Article I


1.01    Name

1.02    Powers, Rights And Liabilities

1.03    Construction

1.04    Boundaries

1.05    Wards – Definitions And Boundaries

1.06    Intergovernmental Relations

1.07    Form Of Government

1.08    Definition Of Terms

1.09    Gender Neutral Terms

1.01 Name

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the “City of Bellingham” shall, by and in that corporate name, remain and continue to be a body politic and corporate as a city of the first class, with perpetual succession and all other corporate powers, rights and privileges, pursuant to the Constitution and general laws of the State of Washington.

1.02 Powers, Rights And Liabilities

The form and organization of government of the City, and the manner and mode in which the City shall exercise its powers, functions and duties, shall be as provided in this Charter or, to the extent not prescribed herein, or when the Charter is in conflict with state law, as provided by ordinance of the City Council consistent with this Charter or state law.

1.03 Construction

The general grant of municipal power conferred by this Charter is intended to confer the greatest power of local self-government consistent with the Constitution of this State, and the powers of the City under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the City, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general powers stated in this Charter.

1.04 Boundaries

The boundaries of the City shall be the same as at the date of adoption of this Charter and as extended pursuant to state law, and they may be changed in the manner provided by law.

1.05 Wards – Definitions And Boundaries

The City of Bellingham shall be divided into 6 wards as nearly equal in population and geographically compact as possible: Provided; That the existing boundaries of the wards as now constituted shall continue until changed as provided in the next paragraph.

Commencing February 1, 1988, and by February 15 of each 4th year thereafter, whenever the number of registered voters in any one ward exceeds the number of registered voters in any other ward by more than 15%, the Finance Director shall notify the City Council, and the City Council shall, by ordinance, cause the imbalance in ward size to be rectified in accordance with this and the preceding paragraph: Provided; that Council action on any redivision shall be completed by April 30th of that year. The Finance Director shall, on May 1st of each 4th year, certify to the City Council the number of registered voters in each ward as of that date.

[Amended November 4, 1986]

1.06 Intergovernmental Relations

The City may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with any one or more states or political subdivisions or agencies thereof, or any municipal corporation, or other public agency allowed by state law, or the United States or any agency thereof.

1.07 Form Of Government

The City of Bellingham shall continue to have a mayor-council form of government.

1.08 Definition Of Terms

The following words, terms and phrases, whenever used in this Charter, shall be construed to mean as herein indicated unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

1. Charter: This Revised Charter of the City of Bellingham.

2. City: City of Bellingham, State of Washington.

3. Constitution: Constitution of the State of Washington.

4. State: The State of Washington.

5. Tense, Gender: The past, present and future tenses shall each include the other; the masculine and feminine genders shall each include the other.

1.09 Gender Neutral Terms

City Council has the authority, by ordinance, to amend as necessary, the language in all sections of the City Charter that refer to gender to provide that those references are gender neutral.

[Amended August 6, 2007]