Cedar Park City Council to discuss possible charter amendments

Cedar Park City Council will meet Dec. 17. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Cedar Park City Council will meet Dec. 17. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Cedar Park voters may see several city charter amendments on the ballot in 2021.

Cedar Park City Council discussed several changes in the city charter at its Dec. 3 meeting. Proposed changes will be discussed at the council’s next meeting Dec. 17, but changes would require voter approval.

Proposed amendments consider City Council term lengths, executive session discussion confidentiality, vacancy appointments and automatic resignation upon filing candidacy for another elected office.

If voter-approved, the term length would be extended to three-year terms from the current two-year term length, according to the proposed language. In the first election following the amended charter, two council members would be elected to a two-year term, and two other council members would be elected to a three-year term. Places would be determined by drawing lots. Then, future elections would include only three-year terms.

According to the current city charter, Places 1, 3 and 5 will be up for election in 2021. Places 2, 4 and 6 and the mayoral seat will be elected in 2022.

On Dec. 3, council members agreed that three-year terms would be beneficial, and they did not widely favor term limits. The neighboring cities of Leander, Round Rock and Georgetown have three-year terms on their city councils. Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale said he did not like that a majority of the council seats is up for election at once.

Council Member Mel Kirkland said Dec. 3 that three-year terms give council members time to relax between elections and provide more time to work on council. He said term limits should be determined by residents when they vote. Council Member Heather Jefts said it is the responsibility and right of the voters to determine how long a council member serves.

Council also discussed amending when a council member is required to resign to run for another elected office. Per the proposed amendments, automatic resignation would occur if a council member files or becomes a candidate for any public office aside from the council.

Another amendment could also change how vacant positions are filled. If 12 or less months remain in the term, a majority vote by the council would appoint a person within 30 days. If more than 12 months remain, a special election would be called to fill the vacancy on the first uniform election date after the vacancy occurs if sufficient time and notice is given.

Proposed changes to attorney-client privilege during executive session and City Council Rules of Procedure changes will also be discussed at the council meeting.

All proposed changes can be read on the Dec. 17 City Council agenda, and the current city charter can be read here. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Meetings are streamed online.
By Taylor Girtman

Reporter, Cedar Park and Leander

Taylor Girtman became the reporter for the Cedar Park-Leander edition in February 2020. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida.