General powers. - The Council shall have the general power to pass such ordinances not contrary to the public general or public local laws and the Constitution of Maryland as they may deem necessary in order to assure the good government of the city, to protect and preserve the city's rights, property, and privileges, to preserve peace and good order, to secure persons and property from danger and destruction, and to protect the health, comfort, and convenience of the citizens of the city.
Specific powers. - In addition to, but not in substitution of, the powers which have been, or may hereafter be, granted to it, the Council shall also have the following express ordinancemaking powers:
[Amended 8-7-1990 by Ord. No. 1990-24; 10-26-2004 by R-04-28; 1-27-2009 by Res. No. R-09-09; 6-21-2011 by Res. No. R-11-30]
Advertising. - To provide for advertising for the purposes of the city for printing and publishing statements as to the business of the city.
Aisles and doors. - To regulate and prevent the obstruction of aisles in public halls, churches and places of amusement, and to regulate the construction and operation of the doors and means of egress therefrom.
Amusements. - To provide in the interest of the public welfare for licensing, regulating, or restraining theatrical or other public amusements.
Appropriations. - To appropriate municipal moneys for any purpose within the powers of the council.
Auctioneers. - To regulate the sale of all kinds of property at auction within the city and to license auctioneers.
Band. - To establish a municipal band, symphony orchestra or other musical organization, and to regulate by ordinance the conduct and policies thereof.
Billboards. - To license, tax and regulate, restrain or prohibit the erection or maintenance of billboards within the city, the placing of signs, bills and posters of every kind and description on any building, fence, post, billboard, pole, or other place within the city.
Bridges. - To erect and maintain bridges.
Buildings. - To make reasonable regulations in regard to buildings and signs to be erected, constructed, or reconstructed in the city, and to grant building permits for them; to formulate a building code and a plumbing code and to appoint a building inspector and a plumbing inspector, and to require reasonable charges for permits and inspections; to authorize and require the inspection of all buildings and structures and to authorize the condemnation thereof in whole or in part when dangerous or insecure, and to require that such buildings and structures be made safe or be taken down.
Cemeteries. - To regulate or prohibit the interment of bodies within the municipality and to regulate cemeteries.
Codification of ordinances. - To provide for the codification of all ordinances.
Community services. - To provide, maintain, and operate community and social services for the preservation and promotion of the health, recreation, welfare, and enlightenment of the inhabitants of the city.
Cooperative activities. - To make agreements with other municipalities, counties, districts, bureaus, commissions, and governmental authorities for the joint performance of or for cooperation in the performance of any governmental functions.
Curfew. - To prohibit the youth of the city from being in the streets, lanes, alleys, or public places at unreasonable hours of the night.
Dangerous improvements. - To compel persons about to undertake dangerous improvements to execute bonds with sufficient sureties conditioned that the owner or contractor will pay all damages resulting from such work which may be sustained by any persons or property.
Departments. - To create, change, and abolish offices, departments, or agencies, other than the offices, departments, boards and agencies established by this charter; to assign additional functions or duties to offices, boards, departments, or agencies established by this charter, but not including the power to discontinue or assign to any other office, department, or agency any function or duty assigned by this charter to a particular office, department or agency.
Dogs. - To regulate the keeping of dogs in the city and to provide, wherever the county does not license or tax dogs, for the licensing and taxing of them; to provide for the disposition of homeless dogs and of dogs on which no license fee or taxes are paid.
Elevators. - To require the inspection and licensing of elevators and to prohibit their use when unsafe or dangerous or without a license.
Explosives and combustibles. - To regulate or prevent the storage of gunpowder, oil, or any other explosive or combustible matter; to regulate or prevent the use of firearms, fireworks, bonfires, explosives, or any other similar things which may endanger persons or property.
Filth. - To compel the occupant of any premises, building, or outhouse situated in the city, if it has become filthy or unwholesome, to abate or cleanse the condition; and after reasonable notice to the owners or occupants to authorize such work to be done by the proper officers and to assess the expense thereof against the property, making it collectible by taxes or against the occupant or occupants.
Finances. - To levy, assess, and collect ad valorem property taxes; to expend municipal funds for any public purpose; to have general management and control of the finances of the city.
Fire. - To suppress fires and prevent the dangers thereof and to establish and maintain a fire department; to contribute funds to volunteer fire companies serving the city; to inspect buildings for the purpose of reducing fire hazards, to issue regulations concerning fire hazards, and to forbid and prohibit the use of fire-hazardous buildings and structures permanently or until the conditions of city fire-hazard regulations are met: to install and maintain fireplugs where and as necessary, and to regulate their use; and to take all other measures necessary to control and prevent fires in the city.
Food. - To inspect and to require the condemnation of, if unwholesome, and to regulate the sale of any food products.
