Certification of Neighborhood Associations by the City of Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/15/05

Certification of Neighborhood Associations by the City of Savannah

The Savannah City Council has drafted the following regarding certification of neighborhood associations within the city as part of a proposed ordinance.

Neighborhood associations which meet the following requirements annually will be officially recognized by the City of Savannah as a "Neighborhood Association":

Governance Requirements:

Membership and Neighborhood Representation

Membership must be opened to any person who lives and/or owns any real property or business within the neighborhood's recognized boundaries. Membership must be documented and maintained in a written form, i.e., listing, roster or directory. Neighborhood associations are required to have representation of block leaders/captains throughout the boundary of their neighborhood.

Non-Discrimination

A neighborhood association must not discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, income, political affiliation in any of its policies, recommendations or actions.

Bylaws

Neighborhood associations must maintain current bylaws with a mission statement that includes neighborhood improvement. Bylaws must clearly state the purpose of the organization, the establishment of a Board of Directors, the function of the officers, and the chain of command or accountability. A copy of current bylaws must be on file at the Department of Community Services, City of Savannah. Organizations with a 50l(c)(3) status must have and operate according to their bylaws.

Election of Officers

Neighborhood associations must have duly elected officers. The nomination and election process must be clearly stated in the organization's bylaws. Elections must be held annually and fully publicized and opened to any and all eligible persons seeking candidacy or to exercise their vote. Terms of office must be clearly stated in the bylaws with a definite beginning and ending period. Neighborhood Presidents must reside in the neighborhoods for which they serve as President. A minimum of 51% of the organization's active membership must be present at meetings where officers are elected.

Public Meetings/Public Records Law/Minutes

Neighborhoods should conduct regular neighborhood meetings to occur not less than quarterly. Meetings must be fully publicized throughout the neighborhood, identifying a clear meeting date, time and location. Neighborhood meetings must be opened to all residents wishing to attend and must be a quorum to transact official business. Official action (s) taken by a neighborhood association must be a part of the minutes of each meeting. The minutes shall include a record/log of attendance and results of any vote (s) taken and must be maintained to document official meetings. Minutes must be made available for the public's review.

Financial Records

Neighborhood associations must maintain accurate financial records to include records for all receivables and expenditures.

Annual Leadership Training

The President and Vice President of all neighborhood associations seeking certification through the City of Savannah must attend a minimum of 10 hours of training annually. Training must include annual attendance at a "City-Neighborhood Partnership Workshop" offered by the City of Savannah. The training will focus on ensuring neighborhood leaders understand local priorities. City processes, City expectations of neighborhood associations, who to contact for various neighborhood issues, and how to connect to programs and services.

Basic Service Capacity Requirements:

Public Service Activities

The neighborhood association and leaders will be responsible for carrying out projects during the year, serve as a communication liaison for households in their area to address derelict vehicles and properties, overgrown lots and yards, trash cans out front, etc. The captain must also have the ability to organize and work with their neighbors and inform and comment on issues concerning the neighborhood, such as liquor licenses, re-zoning petitions, crime, etc.

Annual Certification

Neighborhood associations wishing to become certified by the City of Savannah as a "Neighborhood Association" must submit a Neighborhood Association Certification Application to the Department of Community Services no later than January 31, of each year. To obtain an application contact Community Services at 651-3685.

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