The Brenham City Council met today (Thursday) to kick off the process of updating the city’s charter.

Brenham City Secretary Jeana Bellinger presents the
city council on Thursday with details about the work
city administrators will soon undertake in updating
the city's charter document.

In a work session, councilmembers took a broad look at the work that will be done in the coming months to review the existing charter document, which creates the city’s governmental structure.  The charter must be reviewed every five years. 

City Secretary Jeana Bellinger said the city’s administrative team will analyze the charter and see what may need to be adjusted based on if there are new laws to comply with, if any outdated wording needs to be revised, or if there are any aspects of the charter that could be dug into further for possible modification.

Brenham operates under a home-rule charter, which was established after residents voted to adopt it in September 1920.  The charter sets the city limit boundaries, provides for councilmember wards, and designates appointive offices like city manager, city secretary, city attorney and municipal court judge.

Since 1920, Brenham’s charter has been amended seven times, with the last amendment coming in 2015.  Any changes to the charter must be approved by voters in an election via amendment propositions. 

In 2015, there were 23 propositions on the ballot, and all of them passed.  Bellinger noted that of those 23, only five were city-initiated, as most revolved around getting up to date with new federal or state laws.  They also included modernizing charter language, with Bellinger mentioning one humorous anecdote about the legality of “velocipedes”.

The city’s next election will be on May 3, 2025 for the Ward 1 and Ward 3 councilmember positions and two at-large council seats.  If the council wishes to bring forth amendments to the charter, a special election would be held simultaneously with the regular election.

Also at today’s meeting, the council approved the second reading of the impact fee ordinance that was unanimously adopted last week.  The impact fees are imposed on developers to generate revenue or make up costs of capital improvements or facility expansions for new development.  The fees will help the city fund its planned water/wastewater infrastructure improvements and cut down on what existing residents pay toward them by sharing costs associated with the new development.

During City Manager Carolyn Miller’s administrative report, she announced that Standard & Poor’s has reaffirmed the city’s AA- bond rating.  She also said the council will meet on Monday, March 4th to go take tours of fire stations in New Braunfels and San Marcos, both of which were designed by Brown Reynolds and Watford (BRW) Architects, who is in charge of the design of the new Brenham fire station to be located at the intersection of James Nutt Boulevard and Handley Street.

Click here to view the agenda packet for Thursday's meeting.

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