City Council members are considering calling a city charter amendment election to bring the choice to change City Council term limits to McKinney voters at a future election, according to a presentation at a Jan. 16 meeting.

The details

City Council members received a presentation from City Attorney Mark Houser at the meeting on the standing of the city’s charter guidelines on term lengths and term limits.

The city has held five charter elections since 2001, including two elections that increased term lengths, Houser said. The most recent charter amendment election was in 2019 and amended petition signature requirements as well as clarifications to the recall process, he said.

Diving deeper

Council members serve four-year terms with a limit of two consecutive terms in one position, Houser said.

They are able to serve for up to 16 consecutive years if they are elected and serve two full terms as a council member followed by two full terms as mayor, or vice versa, Houser said.

Council members who serve in a district or at-large seat for two full consecutive terms also have a one-year cooling-off period prior to being able to run for a different position other than mayor.

He also noted cities across Texas have varying standards for council member term lengths and limits, including a number of cities that have no term limits.

Quote of note

“I appreciate the fact that we still have a democratic process for people to decide whether they want to keep [the] same leadership,” council member Gerè Feltus said at the meeting. “Having term extensions does not negate the voice of the voters.”

Looking ahead

While no action was taken at the Jan. 16 meeting, council members have nearly one month to consider calling a charter amendment election to be held in the upcoming election. The deadline to add it to the May election ballot is Feb. 17, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

The charter amendment election would cost the city $90,000 to be held during the May or November election season, Houser said. It could also be combined with the proposed municipal bond election in May, if council chooses to put it on the ballot, at the same cost, according to the presentation. One election each year is accounted for when creating the city’s annual budget, Houser said.

If the election is called, Houser also recommended the ballot item include a provision to update the city charter for any legislative changes issued in recent years.