The Mayor and the Council Members of the city shall constitute the Common Council thereof. The Common Council shall meet at the City Hall, or at such other place within the city as the Mayor may designate, annually at 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of January in each year, and at such other times as herein provided. A majority of the Common Council, including the Mayor as a member thereof, shall be a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members. Each member present shall have only one vote. The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Common Council, and if absent the presiding officer shall be Deputy City Mayor or Council member designated to act as Mayor in his/her absences or emergencies. The presiding officer of the Common Council shall not have any additional vote in the event of a tie. The Common Council shall designate the order of precedence among its members to serve as Mayor in the event of absences or emergencies.
The Council may prescribe rules to govern its proceedings. Its meetings shall be public except when the public interests require Executive Session, but no vote shall be taken in such session. Its records shall be open to public inspection. The passage of any ordinance or resolution, unless otherwise provided herein or in the Local Finance Law, shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all its members. All appointments or designations made by the Council shall be had by taking and recording the ayes and noes. The Common Council shall hold stated meetings at least twice a month, except that the Common Council may by resolution dispense with the holding of stated meetings during the months of July and August in each year, and the Mayor or any two Council members may call special meetings by giving such written notice as the Common Council may by ordinance or resolution direct.
The Common Council shall have charge of the election and qualifications of all its members and have power to compel the attendance of absent members from time to time by the entry of a resolution and order in the minutes directing the Chief of Police or any police officer of the city to arrest such absent member and take him/her before the Common Council. The Common Council may suspend or expel a member for disorderly conduct, the violation of its rules or official misconduct, or declare his/her seat vacant by reason of absence, provided such absence has continued for the space of four months; but no expulsion or vacancy on account of absence shall be declared except by the vote of 3/4 of all the members of the Council after the delinquent member has been heard or failed to appear on notice.
If a vacancy shall occur in any elective office, a majority of the Common Council may appoint a person to fill such vacancy. The term of the office of the person so appointed shall expire on 12:00 midnight of the day of the first annual election after the happening of the vacancy at which a successor can be elected; and a successor for the balance of the unexpired term, if any, shall be chosen at such election. The term of office of the person so elected to fill the unexpired term shall commence on the day next succeeding the election.
The City Clerk shall be the Clerk of the Council and shall attend its meetings, keep the journal of its proceedings and discharge such duties as may be prescribed by this act or by the Council.
The legislative power of the city shall be vested in the Common Council and shall be exercised by local law as provided by the Constitution and laws of the state or by ordinances, and on the passage of every ordinance or local law the ayes and nays of the members voting shall be entered in full on the journal. The passage of an ordinance or local law shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all of the Common Council.
No legislative ordinance shall be adopted by the Council on the same day on which it is introduced except by unanimous consent of those members present, and no appropriation of money shall be made for any purpose except by a resolution passed by a majority of the members of the Council, specifying the amount thereof and the department or specific purpose for which the appropriation is made. No ordinance shall be passed making or authorizing a sale or lease of city real estate or of any franchise belonging to or under the control of the city except by a majority vote of all the members of the Common Council. In case of a proposed sale of city real estate, the said sale and/or sales shall be under the direction of the Corporation Counsel, and the Corporation Counsel shall give public notice of such sale, such notice to be published once each week for two weeks in the official newspaper, and such notice shall specify the date and place of each parcel of land to be sold and the manner and terms of sale, and said notice shall specify that said sale shall be open to all persons. There shall be paid at the time of the sale by any purchaser a sum equal to 10% of the bid price, and if the purchaser shall neglect to carry out the terms of the sale and/or complete the purchase, he/she shall forfeit said deposit money which shall be deemed security given by him/her for the purpose of carrying out the agreement, which said deposit money and/or security money shall be considered forfeited and shall be retained by the city as and for liquidated damages. In case of failure on the part of any purchaser to complete the purchase, the sale shall be held open as to such parcel or parcels of land and may be again offered for sale by the city without any notice of any kind to the person who made a prior bid and failed to complete the purchase. Said notice above referred to shall also provide that the city shall have the right to reject any and all bids for any reason whatsoever, and if such bid is rejected, the deposit money and/or security money shall be returned to said bidder. A sale or lease of real estate or a franchise shall not be valid or take effect unless made as aforesaid. No franchise shall be granted or be operated for a period longer than 25 years. The Common Council may, however, grant to the owner or lessee of an existing franchise, under which operations are being actually carried on, such additional rights or extensions in the street or streets in which the said franchise exists, upon such terms as the interests of the city may require with or without advertisement, as the Common Council may determine. The Corporation Counsel is hereby authorized to prepare all necessary documents, deed and/or deeds required in the premises, and the said deed and/or deeds shall be of a kind and shall contain such conditions, covenants, restrictions and/or agreements as, in the discretion of the Corporation Counsel, shall be deemed fit and proper in order to protect the city's interest.
[Added 6-22-2009 by L.L. No. 14-2009]
The Common Council may, by resolution approved by not less than 2/3 of its members, sell or lease any parcel of real property owned by the city which is not needed for a public purpose to a particular purchaser for a negotiated sum and upon such terms and conditions as the Council may deem to be fair and adequate compensation, without the necessity of public auction or competitive bidding.
