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Possible change to College Station elections added to November ballot

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:39 AM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - College Station City Council held a special meeting Tuesday evening to address a potential special election and decide on dates for approving next year’s tax rate.

The meeting began by deciding on holding its tax rate hearing Thursday, August 12, at 6 p.m. at City Hall. That same night, they plan to adopt the tax rate.

The second item on the special agenda was deciding on holding a special election on Nov. 2, which is also the same day as the general election, and approving an ordinance that would add a few amendments to that ballot.

One of the bigger amendments would move College Station City Council elections to odd years. In 2018, voters approved moving council elections to even years, lining up with most state and national elections.

College Station Mayor Karl Mooney says that if the voters approve this, that would also push out the plan for aligning all council positions with four-year terms.

“It is going to take us a little longer to make that transition if the citizens vote to approve having the elections only on odd-numbered years,” said Mooney. “We would not complete the transition until 2027.”

College Station City Secretary Tanya Smith says that they have a plan in place if voters approve this change.

“If it ends up happening right now in 2021, of course, if it is passed it will not go into effect until 2022,” said Smith. “At that time those three positions that are coming up instead of being four-year terms will go into three-year terms.”

Two city council seats are on the ballot in November. Councilmember Place 4, currently held by Elizabeth Cunha, and Councilmember Place 6, currently held by Dennis Maloney.

Another amendment added onto the ballot is holding council members to specific ethics requirements, including leaving the room and not being a part of the meeting when the council is discussing something that has a clear connection to the council member. Mooney says, for example, if a council member owns a paving company and the council is deciding on which company to use for new roads then they would be asked to step out.

Councilmembers voiced their opinions on the odd-year amendment on Tuesday. Cunha argued that there will be less voter turnout and more costs for the city and the candidates. Maloney believes this should change to odd years to shine more light on city issues, instead of being drowned out by national politics, and knows those who want to vote still will.

“We are hoping that we will get a good representative turnout from everyone who lives here in the city, and who is registered to vote in our city elections,” said Mooney.

Smith says early voting will begin October 18. Election Day is November 2, and there will be 25 locations to cast your vote. The last day to register to vote is October 4.

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