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Palmview to hold first-ever charter amendment election

Palmview residents will vote this November for the first time on whether to amend its charter in a four-proposition election that could dissolve a city council seat.

The city describes those possible amendments as housekeeping and efficiency measures.

The most impactful of the proposed amendments, Proposition A, would eliminate a council member seat and give the city’s mayor a vote on all matters.

Currently, the city’s mayor can only vote to break a tie on the council.

“We feel that these four propositions are not disruptive to the council or to the city,” attorney Eden Ramirez told the council before it called the election in August. “In fact, I think they more properly, accurately, reflect our practices in the city. And it would also create for a new dynamic on our council to have a more active mayor here in the city. So when our individuals in our community vote for a mayor, they know that their mayor will also have a vote on the city council.”

Ramirez told the council that the mayor’s usual inability to vote on most items likely isn’t common knowledge in the community.

“I think there’s an expectation and perhaps a misunderstanding by the community that the mayor holds a vote on our council, and the mayor does not hold a vote on the council,” he said.

Dissolving a council place would also save the city money without significantly impacting council dynamics, Ramirez said.

“It would also be saving money in the district in the long run — it’s one less election and one less council person we would have to work with, and it would not dilute the voting power of the elected electorate based on the people who are voting,” he said. “There’s still gonna be five people voting on the council.”

If the proposition passes, Place 5 would be dissolved at the end of Joel Garcia’s current term in May of 2024.

Garcia, who says he supports the proposition, described timing as ideal. He’s not running for reelection and is making a bid for a justice of the peace post instead.

The other three propositions are more mundane.

Proposition C would stipulate that the court consist of a presiding judge and two associate judges, one of whom would be required to be an attorney licensed to practice by the State Bar of Texas.

The city’s current charter establishes a Palmview Municipal Court.

Ramirez says the city already uses a presiding judge and two alternates, although the bar requirement would be new.

“That’s being done to ensure that our police department has an individual that can proceed with specific technical warrants that are sometimes needed that require to be conducted by a licensed attorney,” he said.

Proposition B, meanwhile, would allow the city council to negotiate an employment contract with its city manager, which it already does according to Ramirez, although the proposition would formally give council that authority in the charter.

“It’s important to note that it’s also in line with industry practice, and that it’s very common for cities to enter into contracts with their city managers for purposes of continuity and job security to ensure that we can recruit talent,” he said.

Finally, Proposition D would extend the deadline for the adoption of the city’s annual budget by 14 days, which Ramirez says would align the deadline with state requirements.

None of the propositions would include a fiscal impact, he said.

Election Day is Nov. 7 and early voting starts at the Palmview Parks and Recreation Gym on Oct. 23.

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