To Grant and regulate franchises as provided under the existing public general or local laws, including but not limited to water companies, electric companies, gas companies, telegraph and telephone companies, transit companies, taxicab companies, and to grant one or more exclusive or non-exclusive franchises for a community antenna system, or other cable television system that utilizes any public right-of-way, highway, street, road, lane, alley, or bridge, to impose franchise fees, and to establish rates, rules and regulations for franchises granted under this section, and in any other which may be deemed advantageous and beneficial to the city, subject to the limitations and provisions as set forth in the general or public local laws of the State of Maryland. No franchise shall be granted for a longer period than 50 years.
To grant and regulate franchises to any public or privately owned legal entity to provide services to the citizens of the City with respect to matters of local concern, including the right to impose franchise fees and to establish rates, rules and regulations for the franchises granted under this section.
Garbage. - To prevent the deposit of any unwholesome substance either on private or public property and to compel its removal to designated points; to require slops, garbage, ashes, and other waste or other unwholesome materials to be removed to designated points, or to require the occupants of the premises to place them conveniently for removal.
Grants-in-aid. - To accept gifts and grants of federal or of State funds from the federal or State governments or any agency thereof, and to expend the funds for any lawful purpose, agreeably to the conditions under which the gifts or grants were made.
Hawkers. - To license, tax, regulate, suppress, and prohibit hawkers and itinerant dealers, peddlers, pawnbrokers, and all other persons selling any articles on the streets of the city, and to revoke such licenses for any action or threat of action by such a licensee in the course of his occupation which causes or threatens harm or injury to inhabitants of the city or to their welfare of happiness.
Health. - To protect and preserve the health of the city and its inhabitants; to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases into the city; to establish quarantine regulations, and to authorize the removal and confinement of persons having contagious or infectious diseases; to prevent and remove all nuisances; to inspect, regulate, and abate any buildings, structures, or places which cause or may cause unsanitary conditions or conditions detrimental to health; but nothing herein shall be construed to affect in any manner any of the powers and duties of the Secretary of Health And Mental Hygiene, the county board of health, or any public general or local law relating to the subject of health.
House numbers. - To regulate the numbering of houses and lots and to compel owners to renumber them, or in default thereof to authorize and require the work to be done by the city at the owner's expense, such expense to constitute a lien upon the property collectible as tax moneys.
Jail. - To establish and regulate a station house or lockup for temporary confinement of violators of the laws and ordinances of the city or to use the county jail for such purpose.
Licenses, - Subject to any restrictions imposed by the public general laws of the State, to license and regulate all persons beginning or conducting transient or permanent business in the city for the sale of any goods, wares, merchandise, or services, to license and regulate any business occupation, trade, calling, or place of amusement or business; to establish and collect fees and charges for all licenses and permits issued under the authority of this charger, and to exercise any other licensing authority granted under the public general laws of Maryland.
Editor's Note: So in original.
Liens. - To provide that any valid charges, taxes, or assessments made against any real property within the city shall be liens upon the property, to be collected as municipal taxes are collected.
Lights. - To provide for the lighting of the city.
Light and power plant. - To own, operate, modify and maintain an electric light and power plant, and to distribute for a charge, the electricity produced by the plant.
No real or personal property used in the operation of the light and power plant, except machinery or equipment intended for immediate replacement, may be sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of without first advertising the proposed disposition four times at weekly intervals in a newspaper of general circulation in the city and submitting same to a city referendum.
Livestock. - To regulate and prohibit the running at large of cattle, horses, swine, fowl, sheep, goats, dogs, or other animals; to authorize the impounding, keeping, sale, and redemption of such animals when found in violation of the ordinance in such cases provided.
Markets. - To obtain by lease or rent, own, construct, purchase, operate, and maintain public markets within the city.
Minor privileges. - To regulate or prevent the use of public ways, sidewalks, and public places for signs, awnings, posts, steps, railings, entrances, racks, posting handbills and advertisements, and display of goods, wares, and merchandise.
Noise. To regulate or prohibit unreasonable ringing of bells, crying of goods, or sounding of whistles and horns.
Nuisances. - To prevent or abate by appropriate ordinance all nuisances in the city which are so defined at common law, by this charter, or by the laws of the State of Maryland, whether they be herein specifically named or not; to regulate, to prohibit, to control the location of, or to require the removal from the city of all trading in, handling of, or manufacture of any commodity which is or may become offensive, obnoxious, or injurious to the public comfort or health. In this connection the city may regulate, prohibit, control the location of, or require the removal from the city of such things as stockyards, slaughterhouses, cattle or hog pens, tanneries, and renderies. This listing is by way of enumeration, not limitation.
