The San Marcos City Council discussed several amendments proposed by the charter review commission during its June 3rd meeting. These proposed amendments, pending the approval of the council, will be in the ballot for the November 4th election. The review commission, currently chaired by former mayor Kathy Morris, meets every two years.
“We worked hard, we worked fast, we worked efficiently,” said Morris. “We had some disagreement, and we managed to compromise and come up with something that we feel you can use as a proposal to get you started.”
After thanking many of the commission members in attendance, along with the council and staff, Morris began to outline what the commission proposed and the reasoning behind them.
Some suggestions offered by the committee were to simply bring the charter into line with new state laws or correct syntax. Others include revising the city’s statement of goals, possible compensation and reimbursement for council members, eligibility to run for council and qualifications to serve as city manager and city clerk.
“One of the most significant recommendations I think we’re making concerns the statement of goals, and we had much discussion about this,” said Morris, referring to item one of the proposed changes. “The statement of goals in the charter is an overview of what this city wants for its citizens.”
The item states, “The goals of the city government are to safeguard the health safety and welfare of the city’s residents, provide for a high quality of life, foster intergovernmental liaison and communication, encourage responsible citizenship, promote sound community and economic development, conserve and protect the city’s natural resources and environment.”
Morris went on to explain that, “…when reviewing the charter we felt there were many things missing that are part of basic city service. We felt that the goals of the city basically should remain the same over a period of time.”
Morris then discussed an item regarding residence requirements for city council candidates.
“All city council candidates should have the same residency requirements” referring to past issues of annexation and dis-annexation, said Morris. “There may be an annexed area where people want to run and we believe everyone should be equal in that regard”.
The item in question states that a candidate for council, “…shall have had his or her principal physical residence for at least one year preceding the election within the corporate limits of San Marcos and shall maintain his or her principal physical residence within the corporate limits of San Marcos throughout his or her term of office; for purposes of this subsection, a person must meet all of the following to meet the requirement for a “principal physical residence” in the city.”
Possible compensation for council members was also discussed. Currently council members serve in a volunteer capacity, but have to take time away from their regular jobs to carry out the business of the city.
“It’s not that I want to get paid,” said Place 4 member Chris Jones after the meeting. “If you look at the amount of time we spend,” referring to city business, “it’s a huge chunk of time.” Jones also addressed the possibility that poorer citizens of the city could not afford to serve on the council given the extensive obligations and time commitments.
“Not everyone can take the time off,” said Jones.
Currently the possible compensation is not specified, as the charter review process is still ongoing. None of these items were subject to final approval and will be considered at future meetings.
In other business, Place 2 councilman Gaylord Bose had some warm words for the students who volunteered with the Lions Club over Memorial Day on the river. Bose referred to them as, “Excellent ambassadors for our city,” and complimented the general demeanor of those on the river over the holiday weekend. Bose also honored our veterans and wished to express his thanks not only to them, but to their families as well.
Place 1 member Kim Porterfield offered her congratulations to recent graduates of Texas State and local high schools and mentioned her participation in the San Marcos Early Childhood Summit, and will report back to the council regarding the ongoing issues in that area.
Mayor Susan Narvaiz was asked to speak at the National Coalition for Literacy group in Houston last Thursday. This group focuses on GED education and adult workforce training. Narvaiz cited the need for these issues to be addressed in San Marcos and her own life’s experiences, stating “One of the reasons I spoke is because I have a GED.”
Councilman Jones mentioned a new website (www.juneteenthsanmarcos.com) and spoke of the upcoming events to celebrate Juneteeth in San Marcos. Both Jones and Place 6 councilman John Thomaides spoke on issues of light rail. Thomaides informed the council that there will be a meeting regarding light rail along the Austin/San Marcos/San Antonio corridor at 10 AM on Friday, June 6 and invited all to attend. The meeting will be held at the San Marcos Activity Center.
By SEAN WARDWELL
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