The city charter includes language that allows for an additional council seat and the creation of residential districts if a large enough area is annexed into the city. The pending annexation of Castle Hills on Nov. 15 would trigger the changes.
“From a population standpoint, it makes sense, but there's no ... rule as to how many seats to have per population,” Mayor TJ Gilmore said. “Council felt that one and possibly two seats might make sense. We decided to go with one, and if we feel like we need another down the road, we can always ask.”
Lewisville allows council members to live anywhere within the city. The residential district system will mean those vying for a council seat must live in the district in which they are seeking to be elected. The mayor may still live anywhere in the city.
According to the charter, all residents in the city will still be allowed to vote in each respective council race. The mayor will still be elected as an at-large candidate as well.
Gilmore said the city chose not to propose single-member districts, in which residents can vote only for the council member in their respective district, because that could lead to unwanted competition.
“That creates conflict for limited dollars with your City Council. You start trying to bring a dollar home for your district versus somebody else,” Gilmore said. “Lewisville is not big enough for that kind of an argument.”
He said residential districts will still encourage cooperation among council members.
“The residential district says, ‘I live and understand my part of the city and its needs. But I also have to get votes from all of the city. So I need to have a better, more holistic understanding of what we can accomplish,’” Gilmore said. “That was the general consensus.”
According to the proposal, each of the six districts will be roughly equal in population with about 20,000 residents per district.
A public hearing seeking feedback on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. at the Nov. 15 council meeting at City Hall, 151 W. Church St., Lewisville. Comments are also being accepted online for the proposed residential council districts.