MILTON, Ga. — As Milton approaches 15 years as a city, officials are looking to move beyond one of its founding provisions.
City leaders are considering a measure that would eliminate a requirement in the city charter that requires Milton to empanel a charter commission every five years. The purpose of the panel is to review provisions embedded in the charter and recommend changes. Proposed changes would be forwarded to the local legislative delegation, and if passed, would be considered for adoption in a referendum.
When Sandy Springs, Milton and Johns Creek incorporated in 2005-06, all three placed requirements in their charters calling for special citizens’ panels to study the founding documents for their effectiveness and recommend any changes to the General Assembly.
Milton requires convening a charter commission every five years. Meanwhile, Johns Creek’s charter required one review five years after incorporation, and Sandy Springs is just beginning its first evaluation.
Milton City Attorney Ken Jarrard said the charter commission requirement is beneficial for the city, but creating and convening the board every five years has diminishing returns, and Milton has reached that point.
The new proposal calls for eliminating the review requirement from the charter. The document could still be altered, but a commission would not be required for any changes, though one could still be created, and any charter alterations would be on an as-needed basis.
“If something is broken in Milton with respects to the charter, [the council] can ask that it be modified at any time and make recommendations either to the General Assembly to change the charter, or establish your own charter commission,” Jarrard said. “But I do not think you need it regimented every five years to go through this. I think you need to do it when you feel like you need to do it.”
Mayor Joe Lockwood said he has taken up the issue with State Rep. Jan Jones, who introduced the legislation incorporating Milton, and it does not make sense to have the five-year review if the charter is working properly.
Lockwood said he thinks the document is working effectively, and creating a charter commission comes with the natural desire to make modifications, even if none are necessary.
The City Council could approve the charter update at its next regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 17.
Another change under consideration would delete stipulations outlined in the charter for the process of adding items to the City Council agenda. Instead, those regulations should be outlined in the city’s rules and procedures, Jarrard said.
In other action before the council, the city extended its COVID-19 emergency ordinance, allowing for virtual meetings of the city’s various boards and committees.
“It’s a modest deviation, purely born out of utilitarian need, just to make sure that if we find a physical quorum can’t meet due to COVID-related issues, the business of the city can be conducted,” Jarrard said.
The council also recognized longtime City Clerk Sudie Gordon who retired after serving with the city since 2010.
Later, the city officially welcomed new City Clerk Tammy Lowit.
Lowit has served as the deputy city clerk for the past year and was an executive aide to Lockwood and Krokoff.