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Meeting talks money for an incorporated Alamo
Original post made
on Aug 11, 2008
Will Alamo become a town? According to a recently released financial study, it's quite possible. Residents had a chance to get some of their questions answered at a community meeting last Thursday at the Creekside Church
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Monday, August 11, 2008, 12:55 PM
Posted by Alamo Ron
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 12, 2008 at 11:52 am
Dear Rachel and Keith,
Regarding your concerns about the "definition of government" for Alamo, there is an excellent article by Dave Dolter on this topic. It was originally printed in the April 2008 issue of Alamo Today and is available on the Alamo Incorporation website under the Informational Articles link. The title is "What Are the Governance Requirements for the Town of Alamo?"
This will provide you with specific definitions of the structure and function not only of Alamo's government but also of the government of California cities in general as mandated by the state constitution and California Code.
Here is the article:
What Are the Governance Requirements for the Town of Alamo?
Alamo Today -- April 2008
Dave Dolter, Alamo Incorporation Movement
The requirements for organizing a city (or town) are found in the California State Constitution and in state statutes, particularly the Government Code. Unlike counties, which are legal subdivisions of the state, California cities are municipal corporations. There are three types of cities:
* General law cities organized under state law, which describes their powers and specifies their structure.
* Charter cities are organized under a specific charter describing the powers and organization the city will adopt, approved by a vote of the citizens of the city
* Combined City and County San Francisco, the only one, is a charter city/county.
State law requires Alamo to incorporate as a general law city, and the law provides wide leeway in how general law cities organize themselves. Many small and medium sized general law cities are contract cities and these cities contract for a wide variety of municipal services. Alamo will be a contract city initially and likely for many years following incorporation.
The government of a general law city is vested in:
* A city council of at least five members
* A city clerk
* A city treasurer
* A chief of police
* Any other subordinate officers or employees provided by law
The Alamo Incorporation Movement application to LAFCO (the Local Agency Formation Commission responsible under state law for incorporations) requested that Alamo have five council members elected at-large, i.e., elected by all registered Alamo voters. To comply with the requirements for other officers, the Town Council will need to adopt an ordinance providing for the Council-Manager form of government where the Council appoints a professionally trained city manager to manage the daily affairs of the Town. The city manager would also appoint any other of the above officers designated by the Town Council, typically the city clerk. Since the provision of police services will initially be provided by contract, the police chief will be the contract police officer in charge. Likewise, the city treasurer may be appointed by the city manager and in small communities, the finance director may fill this role as well. The city manager would also select and appoint other department heads and employees, such as his or her assistant, the planning/community development director, city engineer/ director of public works, etc.
In many general law cities, the positions of city clerk and/or city treasurer are elected officials. The Council could also choose to appoint them instead of the city manager Post-incorporation, these positions could be made elective if voters approve a ballot measure to do so.
Every city has a city attorney although state law does not require one. A city attorney is typically the other direct appointee of the Town Council (in addition to the city manager). Typically a small community would contract for these legal services with law firms that specialize in municipal law.
One of the compelling reasons for incorporation is for Alamo citizens to influence land use planning and development directly. State law dictates that there must be a planning agency for these purposes. State law also requires the council to adopt an ordinance assigning the functions of this planning agency to a planning department, one or more planning commissions, administrative bodies or hearing officers, the council itself, or any combination it deems appropriate and necessary.
To assure community involvement, cities typically provide for a planning commission of five to seven members to advise the council on such matters. Indeed, the council cannot act on many planning matters until it receives a recommendation from the planning commission. For example, in many cities, the planning commission has final approval of subdivision maps (unless appealed to the council).
In Alamo, this commission will have important initial duties including crafting and recommending a new general plan (required by law), a new zoning ordinance to implement the new general plan (also required by law) a new subdivision ordinance (required by state law) and other duties as referred to it by the council.
No other commissions are required by law. However, active citizen participation in local government is vital. To this end, councils typically create advisory committees and commissions to help with city governance. Members serve without compensation except for reimbursement of approved business expenses. Where appropriate, youth representatives may also be appointed.
In Alamo's case, the creation of these advisory bodies will be at the discretion of the elected Alamo Town Council. However, the council will be receptive to the desires of Alamo residents. Merely as a guideline, the following is a list of the committees and commissions established by our neighboring communities. Note that these entities were created over a period of many years - Alamo would need to start small and assess our local needs over time.
Parks and Leisure Services Commission
Heritage Resource Commission
Design Review Board
Architectural Review Board
Arts Advisory Committee
Building Inspection Board of Appeals
Community Cable TV - Board of Directors
Economic Development Advisory Committee
Housing Advisory Committee
Library Advisory Committee
Open Space & Conservation Advisory Committee
Parks & Community Services Commission
Policy Committee of the City Council
San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission
Senior Citizen Advisory Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Advisory Committee
Tri-Valley Transportation Council (TVTC)
Design Review Commission
Park, Recreation & Open Space
Bedford Gallery Advisory Council
Bicycle Advisory Committee
Civic Arts Education Advisory Council
Golf Course Advisory Committee
Parks, Trails & Recreation
Committees & Task Forces