ARTICLE VII & VIII

 

ARTICLE VII INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL

Section 7.01 Initiative

(A) The voters of this City shall have the power to propose any ordinance, except an ordinance appropriating money or authorizing the levy of taxes, or one repealing such an ordinance, and to adopt or reject the same at the polls.

(B) Any initiated ordinance may be submitted to the Council by a petition signed by registered and qualified voters of the City equal in number to al least twenty-five (25) percent of the number of votes cast at the last regular City election, or two hundred fifty (250), whichever is greater.

(C) Initiative petitions shall contain the full text of the proposed ordinance.

(D) Such ordinances may be passed by the Council without change, or must be submitted to the voters at an election called for that purpose and held in compliance with the Texas Election Code.

Section 7.02 Referendum by Voters

(A) The voters of this City shall have the power to approve or reject at the polls any ordinance passed by the Council except an ordinance appropriating money, authorizing the levy of taxes, or authorizing the issuance of either tax or revenue bonds, whether original or refunding.

(B) The petition for referendum shall require the same number and qualification of signers as required by the Charter for an initiative petition.

(C) A referendum petition must contain sufficient description of the ordinance to positively identify it.

(D) A referendum petition must be filed with the City Clerk within thirty (30) days after the final passage of the ordinance which is the subject of the referendum, or the petition shall be barred by the lapse of time.

(E) When such petition has been certified as sufficient by the City Clerk, the ordinance shall not go into effect, or, if it has gone into effect, further enforcement or action thereunder shall be suspended unless and until such ordinance is approved by the voters as herein provided.

Section 7.03 Consideration by Council

(A) Whenever the Council receives a certified initiative or referendum petition from the City Secretary, it shall proceed at once to consider such petition. The Council shall take final action on such ordinance not later that thirty (30) days after the date on which it was submitted to the Council by the City Clerk.

(B) A referred ordinance shall be reconsidered by the Council and Council’s final vote upon such consideration shall be on the proposal to repeal.

Section 7.04 Referendum by City Council

(A) In the absence of a petition, the Council shall have the authority to submit a proposed ordinance to the voters.

(B) If the Council specifies that the election is binding, and if the voters approve the proposed ordinance, then the ordinance is adopted.

(C) If the Council specifies that the election is non-binding, then the results of the election are only to supply information and guidance to the Council, and the proposed ordinance is neither approved nor disapproved.

Section 7.05 Submission to Voters

(A) If the Council shall fail to pass an ordinance proposed by initiative petition in the exact form proposed, or fail to repeal an ordinance referred by petition, or in the case of an ordinance proposed by the Council, the proposed or referred ordinance shall be submitted to the voters.

(B) An initiative or referendum election shall be held on the next uniform election date thereafter permitted by the Texas Election Code or the date of the next election that will be conducted by the County Elections Administrator, as directed by the Council. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #2)

(C) Any number of ordinances may be voted on at the same election.

Section 7.06 Results of Elections

(A) A majority vote in favor of a proposed initiative ordinance shall constitute its adoption as a City ordinance.

(B) If two or more ordinances with conflicting provisions are approved by the voters, the ordinance receiving the greater number of votes shall be adopted and the conflicting ordinance or ordinances shall be rejected.

(C) An ordinance referred by petition and voted on in a referendum election that does not receive a majority of the vote shall be deemed repealed.

(D) No ordinance adopted at the polls under initiative or referendum shall be amended or repealed by the Council within one hundred eighty (180) days of adoption.

(E) No ordinance repealed at the polls in a referendum election shall be reenacted within six (6) months.

Section 7.07 Publication of Initiative and Referendum Ordinances

Initiative and referendum ordinances shall be published in the same manner as those adopted by the Council.

Section 7.08 Recall Procedure

(A) Any member of the City Council, including the Mayor, may be recalled and removed from office by the electors qualified to vote. A petition demanding the recall shall be filed with the City Clerk, provided that such petition shall contain the name of the officer whose removal is sought and a statement of the grounds for removal.

(B) The recall petition must be signed by qualified voters equal in number to at least ten (10) percent of the entire number of persons entitled to vote in the City, as appears on the City Clerk’s roll.

(C) The total signatures required must be secured and the petition filed with the City Clerk within thirty (30) days after the filing of the petition request.

(D) The City Clerk shall immediately notify by hand-delivery or by certified mail the officer whose removal is sought. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #1)

(E) The signatures to the petition need not all be appended to one (1) paper. For a petition signature to be valid a petition must contain, in addition to the signature:

(1) the signer’s printed name,

(2) residence address,

(3) county residence,

(4) date of signing, and

(5) compliance with any other applicable requirements required by law.

One of the signers to each of such papers shall make oath before an officer competent to administer oaths that each signature is that of the person whose name it purports to be and was signed by such person on the date indicated.

(F) Within ten (10) days from filing of such petition, the City Clerk shall examine the same and form the list of qualified voters ascertain whether or not said petition is signed by the requisite number of qualified voters. The City Clerk shall attach to said petition a certificate showing the result of such examination.

