The first municipal council, elected according to the 1882 Municipal Ordinance, failed to submit a list of voters or raise adequate funds. Therefore, in November 1884, the District Commissioner with one Greek and one Turkish adviser undertook the administration of municipal affairs. Councils elected by communally proportionate representation, had became the norm by the turn of the century and as the Greek population of the town quickly outgrew the Turkish population, the mayors, who were elected by the councillors, were usually Greek. In 1930 important municipal legislation was enacted, making the new corporations liable to government audit. It also improved the electoral system but, following the ban on democratic procedures after the 1931 uprising, the existing municipal councils were supplemented by government appointees. In the absence of an elected legislature, municipal elections, re-introduced in 1943, acquired unusual political significance.
Funds were raised from a variety of municipal taxes. Property rates were never successfully imposed. Until 1958, the Town Clerk presided over a team of Greek and Turkish employees who undertook municipal services for the city as a whole.