Lakeway officials make headway toward November ballot propositions regarding term lengths, elections

Lakeway City Council discussed possible ballot propositions regarding the city charter for a November election. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Lakeway City Council discussed possible ballot propositions regarding the city charter for a November election. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Lakeway City Council discussed possible ballot propositions regarding the city charter for a November election. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Lakeway voters could decide on November ballot propositions ranging from the city's power to modify its boundaries to the length of terms of office for council members.

During a special meeting June 1, officials continued a discussion that started in May on proposed changes to the city charter.

Verbiage shifts in the charter brought about by the ballot propositions, if approved, would amend language on the city's annexation power to read "“The Council has the power to modify the boundaries of the City by ordinance as

provided for in state law/Texas Local Government Code."

Other possible ballot propositions could include a vote on three-year or two-year terms for City Council members, whether the city manager should be required to reside within Lakeway, whether to eliminate the volunteer office of the city treasurer and whether he mayor should appoint the chair of the city's Charter Review Committee.

"We're not finalizing language tonight," Mayor Sandy Cox said, adding council still has more time to prepare the ballot propositions ahead of the November election.

Lakeway City Attorney Cobby Caputo said the propositions he drafted can still be discussed in the coming weeks.

"You don't have to have all of these items on the ballot. Of course, it's the council's prerogative," Caputo said. "None of this is set in stone."

As it stands now, the propositions up for continued discussion by officials are lettered A through H.

One version of Proposition B would see voters decide on three-year terms at a maximum of no more than six years and require council members be elected by a majority vote. Also, the city's six council members would occupy positions numbered one through six, consecutively.

Other language within that proposition, which Caputo called "the complicated one," requires council to call a special election within 120 days of a vacancy occurring on City Council.

Proposition B for the three-year terms also requires a run-off election for the top two vote-getters in the event no candidate takes a majority of votes.

However, Proposition B could be changed to require a vote on two-year terms for council members, and language would need to state that no mayor shall serve more than three two-year terms.

"Let me be clear on this. You have to choose one or the other of these," Caputo said regarding three-year or two-year terms for council members.

During official discussion of the potential ballot propositions, council members decided they wanted to pursue a vote on two-year terms and add another proposition on whether to change the maximum time frame to no more than three successive terms per council member.

Though it was not technically on the evening's agenda, officials also discussed whether Lakeway elections should move from May to November elections.

Mayor Pro Tem Laurie Higginbotham said the data suggest the best time for the city to hold elections to be November based largely on voter turnout numbers.

"All the numbers, whether it's financial numbers or voter turnout, point to November," Higginbotham said. "My No. 1 reason is voter turnout is so dramatically different in November."

Despite Higginbotham's firm stance on November elections, the council was still split on the matter and will continue discussions in upcoming meetings.

Cox said the next City Council discussion on the ballot propositions would be at a July meeting.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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