City of Burlington, WI
Racine County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Burlington 1-5-1988 by Ord. No. 1203(25) as §§ 1.01, 1.02 and 1.03 and Ch. 2 of the 1988 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Budget and finance — See Ch. 9.
Elections — See Ch. 28.
Emergency government — See Ch. 31.
Code of Ethics — See Ch. 35.
Records — See Ch. 67.
Residency requirements — See Ch. 71.

§ 50-1 Form of government.

The City of Burlington operates under the Mayor-Council form of government pursuant to Ch. 62, Wis. Stats.

§ 50-2 Election of Mayor; term of office.

The Mayor shall be elected at the regular spring election in even-numbered years for a term of two years.

§ 50-3 Election of Alderpersons; term of office.

There shall be two Alderpersons from each aldermanic district of the City. One Alderperson from each aldermanic district shall be elected at the regular spring election each year for a term of two years.

§ 50-4 Council meetings.

[Amended 2-1-1994 by Ord. No. 1461(37); 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 1465(39); 11-21-2000 by Ord. No. 1642(46)]
A. 
Regular meetings. The first regular meeting of the Common Council, to be known as the "organization meeting," shall be held on the third Tuesday of April each year at 6:30 p.m. Thereafter, regular meetings shall be held in the Council chambers following the Committee of the Whole workshop at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month or at such other times as the Council may direct, except that where a regular meeting falls on a legal holiday or election day, such meeting shall be determined by the Council.
[Amended 7-5-2011 by Ord. No. 1928(5)]
B. 
Special meetings. The Mayor may call a special meeting at any time by written notice to each member delivered to him personally or left at his usual abode at least six hours before the meeting.
C. 
Committee of the Whole workshops. The Common Council will also meet as a Committee of the Whole preceding regular meetings of the Common Council on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. These workshop sessions shall be held in the Council chambers at 6:30 p.m.
D. 
Excused absence of members. Every Alderperson who for whatever reason cannot attend a regularly scheduled meeting of the Common Council shall file with the City Clerk a written explanation of absence stating a reason therefor by 9:00 a.m. Friday prior to the meeting in question. All such excused absences shall be entered in the record of the Common Council. In cases where unavoidable circumstances make such advance notice of absence impossible, the written statement of excused absence shall be filed with the City Clerk within one week of the absence and entered in the record of the Common Council.

§ 50-5 Presiding officer.

A. 
Mayor or President to preside. The Mayor or, in his absence, the President of the Council, who shall be elected at the organization meeting each year, shall at the hour stated call the meeting to order. In case of the absence of the Mayor and the President of the Council, the Clerk shall call the meeting to order and the Alderpersons present shall elect one of their number President Pro Tem.
[Amended 3-7-1989 by Ord. No. 1253(48)]
B. 
Duties. The presiding officer shall preserve order and decorum and decide all questions of order. Any member shall have the right to appeal from a decision of the presiding officer, but no appeal shall be debatable. An appeal shall be sustained by a two-thirds vote of the members present exclusive of the presiding officer.

§ 50-6 Roll call; quorum.

A. 
Roll call; procedure when quorum not in attendance. As soon as the Council shall be called to order, the Clerk shall proceed to call the names of the members in alphabetical order, noting who is present and who is absent and recording the same in the proceedings of the Council. If it shall appear that there is not a quorum present, the fact shall be entered on the journal and a lesser number may adjourn or may issue a process to any police officer commanding him forthwith to summon the absentees.
B. 
Quorum. Two-thirds of the members shall constitute a quorum. The Mayor shall not be counted in computing a quorum, majority or other proportion under the requirements of law for the same and shall not vote, except in case of a tie.

§ 50-7 Order of business.

[Amended 6-1-1993 by Ord. No. 1433(4); 2-1-1994 by Ord. No. 1461(37)]
At each regular meeting of the Common Council, the order of business shall be as follows:
A. 
Reading and correcting the journal of the last preceding meeting.
B. 
Approving minutes from the preceding Committee of the Whole workshops.
C. 
Receiving petitions, memorials, remembrances and other communications.
D. 
Reports of boards and commissions and select committees. With the exception of any communication or report, the approval of which appropriates funds, creates a liability or authorizes the payment of bills, the reading of correspondence and reports may be dispensed with if 2/3 of the members present concur on a roll call vote.
E. 
Introduction and action on resolutions, subject to the requirements of § 50-9.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
F. 
Introduction and action on ordinances, subject to the requirements of § 50-9.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
G. 
Other business authorized by law.

