Local Governments

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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!
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