County Government Georgia has 159 counties, nearly 600 towns – each has a government county: subdivision of a state set up for certain governmental functions most Georgia counties are run by an elected Board of Commissioners most counties are set up in a similar manner
A Look at One County Camden County used as example County depends on tourism and Navy’s submarine base for jobs to support economy Spanish settled area in 1500s – one of Georgia’s original counties Government led by five-member Board of Commissioners county administrator hired by the Board to manage day-to-day operations Woodbine is county seat School Board: five elected members and elected school superintendent
Sharing Services Some city and county governments share services Fulton County is home to city of Atlanta Fulton County and city of Atlanta share zoning duties and library system Fulton and DeKalb counties share a hospital authority Fulton County and the City of Atlanta have separate school systems
Officials in County Government Most counties have the following elected officials: –commissioners, superior court clerk, probate court judge, sheriff, tax commissioner, coroner Many officials are appointed: –county clerk, fire chief, road supervisor, emergency management director, attorney, planning and building inspector, etc. Larger counties have more officials Click to return to Table of Contents.
Section 2: City Government and Special-Purpose Districts ESSENTIAL QUESTION: –How do city governments work in Georgia?
City Government municipality: a city with its own government city receives charter from state legislature city charter explains what the city government can do –police protection, maintain streets and sidewalks, license businesses, control traffic, provide water and sewerage some city charters allow for a city-run school system
Forms of City Government Mayor-Council: most common in Georgia –elected council, elected mayor –weak-mayor system: mayor has little power, figurehead –strong-mayor system: mayor has power to run the city, propose budget, can veto council Council-Manager –voters elect council members –mayor may be elected or appointed –council hires city manager for day-to-day operations of the city City Commission –voters elect commissioners –commissioners form department heads of the city –mayor chosen by the commissioners
City-County Government some city and county governments merge when the region becomes more urban can reduce the cost of government Examples –Athens-Clarke County –Columbus-Muskogee County –Augusta-Richmond County
Special Purpose Disticts Created for a specific job or task Within certain guidelines, these districts are self-governing Examples –school districts –MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) –Public Housing Authority –Georgia Ports Authority
Funding Local Government Sources of funding include state and federal grants and taxes on citizens ad valorem taxes: taxes paid based on the value of the property user fees: paid by the user of the service sales tax: added to purchases made in the city or county –general purpose local option sales tax: tax for general use –special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST): approved by voters, adds sales tax to fund special projects such as parks or schools bond issues: a way for governments to borrow money; interest must be paid on the bonds Click to return to Table of Contents.
Section 3: Where Do Georgia’s Citizens Live? ESSENTIAL QUESTION – Where do Georgia’s citizens live?
Where do Georgians Live? Georgia is one of fastest-growing states Hispanics are fastest-growing group Georgia’s has an increasing number of older citizens Most Georgians (2/3) live in metropolitan area (area in or around a city) Over 50% of Georgians live in metro Atlanta Just 50 years ago, most Georgians lived in rural areas – Georgians were mostly farmers
Urban Sprawl In 1960s, people began to move to suburbs – areas near edge of cities Expansion of suburbs created declines in urban population Large numbers of people in suburbs cause challenges to infrastructure – not enough roads, utilities, schools, sewerage, etc. Sprawl can cause traffic and pollution problems and an economic problem for the central city since the number of residents declines
Urban Revitalization Effort to attract citizens to live in urban areas Cities need people to work and live there in order to grow and be healthy Examples –Atlanta: Sweet Auburn, Little Five Points, Virginia Highlands –Savannah: historic district, Bay Street, Factor’s Walk –Augusta: Riverwalk Click to return to Table of Contents.
Section 4: Participation in a Representative Democracy ESSENTIAL QUESTION –What duties and responsibilities do I have as a citizen?
Political Parties Organized groups of people with common ideals – seek to influence government policies Two major political parties in US: –Democrats –Republicans Minor political parties also exist Independents are not part of a particular political party
Interest Groups People who share common goals and objectives who ban together with others for political purposes May be concerned with labor issues, business issues, agricultural issues, etc. lobbyist: person paid to represent interest groups in Washington or Atlanta May support certain candidates in elections if they believe doing so will help their group
Voters Major influence of government each election day Voters decide who will make the decisions for the government Georgia Election Code guides national, state, and local elections General election: held each November in even- numbered years to elect major federal and state officials Other elections may be held as needed for national, state, county or city officials Voters select most important officials, others are appointed
Public Opinion Influences government decisions News media keep voters informed about issues Voters can call or write representatives to explain how they want the official to vote or act Example: Vietnam War; public opinion against the war became so great that leaders had to end America’s involvement
Citizenship If your parents are US citizens or you were born in the US, you have all the rights and protections of the US and Georgia constitutions Naturalized citizen: foreigner who chooses to become a US citizen Process to become naturalized citizen requires much time and effort Responsibilities go along with rights –participation in government (voting, running for office) –upholding the laws of the nation and state –defending the nation against enemies –serve on juries –serving the community Click to return to Table of Contents.