Who's in charge?
The 10-member commission makes decisions and sets policy for the city through an administrator who reports directly to them. Non-elected department heads report to the administrator.
Six commission votes constitutes a majority to approve a typical measure, while eight votes are needed to change the city charter, also known as the Consolidation Act. The mayor presides over commission meetings and can vote to break a 5-5 tie.
The mayor presides over commission meetings and can vote to break a 5-5 tie.
Who's on the commission?
Since it was formed by the 1996 consolidation of Augusta and Richmond County, the Augusta Commission comprises 10 members. Eight commissioners are elected from individual districts of equal population, while two are elected from super districts made up of four individual districts.
The current elected members are:
Super District 9
Super District 10
How are commissioners elected?
Five commission seats are up for election each even-numbered year. The commissioners must reside in their district and are elected by registered voters who live in the district.
What’s the commission’s role in determining my taxes?
The Augusta Commission sets the millage rate for property taxes, except for that portion set by Richmond County Board of Education for school system operations. The Board of Assessors determines a property’s taxable value while the Tax Commissioner calculates the bill, sends it out and collects the taxes.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver
What is the mayor's role?
Under the consolidated government's charter, the mayor is the chief executive of the "commission-council," made up of the mayor and commission, and is expected to ensure laws, resolutions and ordinances are followed.
Elected citywide, the mayor presides over meetings of the commission-council and grants members the time to speak on each agenda item. The mayor also serves as official head of city government for the service of process, signing contracts and ceremonies. He has no veto but is allowed to vote when commission votes on a measure tie 5-5.
What is the administrator’s role?
The administrator oversees all city staff except those reporting directly to the commission or to elected officials. The administrator has authority to hire and fire, promote, discipline and reclassify beneath the department head level and award pay increases of up to 15 percent.
City Administrator Fred Russell
What is the process for an idea to become an ordinance?
Anyone, including commissioners, seeking to make or change city laws can raise an issue by getting it on a committee or regular meeting agenda, either by having a commissioner or city official include it or filing a request with the clerk of commission – by 5 p.m. Wednesday prior to a Tuesday commission meeting or 5 p.m. Tuesday prior to a committee meeting.
If the idea has support, the commission can vote to have the city general counsel review the idea and draft an ordinance reflecting it. At least six votes are then required for the ordinance to become law.
How does an item get on the agenda?
A commissioner, the administrator or a department head can place an item on a committee agenda for discussion and possible action. If the item stalls in committee or is rejected, it may or may not be forwarded to the full commission for approval.
How could I get an item on the agenda?
Ask a commissioner to include the item, or request time from the city clerk to speak about the item. Agenda item request forms are available at augustaga.gov.
When does the commission meet?
The mayor and commission have regular meetings at 2 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The meetings are streamed live online at augustaga.gov. The body also has a standing called legal meeting at 12:30 p.m. prior to four-member commission committee meetings – public safety, finance, engineering services, administrative services and public services – which start at 12:45 p.m. on the second and last Mondays of each month.
How can I arrange to address the commission?
Mail, fax, e-mail or deliver a request to speak to the clerk of commission no later than 5 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the commission meeting.
What should I expect if I come to a meeting prepared to speak?
There’s a five-minute limit for each speaker. Speakers are allowed more time at commission committee meetings.
What should I expect if I come to a meeting just to watch?
If there’s a big item up for discussion, arrive early to get a seat. Meeting agendas are posted online at augustaga.gov or are available in the commission clerk’s office. Meetings are known to last three hours or more. Expect to pass through a metal detector on the way into the building.
What about term limits for commissioner, mayor?
The city charter limits the mayor and commissioners to two consecutive terms.
Who’s affected in upcoming municipal elections?
In 2014, Augusta will elect a new mayor and commissioners in districts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.
Only District 8 Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and Super District 10 Commissioner Grady Smith aren’t term-limited from seeking a second term.
Johnson, Mason, Jackson, Lockett and Mayor Deke Copenhaver cannot run again for their current posts.
Describe the commission districts by race, population, etc ...
Commission districts are identical to Richmond County Board of Education districts and each regular district has approximately 25,000 residents. Each super district has approximately 100,000 people.
Redrawn by a federal judge in 2012 to reflect population shifts, the location and predominant race group in each commission district is: