ARTICLE III & IV

 

ARTICLE III THE CITY COUNCIL

Section 3.01 Number, Selection, and Terms of Office

(A) The legislative and governing body of the City shall consist of a mayor and seven (7) council members and shall be known as the “City Council of the Town of Horizon City.”  However, regarding consecutive terms in office, the office of the mayor shall be considered separate from the offices of council members for the purposes of any term limitations set out in this charter.

(B) Council Members shall be elected at large. 

(C) The Mayor shall be elected from the City at large, as referenced in Article VI, Sec. 6.05.

(D) Council Members for places 1, 2, 4 and 6 elected in 2012 shall serve two-year terms.  The Mayor and Council Members for places 3, 5 and 7 elected in 2013 shall serve two-year terms 

Beginning in 2014, the terms of office for the Mayor and Council Members shall be adjusted and lengthened to allow extension of the terms of office from two-year terms to four-year terms, and the regular elections shall be moved from annual elections held on the election uniform date established in the Texas Election Code during the month of November to the uniform date established during the month of May in odd numbered years, according the following schedule.  The regular City elections held in 2014 and 2015 shall be held on the uniform election date established in the Texas Election Code during the month of November.  Council Members for places 1, 2, 4 and 6 elected in 2014 shall be elected to terms greater than two years but less than three years such that the ending date of the term shall coincide with an election on the uniform date established during the month of May in 2017, and they shall thereafter be elected to four-year terms.  The Mayor and Council Members for places 3, 5 and 7 elected in 2015 shall be elected to terms greater than three years but less than four years such that the ending date of the term shall coincide with an election on the uniform election date established during the month of May in 2019, and they shall thereafter be elected to four-year terms. Beginning in 2017, the regular City elections shall be held on the uniform election date established in the Texas Election Code during the month of May with a run-off election to be held on the earliest date practicable in accordance with the law.  (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #1)

(E)   Any person who has served on the City Council for eight (8) consecutive years will be ineligible to occupy any position on the council for a period of two (2) years, provided however, the Mayor and Council Members elected in 2015 shall be eligible to serve for nine (9) consecutive years.  Service of a period of time of less than one (1) year, regardless of whether the service was to fill a vacancy or was part of a term that was lengthened for the purpose of moving the regular election date or lengthening terms of office, will not count in determining the number of consecutive years of service.  Any person who has not served on the Council during the previous two (2) consecutive years shall be eligible to serve under the same conditions as and with no more restrictions than a person who has never served on the Council.  The time periods under this provision are measured based on the corresponding uniform election dates in the applicable years, regardless of the fact that the date falls a number of days over or short of the requisite period. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #1)

Section 3.02 Qualifications

(A) Each member of the City Council and the Mayor, in addition to other qualifications prescribed by the laws of the State of Texas, shall:

(1) be a qualified voter of the City;

(2) reside within the corporate limits of the City; and

(3) not hold any other office or employment under the City government nor be a elected member of any agency, board or district, which is directly involved in taxing, providing services, or establishing schools within the Town of Horizon City. 

(Amended 5/07/05: Amendment #11)

(4) No person shall be eligible for an elective office of the city unless at the time of their election they have resided in the city during the twelve months immediately preceding the election. (Amended 5/07/05: Amendment #5)

(B) If the Mayor or member of the City Council shall cease to possess any of these qualifications or shall cease to reside in the City or shall be convicted of a felony or is absent from three (3) consecutive regular Council meetings without being excused by the Council, he or she automatically and immediately forfeit the office and will not be allowed to participate in any meetings or actions taken by City Council. (Amended 5/07/05: Amendment #11)

(C) The Council is to be sole judge of its members’ qualifications. A majority vote of the elected members of the full Council in regular session is required to declare the office forfeited.

Section 3.03 Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem

(A) The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council and shall be recognized as the head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and be the Governor for purposes of military law, and as emergency manager/director for the City.

(B) The Council shall elect from among its members a Mayor Pro Tem who shall act as Mayor during the absence or disability of the Mayor.

