Section 401 General Powers

(a)    The Council shall have the power to pass all such ordinances not contrary to the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland or this Charter as it may deem necessary for the good government of the City; for the protection and preservation of the City’s property, rights, and privileges; for the preservation of peace and good order; for securing persons and property from violence, danger, or destruction; and for the protection and promotion of the health, safety, comfort, convenience, welfare, and happiness of the residents of and visitors in the City.

(b)    The legislative powers of the Council shall include but are not limited to the following:

1.    Administrative Agencies and Procedures. To establish any administrative agencies, boards and commissions that may be deemed necessary to further the purposes of the City, and to provide for administrative procedures, including rule making and quasi-judicial decision-making by such agencies.

2.    Advertising. To provide for advertising, printing, and publishing materials relating to the business of the City, including financial and legal notices required by law or this Charter.

3.    Animals. To regulate and control animals in the City.

4.    Appropriations. To expend municipal funds for any public or community purposes deemed to be public and to affect the safety, health and general welfare of the municipality and its occupants, provided that funds not appropriated at the time of the annual budget shall not be expended, nor shall any funds appropriated be expended for any purpose other than that for which appropriated, except by a two-thirds vote of the entire Council.

5.    Band. To establish a municipal band, symphony orchestra or other musical organization.

6.    Bonds. To borrow money for any proper public purpose and to evidence such borrowing, if the City chooses, by the issue and sale of its general obligation bonds, industrial revenue bonds, or any other bonds or agreements securing such debt, subject only to the limitations of Federal law, the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland, and this Charter.

7.    Buildings. To make reasonable regulations in regard to buildings to be erected, constructed, or reconstructed in the City, and the maintenance of buildings, structure, and property; to grant building and other permits in addition to any permits required by Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and any other government or agency with jurisdiction over such building, structure, or property; and to require reasonable charges for permits and inspections; to authorize and require the inspection of all buildings, structures, and property; and to authorize the condemnation of such buildings and structures that, in whole or in part, are dangerous or insecure, and to require that such buildings and structures be made safe or be taken down.

8.    Cable Communications Systems. To provide for the regulation, installation, operation and removal of cable television and other cable communications systems; and to operate a cable television station and studio.

9.    Codification of Ordinances. To provide for the codification of all ordinances.

10.    Collective Bargaining. To provide for a system of collective bargaining for employees of the City.

11.    Commercial or Industrial Redevelopment Projects. To make use of federal or state financial assistance or other public or private funds for commercial or industrial redevelopment projects, for the purpose of making grants or loans, or guaranteeing loans to private entities.

12.    Commercial District Management Authority. To establish a commercial district management authority for any commercial district within the City’s geographical limits, in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland.

13.    Community Services. To provide, maintain, and operate community and social services for the preservation and promotion of the health, recreation, welfare, and enlightenment of the inhabitants of the City.

14.    Corporate Name. To change the corporate name of the municipality, provided that no such change shall affect any rights, duties or obligations held by the municipality; and provided further that such ordinance shall first be submitted to and approved by the qualified voters of the municipality at a regular or special municipal election.

15.    Departments. To create, change, and abolish offices or departments, other than the offices and departments established by this Charter; to assign additional functions or duties to offices or departments established by this Charter.

16.    Detention Center. To establish and regulate a station house or lockup for temporary confinement of violators of the laws and ordinances of the City and other laws or to use the county or other detention facilities for such purposes.

17.    Emergency Services. To provide for the recovery of costs of evacuation, rescue, emergency repairs and other emergency services necessitated by the negligent or intentional wrongful acts or omissions of any person or entity and to assess the expenses thereof against any property within the municipal limits of the City and to record such charges as a lien upon such property to be collected in the same manner as municipal taxes.

18.    Environment Protection. To provide for the protection, promotion and preservation of the natural environment, including, but not limited to, trees, plants, animals, rivers and streams, watersheds and air.

