CHARTER

    Chapters:

 

    Preamble

I.    General Provisions

II.    Officers

III.    The City Council

IV.    City Legislation

V.    The Administrative Service

VI.    Budget Procedure and General Finance Provisions

VII.    Taxation

VIII.    Special Assessments and Public Improvements

IX.    Intergovernmental Relations

X.    Elections

XI.    Municipal Borrowing

XII.    Contracts

XIII.    Public Utility Services

XIV.    Revision and Amendment

Schedule

CITY OF PALMER, ALASKA MUNICIPAL

CHARTER

PREAMBLE

We, the people of the City of Palmer, exercising the powers of home rule granted to us by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Alaska, in order to provide for more efficient, adequate and economical government, do hereby ordain, ratify and establish this Charter of the City of Palmer, Alaska.

CHAPTER I
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 1.1 Continuation of existing corporation.

The City of Palmer shall continue as a municipal corporation under the name: “City of Palmer.”

Section 1.2 Form of government.

The government of the city shall be that commonly known and designated as the Council-Manager form.

Section 1.3 Boundaries.

The boundaries of the city shall be the boundaries as established and on file in the records of the Clerk at the time this charter becomes effective or as such boundaries may be changed thereafter in the manner authorized by law.

Section 1.4 Powers of the city.

The city may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or by this charter.

Section 1.5 Definitions and construction.

Except as otherwise specifically defined herein or indicated by the context, words used in this charter shall have their ordinary dictionary meanings.

(a) “Board” includes the word “Commission.”

(b) “Capital improvement” means a public improvement of a permanent nature.

(c) “City” means the City of Palmer.

(d) “Code” means the Code of Ordinances of the City of Palmer, including all amendments and additions.

(e) “Council” means the City Council of the City of Palmer.

(f) “Elector” means a qualified elector, as defined in Article V of the Alaska Constitution, who is registered as required by the Code.

(g) “By law” as used in this charter denotes applicable federal law, the Constitution and statutes of Alaska, the applicable common law, and this charter.

(h) “Local improvement” means public improvement specially beneficial to the property affected and the abatement of such unsafe, unsightly, unhealthful, or unsanitary conditions as the Council shall determine to be a public nuisance.

(i) “Person” extends and applies to bodies politic and corporate, and to partnerships and associations as well as to individuals.

(j) “Public improvement” means improvements to or in connection with the streets, sidewalks, parks, playgrounds, buildings, sewer systems, water systems, any other facilities and real property or appurtenances thereof of the city used by the public.

(k) “Public utility” includes all common carriers in the public streets, water, sewer disposal, electric light, central heating, gas, electric power, telephone and telegraph lines and systems, garbage collection, garbage disposal and reduction plants, docks and such other and different enterprises as the law or the Council may determine to be or designate as public utilities.

(l) “Publish” or “published” includes the setting forth of any matter for public notice in the manner provided by law, or where there is no applicable law, publishing at least once in one or more newspapers of the city qualified by law for the publication of legal notices, or posting in at least one public place.

(m) “Sign” or “signature” includes the facsimile of a signature when authorized by the Council.

(n) All words indicating the present tense are not limited to the time of the adoption of this charter, but may be extended to and include the time and event or requirement occurs to which any provision is applied.

(o) The singular includes the plural, the plural includes the singular, and the masculine gender extends to and includes the feminine gender and the neuter.

Section 1.6 Records to be public.

All records relating to the general governmental affairs of the city shall be public records unless otherwise provided by law. They shall be kept in the city offices, except when required for official reasons or for purposes of safekeeping to be kept elsewhere. They shall be available at city offices for inspection, copying, or reproduction at reasonable times. Such records, or copies duly certified by the Clerk shall be prima facie evidence of their contents.

Section 1.7 Quorum.

A quorum of any board created by or under authority of this chapter shall, unless otherwise provided, consist of a majority of the number of its members.

Section 1.8 Sundays and holidays.

Except as otherwise provided in this charter whenever the date fixed by law or ordinance for the doing or completion of any act falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, such act shall be done or completed on the next succeeding business day.

Section 1.9 Penalties for violations.

Violations of this charter, the code, or any ordinance of the city may be punished by a fine which shall not exceed Three Hundred Dollars, or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 1.10 Notice to City of claim for injuries.

Repealed October 7, 2014 election.

Section 1.11 Chapter and section headings.

The chapter and section headings used in this charter shall not be considered a part of the charter for the purpose of judicial construction or otherwise.

Section 1.12 Severability of charter provisions.

If any portion of this charter is held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the remainder of the charter; and to that end, this charter is declared to be severable.

Section 1.13 Liberal construction.

The intent of the Charter Commission in drafting this charter and of the electors of the City of Palmer in adopting it was that the provisions of the charter should be liberally construed to afford a maximum of local self-government in accordance with the intent of Section I of Article X, Constitution of the State of Alaska.

Section 1.14 Residual powers.

The enumeration of specified powers in this charter shall not be construed as limiting the power of the city.

CHAPTER II
OFFICERS

Section 2.1 City officers.

(a) The elective officers of the city are the Mayor and six (6) Councilmen.

(b) The appointive officers of the city are the City Manager, the City Clerk, and the City Attorney.

(c) The administration officers are all officers of the city other than elective officers and appointive officers.

Section 2.2 Eligibility for elective city office.

(a) To be eligible to file a nominating petition for election to a city office, a person shall be a qualified voter of the city and shall have been a resident of the city or of territory annexed to the city, or shall have had a combination of residence in the city and in the annexed territory for a period of not less than one year preceding the date of the filing of such petition.

(b) A person appointed to fill a vacancy in an elective office must have such qualifications at the time of his or her appointment.

(c) The Council shall be the judge of the election and of the qualifications of its members. (Amended October 2, 2007 election)

Section 2.3 Persons ineligible for City office or employment.

