The legislative branch of the government of the Municipality of Kingston shall consist of an elective governing body which shall be known as the Municipal Council.
The Council shall be composed of seven (7) members elected at large by the electors of the Municipality.
Councilmen shall be elected to serve staggered terms of four (4) years each and until each of their successors qualifies. At the first municipal election subsequent to the adoption of this charter, the offices of the four (4) councilmen whose terms are then expiring shall be filled. At the next municipal election, the offices of the three (3) councilmen whose terms are then expiring shall be filled. Thereafter, at each municipal election four (4) and then three (3) councilmen shall be elected as the case may be. Their terms of office shall begin on the first Monday in January next following their election.
All councilmen shall be electors of the municipality and shall have been residents continuously in the municipality for at least one year immediately preceding their election and must remain continuous residents during their terms of office.
Except as otherwise provided in this charter, the Council shall have and exercise all legislative powers and duties now or hereafter conferred or imposed on said Council, or not denied to it, by applicable law. The Council shall have, but not by way of limitation, the following powers and duties:
To make appropriations, incur indebtedness, approve contracts, and adopt the budget;
To adopt, amend and repeal an administrative code, not inconsistent with this charter, which may create, alter, combine and abolish municipal departments, administrative units, authorities, boards and commissions not headed by elected officers and not provided for in this charter;
To levy taxes not otherwise prohibited by law;
To fix the amount of bonds of officers and employees who are paid from municipal funds;
To adopt by resolution all necessary rules and regulations for its conduct and procedure; and
To make or cause to be made such studies or post audits and investigations as it deems to be in the best interest of the Municipality.
The Council shall have the power to fix the compensation of its members, except that until 1978 each Councilman shall receive a salary of $2400 per annum. No change in the compensation of Council shall become effective for any councilman until the commencement of his new term of office. Councilmen shall receive no other municipal compensation, direct or indirect; and they shall receive no pensions or other forms of fringe benefits.
No councilman, during his Council term, shall hold any other elective office or employment in any municipal government for which compensation is prescribed; nor shall be hold any elective office under the government of the United States or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or serve as a member of Congress or of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania; nor shall be hold any office or employment in any political party.
The office of councilman shall become vacant through: a) death; b) resignation; c) recall; or d) forfeiture. Forfeiture occurs when a councilman: 1) lacks the qualifications of the office as defined by the charter; 2) violates an express prohibition of the charter; 3) is convicted of a crime more serious than a summary offense as defined by law; or 4) is absent and unexcused from four (4) consecutive regular meetings of Council and the office is declared vacant by Council.
The Council shall, by a majority vote of the total number of the Council, fill any vacancies in the office of councilmen. Should the Council fail, for any reason whatsoever, to fill a vacancy within thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs, then the Court of Common Pleas shall, upon petition of any ten (10) citizens of the municipality, fill the vacancy. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall be an elector of the same political party as the person who vacated the office.
If the vacancy occurs during the last year of a term, the appointee shall fill the unexpired term. If the vacancy occurs during the first three years of a term, the appointee shall serve only until the scheduled primary, municipal or general election, occurring at least sixty (60) days after the vacancy has occurred, at which time the unexpired term shall be filled by the electors of the municipality.
The person so appointed or elected to fill a vacancy shall take office immediately upon qualifying.
The Council shall organize on the first Monday of January of each year. The Council at this organization meeting shall elect from its membership a President and a Vice President. The President, or in his absence the Vice President, shall preside at all meetings of the Council.
The Council shall convene in regular meeting not less than once a month. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public and reasonable and adequate public notice of all meetings shall be given.
All actions of the Council shall be in the form of an ordinance, resolution, or motion. All ordinances and resolutions must be in written form. All final action in adopting ordinances or resolutions shall be by roll call vote, and the vote of each member of Council shall be entered into the record of the meeting. No action of Council shall be taken in the absence of a quorum which shall consist of four (4) councilmen.
Resolutions and motions of the Council shall be passed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the councilmen present and entitled to vote. Ordinances shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of the total number of the whole Council.
All legislation, including but not limited to the adoption of all budgets and capital programs, the adoption of all tax levies, the adoption of an administrative code and amendments thereto, the grant, renewal or extension of all franchises, the borrowing of funds with the exception of revenue anticipation loans, the enactment of all zoning and sub-division regulations and technical codes, and the amendment or repeal of existing ordinances shall be by ordinance. All ordinances of the Council shall be introduced at any duly convened meeting of the Council, but no ordinance shall be adopted until a subsequent meeting of Council, duly convened and occurring at least twenty-five (25) days following the introduction of the ordinance.
[Amended 12-5-1994 by Ord. No. 1994-21]
Upon adoption, an ordinance shall be signed by the President of Council and submitted to the Mayor within five (5) days. The Mayor shall approve or veto such ordinance within ten (10) days thereafter. However, such a veto may be overridden at the next succeeding regular meeting of Council by an affirmative vote of a majority plus one of the total number of the Council members. Should the mayor fail to act within said ten (10) days the ordinance shall be deemed enacted.
The Municipal Administrator shall cause all ordinances to be published in summary form within (10) days following their enactment, at least once in a newspaper circulating generally within the municipality.
An ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days following its publication date unless the ordinance shall specify a later date.
Upon written declaration by the Mayor that an emergency exists within the municipality, Council may, without regard to any other provisions contained in Article II and Section 303 (D), adopt an ordinance upon the affirmative and majority vote of at least four (4) members of Council who shall be present at any meeting of the Council. The ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its adoption and shall cease to be effective on the thirty first (31st) day following its adoption.
All ordinances and resolutions of the municipality shall be entered, as approved, in the record books of the municipality. The record books shall be open and available to the public for inspection at reasonable hours. These books shall be in the custody and control of the Municipal Administrator. All entries made therein shall be at his direction.
All municipal ordinances and any existing resolutions having legislative effect shall be codified and the codification kept current. Copies of the codified ordinances and resolutions shall be made available to the public upon request at a reasonable charge.
The Council may make inquires and investigations into the affairs of the municipality and the conduct of any municipal department, office, agency, or authority. To facilitate the conduct of such inquiries and investigations, Council shall have the authority, by subpoena, to compel the production of evidence in the control, custody and possession of the executive branch, and to administer oaths, and to take testimony.
The Council shall provide reasonable opportunity for interested citizens to address the Council at regular or special meetings on matters of general or specific concern.