City of Prescott, WI
Pierce County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Prescott as Secs. 2-1-1 and 2-1-2 and Title 2, Ch. 2, of the former City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Administrative review — See Ch. 7.
Boards, commissions and committees — See Ch. 30.
Elections — See Ch. 64.
Ethics — See Ch. 75.

§ 120-1 City government.

A. 
Mayor-Council government. The City of Prescott is a body corporate and politic with the powers of a municipality at common law and governed by the provisions of Chapters 62 and 66 of the Wisconsin Statutes, laws amending those chapters, other acts of the Legislature and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. The City of Prescott operates under the Mayor-Council form of government under Ch. 62, Wis. Stats.
B. 
Division of responsibilities.
(1) 
Legislative branch. The Common Council is the legislative branch of City government. Its primary business is the passage of laws in the form of ordinances or resolutions which shall prescribe what the law shall be not only in relation to the particular facts existing at the time but as to all future cases arising under it. The Common Council shall establish the salaries of all officers and employees of the City and be charged with the official management of the City's financial affairs, its budget, its revenues and the raising of funds necessary for the operation of the City.
(2) 
Executive branch. The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer. He shall take care that all City ordinances and state laws are observed and enforced and that all City officers, boards, committees and commissions discharge their duties. When present, he shall preside at the meetings of the Common Council. He shall from time to time give the Council such information and recommend such measures as he may deem advantageous to the City.

§ 120-2 Common Council.

The Alderpersons of the City of Prescott shall constitute the Common Council. The Common Council shall be vested with all the powers of the City not specifically given some other officer, as well as those powers set forth elsewhere throughout this Code.

§ 120-3 Alderpersons.

[Amended 5-4-1992 by Charter Ordinance; 9-12-2011 by Ord. No. 14-11; 4-8-2013 by Ord. No. 05-13]
A. 
There shall be six Alderpersons elected to the Common Council, one representing Wards 1 and 2, one representing Wards 3 and 4, one representing Wards 5 and 6 and three members elected at large.
B. 
The Alderperson for Wards 3 and 4 and Alderperson At Large No. 2 shall be elected in year one, the Alderperson for Wards 5 and 6 and Alderperson At Large No. 3 shall be elected in year two. The Alderperson for Wards 1 and 2 and Alderperson At Large No. 1 shall be elected in year three. Each will serve a three-year term of office; year one beginning with terms starting April 2014.

§ 120-4 Mayor.

A. 
Election. The Mayor shall be elected in even-numbered years for a term of two years.
B. 
Duties.
(1) 
The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City. He shall take care that City ordinances and the state statutes are observed and enforced.
(2) 
The Mayor shall, from time to time, provide the Council such information and recommend such measures as he may deem advantageous to the City. When present, he shall preside at the meetings of the Council.
(3) 
The Mayor shall have such other duties and responsibilities as are prescribed in the Wisconsin Statutes.
C. 
Veto power. The Mayor shall have veto power as to all acts of the Council except such as to which it is expressly or by necessary implication otherwise provided. All such acts shall be submitted to him/her by the City Clerk and shall be enforced upon his/her approval, evidenced by his/her signature, or upon his/her failing to approve or disapprove within five days, which fact shall be certified thereon by the City Clerk. If the Mayor disapproves, he/she shall file his/her objection with the City Clerk, who shall present it to the Council at its next regular meeting. A two-thirds vote of all the members of the Council shall be necessary to make the act effective notwithstanding the objection of the Mayor.
D. 
Mayoral appointments.
(1) 
Wherever in this Code of Ordinances the Mayor is required to appoint citizens to committees, commissions and/or boards, the Mayor shall give written notice by executive letter to the Common Council at least seven days prior to the Council meeting at which such appointment shall be made. In the event the Common Council by a majority vote of the Council present at the meeting rejects the Mayor's appointment, the same name may not be submitted for the same job for a period of 12 months after the refusal of such appointment.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(2) 
In the event a vacancy occurs in any committee, board or commission requiring the appointment of a citizen member and the Mayor does not nominate a successor thereof for a period of 60 days after the vacancy occurs, the Common Council may then nominate an appointee to such position, subject to a majority vote of the Council present at the meeting.
(3) 
In the event the Council, by parliamentary practice, tables an appointment by the Mayor, such tabling action shall be effective for that meeting, but at the next regular meeting of the Common Council, such appointment shall be on the meeting agenda for further consideration, and the particular appointment involved may not be tabled a second time.

§ 120-5 President of Council.

The Common Council at its first meeting subsequent to the regular election and qualification of new members shall, after organization, annually choose from its members a President who, in the absence of the Mayor, shall preside at meetings of the Council and, during the absence or inability of the Mayor, shall have the powers and duties of the Mayor, except that he/she shall not have power to approve an act of the Council which the Mayor has disapproved by filing objections with the City Clerk. He/she shall, when so officiating, be styled "Acting Mayor." The President of the Council shall be elected for a one-year term of office.

§ 120-6 Standing committees; action on committee reports.

A. 
Standing committees. At the organizational meeting of the Common Council in each year following the annual election, the Mayor shall appoint three Alderpersons to each of the following committees, subject to Council confirmation, which shall have such duties and responsibilities as prescribed by the Mayor and this Code of Ordinances, and to make whatever recommendations to the Council as they deem appropriate or as may be directed by the Council:
(1) 
Finance Committee (Mayor and full Council).
(2) 
Public Works Committee (three Alderpersons).
(3) 
Health Committee (three Alderpersons).
(4) 
Ordinance Committee (three Alderpersons).
(5) 
Parks and Public Property Committee (three Alderpersons).
(6) 
Personnel Committee (three Alderpersons).
(7) 
License Committee (three Alderpersons).
B. 
Committee appointments.
(1) 
Committee appointments shall be made pursuant to § 120-4D. The chairperson of each committee shall be designated by the Mayor. Each member shall serve as appointed unless excused by a majority of the members of the Council. All Alderpersons shall serve on at least one standing committee. The Mayor shall be an ex officio member of each standing committee.
(2) 
The Mayor may declare the entire Council a committee of the whole for informal discussion at any meeting or for any other purpose, and shall ex officio be Chairperson of the same.
(3) 
The Mayor may, from time to time, appoint such special committee or committees as he may deem advisable or as provided for by motion or resolution stating the number of members and object thereof to perform such duties as may be assigned to them.
C. 
Reference and reports.
(1) 
The Mayor shall refer new business coming before the Common Council to the appropriate committee, unless otherwise referred or disposed of by motion of the Council.
(2) 
The committee to which any matter is referred shall report its recommendation thereon in writing, at the first regular meeting after such reference, unless there is no objection by the Council to further time being taken. Action on the report of a committee shall be deferred until the next regular meeting by the request of three Alderpersons present. Members dissenting from a report of a committee shall be so reported when they request it.
(3) 
The chairperson of the committee shall report verbally to the Council at the meeting at which the report of the committee is to be made. Adoption of the committee report shall comprise final Council action on any ordinance, resolution or other matter recommended for adoption by the committee report.
(4) 
Formal committee recommendations will be placed on the agenda for Council action only if they are submitted to the City Clerk in written form by 12:00 noon of the Friday prior to the meeting at which action is requested.
D. 
Cooperation of City officers. All City officers shall, upon request of the chairperson of the committee, confer with the committee and supply to it such information as may be requested in connection with any matter pending before the committee.

§ 120-7 General powers of Common Council.

A. 
General. The Common Council shall be vested with all the powers of the City not specifically given some other officer. Except as otherwise provided by law, the Common Council shall have the management and control of the City property, finances, highways, streets, navigable waters and the public service, and shall have the power to act for the government and good order of the City, for its commercial benefit and for the health, safety, welfare and convenience of the public, and may carry its powers into effect by license, regulation, suppression, borrowing, taxation, special assessment, appropriation, fine, imprisonment and other necessary or convenient means. The powers hereby conferred shall be in addition to all other grants and shall be limited only by express language.
B. 
The Common Council may acquire property, real or personal, within or without the City, for parks, libraries, historic places, recreation, beautification, streets, waterworks, sewage or waste disposal, harbors, improvement of watercourses, public grounds, vehicle parking areas and for any other public purpose; may acquire real property within or contiguous to the City, by means other than condemnation, for industrial sites; may improve and beautify the same; may construct, own, lease and maintain buildings on such property for instruction, recreation, amusement and other public purposes; and may sell and convey such City-owned property, except dedicated, platted parks.
C. 
Acquisition of easements and property rights. Confirming all powers granted to the Common Council and in furtherance thereof, the Council is expressly authorized to acquire by gift, purchase or condemnation under Ch. 32, Wis. Stats., any and all property rights in lands or waters, including rights of access and use, negative or positive easements, restrictive covenants, covenants running with land, scenic easements and any rights for use of property of any nature whatsoever, however denominated, which may be lawfully acquired for the benefit of the public or for any public purpose, including the exercise of powers granted under § 62.23, Wis. Stats., and may sell and convey such easements or property rights when no longer needed for public use or protection.
D. 
City finances. The Common Council may levy and provide for the collection of taxes and special assessments; may refund any tax or special assessment paid, or any part thereof, when satisfied that the same was unjust or illegal; and generally may manage the City finances.
E. 
Construction of powers. Consistent with the purpose of giving to cities the largest measure of self-government in accordance with the spirit of the home rule amendment to the Constitution, the grants of power to the Common Council in this section and throughout this Code of Ordinances shall be liberally construed in favor of the rights, powers and privileges of cities to promote the general welfare, peace, good order and prosperity of the City and its inhabitants.
F. 
Vacancies. Pursuant to § 62.09(5), Wis. Stats., if any officer is incapacitated or absent for any cause, the Common Council may appoint some person to discharge his/her duties until he/she returns or such disability has ended.

