The Role Of The City Council

Recently, we did an educational piece on how Kings Mountain is managed in the Council-Manager form of government. Since then, we’ve had a few people ask the question: so what exactly is the Council responsible for overseeing?

The simple answer: apart from the day-to-day operations of City government, quite a bit.

Our Council-Manager form of government is pretty clearly outlined under state law:

“Except as otherwise provided by law, the government and general management of the city shall be vested in the council” (§ 160A-67). This also includes the authority to organize and reorganize city government (§ 160A-146), and except when expressly prevented by other laws, the council can “…create, change, abolish, and consolidate offices, positions, departments, boards, commissions, and agencies .. to promote the orderly and efficicent administration of the city.”
Simply put… the buck stops with the Council.

The National League of Cities expands on some of the roles of the Council. These include…

  • Reviewing and approving the annual budget (an important role that we will talk more about soon)
  • Establishing long-term and short-term objectives and priorities
  • Overseeing the performance of local city employees and the effectiveness of city programs

These go on…

  • Establishing tax rates (again an important role that we will talk more about soon)
  • Borrowing funds to pay for city services, programs, etc
  • Entering into legal contracts
  • Passing local ordinances and resolutions
  • Regulating land use through local zoning laws

The Council also has the responsibility of modifying the City charter (where appropriate), communicating policies and programs to residents, responding to constituent needs and complaints, and representing the community to other levels of government.

As you can see, the roles and responsibilites of the City Council are quite numerous – and extremely important to the long-term and short-term functioning and improvement of the City.

So, as important issues come up over the next few months leading up to November’s election, it’s important to also remember that the Council shouldn’t be passing the buck.

After all, they are elected to represent our community and bestowed by law with several key roles and responsibilities.

The buck stops with them.

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