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City of Mount Vernon, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
The legislative power of the City, however conferred or possessed by it, during the first year after this Charter goes into effect, from January 1, 1923, to December 31, 1923, is vested in a City Council composed of the five members of the existing City Council, who were chosen for two-year terms at the general election held during the year 1921, and thereafter is vested in a City Council composed as hereinafter provided, and it has authority to enact ordinances, not inconsistent with law, for the government of the City and the management of its business, for the preservation of good order, peace and health, for the safety and welfare of its inhabitants and the protection and security of their property; and its authority, except as otherwise provided in this chapter or by law, is legislative only.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1926; L.L. No. 4-1927; L.L. No. 5-1939; L.L. No. 50-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972]
The City Councilmen of the City shall constitute the City Council thereof. The members of the City Council shall meet in the room provided for the purpose at 8:00 in the evening of the second day of January 1923, and each year thereafter, or if that day be a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday, then on the next day, and organize. The City Council at its first meeting annually, or in case of a vacancy not otherwise filled as herein provided, at any subsequent meeting, shall elect from among its members a President of the City Council who shall preside at all meetings and discharge other duties as may be defined by ordinance of the City Council and otherwise by this chapter or by law, and a President Pro Tempore who shall have the power of the President of the City Council during the absence or disability of the President, while the President is acting as Mayor or during a vacancy in the office of President, and an Acting President Pro Tempore who shall have the power of the President Pro Tempore of the City Council during the absence or disability of the President Pro Tempore. The President of the City Council shall vote as a member of the City Council, and notwithstanding that he shall be acting as Mayor. The President Pro Tempore of the City Council shall also vote as a member of the City Council and the Acting President Pro Tempore shall likewise vote as a member of the City Council. The City Council shall also constitute and appoint such other officers and committees as may be needed for the execution of the powers herein and hereby granted to the City Council.
[Amended by L.L. No. 3-1926; L.L. No. 4-1932; L.L. No. 3-1933; L.L. No. 1-1972; L.L. No. 6-1992; L.L. No. 5-1994[1]; 8-13-2008 by L.L. No. 4-2008, approved 9-18-2008]
The City Council shall appoint to hold office, during its pleasure, a City Clerk and a Deputy City Clerk. The City Clerk, and in his absence or disability, the Deputy City Clerk, shall attend the meetings of the City Council, keep a journal of its proceedings and discharge such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter or by law or ordinance. The City Clerk shall appoint to hold office, during his pleasure, except as otherwise provided by law, such subordinates as may be prescribed by the Board of Estimate and Contract. It shall be the duty of the said Clerk to transmit to the head of each department and Clerk of each board copies of all ordinances in any manner affecting any of the matters of which any such department or board shall have jurisdiction. He shall have the custody of the City Seal and shall be the Clerk to all boards unless otherwise provided by law or by the Board of Estimate and Contract or by this chapter. The City Clerk shall serve as the Registrar of Vital Statistics and shall appoint, to hold office at his pleasure, a Deputy Registrar to act in his stead in case of his absence or inability. The City Clerk shall be ex officio a Commissioner of Deeds. The City Clerk shall keep an accurate account of all moneys received and disbursed by him under or in pursuance of any provision of law or ordinance and shall deposit all his receipts daily to the credit of the City in one or more of the City depositories designated pursuant to law and shall report such receipts and disbursements monthly, in detail, and pay over the balance thereby shown to the Comptroller on or before the fifth day of every month. The City Clerk shall also act as Clerk of the Board of Estimate and Contract and shall keep a journal of all proceedings of the Board of Estimate and Contract and shall perform such additional duties as may be required by the Board of Estimate and Contract.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law provided for an effective date of January 1, 1995.
