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Elected at large by the citizens as the legislative policy-making branch of City government are five members of the City Council. Through its power to pass ordinances, levy taxes, award contracts and appoint the City Manager and City Attorney, committees and commissions, the Council directs the course of city government. The City Council also acts as the Porterville Redevelopment Agency, the Porterville Public Improvement Corporation, the Porterville Public Financing Authority, and the Porterville Planning Commission.
The Mayor, who is a member of the Council, signs official documents, chairs the meetings and acts as the official head of the City on public and ceremonial occasions. Council members earn $20 per Council meeting and the Mayor earns $25 per meeting, up to seven meetings a month. In addition, the Council members earn $30 per Redevelopment meeting.
The City Council is assisted by two permanent commissions (Parks and Leisure Service Commission and Library Board of Trustees); three citizen committees (Redevelopment Advisory Committee, Community Development Block Grant and Housing Opportunity Advisory Committee, and Transaction and Use Tax Oversight Committee (Measure H)); and an Internal City Audit Committee. The Council appoints the members to each of these bodies.
As the legislative body for the City of Porterville, the City Council may enact ordinances and resolutions and may make motions and referrals. An ordinance is a law enacted by the City Council under powers delegated to it as a Charter City. Ordinances prescribe a general and lasting rule for persons within the City's boundaries. The City Council may, where public health, welfare and safety demands, adopt an emergency ordinance which becomes effective immediately after one reading. A resolution is usually used to express the policy of the Council or to direct certain types of procedural or administrative actions. It requires only one reading and becomes effective immediately. It may be changed by a subsequent resolution.
Motions ordinarily indicate majority approval for a procedural or administrative action. Motions are usually used for disposition of business items on the agenda. When the Council is not prepared to take definite action or when further study or information is needed, the Council may refer the matter to an individual or group for study by motion. The Council may request that a report be made at a future Council meeting.
Council members also represent the City of Porterville on various county, regional and state commissions and committees. Institutes, conferences, and seminars are held throughout the year to provide training and information that assist members of the Council in performance of their duties.
Transition to By-District Elections
In August 2017, the City received written notice alleging that the City's at-large system violated the California Voting Rights Act. While the City disputed the allegation, the Council determined that it was in the best interest of the City to transition from at-large elections to by-district elections. In October, the City began the process by holding public hearings to solicit commentary prior to the drawing of draft district maps. On December 19, 2017, judgment was entered in Tulare County Superior Court enjoining the City from utilizing an at-large voting system and ordering the City to proceed with the implementation of by-district elections. In March and April, the Council held public hearings to receive public commentary on three draft district maps and election sequencing, with the Green Map being approved on April 3, 2018.
On May 15, 2018, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1845, an ordinance establishing by-district elections in five single-member districts in the City, and adopting the map describing the boundaries and identifying number of the five City Council districts in the City.
Existing Council Members will serve as at-large council members until the end of their current terms. At the end of their terms, the council members can run for re-election by district if they live in a district up for election at that time. Members of the City Council were elected in Districts 1 and 2 in November 2018, and will be every four years thereafter. Members of the City Council shall be elected in Districts 3, 4, and 5 beginning in November 2020, and every four years thereafter.
District Representatives as of November 3, 2020 Election
- District 1: Lawana Tate, Term Ends November 8, 2022
- District 2: Milt Stowe, Term Ends November 8, 2022
- District 3: Martha A. Flores, Term Ends November 5, 2024
- District 4: Monte Reyes, Term Ends November 5, 2024
- District 5: Kellie Carrillo, Term Ends November 5, 2024