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Final Charter Revision Meeting: Pro Forma or Fireworks?

Ann_Kitchen,_Gonzalo_Barrientos.jpg
Photo by Erika Aguilar, KUT News
Vice-Chair Ann Kitchen, and Chair Gonzalo Barrientos at the Charter Revision Committee's last meeting.

So, the hard part’s over, right?

Tonight marks what should be the final meeting of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee, a City Council-appointed citizen task force. The group has recommended numerous changes to the city charter that should be put before voters this November, but their biggest issue has been reaching agreement on how Austin should change its form of municipal elections.

At the Feb. 2 meeting (which was then expected to be their final one), there was widespread support for moving from Austin’s current, at-large system of City Council elections, where every candidate runs citywide, to a form of district representation.

But just what form that change should take created a rift on the task force. 

The final vote to recommend the 10-1 plan (10 single-member districts, with only the mayor running at large) passed 8-7; an alternate “hybrid” proposal (10 districts, but with two council members also running at-large, plus the mayor) failed along the same thin margin, 7-8. The near even split prompted talk of including a minority report in the final package of recommendations to council, which has final say on what makes it to the ballot. (It appears the both the draft report and minority report are already posted online.)

Members voiced their desire to review the final draft of recommendations, and voila – another meeting was born.

The meeting is tonight at City Hall, 6:30 p.m.  While no action is posted other than the review of the draft, this meeting could get interesting still. 

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