Wolfforth voters to decide on Home Rule designation starting next week

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 10:40 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Wolfforth voters are facing a historic decision this election, whether to designate their town as a Home Rule city. City Manager Randy Criswell says adopting the city charter would put more power back in the hands of the people.

Right now, Wolfforth operates as a General Law city, holding only the powers granted by state law. Criswell says becoming a Home Rule city would allow Wolfforth to establish its own form of government within state regulations.

“We’re hoping that in November, our citizens will get out and support that charter and and kind of send Wolfforth into the next phase of our life as a city,” Criswell said.

Criswell says this is a monumental event for Wolfforth, as most cities are already Home Rule, or aren’t growing enough to become one.

“It’s kind of symbolic of what I hope will be Wolfforth’s growing up from the small rural community of 2,000 people, to what is now a pretty vibrant and rapidly growing community of about 7,000, we think probably today,” Criswell said.

The change to Home Rule can take place after a city reaches a population of more than 5,000 people.

“It grants you much greater authority and flexibility to define who you want to be as a city, what’s your form of government, how you want that to work, and how many people you want to sit on your council and what their terms are going to be,” he said.

Criswell says it gives more power to the people, through recall, initiative and referendum.

A recall gives citizens the power to remove bad actors from elected city positions. Initiative and referendum give citizens the power to put new ordinances before council or vote to rescind them.

“The beauty of the Home Rule charter and those types of things is that it forces the governing body of the city, if they are resistant, which they might or might not be, but it forces them to take certain action and to put certain things in the hands of the voters,” Criswell said.

The city manager says things that are already working in the city’s government won’t change.

On the city council, the new charter would mean candidates would run in spots instead of against the entire field.

“For us, it’ll all be at-large. They’ll all represent the entire community, but it will allow for a little bit different level of competition from a council election perspective,” he said.

The City of Wolfforth has been trying to let people know about this vote through its Facebook page. The proposed charter and a list of frequently asked questions is also on its website.

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 23, and runs until Nov. 3. Friday, Oct. 27, is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot. Election day is Nov. 7.