the ethics ordinance shall at a minimum include the following components:

     
    1. Definition of a prohibited improper economic interest and personal gain;
    2. Definition of recusal and improper participation when a potential conflict of interest is present;
    3. Avoidance of appearance of conflict of interest; and
    4. Administration and enforcement of ethics ordinance, including the power to subpoena witnesses and documents, coupled with strong and meaningful remedies for infraction.
  • PROPOSITION E - COUNCILMEMBER STIPEND

    Explanation:

    This proposition would provide a monthly stipend to each member of the City Council. A councilmember would receive $750 per month and the mayor would receive $1,000 per month. The City Council would be able to vote on a maximum increase of 3 percent to the stipend amount each year, unless otherwise approved by a two-thirds vote.

    Ballot Language:

    PROPOSITION E.

    SHALL A SECTION BE ADDED TO THE CITY CHARTER PROVIDING FOR COUNCILMEMBERS TO RECEIVE AN INITIAL MONTHLY STIPEND OF SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($750.00) AND THE MAYOR TO RECEIVE AN INITIAL MONTHLY STIPEND OF ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($1,000.00) DURING THEIR RESPECTIVE TERMS OF OFFICE AND PROVIDING FOR RESTRICTIONS ON SUBSEQUENT INCREASES TO THE STIPEND AMOUNT?

    YES ______________ NO ______________


    Charter Changes:

    The following section to be appropriately numbered shall be added to the Charter and read as follows:

    City Councilmember Stipend.

    Each member of the City Council shall receive compensation in the form of a monthly stipend as set forth in this section. The initial monthly stipend shall be Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750) for each member of City Council elected from a district or at large position, and One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) for the Mayor elected at large. These initial amounts shall become effective on ratification of this charter provision.

    City Council may, by a separate ordinance, approve an adjustment in the stipend no more frequently than once per fiscal year, but no increase in such compensation shall take effect until commencement of the terms of the Mayor and/or Council Members elected at the next regular election. Any increase in the amount of the stipend shall not exceed three percent of the then-current stipend unless approved by a two-thirds vote of the council. The stipend shall be reported in the annual city budget as a separate line item.

More Information

For information about voting, Denton County Elections can be reached by phone at (940) 349-3200 or by email at elections@dentoncounty.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the City Charter?

    The Texas Constitution allows municipalities over 5,000 in population to adopt a home rule charter. As a home rule municipality, Denton can adopt local ordinances regulating an extensive array of subjects, as long as those ordinances do not conflict with state or federal law. The City of Denton adopted a home rule charter in 1959. The charter is the framework for our local government much like the Constitution forms the basis of state and federal government.

     

  • Why change the City’s Charter?

    A municipality is allowed to submit proposed Charter amendments to its qualified voters for their approval at an election no more than once every two years. The last election to consider amendments to the City Charter was held on November 3, 2009. As a city grows and the policies and practices of years past may need to be changed to reflect modern times, the language of a city charter may need to be updated to allow those new policies and practices to be implemented.

    After receiving and considering the Charter Review Committee recommendations, the City Council determined that a Charter election should be called, with amendments to be put before the voters on November 7, 2017.

  • What did the Charter Review Committee look at?

    The City Council established a Charter Review Committee (CRC) by resolution on October 11, 2016 and charged the committee to evaluate seven potential changes to the charter:

    1. Should the composition of the Council change to six single-member council districts and one at-large mayoral district? (Sec. 2.01)
    2. Should the current three consecutive two-year term limitations be changed? (Sec. 2.01)
    3. Should the current one-year district residency eligibility requirement be amended? (Sec. 2.02)
    4. Should the percentage signature requirement for recall petitions be increased? (Sec. 4.13)
    5. Should the appointment, duties, and responsibilities of the city auditor be clarified? (Sec. 6.04)
    6. Should the current conflict of interest and nepotism provisions be replaced with alternative ethics provisions? (Secs. 14.04 and 14.05)
    7. Should a salary or stipend be established for council members?

    The CRC held eight meetings and formed three subcommittees (Stipend, Recall, and Ethics), which held a total of 10 subcommittee meetings. The CRC adopted a final report recommending proposed amendments for charges 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and presented these recommendations to the City Council on June 27, 2017. The City Council adopted the CRC’s recommendations with a minor revision to the ethics charge. The agendas, minutes, and meeting materials for the CRC information can be found on the Charter Review Committee page.

  • When and where can I vote?
    Early voting will take place October 23, 2017 through November 4, 2017. Election Day voting will take place November 7, 2017. Residents can vote at any Denton County polling location during early voting. On Election Day, residents must vote at the designated polling location for their precinct.

    Voting Information
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