(G) If by the City Clerk’s certificate the petition is shown to be insufficient, the Clerk shall set forth the particulars in which it is defective, and shall notify the person who filed it. The petition may be amended within ten (10) days from the date of said certificate. The Clerk shall, within ten (10) days after such amendment is filed, in the event one is filed, make like examination of the said amended petition, and if the certificate shall show the petition to be insufficient, it shall be returned to the person filing same, without prejudice to the filing of a completely new petition upon new and different grounds, but not upon the same grounds.

(H) If the petition is found to be sufficient, the City Clerk shall submit it and the certificate declaring the petition to be sufficient to the City Council within thirty (30) days.

Section 7.09 Public Hearing on Recall Petition

The officer whose removal is sought by a recall petition may, within five days after such recall petition has been presented to the Council, request that a public hearing to be held to permit him or her to present facts pertinent to the charges specified in the recall petition. In this event, the Council shall order such public hearing to be held not less than five (5) days nor more than fifteen (15) days after receiving such request for a public hearing.

Section 7.10 Recall Election

(A) If the officer whose removal is sought does not resign, the City Council shall order and set an election to determine whether the officer shall be recalled.

(B) The recall election shall be held on the next uniform election date thereafter permitted by the Texas Election Code or the date of the next election that will be conducted by the County Elections Administrator, as directed by the Council. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #2)

(C) If the majority of the legal votes at the recall election are cast for the recall of the officer named on the ballot, the Council shall immediately declare that office vacant. Such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of this Charter.

Section 7.11   Recall Limitation

No recall petition shall be filed against an elected official within six (6) months of the end of the term of office for the elected official. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #2)

Section 7.12 Appeal

Should the City Council fail or refuse to order an election as herein provided for the recall of an elected official, when all requirements for such election have been complied with by the petitioning citizens, in conformity with this article of the Charter, then a District Judge in El Paso County, Texas shall order such election and enforce the procedures required for the election.

ARTICLE VIII FRANCHISES AND PUBLIC UTILITIES

Section 8.01 Power to Grant Franchise

The City Council may, by ordinance, grant, amend, renew, cancel for cause, and extend franchises of all public utilities, including cable television, operating in the City. No franchise may be granted for an indefinite term.

Section 8.02 Franchise Extensions

All extensions of public utilities within the City limits shall become a part of the aggregate property of the public utility, shall be operated as such, and shall be subject to all the obligations and reserved rights contained in this Charter and in any original grant hereafter made. The right to use and maintain any extension shall terminate with the original grant.

Section 8.03 Transfer of Franchise

No public utility franchise may be transferred or assigned by the holder except with the approval of the City Council.

Section 8.04 Regulations of Franchise

All grants, renewals, extensions, or amendments of public-utility franchises whether it be so provided in the ordinance or not, shall be subject to the right of the City to:

(A) repeal the same by ordinance at any time for failure to begin construction or operation within the time prescribed or for failure otherwise to comply with the terms of the franchise, such power to be exercised only after due notice and hearing;

(B) require an adequate and reasonable extension of plant and service, and the maintenance of plant and fixtures at the standard necessary to render the highest reasonable quality of utility service to the public;

(C) establish reasonable standards of service and quality of products and prevent unjust discrimination in service or rates;

(D) prescribe, for each franchised utility, the form of accounts to be kept, or that the system of accounts conform to those prescribed by the appropriate State and/or federal utility-regulator agencies;

(E) impose such reasonable regulations and restrictions as may be deemed desirable or conducive to the safety, welfare, and accommodation of the public.

(F) require franchise holders to furnish the City, without cost to the City, full information regarding the location and precise description of all facilities of the franchise holder in, over, or under the City, and to regulate and control the location, relocation, and removal of the facilities;

(G) examine and audit at any time during normal business hours the accounts and records of the franchise holder; and

(H) require, at any time, such compensation and rental as may be permitted by the laws of the State of Texas.

Section 8.05 Franchise Records

The City shall compile and maintain a public record of all franchises granted by the City,   including any extensions or amendments to such franchise grants.

Section 8.06 Commissions

The City Council may, at its discretion, create a Commission to review the performance of any and every franchise holder and/or public utility conducting business within the territorial and extra-territorial jurisdiction of the City.

(A) The membership of any such commission will be constituted by appointment.

(1) Each Council Member shall appoint one Commissioner and the Mayor shall appoint two Commissioners.

(2) Each Commission Member must be a resident of Horizon City or the area designated as extra-territorial jurisdiction.

(B) Every Commission shall oversee the day to day operations of the franchise with respect to fulfillment of the terms of the contract.

(C) Every Commission shall seek input from the residents of the City and its environs concerning access to and the level and quality of service.

(D) The Chief Executive Officer of each franchise or his/her designee will be permitted to attend every session of the Commission. Participation of said attendee shall be at the request and sole discretion of the Commission.

(E) Said Commission shall compile reports of the operation of the franchise and the quality of service to the residents and present these reports to the City Council, monthly.

(F) The Commission may also make recommendations based upon its information.