Population growth in Gulf Shores impacts legislative functions

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 9/15/21

The population growth in Gulf Shores has required the city council to vote on two ordinances regarding the legislative functions of the mayor and the number of city council members at a special …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Population growth in Gulf Shores impacts legislative functions

Posted

The population growth in Gulf Shores has required the city council to vote on two ordinances regarding the legislative functions of the mayor and the number of city council members at a special council meeting held Aug. 31.

The 2020 Census counted the Gulf Shores population at 15,014 residents which is up from 9,741 in 2010. Gulf Shores City Administrator Steve Griffin said the number was a surprise.

“I knew it was going to be over 13,000 and I knew this decision was going to come up, but the number was even more than myself had estimated. In the north part of our city the number of single-family home permits has been around 300 to 400 a year for the last five years,” Griffin said.

The increase in population pushed Gulf Shores from a class seven jurisdiction to a class six. According to The Code of Alabama, in cities with a population over 12,000, the mayor is not a voting member of the council but does have veto power over any permanent action taken by the council. The council can override the mayor’s veto by a two-thirds vote. This form of government is often referred to as strong council, weak mayor.

The city council and mayor had a 30-day window after receiving the official census numbers to vote to keep the current form of government which allows the mayor to serve as an ex efficio voting member of the council, sometimes referred to as a strong mayor government.

The ordinance to keep the city of Gulf Shores legislative functions of the mayor until the release of the 2030 federal census was passed with a unanimous vote.

An increase in population sometimes impacts the number of city council members. Under Alabama law, once a city reaches a population of 12,000 it is required to create defined wards with a specified number of aldermen. Gulf Shores council had the option to change from five to seven districts and to provide for the election of council members on a district basis.

At the Aug. 31 meeting the city council and mayor voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that the city of Gulf Shores 2025 general municipal election shall consist of five members elected at large.