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Governor Kemp Signs Dalton Charter Into Law

  • Friday, May 17, 2024
Dalton's new city charter was signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The charter was finalized and approved by the Dalton mayor and council last November after more than a year of work by city leaders and staff to revise the founding document. It was submitted to the state legislature earlier this year and approved before reaching Governor Kemp's desk.

Officials said, "The city's leadership began the process to draft a new charter in 2022. The previous charter had not been revised since the 1970s, and much of the document was more than 100 years old, with some sections dating back to Dalton's founding in 1847.
Many sections of the charter were out of date and no longer reflected current practices or current state laws. The city worked with its legal counsel from the Minor Firm as well as city department heads and staff to draft a new charter and then fine-tune the document after input from elected leaders and the public. The process involved a thorough review of city ordinances and state law to ensure that there were no conflicts with the new charter."

"It was a project that was 50 years in the making," said City Administrator Andrew Parker who oversaw the effort to draft the new charter. "Once it was approved by the general assembly and recently signed by the governor into law, it was a small celebration internally because for those involved in the elected body and the staff that had a hand in putting it together, that was kind of special to see it had made it finally through the process finally of being signed into law."

"Hopefully this charter will serve the city for the next 50 years before it ever needs to be updated again," Mr. Parker added.

Officials said, "The process of revising and rewriting the charter included a great deal of public input along the way. City leaders held multiple work sessions and public hearings with citizen committees and residents to solicit feedback on the new document. The resulting document featured changes that were extensive enough that they could not be enacted solely by a vote of the mayor and council, and instead needed to be enacted by the Georgia General Assembly. However, Dalton residents will likely not notice any changes to the way the government works now that the new charter is law."

"No, the old charter didn’t necessarily correlate to the practices of today where you have working committees appointed by the council that provide oversight to various departments and functions of city government and then you have an administrator that provides operational management to the city and so [the new charter] basically just cleaned up some of those practices," Mr. Parker said. "It doesn’t really change a whole lot of the day to day function, it just modernized it to what we’re doing today."

In future meetings, the mayor and council will be reviewing the city's Code of Ordinances to ensure they work in concert with the new charter.
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