Town Councilor; number; terms. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, all of the powers of the Town shall be vested in a Town Council (hereinafter referred to as the "Council") of seven Councilors. The Councilors shall be elected from the Town at large for a three-year term of office. Terms will be staggered, three elected at next Town election, following year two Councilors, the third year two Councilors each for three-year terms.
Length of office. All members shall take office on the first Monday following the second Tuesday in March following their election and shall hold office until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
The Councilors so chosen shall meet in their capacity as the Council on the first Monday following the second Tuesday in March next following their election for the purpose of taking their respective oaths of office, adopting rules, and for the transaction of business required by law or ordinance to be transacted in such meeting. The Town Clerk shall act as the Clerk of the Council, and the Moderator shall preside without vote at the first organizational meeting of the Council following enactment of this Charter. The first organizational meeting of the Council shall be held on the first business day following the passage of this amended section.
The Council shall, by the affirmative vote of at least four of its members, at its first regular meeting in March following each election, choose one of its members Chairman for a term of one year. The Council shall choose one of its members Vice Chairman for a term of one year, who shall act in the absence or disability of the Chairman. In the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall serve out the unexpired term. The Chairman shall be the official head of the Town for all ceremonial purposes; he shall preside at all meetings of the Council and may speak and vote at such meetings.
Only voters who at all times during the term of office are and remain residents of the Town shall be eligible to hold the office of Councilor. To be eligible for election to the office of Councilor a candidate must be of voting age and must have been a resident of the Town for at least 30 days immediately before the election. The Council is the sole judge of qualification for office. The Council shall declare a vacancy in the event that a member is convicted of committing a federal or state crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
A majority of the Council may after investigation and hearing declare a vacancy if a member has missed three regularly scheduled meetings in sequence without leave of the Council; has missed 1/3 of all meetings within a calendar year without leave of the Council; has interfered with administration, falsified records, misapplied Town funds or property; or is guilty of public conduct the result of which would bring loss of respect for the Council or the Town of Bedford.
Vacancies occurring in the office of Councilor at any time shall be filled by appointment, until the next regular election, by the Council within 30 days, by an affirmative vote of five Councilors.
Councilors shall receive as compensation the sum of $1,500 per year. The Chairman shall receive an additional $500 per year. Councilors shall receive reimbursement for reasonable mileage and expenses incurred in the performance of Town business outside the Town limits of Bedford according to the rules of the Council.
Exercise of powers. Except as otherwise prohibited by law or this Charter, the powers of the Council may be exercised in a manner determined by it.
Quorum. A quorum of the Council for the transaction of any business shall be five of the members currently in office. However a small number may adjourn the meeting to another time and date.
Meetings. All meetings of the Council shall be public as required by the State Right to Know Law (RSA Chapter 91-A).
Regular meetings. Regular meetings shall be held on such day or days of each month at such time as the Council shall by ordinance or resolution direct.
Special meetings. Special meetings may be called by the Chairman. Special meetings also may be called at the written request of the Town Manager or at least five Councilors, and upon such request the Chairman of the Council shall call such special meeting. Written notice of said meeting shall be delivered to each Councilor at least 24 hours prior to the call of the meeting. The method of delivery of notice for special meetings shall be by established Council rule.
Rules of procedure. The Council shall establish rules for its proceedings not inconsistent with this Charter. Every matter coming before the Council for action shall be put to a vote, and all members shall vote "aye", "nay" or abstain and give a reason for abstaining. The results of such voting shall be duly recorded. All votes shall be recorded by roll call except votes on procedural matters.
Introduction by Town councilors. An ordinance may be introduced by any member at any regular or special meeting of the Council. Upon introduction of any ordinance, the Town Clerk shall distribute a copy to each Councilor and to the Town Manager, shall file a reasonable number of copies in the office of the Town Clerk, and shall post a copy in such other public places as the Council may designate.
Every proposed ordinance of the Council shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for final adoption.
No ordinance shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.
Each ordinance shall be identified by a number and a short title.
