Sandbox-City Government

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The Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021) is the current governing body of the City of Charlottesville.

Council’s configuration & power

Since 1928, the council has been composed of five councilors, one of whom serves as mayor. Each member is elected at-large, by voters to four-year, staggered terms. Council is in charge of policy oversight and hires a [city manager]] to run most city operations. Council’s configuration and duties are defined by its city charter.

Following the 2019 election, held on November 5, 2019, three new members, Lloyd Snook, Sena Magill and Michael Payne, each took their oath of office on December 19, 2019, allowing them to assumed full duties immediately on January 1, 2020 and thereby filling the seats being vacated by Mike Signer, Wes Bellamy and Kathy Galvin who each declined to seek re-election.

Organizational meeting

For their first action, Nikuyah Walker won a second term as president of the council (mayor) and Councilor Sena Magill was selected as vice mayor. (Charlottesville is a city manager-weak mayor form of local government, the positions of mayor and vice mayor largely are ceremonial.)

Form of government

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The City of Charlottesville operates under the Council-Manager form of government as granted by the Code of Virginia and the City Charter. From within council, by simple majority vote, the President (called mayor) and the Vice-president (called vice-mayor) of the Council are elected at the first regular meeting of the new term. The City Manager, among the City Officers appointed by the Council, acts as the Chief Executive Officer. The City Manager is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as carrying out policy decisions made by the City Council. Council-manager form with five at-large elected members of the city council; council president acting as mayor.Council’s configuration and powers are defined by its city charter. The City Council is composed of five members, including the Council President (mayor). Council has oversight power of the city manager’s hiring of some positions (refer to Chief of Police). Council’s configuration is defined by its approved by the General Assembly in 1946, gives Charlottesville a “council-manager” system in which the five elected members (Council) Council is in charge of policy oversight and some approval powers (refer to Chief of Police).

City population

Population as of most recent census (April 1, 2010): 43,475

  • According to the current data from U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts, the estimated population in 2018 was 48,117, which represents a 10.67% population growth since the last census.
  • The area within the city limits was 10.27 square miles, giving it a population density of about 4,600 people per square mile. Relative to local populations, Charlottesville has one seat for every 8,700 residents.
  • As for historically under-represented groups, the city has about the same percentage of blacks in council as in the general populations; in Charlottesville, blacks makeup 18.3 percent of the population [1] and 20 percent of the council.
  • Elections are non-partisan elections
  • The council post videos of council meetings online as well as searchable databases of legislation.
  • Council does not post members’ personal financial disclosure statements or lobbying records.

Charlottesville has one of the highest average salaries for council members in Virginia, $xx,xxx council, $xx,xxx mayor. Total budget including employee benefits Council consumes x.xx percent of city general-fund spending,

Budget per resident

Charlottesville's average council tenure at the end of 2019 was xx.x years while first-term members held xx percent of the seats

Frank Buck had been in office 8 years, longer than any other Charlottesville City Council member since at least 1920, and xxx other members have served for more than xx years.

council consumes 1.01 percent of city general-fund spending