Article II. City Council

Article II. City Council

Section 2-01. Composition, Qualifications and Election.

A. The legislative power of the City shall be vested in a council consisting of five (5) members elected from districts enumerated in Section 8-01 (Council Districts), one from and by the qualified electors in each district.

B. Each member of the council shall be elected for a four (4) year term concurrent with that of the mayor and shall be eligible for reelection.

C. A council member shall be a qualified elector of the municipality and of the district from which elected.

D. A council member shall have been legally domiciled and shall have actually resided for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the time established by law for qualifying for office in an area which, at the time of qualification, is within the City. A council member also shall have actually resided for at least six (6) consecutive months immediately preceding the time established by law for qualifying for office in an area which, at the time of qualification, is within the district from which elected.

E. A council member shall continue to be legally domiciled and to actually reside within the district from which elected during the term of office. Should the legal domicile and/or actual residence of a council member change from the district from which elected, the office shall automatically become vacant, which vacancy shall be filled as set out hereinafter.

F. Elections shall be held in accordance with the election laws of the state.

Section 2-02. Changes in District Boundaries; Reapportionment.

A. In the event of annexation by the governing body of the City between the time of adoption of this charter and thirty (30) days before the election of the first council provided for herein, the charter commission shall immediately alter, change or rearrange council district boundaries in order to incorporate into such districts those persons living in the newly annexed areas.

B. Following the election of the first council under this charter, any ordinance annexing new areas to the City shall prescribe the council district or districts in which said area shall be included, which district or districts shall be contiguous to the area being annexed.

C. Not later than one (1) year following official publication of each federal census by the United States Bureau of the Census for the area covered by the City and at least six (6) months prior to the next election for council members, the council by ordinance shall alter, change or rearrange council district boundaries so as to provide for population equality among the districts in compliance with the constitutional requirements of equal representation. Council districts shall be compact to the extent possible and be composed of contiguous territory.

Section 2-03. Forfeiture of Office.

A council member shall forfeit the office if such member during the term of office: (1) lacks any qualification for the office prescribed by this charter, (2) violates any express prohibition of this charter or (3) is disqualified by law from holding public office.

Section 2-04. Vacancies.

A. The office of a council member shall become vacant upon death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, forfeiture of office or failure to take office for any reason.

B. A vacancy on the council shall be filled according to the method, timetable and procedures established by state law for the filling of vacancies in elected municipal offices.

Section 2-05. Compensation.

A. A council member shall be paid compensation of six hundred dollars ($600.00) per month, until changed by ordinance. The chairman of the council shall be paid three hundred dollars ($300.00) per month in addition to the regular compensation paid a council member. No ordinance changing the compensation of a council member shall be adopted during the last year of a term of office and no such ordinance shall become effective during the term of the council adopting the ordinance.

B. The council, by ordinance, may adopt a system of reimbursement, upon presentation of properly documented receipts, of reasonable expenses necessary to the performance of official duties.

Section 2-06. Prohibitions.

A. Except as otherwise provided by this charter, a council member shall hold no other City office, City employment or elected public office, during the term for which elected to the council and no former council member shall hold any compensated appointive City office or City employment until one (1) year after the expiration of the term for which elected to the council. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a council member from serving as a member of a charter commission, constitutional convention or political party committee.

B. Except as provided elsewhere in this charter neither the council nor any of its members shall involve themselves in any manner in the appointment, removal, direction or supervision of any City administrative officer or employee.

Section 2-07. Investigations.

The council, by the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its authorized membership, may make investigations into the affairs of the City and the related conduct of any City official, officer, employee, department, office or agency and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence. The council may provide by ordinance for the punishment, as a misdemeanor, of a person for the willful failure or refusal to obey such subpoena or request for evidence. Investigations by the council shall be for specified purposes.

Section 2-08. Independent Audit.

The council shall provide for an annual independent postaudit and, upon the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its authorized members, may provide for such additional audits as it deems necessary of the accounts and other evidence of financial transactions of the City, including those of all City departments, offices or agencies. Auditors shall be designated by the council, shall be without personal interest in the affairs subject to audit and shall be certified public accountants or a firm of such accountants. Each annual audit and any special audit shall be submitted to the council at one of its regularly scheduled meetings and shall be a public record, and a summary thereof shall be published at least once in the official journal.

Section 2-09. Clerk of Council.

A. The council shall appoint a clerk of the council who shall serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the council. The clerk shall be official secretary of the council, shall give notice of special or rescheduled council meetings to its members and the public, shall keep the journal of all council proceedings, and shall perform such other duties as are assigned to the position by this charter or by the council.

B. The office of the clerk shall be open and all official records pertaining to the functions and duties of the clerk shall be available during the City's regular office hours.

Section 2-10. Council Meetings and Rules.

A. The council shall meet regularly at least twice a month at such times and places as the council may prescribe. Special meetings may be held on the call of the mayor, the presiding officer of the council or a majority of the authorized membership of the council and upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours' notice to each member. To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or public safety, the council may meet upon call of the mayor, the presiding officer of the council or a majority of the authorized membership of the council upon such notice as it shall be convenient to give. The call convening a special meeting of the council shall state the objects of the meeting. The power of the council to act at a special meeting shall be limited, under penalty of nullity, to the objects specifically enumerated in the call.

