Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 6, 2013

GBC ready for elections

No challengers for current council, mayor pro-tem

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — The deadline to file to run for an office in Gun Barrel City passed without anyone challenging the incumbents. Mayor Pro-tem Curtis Webster, Councilman Ronnie Johnson and Councilman Melvin Hayes will retain their seats on the city council.

That does not mean there won't be an election on May 10. The City Council is asking the voters to revise the City Charter.  In a Feb. 15 workshop, the council comprised seven changes to the current city charter. The biggest issue discussed during the workshop was term limits for city council, and all board members associated with the city.

The council is asking voters to include in the charter that  individuals can serve three terms on all boards, including the Economic Development Corporation.

The new wording in the charter would say a person will need to sit out one year before serving again on any board. As for the City Council, the charter would state a person can serve three terms as city council, and one term as Mayor before sitting out for one year. According to the new wording, the six years will start after the city charter has been voted on by  the Gun Barrel City voters.

The current charter has no term limits for board members, such as the EDC. The City Council currently has a three-term limit, and the charter currently states a person must sit out one term. That wording would be changed to the stipulation that a person must sit out one year. City Manager Gerry Boren admits it's just a matter of wording.

The council also would like to change the charter to say that  if a council person misses every meeting within a 100-day period, they automatically relinquish their seat on the city council.  The current charter states that if a councilperson misses three consecutive meetings, they are removed from the council.

Other amendments to the charter include wording of ordinances, filling vacancies on boards or city council, wording and interpretation of the charter, appointing a charter review commission every two years, but not to exceed every four years, and handling the voting records for Gun Barrel City.

Boren, said “The city will provide the Gun Barrel City residents with a voters’ guide to explain the changes the council is asking for in the charter.”

He said the council is trying to just clean up some of the charter and the ordinance codes.

“In order to follow state law in some of the questionable items, the charter's wording will need to be changed,” said Boren.

In other city news, a City Council meeting  was held on Feb. 26.  The GBC Council voted for the city once again to host JulyFest. The council authorized $60,000 to be spent on the event. According to Boren, JulyFest will be a 3-day event.

“We have some plans we are working on, and we are negotiating the entertainment for Saturday night,” he said.

The council also approved a vehicle impoundment and inventory policy, along with approving a reserve police officer for the city.

With the council approval, the EDC added term limits to its by-laws. The council also agreed to transfer city property to the EDC. The property being transferred will be the old city hall building, along with what is known as Brawner Hall, located on State Highway 334.

Boren asked the council to join the Texas Downtown Association.

“If we designate the Heritage Cove Parkway as downtown, the city will be able to apply for grants from the state,” Boren said.

Heritage Cove is located on State Highway 334.

The next Gun Barrel City council meeting will be held on March 28 at Gun Barrel City Hall.