How Your City Works

How the City of Keizer works

Mayor and City CouncilBoards, Committees and CommissionsDepartmentsVolunteerism Keizer Police DepartmentBudget & RevenueIdea to LawStreets, Traffic Lights & Sewers

The City of Keizer operates under a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council consists of the Mayor and six councilors. The City Manager is the administrative head of city government and is appointed by the City Council. 

In a public forum the committee goes over the proposed budget line by line, setting priorities for the fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30. They hear testimony from the public, pleading for a piece of the pie. 

After the committee receives testimony, they make and vote on changes to the proposed budget. Upon completion of its work, the budget is presented to the City Council in June, which must approve a final budget document in June.

Keizer’s Budget Committee is comprised of the mayor, the six city councilors and seven members appointed from the community.

The budget committee meetings (May 8  and May 9, beginning at 6 p.m.) is where Keizer residents have their best chance to affect how the city will spend nearly $50 million on everything from public safety to parks, streets to city operations and water. The meetings are public and broadcast live on Keizer TV, the local public access channel. 

The public is encouraged to be involved with the process by attending the budget committee meetings in person and make the case for their ideas for allocating the city’s outlays.

In this special issue the Keizertimes explores where the city’s money comes from and what it pays for. Also, we explain what the city council does and how.

What comes to the forefront is how much the city depends on volunteers, all augmenting the paid, professional personnel who work in the city’s departments.

The mayor and city councilors are all volunteers—there is no paycheck for those who give of their time, talent and knowledge to guide the city. Regardless of their personal background and experience, members of the city council quickly become conversant in matters most people would find tedious, but certainly not uninteresting.

What does it take to become mayor or a city councilor? Primarily it takes a strong interest in the city one calls home. Candidates must be a resident of Keizer and a U.S. citizen. Dozens of people have been elected to Keizer’s city council over the past 40 years.  Many were elected after serving on one of Keizer’s committees, though that service is not a requirement for election to the council, but it helps. Many professions have been represented by councilors, everthing from attorney to school crossing guard.

Keizer elects council members at large rather than by wards or districts. This system assures that a mayor or councilor represents the entire city and not via narrow geographic boundaries. Every neighborhood of Keizer has been home of the council since 1983.

How a city is governed and operated more intimately affects the daily life of citizens than other governmental bodies such as Congress and the state legislature. A former U.S. Speaker of the House famously said, “All politics is local.”