City Charter

Article I: Name, Boundaries, Powers, Rights and Liabilities

Section 1. Name

The corporate name of this city shall be Spokane, Washington, hereinafter referred to in this Charter as the “City” or the “City of Spokane.”

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 1

Section 2. Boundaries

The boundaries of the City shall be the same as at present and they may be changed in the manner provided by law.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 3. Powers, Rights and Liabilities

By and in the corporate name, the City shall have perpetual succession; shall have and exercise all powers, functions, rights, and privileges now or hereafter given or granted to, and shall be subject to all the duties, obligations, liabilities, and limitations now or hereafter imposed upon, municipal corporations of the first class, by the constitution and laws of the State of Washington; and shall have and exercise all other powers, functions, rights and privileges usually exercised by, or which are incidental to, or inhere in, municipal corporations of like character and degree.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 4. Powers – How Exercised

All power of the City, unless otherwise provided in this Charter, shall be exercised by the mayor and city council in a strong-mayor form of government. They shall be subject to the control and direction of the people at all times by the initiative, referendum, and recall provided for in this Charter.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 2

Article II: Elective Officials

Section 5. Elective Officials

  1. The elective offices of the City shall be the mayor, council president, and six council members. The mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City. The city council, consisting of the council president and six council members, shall constitute the legislative body of the City. They shall be elected to a term of four years each by the qualified electors of the City in the manner provided in this Charter and by the general laws of the state.
  2. The City shall be apportioned into three council districts of generally equal population, numbered one through three. Each district shall have two city council positions, numbered one and two.
  3. General municipal elections are held in November in odd-numbered years. At one such election there shall be elected the mayor, council president, and three council members in position number one; at the next, the three council members in position number two shall be elected.
  4. Candidates for city council shall be nominated and elected by the electors within each candidate's district; candidates for mayor and council president shall be nominated and elected by the electors of the entire City.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 3

Section 6. Qualifications

  1. A person must be a qualified voter of the City of Spokane and have been a resident of the City, and of the appropriate council district, for the one year immediately preceding the time of filing as a candidate for, or the time of appointment to, the office of mayor, council president, or council member. No person shall be eligible to hold the office of mayor after having served two consecutive terms as mayor. No person shall be eligible to hold the office of council president after having served two consecutive terms as council president. No person shall be eligible to hold the office of any council member in any city council district after having served two consecutive terms as a council member from any city council district. The elected offices of mayor, council president, and council member are separate elective offices each with a separate term of office and term limitation. No person shall be eligible to hold any elective city office while holding any other elective public office, nor shall any elective official of the City engage in any other capacity in city employment or office. More than one-half term shall count as a whole term.
  2. An elected office shall be declared vacant, pursuant to Section 8(A) of this Charter, should the official cease to maintain residency in the city, and primary residency within his or her district, in the case of council members. A council member shall not be disqualified from his or her current term of office if district lines change, causing the council member to live outside his or her respective district. When this affects a current council member, that person shall be allowed to complete his or her current term of office. “Residency” for the purpose of qualifying to hold elective office means a person's permanent address where he or she physically resides and maintains his or her abode. However, no person gains residence by reason of his or her presence or loses his or her residence by reason of his or her absence while employed in the civil or military services of the state or of the United States or due to other reasons recognized by state law. Residence and voting within the limits of any territory, which has been included in, annexed to or consolidated with the city, shall be construed to be residence within the city.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34622 Section 1

Section 7. Salary

  1. The minimum annual salary of the mayor shall be an amount equal to the salary of the highest paid city employee (other than the city administrator as provided in Section 24).
  2. The salaries of the council president and council members shall be established by ordinance adopted by the city council or pursuant to state law and may be increased or decreased from time to time. Any change in the salary for the office of council president or council member established by ordinance adopted by the city council shall not be applicable to the term then being served by the incumbent. Any change in the salary of the office of council president or council member established pursuant to state law shall become effective pursuant to the applicable state law.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34623 Section 1

Section 8. Vacancies

  1. The office of mayor, council president, or council member shall be deemed vacant because of:
    1. failure to qualify within ten days after certification of election or as otherwise provided by state law, or
    2. death, or
    3. resignation, or
    4. removal from office by recall, or
    5. failure to maintain residency requirement of the office, or
    6. absence by the council president or a council member from four consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the city council without being excused by the council, or
    7. conviction of a felony, or
    8. incompetency judicially declared.
  2. A vacancy on the council of a council member elected by district shall be filled by the selection of a qualified person, resident in the district in which the vacancy occurs, by majority vote of the remaining members of the council. The appointee so selected holds office until the next general municipal election at which election a person is elected to the office for the unexpired term, or for the next full term, as the case may be.
  3. In the event of a vacancy in the office of mayor or council president, the members of the council may follow the procedure of Section 8(B), or they may elect one of their number to the vacant office of mayor or council president and follow the procedure of Section 8(B) to appoint a person from the district in which the vacancy occurred to the position left vacant by the person assuming the office of mayor or council president.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 5

