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The only potential disadvantage to becoming Home Rule is if the Charter is not written well. Residents can ensure the Charter is written well by serving on the Charter Commission and/or providing feedback to the Charter Commissioners.
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Home Rule is the privilege citizens have at the grass roots level to manage their own governmental affairs with minimal interference from the State. Home Rule assumes that government issues should be solved at the level closest to the people.
The City of Garden Ridge is currently a General Law City governed by the laws of the State of Texas. Since the City has grown to over 5,000 inhabitants, the Texas Constitution allows the City to establish its own rules for municipal government by adopting a Home Rule Charter. The City would still be subject to statutory and Constitutional constraints, but the powers available to the City through the Charter would be greatly expanded up to the limits set in the Charter, not by State law.
Home Rule cities operate in an inverse manner from General Law cities in that their power is derived expressly from their Charter, instead of State law. If a General Law City is not granted the express or implied power by the State to initiate a particular action, none may be taken.
There are numerous distinctions between a Home Rule City and a General Law City. The following are a few distinctions that tend to receive the most attention amongst cities considering transition to Home Rule:
Home Rule cities are required to write and adopt a Charter. The Charter, for all practical purposes, is a municipal Constitution that is written and adopted by the citizens of the Home Rule city via an election. The Charter defines, grants, and limits the powers, duties, and responsibilities of local government based on local preferences and desires. The citizens determine the necessary controls over their city government such as elections, referendums, initiatives, and recall. Essentially, the City Charter describes and defines local government based on local preferences and controls as opposed to general laws which have been written by the Texas legislature.
The Charter Commission was created by City Council in October 2022 to draft a proposed Home Rule Charter for the City of Garden Ridge. The members received guidance from Attorney Charlie Zech, Mayor Robb Erickson, City Administrator Nancy Cain, and City Secretary Marisa Spencer. The Charter Commission is composed of the following members:
Changing to Home Rule will not impact your daily life, but does impact citizen control, interest, involvement, and pride in municipal government. Home Rule creates a government framework that will ensure the City grows strategically and to the standards of the community. Home Rule helps set the foundation for more government efficiency, more revenue-generating options, and more control over land use, which provide long-term benefits to the community.
The Charter Commission desired to create a Charter which maximizes local control over City governance, minimizes changes to existing structure, and creates new opportunities for local control.
Form of Governance: City Council-Manager
Powers of the City: All powers and rights of “self-government and home rule that exist now or may be granted to municipalities by the Constitution and State of Texas”
City Council Composition – same as current
Terms – same as current
Vacancies – same as current
Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tempore – same as current
Meetings and Quorum - same as current
Passage of Ordinances
Establishes office of City Manager
Establishes Municipal Court
Establishes City Attorney
Other offices as determined upon a recommendation of City Manager and approval of the City Council – same as current process
Provisions consistent with current practices and procedures
Recall, Initiative, and Referendum are new authority granted to citizens. These provisions are not available to General Law Cities. See "What is Recall, Initiative, and Referendum?" for detailed information.
Standard legal provisions on severability and wording interpretations
Disaster Clause – new
Recall, Initiative, and Referendum are new authority granted to citizens. These provisions are not available to General Law Cities.
Early Voting will be conducted at Garden Ridge City Hall on the following dates/times:
Visit the Elections Page for additional information.
Election Day is Saturday, May 6th from 7am to 7pm. View Election Day Polling Locations Here.