PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

April 30, 2013

Charter Change and EDC referendum for May 11 Port Arthur election


The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — 11 Proposed Amendments to the Charter of the City of Port Arthur and an additional referendum on the use of EDC funds.



PROPOSITION NO 1



Shall the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to add the following preamble?

We, the citizens of Port Arthur, Texas, in order to establish a home rule type municipal government which provides for the progress of our City, to secure fully the benefits of local self government, to promote economic and cultural prosperity, to provide for the common welfare, to insure health and safety, to support municipal cooperation, and to encourage all citizens to participate in the process of self governance, hereby adopt this Home Rule Charter as an expression of our City purpose and in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas; we declare the City of Port Arthur in Jefferson County to be a political subdivision of the State of Texas with all powers, rights, privileges, authorities duties and immunities of local self government as provided and limited in this Charter.



PROPOSITION NO 2

Shall Article II, Section 1 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?



The Council shall be composed of a Mayor and Eight Councilmembers, each of whom, unless sooner removed under the provisions of this Charter, shall serve for a three-year term, from the first meeting of the Council following his election, and until his successor has been elected and duly qualified. One Councilmember from each of the six Districts shall be elected by majority vote of the qualified voters of the respective District. One Councilmember for Positions Numbered Seven and Eight and the Mayor shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the City. The Mayor and Councilmember for Positions Seven and Eight shall be elected by majority vote and may reside in any District. After May 2013, neither the Mayor nor any Councilmember shall serve more than two consecutive three-year terms in the same office. This provision will apply to those newly elected to the positions of Mayor and Council that take office after the May 2013 Election.



PROPOSITION NO 3

Shall Article II, Section 2 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

At the time of election to office, each Councilmember and the Mayor shall be at least eighteen years of age, shall be a citizen of the United States and qualified voter of the State of Texas and the City of Port Arthur, shall have resided 12 months in the State and 12 months in the City and six months in the District from which elected immediately preceding election day and shall not be in arrears in the payment of any taxes or other liability due the City. No member of the Council shall hold any other office or employment under the City government while a member of said Council, nor shall any member of the Council hold any paid employment under the City government within two years thereafter. A member of the Council ceasing to reside in the City or the District from which elected or convicted of a felony while in office, shall immediately forfeit the office.



PROPOSITION NO 4

Shall Article II, Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

The Mayor and Councilmembers have received a salary and car allowance as delineated in an Ordinance set by the City Council at the time they approved the fiscal year budget for the City, with due opportunity for public comment. They are also entitled to be reimbursed for all other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties. The requests for reimbursement for expenses incurred shall be presented and approved by the City Council in an official public meeting in accordance with the City policies and procedures as adopted or to be adopted by Ordinance. The City Council may propose changes in compensation and benefits, which shall be submitted for approval by a majority of the citizens in a May election.



PROPOSITION NO 5

Shall Article II, Section 7 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

The Council shall have power to cause the affairs or the conduct of any Councilman or appointed officer to be investigated, and, for such purpose shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and other evidence, and, for that purpose may issue subpoenas or attachments which shall be signed by the Mayor, and shall be served by any officer authorized by law to serve such process. The Council shall also have power to cause testimony to be given under oath to be administered by some officer authorized by law to administer oaths; and, shall also have power to punish as for contempt any person refusing to testify to any fact within his knowledge, or to produce any books or papers under his control, relating to the matter under investigation.

Results of investigation may be presented to the City Council in closed session. However, a decision shall be made by a majority vote of the City Council in open session as to whether or not further action is indicated.



PROPOSITION NO 6

Shall Article III, Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

The regular election for office of Mayor and Councilmembers to the places on the Council occupied by officers whose terms are expiring shall be held on the first Saturday in May of each year or such other date as may be required by state election laws. In every such election each qualified voter shall vote for not more than one candidate for Mayor, one candidate for Council from each of the voter’s two respective districts, and one candidate for Council for each of the designated at large positions. All positions for Mayor and Council are elected by majority vote. Said election shall be ordered by the governing body. The City Secretary shall give notice of such election in accordance with the State Election Code.