Section 8.5. Recall of Elected Official for Violation of Code of Ethics

  1. An elected official of the City may be subject to a recall election if the ethics committee determines that the elected official has knowingly committed a violation of the code of ethics, that the violation constitutes moral turpitude rendering the elected official unfit to remain in office, and that there are no mitigating circumstances. The ethics committee may make a recommendation to the city council that the elected official be subject to a recall election and that his or her name be placed on a recall election ballot to be placed before the voters for determination. The recommendation of the ethics committee that an elected official be subject to a recall election shall be in addition to any other available penalties established by ordinance.
  2. The city council, by a vote of a majority plus two, may pass a resolution to place the elected official's name on a recall election ballot for action by the voters on the next available general or special election established by state law. The city attorney shall prepare a ballot synopsis for the recall election.
  3. A recall election of a council member shall only be submitted to the voters of the council member's district. A recall election of the mayor or council president shall be submitted to the voters on a citywide ballot. If the recall is approved by a majority of the voters of the City or of the elected official's district voting in the election, as set forth above, the elected official shall be removed from office effective the date the recall election results are certified by the county auditor.
  4. The city council may adopt, by ordinance, procedures to implement the provisions of this Charter section.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34624 Section 1

Article III: Council and Legislation

Section 9. Council President and Council

  1. The council president shall preside at all meetings of the city council. The council president shall be a member of the city council with equal rights and privileges and entitled to vote on all matters coming before the city council, but shall possess no veto power. The council president shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties consistent with the office as are conferred by this Charter and by the city council.
  2. The city council shall establish its own rules and order of business, including the establishment by the council of temporary committees to assist the council in the performance of its duties. In establishing such committees, the city council shall determine the membership, qualifications, and appointment process, and whether the city council will need the assistance of city staff.
  3. Four council members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business, but in the absence of a quorum the members present may adjourn the meeting to a later date.
  4. The city council shall have authority to employ such staff as it may deem necessary. Such employees shall serve at the pleasure of the city council and shall not be under civil service while so employed.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34625 Section 1

Section 10. Meetings

The city council shall meet at the time and place fixed by ordinance, but must hold regular weekly meetings unless prior notification of the meeting cancellation is provided. Special meetings shall be called by the city clerk on the written request of the mayor, council president, or a majority of the council members. Such request shall state the matter(s) to be considered and no other matter(s) shall be considered at such special meeting. At least twenty-four hours' notice of the time and place of such special meeting and the matters to be considered shall be given to each council member and to others as may be provided by state law. All meetings of the city council shall be public, except as otherwise provided by state law.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 8

Section 11. Voting Power

Every ordinance and resolution shall require an affirmative vote of at least four council members for passage, and the ayes and nays shall be taken and recorded by the city clerk. Upon the request of any member, the ayes and nays shall be taken on any question and recorded by the city clerk.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 9

Section 12. Form and Manner of Legislation

All legislation and appropriations of money shall be by ordinance; save where there is a special fund created for a particular purpose, payments from such fund shall be made on order of the city council. Every ordinance and resolution shall be in writing and filed with the city clerk before a vote is taken thereon.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 10

Section 13. Subject of Ordinance

The subject of every ordinance shall be set out clearly in the title thereof, and no ordinance except one making appropriations shall contain more than one subject. Ordinances making appropriations shall be confined to the subject of appropriations.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 14. Enacting Clause

The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be in the words: “The City of Spokane does ordain.”

Effective Date: 1910

Section 15. Time of Passage

  1. Every ordinance except those enacted under the provisions of Section 19(a) of this Charter shall have two public readings by title, which readings shall not be on the same day. At least three consecutive business days shall elapse between the introduction and the final passage of any ordinance, except as otherwise provided in this Charter or state law.
  2. Every ordinance appropriating moneys for any purpose shall be considered and passed in the manner prescribed by state law. Every ordinance, except those enacted under the provisions of Section 19(A) of this Charter, authorizing the entering into of any contract involving a liability on the part of the City in excess of five thousand dollars shall remain on file at least five calendar days before its passage.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 11

Section 16. Ordinances – Signing and Attesting

  1. Every ordinance, except those which become emergency ordinances, passed by the city council shall, within five days thereafter, be presented to the mayor.
  2. Within ten days after its presentation, the mayor shall either sign the ordinance and return it to the city clerk or veto the ordinance and return it to the city clerk with a written and signed statement of the reasons for the mayor's veto or sign and partially veto an appropriation ordinance and return it to the city clerk with a written and signed statement of the reasons for the partial veto. If an ordinance is not returned by the mayor within ten days after its presentation it shall be deemed enacted without the mayor's signature. Within thirty days after an ordinance has been vetoed and returned or partially vetoed and returned, the city council may override the veto or partial veto by enacting the ordinance by a minimum five affirmative votes.
  3. Every ordinance passed by the city council shall be signed by the mayor, or the council president or two city council members in the event of prior mayoral veto, and attested by the city clerk.
  4. An ordinance passed by a majority plus one of the whole membership of the council, designated as a public emergency ordinance necessary for the protection of public health, public safety, public property, or the public peace as provided in Section 19(A)(1), may be made effective upon passage and shall not be subject to veto by the mayor.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 12

