Council directed City Attorney Steve Sheets to draft an amendment to a July 9 ordinance that would have postponed the election until May 2021.
"There are legal arguments, and then there’s doing what is right for all of Round Rock," Mayor Craig Morgan said. "Let me be very clear, there will be other battles to fight when it comes to local control, but this is not the one."
Council’s vote followed an hour and 15 minutes of public comment. Twenty-eight people signed up to speak via a videoconferencing platform or in person. All but two spoke in opposition to council’s July 9 decision to postpone the election to May 2021.
“It’s we the people who decides who sits in those seats,” Round Rock resident Jon Curtis said to council. “Not you.”
In April, council voted to delay the May 2 local election to Nov. 3 as permitted by Gov. Greg Abbott's March 18 proclamation concerning the spread of the coronavirus. Then, in July, council voted to again postpone the election—this time, to May 2021.
“This was never about extending our terms," Morgan said. "Our terms got extended because of the election administrators and the governor.”
Lillian Butler, a 56-year-old Round Rock resident, said this was her first time to participate in public comment. A seven-year resident of the city, Butler said she recognized moving an election is challenging in the midst of a global pandemic; however, she felt City Council had not done due diligence in postponing the election.
“Mr. Mayor, Round Rock City Council, I’m extremely disappointed in you,” Butler said. “I’m disappointed that you took the easy way out. [...] I think you were just lazy.”
Round Rock resident Chuck Sanders during public comment voiced concerns about council’s prior postponement to May 2021.
“As a member of this community who bought my first home here and is raising my children here, I'm embarrassed,” Sanders said.
The city's ballot will include three council seats and seven charter amendments. Morgan is running unopposed. Council Member Tammy Young is not seeking re-election for Place 1, leaving the seat a contest between Michelle Ly and Tina Steiner. Incumbent Will Peckham is running against Frank Ortega for the Place 4 seat.
On Aug 6, Morgan thanked the individuals who spoke at the meeting.
"That is what it’s about," Morgan said, referencing the show of public expression. "Although we may not be in total agreement, we have to move forward with what is best for all of Round Rock."
Council is expected to vote Aug. 13 on a possible Nov. 3 date for the 2020 election.