Kyle voters might have the opportunity to weigh in on whether city health insurance should be offered to the mayor and members of council on the same terms as full-time city employees in the November election.

After hours of deliberation, Kyle City Council voted 4-3 on July 2 for the city manager to bring forward an agenda item that would place a nonbinding referendum at a future meeting.

Mayor Travis Mitchell, and council members Bear Heiser and Lauralee Harris dissented.

What it means

The city's charter authorizes City Council to call elections on nonbinding ballot propositions when council wishes to obtain an "informal indication of the position of the city's voters on an issue." When a council member brings up an item, they can request the city manager prepare all the necessary documents for that item and bring it back to council for action.

A quick note

The ordinance being brought back to council by the city manager will need to be approved in a 6-0 vote to garner a spot on the November ballot, according to the city charter. However, even if the item is placed on the November ballot, council does not need to accept the results of the vote, because it is a nonbinding proposition.

How we got here

On first reading March 19, the dais voted 4-3 to receive access to health insurance on the same terms as full-time city employees in March, which was approved on second and final reading on April 2.

Council member Miguel Zuniga said he was prompted to bring the item to the July 2 agenda following discussion from community members.

"By putting it on the ballot we're really going to see if that's what the community wants to support," Zuniga told Community Impact. "If we get that information on a ballot, then it can be used to adjust and modify our budgets moving forward, and it can be used by the compensation committees moving forward so that when things like this that are a large increase in our budget [come up, they] can be better understood," he said.

Prior to and since the item's passage, Kyle residents have spoken out against the dais receiving city-funded health insurance. Some residents have starting a petition for repealing the item. The group—called Kyle Accountability Alliance—filed a petition to repeal the city-funded health insurance in April and has received about 500 signatures to date.

One more thing

The rules of the charter also state the people of Kyle "have the power to require reconsideration by the council of any adopted ordinance regarding any issue that would be a proper subject for an initiative, and if the council fails to repeal an ordinance so reconsidered, to approve or reject the ordinance at an election" but notes such power shall not extend to the budget, among other things.

"From my perspective, we've been transparent and open and truthful about why this came up, why we voted yes for it and why we believe we are not in violation of the charter," Heiser told Community Impact.

What happens next?

City Manager Bryan Langley said the item will be brought forward again at a future meeting.