Section 17. Ordinances – Publication of

Every ordinance shall be published once in the Official Gazette, hereinafter provided for, within ten days after its passage by the city council.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 13

Section 18. Ordinances – Recording and Authentication

Every ordinance shall be attested by the city clerk and recorded in the city clerk's office.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 14

Section 19. Ordinances – When Effective

  1. The following ordinances may be passed by the city council on the first reading by title and shall take effect immediately upon passage, unless otherwise provided in the ordinance:
    1. An ordinance necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety or for the immediate support of city government and its existing public institutions; provided, it has in its preamble or body a statement of the facts giving rise to the necessity for immediate effectiveness and it is passed by a vote of one more than a majority of the council.
    2. An ordinance or resolution setting the annual tax levy.
    3. An ordinance adopting the annual budget.
    4. An ordinance making appropriations.
    5. An ordinance implementing local improvement districts or confirming assessments therefor.
    6. An ordinance which has been approved by the electors by referendum or initiative.
  2. The effective date of an ordinance shall be thirty days after its enactment unless a later day is specified in the ordinance or this Charter. An ordinance which is subject to the veto power of the mayor and which is not vetoed, or the approved portions of an ordinance which has been partially vetoed, shall be deemed enacted on the date that it is approved by, or ten days after it is presented to, the mayor. An ordinance which is vetoed, or the vetoed portions of an ordinance, shall be deemed enacted on the date that the city council overrides the veto or partial veto. An ordinance which is not subject to the veto power of the mayor shall be deemed enacted on the date it is approved by the city council.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 15

Section 20. Direct Legislation – When Effective

Ordinances passed by the electorate of the City shall take effect at the time fixed therein, or, if no such time is designated therein, at the date of the election certification.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 16

Section 21. Amendments and Repeals

Amendments and repeals of ordinances or sections thereof shall be by ordinance. An amending ordinance shall contain the entire ordinance or section amended.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 21.5. Councilmanic Tax Measures and Increases

After March 1, 2013, a new councilmanic tax may be levied and an existing councilmanic tax increased only by a majority plus one vote of the city council. For purposes of this section, “new councilmanic tax” means a tax for which the city council has the authority to levy but has not or is granted to the city council after March 1, 2013. A councilmanic tax does not include fees, rates and charges, or special assessments. This section does not apply to existing councilmanic taxes levied by the city council as of March 1, 2013 or any renewal or reauthorization of those taxes that does not increase the tax rate.

Effective Date: February 26, 2013
ORD C34950 Section 1

Article IV: Administration of City Affairs

Section 22. Administrative Branch

  1. Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, neither the council president, the city council, nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the City under the jurisdiction of the mayor, either publicly or privately. However, the city council and the council president are not precluded from requesting information from city staff. The council president or any council member shall not attempt to coerce or influence a city employee regarding any contract or the purchase of any supplies.
  2. While fulfilling the duties of city employment, no city employee shall actively engage in a political campaign for mayor, council president, council, or other elective city office or take an active part in securing or contributing moneys toward the election of any candidate for elective city office. No city employee shall use such position, office, facilities, or public resources to attempt to persuade any other employee or person to participate in or contribute to any political campaign for mayor, council president, city council member, or other elective office.
  3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the city council in proper cases from ratifying or confirming any action by the mayor.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 17

Section 23. Mayor Pro Tem

  1. In case of the absence or incapacity of the mayor, which renders the mayor unable to perform the duties of the office or if a vacancy shall occur in the office, the council president shall serve as the mayor pro tem and perform the duties of the mayor until the mayor shall return to duty or until the appointment of his or her successor shall have been made. While acting as mayor pro tem due to either the mayor's incapacity or a vacancy, the council president shall cease acting as council president and shall not participate in legislative matters as a member of the city council.
  2. The mayor may submit a written declaration to the council president that he or she will be unable to perform the duties of the office of mayor due to his or her absence or incapacity and that the council president is to perform the duties of the mayor as mayor pro tem for a specific period of time or until the mayor indicates that he or she has returned to the duties of the office of mayor.
  3. The mayor's incapacity to perform the duties of the office may also be judicially determined by the Superior Court of Spokane County upon a petition to the Court. Such judicial declaration shall be rescinded upon determination by the Court that the cause of the mayor's incapacity no longer exists.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34626 Section 1

Section 24. Mayor

The mayor shall be the executive officer of the City. In addition to the powers and duties granted a chief executive and/or administrative officer under the law of the State of Washington, the mayor shall have the following powers and duties:

