TAYLOR, Texas - Voters in Taylor will have the final say on whether to give city council members a big-time pay raise.
"I want it rescinded, and if it has to go to the elections, then so be it," said Dwayne Ariola, a Taylor city council member.
Taylor City Council voted to put its most recent pay increase in the hands of voters. This after more than 1,300 people signed a petition saying $500 per meeting, and $750 per meeting for the mayor, was just too much, instead suggesting a more modest raise.
"That's what I wanted, but for the town I think it would've been better if the town had just rescinded the original one and accepted what the compensation committee had chosen," said Terry Burris, who organized the first petition.
One petition quickly turned into two.
"The thing that drove us to do the second was that referendum was temporary, and city council has 100 percent control over what they do after that referendum vote," said Gary Gola, who organized the second petition. "The message is they need to listen to voters."
The second petition proposes several amendments to the City Charter. The first would lock in council pay at $125 per meeting, something only voters would have the power to change.
If approved, the petition would also declare the "at-large" member of council as the mayor, and it would ensure city council meetings or workshops are actually held in Taylor.
"Our council went to Horseshoe Bay and spent the night at a resort and held an actual council meeting," Gola said. "If they're going to hold council meetings, they need to do it within the city limits of Taylor so the citizens can attend those meetings."
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Gola also wants to see a 72-hour period between introducing an ordinance and voting on it.
"They schedule two back-to-back meetings on the same day, one at 5:30 p.m. to introduce the ordinance and one at 6 p.m. to vote on it," Gola said. "So we want to put a waiting period on our city charter so we're similar to a lot of towns around us."
But since this second petition aims at amending the city's charter, Burris says he thinks it needs more input before it lands inthe hands of city council and perhaps voters.
"I think that the charter should be amended by a committee of citizens in open public forum," Burris said.
Gola has turned in his petition to the city, and now the city is verifying all the signatures. If he has enough, Taylor City Council can choose to put the issue on the ballot in May as well.
The City of Taylor declined to comment on this story.