Town of Wethersfield, CT
Hartford County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The governing body of the town shall be the Council, which shall exercise and perform all the rights, powers, duties and obligations of the town, except as the same may be assigned by this Charter to some other officer, board or agency. The Council may provide by ordinance for the exercise of any of the administrative powers of the former Board of Selectmen not otherwise assigned by this Charter, by the Manager or some other officer, board or agency. The legislative power of the town and final authority concerning the budget and tax rate are vested exclusively in the Council, except as otherwise provided in this Charter. It shall have power, subject to the provisions of this Charter, to create or abolish departments and offices by ordinance. It shall also have power to authorize employment positions, fix the compensation of officers and employees of the town, except employees of the Board of Education, and the charges, if any, to be made for services rendered by the town. It shall further have power to make, alter and repeal ordinances, resolutions, enactments, motions and proclamations and to take such other action not inconsistent with this Charter and the General Laws of the state for the execution of the powers vested in the town, as provided in Chapter I of this Charter, for the government of the town and the management of its business and for the preservation of the good order, peace, health and safety of the town and its inhabitants.
The Council shall consist of nine (9) members, who shall be chosen from the town at large, at each town election, for terms of two (2) years from the first Monday following the election in November in each odd-numbered year.
The members of the Council shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to be reimbursed for their just and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Each newly elected Council shall hold an organizational meeting in the town hall on the first Monday following the election in November, in each odd-numbered year. The meeting shall be called to order by the Town Clerk, who shall administer the oath of office to all members, provided that in the absence of the Town Clerk, the meeting shall be called to order and the oath administered by any citizen of Wethersfield authorized by law to administer oaths. The Council shall then proceed to the election of a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson to serve for the ensuing two (2) years, who may also be known, respectively, as the "Mayor" and the "Deputy Mayor".
The Council shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings and provide by ordinance a method for the calling of special meetings; but no business shall be considered at any special meeting, notice of which has not been included in the call for such meeting. The Council shall determine its own rules of procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter. The presence of five (5) members shall constitute a quorum; but no ordinance, resolution or vote, except a vote to adjourn or to fix the time and place of its next meeting, shall be adopted by less than five (5) affirmative votes, and the ayes and nays on each vote shall be recorded in the journal. Actions not required to be taken by ordinance, either by this Charter or the General Laws of the state, may be made by resolution, proclamation, motion or other enactment. No action shall be taken or appointment or removal made except in a meeting of the Council open to the public.
During the term for which elected, no member of the Council or Board of Education, shall hold any other office, elective or appointive, or employment in or under the town government.
No member of the Council or Board of Education shall hold any compensated appointive office or employment with the Town until one year after the cessation of duties.
All ordinances and resolutions shall be introduced in written form, at any regular or special meeting of Council, either by a member of Council or by the Town Clerk, who shall present those ordinances and resolutions filed with the Town Clerk's office by a member of Council at any time prior to the meeting. Upon introduction, all ordinances and resolutions shall automatically be set for public hearing at the next regular or special meeting of Council, subject to the notice requirements being met. The Town Clerk shall post in a conspicuous public place designated for the posting of public notices a copy of the proposed ordinance or resolution, and shall make sufficient copies available to the general public.
The Council shall hold at least one (1) public hearing before acting upon any ordinance or resolution, not less than five (5) days' notice of such public hearing shall be given by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the town or by other alternative means established by the Council by ordinance.. The Town Clerk shall post in a conspicuous public place designated for the posting of public notices a copy of the public hearing notice. Notice of the passage of an ordinance or resolution shall be published once in a newspaper having general circulation in the town, and an ordinance or resolution shall not become effective until ten (10) days after such notice is published. An ordinance or resolution need not be published in full but may be described by title or subject matter. The foregoing provisions of the section shall not apply to emergency ordinances. All ordinances and resolutions, when passed shall be filed with the Town Clerk and recorded in a book kept for that purpose, with sufficient copies made available to the general public.
Any ordinance or resolution adopted by the Town Council, with the exception of matters relating to the annual budget, the tax rate, the removal of any person or persons, a special appropriation of less than 0.15% of the appropriated General Fund expenditures for the current fiscal year or an emergency ordinance as defined in this chapter, may be reversed by referendum if, during the twelve (12) day period following the adoption, there is filed with the Town Clerk, in respect of such ordinance or resolution, a petition signed by electors of the town, in number equal to at least five percent (5%) of the total number of electors in the town, as determined by the last final voter registration list. The Town Clerk shall certify to the Town Council, within twelve (12) days following receipt of such petition, that sufficient valid signatures are attached to the petition. The ordinance or resolution shall not take effect until the same has been submitted at a special election or referendum, which the council must call, to be held in not less than thirty (30) nor more than forty-five (45) days after the filing of such petition. Following such election or referendum, the ordinance or resolution shall not take effect if a majority voting thereon shall vote in the negative, such majority consisting of at least five percent (5%) of the total number of electors in the town, as determined by the last final voter registration list. Otherwise, such ordinance or resolution shall take effect. The submission to the electors provided in this section may be at a regular election or a special election if the same occurs not more than one hundred twenty (120) or less than sixty (60) days from the certification by the Town Clerk to the Town Council.