  1. The power to appoint and remove the administrative heads and assistant administrative heads in each department of the city government, provided the appointment of an administrative head shall be subject to the approval of the city council and, further provided, that the head or assistant head of any department shall not be deprived by any such removal of any standing under the civil service provisions of this Charter which the employee may have had before appointment as head or assistant head of a department.
  2. The power to appoint and remove a city clerk, provided such appointment shall be subject to the approval of the city council.
  3. The power to appoint and remove the city attorney, provided such appointment shall be subject to the approval of the city council.
  4. The power to appoint and remove, subject to the civil service provisions of this Charter, all other officers and employees of the City of Spokane or to authorize the head of a department or officer responsible to the mayor to appoint and remove subordinates in such department or office.
  5. The power to make all other appointments required to be made by the mayor by the laws of the State of Washington and in the manner provided thereby.
  6. The power to appoint and remove a chief administrative officer whose title may be determined by the mayor. The chief administrative officer shall, under general supervision of the mayor, assist the mayor in administering city government. The salary of the chief administrative officer shall be fixed in the discretion of the mayor, subject to the approval of the city council.
  7. The power to appoint and remove an executive secretary and assistants not subject to civil service, whose compensation shall be fixed by the city council.
  8. Whenever the city council shall be required to appoint any member of a board, commission, or other body, unless the appointee is a council member, it shall be the duty of the mayor to nominate a suitable person for such appointment. If the city council refuses to appoint any nominee of the mayor, then the mayor shall, within ninety days thereafter, nominate another person to fill the office, and may continue to nominate until appointment. If the mayor fails to make another such nomination within ninety days, then the city council shall select a suitable person to fill the office.
  9. The power to initiate the removal of a council appointee, other than a council member appointee to a committee of the council, by recommending such removal to the city council. The council shall consider the request. If a majority of the council is in favor, the appointee shall be removed. Upon such removal, the vacancy for the unexpired term, if any, shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as if at the beginning of the term, except as otherwise provided in this Charter.
  10. The duty to see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order are maintained in the City.
  11. The duty of the mayor annually at the second meeting of the city council in October to communicate by message to the city council a statement of the conditions and affairs of the City, and to recommend the adoption of such measures he or she may deem expedient and proper. The mayor shall make special communication to the city council from time to time as he or she may deem useful and proper, and shall submit reports on City matters when so requested by the city council.
  12. The duty to prepare and present to the city council a budget and a budget message setting forth the programs proposed for the City during the next fiscal year.
  13. The power to recommend to the city council for adoption such measures and ordinances as may be deemed expedient and to make such other recommendations to the city council concerning the affairs of the City as may seem desirable.
  14. The power to veto ordinances or parts of ordinances passed by the council and submitted to him or her as provided herein but such veto may be overridden by the vote of a majority of all council members plus one more vote.
  15. The power to make investigation into the affairs of the City.
  16. The power to make recommendations in connection with the awarding of public contracts and shall see that all contracts made by the City of Spokane are faithfully performed.
  17. The duty to hold no employment other than that of the City.
  18. The duty to approve for payment and submit to the city council at each meeting for its allowance all claims and bills.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34627 Section 1

Section 25. Administrative Departments

Administrative departments shall be created or discontinued by the city council at the time of the adoption of the annual budget, as the public business may demand. The rights, powers, and duties of the departments shall be prescribed, distributed, assigned, established, or discontinued by ordinance.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 19

Section 26. Salary

Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, city officers, assistants, and employees shall receive such salary or compensation as the city council shall fix by ordinance and the same shall be payable at such times as the city council shall determine.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 20

Section 27. Duties of City Clerk

The city clerk shall perform the duties required by this Charter and by the council; keep a record of the proceedings of the council, and of every matter and thing before, presented to, or acted upon by the council; certify all accounts ordered paid by the council; be the custodian of the official seal of the City and affix the same to all documents when authorized so to do.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 28. City Attorney – Qualifications

The city attorney shall be a member of the Bar of the State of Washington, and shall have practiced law within the State of Washington not less than five years immediately preceding his or her appointment.

Effective Date: November 1983
ORD C27115 Section 1

Section 29. City Attorney – Duties

The city attorney shall be the legal advisor of the city officers; shall conduct all cases in court and all other actions and proceedings not in charge of special counsel, to which the City may be a party or in which it may be interested; and shall perform such other duties as may be required by the city council. The city attorney shall keep a docket and record of all cases and of the proceedings therein, shall keep copies of all official written communications, and shall deliver the same to any successor in office.

Effective Date: November 1983
ORD C27115 Section 1

Section 30. City Engineer – Qualifications

The city engineer shall be a licensed civil engineer and shall have practiced engineering not less than five years immediately preceding his or her appointment.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 21

Section 32. City Attorney – Assistants

The city attorney shall have the power to appoint and remove assistants.

Effective Date: November 1983
ORD C27115 Section 1

Section 33. Special Counsel

The mayor, at any time, may employ other or special counsel to take charge of special matters or to assist the city attorney.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34627 Section 1

Section 34. Oath of Office

Every elected officer, before entering upon the duties of office, shall make and file with the city clerk an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Washington, and to perform faithfully, honestly, and impartially the duties of office.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 22

Section 35. Bonds of Officers

Such officers and employees of the City as the city council may determine by ordinance shall furnish and file surety bonds in the amounts fixed by such ordinance. The bonds shall be approved by the city council, mayor, and city attorney.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32717 Section 11

