The City of Bath operates under the City Charter required by all cities. This Charter is the written, basic body of laws by which a city will govern itself, similar to a Constitution. Municipal laws are particular laws passed within the framework of the Charter and consistent with State law, to meet certain situations or concerns within the community. In comparison, towns in Maine are not required to have Charters and are governed under Maine Statute with some Home Rule provisions.
Maine has 22 communities that are classified as cities. Georgetown, which included Arrowsic and Long Reach (Bath), was established in 1738. On February 17, 1781, the City of Bath was granted a Charter from the General Court of Massachusetts. The Town of Bath, with three Selectmen and a Town Meeting, was formed. In 1847, the town experienced rapid growth driven by the shipbuilding industry and the region’s central rail location. Bath was granted a Charter from the State of Maine and became a city.