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Chickamauga closer to crafting new charter

It seemed like an eternity, but three hours is not really all that long.

That’s about how long it takes to play a professional baseball or football game.

That’s about how long it takes to pronounce the chemical name of Titin, a giant protein that has 189,819 letters and is considered the longest word in English or any other language.

Three hours is also the amount of time the Chickamauga City Council spent last week discussing and reading aloud the draft version of a new charter for their city.

After a few minor tweaks are made, the Council will adopt a final version of the document and present it to state lawmakers.

If approved during the current legislative session, it will be the city’s first totally new — not just revised — charter since 1913.

Officials agreed nothing was fundamentally wrong with the document, rather that they felt the time has come to write a charter more in tune with the 21st century.

City Manager John Culpepper, along with councilmembers Evitte Parrish and Jim Staub, alternated reading sections of the 30-page charter. The charter is essentially an operator’s manual that establishes city limits, both on the map and in its powers to govern and tax.

City Attorney James Bisson, who prepared the draft under review, described the charter as “like the city’s Constitution” and said the city’s ordinances (laws) and resolutions (opinions) “must adhere to the charter.”

Copies of the charter that include changes suggested during last week’s workshop have been provided to each council member so that they may reread the proposed charter.

If no errors are discovered and no one objects to the revisions, the Council will decide during its February meeting if members are comfortable with submitting the new charter for review and approval by the state Legislature.

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