Section 36. Officers or Employees Not to be Interested in Contracts

  1. Any member of the city council having a personal interest in any matter brought before the council shall declare the same to the council president and shall not vote or otherwise participate on said matter.
    1. No officer or employee of the City of Spokane having the power to perform an official act related to a contract or transaction which is or may be the subject of an official action of the City shall:
    2. have or acquire any interest in such contract or transaction; or
    3. have solicited, accepted, or granted a present or future gift, favor, service, or other thing of value from or to any person involved in a contract or transaction with the City of Spokane.
      1. All contracts of the City shall be free from all influence of or benefit to, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the City. This shall apply to the solicitation or receiving of any pay, commission, money, or other thing of value, or any benefit, profit, or advantage, directly or indirectly, from or by reason of any improvement, alteration, or repair required by authority of the City, or any contract to which the City shall be a party, except for the lawful compensation or salary as such officer or employee, and except as hereinafter provided.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 23

Section 37. Procurement of Public Works, Goods and Services

Subject to the general laws of the State of Washington, the city council shall by ordinance regulate the manner in which the City contracts for public works, personal services, and the acquisition and disposition of property. The city council shall employ accepted procurement principles, reserving in all cases the right to reject all bids, proposals, or other offers, and, as trustee of public funds, shall in all procurements of public works, goods, and services promote the public interest.

Effective Date: November 1983
ORD C27100 Section 1

Section 38. Contracts and Documents – Execution of

All written contracts, bonds, and instruments of every kind and description to which the City shall be a party shall be executed in the name of the City by the mayor or the council president under the direction of the city council, or their respective designees, and attested by the city clerk, and when necessary, shall be acknowledged.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 24

Section 39. Publicity Provisions – Official Gazette

  1. The mayor shall cause to be issued each week a document entitled the Official Gazette, in which shall be published a summary of the council's proceedings. The Official Gazette may be published on the City's official web site or other reasonable medium.
  2. All official City matters which by this Charter, or by order of the mayor or city council, are or may be required to be published shall be published in the Official Gazette, unless other publication is required by the laws of the State of Washington or the United States.
  3. A copy of the Official Gazette shall be furnished without charge to the State Library, the Spokane Public Library, the newspapers of Spokane and to persons requesting a copy.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 25

Article V: Parks and Park Board

Section 41. Park Board – How Created

A park board is hereby created which shall consist of ten electors of the City of Spokane, who shall be appointed by the council, and one member of the council to be designated by the council. The council shall have power to remove any member for cause and to fill vacancies on the board.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 27

Section 42. Park Board – Term of Office

The term of office of the ten appointed members shall be five years. Members shall be limited to two terms. Less than a half term shall not constitute a term should an individual be appointed to fill the unexpired term of one, who for any reason, does not serve his or her entire five-year term. The term of office of two members shall expire each year on the first Tuesday of February at 12:00 noon.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 28

Section 43. Park Board – Removal From

It shall be the duty of the council to remove from office any member who, after due notice of the meetings of the board, shall be absent therefrom, without leave, for three successive months.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 44. Park Board – Organization

  1. On the second Tuesday of February of each year the board shall elect a president and a vice president from its members, and a secretary, who may, or may not, be a member of the board.
  2. Six members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and six affirmative votes shall be necessary to adopt or carry any measure. The board shall have regular public meetings at least once a month, at their regular place of meeting.
  3. The board shall have the power to make bylaws and rules for the conduct of business.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 29

Section 45. Park Board – Accounts and Reports – Annual Statements

The board shall keep books of account and records of all its transactions. The board, at the end of each month and at the end of each fiscal year, shall furnish to the council a detailed report of receipts and expenditures and a statement of all other business transacted, which shall be maintained by the park department. All records, books, and files of the board shall be open to public inspection.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 30

Section 46. Park Board – Compensation

No member of the board, except the secretary, shall receive any compensation. The compensation of the secretary shall be fixed by the board.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 31

Section 47. Office of Park Board

The office of the park board shall be located in a suitable location as determined by the park board and approved by the mayor.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 32

Section 48. Park Board – Powers

The park board shall have power:

To lay out, establish, purchase, procure, accept, and have the care, management, control, and improvement of all parks and grounds used for park purposes, all boulevards, connecting parks and structures thereon, and all parkways, now or hereafter owned or controlled by the City whether within or without the city limits, and may designate them by name;

To lay out, establish, and improve boulevards and parkways, and to designate as a boulevard or parkway any existing highway or part thereof, but the highway or part thereof so designated shall remain under the control of the council;

To exercise supervision over all shade trees, shrubs, and plants of all kinds on or in the streets and public places of the City and over all resting places, water stations, playgrounds, and parade grounds;

To make rules and regulations for the use of parks and provide for the enforcement of such rules and regulations;

To prohibit or determine the place and manner of making excavations, and of placing or maintaining wires, pipes, poles, posts, masts and supports in parks or highways, and to compel the alteration or removal thereof at any time;

To improve and adorn parks and park property and do all things necessary or proper to render the parks or other property of value to the public;

To grant concessions, leases, and privileges under such restrictions and for such compensation as it shall prescribe, the revenue of which shall go into the park fund; provided that, no concession or privilege shall ever be granted for the sale of any intoxicating liquors in any public park, square, play or recreation ground, park drive, parkway or park boulevard of the City; and that no concession, lease, or privilege shall be granted for a period of more than three years unless approved by ordinance. Nor shall either the park board or the city council, after January 1, 1982, have the power to allow the use of any part of Riverfront Park then or thereafter dedicated to park purposes by sale, lease, rent, permit, license, or other assignment for permanent commercial purposes without the prior approval of the City voters given by a majority vote in a regular municipal election. Permanent commercial purposes shall not include commercial activities existing prior to January 1, 1982, nor any activities operated directly by the City of Spokane or the park board for fee, nor any activity not having a fixed location, nor shall it include any activities approved by the park board not to exceed thirty days and renewable for periods not exceeding thirty days.

