All legislative powers of the City shall be vested in a Common Council except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law. The Common Council shall consist of the Mayor, who shall be its presiding officer, and five Aldermen elected by wards as presently constituted.
At the first Common Council meeting in each calendar year, the Common Council shall designate one of its members as Deputy Mayor to serve as presiding officer of the Council in the event of the absence or incapacity of the Mayor and to serve as acting Mayor as hereinafter provided by this Charter. In the event that both the Mayor and the Deputy are absent or unable to perform the duties of the Office of Mayor, the remaining members of the Common Council shall designate one of their number as Deputy Mayor and acting Mayor.
Beginning on January 1, 1982, the Common Council shall consist of the Mayor, who shall be its presiding officer, and five Aldermen, each of whom shall have been elected at the General Election held in November 1981, from one of five wards containing as nearly as practicable an equal number of residents according to the 1980 Federal Decennial Census.
Within three months following official publication of the results of each federal decennial or quinquennial census, if such has been conducted, the Common Council shall review the ward boundaries in relationship to the census results and make such adjustments by local law as may be necessary to assure that each ward contains, as nearly as practicable, an equal number of residents.
The Common Council shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members and of the facts constituting grounds for forfeiture of office and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of his office shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand and may appear in person or with counsel and examine and cross-examine witnesses and shall have authority to subpoena witnesses and documents on his behalf. Written notice of such hearing shall be filed with the City Clerk and published in the official newspaper of the City at least one week in advance of the hearing.
The Common Council shall meet regularly at least twice each month at such time and place within the City as it may prescribe by rule. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Mayor or of two or more other Council members, upon such notice as the Common Council may prescribe by rule, unless all members consent, in writing, and waive notice. Any official action of the Common Council shall be taken only at an open meeting.
The Common Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure and order of business, and the minutes of its proceedings, the taking and keeping of which shall be a responsibility of the City Clerk, shall be a public record.
Voting shall be by voice vote except that any member may request a vote by roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes. A majority of the authorized number of Aldermen shall constitute a quorum of the Common Council, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members, in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by the rules of the Common Council. No action of the Common Council, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be valid or binding unless adopted by the affirmative vote of a majority of the authorized number of Aldermen. No Alderman shall be excused from voting on any matter except by unanimous consent of all other Aldermen present.
In addition to other powers and duties conferred or imposed upon the Common Council by this Charter or by law, the Council shall have but not be limited to the following powers:
To establish, abolish or consolidate administrative offices, departments, boards, commissions and other such agencies, except those created by this Charter, and to prescribe the functions of all such agencies subject to applicable provisions of this Charter and other laws.
To increase, decrease or delete any item in the annual proposed City operating budget and to add new items and to adopt such budget pursuant to applicable provisions of this Charter.
[Amended by L.L. No. 5-2004, ref. date 11-2-2004; 8-20-2013 by L.L. No. 3-2013]
To enact necessary appropriations ordinances.
To levy all taxes and fix all service charges and fees except as otherwise provided in this Charter.
To provide for the performance by a qualified certified public accountant or firm of an annual independent audit of City fiscal accounts, including those of the water department, and such other audits as it may deem necessary.
To award all public contracts, subject to applicable law. All bids in response to requests for bid issued by the Common Council shall be sent or delivered, prior to the bid deadline to the Office of the City Clerk, duly filed and recorded and thereafter to be publicly opened and read at the time and place specified.
[Amended 1-21-1986 by L.L. No. 1-1986, ref. date]
To authorize the acquisition, retention and disposition of real and other property by the City.
To conduct investigations of any department, board, bureau, officer or other agency of the City; and pursuant to such an investigation to have access to all records and papers kept in the custody of any department, board, bureau, officer or other agency; to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers or other evidence at any meeting of the Council or of a special committee thereof, and for that purpose to issue subpoenas signed by the Mayor. This provision shall not apply to papers, records and books where the production of same is otherwise prohibited by state and federal law.
Should the Mayor fail to appoint any position required by the City Charter within 90 days of a vacancy therein, then the Common Council may directly appoint such position.
[Added by L.L. No. 6-2004, ref. date 11-2-2004]
The Common Council shall act by local law, ordinance or resolution.
Local laws shall be enacted pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law.
Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing. A proposed ordinance may be introduced by any Alderman or the Mayor at any meeting of the Common Council. The Common Council shall fix a time and place for a public hearing thereon and the City Clerk shall publish in the official newspaper a notice of such hearing setting out the time and place and describing in summary form the content of the proposed ordinance. The notice shall be published at least seven calendar days prior to the date set for such hearing. Following the hearing the Common Council may act upon the proposed ordinance with or without amendments, but amendments shall not be deemed to require a rehearing.
A proposed resolution may be introduced by any member of the Common Council at any regular or special meeting thereof and may be adopted thereupon or at a later meeting by the affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the Aldermen present.
If the Aldermen present shall agree unanimously that an emergency exists, in respect to a proposed ordinance, the notice and public hearing requirements of this section may be suspended and the Council may proceed to act forthwith on such proposed ordinance.
The Common Council may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by reference thereto in an adopting ordinance. The procedure and requirements governing an adopting ordinance incorporating a standard code by reference shall be the same as those prescribed for ordinances generally except that:
It shall not be necessary to publish a copy of such code or to describe the content of such code in the notice of hearing or notice of adoption.
A copy of each adopting ordinance shall be authenticated and filed by the City Clerk in the City Clerk's office. Copies of any code so adopted shall be made available for public distribution by the City Clerk.
Except as may be otherwise provided by Charter or by law, every local law, ordinance and resolution, except a resolution relating to the government of the Common Council or to the appointment of officers, shall, within three working days following enactment of adoption by the Common Council be certified by the Clerk and presented to the Mayor for approval or veto.
The Mayor shall, within fifteen calendar days following certification of a local law, ordinance or resolution enacted or adopted by the Council, affix his signature of approval or veto upon enactment. If the Mayor shall fail to act within fifteen calendar days, the enactment shall be deemed to have been approved by the Mayor.
If the Mayor shall veto an action of the Common Council, he shall return the proposed enactment to the City Clerk for transmittal to the Council together with a statement of reasons for Mayoral disapproval. At any meeting of the Council within 15 days after receipt of the Mayor's veto, the Council, by a majority plus one vote of the authorized number of Alderman, may override the veto.
[Amended by L.L. No. 11-1989, ref. date 11-7-1989]
Within 10 days following completion of legislative and mayoral action on a proposed ordinance, the Clerk shall cause a notice of the adoption of such ordinance to be published in the official newspaper describing the content of the ordinance in summary form. Every adopted ordinance shall become effective immediately with regard to any person upon whom a copy thereof is served together with the certificate of the Clerk and shall become effective 10 days following publication of the notice of adoption with regard to all persons. Local laws shall become effective as provided in the Municipal Home Rule Law. Resolutions shall be effective as the Council may provide.
[Amended 10-20-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009]
Bond resolutions adopted by the Common Council shall be effective when either approved by the Mayor, deemed approved by the Mayor, or upon override of the Mayor's veto by the Common Council.