PROPOSITION NO 7

Shall Article XIV Section 1 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

All purchase contracts made shall be pursuant to a requisition from the head of the office, department, or agency whose appropriation will be charged, and no contract or order shall be binding upon the City unless and until the Director of Finance certifies that there is to the credit of such office, department, or agency a sufficient unencumbered appropriation and allotment balance to pay for the supplies, materials, equipment, or contractual services for which the contract or order is to be issued. Before the City makes any purchases for supplies, materials, equipment, or contractual services, opportunity shall be given for competition. The Council may, by Ordinance, confer upon the City Manager general authority to contract for expenditure without further approval of the Council for all budgeted items not exceeding $25,000; subject to the requirement that a monthly check register indicating all such expenditures be provided to the Council. All contracts for expenditures shall be authorized in accordance with the minimum standards as delineated under state law. Contracts for professional services shall not be let on competitive bids. All contracts for public work shall be signed by the Mayor, City Manager, attested by the City Secretary, and the corporate seal of the City affixed thereto, after approval thereof by the City Council; provided, however, this provision may be waived where there is a public calamity, the necessities of citizens, or the preservation of the property of the City so demand; or, where the City contracts with the County or State for construction of public improvements.



PROPOSITION NO 8

Shall Article XIV, Section 5 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

The Council may approve contracts for engineering, appraisal, architectural, legal, fiscal, and medical and other professional services for the City without competitive bidding. Such contracts shall not exceed two years except, for completion of work in progress under architectural or engineering contracts. Port Arthur businesses shall be given primary consideration as allowed by law. The City Secretary shall maintain a separate file covering these contracts and the City Manager shall furnish the Council annually a detailed report on all expenditures of this nature showing a comparison of the present year with the costs for the past five years and report on compliance with the local business requirements.



PROPOSITION NO 9

Shall Article XVI, Section 14 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

All employees appointed by the City Council of the City of Port Arthur (the City Manager, City Attorney, City Secretary, and Municipal Court Judge) shall become residents of Port Arthur and shall remain so, as long as such appointment is held. All appointees of Boards and Committees, where possible, shall become residents of the City of Port Arthur and shall remain so, as long as such appointment is held.



PROPOSITION NO 10

Shall Article XVI, Section 15 of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended to state the following?

In compliance with Federal, State and employment laws, in the selection of all employees, qualifications being equal, preference shall always be given to citizens of Port Arthur for such positions.



PROPOSITION NO 11 Shall Article XVIII of the Charter of the City of Port Arthur be amended in its entirety to state the following?



Section 1. Pleasure Island

The governance of those lands owned by the City of Port Arthur in and owned by the City of Port Arthur in and under Sabine Lake and those lands owned by the City of Port Arthur and common known as Pleasure Island, including any such lands hereafter acquired or added thereto, shall be a subcomponent of City Government under the jurisdiction and supervision of the City Manager, subject to the City Manager direction.



Section 2. Pleasure Island Commission

The Pleasure Island Commission will serve as an advisory board of the City. The City Manager will be charged with managing all Pleasure Island staffing and appropriately placing it within the organizational structure of the city government. The Pleasure Island Commission hereafter called the Commission. The Commission shall be composed of nine members, each being appointed to a designated position as hereafter provided. Each position shall be respectively designated by number from one through nine, corresponding to the positions on City Council, i.e. position number one shall correspond to the Councilmember for Council District One and so on for each respective Council position with position number nine 9 corresponding to the Mayor.

Commission members shall be appointed by the respective Councilmember whose position corresponds to the position for which the appointment is made and may be removed for just cause at any time by the majority vote of the City Council present. Commissioners were first appointed effective May 30, 1986, with positions numbered one through four for terms of four years and positions numbered five through nine for terms of three years. Thereafter, terms for all positions shall be four years.

The Commission shall elect one of its members as Chairman, who shall serve in that capacity for a period of two years and who shall be nonvoting except in case of a tie vote. Commission members shall have the same qualifications as required for membership on the City Council excepting, however, there shall be no Council District residency requirement for any position on the Commission and members shall have no conflict of interest. The incumbent Pleasure Island Commission shall constitute the Commission upon the adoption of this amendment and until the first Commissioners are appointed as herein provided. The Commission may adopt and from time to time amend rules of procedure.



PROPOSITION NO 12

For The Next Two Years Commencing On October 1, 2013, And Extending Until September 30, 2015, Shall The Existing Section 4a Sales And Use Tax Within The City Of Port Arthur Be Utilized For The Purposes Of Costs Of Land, Buildings, Equipment, Facilities And Improvements, Suitable For Use For Entertainment And Related Roads, Streets, Water, And Sewer Facilities And Other Related Improvements That Enhance Any Of The Items Described Above, Which Are A Category Of Projects Under Section 4b Chapter 505.125 Texas Local Government Code With The Condition That The Total Spending On The Referenced 4b Projects Will Not Exceed $400,000 Per Year. Said Period Of Time Can Be Extended An Additional Two Years By The City Council By A 2/3 Vote Of The City Council After Reviewing Public Comments On The Proposed Cost And Impact Of Such Projects?