In no case shall the expenditure of the park board exceed the amount donated or appropriated for park purposes.

Real and personal property may be granted, bequeathed, or devised to the City and accepted by the park board for park purposes or for the establishment or maintenance in parks of museums, zoological or other gardens, collections of natural history, observatories, buildings, fountains, monuments, statues, or other works of art upon the trust and conditions prescribed by the donors thereof; and all such property, together with the income and profits thereof, shall be under the exclusive control of the park board. All property acquired by the park board shall be in the name of the City.

Neither the park board nor the city council shall have the power to sell or exchange any existing park or portion thereof without the prior approval of the electorate given by a majority vote at the next ensuing general municipal election or special municipal election, as the case may be.

Effective Date: November 1987
ORD C28870 Section 1

Section 49. Condemnation for Park Purposes

  1. If the board shall be unable to purchase at a satisfactory price any lands or other property for park purposes or be unable to make a satisfactory arrangement as to compensation, the council, upon notice given by the board, shall condemn the same at the expense of the park fund.
  2. Any property desired for park purposes in which any member of the park board or council may be interested shall be acquired by condemnation proceedings. The petition for condemnation shall set forth the interest of such member.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 50. Annual Budget for Support of Parks

The city council shall provide in the park fund each fiscal year sufficient funds in order to maintain the parks, park systems, and related activities, and to provide for the expenses authorized by this article. Such allocation shall be sufficient in amount and shall be a sum that represents no less than eight percentum of the general fund expenditures of the last completed fiscal year. The funds so established may be reduced or otherwise adjusted by the city council only insofar as the total adopted general fund budget is reduced because of the insufficiency of revenues and in direct proportion to the reduction of the general fund budget. The funds so provided shall be used for the support of the parks and recreation department and shall be under the control of the park board.

Effective Date: November 1983
ORD C27101 Section 1

Section 51. Disbursement of Park Funds

All taxes levied for park purposes, as provided in this Charter, all moneys realized from the sale of park bonds, all moneys appropriated by the council for park purposes or received by the park board from any other source shall be turned into and kept in a fund designated the park fund and be deemed appropriated and shall be used exclusively for the purposes set forth in this article, and shall be expended upon the order of such officer or officers of the park board as may be selected by it for that purpose by resolution; copies of such resolution, duly certified, shall be filed with the accounting director. Said moneys shall be paid out by the treasurer upon warrants, checks, drafts, notes, or other order of the City of Spokane signed by the authorized city staff.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 33

Article VI: Civil Service

Section 52. Election of Civil Service Commissioners – Organization and Employees – Finances – Payroll Approval – Personnel Administration

  1. There is created a civil service commission, which shall be composed of five members, hereinafter referred to as the “commission.” The commission members shall be appointed as follows: biennially, one member shall be appointed by the city council and one member shall be appointed by a joint committee composed of the police and fire officers unions and the employee members of the Spokane employees' retirement board, each for a term of four years, and every four years a fifth member shall be appointed by the other four commissioners for a term of four years, all to serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified.

    Any person other than an elective official, officer, or employee of the City of Spokane shall be eligible to the office of civil service commissioner if the person is a citizen of the United States and a resident of the City of Spokane. All appointments to the commission shall be filed with the city clerk of the City of Spokane and before any commissioner shall take office the person shall take and file an oath of office with the city clerk.

    The civil service commissioners shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by the city council by ordinance. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment as in the case of original appointments.

    The incumbent members of the civil service commission or their successors appointed by the city council shall serve as commissioners until the appointment and qualification of the new commission members hereunder.

