City of Ithaca, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ C-28 Membership.

The Mayor and Council members of the City shall constitute the Common Council thereof.

§ C-29 Meetings.

The Common Council shall meet on the first day of January after the election at the regular place of meeting of the Common Council for the previous year, and thereafter it shall meet at such place as it may choose, within or without the territorial limits of the City but in reasonable proximity thereto, and at times hereinafter provided.

§ C-30 Procedure at meetings; minutes; quorum.

[Amended 7-3-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991; 9-19-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991; 4-22-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997[1]]
A. 
Procedure at meetings.
(1) 
The meetings of the Common Council shall be public except when the public interest shall require secrecy.
(2) 
At all meetings of the Common Council, the Mayor, when present, shall preside.
(3) 
The minutes of the proceedings shall be kept by the City Clerk, and the same shall be open at all times to public inspection.
B. 
Voting.
(1) 
In the proceedings of the Common Council, each member present shall have a vote except the Mayor, who shall only have a vote when the votes of the other members are tied, and except as hereinafter provided.
(2) 
A majority of the members of the Common Council shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. If a member abstains from voting, it shall be considered as if that member did not vote.
(3) 
Notwithstanding any other section, no tax or assessment shall be ordered except by a concurring vote of a majority of all members of the Common Council in office, including the Mayor, who shall be entitled to vote thereon as a member of the Council, and no tax levied, assessment bill ordered, resolution or ordinance shall take effect until the same shall receive the approval of the Mayor, as hereinafter provided.
[1]
Editor's Note: The City determined during 1996 that several local laws enacted by Common Council during the last 30 years were subject to the mandatory referendum requirement of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law but were not in fact submitted to or approved by referenda. Local Law No. 2-1997 corrects the text of the Ithaca City Code by deleting language inserted pursuant to unapproved and therefore invalid local laws and reinserting the preexisting language which is still legally effective.

§ C-31 Dates of regular meetings; special meetings.

A. 
The Common Council shall hold regular meetings at least once each month, on the first Wednesday of the month, and the Mayor or, in his or her absence any three Council members, may call special meetings by 24 hours' notice, in writing, served personally or by mail upon the other members of the Common Council or by leaving it at their respective usual places of business during business hours or their respective places of abode at other times.
[Amended 8-5-1992 by L.L. No. 3-1992; 4-22-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: The City determined during 1996 that several local laws enacted by Common Council during the last 30 years were subject to the mandatory referendum requirement of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law but were not in fact submitted to or approved by referenda. Local Law No. 2-1997 corrects the text of the Ithaca City Code by deleting language inserted pursuant to unapproved and therefore invalid local laws and reinserting the preexisting language which is still legally effective.
B. 
Notwithstanding the provisions hereinabove, any six Council members may call a special meeting of the Common Council by 24 hours' notice, in writing, served personally or by mail upon the other members of the Common Council or by leaving said notice at either their respective usual places of business during business hours or their respective places of abode at other times.
[Added 2-14-1976 by L.L. No. 3-1976]

§ C-32 Promulgation of rules.

[Amended 3-25-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997]
The Common Council shall determine the rules applicable to its own proceedings and be judge of the qualifications of its own members and have power to compel the attendance of absent members from time to time and to prescribe the duties of all the officers and persons appointed by it to any place whatever, subject to the provisions of this Charter and the general statutes of this state.§ C-33.

§ C-33 Acting Mayor; Alternate Acting Mayor.