A person who holds or has held an elective city office shall not be eligible for appointment to an office or for employment for which a salary is paid by the city until one year has elapsed following the term for which he was elected or appointed. An exception may be made with the approval of five (5) or more members of the Council.

Section 2.4 Notice of election or appointment.

The City Clerk shall mail to each person elected or appointed, a certificate of election or appointment within five days from the time of election or appointment.

Section 2.5 Compensation of officers.

The compensation of all elective officers, board members, the City Manager, the City Clerk, and the City Attorney shall be established by the Council. The compensation of all other permanent officers shall be in accordance with the position classification and pay plan of the city.

Section 2.6 Oath of office.

Every officer of the city before entering upon his duties shall take the oath or affirmation required by Section 5 of Article XII, Constitution of the State of Alaska. The Council may require designated employees to take such oath before entering upon their employment. Oaths of office shall be filed with the City Clerk.

Section 2.7 Surety bonds.

In order to protect the city and the public, the Council may require appropriate surety bonds of officers and employees. The premium of such bonds shall be paid by the city.

Section 2.8 Giving of surety bonds by officers and employees forbidden.

No officer or employee shall give or furnish any bail, bond or recognizance, nor shall he be the agent of any bondsmen in connection with any bond which may be required by law or by the Council.

Section 2.9 Vacancies in office.

(a) A city office shall become vacant upon the occurrence of any of the following:

(1) the expiration of the term of office;

(2) the death of the incumbent;

(3) a resignation when approved by the Council;

(4) a removal from office in the manner provided by law;

(5) ceasing to possess at any time the qualifications or eligibility required by this charter for election or appointment to office;

(6) final conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude or an offense involving a violation of an oath of office;

(7) a judicial determination that the incumbent is of unsound mind;

(8) a decision of a competent tribunal declaring the election or appointment of the incumbent void;

(9) failure to take the oath or make the affirmation, or file the bond required for the office within ten days from the date of election or appointment or within such other time, not exceeding twenty days thereafter, as the Council may fix;

(10) any other event which, by law, creates a vacancy;

(b) The Council shall provide in the code for creating vacancies in elective offices because of failure to perform the duties of the office. Such provision shall be self-executing.

Section 2.10 Resignations.

Resignations of officers shall be made in writing and filed with the City Clerk, who shall immediately notify the proper officials concerned.

Section 2.11 Removal from office.

(a) The Council may remove the City Manager, the City Clerk, the City Attorney, and members of boards, regardless of term of office. The person so removed from office shall have the right to a public hearing before the Council concerning the cause of his removal.

(b) City employees shall be protected from arbitrary discharge by code provision.

Section 2.12 Recall.

An elective officer may be recalled. The vacancy thereby created shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law.

Section 2.13 Filling vacancies.

The council by ordinance shall provide in code for the process of filling vacancies in office. (Amended October 7, 2008 election)

Section 2.14 Delivery of office to successor.

Whenever an officer or employee leaves an office or employment for any reason, he shall deliver forthwith to his successor in the office or to the Mayor, all property of the city such as books, working papers, moneys and effects, which are in his custody, possession, or control.

CHAPTER III
THE CITY COUNCIL

Section 3.1 The city council.

The Council shall consist of the Mayor and six Councilmen. The Mayor and each Councilman shall be elected from the city at large. The term of office of the Mayor and of each Councilman shall be for three years and shall commence on the Monday next following his election.

The Council shall exercise all of the legislative and policy-making powers of the city and shall provide for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed upon the city by law.

Section 3.2 Terms of office.

The terms of two councilmen shall expire each year, except that in each third year, counting from 1963, the terms of the Mayor and of two Councilmen shall expire. When appointments are made to fill vacancies in the manner provided by Section 2.13(a) of this Charter, appointees shall qualify for and assume the duties of office within ten days after appointment, unless such time be extended for not more than sixty days by the Council.

Section 3.3 Organization of the council.

The Council:

A. Shall meet and organize on the first Monday following each regular city election. At the meeting, or within one week thereafter, the Council shall elect from its membership a Deputy Mayor and do such other acts as may be required for its organization and the conduct of its business.

B. The Council shall provide in the code for the interim order of the succession of its members to the office of Deputy Mayor and for the prompt and temporary reconstitution of the Council in the event that its membership is reduced to less than a quorum. (Amended October 5, 2010 election)

Section 3.4 The mayor.

The executive power of the city is vested in the mayor. The executive power means that the mayor acts as ceremonial head of the city, executes official documents on authorization of the council, and is responsible for additional duties and powers prescribed by the charter and Alaska State Statutes.

A. The Mayor shall:

1. Possess all powers and shall exercise all duties provided or required by law or by the Council.

2. Be the presiding officer of the Council.

3. Be a member of the Council with all the powers and duties of that office.

4. Advise the Council concerning the affairs of the city and make recommendations thereon.

5. Make all required appointments subject to prior approval of the Council.

B. The mayor shall not possess veto power. (Amended October 7, 2008 election)

Section 3.5 The deputy mayor.

The Deputy Mayor:

A. Shall succeed to the office of Mayor when a vacancy occurs in that office.

B. Shall have and exercise the powers and duties of the Mayor when the Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of the office.

C. When a doubt exists concerning the ability of the Mayor to perform the duties of the office, the Council shall, by resolution, determine whether the Deputy Mayor shall act in the place of the Mayor. The determination shall stand until the Council determines the disability or inability ceases. (Amended October 5, 2010 election)

Section 3.6 Meetings of the council.

(a) All meetings of the Council shall be public meetings and the public shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

(b) Reasonable public notice shall be given for all meetings of the Council. The notice shall include the date, time, and place of the meeting and if the meeting is by teleconference, the location of the teleconferencing facilities that will be used.

(c) Four members of the Council shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. In the absence of a quorum, any member less than a quorum may adjourn a meeting to a later date.

