The Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday night voted to adopt a new city charter, replacing the original which dates back to 1937.
The proposed new charter will be sent to the Tennessee General Assembly for passage. Once it has been approved there, the new charter will return to the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen for passage again.
Mayor Ria Baker says many provisions of the old city charter are out of date and need to be changed to conform to state law.
One of the proposed changes, which had been under consideration but not mandatory, was to conduct the Alexandria city election in conjunction with the August General Election every two years, rather than in September.
City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. says the city could have saved a lot of money by making this change. However, after having some reservations, city leaders decided against the move and will leave the city elections as they are now. Having the city elections on even years rather than odd years, would have meant that the terms of the mayor and aldermen would have been altered at least once, in order to get them back on a four year cycle. "We talked about doing (city) elections to correspond with the county elections in August, but those (county) elections don't run in odd years. (City elections are in odd years). I called the mayor and talked to her about that situation. We also talked to MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) about it and I felt like their solution wasn't too acceptable because it meant either extending some people's terms by a year or more or reducing them by a year or more".
The Alexandria City Election is held every two years in September. The terms of the mayor and six aldermen stagger. A mayor and three aldermen are elected in one year and the other three aldermen are elected in the following election. Each term is for four years.
Parsley says passage of this new charter has been more than a year in the making. "We have worked on this charter for about a year now. You folks have to pass this charter and then it has to go to the legislature and they have to have three readings to pass it. Then it has to come back to you and ya'll have to pass it by a two thirds vote and then we send it to the Secretary of State and then it becomes the charter of the City of Alexandria."
"The City of Alexandria has had some amendments to their charter (over the years) but a lot of our original charter is still antiquated. The old charter had a provision for a marshal for the town and some other things that are no longer applicable. This (new charter) sets out better (provisions) for how the town should work and function. This (new charter) was recommended by MTAS. It's not something that just came about by one person's decision. MTAS has been talking to the city about this for a little more than a year. Provisions of the new charter clear up some things that we didn't have in the original charter and it deletes some things, such as we won't have language in the charter for a city marshal anymore. It does provide for bonds and things that werent in the original charter. Several are provisions that never have been there and it does repeal certain parts that are no longer necessary."
(Click here to listen to Tuesday night's Alexandria City Council Meeting in it's entirety at http://www.wjle.com/node/6931)