[Amended by L.L. No. 4-1930; L.L. No. 6-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972; L.L. No. 2-1981; L.L. No. 4-1981]
The City Council shall hold regular meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the months of September through June, inclusive; and the second Wednesday of the months of July and August. If these regular meeting days be holidays, then the Council shall meet on the next days; or if these regular meeting days be the eve of Thanksgiving, the eve of Christmas, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the eve of Yom Kippur or New Year's eve, then the Council shall meet on the preceding day. The Mayor, or the President of the City Council, or majority of its members, may call a special meeting of the City Council by causing a written notice thereof, specifying the objects of the meeting, to be served by the City Clerk upon each member personally at least six hours before the time fixed for such meeting or by mailing such notice special delivery, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to his place of residence or place of business at least 24 hours before the time fixed for the meeting.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
The City Council shall determine the rules of its own proceedings and be the judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of its members. Its meetings shall be public and its records open to public inspection, and a majority of all its members shall constitute a quorum to do business. The City Council may compel the attendance of absent members at any meeting properly called, and may punish or expel a member for disorderly conduct, for a violation of its rules or for official misconduct, or declare his seat vacant by reason of absence, provided such absence has continued for a space of two months; but no expulsion shall take place and no vacancy on account of absence be declared except by a vote of a majority of all the members of the City Council nor until the delinquent member has had an opportunity to be heard in his defense. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of City Councilman, the City Council shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy. The term of office of the person so appointed shall be until the commencement of the political year next succeeding the first annual election after the happening of the vacancy, at which a successor can be elected, and a successor for the balance of the unexpired term, if any, shall be chosen at the next City election happening not less than 20 days after such vacancy occurs. All acts of the City Council shall be determined by a vote taken by a roll call of its members, and a statement of the choice of each member or the yeas and nays, if any, shall be entered upon the journal.
[Added by L.L. No. 7-1961; amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
In any action, suit, or proceeding brought by or against the City Council, where the Corporation Counsel disqualifies himself or is disqualified, or his acting as counsel may involve a conflict of interest, the City Council may engage special counsel. The cost of retaining such special counsel shall constitute a charge upon the general funds of the City.
[Amended by L. 1943, Ch. 710; L.L. No. 1-1953; L.L. No. 4-1958; L.L. No. 8-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972]
All the legislative acts of the City Council shall be by ordinance, and on the passage of every ordinance, the yeas and nays of the members voting thereon shall be entered in full on the journal. The passage of an ordinance shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the members of the City Council, except as otherwise provided by the Local Finance Law. Except by an affirmative vote of at least four members of the City Council, no ordinance shall be passed by the City Council on the same day on which it is introduced.
[Amended by L.L. No. 9-1961; L.L. No. 7-1977]
Every ordinance of the City Council shall be typewritten, printed or written and immediately after its passage shall be signed by the President of the City Council and attested by the Clerk. The Clerk shall thereafter present the same to the Mayor, noting the date of delivery to the Mayor. If the Mayor approves it, he shall sign it and return it to the Clerk, and the ordinance shall thereupon take effect. If he disapproves it, he shall return it to the Clerk with his objections stated in writing, and the Clerk shall present the same with such objections to the City Council at its next regular meeting. The City Council may, within 30 days thereafter, reconsider the same; if, after such consideration 4/5 of all the members of the City Council shall vote to pass the ordinance, the same shall take effect notwithstanding the objections of the Mayor, unless a greater number of members were necessary according to the provisions of this chapter for the original passage of the ordinance, in which case unless as many members as were requisite for the original passage of the ordinance shall vote to pass the ordinance it shall not take effect. If any ordinance shall not be returned by the Mayor to the Clerk within 10 days after it shall have been presented to him, or if such ordinance shall be returned within such period without the Mayor's approval or disapproval, the same shall take effect in like manner as if the Mayor had approved and signed it. If any ordinance presented to the Mayor contains several items of appropriation of money or embraces more than one distinct subject, the Mayor may approve the provisions relating to one or more items or one or more subjects and disapprove the others. In such case those items or subjects which he shall approve shall take effect and he shall append to the ordinance at the time of signing it a statement of the items or subjects which he disapproves and said items or subjects so disapproved shall not take effect. He shall return to the Clerk a copy of such statement and the items or subjects disapproved may be separately reconsidered by the City Council and shall only become effective if again passed by it as above provided. All the provisions of this section in relation to ordinances disapproved by the Mayor shall apply in cases in which he shall disapprove any item or subject contained in an ordinance appropriating money or embracing more than one distinct subject.
