Mayor ready to name Charter Committee

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

Estimates relied on by Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall say the current population of the city proper is about 2,500 residents. That puts Liberty Hill halfway to the magic number of 5,000 needed to declare itself a Home Rule City and adopt a city charter.

With the number of residential lots currently drawn on a map and in varying degrees of the development process in the City limits, Hall believes within a couple of years Liberty Hill can become a Home Rule City. That means Liberty Hill will have to draft and vote on a city charter.

“I am pretty confident it can be as early as the end of this year or beginning of next year that we can say we have 5,000,” Hall said. “In order for us to claim Home Rule there’s one thing that has to be done prior to that and that is establishing our City Charter. In order for us to establish a charter we have to have a charter committee.”

During the City Council retreat in late January, Hall discussed the timeline he envisions for preparing and holding an election for Charter approval. His hope is to have a draft charter on the ballot for voters in November.

“We can have a city charter ready to go whether we need it today or not,” Hall said. “In order for us to get it approved so we can have home rule I would like to get the city charter on the November ballot this year. In order to get it on the November ballot we have to pass a resolution by mid-August to get it on the ballot, which means we have to get everything far enough along in the process that the Council is good saying we will have a charter to go to the voters in November.”

Hall also came to the retreat prepared with a list of names he would like to see on that committee.

“I’ve got some suggestions of some folks I would like to see on that charter committee and I’d like to get the Council’s feedback on that,” Hall said.

The list included Bill Chapman, John Johnston, Larry Allman, Kim Sanders, Daniel Duckworth and Council members Liz Rundzieher and Kathy Canady.

“When I think about who we should have on this committee to try and explain or provide direction of how our City needs to grow, I look for several different options,” Hall said. “We want to look for business people. We want to look for people who have been in our community for years and have seen the changes in our community. We need to have people that live inside the city and we need to have people that have businesses in the city. At this point and time this is the only voice that a business in the city has.”

Four of the seven individuals – Allman, Sanders, Rundzieher and Canady – live within the city limits.

All five appointees apart from the Council members are closely tied to Hall through his involvement with the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce and or Economic Development Corporation, and they have shown support – especially through social media – for Hall and the candidates he has endorsed in recent elections.

When asked why he nominated individuals so closely tied to him, Hall said his suggestions were just a starting point for the process.

“By throwing these names out there this gets the conversation started, so it’s a great opportunity because we’ve got to start somewhere,” he said. “Again, if we use one of these names or we use five of these names, as long as we get the process started, which needs to get done sooner than later, this is a great opportunity to get started.

“We’re going to put something on our Facebook page to see who is willing to serve on this charter committee. I’m going to have a brief summary laid out as far as what our expectations are as far as this committee. If anybody is willing to do it then that’s great.”

To date there has been no post on the City’s Facebook page regarding the establishment of a charter committee or soliciting volunteers for the committee.

The City Council must approve the members of the committee, and there has been no indication whether any Council members plan to nominate other individuals in place of the list proposed by Hall.

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