§ 120-8 Cooperation with other municipalities.

The Common Council, on behalf of the City, may join with other villages, towns, or cities or other governmental entities in a cooperative arrangement for executing any power or duty in order to attain greater economy or efficiency, including joint employment of appointive officers and employees and joint purchasing programs.

§ 120-9 Internal powers of Council.

The Common Council has the power to preserve order at its meetings, compel attendance of Alderpersons and punish nonattendance. The Common Council shall be judge of the election and qualification of its members.

§ 120-10 Salaries.

The Mayor and Alderpersons who make up the Common Council, whether operating under general or special law, may, by majority vote of all the members of the Common Council, determine that an annual salary or per diem compensation be paid the Mayor and Alderpersons.

§ 120-11 Meetings of Common Council.

[Amended 4-28-2014 by Ord. No. 05-14]
A. 
Annual organization meeting. Following a regular City election, the Common Council shall meet on the third Tuesday of April for the purpose of organization.
B. 
Meetings. Regular meetings of the Common Council shall be held on the second and fourth Mondays of each calendar month, at a time agreed upon by the Council at the annual organization meeting. Any regular meeting falling on a legal holiday shall be rescheduled or canceled by a majority vote of those present at the meeting immediately prior to the meeting falling on a legal holiday. All meetings of the Common Council, including special and adjourned meetings, shall be held in the Prescott City Hall.

§ 120-12 Special meetings.

A. 
Special meetings may be called by the Mayor or by two Alderpersons upon written notice of the time and purpose thereof to each member of the Council delivered to him or her personally or left at his or her usual place of abode at least six hours before the meeting. The City Clerk shall cause an affidavit of service of such notice to be filed in his or her office prior to the time fixed for such special meeting. A special meeting may be held without such notice when all members of the Common Council are present in person or consent, in writing, to the holding of such a meeting, provided that the provisions of Wisconsin's Open Meeting Law[1] are complied with. If written consent is obtained, it shall be filed with the City Clerk prior to the beginning of the meeting. Attendance by any Council member shall be deemed a waiver on the member's part of any defect of notice. Any special meeting attended by all Alderpersons shall be a regular meeting for the transaction of any business that may come before such meeting.[2]
[1]
Editor's Note: See §§ 19.81 to 19.98, Wis. Stats.
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
Nongovernmental parties requesting a special meeting of the Council shall pay a fee equivalent to the Council's actual expenses for such meeting.

§ 120-13 Open meetings.

Except as provided in § 19.85, Wis. Stats., all meetings of the Common Council, committees thereof, and City boards, committees and commissions shall be open to the public.

§ 120-14 Quorum.

A. 
Four members or more of the Common Council shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may adjourn if a majority is not present or compel the attendance of absent members. The Mayor shall not be counted in computing a quorum. No action shall be taken unless a quorum is present.
B. 
The Council may, by a majority vote of those present, adjourn from time to time to a specific date and hour.

§ 120-15 Presiding officers.