19.    Fees and Charges. Subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland, establish and collect reasonable fees and charges; (i) for the franchises, licenses, or permits authorized by law to be granted by a municipal corporation; or (ii) associated with the exercise of any governmental or proprietary function authorized by law to be exercised by a municipal corporation.

20.    Finances. To levy, assess and collect taxes, fees, assessments, and charges against property; to have general management and control of the finances of the City and to designate by ordinance or resolution the banks or trust companies of this State in which shall be deposited all funds belonging to the municipality.

21.    Franchises. To grant franchises as provided under existing public general or public local laws; to grant one or more exclusive or non exclusive franchises for a community antenna system or other cable television system that utilizes any public right-of-way, highway, street, road, lane, alley, or bridge, to impose franchise fees, and to establish rates, rules, and regulations for franchises granted under this section.

22.    Grants-in-Aid. To accept gifts and grants of federal or state funds from the Federal or State governments or any agency thereof or any person or organization and to expend the funds for any lawful purpose in accordance with the conditions under which the gifts or grants were made.

23.    Health. To protect and preserve the health of the City and its inhabitants; to prevent and remove all nuisances; to inspect, regulate, and abate all building structures, or places which cause or may cause unsanitary conditions or conditions detrimental to health; but nothing herein shall be construed to affect in any manner any of the powers and duties of the State Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, the County Board of Health, or any public general or local law relating to the subject of health.

24.    Intergovernmental Activities. To make agreements with other municipalities, counties, districts, bureaus, commissions and governmental authorities for the joint performance of or for cooperation in the performance of any governmental functions.

25.    Legislation. To sponsor, promote and otherwise advance legislation at any level, including County, State and Federal; and to expend funds and resources for the same.

26.    Library. To establish and maintain a library.

27.    Licenses. To exercise the business licensing authority granted to municipalities by the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland, and to establish and collect fees and charges for all licenses and permits issued under the authority of this Charter.

28.    Liens. To provide that any valid charges, taxes, or assessments made against any real or personal property within the City shall be liens upon the property, to be collected as municipal taxes are collected.

29.    Lights. To provide for the lighting of the City.

30.    Markets. To own, construct, purchase, lease, rent or otherwise to establish and maintain public markets within the City.

31.    Merit System. To establish a merit system in connection with the appointment of all municipal officials and employees not elected or appointed under the Constitution or public general or public local laws of the State.

32.    Municipal Infractions. To provide that a violation of any ordinance shall be a municipal infraction or misdemeanor. The City has the authority to prosecute municipal infractions to the fullest extent of state law.

33.    Noise. To regulate or prohibit unreasonable emanations of sound or noise within the limits of the City.

34.    Nuisances. To prevent or abate by appropriate ordinance all nuisances in the City which are so defined at common law, by this Charter, or by the laws of the State of Maryland or the City, to compel the owners or occupants of any premises or building within the limits of the City to abate any nuisance and to repair and restore the property to its condition prior to the activity constituting a nuisance; and after reasonable notice to the owner(s) or occupants to authorize such abatement to be made and/or such work to be done by the proper City employees or officials and to assess the expenses thereof against the property; and to make such charges a lien upon such property, to be collected in the same manner as municipal taxes or to make such charges collectible against the occupants of said property.

35.    Obstructions. To prohibit and remove all nuisances and obstructions from the streets, lanes, alleys, sidewalks or other public ways, and from any lots adjoining thereto.

36.    Parking Facilities. To license and regulate and to establish, obtain by purchase, by lease or by rent, own, construct, operate, and maintain parking lots and other facilities for off-street parking.

37.    Parking Meters. To install parking meters on the streets and public places of the City and to establish rates and provisions for the use thereof.

38.    Parks and Recreation. To establish and maintain public parks, gardens, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities and programs to promote the health, welfare, and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the City.