(C) The Mayor, or the Mayor Pro Tem while presiding over the Council in the absence of the Mayor, shall vote only in the case of a tie. A quorum of four (4) from the seven (7) member Council must be present to conduct a meeting. A vote of four (4), in favor, shall be required to pass any ordinance, mandate, resolution or any other Council business.  The Mayor only shall have the power of veto. Any veto must be brought before Council for reconsideration within thirty one (31) days of a veto by the Mayor and shall require a vote of five (5) Council Members to override. (Original language, 1997)

(D) The Mayor, or the Mayor Pro Tem while presiding over the Council in the absence of the Mayor, shall vote only in the case of a tie. A quorum of four (4) from the seven (7) member Council must be present to conduct a meeting. A vote of four (4), in favor, shall be required to pass any ordinance as per Section 3.14 (B) (4). A vote of Four (4) in favor shall be required to pass any mandate, resolution or any other council business.  The Mayor shall have the power to veto. Any veto may be reconsidered on a written request of any member of the City Council within thirty one (31) days of a veto by the Mayor and shall require a vote of five (5) Council Members to override the Mayor’s veto.  (Amended 5/13/06: Amendment #1)

Section 3.04 General Powers and Duties

All powers of the City shall be vested in the Mayor and Council except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter. The Council shall provide for the exercise of such powers and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the City by law.

Section 3.05 Compensation

(A) Commencing on January 1, 2014, each member of the City Council, with the exception of the Mayor, shall receive as a stipend, the sum of one hundred twenty five ($125.00) dollars for each regular or special City Council meeting attended during each fiscal year, not to exceed a total annual stipend of three thousand ($3,000.00) dollars.

(B) Commencing on January 1, 2014, the Mayor shall receive a salary of $18,000.00 per year.

(C) In addition to the above, the Mayor and Council Members shall receive reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, as approved by City Council.

(D) Nothing herein shall prohibit the Mayor or a member of the City Council from waiving the right to all or any part of such compensation or payment of expenses.

(Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #5)

Section 3.06 Vacancies

A vacancy occurring in the Council shall be filled by a person having the qualifications required of a person filing for the office vacated, and selected in the manner prescribe below:

(A) If a single vacancy occurs, the Council shall by majority vote appoint a successor to serve until the next regular general City election.

(B)   If two (2) or more vacancies shall occur at one time, a special election shall be called in compliance with the Texas election code to elect successors to fill the unexpired terms unless such vacancies occur within one hundred eighty (180) days preceding a general City election, in which case no special election will be called.  In that event, or if State law prohibits a special election before the next general City election, the remaining Council members shall by a majority vote fill such vacancies.  The persons so selected shall serve only until the next general City election, when such vacancies shall be filled. When an election is held to fill more than two vacancies, the persons so elected shall serve only until the next general City election. (Amended 5/07/05: Amendment #10)

(C) In the event the office of Mayor shall be vacated, the Mayor Pro Tem shall become Mayor for the remainder of the unexpired term. Should the Mayor Pro Tem refuse to accept the vacated office of Mayor, such refusal shall constitute resignation as the Mayor Pro Tem and a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem shall be selected by the Council.

[Note: at such time that the terms of office extend past two years, provisions of the Texas Constitution and state law shall be applicable to these processes.]

Section 3.07 Meetings

(A) The City Council shall hold one (1) regular meeting in each month at a time to be fixed by it for such regular meetings, and may hold as many additional meetings as may be necessary for the transaction of the business of the City and its citizens.

(B) The Mayor shall, with four (4) of the remaining Council Members, constitute a quorum. In the absence of the Mayor, any five (5) of the Council Members shall constitute a quorum. If, because of one (1) or more vacancies, the Council comprises less than seven (7) members, sixty (60) percent of the membership, excluding the Mayor, shall constitute a quorum. At any meeting at which both the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are absent, the quorum may appoint any Council member to preside as acting Mayor.

(C) All meetings of the Council and all committees thereof shall be open to the public, except as provided by law. The rules of the Council shall provide that citizens of the city shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at any such meetings, in regard to any matter there considered.

(D) All meetings of the Council shall be held at the City Hall, except that the Council may designate another place for such meeting by specifying the location on the notice of such meeting, posted in conformance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and any other applicable State law(s).

(E) Special meetings of the Council shall be called by the City Clerk upon the written request of the Mayor and/or any four (4) members of the Council.

Section 3.08 Rules of Procedures

The City Council shall determine by ordinance its own rules of procedure and order of business. Minutes of all meetings of the Council, including the results of all votes, shall be taken and recorded. Such minutes shall constitute a permanent record to which any citizen may have access at all reasonable times.

Section 3.09 Official Bonds for City Employees

The Council shall be required to maintain fidelity bonds on all municipal officers and employees of the City. The amount of such bonds and types of coverage shall be determined by the Council and the cost shall be borne by the City.