B. All meetings of the council or its committees shall be held in compliance with state law governing public access to meetings of governing bodies. A meeting closed to the public shall be limited to matters allowed by state law. No final or binding action shall be taken during a meeting closed to the public.

C. The council shall establish by resolution its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping a journal of its minutes and proceedings. This journal shall be a public record.

D. At all regular meetings of the council and at all special meetings held upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours' written notice, the council shall operate from an agenda which shall be made available to the public prior to the meeting.

E. The council shall provide by resolution a procedure whereby interested persons shall be given an opportunity to be heard on any matter relating to City government.

F. At the first regular meeting of a newly elected council and annually thereafter, a chairman and vice chairman shall be elected by the council from among the council members. The chairman shall preside at meetings of the council, and in the absence or disqualification of the chairman, the vice chairman shall preside. In the absence or disqualification of both the chairman and vice chairman, the council shall designate one of its other members as temporary presiding officer. The presiding officer of the council shall have the right to vote on all matters to the same extent as any other council member.

G. All voting shall be by roll call, and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes of the council by the individual vote of each council member. Not less than a majority of the authorized membership of the council shall constitute a quorum to transact business, but if a quorum is lost during a meeting, a smaller number may recess from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by council rules.

Section 2-11. Action Requiring an Ordinance.

A. An act of the council having the force of law shall be by ordinance. An act requiring an ordinance shall include but not be limited to those which:

(1) Adopt or amend an administrative code.
(2) Provide a fine or other penalty or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty may be imposed.
(3) Levy taxes or assessments as provided by law.
(4) Appropriate funds and/or adopt the operating budget and capital improvement program for the City.
(5) Grant, renew or extend a franchise.
(6) Provide for raising revenue.
(7) Regulate the rate or other charges for service by the City.
(8) Authorize the borrowing of money.
(9) Incur debt in any manner authorized by law.
(10) Abandon any property owned by the City.
(11) Convey or least or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands or property of the City.
(12) Acquire real property on behalf of the City.
(13) Extend or contract corporate limits.
(14) Adopt or modify an official map, platting or subdivision controls or regulation or the zoning plan.
(15) Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted.
(16) Propose amendments to this charter.

B. All general ordinances shall be codified in accordance with Article VI, Section 10 of the constitution.

C. Acts other than those referred to above may be done either by ordinance or by resolution. Except as otherwise provided by this charter, all ordinances and resolutions shall be passed by the favorable vote of at least a majority of the authorized membership of the council.

Section 2-12. Ordinances in General.

A. All proposed ordinances shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for adoption and, except for codifications and the operating budget and capital improvement program, shall be confined to one subject expressed clearly in the title.

B. All proposed ordinances shall be read by title when introduced and published in full or by title prior to final consideration. Except as otherwise provided in Section 2-14 (Emergency Ordinances), no ordinance shall be considered for final passage until it has laid over at least seven (7) days from date of publication and a public hearing has been held on the ordinance.

C. Upon enactment all ordinances shall be published in full in the official journal by the clerk of the council as soon as practical thereafter provided, however, that ordinances adopting codes of technical regulations or adopting or amending the operating budget or capital improvement program may be published in full or in summary at the council's discretion. Every enacted ordinance, unless it shall specify another date, shall become effective at expiration of ten (10) days after publication by the council.

Section 2-13. Submission of Ordinances to the Mayor.

A. Every ordinance adopted by the council shall be signed by the presiding officer and presented to the mayor or the mayor's office within three (3) calendar days after adoption, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays. The clerk of the council shall record upon the ordinance the date and hour of its delivery to the mayor or the mayor's office.

B. Within ten (10) calendar days after receipt by the mayor or the mayor's office of an ordinance, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays, it shall be returned to the clerk of the council with or without the mayor's approval, or with the mayor's veto. The clerk shall record upon the ordinance the date and hour of its receipt from the mayor. If the ordinance has been approved or is not specifically vetoed, it shall be considered finally enacted and become effective as provided in Section 2-12 (Ordinances in General). If the ordinance is vetoed, the mayor shall submit to the council through the clerk a written statement of the reasons for veto. All ordinances that the mayor vetoes shall be vetoed in full, except that the mayor shall have authority to veto individual appropriation items in the ordinances adopting the operating budget and capital improvement program.

C. Ordinances vetoed by the mayor shall be submitted by the clerk to the council no later than the next regular meeting held after receipt of the vetoed ordinance from the mayor. Should the council vote, no later than the second regular meeting held after receipt of the vetoed ordinance, to readopt the ordinance by the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its authorized membership, said ordinance shall be considered finally enacted and become law irrespective of the veto by the mayor.

D. The right of the mayor to veto as provided in this section shall apply to all ordinances adopted by the council except those which propose amendments to this charter; establish, alter or modify council procedure; or appropriate funds for the council or for auditing or investigating any part of the executive branch.

Section 2-14. Emergency Ordinances.