(d) The vote of at least four members shall be required for official action by the Council, unless a larger majority is required by law. The vote upon all matters considered by the Council shall be taken by “Yes” or “No” vote which shall be entered upon record, except that, where the vote is unanimous, it shall be necessary only so to state.

(e) The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall keep minutes of all its proceedings. The minutes of each Council meeting shall be signed by the Clerk and countersigned by the Mayor.

(f) No Council member may vote on any question upon which he or she has a substantial direct or indirect financial interest. Otherwise, each Council member shall vote on each question before the Council for determination, unless excused by the affirmative vote of all remaining members able to vote on the question. If a question is raised under this section at any Council meeting, the question shall be determined before the main question shall be voted on. Council members affected may not vote on such determination.

(g) The Council may, after its agenda is otherwise completed, recess for the purpose of discussing, in an executive session, any question permitted by law which is expressed in the motion calling for the executive session. The public may be excluded from the session. Final action on any matter discussed in executive session shall occur in open session. (Amended October 2, 2007 election)

Section 3.7 Powers of the council to appoint citizen boards.

(a) The Council may in its discretion by ordinance create or abolish boards and may grant to them the power to conduct hearings, to make recommendations and initial decisions which, unless appealed from within twenty days shall become final. The Council shall provide for appeals by any party affected by the proceedings or by a city administration officer, and shall direct that all decisions must be promptly filed with the City Clerk as public record.

(b) Unless the Council shall otherwise determine by a majority vote, all questions presented to the Council concerning any subject which has been delegated to a citizen board shall be submitted first to the board for consideration.

(c) Boards established by the Council shall not be authorized to employ or direct the employment or removal of any administration officer or employee of the city, except that the City Manager shall consult the respective boards regarding the appointment and dismissal of the department head.

Section 3.8 Restrictions of powers of the council.

(a) The Council and its members shall not direct the appointment or removal of any administration officer or employee of the city and shall deal with the administrative service of the city through the City Manager only.

(b) There shall be no standing committees of the Council.

CHAPTER IV
CITY LEGISLATION

Section 4.1 Introduction, consideration, style and recording of code provisions.

(a) Each proposed code provision shall be introduced in written form. The enacting clause shall be: “The City of Palmer Ordains.”

(b) No code provision shall be introduced and passed at the same meeting unless an emergency is declared by an affirmative vote of not less than four members of the Council.

(c) Each code provision shall be recorded by the City Clerk.

(d) The City Attorney shall enter and identify in the Code all code provisions adopted by the Council. Such entry shall be prima facie evidence of the due and proper adoption of all code provisions.

(e) The Mayor shall verify each code provision and authenticate it on the record by his signature.

(f) All official proceedings of the city may be placed in evidence in all courts and tribunals by a copy thereof certified as true by the City Clerk, under the seal of the city, in addition to other methods provided or permitted by law.

Section 4.2 Publication of code provisions.

Each code provision shall be published in a manner provided by the Council. If publication is made by posting, a notice of the place of posting and a brief statement of the purpose of the code provision shall be published in one or more of the newspapers of the city within a reasonable time.

Section 4.3 Effective date of taxation code provisions.

No code provision which provides for or establishes a tax shall become effective for at least thirty days after adoption by the Council.

Section 4.4 Time limit for prosecution of charter or code violations.

No prosecution for the violation of this charter or the code shall be commenced after the expiration of two years following commission of the offense, unless the accused has fled or remained beyond the boundaries of the city. The period of time during which the accused remains outside the municipal boundaries shall not be counted.

Section 4.5 Due process to be accorded.

All proceedings relative to the arrest, custody, and trial of persons accused of any violation of this charter or of the code shall be conducted so as to accord due process of law to the accused.

Section 4.6 Initiative and referendum.

A code provision may be initiated or a referendum may be had on any act of the Council in the manner and subject to the limitations set forth by law.

Section 4.7 Code provisions adopted by the initiative.

(a) A code provision adopted by the initiative procedure may not be amended or repealed by the Council for a period of two years after the date of the election at which it was adopted.

(b) Should two or more code provisions adopted at the same election have conflicting provisions, the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail.

Section 4.8 Council action.

The powers of referendum are reserved to the qualified voters of the city as provided by state law and by the city of Palmer Charter. The council shall provide by ordinance:

A. The process for filing a referendum petition;

B. The effect of filing a referendum petition; and

C. The election process concerning a referendum petition. (Amended October 7, 2014 election)

Section 4.9 Building and zoning regulations.

To provide for the health, safety, and welfare of citizens within the city, the Council shall provide for comprehensive building and zoning regulations.

Section 4.10 Abatement of nuisances.

The Council shall provide in the code for the declaration and abatement of nuisances which may be offensive or tend to endanger the health and welfare of the public, and for the assessment of the cost thereof, against the property upon; or in respect of which the nuisance exists.

Section 4.11 Port and harbor jurisdiction.

The Council shall regulate the use and development of all waters and submerged lands which are subject to the jurisdiction of the city.

Section 4.12 Other municipal services.

The Council shall provide for the furnishing of such municipal services as it deems necessary for the protection of the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the public. When the interests of the city so require, the Council may authorize plans or agreements for reimbursing the city in consideration of furnishing any of such services to tax-exempt persons or agencies, whether private or governmental.

CHAPTER V
THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE

Section 5.1 The Council to provide for the City administration.

The Council shall provide in the code for the organization of the administrative offices and departments of the city and shall prescribe their duties and functions.

Section 5.2 Emergency administration.

In order to assure continuity of city services and administration in periods of emergency resulting from war or disaster the Council shall provide in the code for the prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of administrative officers and departments when such officers and departments are unable to carry on their respective powers and duties.

Section 5.3 Administrative officers and employees – Appointment, terms and compensation.

(a) The City Manager, the City Clerk, and the City Attorney shall be appointed by the Council. They shall hold office for indefinite terms at the pleasure of the Council.