§ 50-8 Actions levying taxes, appropriating funds or creating liability.

[Amended 3-7-1989 by Ord. No. 1250(47)[1]]
A. 
Except upon unanimous consent of all members present, no resolution or measure assessing or levying taxes, appropriating or disbursing money, or creating any liability or charge against the City or any funds thereof shall be adopted without first having been referred to the Committee of the Whole and the report thereon of such Committee having been made to the Council, unless the resolution is one that carries into effect the action of the Council upon a Committee of the Whole report. All other ordinances and resolutions shall be subject to the requirements of § 50-9.
B. 
The procedures used for the adoption of or amendment to the City's budget shall be pursuant to § 65.90, Wis. Stats. Any transfer of funds between or within accounts shall require a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the Council, and the amendment shall be published as a Class 1 notice within 10 days of the Council's action.
C. 
All capital outlay or expense shall be subject to Common Council authorization by resolution or ordinance.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 50-9 Ordinances, resolutions and other communications.

[Amended 1-7-1992 by Ord. No. 1370(36)]
A. 
All ordinances, resolutions, memorials or other communications shall be in writing with a brief statement of their contents endorsed thereon, together with the name of the member presenting the same, and shall be delivered to the Clerk and shall be read by the Clerk. Each committee to which any matter shall be referred shall report thereon in writing.
B. 
No ordinance or resolution shall be introduced and passed by the Common Council unless copies of any such proposed ordinance or resolution shall first be distributed to the Mayor and all members of the Council before 5:00 p.m. at least five days prior to any regular or special meeting of the Common Council at which the matter is set to be adopted.
C. 
Upon motion and a second, the Council may, by majority vote of a quorum of the Council, accept late ordinances and resolutions for introduction and passing at any regular or special meeting of the Common Council, unless a member objects. If there is an objection, said ordinance or resolution may be put for action if 2/3 of the members present concur.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 50-10 Motions.

When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the presiding officer or read by the Clerk previous to debate.

§ 50-11 Form of questions; record of vote.

A. 
All questions shall be put in this form:
(1) 
Those who are in favor of the motion (state the question) say "Aye."
(2) 
Those opposed say "No."
B. 
In doubtful cases or before the question is decided, any member may call for a division of the ayes and noes, and when the ayes and noes are called for and ordered, the vote shall be entered on the journal. The ayes and noes shall, in all cases, be ordered when called for by one member.

§ 50-12 Members to address presiding officer.

A. 
When a member is about to speak or deliver any matter to the Council, he shall either rise from his seat or raise his hand and respectfully address the presiding officer but shall not proceed with his remarks until he is recognized by the Chair.
B. 
Should a member wish to hear from a member of the audience, he shall make such request to the presiding officer and the presiding officer may grant such a request. The presiding officer may directly question, or ask for comment from, a member of the audience as necessary to the good order and facilitation of the meeting.
[Added 3-7-1989 by Ord. No. 1252(46)]

§ 50-13 Limitation on debate.

When a member is called to order, he shall take his seat and not be allowed to proceed until the question of order is decided, and no member shall speak more than twice at the same meeting on any question except by leave of the Council.

§ 50-14 Call of the Council.

A call of the Council shall be ordered at any time by request of one or more members and absent members shall be sent for, but a call shall not be made after voting has commenced, and a call of the Council being requested and ordered and the absentees noted, the doors shall be closed until the report of the officer has been received and acted upon or further proceedings under call are dispensed with by a majority of the whole Council.

§ 50-15 Disorderly conduct in Council chamber.

Whenever any disturbance or disorderly conduct occurs in the Council chamber, the presiding officer may cause the room to be cleared of all persons guilty of such disorderly conduct, except members of the Council, and in case a member of the Council shall be guilty of disorderly conduct, the presiding officer may order any police officer to take him into custody for a period of time or until the Council shall adjourn. Such member shall have the right to appeal such an order to the Council as in other cases but shall not be permitted to debate the appeal.

§ 50-16 Committee of the Whole.

