The Little Elm Town Council expects to place three items on the upcoming charter election ballot with one more possibly on the way.
During a work session Tuesday the council discussed items that had previously been included in the charter election set for May 2020 before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As recommended by the Charter Review Committee in 2019 the council plans to include an item on the ballot that, if approved by voters, would increase the mayor’s pay from $25 per meeting to $100 and the council members’ pay from $25 to $50.
Another item will be to change the budget adoption date from Sept. 15 to Sept. 30. The third one is to change the frequency the Charter Review Committee meets from two years to four years.
Mayor David Hillock, whose term ends in May, said he would also like the council to consider adding an item that requires the town to update and adopt its recently passed strategic plan at least every two years and to require a supermajority vote to amend it.
Hillock said the requirement to update and adopt it would add stability to the document that guides the town regardless of who is on the council.
“I think it would add some stability when it comes to staff,” Hillock said. “There’s an element of concern when you have elections coming up, especially when they’re big elections. This year we have (three to four) seats on the ballot. The reality is that there’s a potential for change there that could be unnerving for some folks, and having that stability codified could make a difference in future years when change does happen.”
The mayor’s seat, plus Places 3 and 5 are up for election. If a current council member runs for mayor that would open up another race.
Councilman Michael McClellan agreed with the measure, saying it would force the council to familiarize themselves with the history of the town before making decisions on the plan.
Hillock said the supermajority requirement creates more of a consensus.
“It can’t just be four people steamrolling their way through,” Hillock said. “It’s just one more vote, but it’s different from just a simple majority.”
Councilman Nick Musteen said he is concerned that having that requirement would tie the hands of future councils.
“I think it binds a little too far down the road,” Musteen said.
Mayor Pro Tem Neil Blais said he is debating the issue.
“If we properly sell the strategic plan to the public, the public will protect the strategic plan,” Blais said.
The council will revisit the issue Jan. 19.
Though it’s not likely to be on the charter ballot the council debated changing one district seat to an at-large seat and changing the number of consecutive three-year terms to two instead of three, suggestions but not recommendations by the committee.
“The idea is that it would be something we look at going forward,” McClellan said. “The goal was to ensure … it wasn’t possible to put an entire development together to monopolize council. The goal was to ensure we continue to get a fairly even representation of residents and we don’t get a block of the town that basically runs the council.”
McClellan added that discussion took place before the town went through redistricting.
“The districts are already big,” Hillock said. “If you remove a district seat and make it an at-large seat that means there would be three remaining district seats, which would be even larger.”
Hillock also said he supported removing term limits, though that’s not likely to be a ballot item either.
“You are term-limited every time people walk up to a ballot box,” Hillock said.