This week, the Homewood City Council’s Finance Committee officially recommended that the council change how the city government operates.

City councilors 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.

During the Monday Finance Committee meeting, committee members recommended 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. 

According to the committee’s recommended 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.

Under the recommended model, the council would appoint a city manager, who would be responsible for day-to-day city operations.

Homewood City Council president Alex Wyatt said in the meeting that he hopes the referendum could be on the ballot by the first quarter of 2024. The committee passed the recommendation 5-0.

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