In the event that the power to disapprove an ordinance is exercised by the Acting Mayor, and the City Council shall reconsider the same, as hereinbefore provided, upon 3/5 of all the members of the City Council voting to pass the ordinance, it shall take effect notwithstanding the objections of the Acting Mayor, unless a greater number of members shall be necessary according to the provisions of this Charter for the original passage of the ordinance, in which case as many members as were requisite for the original passage of the ordinance shall vote to pass the ordinance in order for it to take effect.
[Amended by L.L. No. 10-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972]
Every ordinance shall, upon its taking effect, be kept in the custody of the City Clerk. He shall photostat every such ordinance and such photostatic copy shall include the signature of the President of the City Council, the attestation of the City Clerk and the Mayor's written approval; or in the event of the Mayor's disapproval, a memorandum by the City Clerk of its passage over the Mayor's veto; or in the event the ordinance took effect because of the Mayor's failure to approve or to disapprove and return within 10 days, then a memorandum to that effect. The photostatic copies thereof shall be kept chronologically, in annual bound volumes. A copy, certified by the City Clerk, shall be presumptive evidence of the passage of the ordinance and of the facts certified.
[Amended by L.L. No. 11-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972]
The City Council may by ordinances not inconsistent with this chapter or with other laws of the state, regulate the powers and duties of the City officers and departments, such ordinances to be known as the "Administrative Code of the City of Mount Vernon"; but no ordinance shall be passed interfering with the exercise of the executive functions of the officers, departments, and boards of the City, as provided in this chapter or otherwise by law. The Council shall have power and it shall be its duty by ordinance to designate the different rooms and offices in City Hall, or in any building used as such, to be occupied by the various courts, officers, boards and departments of the City.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 41, Special lighting districts, was repealed by L.L. No. 37-1961.
[Amended by L.L. No. 2-1927; L.L. No. 12-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972]
The grade of any street shall not be fixed or established except by ordinance of the City Council. The grade of a street heretofore or hereafter legally established shall not be changed, except by ordinance of the City Council, and except also upon compensation for damages done, to be ascertained in and by proceedings provided by law for ascertaining damages for lands taken for the opening of streets. The City Council shall have full power to change or alter, by ordinance, the name of any street, avenue, place or highway in the City of Mount Vernon, at any time, in the discretion of said City Council, and said ordinance may prescribe the period of time for which said ordinance shall be published in a newspaper published in the City of Mount Vernon.