(b) All other administrative officers, except members of city boards, shall be appointed by the City Manager and shall serve at his pleasure.

(c) Members of city boards shall serve for the terms provided by law.

(d) The Council shall provide in the code for the employment of city personnel on the basis of merit and fitness.

(e) There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, or national origin in the selection, discharge, and fixing the terms and conditions of employment of city personnel.

Section 5.4 The City Manager.

(a) The City Manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of his demonstrated administrative qualifications, with particular emphasis on his training and experience as a professional municipal administrator. He shall be a resident of the city during his tenure in office.

(b) He shall be the chief administrative officer of the Council and shall perform the duties of his office under the authority of and shall be accountable to the Council. His duties shall be prescribed in the code by the Council and may include duties in addition to those set forth in this charter.

(c) He shall supervise and coordinate the work of the administrative officers and departments of the city, except those of the City Attorney and the City Clerk, and shall act as coordinator between these officers and the other administrative officers.

(d) He shall prepare and recommend to the Council the annual budget proposals of the city.

(e) He shall enforce the code and other acts of the Council and administer all city contracts.

(f) He shall employ or be responsible for the employment of all city employees and shall supervise and coordinate the personnel policies and practices of the city.

Section 5.5 City Clerk.

(a) The City Clerk, or his authorized representative, shall be clerk of the Council. He shall attend all meetings of the Council and shall keep a record of its proceedings.

(b) He shall record and certify all actions of the Council.

(c) He shall have power to administer all oaths required by law.

(d) He shall be custodian of the city seal and the official records of the city.

(e) He shall give to the proper officials ample notice of the expiration or termination of any term of office and, when necessary, the conditions or requirements of all bonds, franchises, contracts, or agreements.

(f) He shall be the register of the city and shall be responsible for the calling and supervision of all city elections, unless otherwise provided by law.

(g) He shall perform such other duties in connection with his office as may be required of him by law or by Council.

Section 5.6 City Attorney.

(a) The City Attorney shall act as the legal advisor of and be responsible to the Council. He shall advise the City Manager and the City Clerk concerning legal problems affecting the city administration.

(b) He shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Council.

Section 5.7 City Fiscal Agent.

The Council shall provide in the code for the collection, receipt, and custody of taxes, moneys, and things of value belonging to the city and for an administrative officer who shall be responsible therefor.

Section 5.8 Employee benefit plan.

Any benefit plans provided for officers and employees by the Council shall be actuarially sound. Membership in any retirement system which may be adopted by the city shall constitute a contractual relationship. Accrued benefits of any retirement system shall not be diminished or impaired.

CHAPTER VI
BUDGET PROCEDURE AND GENERAL FINANCE PROVISIONS

Section 6.1 Fiscal year.

The fiscal year of the city shall be as established by the Council, unless otherwise provided by law.

Section 6.2 Budget statement of City Manager.

During or prior to the sixth week preceding the first day of the fiscal year, the City Manager shall present to the Council a budget proposal for the next fiscal year of the city. Such budget proposal shall set forth the City Manager’s recommendations for and an analysis of the anticipated income and expenditures of the city during the next fiscal year, together with comparative figures showing the estimated corresponding amounts for the current year and comparisons with the previous year. The proposed expenditures set forth in the budget proposal shall not exceed the expected revenues of the City. Unencumbered funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year may be reallocated for purposes set forth in the budget proposal.

Section 6.3 Budget adoption procedure.

(a) The budget proposal of the City Manager shall be reviewed by the Council and shall be available for public inspection in the office of the City Clerk.

(b) The Council shall direct that a public hearing on the budget proposal be held not less than one week before its final adoption. A notice of the public hearing shall be published in a newspaper by the City Clerk at least one week prior to the date of hearing.

(c) At a regular meeting held not less than ten days prior to the end of the fiscal year, the Council shall, by resolution, adopt a budget for the following fiscal year and make an appropriation of the money needed therefor.

(d) If the Council does not adopt a budget prior to the third day preceding the commencement of the next fiscal year, the budget proposal shall become an appropriation and the budget for the fiscal year without further Council action.

Section 6.4 Budget control.

(a) Unencumbered appropriation balances may be transferred within a department by the City Manager at any time at the request of the City Manager or on its own initiative, the Council may transfer unencumbered balances from one office, department or agency to another.

(b) The City Manager shall submit periodically to the Council information comparing estimated and actual revenues and expenditures to the end of the preceding month.

Section 6.5 Withdrawal of funds.

All funds drawn from the treasury shall be drawn pursuant to the authority and appropriation of the Council.

Section 6.6 Independent audit.

An independent audit shall be made of all accounts of the city at least annually and more frequently if deemed necessary by the Council. The annual audit shall be made by certified public accountants employed by the Council and shall be completed within ninety days following the close of the fiscal year. An analysis of the audit shall be made public by the Council.

CHAPTER VII
TAXATION

Section 7.1 Taxation by ordinance.

The Council shall provide in the code for the annual assessment, levy, and collection of city taxes.

Section 7.2 Exemptions.

The power of taxation shall never be surrendered. No exemptions from taxation shall be allowed except such as are expressly provided by law. Private lease-holds, contracts, or interests in land or property owned or held by the United States, the State, or its political subdivisions, shall be taxable to the extent of the interests.

Section 7.3 Assessment day.

The taxable status of property shall be determined as of the first day of January, or such other as may subsequently be required by the law, which shall be the assessment day. Values on the assessment roll shall be determined according to the facts existing on the assessment day for the year for which the assessment roll is made, and no change of the status of any property after that day shall be considered by the Council when acting as a board of equalization. Standards of appraisal shall be followed by the Council when established as a board of equalization. Standards of appraisal shall be followed by the Council when established by law.

Section 7.4 Security for taxes on real property.

