The city of Bellmead is taking the first steps needed to tackle the lengthy process of reviewing and updating its charter, which was established in 1955 and has only seen one update since.
Interim City Manager Yost Zakhary said the charter was “really good” in 1955, but is in definite need of changes.
The city council gave the go-ahead Tuesday for staff to start the process of compiling suggestions for the elected officials to consider.
Councilman Travis Gibson said he already has a few ideas in mind for changes to the charter. Gibson said he would like the council to consider adjusting the number of members on the city council. There are six council members, and adding a seventh to avoid tied votes on contested issues is worth looking into, he said.
The Bellmead city charter has only been amended once since it was adopted in 1955, and that was in 1961.
Zakhary said city staff and the council could work toward having a charter election in May 2020.
Each change requires separate approval by a vote of residents to make it into the charter.
“We feel very strongly this will bring us into some regulations, some state laws, some local government, that move us beyond 1955,” Zakhary said.
Mayor William Ridings said he has read the charter all the way through and that there are more than just a few aspects in need of updates.
“There’s quite a bit of it that needs to be changed,” Ridings said.
Zakhary said he and several members of the staff have been through a charter review process before and believe now is the right time to take the task on.
City staff will try to have an initial set of recommendations ready in the next two months for the council to consider, he said.