This Charter, together with any and all amendments to it, to be known and cited as the "Ulster County Charter," constitutes the government of Ulster County and provides for its form and functioning. Among other purposes, this Charter seeks to secure County home rule to the greatest extent possible; assure fair elections for County offices and accountability of the County's government to its people; separate the legislative and executive functions and responsibilities in Ulster County government; achieve increased efficiency, economy, equity, effectiveness and responsibility in the operation of the County government; increase fiscal accountability; ensure flexibility in the structure of County government to allow easy adaptability to change; and foster intermunicipal agreements and cooperation.
Except as otherwise provided, no function, facility, duty or power of any city, town, village, school district, or other district, or of any officer thereof, is or shall be transferred, altered, or impaired by this Charter.
Upon adoption of this Charter, Ulster County shall be and remain a municipal corporation under its same name and shall exercise all of the rights, privileges, functions and powers conferred upon it by this Charter, and any other applicable statute not inconsistent with such Charter. Ulster County shall be subject to all duties and obligations imposed upon it by existing or subsequent laws not inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter, including all powers necessarily incidental to or which may be fairly implied from the powers specifically conferred upon it.
This Charter provides a form for and structure of County government in accordance with the provision of Article 4 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York. All special laws relating to Ulster County and all general laws of the State of New York shall continue in full force and effect except to the extent that such laws have been repealed, amended, modified or superseded in their application to Ulster County by enactment and adoption of this Charter. Within the limits prescribed in Article 4 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, wherever and whenever any state law, general, special, or local in effect, conflicts or is inconsistent with this Charter, such law shall be deemed, to the extent of such conflict or inconsistency, to be superseded by this Charter insofar as the County of Ulster and its government are affected.
All local laws and resolutions, heretofore adopted, which are contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter are hereby repealed.
All of the laws of the state relating to the towns, cities, villages or districts of the County of Ulster shall continue in full force and effect except to the extent that such laws have been repealed, amended, modified or superseded in their application to Ulster County by the enactment and adoption of this Charter.
Amendment through the Legislature. The County Executive, any Legislator, the Legislature collectively or any person may make recommendations at any time to the County Legislature for amendments to the Charter. A proposed amendment or proposed amendments to this Charter may be adopted in the manner provided by the Municipal Home Rule Law.
Amendment or revision by Commission. Within five years after the enactment of this Charter, and at least every 10 years thereafter, a Charter Revision Commission shall be appointed to review and make recommendations to the County Executive and Legislature on amendments, additions or revisions to this County Charter. The Commission shall consist of 11 qualified electors of Ulster County and representing the different geographic areas and reflective of the demographic diversity of the County, with five members appointed by the County Executive, three members to be appointed by the leader of the party in the Legislature with the most members, and three members by the leader of the party in the Legislature with the second most members. No appointee to this Commission shall be a County employee or elected official at the time he or she serves on this Commission.
The first meeting of the Commission members shall be convened by the County Executive in the second week after the deadline for its appointment for the purposes of electing a Chairman and receiving its charge. The Chairman of this Commission shall be elected at that meeting by a majority vote of the entire membership of the Commission.
The Legislature shall provide such funds as are necessary for the Commission to conduct its business effectively. No member of the Charter Revision Commission shall receive any compensation, but each member shall be reimbursed by the County of Ulster for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the course of the performance of his or her duties as a member of the Commission.
The Commission shall call upon necessary expertise in the community and state, shall hold public hearings to gather citizen opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the Charter and proposed improvements, and shall maximally publicize its work through the print and electronic media and the County website. The Commission shall issue a written report to the County Legislature and County Executive at the conclusion of its deliberations, but no later than one year from the date of its first meeting, containing its findings and recommendations, if any, for amendments or revisions of the Ulster County Charter to be placed by the County Legislature before the people of Ulster County for their consideration at the next scheduled general election at least 60 days after the report is delivered to the Clerk of the Legislature. The Commission shall be dissolved on the day following its report or one year and one day from the date of its first meeting.
