Senoia to meet on change in charter, sewer rates

The Senoia City Council will hold a workshop on Oct. 3 to discuss items that include a change in the city’s charter and a potential hike in sewer rates.

The charter change topic was included in the workshop because the council wanted to discuss the potential for changing the city charter from the current Strong Mayor-Council form of government to the Council-Manager form.

Most municipalities in Georgia utilize the Strong Mayor-Council, Weak Mayor-Council or Council-Manager forms of government, according to the Ga. Municipal Association (GMA).

The Strong Mayor form is one that has the mayor serve as the city’s chief executive officer, with full responsibility for the city’s daily operations. As such, the mayor normally possesses the power to hire and fire department heads and other city staff, prepare and administer of the city’s budget, and execute contracts. The mayor may also have the authority to appoint council committees, veto legislation passed by the council, and appoint members to city advisory boards. In some cities, particularly larger ones, the mayor may appoint a professional administrator (chief administrative officer, city administrator, etc.) to assist in carrying out the daily operations of the city, according to GMA.

Also with the Strong Mayor-Council form, the city council is responsible for enacting city policies through the adoption of ordinances and resolutions.

Under the Council-Manager form, the city council provides the primary policy-making role, and an appointed city manager provides the primary executive role. It combines the strong political leadership of the elected mayor and council with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. the structure of a municipality operating under the council-manager form of government is similar to the structure of a corporation. To this end, the municipality’s citizens are treated as shareholders that elect a city council to serve as their board of directors. The city council establishes the city’s policies, while a professional city manager, hired by the city council, is charged with implementing the council’s policies. In this capacity, the city manager functions similarly to a corporation’s chief executive officer, according to GMA.

The potential charter change will be discussed at the workshop, but no vote will be taken.

The other agenda item at the workshop will deal with sewer rates. The issue with those rates is that the city’s financing agreements require that operating revenues be 110 percent of expenditures. The sewer system operated in the red last year, largely due to the ongoing effects of the recession.

The Oct. 3 meeting will be held at the Stone Lodge at Marimac Lakes Park.

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