Form of Government
The Town of Sawmills operates under the Mayor-Council with Administrator form of Government. The structure of Mayor-Council with Administrator Government is similar to that of any large business. The registered voters of the Town elect the Town Council, and the Council then chooses a full-time Administrator whose duties are assigned by the Town Council and compare to those of a business corporation's General Manager. Mayoral elections are held every four years and the (5) five Council members are elected to four-year overlapping terms. These elections are non-partisan and are held in odd number years. The Town Council meets on the third Tuesday in the month in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, 4076 US Hwy 321-A. It also meets in special sessions when necessary.
The primary functions of the Council are to: (1) adopt and amend town ordinances and resolutions; (2) determine Town policies and levels of service; (3) determine how the money in the budget is to be raised and for what purposes it is to be spent; (4) determine what Town taxes are to be levied and set the tax rate for ad valorem taxes; (5) approve contracts and agreements; (6) appoint citizens to various Boards and Committees; and (7) represent the Municipality as its leadership in all areas.
Also, the Town Council appoints the Town Administrator and Town Attorney.
The Mayor is the chief elected official of the Town. The Mayor cannot make or second a motion and only votes to break a tie vote of the Council. The Mayor presides at all meetings of the Council. The Mayor Pro tem is appointed by the Council and presides at meetings in the absence of the Mayor.
Types of Council Action
The Town Council acts in a number of ways to provide the policies by which the Town is operated. Adoption of ordinances is the most formal and binding type of Council legislation. A vote of the Council is taken on any ordinance with three (3) affirmative votes necessary for passage. Some ordinances require a public hearing to give citizens an opportunity to be heard and must be advertised in a newspaper. After the public hearing, the Council may vote whether to table the ordinance, continue the public hearing, adopt or reject the ordinance, and the three votes are necessary in any of the above actions. If adopted, the ordinance then becomes effective on the date designated as the effective date.
Resolutions are written legal actions passed by the Council by majority vote and are less formal than an ordinance. Resolutions are used in several ways: to recognize individuals, to make requests of other agencies, to commemorate special actions, occasions, or dates and to express the intent of future actions of the Council.
The Town Administrator
The Administrator is appointed by the Council solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications. The Administrator serves as the chief administrative officer of the Town and is responsible for carrying out the policies and laws adopted by the Council. As Chief Administrative Officer of the Town, the Administrator is empowered to make all personnel appointments except for the Finance Officer, supervise the work of all administrative department heads & employees, enforce the laws and ordinances of the Town, supervise the preparation of the annual operating budget for Council approval, and conduct the day-to-day business of the Town. The Administrator attends all meetings of the Council with the right to take part in discussions, but without the right to vote, and is responsible for making recommendations to the Council as he or she may deem necessary or expedient for the benefit of the public.
The Administrator also makes reports to the Council from time to time upon the affairs of the Town, keeps the Council fully advised of the Town’s financial conditions and future financial needs.
The Town Administrator's office is located in the Town Hall. Office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Town Attorney
The Town Attorney is selected by the Town Council and advises the Council and various Town Boards, the Town Administrator, and Department Heads on legal matters and procedures. The Town Attorney prepares certain ordinances, resolutions, agreements, deeds, leases, and other miscellaneous legal documents.
The Town Clerk
The Town Clerk is appointed by the Town Administrator and serves as the Council’s recording secretary, with duties including: keeping the minutes of all its meetings, preparing the Council’s meeting agenda, maintaining ordinances, resolutions and other official documents and records on file, receiving communications for Council consideration, supervising preparation and distribution of information pertaining to the Town Government and responsibility for all legal advertisements.
The public is invited and urged to attend Town meetings to ensure open communications between them and the elected representatives. The agenda is usually arranged so that public hearings on matters of general interest are held early in the meeting and the citizen’s views, comments and inquiries can be heard.
The Town operates the following departments:
- Storm Water
- Parks & Recreation
- Public Works (including Streets and Sanitation)