DESOTO – Seven DeSoto City Charter amendments were discussed at a DeSoto City Council meeting earlier this month. Motions were made as to what propositions will appear on the election ballot in May for voters to decide. Council went through a number of possible charter changes and of the seven highlighted for further discussion roughly half will appear on the May election ballot.
One item that was unanimously decided to keep as it is was the possibility of changing DeSoto’s May election to the election date in November. Council voted unanimously to keep the elections in May so as not to get lost on a November ballot, which normally lists municipal voting at the bottom.
Voters will vote for an item in May to determine if city council members will be given no term limits as opposed to the six years they currently must adhere to in the existing City Charter.
Other items discussed for change included amending city’s At Large citywide voting system down to a single member district system.
The city council decided not to change the current charter item allowing for the continued voting by all DeSoto residents for the various districts in the city. It will be keeping the requirement that a candidate must live in the district where he/she resides. The Citizens Charter Review Commission had been split on this recommendation, but council’s final decision means the current system will go unchanged.
A power of referendum items will remain as is with 30% of qualified voters being required to present a petition to the city council.
On the other hand, a power of recall will be on May’s election ballot asking voters if they want to lower the percentage of voters required to petition the city council in the event of a recall. This change would go from the current 50% to 30% of voters who voted in the most recent mayoral election needed for a petition to be presented to council.
Several wording changes regarding the city’s budget will appear on the May ballot as well as a number of additional items that did not garner the necessity for discussion during the latest council meeting.
All amendments to the City Charter were discussed and considered over the last few months by the City Council as recommended by the Citizens Charter Review Commission, a 21-member Commission appointed by council.
A Charter review is necessary for the City of DeSoto at least every five years. The DeSoto City Charter allows for Charter amendments no more than once every two years as provided by the laws of the State of Texas.
The last Citizens Charter Review Commission was appointed in October 2017. This year’s Citizens Charter Review Commission was appointed in August, 2022, and the Charter Review Commission spent eight hours in four separate meetings to discuss recommendations.
The other items that were considered for Proposition to be placed on the upcoming ballot were mostly general housekeeping items such as a change related to the general powers of the city, annexation and deannexation, changing or removing redundant language, a change to reference the City Manager as the Chief Executive Officer of the city, a change recommended to be consistent with the charter and duties of the City Manager and role of Council, as well as an item pertaining to independent audits, revenue bonds, tax language, and an effective date for a new amended Charter.