A. 
Presiding officer. The Mayor shall preside over all meetings of the Common Council. In the absence of the Mayor, the President of the Council shall preside.
B. 
Presiding officer; duties. The Mayor, President of the Council, or the presiding officer shall:
(1) 
Open the session at the time fixed for the meeting, or at the time to which adjournment may be had, by taking the chair and calling the members to order.
(2) 
Announce, at the conclusion of the roll call, the fact of the presence of a quorum, or not, as the case may be.
(3) 
Announce the business before the Council in the order in which it is to be acted upon.
(4) 
Receive and submit, in proper manner, all motions and propositions presented by members.
(5) 
Put to vote the questions which are regularly moved or which necessarily arise in the course of the proceedings and announce the result.
(6) 
Restrain the members while engaged in debate within the rules of order.
(7) 
Enforce on all occasions the observance of order and decorum among the members.
(8) 
Inform the Council when necessary, or when referred to for that purpose, on any point of order or practice.
(9) 
Authenticate, by his signature, when necessary, all ordinances, resolutions, orders and proceedings of the meetings of the Council over which he presides.
(10) 
Preserve order and decorum; speak to points of order in preference to others, rising from his seat for that purpose; and decide questions of order, subject to an appeal by any member.
(11) 
Call a member to the chair, but such substitution shall not extend beyond an adjournment.
C. 
Temporary absence of presiding officer. In the absence of the Mayor and President of the Council, one of its members shall be elected to preside temporarily until the return of the Mayor or President.

§ 120-16 Order of business.

A. 
Order of business. At all regular meetings, the order of business shall be according to the tentative agenda prepared by the City Clerk. All matters to be considered at a regular or special Council meeting shall be submitted to the City Clerk at least by noon of the day prior to the meeting. All copies of the agenda shall be forwarded by the City Clerk to the representatives of the media who have requested meeting agendas under the Open Meeting Law as part of his notice of such public meeting and to members of the Council. The following order may be observed in the conduct of all meetings of the Council:
(1) 
Call to order by presiding officer.
(2) 
Roll call.
(3) 
Reading, correction and approval of the minutes of the last preceding meeting or meetings.
(4) 
Unfinished business remaining from preceding sessions in the order in which it was introduced.
(5) 
New business.
(6) 
Reports of standing committees, including introduction of ordinances.
(7) 
Communications.
(8) 
Adjournment.
B. 
Order to be followed. No business shall be taken up out of order unless by majority consent of all Alderpersons and in the absence of any debate whatsoever.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
C. 
Citizen comments. The Mayor or presiding officer shall determine at what point in a meeting citizens will be called upon to speak and may impose a limit on the length of time a citizen may address the Council. A written form may be provided by the City Clerk on which citizens may register to speak at a Council meeting. The subject to be addressed and/or agenda item shall be indicated.

§ 120-17 Introduction of ordinances.

A. 
Ordinances to be in writing. All ordinances submitted to the Council shall be in writing and be titled. Upon passage by the Council, the City Clerk shall superintend the publication of the same. Any written material introduced may be referred to the appropriate committee pursuant to § 120-6; any member of the Council may require the reading in full of any ordinance or resolution at any time it is before the Council.
B. 
Subject and numbering of ordinances. Each ordinance shall be related to no more than one subject. Amendment or repeal of ordinances shall only be accomplished if the amending or repealing ordinance contains the number and title of the ordinance to be amended or repealed, and the title of amending and repealing ordinances shall reflect the purpose to amend or repeal.
C. 
Notice.
(1) 
The Common Council may take action on an ordinance only if it appears on the written agenda for the meeting at which action is requested.
(2) 
Ordinances will be placed on the agenda for Council action only if they are submitted to the City Clerk in written form not later than 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the regular or special Council meeting at which action is requested.

§ 120-18 Official newspaper; publication and effect of ordinances.

A. 
At its annual organizational meeting, the Common Council shall designate an official City newspaper, and all ordinances, notices and proceedings of the City required by law to be published shall be published herein, except where legal posting is utilized.
B. 
All general ordinances of the City and all regulations imposing any penalty shall be published in the official newspaper of the City and shall be immediately recorded, with the affidavit of publication, by the City Clerk in a book kept for that purpose. The ordinance or regulation shall be published either in its entirety as a Class 1 notice under Ch. 985, Wis. Stats., or as a notice as described under § 62.11(4)(c), Wis. Stats., within 15 days of passage. A printed copy of such ordinance or regulation in any book, pamphlet or newspaper and published or purporting to be published therein by direction of the Common Council shall be prima facie proof of due passage, publication and recording thereof.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
C. 
All ordinances shall take effect and be in force from and after passage and publication, unless otherwise provided, and published copies thereof shall have appended the date of first publication.
D. 
The City Code of Ordinances shall be kept currently to date, and upon passage of any ordinance, the Clerk shall provide for incorporation of the same into the ordinance code.

