Local authorities of Guelphia

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Local government in Guelphia is formed by three tiers of administration consisting of eight counties, 84 municipalities, and over 600 parishes. Collectively, these bodies are known as local authorities, who between them have a considerable amount of power devolved from the central government.

Overview

The Constitution of Guelphia provides for the creation and administration of local government in this country. The Constitution states that Parliament shall provide the establishment and continuance of a system of local government. The exact nature of the system is left for Parliament to decide upon, and this is why the significant reforms that created the regional councils were passed without need to amend the Constitution. Unlike some jurisdictions abroad, the Minister of State for Home Affairs cannot override local government by-laws, and nor can he dismiss the elected council of a local authority. The various incarnations of the Local Authorities Act have stated that such powers rest with Parliament alone.

Subdivisions

As of 2014, the following local authorities operate in Guelphia.

Counties

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Counties of Guelphia

The eight county councils of Guelphia form the highest of the three tiers of local government in this country. Initially created by an Order-in-Council by Alexander I in 1836 to better coordinate the administration of the central government, the counties became their own tier of government with the passage of the Local Authorities Act of 1886.

Municipalities

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Municipalities of Guelphia

The counties are in turn divided into 84 municipalities, which depending on the location are known as boroughs or rural districts. Boroughs are used for urban areas, whist rural districts are named for non-urban areas. Under the Local Authorities Act of 1907, the municipalities inherited many of the functions and powers formerly held by the counties, which were instead charged with the administration of more macro-governing matters such as civil defence, public transport, and the administration of welfare and poor relief.

Parishes

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Parishes of Guelphia

Parishes form the lowest tier of local government in Guelphia, ranking below the counties and municipalities. Formed in stages from the time of first settlement in 1836, parishes serve their local community by performing basic functions relating to the care and maintenance of the local community and facilities. Guelphian parishes are unique in that they serve both administrative and ecclesiastical functions, with the Church using parishes as the basic level of administration as well.

Representation

Except for parishes, who have annual elections, the local authorities has a council elected every four years by Guelphian subjects over twenty-one. Unlike the central government, there is no split between the executive and legislative functions of the council. All such powers are vested in the elected council itself, which are usually exercised by a series of permanent committees.

Counties

The county councils consist of eighteen members known as councillors who elected from multi-member constituencies known as wards. One of their number is subsequently elected Chairman by a show of hands at the first meeting.

Municipalities

The municipal councils will consists of either twelve members known as aldermen. Each alderman is elected from a single-member ward using the system. The Mayor of the municipality is elected by the aldermen at the first meeting of the council after an election.

Parishes

Parishes are administered by a council know as a vestry. Vestries take on two forms, and may be composed of all adult members of the parish, or by a council of ten elected annually. In either form, an executive committee is elected on an annual basis to oversee the functions of the parish.

Functions and powers

The division of powers between the three tiers is presently arranged thus:

County councils are responsible for:

  • Aerodromes and airfields;
  • Civil defence and disaster management;
  • Flood prevention and drainage;
  • Garbage recycling and disposal;
  • Marinas and boat sheds;
  • Noxious pest management;
  • Public transport;
  • Regional planning authority;
  • Soil and water conservation, including coastal environments;
  • Water supply and sewerage treatment;
  • Welfare and poor relief.

Municipal councils are responsible for:

  • Alcohol licensing;
  • Building ordinances;
  • Cemetery and crematoria management;
  • Garbage collection;
  • Local planning authority;
  • Local roads;
  • Pre-schools and day care centres;
  • Public libraries;
  • Public space;
  • Surf lifesaving and rescue.

Parish councils are responsible for:

  • Allotment gardens;
  • Care and maintenance of all Anglican churches and their contents;
  • Financial administration of the civil and ecclesiastical governance of the parish;
  • Design and custodianship of any civic heraldry;
  • Care of historic monuments;
  • Control of litter;
  • Local planning applications;.
  • Encouragement of local tourism;
  • Maintenance of rights of way for hikers and horse riders;
  • Public conveniences;
  • Neighbourhood watch programmes;
  • Recreation grounds and parks;
  • Street and footpath maintenance;
  • Traffic management;
  • Management of village halls;
  • Cleaning and drainage of village ponds and lakes.