What is a Town Charter?

Home Rule towns are required to write and adopt a Charter. The Charter, for all practical purposes, is a Municipal Constitution that is written and adopted by the citizens of the Home Rule town via an election. The Charter defines and limits the powers, duties, and responsibilities of local government based on local preferences and desires. It defines the form of local government and establishes organizational provisions. The citizens determine the necessary controls over their town government such as elections, referendums, initiatives and recall, and definition of the procedures to amend the Charter. Essentially, the Town Charter describes and defines local government based on local preferences and controls as opposed to general laws which have been written by the Texas legislature such as:

  • It is a natural progression in the life of the community. In a sense, it is a graduation from a small city to a larger city that recognizes the issues are different and more complex than when the community was smaller.
  • The Home Rule Charter permits the community to define for itself the nature and form of city government rather than the Legislature. Every Texas community has its own needs, issues, and concerns. The best place to have those needs addressed is by the local citizens.
  • It helps the local community to promote itself as a well-managed and thoughtful community. This can be a significant benefit when dealing with a myriad of economic development and growth issues. Decision-makers understand the importance of local self-governance and tend to respect communities that have undertaken a deliberate process of defining the role and responsibility of their local government.
  • It removes the community from the whims of the Texas Legislature.

Show All Answers

1. What are some of the distinctions between a General Law Town and Home Rule Town?
2. What is a Town Charter?
3. What is Home Rule?