BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Voters in Brownsville this May could be asked to approve changes to the city’s charter, potentially altering the powers of the city commission to oversee boards and increasing compensation to the city’s elected officials.

On Tuesday, the city commission will vote upon establishing an election May 6 regarding the city charter.

What is a city charter? A charter is a legal framework, much like a constitution, that sets a city government’s structure, powers and responsibilities across its various branches of government, which includes the commission, boards and administrative offices, for example. Texas allows city’s with populations above 5,000 residents to make changes to its charter no more than every two year.

Tuesday’s city commission meeting will start at 5 p.m. and will incorporate a public hearing on a proposed charter election and proposed amendments. Commissioners will be able to take action, including passing a first reading of the proposed election and amendments. If passed, a second reading and vote will be required.

Tuesday’s agenda calls for commissioners to consider and vote upon the following charter amendments:

  • Amending Charter Art. V Section 13 to increase the compensation for the offices of mayor and city commission to an amount the City Commission approves based on a study performed by the City on compensation for elected officials, to be effective with newly elected officers only
  • Amending Charter Art. V Section 22 to increase the limitation of a contract with the city manager from 2 years to not to exceed 4 years
  • Amending Charter Art. V Section 22 by removing “and/or city attorney” and adding Section 23-A, “Office of the City Attorney” thereby clarifying the appointment, removal, powers, and duties of the city attorney
  • Amending Charter Art. VI Section 1 (c) by replacing “majority of the City Commission” to “super majority”
  • Amending Charter Art. VI Section 1 (c) by adding that a city commissioner shall nominate an appointee upon the expiration of a term for a board member, thereby creating Places At Large A and B, and Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Amending Charter Art. VI Section 1 (e) by replacing “unanimous vote” with “super majority” of the entire City Commission
  • Amending Charter Art. VI Section 1 (e) by adding removal of any board member with or without cause with a supermajority vote and no annual limits
  • Amending Charter Art. VI Section 1 (e) by adding any board member may be removed if he/she violates his/her fiduciary duty

If approved by the commission, the proposed amendments would be subject to the proposed May 6 election.

The city commission will meet in its chambers on the second floor of Brownsville City Hall in the old federal building at 1001 E. Elizabeth St. in downtown Brownsville.

On Wednesday, the city’s charter review committee is scheduled to meet to consider actions taken Tuesday by the city commission.