Crandall voters to decide home rule issue

On Election Day, voters in Crandall will decide if they want to start the process of governing by a home rule charter. 

Home rule “is about the citizens taking control,” Mayor Danny Kirbie told a room of about 20 people at a discussion on Tuesday before the Crandall City Council meeting.

Under Texas state law, any city with a population of more than 5,000 can establish a home rule charter, which provides the city with broader authority for governing. Residents also could vote on establishing term limits, for example, or repealing the city’s ban on alcohol sales.

“It gives you more tools in your toolbox,” particularly in dealing with development and growth, said Sean Terry, the mayor of Salina, who spoke at the meeting. His city is dealing with 500 to 600 new residents a month. 

Residents attending the meeting asked if home rule would result in higher taxes and if it would help attract more businesses to the area. 

Taxes can go up or down either under home role or general law governance, officials explained. Crandall currently operates under general law. 

Terry said in Salina, new businesses haven’t asked much about what type of government the city has. Both business developers and new residents are more interested in the quality of schools and police and fire protection, he added. 

If Crandall voters approve the question on Nov. 5, the city council or mayor could appoint a charter committee, or a mass meeting could be held to select a charter committee – all three options are allowed under state law. 

Then there would be another vote on home rule in the municipal election in March.

During the city council meeting, members heard from Inframark about an agreement to handle the city’s wastewater operation and maintenance. The city is facing a $47,000 fine from the state for wastewater violations, said City Manager Jana Shelton. The city and Inframark agreed to a two-year contract, with assurances from Inframark that the violations will not happen under the new contract. 

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