An emergency ordinance shall be only for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, shall contain an explicit statement of the nature of the emergency and shall be adopted by not less than six (6) affirmative votes in the Council, and in no event, shall the annual budget or any appropriation, except as hereinafter provided, constitute an emergency ordinance. For the purpose of meeting an emergency, as herein defined, or to prevent the breakdown of any essential service rendered by a department, board, commission or agency of the town, the Council, by an affirmative vote of not less than six (6) of its members, may appropriate, notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, a sum not to exceed 0.15% of the appropriated General Fund expenditures for the current fiscal year.
No resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds or making a special appropriation in excess of 0.30% of the General Fund appropriated expenditures for the current fiscal year shall become effective until the same has been approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a regular election or a special election or referendum called by the Council for the purpose. To the extent any appropriation is to be funded from the proceeds of grants, gifts, insurance or other off-setting reimbursements, the amount of the appropriation to be funded from such sources may be approved by the Council in the manner provided in Section 711 of the Charter and such amount shall not be included in determining whether the approval of a majority of electors is required by this section. No more than two (2) special appropriations may be authorized pursuant to this section during a single fiscal year.
The electors of the town may, in the manner hereinafter provided, propose and adopt ordinances, except an ordinance or resolution fixing the tax rate. No ordinance so proposed involving any increase in the expenditures of the town beyond those budgeted for the current fiscal year shall take effect until after the adoption of the next annual budget, unless the Council, subject to the limitations hereinbefore set forth, shall make a special appropriation for the purpose. The ordinance shall be proposed by a petition to the Council, requesting its adoption, setting forth the ordinance in full and shall be signed by electors of the town, in number equal to at least five percent (5%) of the total number of electors in the town, as determined by the last final voter registration list. The petition shall be filed with the Town Clerk, who shall, within twelve (12) days, examine the signatures to the same and determine sufficiency. If the Town Clerk finds that the petition has been signed by the required number of electors, it shall be so certified by the Town Clerk to the Council, at its next regular meeting. The Council, shall, within sixty (60) days after such certification, either adopt the proposed ordinance, after hearing, as provided in this chapter, or submit the same to the electors at a special election or referendum to be held within ninety (90) days from the date of certification by the Town Clerk, provided that if a regular election or a town election is to occur within six (6) months of such certification, but not sooner than sixty (60) days thereof, the ordinance shall be submitted at such election. If a majority of those voting on the proposed ordinance vote in the affirmative, the ordinance shall be adopted. Such majority shall consist of at least ten percent (10%) of the total number of electors, as determined by the last final voter registration list. No ordinance which shall have been adopted in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be repealed or amended except by a vote of the electors.
The Council may remove any member from any appointed board, commission, committee, or agency who serves without compensation as follows: (1) upon such member's unexcused absence from three consecutive meetings of the board, commission, committee, or agency, whether regular or special meetings, or, (2) upon such member's unexcused absence from fifty percent or more of the meetings, whether regular or special, of the board, committee, commission, or agency within a calendar year, unless otherwise provided by the General Statutes of the state.
The Council may remove any officer or employee appointed by it, provided that such officer or employee is first served with a statement of grounds for his/her removal and given an opportunity to be heard by the Council thereon. Such hearing shall be public, if the officer or employee desires, and shall be held not less than five (5) nor more than ten (10) days after service of the grounds for removal. The decision of the Council shall be final. From the service of the statement of the grounds for the removal until final action by the Council, the officer or employee shall be ineligible to perform the duties of that office or employment but shall continue to receive salary or wages, pending such final action. No further hearing shall be required for removal if a public hearing is held at the request of such officer or employee, provided that notice of such hearing is given in accordance with Section 308 and the public, as well as the officer or employee, is given opportunity to be heard.
The Council shall have power to investigate any and all departments, offices, boards, commissions and agencies of the town. Its Chairperson or Acting Chairperson shall have the power, for the purposes of such investigation to request any individual appear before the Council and/or produce any document or other item of evidence to the Council. Any such individual requested to appear before and/or to produce any document or item of evidence, who is any officer, director, elected official, member of any board or commission, or otherwise employed by the town, who refuses any request by the Council may be censured or otherwise sanctioned as deemed appropriate by the Council and as otherwise permitted by this Charter, the Connecticut General Statutes, and any applicable agreement.