A judge has issued a temporary restraining order removing the city’s term limits proposition from the Nov. 6 election ballot less than 24 hours after the City Council placed it there.
The Tarrant County judge granted the TRO in response to a lawsuit filed by residents against the city of Arlington.
At issue is Proposition E, which the council added Tuesday to offer as an alternative to the other term limits proposition sponsored by a group of residents. The lawsuit argues that the council didn’t vote on the item the required two times.
Judge Jeff Walker heard the case in the 352nd District Court on Wednesday before granting the TRO.
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“I’m very excited to tell you that today the citizens won big,” said Zack Maxwell, who led the petition effort to get a stronger term limit proposal on the ballot. “This will require that the city council remove from the ballot the extra proposition that it slipped onto the ballot last night. We were not granted a win with our lawsuit. We were simply given a temporary restraining order.”
Maxwell had a news conference inside Arlington City Hall to announce the win Wednesday afternoon.
Proposition E, sponsored by the council, would have expanded council terms from two years to three years and allowed them to serve three consecutive terms. The proposition would not have counted past service — it would have allowed all council members and the mayor to serve another nine years.
“We have effectively killed the two proposition outcome,” Maxwell said. “The final deadline to get something on the ballot is Monday, August 20. They saw the city really was not being as transparent as they could with the voters. It’s a clear message to the city council of Arlington that the voters are not to be messed with.”
Proposition F, brought on by Maxwell’s petition, which had more than 11,000 signatures, will still be on the ballot. It limits council members and the mayor to three two-year terms and would be retroactive, forcing five council members out in the next two years.
The council and Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce strongly oppose the retroactive option, arguing that so much turnover in two years could be detrimental to the city’s economic success.
Supporters say Proposition F is needed to give newcomers a chance to run for council without having to face an entrenched incumbent.
City officials released a statement late Wednesday in response to the judge’s decision. The first court hearing on the injunction is set for Aug. 24.
“The City of Arlington received a temporary restraining order today regarding the anticipated November 6th election,” the statement read. “Currently the City is reviewing the temporary order and preparing our case for the injunction hearing.”
Parks, fire stations among major bond projects
Arlington voters will also consider a $189.5 million bond package that includes several road projects, park and trail improvements and rebuilding two fire stations and making major improvements at existing city facilities.
The bond package will be split into four propositions. Here’s a look at the highlights:
Proposition A: Street improvements
▪ $33.9 million to reconstruct existing residential streets throughout the city
▪ $22 million to widen Debbie Lane from the city limits to Texas 360
▪ $15 million to make intersections improvements at nine locations
▪ $14.6 million to widen Mansfield Webb Road from Silo Road to Collins Street
▪ $13 million to widen Sublet Road from the city limits to Joplin Road
Proposition B: Parks and Recreation
▪ $4 million for improvements at Richard Simpson Park, including playground, trail, benches, overlook, pier and boat storage
▪ $3.5 million to extend the Johnson Creek Trail from Meadowbrook Park to Julia Bergen Park, adding about a half-mile of trail
▪ $3 million to acquire land for a new Youth Athletic Complex
▪ $3 million to complete design of a Multi-Generational facility
▪ $2.6 million to widen and realign about 2 miles of the River Legacy Park linear trail
▪ $2.5 million to extend the River Legacy Park trail west to Fort Worth as part of a Fort Worth-to-Dallas trail network.
Proposition C: Public Safety Facilities
▪ $9.5 million to rebuild Fire Station 8 at its current site
▪ $9 million to rebuild Fire Station 6 at its current site.
▪ $6 million to design and construction a new police evidence storage facility
Proposition D: Public Facilities
▪ $8 million to make major repairs and replace aging in roofs, generators, air conditioners and elevators at city facilities