The Homewood City Council moved forward with creating a referendum to change the city’s model of government during its meeting on Monday night.
City council members began discussing the change earlier this year. Homewood operates under a mayor-council government, a common model for local governments across the United States.
This means the city has a council and a mayor who work together to pass budgets, pass and enforce legislation, and oversee city bureaucracies.
The Homewood City Council currently consists of 11 members. The city is divided into five wards. Each ward has two places, which elect a representative to the council. A council president is elected at large and is separate from the mayor.
Homewood’s Finance Committee recommended last week that the full council move forward with determining the language of a referendum to change Homewood’s government to a city manager model similar to nearby Vestavia Hills.
In Vestavia, the mayor, elected at large, serves on the city council as president. Vestavia also has a city manager who reports to the mayor and the council.
The Vestavia Hills city manager is not elected but instead appointed by the city council to serve as the chief executive officer of the municipal government.
Though the Vestavia Hills City Council members are elected by popular vote by everyone in the city, the Finance Committee recommended Homewood keep its elections ward-specific.
Under the proposed model, the Homewood City Council would consist of four council members, each elected by one of four wards. The wards would have to contain roughly the same population, and the council would draw the wards before Homewood voters considered the referendum. The council would appoint a city manager, who would be responsible for day-to-day city operations.
Though the Homewood City Council voted 11-0 to support the continued effort to explore remodeling, no official steps were taken on Monday night.
“This does not have a resolution because we’re not done with this item obviously because there’s a lot left to be done,” explained Homewood City Council president Alex Wyatt before the vote. “All this is, is just taking a vote so we acknowledge what path we’re headed down.”
For the remodeling to move forward, the council must host public meetings before finalizing the referendum sometime in 2024.
“We’re still months and months away from getting this done if everything is approved,” Wyatt added.
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