[Amended 9-27-1983 by Res. No. 1983-36; 1-10-1989 by Res. No. 1989-02; 1-27-2009 by Res. No. R-09-03; 1-27-2009 by Res. No. R-09-04; 1-27-2009 by Res. No. R-09-05; 5-26-2009 by Res. No. R-09-26; 6-21-2011 by Res. No. R-11-30]
All legislative powers of the City are vested in a Council consisting of five Councilmembers who shall be elected as provided herein and who shall hold office for a term of four years, except for those elected in 2009, and until the succeeding Council takes office. The newly elected Councilmembers shall take office on the third Monday following the date of the general election. The Councilmembers holding office at the time this charter becomes effective shall continue to hold office for the term for which they were elected and until the succeeding Council takes office under the provisions of this charter.
As of the date of: (i) the general election at which the council is elected; or (ii) the date of selection of any Councilmember pursuant to § 506 of this Charter, each Councilmember shall: (a) be at least twenty-one years of age; (b) have resided within the corporate limits of the City for at least one year immediately preceding the date of said general election; and (c) be a qualified voter of the City. If any Councilmember shall fail to continue to reside within the corporate limits of the City during the entire term for which elected or selected, the office of such Councilmember shall be declared vacant.
Each Councilmember shall receive an annual salary which shall be equal for all Councilmembers and shall be as specified from time to time by an ordinance passed by the Council in the regular course of its business; provided, however, that the salary specified at the time any Council takes office shall not be changed during the period for which that Council was elected. The ordinance making any change in the salary paid to the several Councilmembers, either by way of increase or decrease, shall be finally ordained prior to the general election for the members of the next succeeding Council and shall take effect only as to the members of the next succeeding Council.
The newly elected Council shall meet on the third Tuesday following the date of the general election for the purpose of organization, after which the Council shall meet regularly at such times as may be prescribed by its rules but not less frequently than once each month. Special meetings shall be called upon the request of the Mayor or a majority of the members of the Council. All meetings, regular and special, of the Council shall be public meetings and open to the public at all times in accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland. The Council shall have the privilege of holding executive sessions from which the public is excluded in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Annotated Code of Maryland; however, no ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation shall be finally adopted at such an executive session.
A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Subject to § 304.d, any action taken other than the filling of a Council vacancy requires three favorable votes.
The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business. It shall keep a journal of its proceedings and enter therein the yeas and nays upon final action on any question, resolution or ordinance.
No ordinance shall be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced. At any regular or special meeting of the Council held not less than six nor more than sixty days after the meeting at which an ordinance was introduced, it shall be passed, or passed as amended, or rejected, or its consideration deferred to some specified future date. No ordinance shall be approved without at least three favorable votes of the Council. In cases of emergency the provision that an ordinance may not be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced may be suspended by the affirmative votes of four members of the Council. Every ordinance, unless it be passed as an emergency ordinance, shall become effective at the expiration of thirty calendar days following approval. A fair summary of each ordinance shall be published at least twice in a newspaper or newspapers having general circulation in the municipality. An emergency ordinance shall become effective on the date specified in the ordinance, but no ordinance shall become effective until approved by the Mayor or passed over his veto by the Council.
All ordinances passed by the Council shall be considered as having been delivered by the Administrator to the Mayor for his approval or disapproval at the meeting when same is initially passed. If the Mayor approves any ordinance, he shall sign it. If the Mayor disapproves any ordinance, he shall not sign it. The Mayor shall return all ordinances to the Council within ten days after delivery to him (excluding the first day, including the last day, and excluding any Sunday) with his approval or disapproval. Any ordinance approved by the Mayor shall be law. Any ordinance disapproved by the Mayor shall be returned with a message stating the reasons for his disapproval. Any disapproved ordinance shall not become a law unless subsequently passed by a favorable vote of four-fifths of the whole Council within thirty-five calendar days from the time of the return of the ordinance. If the Mayor fails to return any ordinance within ten days of its delivery, it shall be deemed to be approved by the Mayor and shall become law in the same manner as an ordinance signed by him.
If, before the expiration of thirty calendar days following approval of any ordinance by the Mayor or passage of any ordinance over the Mayor's veto, a petition is filed with the City Administrator containing the signatures of not less than twenty per centum (20%) of the qualified voters of the City and requesting that the ordinance, or any part thereof, be submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the city for their approval or disapproval, the Council shall have the ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the city at the next general election for which the deadline imposed by the State Board of Elections for the submission of local ballot questions has not passed or, in the Council's discretion, at a special election occurring before the next general election. No ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, shall become effective following the receipt of such petition until and unless approved at the general election by a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question. An emergency ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, shall continue in effect for sixty days following receipt of such petition. If the question of approval or disapproval of any emergency ordinance, or any part thereof, has not been submitted to the qualified voters within sixty days following receipt of the petition, the operation of the ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, shall be suspended until approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question at the next general or special election. Any ordinance, or part thereof, disapproved by the voters, shall stand repealed. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any ordinance, or part thereof, passed under the authority of § 719, levying property taxes for the payment of indebtedness, but the provisions of this section shall apply to any ordinance or any part thereof, levying special assessment charges under the provisions of §§ 901 and 902. The provisions of this section shall be self-executing, but the Council may adopt ordinances in furtherance of these provisions and not in conflict with them.
Ordinances shall be permanently filed as directed by the City Administrator and shall be kept available for public inspection.