AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) – Those who attend Amarillo’s City Council will have to arrive at city hall much earlier to make the meeting, beginning next month.
City Council currently meets at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays for public comment and its regular agenda.
Beginning September 4th, meetings will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
The evening to morning time switch is being tested out for 90 days.
The city says after that period, it’ll evaluate if the meeting will remain at 7 in the morning or change again.
A lawsuit against the City of Amarillo claims city council members and the mayor violated the Texas Open Meetings Act multiple times.
Claudette Smith and Michael Fisher filed a complaint with the Potter County District Clerk claiming that city council members Place Two Freda Powell, Place Three Eddy Sauer, and Place Four Howard Smith attended a public forum on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, put on by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, they say that would represent a quorum, thereby violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Allegations over a conflict of interest involving an Amarillo city council member and the mayor led to a heated public comment period Tuesday – only exacerbating the turmoil between certain community members and the city council.
Residents Mike Fisher and Claudette Smith attended the public comment period at Tuesday’s city council meeting where business dealings among council members and First Amendment Rights violations were raised. Fisher questioned Amarillo City Council Member Eddy Sauer and Mayor Ginger Nelson’s separate ownership in companies located downtown that he says benefitted financially from the city. Specifically mentioned was Amarillo’s “Center City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone” (TIRZ), a public financing tool using increased property tax revenue for downtown development projects.
Claudette Smith has announced her intention to run for mayor next year.
On Tuesday, Smith, an Amarillo paralegal and activist, announced during the City Council’s meeting that she will run against incumbent Mayor Ginger Nelson in the 2019 municipal elections. Smith is the first of an expected crowd of candidates to announce a bid against Nelson.