§ 120-19 Conduct of deliberations.

A. 
Roll call. When the presiding officer shall have called the members to order, the presiding officer shall proceed to call the roll in seating order, noting who is present and who is absent. If, after having gone through the call, it shall appear that a quorum is not present, the fact shall be entered in the minutes, and the members present may adjourn to a later date in the month. If they do not, the Council shall stand adjourned to the time appointed for the next regular meeting unless a special meeting is called sooner as provided by the Wisconsin Statutes or §§ 120-12 and 120-13.
B. 
Meeting attendance. All members of the Common Council shall attend all Council meetings, meetings of committees to which members have been appointed, and special or adjourned meetings when duly notified thereof. A member who does not appear in answer to his name when the roll is called at any regular meeting or any special or adjourned meeting when notified thereof shall be marked absent. Any member seeking to be excused from attending any regular or special meeting must notify the Mayor or City Clerk in advance of such meeting, explaining the reason for his absence and, upon complying with this requirement, such members shall be duly excused from attending said meeting.
C. 
Recognition for debate.
(1) 
When a member is to speak in debate, or deliver any matter to the Council, he shall respectfully address himself to the presiding officer, and confine his remarks to the question under debate, and avoid personalities.
(2) 
When two or more members address the presiding officer at the same time, the presiding officer shall name the member who is to speak first.
D. 
Roll call vote procedure. The ayes and nays shall be ordered upon any question at the request of any member of the Council, or the Mayor, and the City Clerk shall call the roll according to seating order, with subsequent roll call votes commencing with the next Alderperson, and each subsequent call of roll shall begin with the name of the Alderperson next on said alphabetical list of Alderpersons; such order of roll call shall be followed until the list of Alderpersons has been completed. Each time the list has been completed, the City Clerk shall again start on top of the seating order list and proceed on down through the list.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
E. 
Reconsideration. When a motion has been decided, it shall be in order for any member who voted in the majority to move a reconsideration thereof at the same or next succeeding meeting, and the Mayor shall call for a roll call of the Alderpersons. If a majority of the members present shall be in favor of a reconsideration, the subject shall be before the Council for further action.
F. 
Precedence of motions. No motion shall be discussed or acted upon until it has been seconded; nor shall any motion be withdrawn without the consent of the person making the same and the person seconding it. When a question is under discussion, the following motions shall have precedence in the order listed:
(1) 
To adjourn.
(2) 
To recess.
(3) 
To lay on the table.
(4) 
To move the previous question.
(5) 
To postpone to a day certain.
(6) 
To refer to a committee.
(7) 
To amend.
(8) 
To postpone indefinitely.
G. 
Rules of parliamentary procedure. The rules of parliamentary practice in Robert's Rules of Order, which is hereby incorporated by reference, shall govern the proceedings of the Council in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these rules or with the laws of the State of Wisconsin.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
H. 
Reconsideration of questions. It shall be in order for any member, if in the majority, to move for the reconsideration of any vote in question at the same meeting or at the next succeeding regular adjourned meeting. A motion to reconsider being put and lost shall not be renewed.
I. 
Call for the previous question. Any member desirous of terminating the debate may call the previous question when the question announced by the Mayor shall be "call the main question." If a majority of the members present vote in the affirmative, the main question shall be put to a vote without further debate, and its effect shall be to put an end to all debate and bring the Council to a direct vote, first upon the pending amendment and then upon the main question.
J. 
Amendment of rules. The rules of this section shall not be rescinded or amended unless the proposed amendment or motion to rescind has laid over from a regular meeting, and then it shall require a vote of 2/3 of all the members of the Council.
K. 
Suspension of rules. Any of the provisions of this section may be suspended temporarily by a recorded vote of 2/3 of the Council members present at any meeting.

§ 120-20 Abandonment of office.

A. 
Abandonment of office by a Council member or Mayor may be considered a form of resignation.
B. 
The determination as to whether a Council member or Mayor has abandoned his/her office must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
C. 
If a Council member or Mayor does not attend any Council meetings, meetings of committees to which members have been appointed, and special meetings when duly notified thereof for a period of 90 days, the Common Council may find that the Council member or Mayor has abandoned the office.
D. 
If the Common Council believes that the absent Council member or Mayor has abandoned the office, it can pass a resolution making this finding.
E. 
Prior to passing a resolution finding that a Council member or Mayor has abandoned the office, the Common Council must give the absent Council member notice and an opportunity to be heard.