Charter review committee to hear input on council pay increases, updates

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 5:49 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock will host a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday virtually and inside Citizens Tower to weigh possible changes to the city charter.

Much of what may be changed are recommendations from nearly a decade ago.

Newer items include pay and term limits for the city council and mayor. It would also modernize language in the charter, which is basically Lubbock’ constitution.

The seven-member Charter Review Committee will gauge how the public feels on these issues and propose updates later on, if needed.

“(Our charter) needs quite a bit of clean-up, so that’s one thing,” Dan Pope, Lubbock mayor, said.

The pay rate for mayors and council members has not changed since 1917. That is $75 per month for the mayor and $25 monthly for council members.

If adjusted for inflation, a council member would earn $4,500 a year.

But the civic organizing group, Lubbock Compact, wants the public to support paying members a full-time salary.

“If those positions are paid a living wage, we feel that that would provide the opportunity for there to be a larger pool of candidates to choose from,” Adam Hernandez, communication chair for Lubbock Compact, said. “Because then it would be practical.”

There is also a proposal to add two at-large seats. That would mean two more council positions that are not bound by a district.

But, a 1984 court ruling did away with at-large council positions in Lubbock. The court found the practice discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters, because it did not allow for equal access to the electoral process.

“So if you just add two city council members that could be elected from anywhere, but they speak for the whole city,” Hernandez said. “If enough council members get a consensus they could effectively disenfranchise two whole districts.”

Other topics include adjusting the mayors and city council terms and adding term limits.

The public is invited to the meeting either in-person inside Citizens Tower or via Zoom. That information can be found here.

Following Tuesday’s meeting the committee will have another one mid-April. After that it has at least until early June to submit recommendations.

“Last November in our planning meeting that we do on an annual basis this came up, this topic came up,” Pope said. “And the council felt like it was time to look at several things.”

Read more on the charter review process here.

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