The city shall have a first lien upon all real property against which taxes are assessed for the taxes and any collection charges, penalties, and interest which may accumulate thereto, which lien shall continue until the taxes are paid.

Section 7.5 Protection of city’s real property tax liens.

The city may protect its lien for taxes upon real property by sale at tax sale, or by purchasing the real property at any tax sale or other public sale, or by direct negotiation with the owner. Any such procedure shall be deemed to be for a public purpose. When the city has acquired an interest in real property to protect a tax lien thereon, the owner of any interest in such real property may redeem the same by paying the delinquent city taxes and all accrued charges, penalties, and interest thereon, after the city has held any tax delinquent real property for one year, it may hold the same for public use or sell it at public auction to the highest bidder.

Section 7.6 Security for taxes on personal property.

City taxes on personal property shall be a debt to the city from the persons to whom they are assessed. If any person to whom such taxes are assessed fails or refuses to pay the taxes, or if the collecting officer reasonably believes that any person will not pay such taxes, the taxes and accrued charges, penalties, and interest may be collected by a personal action in the name of the city against the person to whom assessed in a court of competent jurisdiction, or by distraint and sales of any personal property of the person assessed. Neither of the remedies herein given shall be exclusive of the other at any time.

CHAPTER VIII
SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS AND PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS

Section 8.1 General power relative to special assessments and public improvements.

(a) The Council shall have the power to make public improvements, including local improvements, within the city and, to the extent permitted by law, outside the city. The Council may determine the necessity for any public improvement, and may determine that the whole or any part of the cost thereof, including the cost of plans, specifications, administration, engineering, architectural, and legal expenses, and of the acquisition of property in connection therewith shall be levied by special assessments upon the property specially benefited thereby. When more than one lot or parcel of land is to be specially benefited, the project shall be considered as a special assessment district.

(b) Any special assessment for local improvement against property benefited shall be in proportion to, and shall not exceed, the value of the benefit received from the local improvements. The Council shall establish the method of apportioning such benefits.

(c) If protests as to the necessity of a local improvement are made by the owners of property which will bear fifty percent or more of the estimated cost of the improvement, the public improvement shall not proceed until the objections have been reduced to less than fifty percent, except upon the approval of at least five members of the Council.

Section 8.2 Detailed procedure to be fixed in the code.

The procedure for local improvements may be commenced by the Council either on its own initiative or upon receipt of a petition in the manner provided in the code. The Council shall prescribe in the code the complete special assessment procedure for local improvements and for agreements for furnishing capital improvements and the extension thereof in lieu of assessment. For local improvements, such code provision shall include and require the following:

(1) the procedure for filing petitions for local improvements;

(2) a survey and report by the City Manager concerning the need for, desirable extent of, and estimated cost of each proposed local improvement;

(3) a public hearing by the Council on the necessity for the local improvement;

(4) a resolution of the Council determining to proceed or not to proceed with the proposed local improvement;

(5) a public hearing by the Council on the special assessment roll for the local improvement;

(6) publication of notice of each hearing required by this section in a newspaper published within the city and by first class mail to persons whose names appear on the current assessment roll as owners of real property within the special assessment district;

(7) a resolution confirming the special assessment roll for the local improvement.

Section 8.3 Expenditures before funds for improvement are available.

No expenditures, other than for administrative, engineering, and legal work for any local improvement, the cost of which is to be borne by special assessments on the property benefited, shall be made unless the cash is on hand or bonds have been authorized to finance the cost thereof.

Section 8.4 Correction of invalid special assessments.

If any special assessment procedure of the Council shall be irregular or invalid for any reason, the Council may correct the same at any time within ninety days after the confirmation of the special assessment roll or after final determination of any litigation thereon, whether before or after the completion of the local improvement to which the special assessment applies. If payments of special assessments have been made under the irregular or invalid procedure, such payments shall be credited to payments required under the corrected procedure, or in the alternate, the Council may provide in the code for the payment of refunds.

Section 8.5 Limitations on suits and actions.

No special assessment procedure shall be contested by any action by law or in equity, unless commenced within sixty days after the confirmation of the special assessment roll therefor. If no such action be so commenced the procedure for such local improvement shall be conclusively presumed to have been regular and complete.

Section 8.6 Lien for and collection of special assessments.

(a) The city shall have a first lien upon all real property against which special assessments are assessed, and any such lien shall be of the same character, effect, and duration, and shall be enforceable in the same manner as the lien for city taxes.

(b) The Council shall provide procedure in the code for the collection of special assessments and the collection charges, penalties, and interest which shall be added for the delayed or delinquent payment thereof.

Section 8.7 Receipts from special assessments.

Accounts for special assessment rolls shall be created and kept separate from all other city accounts. Moneys collected from special assessments shall be used solely to pay the cost of the improvements to which they apply and to the principal of and interest on indebtedness of the city.

Section 8.8 All real property liable for special assessments.

All real property, including such as is exempt from taxation by law, shall be liable for the cost of local improvements assessed in accordance with this chapter, unless specifically exempted from special assessments by law.

CHAPTER IX
INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

Section 9.1 Agreement for transferring powers.

Agreements, including those for cooperative or joint administration of any function or power, may be made by the Council with any local government, with the State, or with the United States unless otherwise provided by law. The Council may transfer to the borough of which the city is a part any city power or function unless prohibited by law. Such transfer shall not take effect for ninety days following approval by the Council. The Council may at any time revoke the transfer.

Section 9.2 Cooperation with other governments.

The city may cooperate with the United States, with the State or its political subdivisions, or with other States and their political subdivisions on matters of common interest. For this purpose the Council may make all necessary appropriations. (Amended October 4, 2005 election)

CHAPTER X
ELECTIONS

Section 10.1 Regular city election.

A regular city election shall be held annually on the first Tuesday in October or such other date as the Council may provide in the code. The date of holding regular city elections may not be changed by the Council at any time less than one year prior to the date of the first regular city election affected.

