In 1958 the New Hampshire Legislature approved a new Charter, and the Town of Lebanon became the City of Lebanon. With this new title came a new government. Lebanon is split into three wards, and each ward elects two councilors; three additional councilors are elected by the voters at large. Once the nine members of the city council are elected, they, in turn, elect a mayor from among themselves. The mayor, mostly an honorary position, serves as chair of the council and presides at civic functions.
The actual day-to-day running of the city falls on the shoulders of the city manager, who is appointed by the city council. The manager supervises the city, a workforce of over 150 individuals. The city also has a director of public works responsible for the highway, water and sewer, and cemetery departments. The fire and police departments are headed by highly qualified, specially trained chiefs and other officers.
The Lebanon Fire Department currently employs 24 career and approximately 12 on-call firefighters, and its mission is twofold: prevention and emergency response. Prevention is accomplished in four ways: first, through the education of children, the community and businesses in fire safety; second, by inspection, to ensure that existing structures and methods are within safety guidelines; third, in the planning of new buildings to follow strict fire codes; and fourth, through careful inspection after a fire to determine its cause and how it may be avoided in the future. When the unthinkable happens and fire does threaten, emergency response is vital: first by the person reporting the fire and second by the fire department itself. The fire department also provides ambulance and EMT services for the city.
The Lebanon Police Department is divided into two sections: support services, supervised by the deputy police chief, and patrol services, supervised by the captain. Support Services consists of the detective division, prosecution, communications, records division, and facility and grounds. Patrol Services consists of patrol division, training division, animal control, explorers and cadets, crossing guards, and the parking officer.
Planning is a vital component of city life. The mission of Lebanon’s Department of Planning is to “manage and administer the delivery of planning services to the community in a manner that is appropriate and responsive to the needs of the various boards and commissions, property owners, developers and general citizenry.”
Maintaining the city’s master plan, reviewing current projects, preparing studies, working with other departments of the city, providing administrative support to various committees of the city, and meeting with property owners and developers to explain rules, regulations, ordinances and procedures are just a few of the duties performed by the Department of Planning.