[Amended 2-1-1994 by Ord. No. 1461(37)]
The Common Council shall meet as a Committee of the Whole in workshop sessions where no formal action is taken by the Common Council. The Committee of the Whole workshops will be conducted with the following types of discussion:
A. 
Citizen questions and concerns.
B. 
Items of discussion as requested by the Mayor or Alderpersons.
C. 
Review of policy action for future Common Council meetings.
D. 
Updates on department operations.
E. 
Preliminary policy and strategy discussions.
F. 
Staff reports and recommendations.
G. 
Presentations by other groups and agencies.

§ 50-17 Interruption of speaker.

When any member is speaking, no member shall entertain any private discourse or in any way interrupt the speaker, except to a question of order.

§ 50-18 Division of question.

Any member may call for a division of the question when the same may admit thereof.

§ 50-19 Motions which take precedence.

When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received unless to adjourn, to lay on the table or for the previous question, to commit, to amend, or to postpone, and these several motions shall have precedence in the order in which they stand arranged.

§ 50-20 Resolutions and motions entered in minutes.

In all cases where a resolution or motion shall be entered in the minutes, the name of the member moving the same shall be entered in the minutes.

§ 50-21 Majority vote required.

No ordinance shall be passed, accounts allowed, or appropriation of money voted unless a majority of the whole Council shall vote in favor thereof. The vote shall be by ayes and noes and shall be recorded in the journal.

§ 50-22 Suspension of rules.

It shall require a vote of 2/3 of the members present to suspend any rule of the Common Council except any rule established by § 50-8. The votes shall be by ayes and noes and shall be recorded in the journal.

§ 50-23 Ordinances and resolutions engrossed and enrolled by Clerk.

The City Clerk shall see that all ordinances and resolutions are correctly engrossed and enrolled before the same are published or signed by the Mayor.

§ 50-24 Duties of Clerk.

The Clerk shall, in addition to his other duties, be present and keep a correct journal of the proceedings of each meeting of the Common Council and make a record of the same; engross all ordinances and bylaws and record the same in a book of ordinances; furnish the committees with copies of resolutions and other matters that may be referred to them (unless the original papers are furnished); and do such other clerical duties as may be prescribed by the Council.

§ 50-25 Amendment of rules.

These rules may be amended or altered or new rules adopted by a two-thirds vote of all the members elected at any meeting of the Council on the report of a committee to which the subject has been referred at a previous meeting.

§ 50-26 Quorums. [1]

Unless otherwise specified by statute or this Code, a majority of any authority, board, commission or committee shall constitute a quorum.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 50-27 Deferring action.

Action upon any report of a committee to the Council or any appointment by the Mayor requiring Council approval shall be deferred to the next regular meeting of the Common Council by a request of two of the Alderpersons present. Appointments of Alderpersons to committees or as aldermanic members of various boards or commissions, even though requiring Council approval, if any, shall not be affected by this rule.

§ 50-28 Reading and referral of ordinances. [1]

Every ordinance shall have its first and second readings at the time of its introduction and may be referred to an appropriate committee.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 50-29 Robert's Rules of Order.

The rules of parliamentary practice comprised in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the Common Council in all cases in which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these rules.

§ 50-30 Purchase of property.

No real property shall be purchased by or under the authority of the Common Council until an appraisal thereof has been made by qualified and disinterested persons.

§ 50-31 New ordinances to be numbered.

All ordinances, the substance of which would have the effect of amending, altering or adding to the provisions of the Code of the City, shall be drawn as amendments, alterations or additions to such Code and every section shall be given a number which shall locate such section in the proper sequence in the Code. The City Attorney shall assign proper section numbers for all ordinances introduced into the Common Council creating new sections to the Code. No such ordinance shall be introduced into the Common Council unless so numbered.

§ 50-32 Amendment of proposed ordinances or resolutions.

Proposed ordinances or resolutions may be amended by the introduction of a substitute to the originally proposed ordinance or resolution by submitting it as follows: "Substitute Amendment Number 1 to Ordinance (or Resolution) Number _____." Such substitute amendment must include the proposed amendment or amendments and the entire text of portions not to be amended. Passage of a substitute amendment eliminates further consideration of the original proposed ordinance or resolution and any other substitute amendment or amendments. There shall be no limit on the number of substitute amendments that may be offered.