Section 10.2 Special city elections.

The Council shall provide in the code for the calling of special elections. (Amended October 4, 2005 election)

Section 10.3 Voter qualifications.

(a) To be eligible to vote at any city election, a person shall be registered as a qualified voter of the city. The Council shall prescribe in the code the procedure for voter registration by the City Clerk and authorized representatives. A person, who meets all of the following requirements, may vote at any city election:

(1) Is qualified to vote in state elections under AS 15.05;

(2) Has been a resident of the city for the thirty days immediately preceding the election;

(3) Is registered to vote in state elections at a residence address within the city at least thirty days before the city election at which the person seeks to vote; and

(4) Is not disqualified under Alaska Constitution, Art. V.

(b) The Council shall provide in the code for absentee and early voting by registered voters.

(c) No person shall be disqualified from voting at a city election merely because of a change of residence within the city.

(d) The Council shall provide in the code for the purity of elections and the prevention of fraudulent voting. (Amended October 4, 2005 election)

Section 10.4 Election procedure.

(a) All elections of city officers shall be nonpartisan. The Council shall provide by ordinance for:

(1) The nonpartisan nomination of candidates for elective city offices;

(2) The printing and custody of ballots;

(3) The appointment and payment of necessary election personnel;

(4) The conducting of city elections;

(5) The counting and canvassing of ballots cast;

(6) The procedure for the recounting of ballots cast in the event a recount is demanded;

(7) The declaration of election results;

(8) All other matters necessary for the holding of city elections.

(b) The Council may provide for the use of voting machines in lieu of paper ballots. (Amended October 4, 2005 election)

Section 10.5 The vote.

In the event of a tie vote, the Council shall determine the successful candidate by lot. Such determination shall be final.

CHAPTER XI
MUNICIPAL BORROWING

Section 11.1 General authorization to borrow money.

(a) The City shall have the power to borrow money for any public purpose and to issue its evidences of indebtedness therefor. Such evidence of indebtedness shall include, but not be limited to those enumerated in the following three categories:

(1) Bonds for capital improvements authorized by the Council and ratified by a majority of the electors qualified under Section 10.3(b) and who vote thereon, voting at any regular or special election;

(a) General obligation bonds, the principal and interest of which are payable from taxes levied upon the taxable real and personal property in the city, and from any other sources of revenue and for the payment of which the full faith and credit of the city are pledged without limitation as to rate or amount;

(b) Special assessment bonds which are issued in anticipation of the payments of special assessments, or any combination of two or more special assessments, which bonds shall be both on obligation of the special assessment district or districts and a general obligation of the city;

(c) General obligation bonds which are also secured by the revenue from a revenue producing utility, such bonds being issued for the acquisition, construction, or improvement of the utility;

(2) Revenue bonds which are secured only by the revenue producing public utilities and do not constitute a general obligation or debt of the city. Such revenue bonds shall be authorized by the Council and ratified by a majority of the electors qualified under Section 10.3(a);

(3) Those bonds and other obligations which may be authorized by the Council and do not require ratification by the qualified electors of the City;

(a) Revenue or tax anticipation notes which may be issued in anticipation of the collection of any revenues, including taxes, in or during the current fiscal year of the City, for the purpose of meeting appropriations during the year;

(b) Disaster bonds or notes to be issued in case of fire, flood, wind, explosion, war damage, volcanic action, earthquake, or other calamity for the preservation and rehabilitation of municipal capital improvements, in a sum not to exceed two percent of the assessed value of all the real and personal property in the city, and due in not more than ten years;

(c) Notes for loans from accumulated reserves of the city on a definite plan for the repayment thereof and of interest thereon as provided by the Council;

(b) Bonds or notes on which a vote of the electorate is not required may be authorized by the Council. No such bonds or notes shall be issued, however, until not less than thirty days have passed from the date of Council authorization. The purpose of this section is to provide the electors of the city an opportunity to exercise their right for referendum. Disaster bonds or notes may be issued immediately upon receiving proper authorization by the Council.

(c) Each bond or other evidence of indebtedness shall contain on its face a statement specifying the purpose for which it is issued. No officer of the city shall use the proceeds thereof for any other purpose, except that whenever the proceeds of any bond issue or a part thereof remain unexpended and unencumbered for the purpose for which said bond issued was made, the Council shall authorize the use of such unexpended and unencumbered funds only in accordance with the following order of priority:

(1) for the retirement of such bond issue;

(2) if such bond issue has been fully retired, then for the retirement of other bonds or obligations of the city;

(3) for any other public improvement purpose or purposes of a like nature;

(4) if such funds cannot be used as above permitted, then in any other manner determined by the Council.

(d) No bond or other evidence of indebtedness of the city, regardless of type or purpose, shall bear interest, either directly or indirectly, at a rate exceeding the maximum permitted by law.

(e) All bonds and other evidences of indebtedness of the city shall be signed by the Mayor and countersigned by the Clerk under the seal of the city. Interest coupons shall be executed with the facsimile signature of the Clerk.

(f) A complete and detailed record of all bonds and other evidences of indebtedness shall be kept by an officer designated in the code. Upon the payment of any bond or other evidences of indebtedness, the same shall be marked “Paid,” or otherwise cancelled on its face.

Section 11.2 Limitations upon borrowing power.

(a) The outstanding general obligation indebtedness of the city incurred for all public purposes shall not at any time exceed fifteen percent of the assessed value of all the real and personal property in the city. The restrictions imposed by law on contracting debt shall not apply to debt incurred through the issuance of revenue bonds when the only security is the revenue of the enterprise, nor to bonded indebtedness to be paid from special assessments on benefited property, nor to refunding indebtedness. In determining the debt limit of the city, there shall be deducted from the amount of the outstanding bonded indebtedness any amounts credited to or on deposit for debt retirement, and any portion of reserve funds or accounts pledged to the payment of the principal amount of any outstanding bonded indebtedness. Money may be borrowed for reasons of disaster, as permitted by Section 11.1(a)(6), beyond the limit imposed by this section, and the Council shall, at the time of the authorization of such indebtedness, provide for the fulfillments of other requirements of law relative to incurring such indebtedness.

