Depending on the 2020 census, the City of Ashland could have the ability to change its form of local government. 

Currently Ashland is a fourth class city in a first class county. 

If the 2020 census shows the city as having more than 5,000 inhabitants, Ashland voters could elect the option of a charter form of government, per Article 6, Section 19 of the State of Missouri Constitution. 

A fourth class city is the most common form of municipal government in Missouri, with a strong mayor-alderman format, giving administrative and appointment authority to the mayor, subject to approval by the board. 

“Ashland is currently run by ordinances built by a board of aldermen and the mayor. We have a contracted city administrator,” said Mayor Gene Rhorer. “Being in a first class county matters in how some of the state laws are perceived and followed.” 

If the census results are over 5,000 inhabitants, City Administrator Tony St. Romaine, would propose Ashland take the steps necessary to become a charter form of government with a council – city manager structure.

Columbia, for example, operates on this type of government structure.  

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By Carson Blake