A lease of city-owned real property not needed for a public purpose may be for such term as the Common Council may deem appropriate without regard to the provision of General City Law § 20(2-a).
Any sale or lease pursuant to this section or real property acquired by the city by reason of nonpayment of any tax, debt or other obligation to the city shall not be sold to the prior owner of record at the time of acquisition for a sum of money less than the greater of the two following amounts: i) the amount of the tax, debt or other obligation plus interest, together with reasonable costs and fees incurred in acquiring the property by the city, which costs and fees may include a reasonable sum for staff time incurred; or ii) the fair market value of the property at the time of the approval of the sale by the Common Council.
The Common Council may authorize a contract with a real estate broker to facilitate the sale or lease for development of any parcel of real property owned by the City which is not needed for a public purpose, the agreed-upon brokerage commission under such contract to not be due and owing until if, as and when title closes or the lease is executed under the terms and conditions of the land disposition and development agreement between the City and the developer for such sale or lease, respectively.
[Added 6-13-2011 by Ord. No. 5-2011]
Editor’s Note: This local law also redesignated former § C37a(d) as § C37a(e).
The provisions of this section shall apply to the sale or lease of excess city-owned real property notwithstanding the provisions to the contrary of General City Law § 23(2)(b), General City Law § 20(2-a), or § C37 of this Charter, or of any other general or special act, local law or ordinance
No legislative ordinance of the Council shall become operative until it has been enrolled and attested by the Clerk and, whenever necessary, promulgated according to law; and a copy of every ordinance imposing a penalty or forfeiture for the violation thereof shall, before taking effect, be posted in at least three of the most public places in the city, and no such ordinance imposing a penalty or forfeiture for the violation thereof shall take effect until 48 hours after such copies have been so posted by the City Clerk or under his/her direction, of which posting an affidavit shall be made and forthwith filed with the City Clerk and shall be conclusive evidence of such posting. Every legislative ordinance shall, within a reasonable time after it becomes effective, be recorded in a book kept for that purpose by the Clerk. Such record shall include the attestation of the Clerk, and as soon as the due posting is complete a certificate or affidavit thereof shall be added to such record. Such record or a certified copy thereof shall be presumptive evidence of passage of the ordinance.
Whenever an executive or administrative function shall be required by an ordinance, the same shall be performed by the proper executive or administrative officer or department to be designated in the ordinance, and in case no such designation be thus made, the Mayor shall make the same.
Annually, in the month of January, the Council shall designate one or more newspapers circulated in the city as the official newspapers, in which shall be published, at such times and in such alternate manner as shall be determined by the city, all ordinances and legal notices required to be published, except as otherwise provided by the Local Finance Law, at rates not in excess of those established by law, but no newspaper shall be so designated unless published as a bona fide newspaper for at least one year prior to such designation. If such designation be not made, the official newspapers previously designated shall continue to be such until a designation be made by the Council. In case the official newspapers shall refuse or fail to act as such, the Council may designate another newspaper in its place and, if there be no other newspaper circulated in the city, may designate any newspaper published in the County of Westchester.
The minutes of each meeting of the Council shall be copied in full within five days after its adjournment and immediately distributed, one to the Mayor, one to each member of the Council and one to the head of each department. At the end of the year the minutes shall be indexed, and bound in such number as the Council may have designated, and at least one copy thereof shall be filed in the Clerk's office.
The Common Council shall have power to investigate all city officers and departments and shall have access to all records and papers kept by every city officer or department, and shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers or other evidence at any meeting of the Common Council or of any committee thereof, and for that purpose may issue subpoenas to be signed by the Mayor or the Common Council.
Any member of the Common Council who shall knowingly or unlawfully disregard any provision of law applicable to the members thereof, or who shall vote for any ordinance or measure in violation of law, or any appropriation unauthorized by law or in excess of the amount authorized by law, or for any illegal or injurious disposition of corporate property, rights or privileges, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to the punishment and penalty prescribed therefor, and every member voting in favor thereof shall be individually liable to refund the amount to the city at the suit of any taxpayer.
Any violation of an ordinance shall be a misdemeanor, and the Council may provide that any person guilty of such misdemeanor shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both according to provisions set forth under state law or imprisonment or both. Fines may be recovered in a civil action. The city may maintain an action to restrain by injunction the violation of ordinance or rule or regulation approved by the Council, notwithstanding that an ordinance may provide a penalty or fine for its violation.
The Common Council shall, whenever necessary so to do, divide the city into election districts in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law of the State of New York. All polling places, however, to be located in the public schools, or other public facilities, the number of districts voting in any such designated public building shall be unlimited.
All city officers having power as such to collect, receive or disburse money shall, when required by the Council, render to it a verified account of all moneys received and disbursed by them, and shall also personally appear and submit to an examination under oath by the Council or any committee thereof. A willful refusal or neglect to obey any such order shall be deemed a sufficient cause for removal from office.