(b) Except when delay is caused by litigation, or when a bond issue has been authorized to be issued in two or more parts or series, if any bonds are not sold, the authorization of any unsold bonds may be voided at any time by a Council resolution. If any bonds are not sold within ten years after authorization, such authorization shall be null and void as to the bonds which remain unsold.

CHAPTER XII
CONTRACTS

Section 12.1 Authority of council.

The power to authorize the making of contracts on behalf of the city is vested in the Council, subject to such exceptions as are provided by ordinance. (Amended October 5, 2004 election)

Section 12.2 Competitive bidding.

The Council by ordinance shall provide for competitive bidding for goods, construction, and services and shall make provision for any exceptions. (Amended October 5, 2004 election)

Section 12.3 Limitations on contractual power.

(a) The Council shall have power to enter into contracts only which, by the terms thereof, will be fully executed within a period of five years. Any contract, other than a franchise, which will not be fully executed within a period of five years shall first receive the approval of a majority of the qualified electors of the city who vote thereon. This limitation shall not apply to the following: any contract for services with a public utility or with other governmental unit(s), any contract concerning interest(s) in real property, and any contract for debt secured by the bonds or notes of the city.

(b) The Council shall provide in the code the procedure whereby the city may purchase, sell, lease, or dispose of real property. No action of the Council to dispose of any city interest in real property dedicated to a public use shall be final until the resolution to do so has been on file in the office of the City Clerk for thirty days. (Amended October 5, 2004 election)

Section 12.4 Business dealings with city.

The Council shall provide in the code the procedure whereby an officer or employer of the city, who intends to have business dealings with the city whereby he or she may derive income or benefits other than those provided as remuneration for his or her official duties or the duties of his or her employment with the City, shall file with the City Clerk a statement, under oath, setting forth the nature of such business dealings and his or her interest therein, not less than ten days before the date when action may be taken by the Council or by any officer or agency of the City upon the matter involved. Such statement shall be sufficient for continuing transactions of a similar or like nature for six months from the date of its filing. (Amended October 5, 2004 election)

CHAPTER XIII
PUBLIC UTILITY SERVICES

Section 13.1 General powers respecting municipal utilities.

The city shall have all powers not prohibited by law to acquire, own, operate, promote, and regulate public utilities, either within or beyond its corporate limits, and may also sell utility service beyond its corporate limits.

Section 13.2 Rates.

(a) The Council may provide by ordinance for the establishment of utilities, and may provide for their regulation, promotion, control, and the fixing of the rates to be charged, which must be sufficient to return to the city a reasonable profit after taxes.

(b) No agreements shall be made for utility services outside of the city which will not return to the city less net revenues than it realizes for the same services within the city. Increased rates for utility service outside of the city may be established by the Council.

(c) Transactions pertaining to the ownership and operation of each municipal utility shall be recorded in a separate group of accounts, which shall be classified in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices. An annual report shall be prepared to show the financial position of each city utility and the results of its operation. Such reports shall be available for inspection at the office of the City Clerk.

Section 13.3 Collection of municipal utility rates and charges.

The Council shall provide in the code for the collection of rates and charges for public utility services furnished by the city. When any person fails or refuses to pay to the city any sums due on utility bills, the service upon which such delinquency exists may be discontinued and suit may be brought for the collections thereof.

Section 13.4 Disposal of municipal utility plants and utility property.

The Council may sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of a municipal utility or of property and interest in property used or useful in the operation of a utility only after a proposition to do so is approved by three-fifths of the electors of the city voting on the proposition.

Section 13.5 Public utility franchises.

The city may grant a franchise to any person for the use of the streets, alleys, bridges, easements, and other public places of the city for the furnishing of any public utility service to the city and its inhabitants. Public utility franchises and renewals, amendments, and extensions thereof shall be granted only by contract. Public utility franchises shall include provisions for fixing rates and charges and may provide for readjustments thereof at periodic intervals. With respect to any public utility franchise granted after the effective date of this charter, whether or not so provided in the granting contract, the city may:

(1) terminate the same for the violation of any of its provisions, for the misuse or nonuse thereof, for failure to comply with any provision thereof, or any regulation imposed under authority of this charter or of the code;

(2) require proper and reasonable extension of plant and the maintenance thereof at the highest practicable standard of efficiency;

(3) establish reasonable standards of service and quality of products, and prevent unjust discrimination in service or rates;

(4) require continuous and uninterrupted service to the public in accordance with the terms of the franchise throughout the entire period thereof;

(5) impose other regulations determined by the Council to be conducive to the health, safety, welfare, and convenience of the public;

(6) require the public utility to permit joint use of its property and appurtenances located in the streets, alleys, bridges, easements, and public places by the city and other utilities, insofar as such joint use may be reasonably practicable and upon payment of reasonable rental therefor; and, in the absence of agreement, upon application by the public utility, provide for arbitration of the terms and conditions of such joint use and the compensation to be paid therefor;

(7) require the public utility to pay any part of the cost of improvement or maintenance of streets, alleys, bridges, easements, and public places, that arises from its use thereof, and to protect and save the city harmless from all damages arising from such use; and

(8) require the public utility to file with the City Clerk reports concerning the utility and its financial operation and status and to file with the City Manager such drawings and maps of the location and nature of its facilities as the Council may request.

Section 13.6 Limitations on the granting of franchises.