The Commission, by two-thirds vote of its members, may place directly before the voters for their approval at referendum proposals to amend or revise Charter provisions pertaining to the County in Article II or III of this Charter. These amendments or revisions must be filed with the Ulster County Board of Elections timely so as to allow a vote upon them at the next scheduled general election after the Commission reports. No later than one month before the scheduled referendum at which its adoption will be considered, the Commission must hold at least one public hearing on any Charter change proposed directly to the ballot. Amendments or revisions proposed directly to the ballot by the Commission will be deemed adopted if approved by a majority of voters casting ballots on the question during the next scheduled general election. Notwithstanding other provisions of this Charter, if the Charter Commission proposes a matter for direct ballot consideration, the Commission will continue to function until the day after election day of the year of consideration of its proposal on the ballot.
Whenever used in this Charter, unless otherwise expressly stated, or unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
- The Administrative Code, if any, which may be adopted by the County Legislature, and any amendments thereto.
- ADMINISTRATIVE HEAD
- The head of any administrative unit.
- ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT
- Any department, division, bureau, office, board or commission or other agency of County government, or any subordinate part of the foregoing.
- AUTHORIZED AGENCY
- Any agency authorized by this Charter, Administrative Code or applicable law, including, but not limited to, those authorized by the County Law, to receive and expend County funds for a County purpose.
- CAPITAL PROGRAM
- The plan of capital projects proposed to be undertaken during a five-year period, the estimated cost of such projects, and the proposed method of financing. It shall be arranged in such manner as to indicate the order of priority of each project, and to state for each project:
- A. A description of the proposed project and the estimated total cost;
- B. The proposed method of financing, indicating the amount proposed to be financed by direct budgetary appropriation of duly established reserve funds; the amount, if any, estimated to be received from the federal and/or state government; and the amount to be financed by the issuance of obligations, showing the proposed type or types of obligations, together with the period of probable usefulness for which they are proposed to be issued; and
- C. An estimate of the effect, if any, upon operating costs of the municipal corporation within each of the three fiscal years following completion of the project.
- A. Any physical betterment or improvement, including furnishings, machinery, apparatus or equipment for such physical betterment or improvement when first constructed or acquired; or
- B. Any preliminary studies and surveys relating to any physical betterment or improvement; or
- C. Land or rights in land; or
- This Ulster County Charter and all its amendments, if any.
- The Clerk of the County Legislature.
- The County of Ulster.
- COUNTY EXECUTIVE
- The elective chief executive officer of the County, who shall govern according to those powers provided for in this Charter, or under any other provision of applicable law.
- COUNTY LAW
- The County Law of the State of New York.
- COUNTY LEGISLATURE
- The elective legislative, appropriating and policy-determining body of the County of Ulster. Whenever the term "County Board," Board of Supervisors," "County Governing Board" or "elective governing body of the County" is referred to in any law, it shall be deemed to mean and refer to the County Legislature.
- The administrative unit which is the primary level of County government.
- DEPARTMENT HEAD
- The administrative head of any department, and may also be referred to herein as a "commissioner" or "director."
- The administrative unit which is the secondary level of County government.
- ELECTION LAW
- The Election Law of the State of New York.
- EXECUTIVE LAW
- The Executive Law of the State of New York.
- GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW
- The General Municipal Law of the State of New York.
- LOCAL LAW
- A legislative act of the County Legislature adopted pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law, but shall not mean or include a resolution, ordinance or similar act of the County Legislature.
- MUNICIPAL HOME RULE LAW
- The Municipal Home Rule of the State of New York.
- PUBLIC OFFICE
- Any office of federal, state or local government whether elected or appointed.
- PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW
- The Public Officers Law of the State of New York.
- REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW
- The Real Property Tax Law of the State of New York.
- SECRETARY OF STATE
- The Secretary of State of the State of New York.
- WHOLE NUMBER
- The total number of persons which the County Legislature or other group of persons would have were there no vacancies and none of the persons disqualified from acting.