Saturday, July 5, 2008

A City Charter

The first item on the agenda is to educate people on what exactly a charter city is and why it was established in the first place. Springfield, MO is a charter city as has been duly voted on by the population at large long before I arrived here in town.

A charter city is a city in which the governing system is defined by the city's own charter document rather than by state, provincial, regional or national laws. In locations where city charters are allowed by law, a city can adopt or modify its organizing charter by a majority vote of its residents. A charter gives a city's residents the flexibility to choose any kind of government structure allowed by law.

A city organized under a charter may choose different systems, including the "strong mayor" or "city manager" forms of government, of which in Springfield we have the "city manager" form of government at this current point.

It is said at one point in the cities history that the "strong mayor" type of government was instituted at the charters passing, however fraud and abuse of this position convinced the people to change the form of government so an elected official didn't have so much power but an employee of the city.

A charter city may have some exemptions from some state or provincial laws, which varies entirely from region to region.

n Missouri, cities are classified into three types: Class 3, Class 4, and those under constitutional charters. A few older cities are incorporated under legislative charters (Carrollton, Chillicothe, LaGrange, Liberty, Miami, Missouri City, and Pleasant Hill) which are no longer allowed. The level at which they incorporate is determined by their population when they incorporate. They do not change if they gain or lose in population, unless a vote is held by the people. A municipality may incorporate as a Class 4 city if the population is between 500 and 2,999 (under 500, it must incorporate as a village - see list of villages in Missouri). It may incorporate as a Class 3 city if the population is between 3,000 and 29,999. There is more flexibility in government for Class 3 cities than Class 4.

Cities under constitution charters may operate under any form of municipal government if it is enacted in the city's charter.

Click on the following link to see which cities in MO operate under which form of government

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