A. To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or public safety, the council by the favorable vote of at least two thirds of the authorized membership, may adopt an emergency ordinance at the meeting at which it is introduced, provided that no such ordinance may be used to levy taxes or special assessments; grant or extend a franchise; incur debt, except as provided in Section 5-04 B (Emergency Appropriations); adopt or amend an official map, platting or subdivision controls or zoning regulations; or change rates, fees or charges established by the City. Each emergency ordinance shall contain a specific statement of the emergency claimed.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 2-13 (Submission of Ordinances to the Mayor), any emergency ordinance adopted by the council shall be signed by the presiding officer and presented to the mayor within six (6) hours after adoption. Within twelve (12) hours after receipt by the mayor of any emergency ordinance, it shall be returned to the clerk of the council with or without the mayor's approval, or with the mayor's veto. If the emergency ordinance has been approved, or is not specifically vetoed, it shall be considered finally enacted and become effective immediately upon receipt by the clerk. If the emergency ordinance is vetoed, the mayor shall submit to the council through the clerk a written statement of the reasons for the veto. The clerk shall record upon the emergency ordinance the dates and hours of its delivery to and receipt from the mayor. Should the council vote, not later than twelve (12) hours after receipt of the vetoed emergency ordinance from the mayor, to readopt the emergency ordinance by the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its authorized membership, said emergency ordinance shall be considered finally enacted and become law immediately upon readoption, irrespective of the veto by the mayor. Upon final enactment such emergency ordinance shall be published in the official journal by the clerk as soon as practical thereafter either in full or in summary at the discretion of the council.

C. Emergency ordinances shall be effective for no longer than sixty (60) days.

Section 2-15. Codes of Technical Regulations.

The council, by ordinance, may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by reference. The procedure and requirements governing the adopting of such ordinances shall be as prescribed for ordinances generally, except that a period of twenty-seven (27) days shall be allowed between the time of introduction and final consideration of the ordinance by the council. During this interim, copies of any proposed code shall be available for public review. A copy of each adopted code of technical regulations as well as the adopting ordinance shall be authenticated and recorded by the clerk of the council in the official records of the City. Such adopted codes of technical regulations shall be published at least by title or by reference in the official journal by the clerk as soon as practical following such final adoption.

Section 2-16. Authentication and Recording of Ordinances and Resolutions; Printing and Distribution.

A. All finally enacted ordinances and resolutions shall be authenticated, numbered and recorded by the clerk of the council. All ordinances shall be indexed and codified in a book or books kept for this purpose. All resolutions shall be indexed and recorded in the minutes of the council meeting at which the resolution was adopted.

B. The council shall cause each ordinance and each amendment to this charter to be printed or otherwise reproduced promptly following enactment and such printed or reproduced amendments and ordinances, including codes of technical regulations adopted by reference pursuant to Section 2-15 (Codes of Technical Regulations), shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices.

Section 2-17. Power to Levy Taxes.

The power to perform any service or provide any facility granted to the City by this charter or by the constitution and general laws of the state shall in all cases carry with it the power to levy taxes and borrow money within the limits and in accordance with procedures prescribed by the constitution and general laws of the state. The council shall have, and is hereby granted, all of the authority to levy and collect taxes, to incur debt, and issue bonds and other evidences of indebtedness, as is now or hereafter conferred on governing authorities of municipalities by the constitution and general laws of the state, or as may be hereafter specially conferred by the electors of the City. Any tax being levied by the City on the effective date of this home rule charter is ratified.

Section 2-18. Powers of Enforcement.

For the purpose of carrying out the powers generally or specially conferred on the City, the council shall have the power, whenever it deems it necessary, to grant franchises, to require licenses and permits and fix the fees to be paid therefor, to charge compensation for any privilege or franchise granted or service rendered, and to provide penalties for the violation of any ordinance or regulation, as provided by law.

Section 2-19. Internal Auditor.

A. There shall be an internal auditor responsible solely to the council. He shall be selected by the concurrence of a majority of the elected members of the council and may be removed by the concurrence of at least two-thirds ( 2/3) of its authorized membership. The internal auditor, at the time of appointment, shall have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or other financial based curriculum from an accredited college or university and at least three (3) years' experience in internal auditing or professionally qualified as a certified public accountant or as a certified internal auditor.

B. The internal auditor shall perform audits of all offices, departments, boards and commissions of the City. These audits shall include but not be limited to the following determinations:

1) Whether financial operations are properly conducted in accordance with standards for governmental accounting and general internal accounting controls.

(2) Whether the audited entity is in compliance with the Louisiana Constitution, City Charter, City Ordinances, and all other applicable laws and regulations.

(3) Whether the property of the City is properly accounted for and safeguarded from losses.

C. The internal auditor shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by ordinance and perform other auditing services of an official nature as may be required by the council.

D. For the purpose of performing his duties the internal auditor shall have access to the books and records of all offices, departments, boards, commissions and agencies of the City, and it shall be the duty of all officers and employees thereof to supply to him such information and documents in their possession concerning the affairs of the City as he may request.
(Ord. No. 9462, 8-23-94)

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