  2. Immediately after their appointments, and each two years thereafter, the commission shall organize by electing a chairman and vice chairman from its members. It shall adopt rules for the conduct of its meetings and hearings, and shall hold regular meetings at least once a month and such additional meetings as may be required for the proper discharge of its duties. Three members shall constitute a quorum. All meetings and hearings of the commission shall be open to the public.
  3. The commission shall employ a chief examiner and such civil service assistants and employees as may be necessary, who shall be under civil service. The chief examiner shall also act as secretary for the commission. The chief examiner shall keep minutes of its proceedings, which shall be public, and preserve all reports made to it. He or she shall keep a record of all examinations held and perform such other duties as the commission may prescribe.
  4. The city council shall provide in the city budget for each fiscal year a sum of not less than one-half of one percent, nor more than one percent, of the last completed fiscal year's total payroll of the classified city employees included within the scope of this article. The funds so provided shall be used for the support of the commission, and be under the control of the commission. Any unexpended funds at the end of the fiscal year shall revert to the general fund of the City.
  5. Neither the head of any department nor the city auditor shall approve or pay any salary, wage, or compensation for services of any employee within the scope of this article unless a payroll, estimate, or account for such salary, wage, or other compensation contains the names of persons to be paid, the amount to be paid the position, and such other information which, in the judgment of the commission, should be furnished on the payroll; and such payroll, estimate, or account bears the certificate of the commission, or of its chief examiner or other authorized agent, that the persons therein named have been appointed or employed in compliance with the terms of this article and the civil service rules; and that the payroll, estimate, or account, is, insofar as known to the commission, a true and accurate statement. The commission shall refuse to certify the salary or wages of any such employee whom it finds to be illegally or improperly appointed or employed. The refusal to so certify shall not affect the remainder of a payroll.
  6. The mayor and the commission, acting jointly, shall have authority to adopt rules consistent with this article setting forth the principles and procedures to be followed in the adoption of any personnel program.
  7. Employees within the scope of this article who have served a period of time equivalent to the required probationary period in any position classified prior to March 8, 1955, shall retain their positions, unless removed for cause. Employees within the scope of this article who have served a period of two years prior to the effective date of this amendment in any position which is hereafter classified shall retain their positions, unless removed for cause, provided such classification is made by the commission prior to March 1, 1961.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 34

Section 53. Powers and Duties of Commission

The commission shall be required to advise the city council and administrative officers on all matters relating to civil service in the city service and shall have the power and duty:

  1. to classify all positions of the City and of the park board, except seasonal positions and the appointive officers mentioned in the Charter. Classifications shall be made so as to place each type of service in a separate group and by dividing each group into grades on the basis of equivalent functions and responsibilities. Positions heretofore or hereafter classified shall constitute the classified service and no appointments or promotions shall be made to any such positions except in the manner provided by this article and the rules of the commission. A seasonal position shall be construed to mean one which occurs, terminates and recurs periodically;
  2. to provide for open free and competitive examinations to test the relative fitness of applicants for all positions classified and for publication of notice of all examinations;
  3. to provide general qualifications for applicants for positions in the classified service;
  4. to create eligible lists upon which shall be entered the names of successful candidates in the order of their standing on the examination and for certification of those on the appropriate list to department heads for appointment to fill vacancies and for the manner in which appointments shall be made from such list; provided that, on original appointments in the classified service honorably discharged veterans shall be given such preference as is provided by state law;
  5. to give practical tests which shall consist only of subjects which will fairly determine the capacity of persons examined to perform the duties of the position to which appointment is to be made. Such tests may include tests of physical fitness or manual skills or both;
  6. to provide for a period of probation not to exceed one year both on original and promotional appointments, before the appointment is made permanent, during which time, in the case of an original appointment, the probationer may be discharged, or, in the case of a promotion, returned to a position in his or her former classification by the head of the department, board, or office in which employed;
  7. to hold sufficient examinations so that an eligibility list and promotional list shall exist at all times. Examinations shall be held for any position at least thirty days prior to the expiration date of the eligibility list for such position;
  8. to prevent the stoppage of public business, or to meet extraordinary exigencies, the mayor may, with the approval of the commission, make temporary appointments and only until regular appointments under the provision of this article can be made, provided such appointments shall not exceed thirty days;
  9. to provide procedures for lay-offs for lack of work or funds, reinstatement after such lay-off or upon return to work after disability retirement;
  10. to investigate any and all matters relating to conditions of civil service employment in the city service, either in response to employees' complaints, or their duly authorized representatives, or on its own initiative;
  11. to investigate and pass upon the claim of any person whose name appears upon an eligible list, or who has a civil service classification that he or she has been deprived of or separated from a position to which he or she is entitled under the provisions of this article and the rules of the commission, in which case, the commission shall by rule provide the procedure for hearing such claims. The decision of the commission on any such claim shall be binding upon the appointing authority; providing that, such person shall not be entitled to any claim for salary from the City for the period prior to the time of filing such claim with the commission;
  12. to make and promulgate all civil service rules not inconsistent with this article, and any amendments thereto, and to carry out and enforce the purpose of this article; provided that, the existing rules, insofar as the same may be consistent with the provisions of this article, shall remain in full force and effect. Any rule or amendments hereafter adopted shall be in writing and filed with the secretary of the commission, at least one week prior to action thereon, shall only be acted upon at a regular meeting of the commission, and shall not become effective until ten days after publication thereof in the Official Gazette;
  13. the commission or any of its members, or any of its authorized agents, shall have the authority in the course of any investigation or hearing to administer oaths and to require the attendance of any officer or employee or other person, and to require the production of books and papers relevant to such investigation or hearing.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32716 Section 2

Section 55. Suspension, Reduction in Rank and Discharge – Appeals

An employee may be suspended, reduced in rank, or discharged only by the mayor as follows:

