Office of the City Attorney
November 2018 Special Elections

Amendments to the City Charter

The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association conducted a petition drive seeking three changes to the City Charter. The proposed changes will be enacted only if they are approved by San Antonio voters on Nov. 6, 2018. The following are summaries of the proposed changes.

Ballot Language
The Propositions on the November special election ballot permit qualified voters of the City to vote FOR or AGAINST the following propositions to amend the City Charter of the City of San Antonio:

CITY OF SAN ANTONIO PROPOSITION A

Shall the City Charter be amended to expand the types of ordinances that may be subject to referendum including appropriation of money, levying a tax, granting a franchise, fixing public utility rates, zoning and rezoning of property; increase the number of days within which a petition may be filed seeking a referendum on an ordinance passed by council from forty to one hundred eighty days after passage of the ordinance; and to provide that no more than twenty thousand signatures of registered voters are required for a referendum petition instead of ten percent of those electors qualified to vote at the last regular municipal election?

CITY OF SAN ANTONIO PROPOSITION B

Shall the City Charter be amended to limit the term the City Manager may serve to no longer than eight years, limit the compensation of the City Manager to no more than ten times the annual salary furnished to the lowest paid full-time city employee, and to require a supermajority vote to appoint the City Manager?

CITY OF SAN ANTONIO PROPOSITION C

Shall the City Charter be amended to provide the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 624 with unilateral authority to require the City to participate in binding arbitration of all issues in dispute with the Association within forty-five days of the City’s receipt of the Association’s written arbitration request?

If Proposition A is approved
Proposition A: Expanding the Referendum Process. This measure would:

  • Expand the City Council actions subject to referendum to include appropriating money, levying taxes, setting public utility rates, and zoning or rezoning property (all areas currently excluded by Charter);
  • Decrease the number of signatures needed from 10 percent of qualified voters in the last municipal election (approximately 70,000 signatures) to 20,000 signatures; and
  • Lengthen the timeframe for obtaining the needed signatures from 40 days to 180 days.

This measure subjects fiscal actions, such as tax rates, utility rates and bond issues, to the referendum process limiting the ability of the City Council to consider and implement policy and to manage the budget. The uncertainty created by potential changes to revenues and expenditures would certainly negatively impact the City’s ‘AAA’ bond rating. The amendment creates uncertainty resulting in cost to the City of San Antonio between $382.3 million and $4.2 billion over the next twenty years 1. In addition, it would create uncertainty in the area of economic development because companies looking to relocate to San Antonio and expand their operations through the use of economic development incentives may want not to face the potential uncertainty of referendums and will decide to go to another city. Based on the average size of the corporate relocation or expansion in San Antonio, this could result in a loss of 202 jobs per project 2.

If Proposition B is approved
Proposition B: Term Limits and Salary Cap for City Manager. This measure requires a supermajority vote (8 votes out of 11) to select the City Manager, limits the City Manager’s term to 8 years and limits pay to 10 times the amount of the lowest paid City employee.

Currently, the City Charter gives City Council the power to determine compensation on the basis of his/her executive and administrative qualifications. The City Manager is hired by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council. Arbitrarily limiting tenure and salary restricts the ability of the City Council to recruit and retain the best talent for the position. This measure could limit the City's ability to attract the top-level talent necessary to efficiently and effectively run a city of this size 3. This may lead to a reduction in the quality and quantity of public services that, combined with the uncertainty created by the other two amendments, could slow economic growth. For example, firms looking to relocate to San Antonio or expand their operations within the city may decide not to do so out of concern that the infrastructure, quality of life and other public services may not meet their needs. This measure would not impact the current contract of the City Manager.

If Proposition C is approved
Proposition C: Binding Arbitration. This measure allows the firefighters union to unilaterally declare impasse at any time and force binding arbitration on the City in labor contract negotiations.

Currently, the Fire contract follows state law on impasse processes requiring action by both parties to negotiate in good faith first. The current process allows for a mediation option before binding arbitration by mutual agreement. Under the proposed measure, the Union could call for binding arbitration before participating in any good faith labor negotiations with the City which could have substantial negative impacts on the City’s budget. While the City Council always considers collective bargaining agreements within the context of overall budget planning and priorities, this amendment would vest a third-party arbitrator with authority to impose contract terms notwithstanding budget consideration. The arbitrator is not accountable for long term budget ramifications. Public safety already consumes about two-thirds of the budget of the City of San Antonio, and going to binding arbitration has the potential to increase this cost substantially. This will force the City of San Antonio to find other revenue sources and/or reduce public services 4.


See page 2, Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Proposed Amendments to the City of San Antonio Charter, by Steven R. Nivin, Ph.D., LLC, “Fiscal Impact Report”
See page 3, Fiscal Impact Report.
See page 2, Fiscal Impact Report.
See page 4, Fiscal Impact Report.

Election information: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Early Voting period begins Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 and ends Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Voters may cast their early vote by mail. The last day to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail is Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Contact
For election information, contact the Bexar County Elections Department at 210-335-VOTE or visit their website: https://www.bexar.org/1568/Elections-Department.