Obstructions. - To remove all nuisances and obstructions from the streets, lanes, and alleys and from any lots adjoining thereto, or any other places within the limits of the city.
Parking facilities. - To license and regulate and to establish, obtain by purchase, by lease or by rent, own, construct, operate, and maintain parking lots and other facilities for off-street parking.
Parking meters. - To install parking meters on the streets and public places of the city in such places as by ordinance they determine, and by ordinance to prescribe rates and provisions for the use thereof; but the installation of parking meters on any street or road maintained by the State Highway Administration must first be approved by the Administration.
Parks and recreation. - To establish and maintain public parks, gardens, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities and programs to promote the health, welfare, and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the city.
Police force. - To establish, operate, and maintain a police force. All city policemen, within the municipality shall have the powers and authority of constables in this State.
Police powers. - To prohibit, suppress, and punish within the city all vice, gambling, and games of chance; prostitution and solicitation therefor and the keeping of bawdy houses and houses of ill fame; all tramps and vagrants; all disorder, disturbances, annoyances, disorderly conduct, obscenity, public profanity, and drunkenness.
Property. - To acquire by conveyance, purchase, or gift, real or leasable property for any public purposes; to erect buildings and structures thereon for the benefit of the city and its inhabitants; and to convey and real or leasehold property when no longer needed for the public use, after having given at least twenty (20) days' public notice of the proposed conveyance; to control, protect, and maintain public buildings, grounds, and property of the city.
Quarantine. - To establish quarantine regulations in the interest of the public health.
Regulations. - To adopt by ordinance and enforce within the corporate limits, police, health, sanitary, fire, building, plumbing, traffic, speed, parking, and other similar regulations not in conflict with the laws of the State of Maryland or with this charter.
Sidewalks. - To regulate the use of sidewalks and all structures in, under, or above them; to require the owner or occupant of premises to keep the sidewalks in front thereof free from snow or other obstructions; to prescribe hours for cleaning sidewalks.
Sweepings. - To regulate or prevent the throwing or depositing of sweepings, dust, ashes, offal, garbage, paper, handbills, dirty liquids, or other unwholesome materials into any public way or on any public or private property in the city.
Taxicabs. - To license, tax, and regulate public hackmen, taxicabmen, draymen, drivers, cabmen, porters and expressmen, and other persons pursuing like occupations.
Vehicles. - To regulate and license wagons and other vehicles not subject to the licensing powers of the State of Maryland.
Special Elections. - To expend such funds as are required to reimburse the County Board of Elections for all expenses incurred in connection with the conduct of any special elections pursuant to § 209.
Zoning. - To exercise the powers as to planning and zoning, conferred upon municipal corporations generally in Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, subject to the limitations and provisions of said article.
Streets. - To construct, modify, regulate and maintain the streets, sidewalks, alleys, bridges and other public ways of the city. The city may open or close public ways, acquire the property necessary to their construction or safety, and abandon in accordance with state laws any public way when it is no longer necessary to the needs of the city.
Water. - To direct the water courses within the city and to construct, operate and maintain water, storm water and sewer system.
Redevelopment projects. - As authorized by Chapter 830 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 1961, to establish and carry out a program for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, conservation, clearance, or renewal of slum areas and blighted areas and to exercise any and all of the powers and authority necessary, reasonable, or proper for the furtherance of the objectives of that program, including, but not limited to, the adoption, administration, and enforcement of rehabilitation projects, plans, and related activities, the establishment and enforcement of regulations for the voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings and structures, the acquisition, use, and disposition of property, the use of eminent domain, the imposition of taxes, the expenditure of public funds, and the extension of public credit.
Saving clause. - The enumeration of powers in this section is not to be construed as limiting the powers of the city to the several subjects mentioned herein but as set forth above is in addition to any other powers that the city may have under and by virtue of the public general laws of Maryland.
For the purpose of carrying out the powers granted in this charter, the council may pass all necessary ordinances. All the powers of the city shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by this charter, or, if the manner be not prescribed, then in such manner as may be prescribed by ordinance or in accordance with the manner that may be prescribed under the public general laws of Maryland, if applicable.
[Amended 5-11-1993 by R-93-16]
To assure the observance of the ordinances of the city, the council has the power to provide that violation thereof shall be a misdemeanor and has the power to affix thereto penalties of a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.), or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both such fine and imprisonment. Any person subject to any fine, forfeiture, or penalty by virtue of any ordinance passed under the authority of this charter has the right to appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the fine, forfeiture, or penalty was imposed, in accordance with the applicable rules of practice and procedure in the court wherein the fine, forfeiture, or penalty was imposed. The council may provide that, if the violation is of a continuing nature and is persisted in, a conviction for one violation shall not be a bar to a conviction for a continuation of the offense subsequent to the first or any succeeding conviction.