Aubrey voters see charter on ballot
By Basil Gist
Residents of Aubrey will be able to vote on whether the city’s system of government shifts during the Nov. 8 election.
In light of the city’s growth, the City Council has opted to move from general law to home rule, should residents vote in favor.
“Most cities, after they reach a population of 5,000, do home rule because it allows you to have a voice in your local government,” City Administrator Charles Kreidler said. “There are still state laws that affect us, [but] it establishes your form of government and allows the city to conduct business under its own rules.”
Three main points of interest regarding the shift to home rule are powers it gives to citizens, specifically initiative, referendum and recall petitions, Kreidler explained.
Aubrey Mayor Chris Rich detailed these in an email: initiative petitions allow a group of citizens to propose a new idea that hasn’t been previously discussed; referendum petitions allow a group to reverse an action that’s already been proposed; and recall petitions ask the council to call an election to remove a sitting elected official.
“Our council, from day one, has pushed transparency and citizen involvement,” Rich said. “This move from a general law city to a home rule city is the best way to give our citizens the most say.”
The fourth aspect both spoke on was an adjustment on the elected official’s side. This is split into term limits and term length.
“As we get larger and larger, we’ll have more people that want to take part in their civic duties,” Kreidler said. “This charter commission spent almost an entire meeting trying to determine what was best for our city when it comes to term limits.”
The mayor expounded on the value of longer terms, especially in reference to one having a limited number of them.
“Currently all elected officials in Aubrey serve two-year terms,” Rich said. “Newly elected officials spend a lot of time completing required courses and getting up to speed. It almost requires two terms to assess what’s needed and push your goals into effective change.”
Longer terms will allow those elected the time to acclimate.
“Moving to three-year terms allows council members time to get up to speed and have time to put things in motion to accomplish the goals and ideas that made them want to serve,” Rich said.
Early voting began on Monday and will last through Nov. 4 with the general election Nov. 8. For early voters in Aubrey, polling will be at the Aubrey Area Library, 266 Countryside Drive. For more information on polling locations on election day, visit votedenton.gov
“For a while now, we’ve been looking at best practices of what municipalities should be doing, part of that is becoming a home rule city,” Kreidler said. “This is part of the overall push for us to do business better, to be more efficient, … to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep taxes low and provide the services we need to provide for the citizens.”