Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023–10:05 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Discussions continued Wednesday regarding the City of Cave Spring Charter, and the desire of the council to change to a city manager form of government.
An open discussion was held during a called city council meeting.
All five members of the council expressed support for having a city manager handle the day-to-day operations instead of an elected mayor. One of the five council members would be selected as chair to handle the running of the council meetings, which is currently one of the mayor’s duties.
Mayor Pro Tem Jason West likes the idea but outlined three steps he would like to see followed in the process. The first is to ensure that the council takes the correct steps in the correct order to get things done right.
“You may recall a year ago we passed some zoning ordinances and we kind of got ahead of ourselves right there at the end, and it delayed it by a few weeks,” he said. “I don’t want to see something like that happen again. I want to make sure we are doing things correctly and not getting ahead of ourselves, so we do not have to go back and repeat any steps because we missed something. I think that’s pretty important.”
Secondly, if the change is not accomplished before this fall’s election, West wants to see a contingency plan put in place to ensure a smooth transition. Thirdly, and most importantly, according to West, is to make sure the city can come up with the funds to support the position.
Mayor Rob Ware echoed that sentiment.
“The biggest concern is how we are going to be how we are going to pay the salary of a city manager,” Ware said.
Meanwhile, council member Joyce Mink believes it’s important that everyone in Cave Spring knows why the council is considering the change.
“When I first started on the council, it was not quite as complicated, but the more I have watched what has happened, the more the mayor has to know to successfully administer the town,” she said. “We’re lucky because Rob has a background in city management, but a mayor without such a background might not be able to handle the sewer project properly. You have to know what the national laws are, and the different state and national grants. It takes a lot of training and background in order to do that.”
Ware agreed that communication and openness during the process are key.
“It’s vital to have the support of the public because this is a big change,” he added.
City Attorney Frank Beacham told the council the next step is to make the necessary changes to the city charter and then pass a resolution to introduce location legislation in the Georgia General Assembly.
“While looking at the charter changes, you are going to have to look at all of the ordinances,” he said. “Some of the ordinances grant the mayor certain powers.”
There is also a question of timing. A lot of work has to be done before a resolution can be submitted to the legislature, and the session ends in March.
The council agreed to meet every Wednesday for the next several weeks.