Special election to amend Amarillo city charter - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Special election to amend Amarillo city charter

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Amarillo, TX -- Amarillo's city charter is one hundred years old this year, and the city thought the anniversary was an appropriate time for a much-needed modernization.  So this afternoon, commissioners moved to hold a special election on twenty-one proposed amendments to bring the charter into the twenty-first century.

Amarillo's city charter was written in 1913, and it's only been amended seven times since then. Many of these new proposals simply update local laws to coincide with their state and federal equivalents, or to raise spending limits to reflect today's dollar value.

"As you can imagine, in the last hundred years, there have been many changes in state and federal law; and our charter is behind the times in many ways," says City Attorney Marcus Norris, "Also, there are certain dollar limits: in 1913, $250 was a big limit on spending, and of course, that today won't even repair a damaged vehicle."

Updating municipal code to reflect those changes also presents an opportunity to streamline the currently convoluted city charter.

"Right now, to understand the charter you have to have a law library sitting next to you so that you can check all these new laws and make the charter fit into those new laws," says Norris.

A few proposals would change standing city policies on specific issues, like the time limit and number of signatures required for a petition.

The election will be held November fifth, alongside the bond election for the Amarillo Recreation Complex.