[Amended by L. 1923, Ch. 617; L. 1943, Ch. 710; L.L. No. 3-1956; L.L. No. 2-1965; L.L. No. 1-1972]
The City Council may, by ordinance approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract, fix and determine the amount and proportion of the expense which shall be borne by the City at large of any public improvement. The amount and proportion of the expense of such improvements which shall be borne by the City at large may be included in the budget and raised by tax the same as other general City charges. An amount sufficient to pay, when due, any bonds issued to finance the portion of such expense to be borne by the City at large, together with the accrued interest thereon, shall be included in the tax budget and raised by tax the same as other general City charges and such bonds as they mature, together with the interest thereon, shall be paid out of the moneys so raised by tax. The proportion of the expenses which is not borne by the City shall be assessed and charged upon the property affected by such improvement in the form and manner provided by law or ordinance. The words "public improvement" as used herein shall be deemed to refer to any one of the following: the laying out, opening, constructing, extending, widening, altering, straightening, altering of grade, grading, regrading, paving, surfacing, narrowing and discontinuing of public streets, the construction and altering of drains, gutters, crosswalks, sidewalks and curbs in the public streets, laying out, opening, enlarging, improving and ornamenting public squares and parks and acquiring the land necessary therefor; the constructing, reconstructing, extension and alteration of public sewers and drains within or without the limits of the City; constructing and altering of sewerage disposal works within and without the limits of the City; the construction of bridges, arches and culverts and the extension of mains and pipes and appurtenances for the supplying of water for public purposes and for private consumption; the construction, reconstruction, extension and enlargement of off-street parking spaces, lots, garages, or facilities, the construction of buildings, structures, garages, spaces or facilities for off-street parking purposes for the relief of traffic congestion and the acquisition of real property or any interest therein necessary for or incidental to the construction or operation of parking garages, parking spaces or parking facilities for such purpose; the purchase, installation and erection of streetlighting poles, lamps and equipment; the acquisition of real property, rights-of-way or any interest therein which may be required or necessary in connection with the construction of state arterial highways within the City limits as well as the cost of preparing any such real property so acquired for such public use. In any ordinance which shall provide that the whole or any portion of the expense of any such public improvement shall be assessed and charged upon the property benefited and affected by such improvement, the City Council may provide that the assessments shall be payable in one installment, or in equal annual installments not exceeding 20 years, but no provision shall be made for such payment in installments for a period beyond the probable usefulness of such improvement as provided by the Local Finance Law.
[Added by L.L. No. 3-1927; amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
Hereafter whenever the City Council shall determine to regulate, grade, pave or otherwise improve any new street, avenue, highway or public place in the City of Mount Vernon, there shall be included in the plans and specifications therefor, and as part of said improvement, specifications for the construction of sidewalks on said new street or streets, avenue, highway or public place; the material, width, etc., of which said sidewalks shall be constructed, shall be specified in said specifications, and said sidewalks shall be constructed as a part of said improvement. The cost and expense of the construction of said sidewalks shall be apportioned, and assessed upon the several abutting properties at the same time, in the same manner, and with like effect as the cost and expense of said regulating, grading, paving or other improvement made on said new street or streets, avenue, highway or public place aforesaid, and as a part thereof.
[Added by L.L. No. 3-1937; amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
When a public improvement is undertaken through, by authority of, or in conjunction with the state, and/or federal and/or county governments, or any agency thereof, the City Council shall, by ordinance approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract, fix and determine the proportion, if any, of the cost and expense of such improvement to the City, to be borne by, assessed and charged upon the property affected by such improvement. The provisions of this chapter and of law pertaining to the form and manner of assessment, levy and collection of the cost and expense for local improvements, including interest thereon and review thereof, shall apply to the matters provided in this section.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
Whenever the City Council shall contemplate the discontinuance of any street, it shall cause a notice to be published for 10 days in the official paper or papers of the City of its intention so to do and that all persons interested may be heard in reference thereto at a time stated in such notice. If it shall be determined to discontinue the street and any person shall claim to be damaged by such discontinuance, such alleged damages, unless agreed to by the Commissioner of Public Works and approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract, must be ascertained and determined in the manner provided by law for ascertaining damages for lands taken for the opening of streets. An ordinance discontinuing any street shall require the affirmative vote of the majority of all the members of the City Council.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
At the first meeting of the City Council for the purpose of organization, as provided herein, it shall designate not more than two newspapers published in the City to be the official paper or papers of the City. The City Council may, by a majority vote of all its members, determine to designate but one daily official paper, in which case it shall designate but one daily official paper, and the daily paper receiving the highest number of votes shall be the official paper for one year, and until a successor is designated. Such paper or papers shall have been published in the City of Mount Vernon for at least one year and shall have been entered as second class matter with the United States Post Office Department. Unless the City Council shall so determine to designate but one official paper, it shall designate two daily official papers, and each member shall be entitled to vote for but one paper, and the two papers having the highest number of votes shall be the official daily papers for one year and until a successor or successors shall be designated. Such official daily paper or papers shall publish such matters and in such form as shall be prescribed by statute or otherwise by general ordinance of the City Council. In case an official paper shall refuse or fail to act or perform as such, the City Council may in its discretion as hereinbefore provided, designate a successor. All bills and accounts for publication in daily official papers and all City printing and advertising shall be a City charge, and shall be paid by the Comptroller in the regular manner. The City Council may, by general ordinance, prescribe the form in which the proceedings and reports of the City officers, boards and departments shall be issued, and the printing and binding of the same shall be performed under contract awarded as in the case of other City contracts.