No franchise shall be granted by the city for a term exceeding twenty years and no exclusive franchise shall ever be granted. Each franchise shall include a provision requiring the franchise to take effect within one year after the adoption of the ordinance granting it. An irrevocable franchise and any extension to or amendments in such a franchise may be granted by the city only upon approval of at least three-fifths of the votes cast with respect to such proposition at a general or special election in the city. Such irrevocable franchise shall be subject to the conditions set forth in Section 13.5. An irrevocable franchise may be approved by the Council for referral to the electorate, only after a public hearing has been held thereon and after the grantee named therein has filed with City Clerk his unconditional acceptance of all terms of franchise. No special election for such purpose may be ordered by the Council, unless the estimated expense of holding such election has first been paid to the fiscal officer of the city by the grantee. In case a balance remains in the amount paid, after the expenses of the election are deducted therefrom, such balance shall be repaid to the grantee.

Section 13.7 Procedure for granting franchises.

Every contract granting a franchise, license, or right to occupy or use streets, alleys, bridges, public places, or easements, shall remain on file with the City Clerk for public inspection in its final form for at least thirty days before the final approval thereof, or the approval thereof for referral to the electors of the city.

Section 13.8 Sale or assignment of franchises.

The grantee of a franchise may not sell, assign, sublet, or allow another to use the same, unless the Council gives its consent. Nothing in this section shall limit the right of the grantee of any public utility franchise to mortgage his property or franchise, nor shall it restrict the rights of the purchaser, upon foreclosure sale, to operate the same, except that such mortgagee or purchaser shall be subject to the terms of the franchise and provisions of this charter and the code.

Section 13.9 Plans of facilities in streets and public places.

The Council may require in the code that, as a condition to the placing or installment thereof, each public utility conducting a business in the city shall file with the City Manager a duplicate copy of layout plans of pipes, conduits, wires, and other facilities and appurtenances which are to be placed on, under, or above the surface of the city’s streets, alleys, bridges, easements, and public places.

CHAPTER XIV
REVISION AND AMENDMENT

Section 14.1 Revision of charter.

This charter may be revised in the manner provided by law.

Section 14.2 Amendment of charter.

This charter may be amended by proceedings commenced by the vote of four members of the Council or by an initiatory petition.

Section 14.3 Amendment of charter by council action.

When an amendment is proposed by the Council, it shall be submitted at the time of any election to be held in the city not less than sixty days after its proposal by the Council, or at a special election called by the Council for the purpose of voting thereon. Such amendment of the charter shall become effective if approved by a majority of qualified voters voting on the question.

Section 14.4 Amendment of charter by initiatory petition.

An initiatory petition for the amendment of this charter shall state the proposed amendment, shall set forth all sections of the charter to be amended thereby in full, shall be signed by the number of electors required for the initiation of code provisions, and shall be filed with the Mayor. If the petition therefor is proper and in order, the Mayor shall submit the proposed amendment to the electors of the city at the next regular city election which is to be held after ninety days following the filing of the petition. Amendment of the charter shall become effective if approved by a majority of qualified voters voting on the question.

Section 14.5 Scope of amendments.

Each proposed amendment of this charter shall be confined to one subject, but need not be limited to a single section. Should a subject embrace more than one related proposition, each proposition shall be separately stated to afford an opportunity for the electors to vote for or against each such proposition.

Section 14.6 Publication of proposed amendments.

Each proposed amendment of this charter shall be published as the Council shall prescribe not less than two weeks nor more than four weeks before the election on its ratification.

Section 14.7 Filing of ratified amendment.

Two copies of each amendment ratified by the electors of the city shall be filed with the Secretary of Alaska, one with the recorder of the district in which the city is located, and one in the archives of the city, and shall thereupon become a part of the organic law of the city, unless a later effective date is specified by the Council prior to the election on its ratification. Thereafter, the courts shall take judicial notice of the city charter as amended.

SCHEDULE

Section 1 Purpose and status of schedule chapter.

This schedule chapter is to provide an orderly transition from a city organized and possessing powers delegated to it by statutory law, to a constitutional home rule charter city. It shall constitute a part of this charter only to the extent and for the time required to accomplish that end.

Section 2 Prior legislation reserved.

The Code of Ordinances of the City of Palmer and all resolutions and rules of the Council, to the extent that they are consistent with this charter, shall continue in full force, until repealed or amended. When this charter requires the Council to adopt or provide any code provision, any existing provision which meets such requirement shall suffice.

Section 3 Election to adopt charter.

(a) This charter shall be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of the City of Palmer at the special city election to be held Tuesday, June 5, 1962, between the hours of 8:00 o’clock a.m. and 8:00 o’clock p.m. All provisions for the submission of the charter at such election shall be made as provided by law and the code.

(b) If a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question is in favor of the adoption of this charter, the City Clerk shall perform all acts required by law to make this charter effective.

(c) If so adopted, this charter shall take effect and become law at 12:01 o’clock a.m. on Monday, June 11, 1962.

Section 4 City officers.

Each person who is holding a city office on the effective date of this charter shall continue to perform the duties of his office in a manner consistent with this charter, until superseded as in this charter provided, without the requirement of any additional oath or bond. Until otherwise provided under authority of this charter, the compensation of each office shall continue under and be subject to this charter.

Section 5 Council to organize following adoption of charter.

If this charter is adopted, the Council shall convene in the Council Chambers on Tuesday, June 12, 1962, at 8:00 o’clock p.m., and shall organize as in this charter provided.

Section 6 Transition of government.

The Council shall resolve and provide for all matters necessary for the inauguration of the city government under this charter and the transition from the former government of the city.

Section 7 Magistrate’s Court.

The Magistrate’s Court, as established on the effective date of this charter, shall continue to be the Magistrate’s Court of the city. It shall have all the powers and jurisdiction conferred upon the Court by law and shall continue to exercise such powers and jurisdiction until superseded by law.

Section 8 Vested rights and liabilities.

No right or liability of the city existing on the effective date of this charter shall be affected in any manner by the adoption of this charter.