Downloads

Special election for the area located within five miles of the boundary of Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley military bases

On Aug. 2, 2018, the City of San Antonio City Council ordered a special election for the area located within five miles of the boundary of Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley military bases as a means to provide protection of the military mission. Under state law, the voters of the area may choose between either annexation or providing the municipality with the authority to adopt and enforce an ordinance regulating the land use in the area in the manner recommended by the most recent Joint Land Use Study, including the authority to adopt and impose fees, fines, and other applicable charges.

Ballot Language
The Proposition on the November special election ballot permits voters to select one option as follows:

PROPOSITION NO. 1

OPTION 1:

YES ANNEXATION: SHALL THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO ANNEX FOR LIMITED PURPOSES, WHICH INCLUDES THE AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE RELATED FINES, FEES AND OTHER CHARGES, CERTAIN AREAS IN THE CITY’S EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION WITHIN FIVE MILES OF THE BOUNDARY OF THE CAMP BULLIS AND CAMP STANLEY MILITARY BASES AND WITHIN THREE YEARS FOLLOWING CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL ANNEX FOR FULL PURPOSES TO PROVIDE CITY SERVICES AND IMPOSE TAXES?

OR

OPTION 2:

NO ANNEXATION BUT WITH LAND USE REGULATIONS: SHALL THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO BE PROVIDED WITH THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT AND ENFORCE AN ORDINANCE REGULATING THE LAND USE IN THE CITY’S EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION WITHIN FIVE MILES OF THE BOUNDARY OF THE CAMP BULLIS AND CAMP STANLEY MILITARY BASES IN THE MANNER RECOMMENDED BY THE MOST RECENT JOINT LAND USE STUDY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING THE MILITARY MISSIONS, INCLUDING THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT AND IMPOSE RELATED FEES, FINES AND OTHER CHARGES?

A vote for Option 1 of the proposition permits the City of San Antonio to initiate annexation for limited purposes under Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code. Limited Purpose Annexation is a form of annexation where, for a period of up to three years, the area is subject to planning, zoning, health, and safety ordinances; there are no City taxes and no services are provided to the area; and area qualified voters may vote in City elections on all issues except financial matters such as bond elections. At the end of the three-year period, a decision will be made whether to annex the area for full purposes.

A vote for Option 2 does not allow annexation, but permits the City to adopt and enforce ordinances regulating land use in the manner recommended by the most recent Joint Land Use Study, including the authority to adopt and impose fees, fines and other applicable charges.

Leaving the ballot blank or voting for both Option 1 and 2 will result in authorization of Option 2.

If annexation is approved
During the three-year limited purpose annexation period, a regulatory plan that delineates a schedule for the provision of services upon full purpose annexation will be published in accordance with State law. Upon annexation for full purposes (within three years after limited purpose annexation occurs) the following services will be provided, as applicable, in the annexation area:

  • police protection;
  • fire protection;
  • emergency medical services;
  • solid waste collection;
  • operation and maintenance of water and wastewater facilities in the annexed area;
  • operation and maintenance of roads and streets, including road and street lighting;
  • operation and maintenance of parks, playgrounds and swimming pools; and
  • operation and maintenance of any other publicly owned facility, building or service.

If land use regulations are approved
The areas would remain within unincorporated Bexar County and the City would be granted the authority to extend land use regulations to protect military missions. There would be NO City taxes and NO City services.

Land use regulations would include enforcement of land use and density in accordance with adopted land use plans; per­mitting of single-family residential structures by the City; enhanced permitting of multi-family and commercial structures by the County, enforcement of tree coverage and water quality ordinances, enforcement of the Military Lighting Overlay District (MLOD); enforcement of the Military Sound Attenuation Overlay District (MSAO), and enforcement of the Airport Hazard Over­lay District (AHOD). Also, the City may impose fees, fines and other applicable charges for services including building inspections, permit fees, Certificates of Occupancy and other city fees. Any fees imposed will be based on a cost recovery model for the development activity. Fees are collected only for new development requiring a permit. Fines would only be assessed for enforcement actions.

Public Hearings
The City Council will hold two public hearings prior to the special election. The hearings will be held at the Municipal Plaza Building, 103 Main Plaza, City Council Chambers, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 at 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Community meetings to learn more about the special election for this area are as follows:

  • Sept. 27, 2018, at 6 p.m., at Leon Spring Baptist Church, 24133 Boerne Stage Rd, San Antonio, TX 78255
  • Oct. 2 , 2018, at 6 p.m., at Aue Elementary School, 24750 Baywater Stage, San Antonio, TX 78255

Election information
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Early Voting period begins Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 and ends Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Voters may cast their early vote by mail. The last day to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail is Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Note: This is the only City of San Antonio election residents in the above outlined areas are eligible to vote in at this time.

Contact
Questions regarding the proposed special election areas can be directed to the City of San Antonio Planning Department at 210-207-PLAN (7526) or visit our website: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Planning/PlanningUrbanDesign/Annexation.

For election information, contact the Bexar County Elections Department at 210-335-VOTE or visit their website: https://www.bexar.org/1568/Elections-Department.