[Amended 5-4-2005 by L.L. No. 2-2005; 9-1-2010 by L.L. No. 1-2010[1]]
A. 
By the time of the first regular Common Council meeting of each year, the Mayor shall appoint a member of the Council to serve (when needed) as Acting Mayor until the next such annual appointment or replacement by the Mayor. In the Mayor’s absence or in the event of a vacancy in the office of the Mayor, the Acting Mayor shall preside at meetings where the Mayor would normally preside, if there is no other provision for another officer to preside at that meeting in the Mayor’s absence. In the event that the Mayor is unable to perform the other duties of the Mayor’s office, due to absence and unavailability, sickness or incapacitation, or resignation, removal or death, the Acting Mayor shall be vested with all the powers and perform all the duties of the Mayor, except as specified herein, until the Mayor shall resume the duties of the office or until any vacancy in the office of Mayor shall be filled for the unexpired term, by election according to law. The Acting Mayor shall not be authorized to make appointments, to remove City officers from their positions or to cast a veto, unless the Mayor is absent or incapacitated for more than 30 days. The Acting Mayor shall not be vested with the voting powers of the Mayor as described in § C-30, but shall instead exercise the voting rights afforded Council members other than the Mayor. The Acting Mayor shall sign all necessary papers with the Mayor’s name, adding thereto the words "Acting Mayor."
B. 
The Mayor shall in the same manner and for the same term appoint another member of the Common Council as Alternate Acting Mayor, which person shall assume the powers and perform the duties of the Mayor in the same manner and fashion as the Acting Mayor, whenever the Acting Mayor is required to assume such powers and duties of the Mayor’s office but is unable to do so as a result of absence and unavailability, sickness or incapacitation, or resignation, removal or death.
C. 
In the event of the failure of the Mayor to appoint an Acting Mayor or Alternate Acting Mayor, as provided for above, the Common Council may do so, which appointment(s) shall stand until the first Council meeting of the following year.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law was passed at a mandatory referendum held at the general election 11-2-2010.

§ C-34 Designation of depository; security.

A. 
At its first regular meeting in each year, the Common Council shall designate one or more banks or trust companies in said City as the depository of all moneys received by the City Chamberlain and may agree with such bank, banks or trust companies upon a rate of interest per annum to be paid on moneys so deposited. Each such depository so designated shall, for the benefit and security of the City and before receiving any such deposits, execute to the City a good and sufficient undertaking with two or more sureties or with one or more surety companies authorized to do business in the State of New York or with the deposit of bonds, certificates or notes as collateral thereto as hereinafter provided, such undertaking in any event to be approved as to form, amount and sufficiency by the Common Council. Such undertaking shall be conditioned for the safekeeping and payment, on the order or warrant of said City Chamberlain or of other lawful authority, of all such deposits and the agreed interest thereon, and it shall be the duty of the City Clerk to file such undertaking of each such depository in his/her office. It shall be the duty of the City Chamberlain to deposit all funds belonging to the City that may come into his/her hands in such depository or depositories, and failure so to do will be a misdemeanor. The designation of any such bank or trust company and the depositing of moneys therewith by such City Chamberlain shall not release him/her or his/her sureties from any liability, except for loss through failure or fault of such designated bank or trust company.
B. 
The bonds, certificates or notes offered as collateral security shall be in such sum as fixed by the Common Council and shall be deposited in such place and under such conditions as determined by the City Clerk. The bonds, certificates or notes so deposited as collateral shall be bonds, certificates or notes of the United States of America, the State of New York or the City of Ithaca.

§ C-35 General legislative powers.

The legislative power of the City is vested in the Common Council, and it has power to enact and enforce any ordinance or resolution not repugnant to the Constitution or laws of this state for any local purpose pertaining to the government of the City and the management of its business, the protection of the business and property interests of its citizens, the preservation of order, peace and health and the safety and welfare of the City and the inhabitants thereof, except that it shall not enact or enforce any local law or ordinance or resolution for any purpose pertaining in any manner to the fluoridation of the water under the control of the City or of the Water Department of the City government; and it shall also have such powers of legislation, by ordinance or resolution, as are conferred upon it by this Charter or any other provision of law affecting the City not inconsistent with this Charter, except such as are specially conferred by this Charter upon any separate department or board of the City government. It shall have the management and control of the finances and of all the property, real and personal, belonging to the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by any other provision of law not inconsistent therewith. The powers conferred by this section are not limited by the enumerated powers in the following section.

§ C-36 Specific powers.

A. 
In addition to the powers conferred by the last section, the Common Council has power to and, in the exercise thereof, may make, establish, modify, amend and repeal ordinances:
(1) 
To prevent vice and immorality, to preserve peace and good order and to prevent and quell riots or disorderly assemblages.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 132, Assemblies and Parades, and Ch. 250, Peace and Good Order.
(2) 
To restrain and suppress disorderly and gaming houses and all instruments and devices used in gaming, to prevent all gaming and fraudulent devices in the City and to regulate billiard rooms and bowling alleys and shooting galleries.
(3) 
To prohibit, restrain and regulate all exhibitions of any natural or artificial curiosities, caravans, circuses, theatrical and other shows or exhibitions or performances for money within the bounds of the City or, if the Common Council shall deem it advisable, to license any of them upon such terms as the Common Council may direct.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 173, Entertainment, Public.
(4) 
To suppress, repress and restrain disorderly houses, houses of ill fame and houses and places where intoxicating liquors are sold to be drunk on the premises and to restrain and punish the keepers thereof.
(5) 
To restrain and punish vagrants, mendicants, street beggars and persons soliciting alms, common prostitutes and lewd and disorderly persons and to prevent and punish drunkenness and disorderly and immoral conduct in public places or streets.
(6) 
To prohibit the obstruction of the streets of the City by the gathering or assembling of persons therein and to authorize the police officers of the City to disperse all such gatherings or assemblages of persons; and upon the refusal of persons so congregated or assembled to disperse when commanded so to do by a duly appointed police officer under regulations prescribed by the Common Council, such police officer may make summary arrest of any person or persons so refusing and take him/her or them forthwith before the City Judge of the City to be tried as disorderly persons and punished as such; and all such persons are hereby declared to be disorderly persons.
(7) 
To direct the location of all slaughterhouses, markets and houses for storing gunpowder or any other combustible or explosive substance and to regulate the keeping and conveying thereof and of other dangerous materials and the use of lights in barns, stables and other places.
(8) 
To prohibit and regulate the exhibition of fireworks, the storing and sale thereof and of gunpowder or any explosive substance and the discharge of firearms within the City.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 201, Hazardous and Radioactive Materials.
(9) 
To prevent racing and immoderate driving or riding of any vehicle in the streets of the City and to authorize the stopping of anyone who shall be guilty of immoderate riding or driving in said streets and to prevent flying of kites, riding a bicycle on sidewalks, rolling hoops, playing at ball, coasting or any other amusement practiced having a tendency to injure or annoy or endanger persons passing on the streets or sidewalks or to frighten teams of horses in the City.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: See also Chs. 285 and 342, Streets and Sidewalks, and Ch. 336, Parks and Recreation.
(10) 
To prevent any encroachment, encumbrance in or obstruction upon or over any street, sidewalk, highway or public ground in the City and, in case of neglect or refusal of any person who shall have caused any such encroachment, encumbrance or obstruction or of the owner or occupant of any premises upon which shall be any building, fence or other structure or thing encroaching upon, encumbering or obstructing any street, sidewalk, highway or public ground in the City to remove the same after being notified to do so, to cause such removal at the cost and expense of such person or of such owner or occupant and to collect such cost and expense as hereinafter provided.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: See also Chs. 285 and 342, Streets and Sidewalks.
(11) 
To prohibit or regulate and determine the times and places of bathing and swimming in any waters within the City.
(12) 
To establish and regulate public pounds and to appoint all necessary poundmasters and to prescribe their duties.
(13) 
To restrain the running at large of cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, fowl and geese and other animals and to authorize the distraining, impounding and sale of the same for the penalty incurred and the costs of keeping and proceedings.
(14) 
To make regulations for taxing and confining dogs and for destroying such as may be found running at large contrary to any ordinance and to prohibit and regulate their running at large.[6]
[6]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 164, Dogs and Other Animals.
(15) 
To prevent or regulate the ringing or tolling of bells, the blowing of horns or whistles, the crying of goods or wares, the firing of guns, powder or other explosive compounds and the making of any improper noise which may tend to disturb the peace of the City and the sale and use of firecrackers, rockets, squibs or other explosive articles or compounds.[7]
[7]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 240, Noise.
(16) 
To prohibit, restrain and regulate all gift enterprises or sales of goods founded upon or connected with any gift, lottery or chance within the corporate limits of the City and to restrain and regulate the sale of goods and merchandise at public auction within the same limits and to authorize the licensing of the latter upon such terms as the Common Council shall deem proper.[8]
[8]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 139, Bingo; Ch. 192, Games of Chance; and Ch. 232, Licensing of Businesses and Occupations, Art. II, Auctions.
(17) 
To prohibit and regulate all hawking and peddling, auctioneering or sales of property in or upon the streets, alleys, lanes, sidewalks and public parks and places of the City and to regulate pawnshops and pawnbrokers.
(18) 
To procure fire engines and other apparatus for the extinguishment of fires and to have the charge and control of the same and to provide fit and secure engine houses and other places for keeping and preserving the same.
(19) 
To organize and establish a Fire Department and to make such fire laws, rules, regulations and ordinances of said Department and the rights and duties thereof and of citizens during fires in the City as the Common Council may deem best and to enforce the same by suitable fines and penalties.[9]
[9]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 181, Fire Prevention.
(20) 
To protect property, both real and personal, of individuals at times of fires and to appoint guards for the protection of the same and to prescribe their various duties and compensation.
(21) 
To establish and enforce such building laws as may be deemed advisable from time to time and to prescribe limits within which certain building materials and methods of construction may or may not be used.[10]
[10]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 146, Building Construction.
(22) 
To regulate by ordinance the planting and removal of shrubs and shade and ornamental trees along the streets and sidewalks in said City and to prevent the injury or defacement of any shrubs, trees, fences, walls, posters or buildings in the streets, parks and public places of the City.[11]
[11]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 306, Trees and Shrubs.
(23) 
