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Aldermen consider making Jackson a charter city

During a work session/retreat Oct. 22 at the Jackson Civic Center, the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen discussed the possibility of putting to voters the opportunity to change Jackson’s classification from a fourth class city to a charter city.

City Attorney Tom Ludwig made a presentation. This was only the beginning of discussions, and the Board agreed to have further discussions during the Dec. 2 study session. No action is planned.

State statutes classify municipalities on the basis of population and limit the form of government options of each classification. A community may incorporate as a city of the third class, fourth class or village on the basis of the population at the time of incorporation.

Once a community is incorporated under a given classification, it doesn’t automatically change classification when the population changes. A municipality may change classification only when the change is approved by a majority vote of the people.

There are certain forms of government permitted for each classification of municipality.

Villages are permitted only one form of government — an elected board of trustees (five if the village has less than 2,500 population and nine if more than 2,500).

Fourth-class cities such as Jackson are permitted to have either the mayor/board of aldermen form or the mayor/city administrator/aldermen form (which Jackson has). The board of aldermen may adopt the city administrator form by ordinance, without a vote of the people.

Third-class cities are granted greater flexibility with the authority to establish the mayor/council form, the council/manager form, the commission form or the mayor/city administrator/council form.

Constitutional charter cities may adopt any form of government that the people approve in the charter.

There are approximately 260 villages in Missouri that had populations of 500 or less when they incorporated.

There are approximately 500 fourth class cities in Missouri. Those that incorporated with a population of 500 to 2,999 are ruled by a mayor and board of aldermen; those that incorporated with a population of 3,000-29,999 (such as Jackson) have a mayor/city administrator/aldermen form of government.

There are 57 third-class cities that incorporated with a population of 3,000-29,999. They have a mayor/council, mayor/city administrator/council, council/manager or a commission form of government.

There are currently 36 constitutional charter/home rule cities in Missouri. The form of government is set by the charter, which is determined by the people. Cape Girardeau is one of these. Its charter calls for a mayor/city council/city manager form of government.

The city staff and aldermen are studying charters from other cities such as Cape and Sikeston to see if the City of Jackson would benefit from changing its classification to a charter city.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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