What is the City Commission?
The City Commission is a 5-member elected governing board which, on behalf of the citizens of Lake Wales, determines policies to be implemented by the City Manager. Policy-making is accomplished by consensus of the Commissioners and is formalized by adopting ordinances, passing resolutions and adopting an annual budget.
What are the qualifications to run for City Commission?
The City's Charter requires that members of the Commission be residents of the city for at least 1 year prior to the date of their election. All Commissioners must be registered voters.
Five commissioners are elected to serve two-year terms. Four commission members are nominated by the citizens to whom they represent, elected by the citizens at large, and must reside in the district represented by the seat to which they are elected. The other commission member is nominated and elected at large to serve as mayor and can reside in any district of the city. The commission shall elect from among its members a deputy mayor who shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor, and if a vacancy occurs, shall become mayor for the remainder of the unexpired term.
What are the duties of the City Commission?
The City Commission is responsible for appointing the City Manager, the City Clerk and the City Attorney.
By Charter prohibition, the Commission is not involved in the daily administration of city government and may not contact city employees directly. It is the Commission's duty to make policy, and the City Manager's duty to implement the policies set by the City Commission.
The City Commission is the final authority which grants approval for zoning changes, comprehensive plan amendments, certain types of development, redevelopment, franchises for provision of public services, bid awards, water and sewer rate changes, and changes in tax rate. The Commission usually receives recommendations from the city administration and from citizen advisory boards but is not bound by these recommendations.
Through the annual budget process, the City Commission sets policy by establishing the size of the various operating budgets and the nature of the expenditures. The budget is adopted by ordinance. The City Commission is also responsible for reviewing the audited financial statements of the City on an annual basis.
The mayor is recognized as the head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes, by the governor for purposes of military law, for service of process, execution of contracts, deeds and other documents, but shall have no administrative duties; represents the city in all intergovernmental relationships, including but not limited to agreements with other governmental entities or certifications to other governmental entities; with the advice and consent of the city commission, make appointments to the various citizen advisory and regulatory boards, commissions, committees and authorities; appoints members of the city commission to serve on other committees and boards including boards composed of members from other governmental jurisdictions; takes a leadership role in promoting the overall quality of life, appropriate economic development, enhancement of property values, and other areas important to the progress and well-being of the community; serves as the liaison between the municipal government and the community’s citizens, businesses, and civic organizations to collectively achieve projects that neither the city nor one organization could afford to achieve on its own; and presents an annual state of the city message that informs the public about the city’s current fiscal position, accomplishments in the prior year, work plan for the coming year, and goal for the future.
How often does the Commission meet?
The Commission is required by Charter to meet twice a month. Meetings are regularly scheduled on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.
From time to time, the Commission holds workshops and special meetings. Workshops are most frequent during the budget process, but workshops are held whenever the Commission feels that information or issues discussed in an informal setting will assist the formal decision-making process.
Do Commissioners receive monetary compensation for serving on the Commission?
Commissioners are entitled to a salary of $378.23 per month. Commissioners are also eligible to participate in the City's group health and dental insurance plans. Any Commissioner who chooses to participate will have his premium paid by the City.
What is the procedure for election to the City Commission?
One week in February is set aside for the election qualifying period. Thirty days prior to the start of the qualifying period, a Notice of Election is published which establishes the date of the election and the dates of the qualifying period.
Candidate packets are prepared by the City Clerk and are available approximately two weeks prior to the start of the qualifying period. All of the instructions, nomination petitions, campaign treasurer reports, and copies of applicable election laws are included in the packet.
A city qualifying fee of $25.00 and a state election assessment fee are required to be paid by the candidate when the nomination petition is submitted. The state election assessment fee represents a nominal percentage of the annual compensation earned by a commissioner. The City Clerk will provide information about this fee in the candidate packets.
When is the election and how long is the term?
The Commission election is held on the first Tuesday in April. The candidate who receives the highest number of votes cast will win the election. Commissioners serve a two-year term which begins during the first Commission meeting in May of the year elected.