Have you ever tried to figure out a maze? You travel down a path and find yourself at a dead end, forcing you to backtrack to find another way out. Well, Midway is in that maze right now — it’s called the city charter.
Anyone who tries to navigate the charter comes to dead ends, because parts of the charter apparently are missing.
Whoever is in charge of maintaining Midway’s important documents has done a poor job of compiling the amendments over the years. How can the city council guide the workings of the city without this important document?
What’s so important about a charter? A city charter is a document that outlines the conditions under which a city is organized and defines its rights and privileges. Without all of the amendments, we don’t even know the exact boundaries of Midway, which has changed since the original charter. There appears to be three different city-limit maps. Which is correct? The city attorney is rewriting the charter and asked the mayor and the council members to send suggestions to him. After three years, he still is waiting on responses from the mayor and two council members.
By the way, the original charter of 1955, under section 24, states, “The mayor and council of said city shall have the power therein to close, open and keep in good order and repair roads ... and to provide how said paving, maintenance or care shall be paid.”
Note the words “mayor and council.”
I guess the mayor did not read this section before she signed an application for a grant from Georgia Department of Transportation to pave a city street. The council did not authorize the expenditure that assigned our tax dollars to this project.
According to the initial charter, it takes the approval of both the mayor and city council to make such a commitment. The mayor does not have the power to enter into contracts or commit the city to financial obligations without the council’s approval.
In 2006, the council passed the original version of the Transient Merchant, Peddlers and Solicitors Ordinance, but the city attorney suggested changes to the ordinance in August 2011.The council took eight months to reply and, since then, the ordinance has bounced from the attorney to the mayor to the council and, in April 2012, to the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, where it was lost for a year without any follow-up by the city’s mayor or clerk.
Why is it so difficult for the city to maintain its important documents and keep them up to date? Why does the city have to pass the buck when the charter gives the mayor and council the power to make laws and write the ordinances without waiting for feedback from agencies outside of the city? I guess it’s that maze.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway.