City leaders hold public forum to discuss proposed changes to charter

KLBK News

LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, Lubbock’s Charter Review Committee held a meeting for the public to voice their concerns about potential changes to the city charter.

“We’re in listening mode tonight,” said Committee Chair James Arnold. “We’re not going to dialogue or debate on anything that you want to talk about, we just want to listen.”

Dozens came out to voice their concerns about new proposals – most that were introduced from a survey done by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. The main topics discussed were whether or not our city leaders should be paid a living wage and what their term limits should look like.

“By paying them a livable wage, what you’re doing is holding them accountable for their actions,” said one citizen at the meeting.

Our Mayor technically makes only $75 a month, and our city council members only $25 – something that hasn’t changed since 1917 when the charter was first written. If that were to change and city leaders made a salary instead, many citizens said it could lead to better representation of Lubbock.

“Serving the City Council should no longer be a privilege afforded only to independently wealthy or retired individuals,” said Adam Hernandez, Communications Chair of Lubbock Compact. “The average working class citizen should have the possibility to see more representation on the council who understands their experiences than we have seen before now.”

Citizens also expressed the need for term limits at the meeting.

“They say they want to change the representation more frequently than two years? How it already stands?” said one concerned citizen.

“The position that the Chamber would take on term limits is equally absurd,” said another citizen. “They want a mechanism by which to bounce out representatives the people are equally happy with. We already have term limits — they are called elections.”

Others expressed their concern about the idea of adding two at-large representatives. However, a 1983 court order mandates only single member districts.

The purpose of the meeting was for the committee to listen to the public’s concerns before making any amendments to the charter. They will hold another meeting in April to allow more people to voice their thoughts.

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