The enacting clause shall be "The Town of Bedford ordains . . ."
Any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance shall set out in full the ordinance, sections, or subsections to be repealed or amended, and shall indicate matter to be omitted by enclosing it in brackets or by strikeout type, and shall indicate new matter by underscoring or by italics.
After passage of the ordinance's first reading, it shall be published at least once together with a notice of the time and place when and where it will be given a public hearing and be considered for final passage.
The first such publication shall precede the date of said hearing by at least five working days.
Publication for purposes of this section shall mean the publication of a notice in any paper distributed in the Town of Bedford, stating the number and title of the ordinance and either the text of the ordinance in full or, if the full text is not published, then a brief explanation of the purpose of the ordinance and information as to where and when any interested person may obtain a copy of the complete ordinance.
Enactment. Every ordinance, including zoning ordinances adopted by referendum, shall take effect upon passage and publication as ordinances required by law, or at a later date as specified in the ordinance. No ordinances shall be introduced and adopted during the same meeting.
Recording. All ordinances, including any amendments thereto, shall be recorded in full, uniformly, and permanently, by the Town Clerk, and each ordinance so recorded shall be authenticated by affixing the signatures of the Council Chairman and the Town Clerk and the Town Seal, and kept on file in the office of the Town Clerk.
Maintenance by Town Clerk. The Town Clerk shall be responsible for the systematic indexing, printing, publication, and maintenance of the ordinances of the Town. Copies of all ordinances shall be available to the public, and the Town Clerk may charge a fee to defray the printing costs.
Legal subject matter. Notwithstanding other provisions of this Charter to meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property, or the public peace, the Council may adopt one or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise, regulate the rate charged by a public utility for its services, or authorize the borrowing of money, except as provided in § C3-10 of this Charter.
Introduction. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms.
Adoption. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced, but an affirmative vote of five Councilors shall be required for adoption. After its adoption the ordinance shall be published and printed as prescribed for other adopted ordinances.
Enactment. An emergency ordinance shall become effective upon adoption. Every emergency ordinance, except one made pursuant to § C3-10 of this Charter, shall automatically stand repealed as of the 61st day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent reenactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists.
Repeal of emergency ordinances. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.
To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property, the public peace, or to satisfy a court judgment, casualty loss, or other valid mandated expense, the Council may make emergency appropriations as part of an emergency ordinance. To the extent that there are no available unappropriated revenues to meet such appropriations, the Council may, by such emergency ordinance, authorize in accordance with all provisions of state law the issuance of emergency notes, which may be renewed from time to time.
The Town Council, not later than 18 months after taking office under this Charter and at least every tenth year thereafter, shall have prepared a revision or codification of the ordinances of the Town which are appropriate for continuation as local laws of the Town.
All bylaws, ordinances, rules, restrictions, and regulations of the Town of Bedford which are in effect as of the date of adoption of the Charter, and not inconsistent with this Charter, shall remain in effect after the adoption of this Charter until they expire by their terms or are repealed, modified, or amended by the Council.
Except as herein otherwise provided, the Town Council shall have all the powers conferred upon and discharge all the duties imposed upon Town Councils, Town Meetings, Boards of Mayor and Aldermen, and Selectmen of towns by law, except the adoption of a Town budget, which prerogative is vested in the Budgetary Town Meeting. All officers and members of all boards, commissions, and committees, and vacancies thereto shall be appointed by the Council from among Town residents except unless otherwise provided by this Charter.
The Council may delegate to one or more Town agencies the powers vested in the Council by this Charter and state and federal law to grant and issue licenses and permits, and may regulate the granting and issuing of licenses and permits by any such Town agency, and, may in its discretion, rescind any such delegation without prejudice to any prior action which has been taken.
By an affirmative vote of five councilors, the Council may make investigation into the affairs of the Town and into the conduct of any Town agency or department and for this purpose may administer oaths and require the production of evidence.
Except as expressly prohibited by state law, the Council shall adopt rules of attendance and forfeiture of office for all Town appointed boards and commissions.