To license and regulate cab drivers and the drivers of hackney carriages, stages, omnibuses or other conveyances for the transportation of passengers within the City, to fix the rates of fare and to require them to have licenses and numbers.[12]
[12]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 232, Licensing of Businesses and Occupations.
(24) 
To regulate runners, stage drivers and others in soliciting passengers and others to travel or ride in any carriage, stage or omnibus or upon any railroad or to go to any hotel or otherwise.
(25) 
To license and regulate baggage carriers and other express people doing a baggage or parcel delivery business within the City, to fix their rates of compensation and to require them to have licenses and numbers for their vehicles.
(26) 
To regulate by ordinance the laying, maintenance, alteration and repair of subways, conduits, mains and pipes in and under the public streets, highways and places.
(27) 
To regulate and control the erection, construction and maintenance of poles, cables and wires in, upon, over and under the public streets, highways and places and to require cables and wires to be placed underground.
(28) 
To require by general ordinance any corporation, company or person, after laying or repairing any pipes in any street or highway in the City, to put such street or highway in good condition or repair and to remove all encumbrances or obstructions which such corporation, company or person may have placed or caused to be placed in any such street or highway, without unnecessary delay, and to require such corporation, company or person to keep proper signal lights burning at night at all holes or ditches or other places which may have been rendered dangerous to persons traveling such streets or highways; and in case such corporation, company or person shall neglect or refuse to do any of the acts so required of them, said Common Council shall have power to cause the same to be done at the cost and expense of such corporation, company or person and to collect such cost and expense by suit in law or as hereinafter provided.[13]
[13]
Editor's Note: See also Chs. 285 and 342, Streets and Sidewalks.
(29) 
To compel the owner or occupant of any wall or building in the City which may be in a ruinous or unsafe condition to render the same safe or to take down and remove the same and to prohibit such erection; and in case of the neglect or refusal of such owner or occupant to render such wall or building safe or to take down and remove the same after being notified so to do, the Common Council shall have power to cause the same to be taken down or removed at the expense of such owner or occupant and to collect such cost and expense by suit as in this act provided.[14]
[14]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 146, Building Construction.
(30) 
To regulate the speed of locomotives, cars and other vehicles propelled by steam, electricity or other power and to prevent the unnecessary obstruction of the streets by the same; to require signal persons to be stationed or gates to be erected at street crossings by railroads in the City; and to make needful regulations in regard thereto for public safety.[15]
[15]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 346, Vehicles and Traffic.
(31) 
To cause buildings, signs and other structures encroaching on or extending over the streets or watercourses to be removed at the expense of the owners or occupants thereof and to make such expense of removal a lien on the lot and to issue warrants against any such owner or occupant to collect the necessary expenses of such removal as assessments and taxes are collected.[16]
[16]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 170, Encroachments.
(32) 
To provide for the care, custody and preservation of the public property, books, records and papers belonging to the City; to prevent and punish any injury to or trespass upon the same; to make any and all necessary repairs and improvements to the same; and to cause any part thereof to be insured when deemed necessary.
(33) 
To authorize the auditing of such accounts and claims against the City not otherwise provided for in this Charter as are made out in items and verified and to direct the payment of such as shall be allowed and to make such rules and regulations in regard to the auditing and payment of said accounts and claims as it may deem necessary and proper.
(34) 
To correct the assessment roll in respect to taxes imposed by virtue of this Charter in the same manner and to the same extent as a Board of Supervisors may by law correct the town rolls of their county, with all the powers in relation to such assessment roll that a Board of Supervisors has by statute in case of town assessment rolls and town and county taxes.
(35) 
To require suitable fire escapes to be placed and maintained in or upon such buildings in the City as may be, in case of fire, dangerous for the occupants by reason of their construction, occupancy, height or location.
(36) 
To prescribe the hours at night when children shall not be in the streets or parks unattended by an adult or without necessity.[17]
[17]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 250, Peace and Good Order.
(37) 
To grant franchises, by a concurring vote of a majority of all members of the Common Council, to use any streets, highways or public places for any public utility upon such terms and conditions as the Common Council may deem proper, but subject to the limitations and requirements provided by the laws of the state; but no such franchise shall be granted or be operative for a period longer than 99 years, nor shall the period of such franchise be extended or renewed except within the last five years thereof, and no such extension or renewal shall be for a longer period than 50 years.
(38) 
To make the costs and expenses incurred by the City in pursuance of the powers granted in this section a lien upon the premises or lots therein mentioned or implied and to issue warrants against the owners or the occupants thereof respectively and to collect such costs and expenses by action or as assessments and taxes are collected.
(39) 
To make such general ordinances, bylaws and regulations not repugnant to the general laws of this state as it shall deem expedient for the good government of the City.
(40) 
To lease or sell City-owned real estate on such terms and conditions as it deems advisable, with the approval of at least 3/4 of the full Common Council, after notice of the proposed sale or lease has been published in the official paper at least once each week for three weeks, the first such notice being published no less than 30 days prior to the approval vote, which sale or lease shall be subject further to the following limitations: that any sale or lease be for full value and that any sale or lease be subject to permissive referendum as set forth hereinafter. The question whether any proposed sale or lease of City-owned real estate shall be approved shall, upon a demand being filed as hereinafter provided, be submitted to the voters of the City at a general or special election after public notice to be published at least once each week for three weeks in the official paper. Such demand shall be signed by registered voters of the City equal in number to at least 10% of the total number of votes cast in the City at the last preceding general election and shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk before the adoption of an ordinance or resolution authorizing such sale or lease. If such demand is filed as aforesaid, such sale or lease of real estate shall not take effect unless, in addition to the foregoing requirements, a majority of the electors voting thereon at such election shall vote in the affirmative.
[Added 10-1-1986 by L.L. No. 4-1986]

