PAC seeking billboard charter amendment fails to meet signature threshold
The City of Round Rock has announced that a petition filed by the “Keep Round Rock Safe” Political Action Committee (PAC), seeking a charter amendment to allow 12 new electronic billboards along IH-35 and SH-45, did not meet the necessary threshold of valid voter signatures to be placed on a ballot.
The petition was in response to the City’s long-standing ordinance that prohibits new billboards in the City of Round Rock.
Only 2,798 of the 4,190 signatures submitted by the PAC in December were found to be valid. Under Section 9.004 of the Texas Local Government Code, citizens can compel the City Council to call an election on a proposed charter amendment by submitting a valid petition signed by 5% of the qualified voters of the city, which in this case was 3,189. Of the 1,392 signatures determined to be invalid, 1,268 were due to the individual residing outside of Round Rock city limits, such as a Municipal Utility District (MUD).
In 2022 and early 2023, the advertising company named MediaChoice engaged with City of Round Rock officials about the company’s desire to construct new electronic billboards. The City Council did not indicate any intention to reverse the City’s current ban on new off-premises signs and billboards. During the summer of 2023, residents began receiving texts with surveys related to the issue from “WAB Research,” and later, “Keep Round Rock Safe PAC.” This prompted the City to clarify in August that these communications were not affiliated with the City of Round Rock. Starting in November 2023, the City became aware of canvassers with the PAC gathering petition signatures door-to-door and in public gathering spaces for the proposal, and residents received multiple mailers from the PAC.
PAC representatives submitted the petition and signatures to City Hall on Dec. 26, 2023. In accordance with state law, the City conducted a validation process over the course of roughly three weeks, which included comparing the signatures to registered voter lists from Williamson and Travis Counties.
“I have shared my disappointment with the techniques used by this PAC to obtain signatures, including unauthorized use of the City’s logo and several misleading statements in their marketing materials,” said Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan. “This has been an exercise in our democratic process, and at this time, the PAC’s failure to secure sufficient valid signatures has shown that adding 12 new electronic billboards to Round Rock’s landscape is not a priority for our residents.”
For more information on this issue, visit roundrocktexas.gov/billboards.
Required filings for the Keep Round Rock Safe Political Action Committee can be found on the Texas Ethics Commission’s Campaign Finance Reports portal using Filer ID 00087895.
RELATED DOCUMENT: Certificate of Insufficiency
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Source: City of Round Rock