Sugar Land residents could see charter amendments on the ballot in the upcoming Nov. 5 election pending City Council approval.

Sugar Land City Council heard a presentation from the 2024 Charter Review Commission recommending the approval of five amendments to the city’s charter at a May 7 meeting.

What you need to know

Charter amendments must be approved by City Council to be placed on the November ballot; Sugar Land charter changes must be considered every five years, according to the city’s website.

Future meetings will need to be scheduled to determine what items, if any, will be approved by City Council to be placed on the ballot, Assistant City Attorney Shea Smith said.

A closer look

The 2024 charter commission recommended extending the municipal court judge’s term from two to four years as well as adding the provision that the judge must reside in the city of Sugar Land.

Other recommended charter changes include:
  • Shortening the maximum length of a franchise from 50 to 25 years
  • Adding language communicating there will be no election every third year
  • Amending the resign to run provision, which states that if a council member becomes a candidate for election for a public office, they automatically resign from their position; the amendment would make it apply to all positions other than their own council seat.
How we got here

On Dec. 19, Sugar Land City Council appointed the following seven community members to the 2023 Charter Review Commission:
  • Daniel Harris, chair
  • Bob Barbour
  • David James
  • Tara Mascarenhas
  • Lesley Nicholes
  • Neel Patel
An additional community member was appointed but did not make any commission meetings so they were not included on the report, Smith said.

The commission held six public meetings from Jan. 24-April 17 to discuss and develop recommended changes to the city’s charter, according to agenda documents.

What happens next?

Sugar Land City Council must determine what proposed charter changes, if any, they would like to add to the ballot by Aug. 19, which is the final day the city can order an election.

If charter amendments are added to the ballot, they will be decided upon by community members in the Nov. 5 election.