Section 3.10 Interference with Administration

Neither the Council nor any of its members thereof shall instruct or request the Mayor or any of the Mayor’s subordinates to appoint to or remove from office or employment any person except with respect to those offices which are to be filled by appointment by the Council under the provisions of this Charter. Except for the purpose of inquiry and investigation or as otherwise expressly provided in this Charter, the Council shall deal with the administrative services of the City solely through the Mayor and shall not give orders to any of the Mayor’s subordinates either publicly or privately, except with the Mayor’s specific written approval.

Section 3.11 Investigation by the City Council

The City Council shall have power to inquire into the official conduct of any office, department, agency officer, or employee of the City and to make investigations as to municipal affairs.

Section 3.12 Audit and Examination of City Books and Accounts

(A) The City Council shall cause an annual audit to be made of the books and accounts of each department of the City. At the close of each fiscal year, a complete audit shall be made by a certified public accountant or a firm of certified public accountants who shall be selected by the Council not more than sixty (60) nor less than thirty 30) days prior to the end of the fiscal year, and who shall have no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the City government or any of its officers.

(B) Such audit shall include a recapitulation of all internal audits made during the course of the fiscal year.

(C) All audit reports shall be filed with the City Council and shall be made a part of the archives of the City.

(D) All audits so authorized by the City Council shall be performed in accordance with written audit contracts. Such contacts shall state the period to be covered, the funds involved, the purpose of the audit, the fee to be charged, and the authority to be used in determining presentation and accounting standards.

Section 3.13 Action Requiring an Ordinance

In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provisions of this Charter to be enacted by ordinance, those acts of the Council shall be by ordinance which:

(A) adopt or amend any code of technical regulations or establish, alter, or abolish any City departments, office, or agency;

(B) provide for a fine or other penalty or establish a rule of regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed;

(C) levy taxes except as otherwise provided in Article V with respect to the property tax levied by adoption of the budget;

(D) grant, renew, or extend a franchise;

(E) regulate the rate charged for its services by a public utility;

(F) convey or lease or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands of the City;

(G) are proposed under the initiative power as provided in Article VII; and

(H) amend or repair any ordinance previously adopted except as otherwise provided in Article VII with respect to the repeal of ordinances reconsidered under the referendum power.

Section 3.14   Ordinances in General

(A) Form

(1) every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for final adoption.

(2) every ordinance shall concern only one subject which shall be clearly expressed in its title.

(3) the enacting clause shall be "Be it ordained by the City Council of the Town of Horizon City that."

(4) Any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or a part of a City code shall summarize the ordinance, sections or subsections to be repealed or amended When requested by the Council, a copy of the ordinance indicating the matter to be omitted by enclosing it in brackets or by strikeout type and indicating new matter by underscoring or by italics shall be prepared and be made available.

(B) Procedure

(1) An ordinance may be introduced by any member of the Council at any regular or special meeting of the Council, provided it is an agenda item.

(2) upon introduction of any ordinance, the City clerk shall:

(a) distribute a copy of the ordinance to each member of the Council and to the Mayor:

(b) file a reasonable number of copies in the office of the Town Clerk and such other public places as the Council my designate, and

(c) publish the ordinance together with a notice setting out the time and place for a public hearing thereon and for its consideration by the Council.

(3) The public hearing shall follow the publication by at least three (3) days, may be held separately or in connection with a regular or special Council meeting, and may be adjourned from time to time, all persons interested shall have an opportunity to be heard.

(4) After the hearing, the Council may adopt the ordinance with or without amendments or reject it. Adoption of an ordinance requires that a least four (4) members vote in favor of the ordinance. If the ordinance is amended as to any matter not included in the caption or published summary of the ordinance, or as to any matter of substance if the entire ordinance was published in a newspaper, the Council may not adopt it until the ordinance or its amended section have been subjected to all the procedures required in the case of a newly introduced ordinance.  In any event, the publication must be written so as to be understood by an average person.

(5) As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the City shall publish a notice of its adoption.

(C) Effective Date

(1) Every ordinance shall become effective when approved and passed by the City Council on a second reading or at any later date specified therein. 

(D) Publish Defined

(1) as used in this Section, the term "publish" means to give notice by any contemporary means of information sharing, including but not limited to, publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City or placement on a web site;

(2) the ordinance or the caption of an adopted ordinance that summarizes the purpose of the ordinance and any penalty for violating the ordinance; 

(3) the places where copies of it have been filed and the times when they are available for public inspection. 

(Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #3)

Section 3.15 Code of Technical Regulations

(A) The Council may adopt any standard of technical regulations by reference thereto in an adopting ordinance. The procedure and requirements governing such an adopting ordinance shall be as prescribed for ordinances generally except that:

(1) a copy of each adopted code of technical regulations as well as or the adopting ordinance shall be authenticated and recorded by the City Clerk pursuant to Section 3.16 of this Article. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #3)

(B) Copies of any adopted code of technical regulations shall be made available by the City Clerk for distribution or for purchase at a reasonable price.

Section 3.16   Authentication and Recording

(A) The Mayor and the City Clerk shall authenticate by signature and have recorded in full in a properly indexed book kept for that purpose, all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the Council.

(B) The Council may provide for the preparation of a general codification of this Charter and its amendments, and of those ordinances selected by the Council.  Such a codification will be known and officially cited as the Horizon City Municipal Code.  Copies of such a Code will be produced as required by State law and the City Clerk shall make such Code available to the public by any contemporary means of information sharing for free public reference.

(Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #3)

ARTICLE IV CITY ADMINISTRATION

Section 4.01 Duties of the Mayor

The Mayor shall:

(A) make certain that all laws and ordinances are enforced;

(B) exercise control over all departments and subdivisions thereafter created by the Charter, or created by the Council hereafter;

(C) appoint the Chief of Police with the consent of the City Council

(D) attend all meetings of the Council with the right to take part in the discussion;

(E) keep the council at all times fully advised as to the financial conditions and needs of the City;

(F) prepare or cause to be prepared and submitted to the Council the annual budget;

(G) make certain that the City operates within its budget;

(H) execute deeds and to make and execute all contracts on behalf of the City when authorized by ordinance, resolution or motion of the City Council;

(I) perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter, or by ordinance or resolution of the City Council.

Section 4.02 City Clerk

(A) The Council shall appoint a City Clerk who shall report administratively to the Mayor, but may be removed from office only with the consent of the Council.

(B) the duties of the City Clerk shall be to:

(1) prepare and post notice of Council meetings;

(2) keep the minutes of proceedings of Council meetings;

(3) authenticate by signature and record in full, in a book kept and indexed for that purpose, all ordinances and resolutions passed by the Council;

(4) hold and maintain the City Seal and affix the Seal to all instruments requiring it; and

(5) perform such other duties, as may be specified by the Council, Mayor, this Charter, or the laws of the State of Texas.

Section 4.03 City Attorney

(A) The City Council shall appoint an attorney, licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, as City Attorney. The City Attorney shall serve at the will of and be entitled to compensation as established by the Council.

(B) The duties of the City Attorney shall be to:

(1) serve as legal advisor to the Council, to all offices, departments, and agencies of the City, and to all officers and employees of the City in matters relating to their official duties;

(2) represent the City in all legal proceedings;

(3) perform all services incident to his or her position as may be required by statue, this Charter, ordinance, or as directed by the Council.

(C) The Council may retain special counsel at any time it deems such action appropriate is necessary.

Section 4.04 Municipal Court

(A) There is hereby established a court designated the Municipal Court of the Town of Horizon City.

(B) The Municipal Court shall have jurisdiction within the territorial limits of the City for the trial of misdemeanor offenses with all powers and duties granted by the laws of the State of Texas.

(C) Nominees for the Judge of the Municipal Court shall be presented by the Mayor and approved by the City Council for a term of two (2) years to run concurrently with the term of office of the Mayor. Compensation shall be set by the Council and may not be reduced during the term of office for which the Judge was appointed.

(D) In the absence or disability of the Judge, the Mayor shall appoint an interim judge to preside over the Municipal Court until the next regular meeting for review of the City Council.

(E) All costs and fines collected by the Municipal Court shall be paid to the City Treasurer unless otherwise directed by Texas Law.

(F) The City Council shall appoint the Clerk of the Court and the Clerk should qualify as a Notary Public and shall have the power to administer oaths and affidavits, make certificates, affix the seal of the Court, and do and perform all acts usually necessary by the Court.

Section 4.05 Police Department

(A) There is hereby established a Police Department designated as the City Police Department of the Town of Horizon City.

(B) The Police Department shall have jurisdiction over law enforcement within the territorial limits of the City in accordance with requirements established by the Laws of the State of Texas.

(C) The Police Chief will be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of City Council. The appointment shall be formalized by a written contract which shall include the term of office, salary agreement and the duties, responsibilities and authority of the Police Chief.

(D) The Police Chief shall administer all actions of the Police Department in accordance with this Charter and the Laws of the State of Texas and shall be responsible to the Council through the Mayor for all Police Department activities.

(E) Police Department personnel policies shall be administered in accordance with City Ordinances pertaining to all City employees.