Van Alstyne appoints charter commission

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Mayor Jim Atchison proclaimed the week of Sept. 17- 23 Constitution week in Van Alstyne.  From left: Atchison, Laura Hornbeck and Laura Cooper from Daughters of the American Revolution, and city council members Marla Butler, Bruce Dawsey, Katrina Arsenault and Lee Thomas.

The Van Alstyne City Council voted Sept. 14 to create a charter commission. This is the first step toward a future election that would make the city a home rule city. 

Under Texas law cities are classified as either general law cities or home rule cities.  The major difference between the two designations is that a general law city can only perform functions that the State legislature, through law, allows it to do.  A home rule city can pass any laws or regulations it deems necessary unless specifically prohibited by state law. 

In order for a city to be classified as a home rule city, it must hold an election to ratify the city charter, which essentially serves as the city’s constitution. Home rule cities must also have a population of at least 5,000 people. According to the most recent estimates, Van Alstyne’s population is now nearly 4,700 and growing fast.  

The newly appointed commission will work closely with senior city staff, elected officials and consultants to draft a charter that will ultimately be presented to voters.   

Members appointed by the council to the charter commission include Jim Atchison, Ryan Neal, Marla Butler, Bruce Dawsey, Lee Thomas, Katrina Arsenault, Dusty Wells, Robert Jaska, Griff Servati, Jim DuBois, Mike Drynan, Steve DeLuna, Christy Allen Wilson, Larry Cooper and Bob Hendricks. Ryan Laing was appointed as an alternate. 

Celebration the Constitution 

Also during the Sept. 14, Mayor Jim Atchison proclaimed the week of Sept. 17 through25 to be Constitution Week in the city of Van Alstyne. Laura Hornbeck and Laura Cooper from Daughters of the American Revolution were on hand for the proclamation.