An Analysis of Texas' Municipal Home Rule Charters Since 1994
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Many small towns have experienced tremendous growth in the latter part of the twentieth century. Cities whose populations have surpassed 5,000 residents often seek status as a home rule city in order to better deal with the challenges of growth. The structure of a home rule charter, combined with the change in legal status, allows a city much more authority and flexibility to deal with the varied issues that arise.
This project is in response to Terrell Blodgett's 1994 work for the Texas Municipal League, Texas Home Rule Charters. The main purpose of this project is descriptive: to describe the structure of government outlined in the twenty home rule charters adopted since the conclusion of Blodgett's work. The descriptive categories used in this research are: Form of Government; Mayor; City Council; City Manager; Departments, Offices, and Boards; Financial Administration; Initiative, Referendum, and Recall; and Charter Amendments. This research uses content analysis to examine the municipal home rule charters, as well as a case study involving the City of Kyle and their attempt to obtain home rule status.
This research indicates that the council-manger form continues to be the most popular system of government for Texas home rule cities. Cities in Texas realize the importance of structuring their government in a workable, flexible document. Continued research is still needed to fully follow-up Blodgett's study and to effectively study the role that Blodgett's book plays in the home rule process.