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Council calls May 7 election to consider City Charter amendments

Posted Feb. 3, 2016

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Residents will vote May 7 on recommended City Charter revisions dealing with the number of City Council members, terms of office, compensation and more.

The charter defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of city government. The city’s first home rule charter was adopted in 1924, establishing the city council/city manager form of government Fort Worth uses today. The charter has been amended 13 times since adoption, most recently in 2006.

An 11-member task force, appointed by the City Council, presented its final recommendations in December. The Charter Review Task Force examined these questions:

  • Number of councilmembers. There currently are eight members plus the mayor. Due to Fort Worth’s population growth, the task force is recommending an increase to 10 members plus the mayor. The resolution appointing the task force called for the increase to become effective upon redistricting after the 2020 Census for a 2023 election.
  • Terms of office. The task force recommended going from two-year terms to three years for all members.
  • Staggered or concurrent terms for councilmembers. Currently, terms are concurrent, meaning all members are up for election at the same time. The task force recommended continuing to elect all members concurrently.
  • Compensation for councilmembers. The current charter puts councilmembers’ pay at $25,000 annually, $29,000 for the mayor. The task force recommends increasing the salary of councilmembers to $45,000 and increasing the mayor’s salary to $60,000, effective Oct. 1, 2016.

In addition, the City Council is proposing eight technical amendments. These are aspects of the charter that are inconsistent with state law, use archaic language or include unused provisions.

The Council voted 8-1 to place the charter election on the May 7 ballot.

The city will conduct an outreach campaign this spring to educate voters on the proposed charter amendments.

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