No appropriations of money shall be made for any purpose except by ordinance specifying each item, the amount thereof, and the department or specific purpose for which the appropriation is made.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972; L.L. No. 2-2001]
No ordinance shall be passed making or authorizing a sale or lease of City real estate or of any franchise belonging to or under the control of the City except by a four-fifths vote of all the members of the City Council. In case of a proposed sale or lease of real estate or of a franchise, the ordinance must provide for a disposition of the same at either a public auction to the highest bidder or through a private sale, and act to grant, for such consideration and upon such terms and conditions as the City Council may deem proper, any right, title and interest which the City may have in such real property. In the case of a sale by public auction to the highest bidder, such public auction shall be conducted under proper regulations as to the giving of security, and after the public notice published once each week for three weeks in the official paper or papers. A sale or lease of real estate or a franchise shall not be valid or take effect unless made as aforesaid and subsequently approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract. No franchise shall be granted or be operated for a period longer than 50 years. The City Council may, however, grant to the owner or lessee of an existing franchise, under which operations are being actually carried on, such additional rights or extensions in the street or streets in which the said franchise exists, upon such terms as the interests of the City may require, with or without an advertisement, as the City Council may determine; provided, however, that no such grant shall be operative unless approved by the Board of Estimate and Contract, and also by the Mayor.
[Added by L.L. No. 1-1945; amended by L.L. No. 6-1958; L.L. No. 13-1961; L.L. No. 1-1970; L.L. No. 1-1972]
Sale of all City-owned real property, not needed for municipal use, at a price of $5,000 or less, shall be for a cash consideration.
In the sale of all City-owned property, not needed for municipal use, where the price is in excess of $5,000, the Comptroller, when so authorized by ordinance of the City Council and resolution of the Board of Estimate and Contract, may, and he hereby is authorized to, take in the name of the City a purchase money bond and mortgage in an amount not to exceed 50% of the sale price in excess of $5,000 on unimproved property and 60% of the sale price in excess of $5,000 on improved property. The balance of the principal sum shall be due and payable not more than five years from the closing of title, with interest payable quarter-annually at the then prevailing rate per annum, together with installment payments for reduction of the principal sum in an amount not less than 6% per annum on each quarter-annual interest date. Said purchase money bond and mortgage shall contain such other clauses and terms as are set forth in lending institutions' or bank first mortgage and such other terms and conditions as fixed by ordinance of the City Council. Where the privilege of part payment by bond and mortgage is extended to and accepted by the purchaser, said purchaser shall pay the mortgage recording tax and recording fees and pay for and affix to such instruments any and all revenue stamps that may be necessary.
In enforcing the lien of any such bond and mortgage the City shall have and be entitled to all the same rights and remedies as an individual or private corporation under the provisions of the Real Property Law and Civil Practice Act and the laws of the State of New York. The City shall have and be entitled to the same rights as an individual or private corporation to sell or assign any such bond and mortgage. The proceeds of the sale of any such property shall be applied as an offset against the cost of acquisition of the property represented by said taxes and assessments outstanding against said property on the date of acquisition; any excess shall revert to the general fund.
