BELTON, TX — Election time is upon us, and while voters in some cities are only choosing candidates, those in Belton will also vote on proposed amendments.
If you live in Belton, you’ll vote in all the big candidate races, but there are also some proposed amendments to their city charter. One of which would cut the mayor’s term down to 1 year and allow council members to appoint the position.
“The public might feel like they're less in control,” said Chair of the Belton Charter Review Committee David Covington. “They’re not directly electing the Mayor. Instead they would be electing a 7th council position and then the council members would vote on who the mayor is.”
David Covington with the Belton Charter Review Committee says before 2005, mayors were appointed to 1-year terms but the city changed the charter to allow for an actual contested mayoral race. That hasn’t happened.
“Since the charter was changed there’s never been opposed Mayoral elections. The mayor has always run unopposed,” said Covington.
Covington said by switching things back, it could encourage more people to get involved. Local political experts say appointing a mayor isn’t that uncommon in Texas
“Austin, in fact, has an indirect system of election for mayor Where are the mayors a member of the city Council selected by the City Council,” said Texas A&M University-Central Texas Associate Political Science Professor Jeffery Dixon.
Belton voters will also consider extending councilmembers terms to three years.
“Instead of having four elections come up in one year, we have the possibility of three council members are majority of council members being overturned, it would stagger those elections where you have two people three people elected each year,” said Covington.
Jeffrey Dixon said extending the terms could impact the election process.
“Having elections in odd numbers years was a progressive reform,” said Dixon. “It was designed to break the power of the big political parties. What it really did was enable special interest groups to determine the outcome of elections by mobilizing a handful of voters because turnout is so low and odd number a year election.”
City officials encourage Belton voters to take a close look at the proposed amendments before they cast their ballots.
Citizens will also vote for an amendment that allows councilmembers to appoint other council members to serve in a vacant seat.
To learn more about the proposed amendment in Belton, please click here.