There will be 14 propositions on the ballot May 3 related to the City Charter. I encourage you to study these amendments to our Charter carefully before voting.

The legal language on the ballot will be more technical. The following is a layman’s explanation of some of the propositions and what they mean. (Advocate space limitations prevent me from listing all of the propositions.)

If you have further questions about these propositions, I invite you to call me at 214-670-4069.

Proposition 1: Council compensation “per diem” increased from $50 to $212.20. Council compensation has not been adjusted since 1969.

Proposition 2: This proposition would allow Council members to be compensated for up to three additional meetings per month other than regular or called meetings as described in the Charter.

Proposition 3: This proposition would allow Council members to receive medical insurance coverage consistent with permanent full-time employees. The City would pay their premium at the same rate as paid for an employee.

Proposition 4: Under the existing Charter, the Council cannot transfer unencumbered funds without the City Manager’s recommendation. (Encumbered funds are obligated for contracted goods/services that have not been disbursed.) This proposition would not allow the Council to transfer unencumbered funds without City Manager recommendation but requires 2/3 vote by the entire Council.

Proposition 6: Delete gender-based references to uniformed members of the police and fire departments.

Proposition 7: The Charter currently defines the City’s general election date as “the first authorized election date after March 31 of each odd numbered year.” The first authorized election date after March 31 is currently the first Saturday in May. Legislation filed with the 75th State Legislature would change the first Saturday in May uniform election date to the fourth Saturday in March. The charger change would read: “the first authorized election date after February 1, of each odd-numbered year.” If the charter change is not approved but the State law changed, the first election date for the City’s general election would be the second Saturday in August.

Proposition 8: The Civil Service Secretary has historically hired his own staff and been designated as “Civil Service Director.” This charter change will result in the Charter wording reflecting the practice of the “Civil Service Director” hiring his own staff. Also, the Civil Service Director would be hired for a two-year term in a manner similar to other City Officers.

The proposition also would delete “transit system” from departments exempted from Civil service, Transit system reference is obsolete since the creation of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Proposition 10: City Attorney allowed to discharge any assistant attorney without Council approval. The City Attorney currently must go to Council to terminate an assistant city attorney. Allows the City Attorney the same purview over his employees as other City Officers.

Proposition 12: The current Charter refers to practices prior to the creation of the Dallas Central Appraisal District. Taxes on property omitted from City tax appraisal rolls were formerly assessed and collected by the city tax assessor collector. This function is no longer performed by the city tax assessor collection as provided in the Charter but is performed by the chief appraiser of the Dallas Central Appraisal District in accordance with State Law. This proposition would make the Charter provisions consistent with State Law.

The current Charter provides for the “right of redemption period” for tax-foreclosed property to be within two years. State Law allows for two years for homestead residences or agricultural use property and six months for other “commercial property.” This proposition would clarify the Charter wording to be consistent with State Law.

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