39.    Pensions and Retirement Systems. To provide a retirement or pension system or a group insurance plan for its officers and employees in any retirement or pension system operated by or in conjunction with the State, on such terms and conditions as state laws may prescribe.

40.    Police Force. To establish and maintain a police force. All City police officers within the municipality shall have the powers and authority to make arrests and to restrain and detain persons who are in violation of the laws of the City or the State of Maryland.

41.    Property. To acquire by conveyance, purchase, eminent domain, or gift, real or leasehold property for any public purposes, to erect buildings and structures thereon for the benefit of the town and its inhabitants; and to convey any real or leasehold property when no longer needed for the public use, after having given at least twenty days public notice of the proposed conveyance; to control, protect, and maintain public buildings, grounds, and property of the City: and to take by gift, rent, bequest, or devise and to hold real and personal property absolutely or in trust for parks or gardens, or for the erection of statues, monuments, buildings, or structures, or for any public use, upon such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the grantor or donor, and accepted by the City; to provide for the proper administration of same; and to convey the same when the Council determines that it is no longer needed for public purposes, subject to the terms and conditions of the original grant.

42.    Public Peace and Order. To prohibit, suppress, and punish within the City all vice, gambling and games of chance; prostitution and solicitation therefor and the keeping of bawdy houses and houses of ill fame; all disorder, disturbances, annoyances, disorderly conduct, obscenity, public profanity, and drunkenness; and to enforce all ordinances relating to disorderly conduct and the suppression of nuisances equally within the limits of the municipality and beyond those limits for one-half mile, or for so much of the distance as does not conflict with the powers of another municipal corporation; and to offer and pay rewards for information relating to criminal activity committed within the municipality.

43.    Refuse. To regulate or prevent the throwing or depositing of any dirt, garbage, trash, liquids or any unwholesome substance in any public or private place and to provide for the proper disposal of solid wastes.

44.    Rental Housing and Landlord-Tenant Matters. To provide for the regulation of rental housing, including, but not limited to, the regulation and control of rents, lease agreements, physical condition and maintenance of properties, the licensing of rental units and landlords, the conduct of regular and special inspections for the enforcement of the City’s housing and related ordinances, and all other necessary and appropriate enforcement measures.

45.    Salaries. To fix the salary or compensation of all municipal officers and employees.

46.    Seal. To make, have, and use, and from time to time, alter, a common seal.

47.    Sidewalks. To regulate the use of sidewalks and all structures under or above them; to require the owner or occupants of premises to keep the sidewalks in front of or adjacent to such premises clean and free from snow, ice, debris, and other obstructions.

48.    Signs and Displays. To regulate, restrain and prohibit the placing of signs, handbills and posters of every kind and description on any building, fence, post, pole, or other public place within the City and to regulate or prevent the use of public ways, sidewalks, and public places for racks, handbills and advertisements, and the display of goods, wares, and merchandise.

49.    Voting System. To purchase, lease, borrow, install, and maintain voting systems for use in City elections.

50.    Ward Redistricting. To provide for the redistricting of the wards of the City; provided, however, that the number of wards shall be as set forth in this charter, wards shall be as nearly equal in population as is practical and apportioned consistently with the principle of one person/one vote, wards shall be geographically contiguous, ward boundaries shall to the extent practical recognize natural boundaries, and no ward shall be gerrymandered to ensure the election or defeat of any incumbent candidate or potential candidate.

(c)    The powers granted to the Council pursuant to this section of the Charter shall not be construed:

1.    To limit or restrict the Council from exercising any other power granted to the municipality by other public general or public local law or otherwise;

2.    To grant powers to the Council in any substantive area not otherwise granted to the municipality by other public general or public local law;

3.    To authorize the municipality or its officers to engage in any activity which is beyond their power under other public general law, public local law, or otherwise; or

4.    To authorize the Council to pass any resolution or ordinance which is inconsistent with or in conflict with any ordinance, rule or regulation passed, ordained or adopted by the Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission or the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.