About the Columbus Consolidated Government
Columbus is a political subdivision of the State of Georgia created by a Constitutional Amendment (the "Amendment") which authorized the consolidation of Muscogee County with the City of Columbus.  The Amendment was ratified in a gereral election held on November 5, 1968.  The General Assembly of the State of Georgia, pursuant to powers in the Admendment, created a Charter commission which prepared and submitted for ratification a Charter for the Consolidated Government of Columbus (the "Charter").  This Charter was ratified in an election held on November 3, 1970.  Commencing January 1, 1971, Columbus became a consolidated city-county government, its territorial limits covering all of what was formerly the County of Muscogee.  Bibb City, a small textile community of approximately 550 residents, voted to merge with the city of Columbus in 2001.
Columbus was the first consolidated city-county government in the State of Georgia.  As such, it has all of the governmental and corporate powers, duties and functions formerly held and vested in the City of Columbus and Muscogee County.  Consolidation resulted in the removal of duplicate services formerly rendered by the county and city governments, and as a result of consolidation, Columbus has been able to provide, under one management, urban services throughout its territorial limits more economically than would have been possible to render by the City of Columbus and Muscogee County separately.
Columbus is unique in Georgia in the authorized method of taxation allowed by the Amendment and the Charter.  The Charter authorizes the creation of urban service districts and empowers Columbus to vary the rate and manner of taxation in each district to reasonably reflect the degree and level of services provided to each such urban service district.  As a result, citizens pay taxes only for those services which they receive.
The City of Columbus operated under a charter granted by the State of Georgia in 1828 and later amended by the voters of the City in 1970, when Columbus, Georgia was created.  The consolidated government provided by the Charter is of the form known as the mayor-council-city manager form of government.  The Mayor is elected for four-year terms by popular vote.  The City Manager is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by Council and is  responsible for the day-to-day operation of the government.  The Council of Columbus ("the Council") consists of 10 members, four district councilors and six councilors-at-large.  The four district councilors are elected for four-year staggered terms and represent specific districts within the territorial limits of Columbus.  The six councilors-at-large are elected for four-year staggered terms from the various districts.  A Charter amendment approved by voters in November, 1992, authorizes a change of Council composition to eight district and two at-large councilors.
The Council does not have a direct relationship with departments and employees of the government.  It operates as a legislative body and interacts with the executive branch of Columbus, including all appointive officers, directors of departments, and employees by way of ordinances or resolutions formally adopted at Council meetings.
Columbus provides a full range of services, including police and fire protection services and emergency medical services to residents of Columbus, the cost of which is financed by General Fund revenues.  Columbus provides garbage collecion services to residents of Columbus, the cost of which is financed by General Fund revenues and user fees.  Columbus transports the garbage it collects to one of three landfills which it owns.  Columbus also provides recreational and cultural, health and social services, traffic control, Emergency 911, and municipal court services to its residents and acquires, constructs, and maintains roads and infrastructure, the cost of which is financed by General Fund revenues.  Additionally, Columbus provides planning and building inspectino services to its residents, the cost of which is financed by permit fees.  Columbus owns and operates a public transportation system, Metra, the cost of which is financed by user charges and inter-governmental grants.  Water and sewer service is provided through its Board of Water Commissioners.
  Columbus is divided into a General Services District and two Urban Services Districts, in which taxes are levied in accordance with the kind, character, type, degree, and level of services provided by Columbus within such services district.  The Urban Services Districts consist of areas where Columbus has provided the higher levels of services, and Columbus performs within the Urban Services Districts more comprehensive and intensive levels of services than it does in the General Services District.  Urban Services District #1 includes most of the developed land in Columbus.  Urban Services District #2 primarily consists of undeveloped land located in the northern and eastern portions of Columbus.  The General Services District consists of the entire area within the territorial limits of Muscogee County.  The only portions of the General Services District that are not included in either Urban Services District #1 or #2 are the small areas of taxable property located on the Fort Benning Military Reservation.
The Columbus Police Department has one police station, two precincts, 371 sworn police officers, 105 civilian employees, and 374 vehicles, and maintains a 24-hour uniformed patrol.  The Columbus Fire Department has 13 fire stations, 25 vehicles, 13 fire engines ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute, and 142 fire fighters.  The National Board of Fire Underwriters' fire insurance rating for Columbus is Class 3 through most developed areas.  Columbus maintains approximately 906 miles of streets and 14,063 street lights.  Its sanitation department has 70 vehicles and 95 employees.  The public services department has 112 vehicles and 299 employees who perform street and drainage maintenance as well as other public works.  Columbus owns and maintains 43 parks containing approximately 1,800 acres, 18 swimming pools, 48 tennis courts, and various cultural and recreational facilities.  There are six libraries in Columbus with a total in excess of 526,000 volumes.
As of June 30, 1994, Columbus employed approximately 2,179 full-time employees and 273 part-time employees (total 2,452) and believes that it enjoys a good relationship with them.  Columbus has never experienced a major disruption of services due to a strike or employee action.  No Columbus employees belong to labor untions or other collective bargaining groups.  Columbus has no knowledge of any union organizing efforts.
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