Local governments are closest to the people They affect you more than any level of government They serve you in your home, school streetlights stop sign, pipes that carry your drinking water They are: workers who build and maintain roads Police sanitation crews Counties Cities Special districts Everyone living in Georgia lives in a County Counties are created by the State Legislature In Georgia’s first constitution there were 8 counties Most counties are headed by elected: county commission - elected by the county voters for 4 years, staggered terms. The commission has a combination of legislative and executive power More than half of Georgia counties have a county administrator or county manager who carries out day to day work of the county government Chatham County The 3rd county formed in Georgia Incorporated: February 5, 1777 Population: 232,048 Total Area: 440.4 Square miles County commissions enact laws regarding local property and affairs These laws are called county ordinances -laws that affect local affairs: recreation program traffic regulations provide trial courts State health and welfare programs Voter registration State elections Build and repair roads and bridges Record property ownership Births Deaths Marriages Registering automobiles/state automobile tags Fire protection Sewer system Public transportation Parks Libraries Police departments Recreation facilities Public health facilities A city is a community that has been incorporated officially created by the state legislature A city with its own government is a municipality Cities are made because people want certain services not provided by the county http://www.savannahga.gov/cityweb/Savannah GaGOV.nsf/mainportal/government?opendocum ent A city exists as a political unit with: At least 200 people living in the area Be at least 3 miles from the boundary of an existing city Be 50% developed and divided into tracts designated for residential, commercial, industrial, governmental, or institutional purposes Consolidated city City charters allow the city to: Provide police protection Maintain streets and sidewalks control traffic Provide for water and sewage services Some cities were formed before counties were made: Savannah Augusta Most cities are small There were 527 cities in the 2000 census Georgia has 246 cities that have fewer than 1,000 people 62 cities have populations larger than 10,000 people City council: governing body of a city also known as a city commission Cities have an elected mayor who is the leader of the city Mayor –Council government with a “Strong Mayor” Mayor-council government with a “Weak Mayor” Council-Manager Elected city council responsible for making the laws Mayor may be either weak or strong Mayor –Council government with a “Strong Mayor” Mayor has total responsibility for day-to day operations Mayors hires and fires staff Prepares the budget mayor has Veto power ceremonial head of government City council decides policies but no administrative power, limited power, may over ride veto Atlanta Mayor has limited powers Mayor and city council share power Mayor may preside over council meetings Mayor has little veto power Mayor appoints department head with council approval Mayor serves as ceremonial head City council decides policies and makes laws Smyrna Mayor presides over meeting but little executive power Mayor serves as ceremonial head Set up like a corporation Citizens elect a city council City council hires a city manager City council decides policies and makes laws Appointed by the city council to administer the government and can be removed by it. Prepares the budget Administers daily operations Hires and fires staff Oversees meetings Ceremonial duties Most of Georgia’s cities have a Mayor-council form of government Are made for special purposes: School districts MARTA CAT bus system School districts They make their own rules and regulations They can charge a fee What is Savannah? A Mayor Council “strong mayor” form of government or a Mayor Council “weak mayor” form of government or a Council-Manager? Find out, write it up and submit!