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Buda voters to decide on single member districts in November

A partial transition to single-member districts on the Buda City Council will be one of 18 proposed changes to Buda’s charter, which voters will decide on this November.

Those propositions add to what will be an already busy Buda ballot on Nov. 7, as voters will also decide on a new mayor and two city council persons.

Approval of the 18 propositions, which were approved Aug. 1, came after the Ron Fletcher, Buda’s charter review committee chairman, outlined recommended charter alterations to city leaders.

Two primary factors led committee members to propose transitioning three city council seats to single-member districts, Fletcher said. Interest from the public was one reason, while the second was better representation to all residents.

If the single-member district proposition passes, city officials plan to place approximately 5,000 residents in each of the initial three districts.

All other seats, excluding the mayor’s at-large seat, could become single member districts when the city reaches a population of 25,000.

Buda city leaders are currently elected on an at-large basis, where all registered voters in the city limits can vote for any city council candidate.

With single member districts, only voters within a specific district can vote for candidates who are running for that specific seat.

Kyle and San Marcos are the only two cities in Hays County that operate under the single district format. Wimberley and Dripping Springs elect their leaders on an at-large basis.

The majority of Buda City Council members favored a slow transition to single-member districts during the Aug. 1 meeting.

Council member George Haehn advocated for quickly transitioning all city council seats to single-member as soon as possible.

Other propositions included adopting a few new ordinances, changing the title of city secretary to city clerk and increasing the rate of pay for council members and the mayor.

Fletcher said the committee felt officials deserved a raise in pay. The committee recommended increasing the mayor’s stipend from $75 to $150 per month, and council members from $50 to $100.

Haehn wanted to eliminate the stipend increase proposition, citing $50 as an adequate rate of pay per city meeting attended.

“We got involved with city council to serve, not to make money,” Haehn said.

Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Lane supported the increase in pay because it might encourage more residents who have family and work obligations. to run for council seats.

According to the city of Kyle charter, the mayor of Kyle is paid $200 per month and council members are each paid $100 per month for their service.

Bonnie Gonzalez, Dripping Springs communications specialist, said that city’s elected officials serve on a volunteer basis and are not compensated for their time.

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