LOCAL ELECTIONS

For your consideration: Ballot measures up for a vote May 5

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Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect that Cedar Park's Proposition A impacts only the economic development incentive programs funded by the Type A Economic Development Sales Tax Fund, which include projects and incentives designed to bring large employers to the city. The Type B fund, which directs a portion of sales tax receipts to parks, playgrounds and other community-oriented programs would not be impacted by the ballot measure. 

In addition to races for mayor and city council seats, Cedar Park and Leander voters will decide on a host of ballot measures in the May 5 election. Most involve administrative changes to the language of each city’s respective charters, but Cedar Park is also asking voters to approve redirecting a portion of its sales tax revenues away from from economic development initiatives. 

Cedar Park’s Proposition A would redirect an eighth of a cent of sales tax revenue away from the Type A Economic Development Sales Tax Fund, which includes funding for economic development programs that bring large employers to the area, such as the H-E-B Center, Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, and the recent employer incentives for Dana Corporation and Voltabox. If approved by voters, the city would use the redirected funds on a number of stormwater drainage and road improvement projects. The Hill Country News will explore this ballot proposition further next week. 

Cedar Park voters will address a total of 22 ballot propositions, while Leander voters will decide on eight. 

Cedar Park Ballot Measures

Cedar Park’s ballot measures B through V are related to city charter revisions. 

Proposition B asks voters to amend Section 3.06 of the city charter to establish a specific procedure for filling city council vacancies. If approved, the amendment would require the council to establish a procedure with a “freeze” provision to void any procedural change that was approved within 90 days before a vacancy occurred.

Proposition C would amend Section 3.06 of the city charter to prohibit anyone who is appointed to a vacant city council seat from running in the next general or special election. 

Proposition D would clarify the city’s prohibition against city council interfering with the city’s administration in the appointment or removal of city staff, with the exception of the city manager or city attorney. 

Proposition E would prohibit city council members from disclosing any information that is deemed protected by the city’s attorney-client privilege without a two-thirds vote by the council. 

Proposition F would amend the city charter to remove a requirement that certain city employees be covered by a bond if they receive or pay out city funds. The city indicates this risk is currently covered by existing insurance policies and this ballot measure would eliminate duplication of coverage.

Proposition G amends Section 4.04 of the city charter to clarify that the city secretary is to be directed by the city manager and not the city council.

Proposition H would amend the city charter where currently, the charter only provides for a police department. Approval would allow for other departments, including the fire department, to be officially included in the city charter.

Proposition I amends the residency requirement for candidates for city office to be in compliance with state law. Currently, the city charter requires 12 months of continuous residency before a candidate’s filing deadline, which would be modified to 12 months preceding the date of the election to match the state requirement.

Proposition J would amend the city charter to allow city employees to run for office. The current city charter prohibits city employees from running for office, but that provision is in conflict with a state law that says that the city may not prohibit employees from running for office.

Proposition K would require any serving member of the city council to immediately resign upon filing to run for any office other than city council. Currently, city council members have until the 45th day prior to the election to resign their seat. 

Proposition L would delete a requirement that the city secretary disqualify signatures on initiative or referendum petitions. This amendment would only require the city secretary to certify whether the petition has the required number of signatures.

Proposition M would require the city to adopt a comprehensive plan, and then to match zoning to be in compliance with that plan. Cedar Park has maintained a comprehensive plan since 1998 with the latest version adopted in 2014. 

Proposition N would delete redundancies between state law, the city charter and the city’s code of ordinances in the areas of planning and zoning. 

Proposition O would delete redundancies between state law, the city charter and the city’s code of ordinances related to the zoning board of adjustment.

Proposition P would clarify that the city is authorized to tax property within its jurisdiction, affirming that the city council adopts a tax rate and the director of finance coordinates with the tax assessors-collectors in each county to assess and collect property taxes. 

Proposition Q would clarify that the Williamson and Travis County tax assessors-collectors are responsible for property tax appraisals, assessments and collections, as provided by state law.

Proposition R would delete provisions in the city charter regarding payment and collection of property taxes, as the authority, process, deadlines and penalties are already stated in state law.

Proposition S would delete a provision in the city charter that restates that local charter provisions are void if they conflict with state law. 

Proposition T would clarify access to public records pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act.

Proposition U states that all city charter provisions must be in compliance with state law, including any future changes to state law.

Proposition V this amendment would replace all gender-specific pronouns such as “he/she,” with gender-neutral pronouns such as “they, their, theirs,” etc.

Leander Ballot Measures

Proposition A would amend the city charter to require an estimate of cost and timeframes to implement any revisions to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The amendment would also require the council to review the plan annually to determine the plan’s progress and accuracy of cost estimates.

Proposition B would modify the city charter in relation to filling vacant council seats, requiring a special election in the event any second seat becomes vacant with an unexpired term of 12 months or less. The city said this provision is intended to ensure that there is only ever one person serving on the city council by appointment. 

Proposition C would increase the time period that the city can use the same auditor from three years to five years. 

Proposition D would amend the city charter to reduce the number of signatures required for initiative and referendum petitions from the current 15 percent of registered voters to 10 percent of registered voters on the date the petition is filed. 

Proposition E would amend the city charter to require the consent of a landowner prior to annexation. This change brings the city’s provision into compliance with state law, which was amended in 2017. 

Proposition F amends to city charter to clarify that the city will follow the budget process established by state law. 

Proposition G amend portions of the city charter to comply with changes to state and federal law in relation to its right to regulate the use of public right-of-way. 

Proposition H would bring the city charter into compliance with state law in relation to the timeframe for delivering the city’s election returns to election judges. 

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