What Does a City Recorder Do?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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In many jurisdictions, town hall and zoning board hearings are open to the public. A city recorder might be responsible for setting the agendas of these meetings, taking the minutes of these events, and then recording them as public records. He or she might also be in charge of some accounting functions, handling accounts payable, accounts receivable, and employee payroll for the municipality. In some instances, those holding these civil servant jobs might sign official contracts or prepare correspondence on behalf of their municipality.

Some city councils hold meetings on a regular basis to discuss new ordinances or development programs. Before these meetings take place, the city recorder is usually responsible for scheduling the time and place for this event and then notifying the media and the public. He or she is on hand during these meetings, helping to facilitate discussions between city officials and local citizens. This individual usually takes written notes of these discussions, to create a legal record of the proceedings called minutes. After the close of the session, a formal report based upon these minutes is typically filed as part of the city's public records.


Aside from facilitating meetings, the city recorder is usually in charge of the town's accounting department. He or she might be responsible for recording receipts from taxes or special permits, and then making this information available to the public. The clerk is typically responsible for making deposits into a bank account on behalf of the city, and writing checks for things such as utility bills or insurance premiums. Budgeting for payroll as well as issuing paychecks to city workers such as police officers of firefighters may also be required.

When a city government needs to execute a contract, the city recorder often handles the details. This could include the responsibility for updating insurance policies or subcontracting street repair work to a paving company. As the official representative, the recorder may often sign these documents personally and may even be authorized to stamp them with the official town seal.

A city recorder may sometimes correspond with residents concerning a variety of legal issues. This could be due to a violation of a city ordinance, non-payment of taxes, or zoning issues. The city registrar might be responsible for drafting these letters, and may hand deliver them to the recipients if the requests are of an extremely urgent nature.


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