Special election for the area located within five miles of the boundary of the Lackland Air Force Base and the Lackland Air Force Base – Medina Training Annex

On Aug. 2, 2018, the City of San Antonio City Council ordered a special election for the area located within five miles of the boundary of Lackland Air Force Base and the Lackland Air Force Base – Medina Training Annex as a means to provide protection of the military mission. Under state law, the voters of the area may choose between either annexation or providing the municipality with the authority to adopt and enforce an ordinance regulating the land use in the area in the manner recommended by the most recent Joint Land Use Study, including the authority to adopt and impose fees, fines, and other applicable charges.

Ballot Language
The Proposition on the November special election ballot permits voters to select one option as follows:

PROPOSITION NO. 1

OPTION 1:

YES ANNEXATION: SHALL THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO ANNEX FOR LIMITED PURPOSES, WHICH INCLUDES THE AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE RELATED FINES, FEES AND OTHER CHARGES, CERTAIN AREAS IN THE CITY’S EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION WITHIN FIVE MILES OF THE LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE – MEDINA TRAINING ANNEX AND WITHIN THREE YEARS FOLLOWING CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL ANNEX FOR FULL PURPOSES TO PROVIDE CITY SERVICES AND IMPOSE TAXES?

OR

OPTION 2:

NO ANNEXATION BUT WITH LAND USE REGULATIONS: SHALL THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO BE PROVIDED WITH THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT AND ENFORCE AN ORDINANCE REGULATING THE LAND USE IN THE CITY’S EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION WITHIN FIVE MILES OF THE BOUNDARY OF THE LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE – MEDINA TRAINING ANNEX IN THE MANNER RECOMMENDED BY THE MOST RECENT JOINT LAND USE STUDY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING THE MILITARY MISSIONS, INCLUDING THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT AND IMPOSE RELATED FEES, FINES AND OTHER CHARGES?

A vote for Option 1 of the proposition permits the City to initiate annexation for limited purposes under Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code. Limited Purpose Annexation is a form of annexation where, for a period of up to three years, the area is subject to planning, zoning, health, and safety ordinances; there are no City taxes and no services are provided to the area; and area qualified voters may vote in City elections on all issues except financial matters such as bond elections. At the end of the three-year period, a decision will be made whether to annex the area for full purposes.

A vote for Option 2 does not allow annexation, but permits the City to adopt and enforce ordinances regulating land use in the manner recommended by the most recent Joint Land Use Study, including the authority to adopt and impose fees, fines and other applicable charges.

Leaving the ballot blank or voting for both Option 1 and 2 will result in authorization of Option 2.

If annexation is approved
During the three-year limited purpose annexation period, a regulatory plan that delineates a schedule for the provision of services upon full purpose annexation will be published in accordance with State law. Upon annexation for full purposes (within three years after limited purpose annexation occurs) the following services will be provided, as applicable, in the annexation area:

  • police protection;
  • fire protection;
  • emergency medical services;
  • solid waste collection;
  • operation and maintenance of water and wastewater facilities in the annexed area;
  • operation and maintenance of roads and streets, including road and street lighting;
  • operation and maintenance of parks, playgrounds and swimming pools; and
  • operation and maintenance of any other publicly owned facility, building or service.

If land use regulations are approved
The areas would remain within unincorporated Bexar County and the City would be granted the authority to extend land use regulations to protect military missions. There would be NO City taxes and NO City services.

Land use regulations would include enforcement of land use and density in accordance with adopted land use plans; per­mitting of single-family residential structures by the City; enhanced permitting of multi-family and commercial structures by the County, enforcement of tree coverage and water quality ordinances, enforcement of the Military Lighting Overlay District (MLOD); enforcement of the Military Sound Attenuation Overlay District (MSAO), and enforcement of the Airport Hazard Over­lay District (AHOD). Also, the City may impose fees, fines and other applicable charges for services including building inspections, permit fees, Certificates of Occupancy and other city fees. Any fees imposed will be based on a cost recovery model for the development activity. Fees are collected only for new development requiring a permit. Fines would only be assessed for enforcement actions.

Public Hearings
The City Council will hold two public hearings prior to the special election. The hearings will be held at the Municipal Plaza Building, 103 Main Plaza, City Council Chambers, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 at 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Community meetings to learn more about the special election for this area are as follows:

  • Sept. 25, 2018, at 6 p.m., at Paul W. Ott Elementary, 100 N Grosenbacher Rd, San Antonio, TX 78253
  • Oct. 4 , 2018, at 6 p.m., Calvary Hills Baptist Church, 910 W Loop 1604 N San Antonio, TX 78251

Election information
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Early Voting period begins Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 and ends Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Voters may cast their early vote by mail. The last day to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail is Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Note: This is the only City of San Antonio election residents in the above outlined areas are eligible to vote in at this time.

Contact
Questions regarding the proposed special election areas can be directed to the City of San Antonio Planning Department at 210-207-PLAN (7526) or visit our website: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Planning/PlanningUrbanDesign/Annexation.

For election information, contact the Bexar County Elections Department at 210-335-VOTE or visit their website: https://www.bexar.org/1568/Elections-Department.