Piedmont looking at changes since 1913 charter

Liz Beavers
Piedmont City Hall

PIEDMONT - No one on the current Piedmont City Council can recall exactly when the small town went from the three council members cited in the city’s 1913 charter to the current five members.

The current officials feel, however, the change in the number of people at the helm of the city needs to be made official and they are currently in the process of doing so.

“I was on council back in the ‘70s, and it’s been five as long as I can remember,” mayor Paula Boggs told the News Tribune Monday. “We wanted to make it official.”

The proposed ordinance also sets regulations for elections of those officials, and confirms the requirements for serving the city.

According to the ordinance, to be eligible for mayor, a person must own and pay taxes on at least $500 worth of real or personal property in the Piedmont city limits, and be a citizen entitled to vote. To be eligible for a seat on the council, a person must own and pay taxes on at least $300 worth of real or personal property in Piedmont and be a citizen entitled to vote.

Those running for mayor or council must submit a petition and filing fee within the candidacy filing period in January.

In order to keep the mayor and five council members on a staggered term of service, the mayor and three council members will be elected on the second Monday of May 2023. The two top vote-getters for council will serve four years and the third will serve two  years. The process will then continue with a city election to be held every two years.

In addition, the council is currently considering a second, much shorter ordinance setting into writing the fact that the mayor and council members receive compensation for attending meetings and representing the city.

Boggs said previously the practice had been to pay an elected official a certain sum per month, but the new ordinance will require the officials to actually attend meetings in order to get paid.

The ordinance also states that a current mayor or council cannot vote to give themselves a pay raise. Any raise approved would not take affect until after the next election.

Boggs said she currently receives $150 a month and council members receive $100 per month.

Now, she said, “You have to at least be active” in order to receive the compensation.

The mayor and council held the first reading of the two ordinances during their March 17 meeting, and will hold the second reading this Wednesday.

The meeting gets underway at noon in the upstairs of the American Legion.

Among the other items on the agenda are a possible ordinance increasing the cost of city business licenses and a report on the city’s audit.