By Cynthia Cousins
Read: Romans 13:1 – admonishes believers to be under the authority of the governing authorities.
Read: 1 Timothy 2:1-2 entreats us to pray for those in authority. (Even when we don’t like him/her.) Let’s look at an often-overlooked voting opportunity, a City Council election, our local governing body. Hopefully this article will lead us to do more research into this legislative body. Reading more about the local elections and the candidates, and their views; reevaluate its importance in our daily life. Become a more engaged and knowledgeable citizen of our community and not put too much stock in any upcoming “presidential election.”
What is a city council? It’s a group of elected officials tasked with serving and representing their constituents’ interests in this legislative body. It also manages the city’s budget, propose, pass, and ratifies laws, and ordinances. The City Council also appoints the City Manager, City Secretary, City Attorney and Municipal Court Judge.
How are the members elected?
Although the requirements to serve may vary from city to city, most areas have usual the age, citizenship, and residential requirements with term limits which also may vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Council members can be elected in single-member districts or at-large, or in some cases, a combination of the two. When council members are elected from single-member districts, the city is divided geographically so that citizens can vote in only one district. This system helps ensure that the issues and problems specific to one part of town are brought to the attention of the entire council.
All citizens may vote for each city council member race when council members are elected at-large. This system can lead to parts of town being ignored by the city council. When voter turnout is low, it is easy for well-connected, affluent citizens to be elected in at-large races.
How many members are on the city council?
It generally consists of 5-50 members, or can have as few as 3?
The odd number of members eliminates the tie-breaker.
What are the members called?
Generally, the members are called council man, council woman, council person.
* In Canada they are usually called a councilor.
Are there term limits established for council members?
Yes, and it’s usually addressed in the city’s charter. After a member has served the allotted time limit, the council member is prohibited from running in the next election cycle.
What will it take to get you involved with your local government?
Let’s say there’s an upcoming bill that proposes parks only allow small dogs in. Your best walking buddy is a 90-pound Akita named Zeus. Would you be interested in voting against that bill? Or, simple decide that the two of you will curtail your walks to just around the neighborhood?
Honestly, this legislative body serves you, the constituent. You can speak to a council member in person, via email, or bring your concerns to them face to face during public hearings to voice your support or opposition to any bill. Good council members want to hear from their constituents. They welcome your voice and your concerns.
Keep in mind, we don’t vote in a vacuum; we vote as a collective, and if enough of us cast our votes in agreement with a just cause, a favorable final tally could bring aid and justice to the people we care most about. I invite you to read Acts 2:44, and imagine a world with that mindset…then make plans to Vote!
WOW…Works of Wonder…The Single Christians Experience is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. WOW exists to glorify God and build His kingdom. WOW fellowships with like minded people and performs community service. WOW represents single Christians throughout the Dallas Fort Worth Texas Metroplex.