Volunteers are needed to review Sugar Land’s charter, a document that provides the foundation for governance of the city.
In 1981, Sugar Land citizens voted to adopt the city’s first home-rule charter. By converting from a general-law city to a home-rule city, citizens chose to exercise their right under the Texas Constitution to make local laws to govern their own affairs. The charter is the city’s “constitution” and cannot be amended except by approval of the voters and not more than every two years.
The charter is a document that establishes the form of government for Sugar Land. That includes provisions for a council-manager form of government, legislative authority of city council, general elections provisions, finance provisions and several other areas outlining the governance of Sugar Land. The charter is available online at www.sugarlandtx.gov/index.aspx?NID=483.
City council is expected to appoint members to the Charter Review Commission in November. The commission’s recommendation to council is expected early next year, with a possible charter review election called in the future.
“The charter review commission is a vital part of city government,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “It is important that the commission is composed of qualified, dependable and effective individuals who reflect the diversity of the community and geographical representation of the public.”
Previous charter review commissions have taken the view that the charter is the city’s “constitution” and should only include the fundamental matters of local government. For example, the number of council members on council and the manner of election (by majority or plurality vote) are fundamental matters and should be addressed by the charter.
Individuals who would like to serve on the Charter Review Commission should fill out an application on the city’s website at www.sugarlandtx.gov/charterreview. The deadline for receipt of applications is Oct. 9.
“Members of the commission should be representative of individuals with a background knowledge and expertise that will recognize and understand the legal complexities of the government structure,” said Bogard. “They should be representatives who will bring forth neutral perspectives that promote and support the goal of effective local government.”