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Charter Commission

The people of Van Alstyne will be voting on ratifying a new City Charter.

When is the vote?

During the next local election — May 7, 2022.

What is on the ballot?

Registered voters who live within the city limits will vote on ratifying a new city charter that will change Van Alstyne’s form of government from Type A general law to home rule.

Why is this issue on the ballot?

Once general law cities gain a population of more than 5,000, many change to the home rule form of government by adopting a charter through an election. After the Charter Commission finishes the charter, the city’s residents must vote on the proposed charter. The election is on the next uniform election date, May 7, 2022.

Thirty days before the election, each registered voter must be mailed a copy of the proposed charter. A proposed charter is adopted if approved by a majority of voters, and the city enters an order recognizing the adoption of the charter. As soon as practicable, the Mayor must certify and send an authenticated copy of the charter to the Texas Secretary of State.

Today, Van Alstyne is a general law city. The new charter is for a home rule city. For details about what the differences are between the two, we encourage you to read this Texas Municipal League presentation, but to summarize:

  • The fundamental difference between a general law city and a home rule city is that a home rule city may do anything authorized by its charter that is not specifically prohibited or preempted by the Texas Constitution or state or federal law.
  • A general law city has no charter and may only exercise powers specifically granted or implied by statute. The previous statement is very generalized, but it illustrates the fundamental difference between the two types of cities (source: Texas Municipal League presentation [link opens in TML’s website]).

Who developed the new city charter?

The 15 people and one alternate members of the charter commission are listed here. Van Alstyne’s Charter Commission started holding meetings open to the public in October 2021. We encourage you to attend. Meeting notices are listed on this page under “News,” are posted on the front page of this website as well as at City Hall.

I still have questions about this process. Who do I ask?

Please feel free to reach out to a member of the commission or your city council member.

News about the Charter Commission:

Further Resources:

  • Please see this presentation from the Texas Municipal League for more information about the different types of cities in Texas.