City of Wapato
Council, Position 2
- Description of Office
- Rita Alvarado
Cities and Towns
In Washington cities and towns, the council, as the legislative body, are authorized to levy taxes and must furnish police and fire protection. They establish local laws and policies, consistent with state law, usually through the enactment of ordinances and resolutions; and also exercise general oversight and control over the city’s finances, primarily through the budget process. They may require and issue licenses for the purpose of regulations and/or revenue; may grant various franchises and acquire and operate certain types of public utilities. They may enact zoning ordinances, and may purchase, lease, condemn, or otherwise acquire real and personal property for city purposes. It is ordinarily the council’s function to create subordinate positions, prescribe duties and establish salaries.
Cities are generally classified on the basis of population. In some instances, the powers and obligations of the municipality are determined by the class to which it belongs.
Under the Optional Municipal Code, any city or town, regardless of population, may select to become a non-charter code city and be governed under the Optional Municipal Code rather than under existing statutes relating to the class of city to which it belongs. Cities organized under the Optional Municipal Code must adopt either the mayor-council or council-manager plan unless the city was previously organized under the commission form of government.
Types of City Government:
There are three principal forms of government used by Washington cities:
1) mayor-council, 2) council-manager and 3) commission. The basic difference between the three forms of city government is the placement of responsibility for the administration of the city and the relationship of the administrative officer to the legislative or policy-making body to the public. Non-Charter Code Cities in Yakima County include: Grandview, Granger, Mabton, Moxee, Selah, Sunnyside, Tieton, Toppenish, Union Gap, and Zillah. Yakima is classified as a 1st Class City with a charter; Wapato is classified as a 2nd Class City; Harrah and Naches are classified as 4th Class Cities or Towns.
Council-Manager Cities (Sunnyside, Toppenish, Union Gap, Yakima):
Basic to a council-manager system is the belief that the policy-making and administrative functions of the city should be separate. Therefore, the council, which determines city policies and is politically responsible for its actions, selects a city manager who serves as the chief administrator of the city. The manager is accountable to the council for the proper performance of his/her duties and serves at the pleasure of that body.
In some Washington council-manager cities, the mayor is chosen biennially from among the city council members at the first meeting of the new council. In other cities of the council-manager type, the voters choose the presiding council officer. The mayor retains all the rights, privileges, and immunities of other council members, presides at meetings, is recognized as the head of the city for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for the purposes of military law. However, the mayor does not have veto power or any regular administrative duties. In an emergency, and if so authorized by the city council, the mayor takes command of the police, maintains law, and enforces order.
Mayor-Council Cities (Grandview, Granger, Harrah, Mabton, Moxee, Naches, Selah, Tieton, Wapato, Zillah):
The mayor is the chief administrative officer. In addition, he/she is the political head of the city, and as presiding officer of the city council, is active in the development of city policies. Thus, he/she is responsible both for determining policy and for seeing that the policy is carried out.
A variation of the mayor-council form of government present in Washington cities involves allowing the council to override many of the mayor’s decisions. The development of public policy, under this form, is primarily the responsibility of the city council, and the job of the mayor is one of coordination rather than leadership.