[Added by L.L. No. 4-1983]
In the sale of all City-owned property, not needed for municipal use, where the price is in excess of $1,000,000, the Comptroller, when so authorized by ordinance of the City Council and resolution of the Board of Estimate and Contract, may, and he hereby is authorized to, take in the name of the City a purchase money bond or note and mortgages in an amount equal to the purchase price. The principal sum shall be due and payable not more than five years from the closing of title, with interest payable annually at a negotiated rate per annum. Said purchase money bond or note and mortgages shall contain such other clauses and terms as are set forth in lending institutions or bank mortgages and such other terms and conditions as fixed by ordinance of the City Council. Where the privilege of part payment by bond or note and mortgages is extended to and accepted by the purchaser, said purchaser shall pay the mortgage recording tax and recording fees and pay for and affix to such instruments any and all revenue stamps that may be necessary.
In enforcing the lien of any such bond or note and mortgages, the City shall have and be entitled to all the same rights and remedies as an individual or private corporation under the provisions of the Real Property Law and Civil Practice Act and the laws of the State of New York. The City shall have and be entitled to the same rights as an individual or private corporation to sell or assign any such bond or note and mortgages. The proceeds of the sale of any such property shall be applied as an offset against the cost of acquisition of the property represented by said taxes and assessments outstanding against said property on the date of acquisition; any excess shall revert to the general fund.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
The City Council shall, on or before the first day of July in each year, whenever necessary so to do, divide the City into election districts in accordance with provisions of the Election Law of the State of New York, as from time to time amended.
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
Whenever the City shall own and operate a system of waterworks the City Council shall by ordinance provide for the levy and collection of a frontage tax on real estate and establish the rates to be charged and paid annually for the supply of water in buildings, establishments, trades, and private houses and shall provide for the use of water meters in ascertaining the amounts to be charged for water supply service.
[Amended by L.L. No. 3-1935; L. 1943, Ch. 710; L.L. No. 14-1961; L.L. No. 1-1972][1]
The City Council shall have power to investigate all City officers, all departments and all public affairs of the City and shall have access to all records and papers kept by every City officer or department and shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers or other evidence at any meeting of the City Council or of any committee thereof, and for that purpose may issue subpoenas to be signed by the President of the City Council. The expenses of all such investigations including, but not limited to, employment of special counsel in the event the Corporation Counsel is disqualified from serving, experts and stenographers, shall be and constitute a charge upon the general funds of the City.
[1]
Note: (See also L.L. 1961, No. 7, § 36-a.)
[Amended by L.L. No. 1-1972]
Any member of the City Council who shall knowingly or unlawfully disregard any provision of law applicable to the members thereof, or who shall vote for any ordinance or measure in violation of law, or any appropriation unauthorized by law or in excess of the amount authorized by law, or for any illegal or injurious disposition of corporate property, rights or privileges, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to the punishment and penalty prescribed therefor, and every member voting in favor thereof shall be individually liable to refund the amount to the City at the suit of any taxpayer.
[Amended by L.L. No. 4-1956; L.L. No. 1-1972; L.L. No. 3-1980; L.L. No. 2-1983; L.L. No. 1-2002; L.L. No. 1-2005]
Notwithstanding any provision in the General Ordinances of the City of Mount Vernon to the contrary, no violation of a general ordinance shall be deemed a misdemeanor unless the acts or omissions constituting such violation shall constitute a misdemeanor under the Penal Law. Any person violating an ordinance of the City Council shall be guilty of an offense, and the City Council may provide therein or by general ordinance that any person guilty of such violation shall be liable to a fine which shall not exceed $5,000 in amount, or to imprisonment not exceeding 15 days or to both such fine and imprisonment, or to pay to the City a penalty not exceeding $20,000 to be recovered in a civil action. Each and every day such violation continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation. The City may maintain an action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or to restrain by injunction the violation of any ordinance of the City Council, notwithstanding that the ordinance may provide for such penalty for such violation.