Cities are formed for the purpose of managing the needs of people who live and work in close quarters. Cities provide basic services, such as streets, law enforcement, and utilities, and enact and enforce ordinances to protect citizens and foster a better city environment. City government in Texas, as in most of the United States, was founded on, and continues to evolve from, the premise that local communities know best how to run their local affairs.
Kemah is a Texas Type A general law municipality. Type A general law cities operate under the aldermanic form of government. The term “alderman” is often used interchangeably with the term city council, and the modern name of the board of aldermen is the city council. The size of the council is determined by whether the city is divided into wards (e.g., special districts). See TEX. LOC. GOV’T CODE § 22.031. In cities where there are no wards (which includes most Type A cities), the council is made up of the mayor and five councilmembers. If the city has been divided into wards, the council is made up of a mayor and two councilmembers from each ward. In either case, the mayor does not vote except in the case that his/her vote is needed to break a tie (except in elections). Id. § 22.037. A quorum consists of a majority of councilmembers for general business (e.g., three councilmembers if city does not have wards), and two-thirds of the council for a special or called meeting or a meeting 7 concerning taxation (e.g., four councilmembers if the city does not have wards). Id. §22.039. The mayor does not count toward a quorum in either case. Type A city councilmembers have a two-year term of office. At each new governing body’s first meeting or as soon as possible, the council must elect one of its members to be the mayor pro tem for a term of one year. TEX. LOC. GOV’T CODE §22.037. The mayor pro tem continues to vote, but fills in for the mayor if the mayor refuses or is unable to act.
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