Article III


3.01    Council Powers

3.02    Council Rules And Procedures

3.03    Council Meetings

3.04    Ordinances – Regular

3.05    Ordinances – Emergency

3.06    Adoption Of Codes By Reference

3.01 Council Powers

The Council shall have all the legislative powers and authority allowed cities in the State of Washington, whether they are specifically enumerated in the Charter or not. The Council shall have general ordinance-making powers and control over the City finances and properties.

The Council shall not perform administrative functions of the City.

3.02 Council Rules And Procedures

The Council shall annually elect from its members its president, who shall preside at all Council meetings and have the authority to enforce the rules of the City Council.

The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business.

A journal of all proceedings shall be kept, which shall be of public record. A majority of the entire Council shall constitute a quorum at all Council meetings. Council decisions shall require the affirmative vote of at least the majority of the Council membership.

3.03 Council Meetings

The Council shall meet regularly at least semi-monthly, at such times as the Council may by ordinance, rule, or resolution determine.

Special meetings may be called by the Mayor, Council President, or by a simple majority of the members of the Council pursuant to the provisions of state law.

All Council meetings shall be open to the public, unless otherwise prescribed by state law.

3.04 Ordinances – Regular

All legislation and appropriations of money shall be by ordinance, save where there is a special fund for a particular purpose; payments from such fund shall be made on order of the Council.

The subject of every ordinance shall be set out clearly in the title thereof, and no ordinance shall contain more than one subject. Ordinances making appropriations shall be confined to the subject of appropriations.

The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be in the words “The City of Bellingham does ordain.”

No ordinance or any section or subsection thereof shall be revised or amended unless the new ordinance sets forth the revised ordinance or the amended section or subsection at full length.

Every ordinance, other than emergency ordinances, shall have 3 public readings, not more than 2 of which shall be on the same day. Final passage shall occur no earlier than at the next regular council meeting following introduction, except as otherwise provided in this Charter. The title of every ordinance and resolution which shall comprehensively set forth the subject matter of the legislation shall be read in full at a council meeting before a final vote is taken thereon, and upon every such vote the ayes and nays shall be called and recorded.

In the event changes are proposed after the legislation’s inclusion in the Council packet as typed or before final adoption, any such change shall be submitted in writing and read in full. Provided, however, any citizen or Council Member may request that the legislation be read in full and upon the concurrence of three Council Members, the legislation shall be so read.

Every ordinance which passes the Council in order to become valid must be presented to the Mayor; if the Mayor approves it, the Mayor shall sign it and the ordinance shall become valid; but if not, the Mayor shall return it with written objections to the Council, and the Council shall cause the objections to be entered at large upon the journal and proceed to a reconsideration thereof. If upon reconsideration, a majority plus one of the whole membership, voting upon a call of ayes and nays, favor its passage, the ordinance shall become valid notwithstanding the Mayor’s veto. If the Mayor fails for 10 days to either sign or veto an ordinance, it shall become valid notwithstanding the Mayor’s veto. The Mayor’s veto with respect to budget measures shall extend to specific items only, and not to the whole budget.

Ordinances, unless otherwise provided in this Charter, shall be published once in the City official newspaper, within 5 days after becoming valid.

Every ordinance shall be recorded in a book kept for that purpose, which record shall be attested by the Finance Director.

All ordinances enacted by the Council, except as otherwise proved in this Charter, shall take effect 15 days after the date of their final passage unless a later date is fixed therein, in which event they shall take effect at such later date.

Ordinances adopted by the electors of the City shall take effect at the time fixed therein, or, if no such time is designated therein, at the date of the adoption thereof.

[Amended April 18, 2008 (Ord. 2008-04-033); November 23, 1983; November 3, 1981]

3.05 Ordinances – Emergency

When an emergency exists involving the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, an ordinance may be passed which shall be effective immediately: Provided; That such emergency and the facts creating the same shall be stated in one section of the bill; and Provided further; That such bill shall not become an ordinance unless on its final passage by the City Council at least a majority plus one of all the members of the Council vote in its favor, and it shall have been approved by the Mayor.

3.06 Adoption Of Codes By Reference

Ordinances may by reference adopt Washington State statutes, and regulations, or codes, or portions thereof, as permitted by state law.