Proposed WF city charter changes under review

City charter proposed changes

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Nearly a year’s worth of work on updating the Wichita Falls city charter was laid out this week to the city council. Among the 10 topics in the committee’s recommendation are making some sections easier to read, extending terms of the council and mayor, and increasing their pay.

The committee is made up of members of the council, city workers, and community members. All volunteered to be part of the committee.

The city charter acts like the Constitution of a city.

Councilmen Michael Smith served on the charter committee before he ran for reelection. Now representing Precinct 1, he no longer sits on the committee bit is in favor of the salary increase.

“The time has been put in to get to this point should not be wasted. I don’t think there is any reason or need to put this off, let’s bring this to a vote by the citizens,” Smith said.

Currently councilors are paid $300 a month and the mayor is paid $500. The proposed change would double that. That amount hasn’t been updated since the 1980s.

“I think that’s something needed and for some people that may be an attraction to run for office,” Smith said.

City attorney Kinley Hegglund adds those on the council do more than just attend meetings, they make speeches, meet with the community, and serve on subcommittees.

“The committee believes those numbers that were established 32 years ago, it’s time to look at that to see whether or not and additional compensation is warranted,” Hegglund said.

The other large recommendation would extend the terms in office from two years to three.

“It was felt that the two year term was too short in the sense that by the time councilors learn what’s going on and how to do the job they’re already up for reelection,” Hegglund said.

Term limits would are suggested to change, going from 10 consecutive years, to nine.

That would mean someone could run for office then be reelected twice.

“If you run for one term of three years you’ll be able to learn for that first year and then have two good years of productivity,” Hegglund said.

Now that the council has the full list of recommendations, they have until August to decide what parts they want to make changes to and ultimately put on the ballot in November.

“If it’s something the voters want than they can vote for it, if they think it’s a bad idea then they can vote against it,” Hegglund said.

Copyright 2020 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.