A special election to fill the seat recently—and suddenly—vacated by former Kyle City Council Member Shane Arabie will be held May 4, according to an ordinance approved on first reading by Kyle City Council on Feb. 19.
Arabie, a former planning and zoning commissioner who was elected to council in 2014, unexpectedly announced his resignation from the Place 3 at large seat just after the start of the Feb. 5 council meeting, citing professional opportunities.
Holding the special election will be both logistically and financially challenging, Mayor Kyle Mitchell said at the council meeting.
According to state law, special elections to fill vacancies must be called within 120 days, and according to the Kyle City Charter, an election must take place on a uniform election day. With those provisions—and since the election will not officially be called until a second reading of the ordinance is held Feb. 23—the timing is just barely going to work.
“The bottom line is that the council is in kind of a precious place with regards to this special election,” Mitchell said. “It is a tight window.”
The special election may also challenge the city’s budget. Arabie’s term was set to expire in November, so the person who wins the special election will have to run again six months later, or in even less time if the special election goes into a runoff. The November election could also trigger a runoff.
“There’s a possibility, a somewhat probability, that we could hold four citywide elections—three of those would be completely funded by the city of Kyle—for one seat to be filled,” Mitchell said.
The yearly election budget is roughly $17,000-$18,000, according to Mitchell, which is about what it will cost to hold just the special election May 4. But there may be no way around it.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day our hands, it appears, are tied,” Mitchell said.
According to city staff speaking at the council meeting, candidate filing will begin the day after the second reading of the ordinance—Feb. 24—and end March 4.