Election
1:04 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

The 18 Propositions Before Austin Voters This November (Updated)

Update 2 (Nov. 5): Early voting is over in Austin, but on Election Day (Nov. 6) Austin voters can cast ballots at any polling place in Travis County. For more on the local issues facing voters, see our topic page, "Austin Election: Bonds, Props and More." 

Update (Oct. 22): Early voting began today, Monday, Oct. 22. KUT News has more information, including a map of early voting locations. And for more information on the $385 million in bond spending proposals, check out KUT News’ bond election coverage.

Original post (September 13, 2012): Austin elections are traditionally sleepy affairs – you can look at local turnout to bear that out.

But moreover, the elections themselves are pretty straightforward: the election of the mayor and city council members (held in May), or every few years, a bond election to fund city initiatives (usually held in November.)

This fall, it’s a different story: While no elected positions are on the ballot, a $385 million bond election, coupled with several possible amendments to the city charter, means Austin voters will face a whopping 18 propositions when they head to the polls on Nov. 6. Below, we list them all.

A note: The 18 props listed below are all city propositions. The local health care district, Central Health, has a separate proposition, Prop 1, which calls for a five cent tax increase to finance a medical school and leverage federal Medicaid dollars. 

City Charter: Props. 1-10

The city charter – Austin’s governing document – can only be changed once every two years. While competing propositions to bring geographic city council representation to Austin have garnered the most attention, there's several other major changes proposed to local government: from the months in which elections are held, to potential land partnerships with the Austin school district. Here they are: 

PROP. 1: Shall the city charter be amended to move the City’s general election date from May to November?

PROP. 2: Shall the city charter be amended to move the City’s general election date from May to November, to provide that council members serve four-year staggered terms, to provide that council elections occur in even-numbered years, and to limit the mayor and council members to two terms?

PROP. 3: Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from 10 geographical single-member districts, with the mayor to be elected from the city at large, and to provide for an independent citizens redistricting commission?

PROP. 4: Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from eight geographical single-member districts, with the mayor and two additional council members to be elected from the city at large?

PROP. 5: Shall the city charter be amended to permit the members of the city council and the city council’s appointees to hire and manage their own staffs?

PROP. 6: Shall the city charter be amended to provide that the city council appoint the city attorney?

PROP. 7: Shall the city charter be amended to reduce the number of signatures needed for a citizen initiated ordinance or referendum?

PROP. 8: Shall the city charter be amended to allow council members to raise political funds for 30 days after an election in which the council member was elected?

PROP. 9: Shall the city charter be amended to permit the city council to lease parkland to an independent school district for a purpose that the council has found, by a two-thirds majority, is a park purpose?

PROP. 10: Shall the city charter be amended to provide a civil service system for most city employees who are not already covered by a state civil service statute?

You can read more about the charter amendments here, including a few that didn’t make onto the ballot.

EMS Civil Service: Prop. 11

PROP. 11: Adoption of the emergency medical services personnel civil service law.

As KUT News previously reported, Austin police and firefighters enjoy civil service protections including collective bargaining and job protections, but EMS providers do not. This item, if approved by voters, would give EMS workers similar powers and protections, including stronger contract negotiations.

Bond Election: Props. 12-18

As seen below, the City Council has approved a $385 million bond package, but divvied it up into seven categories: Transportation, open space, parks and recreation, affordable housing, public safety, health & human services, and arts & cultural facilities.

PROP. 12: The issuance of $143,299,000 transportation and mobility improvement bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 13: The issuance of $30,000,000 open space and watershed protection bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 14: The issuance of $77,680,000 park and recreation improvement bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 15: The issuance of $78,300,000 housing bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 16: The issuance of $31,079,000 public safety facility improvement bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 17: The issuance of $11,148,000 health and human services facility improvement bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

PROP. 18: The issuance of $13,442,000 library, museum, and cultural arts facility improvement bonds and notes and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

The bond propositions cover more projects than we can list: the city has an overview of potential projects online. Early voting begins on Oct. 22.