Charlottesville voters, at large, elect a five member Council to serve as the City's legislative and governing body. The members serve four year terms, and they elect one Councilor to serve as Mayor and one as Vice Mayor for two years. Municipal elections are held in November in odd-numbered years. The terms of Council members are staggered so that three are elected in one year and two are elected two years later. If a vacancy occurs, Council elects a new member to serve out the unexpired term.
The Mayor presides over meetings, calls special meetings, makes some appointments to advisory boards and serves as the ceremonial head of government. The Vice Mayor substitutes whenever the Mayor is unavailable.
City Council appoints the City Manager, the Director of Finance, the City Assessor, the Clerk of the Council and members of major policy-making Boards and Commissions. The clerk represents Council to the public during regular business hours, notifying citizens of Council meetings and maintaining public records of the meetings. Council makes policy in the areas of city planning and finances, human development, public safety and justice, public utilities, and transportation. It has specific powers to pass ordinances, levy taxes, collect revenues, adopt a budget, make appropriations, issue bonds, borrow money, and provide for the payment of public debts.
Regular meetings of the Council are held the first and third Mondays each month at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers (in City Hall on the Downtown Mall at 7th and East Main Streets). The meetings are televised live on Charlottesville TV 10 and may also be viewed as live or archived streaming video on the web. Council may hold additional work sessions; meetings are open to the public. Agendas of regular Council meetings are available in advance from the clerk or on the Council website. Time is open for up to twelve speakers on subjects not scheduled for a public hearing at the beginning of each regular meeting. Additional time is open for speakers at the end of the each meeting. Speakers are asked to limit their remarks to three minutes. Upon written or phone request, the Clerk of Council will answer questions about Council business and add items to meeting agendas.
Clerk of Council
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