How the City Works

The Horseshoe Bay Charter

Read about the differences between the City government, POAs (Property Owner Associations), ACCs (Architectural Control Committees), and the HSB Resort: Governance in the City of Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay is a "Home Rule City"

In Texas there are two kinds of cities: Home Rule cities and general law cities. There are more than 1,200 cities in Texas.

But what is a Home Rule City? Home Rule cities are cities with populations of more than 5,000 in which citizens have adopted home rule charters. A city charter is a document that establishes the city's governmental structure and provides for the distribution of powers and duties among the various branches of government. In order to be implemented, the charter must be approved by voters at an election. Likewise, changes in the charter must be approved via an election.

The legal position of home rule cities is the reverse of general law cities. Rather than looking to state law to determine what they may do, as general law cities must, home rule cities look to the state constitution and state statutes to determine what they may not do. Thus, if a proposed home rule city action has not been prohibited or pre-empted by the state, the city generally can proceed.

Horseshoe Bay uses the Council-Manager form of government 

Horseshoe Bay operates under the 'council-manager' form of government, meaning that the Council appoints the City Manager, who oversees the daily operations of the City. City Council also appoints the City Secretary, City Attorney, Municipal Court Judge, Fire Chief and Police Chief and makes appointments to City boards and commissions. 

The City Council's policy-making role 

The City Council consists of six members, including the Mayor, elected by the voters of the City to staggered terms of two years each. Members receive no compensation. Usually, the City Council meets regularly on the third Tuesday of each month, and may call additional special meetings.

The Council/City Manager/Staff relationship 

The City Council develops broad, policy priorities which are updated regularly. Each priority contains a range of specific programs, projects, policies, or processes which the City Manager, Department Directors, and staff use in developing the actual detailed work programs for the various City departments. In short, the Council develops policy, and the City Manager and staff implement those policies on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to the regular public Council meeting every month, the City Manager and City Secretary meet weekly with the Mayor, and also has meetings with other members of the Council individually or as part of ad hoc or standing committees, on an as-needed basis. These meetings allow staff to translate policy and direction into action for the City.

Horseshoe Bay enjoys a flexible and de-centralized work environment which allows people to make decisions at every level of the organization. This provides the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances, to revise our priorities as needed, and to best address our constituents' needs.

The City Manager and Department Directors meet often to ensure the city is operating at peak efficiency and effectiveness for citizens. Our goal is to provide the best and most responsive service to citizens as possible.