Little Elm’s charter election that was supposed to take place last May, and then rescheduled for November, will now take place in May of 2021.
Tuesday the Town Council decided to push the charter election to next year because of continued uncertainty in the coming months. The May election was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last fall the Charter Review Committee recommended three items to be placed on the ballot, including increasing the pay for the mayor and council members.
Currently the mayor and each council member receive $25 per meeting. The proposal is to bump the mayor’s pay to $100 per meeting and the council members’ pay to $50 per meeting.
The ballot will also include an item that would change the date the town must approve its fiscal year budget from Sept. 15 to Sept. 30. The third proposal is to change the frequency of when the Charter Review Commission meets from two years to four years.
Town Secretary Kathy Phillips said the exact cost of having the charter election in November is unclear at this point.
“It’s going to be a lot because (Denton County is) going to have to have a polling place at every precinct, and they don’t know how many people are going to end up having an election because of everything that’s going on or how many people are going to get out and vote,” Phillips said. “So they can’t guarantee us a cost. Not only would we have the November (election) in this budget … but we would also have the May election.”
Mayor David Hillock suggested moving the charter election to the spring.
“You throw out the dynamic of a local election when you put it on a national ballot,” Hillock said.
Robert Brown, town attorney, said there were no pressing issues on the charter election ballot that would make it important to have it in November.
“These are, in the grand scheme of things, minor amendments that don’t have to be done in November,” Brown said. “And with COVID likely still potentially, worst-case scenario, being a problem in November it would certainly be safer for all of your constituents to push this to May.”
The charter election will coincide with the Town Council election, where the mayor’s seat, as well as Places 3 and 5, are up for election. Hillock won’t run for re-election because of term limits.
The council decided to limit eliminate the situations where a council member can be on a board and another council member can serve as a liaison to that same board.
Councilman Curtis Cornelious brought up the item.
“We already, when we serve on a board, have influence,” Cornelious said. “So when you have multiple council members serving on one board it could sway someone’s decision a little more than normal. I didn’t feel comfortable with two or more council members on one board.”
Other council members agreed. The immediate effect of this means that Councilman Neil Blais, who has served as a liaison for the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board, will be replaced with a resident appointment since newly elected Councilman Michael McClellan, had already been on the EDC Board.