All legislative powers of the Town shall be vested in a Board of Commissioners consisting of five (5) Commissioners. The registered voters of the Town shall vote in an election for three (3) Commissioners on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 1999, and for two (2) or three (3) Commissioners, as the case may be, as hereafter provided, every two (2) years thereafter. The terms of office of all Commissioners shall be for four (4) years and shall begin on the first regularly scheduled Town meeting after election in November in the year of their election and shall end when their successors are elected and qualified. Commissioners whose terms shall expire April 1999 shall continue in office until the election of November 1999 and their terms shall end when their successors are elected and qualified.
Commissioners shall have resided in the Town for at least six (6) months immediately preceding their election and shall be registered voters of the Town.
The Commissioners shall be eligible to receive an annual salary and benefits which shall be specified from time to time by ordinance passed by the Board of Commissioners at a public meeting. The Chair of the Board may receive an annual salary higher than the other Commissioners.
The salaries or compensation specified for the Chair of the Board or the Commissioners shall not be changed during the period for which that Chair or that Commissioner was elected. The ordinance making any change in the salary paid to the Chair or any Commissioner, either by way of increase or decrease, shall be finally enacted prior to the next scheduled election for Commissioners and shall only apply to the Commissioners elected or re-elected.
The Board of Commissioners shall meet at some convenient place in the Town of Bel Air at least once a month or as often as is necessary to properly discharge the duties of their office.
A majority of Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but no ordinance shall be approved without the favorable votes of a majority of the Board of Commissioners.
The Board of Commissioners shall determine its own rules and order of business. It shall keep minutes of its regularly scheduled proceedings and enter therein the results of the votes taken upon each action, question, resolution, or ordinance, or at any other time if required by any one member. The minutes shall be open to public inspection.
[Amended by Charter Res. No. 112-03, effective 1-20-2004]
When there is a tie vote in an election for the Office of Commissioner, resulting in a vacancy on the Board, Commissioners duly elected to serve on the Board newly constituted after the election, shall call a special run off election between the tied candidates to be held as soon as practicable after the election producing the tie, in accordance with procedures required under state and local laws. The Commissioner elected in the run off election shall serve the remainder of the four-year term attributable to the vacant office to which he/she is elected. This provision shall apply to all elections held after November 1, 2003.
When there shall be fewer than three Commissioners in office, the Commissioners then serving shall call a special election for the purpose of filling the vacancies in the office of Commissioner. In all cases, other than those involving a run off or a special election, in the event of a vacancy on the Board of Commissioners, the Commissioners, by three favorable votes shall appoint some person qualified under Section 302, to serve as Commissioner. Any person duly appointed by three favorable votes of the Commissioners to fill a vacancy or elected in a special election where there were fewer than three Commissioners in office, shall serve until the next regular election for Commissioner.
Ordinances and Resolutions; How Passed
In order to enable the Board of Commissioners to fully exercise the power conferred upon it by this Charter and to enable it to better promote and preserve the public health, safety, and welfare, the Board of Commissioners may pass all ordinances and resolutions that are from time to time necessary; and to insure the observance of such ordinance, they may affix thereto such penalties as are hereinafter provided in this Charter.
An ordinance may be introduced by any Commissioner. No ordinance shall be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced. Within twenty-four hours following the introduction of an ordinance, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners or the Town Administrator shall schedule a public hearing on such ordinance, which shall not be less than five nor more than thirty days after publication of the hearing notice.
Upon the introduction of an ordinance, a copy shall be posted on an official board at or near the entrance to the Town Hall. Additional copies of a proposed ordinance shall be available to the public upon request and upon payment of reasonable reproduction costs. Public notice of the hearing on an ordinance, including a summary of the contents of the proposed ordinance shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of Bel Air. The public hearing on an ordinance need not be held on the day of a regularly scheduled meeting.
At any regular or special public meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Bel Air held not less than six or more than sixty days after the meeting at which an ordinance was introduced it shall be passed, or passed as amended, or rejected; provided that no ordinance shall be adopted except by a yea and nay vote and the names of Commissioners voting for and against the same shall be entered in the minutes. An ordinance shall become effective on the twenty-first (21st) day after passage unless petitioned to referendum.
In the case of any stated emergency the provision that an ordinance may not be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced may be suspended by the affirmative vote of four Commissioners. An emergency ordinance shall become effective upon the date of its passage.
Ordinances shall be permanently filed in the office of the Town Administrator and shall be made available for public inspection.
Any Commissioner may introduce a resolution proposing an amendment to the Charter of the Town of Bel Air.
Any resolution proposing an amendment to the Charter shall contain the complete and exact wording of the proposed amendment, prepared so that the section or sections are set forth as they would read when amended or enacted and so that they otherwise comply with the requirements for form set forth in the Public Laws of Maryland. No Charter and no section of the Charter may be revised or amended by reference to its title or section only. No resolution proposing a Charter amendment shall embrace more than one subject and that shall be described by the resolution's title.
No resolution proposing a Charter amendment shall be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced. Within twenty-four hours following the introduction of the resolution, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners or the Town Administrator shall schedule a public hearing on the resolution, which hearing shall be held not less than five days or more than thirty days after publication of the hearing notice. Public notice of the hearing on the resolution, including a summary of the contents of the proposed resolution, shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of Bel Air. The public hearing on the proposed resolution may, but need not be, held on the day of a regular scheduled meeting.
Upon the introduction of a resolution proposing a Charter amendment, a copy shall be posted on an official board at or near the entrance to the Town Hall. Additional copies of the proposed resolution shall be available to the public upon request and upon payment of reasonable reproduction costs.
At any regular or special meeting of the Board of Commissioners held not less than six nor more than sixty days after the meeting at which resolution proposing a Charter amendment was introduced, it shall be passed, or passed as amended or rejected; provided that no resolution proposing a Charter amendment shall be adopted except by a yea and nay vote, and the names of Commissioners voting for and against the same shall be entered in the minutes.
For a period of forty-five days following the adoption of a resolution amending the Charter, a complete exact copy of the resolution shall be posted on an official board at or near the entrance to the Town Hall. A fair summary of the resolution shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of Bel Air not less than four times at weekly intervals within a period of at least forty-five (45) days after the adoption of the resolution containing the amendments.
A resolution containing a Charter amendment shall become and be considered a part of the Charter in all respects to be effective and observed as such, upon the fiftieth day after being passed, unless on or before the fortieth day after being passed, there shall be presented to the Board of Commissioners a petition for referendum meeting the requirements of Section 504 of this Charter.
The provisions of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland which sets forth annexation procedures shall apply to all annexation resolutions and shall supersede provisions for resolutions set forth herein. Decisions on annexation resolutions must be made within ninety (90) days of the final public hearing.