§ C-37 Compensation of officers and employees. [1]

[Amended 7-10-1985 by L.L. No. 1-1985]
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Charter or of any ordinance or department rule, the Common Council, by the majority affirmative vote of the total voting power thereof, may establish and from time to time amend a compensation plan governing the salaries and wages of such officers and employees of the City of Ithaca as said Council may determine, including a minimum and maximum salary or wage rate and a maximum annual increment for each classification included in such plan, and may adopt and from time to time amend rules governing the operation thereof. The authority hereby conferred shall not extend to the salaries of elective officers of said City.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 107, Salaries and Compensation.

§ C-38 Enactment of ordinances and resolutions; penalties.

A. 
Penalties. For the purposes specified in exercising the powers of the Common Council in enacting ordinances as provided in this article, the Common Council shall have the power to provide for penalties, including fine and imprisonment, for the violation of any of its ordinances. Notwithstanding the foregoing and in addition thereto, the Common Council may also provide for civil penalties, and the City may maintain an action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction or to compel compliance with the requirements of any ordinance of the City.
B. 
Enactment procedure.
(1) 
Every ordinance or resolution imposing any penalty or forfeiture for the violation of its provisions shall take effect upon its enactment or adoption, subject to approval or disapproval procedure by the Mayor as set forth in § C-11 of this Charter and publication of a notice as hereinafter provided. The notice shall contain the title and a brief description, together with a statement that such ordinance or resolution is on record with the City Clerk, which notice shall be published at least once in the official newspaper of the City of Ithaca before it shall become effective. It shall not be necessary to publish any ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation to be enforced within the City except as herein provided.
(2) 
In case of insurrection, riot, conflagration or other necessity requiring immediate operation of such ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation, it shall take effect as soon as proclamation thereof by the Mayor and after such proclamation has been posted in five conspicuous places in the City of Ithaca.