  1. Any employee may be suspended for a period of not more than five days for disciplinary purposes with loss of salary and without right of appeal by filing a copy of such order of suspension with the commission, provided that no employee may be given more than one such suspension in any calendar year.
  2. Any employee may be suspended for a period of not more than sixty days for cause and with loss of salary.
  3. Any employee may be reduced in rank for cause.
  4. Any employee may be permanently discharged from city service for cause. The person making an order of suspension, reduction in rank, or permanent discharge under subsections (B), (C), or (D) hereof shall forthwith file with the commission a statement of such order which shall contain the reasons therefor, and serve a copy of the order on the employee. Within ten days after filing and service of said order, the employee may file a written appeal with the commission who shall hold a hearing thereon within ten days after filing the appeal. The commission shall render its decision in writing within ten days after the hearing. The commission may sustain the order of suspension, reduction in rank or permanent discharge or may order the employee reinstated to his or her employment. Any reinstatement shall carry back salary from the date of the order of suspension, reduction in rank or permanent discharge to date of re-employment. Requiring an employee to work more than his or her regular workweek or during his or her vacation, except in an emergency, shall be equivalent to a suspension, and the employee shall have a right of appeal direct to the commission within ten days after termination of such occurrence. A hearing shall be held as herein provided, and if a violation of this article or the rules is found to exist, the commission shall order proper salary adjustments, which order shall be served upon the city auditor and honored by him or her. No employee may be suspended twice for the same act. The decision of the commission shall be final.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32716 Section 3

Section 56. Commission – Rules and Regulations

The commission shall have power to make proper rules and regulations for the conduct of its business.

Effective Date: 1910

Article VII: Municipal Elections

Section 57. Municipal Elections

At all municipal elections—general, special, and primary—the manner of electing officers and of submitting questions or propositions to the qualified electors, conducting and voting at elections, opening and closing of polls, keeping the poll lists, duties of election officers, canvassing the votes, declaring the results and certifying the returns, shall be in accordance with state law.

Effective Date: November 19, 1980
ORD C25656 Section 1

Section 58. Elections – When Held

The manner and method of holding and calling all municipal elections, both general and special, shall be according to state law. All municipal elections shall be non-partisan and by the qualified electors of the City.

Effective Date: November 1999
ORD C32336 Section 4

Section 59. Council Districting

  1. Membership of the districting board shall consist of the council president and one other council member who shall serve as advisory members, and three qualified representatives.
  2. Qualified candidates for the districting board must satisfy the following criteria:
    1. Candidates must be registered voters within the City of Spokane.
    2. Candidates must be current residents of the City and have maintained a primary residence within the City for the past two consecutive years.
  3. No member of the districting board shall:
    1. have been a registered lobbyist in the State of Washington within one year prior to selection;
    2. campaign for elective office or actively participate in or contribute to any political campaign of any candidate for local, state, or federal office while a member of the districting board;
    3. hold or campaign for any city council position for two years after the effective date of the districting plan.
  4. The districting board shall convene a minimum of five public hearings throughout the City to receive written and oral comments and to accept proposed districting plans from the general public. The districting board shall only consider those plans which are submitted by individual City residents. The districting board shall hold open meetings, prepare and disclose its minutes, and it may employ experts, consultants, and attorneys not employed by the City, as necessary to carry out its duties as established in this Charter. The districting board shall utilize the most recent available census information and guidelines for districting as established in RCW 44.05.090, as applicable.
  5. No more than ninety days from the effective date of this Charter amendment, the districting board shall submit three districting plans to the city council for final public review and comment. No more than one hundred twenty days from the effective date of this Charter amendment, the city council shall select one of the districting board's plans without alteration, except for data errors. Upon adoption by a majority vote of the city council, the districting plan shall be submitted to the clerk of the city council. The districting plan shall become effective upon filing and the districting board shall be relieved of any further duties and disbanded. The districting plan shall be in force until the effective date of the plan based upon the next succeeding federal decennial census or until a modified plan takes effect as established in this Charter.

Effective Date: November 1999
ORD C32336 Section 5

Section 60. Council Redistricting

  1. Pursuant to this Charter, a decennial districting board shall be established during the year of state and federal redistricting to accomplish city council redistricting.
  2. Pursuant to this Charter, a modified council districting plan may be established only within the fifth year of the decennial districting cycle, as defined in Section 59 of the City Charter. Should the city council determine that a modified districting plan is warranted for population adjustment; a districting board shall be established.
  3. The schedule for developing, filing, and implementing a district plan shall be established by the city council upon confirmation of the districting board.
  4. Land that is annexed to the City subsequent to modifications of district boundaries pursuant to a district plan shall be assigned to the city council district that is most contiguous with the annexed land. At its discretion, the city council may take legislative action to assign annexed land to a district in the event the annexed land is contiguous to more than one council district.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34628 Section 1

Section 61. Fees

At the time of filing a declaration of candidacy, the candidate shall pay all fees in the amount and manner as provided by state law.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 35

Section 67. Recall

The holder of any elective office, whether elected or appointed thereto, may be removed by recall in the manner prescribed by state law.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 7

Article VIII: Neighborhood Councils

Section 71. Neighborhood Councils Program – Creation

A neighborhood councils program is hereby created which shall consist of the following bodies: Neighborhood councils, the community assembly and the office of neighborhood services which shall be established in accordance with the rules and procedures designated in the following sections.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 1

Section 72. Neighborhood Councils Program – Organization

  1. The neighborhood councils and community assembly shall have the power to make bylaws and rules for the conduct of their business.
  2. The neighborhood councils and community assembly shall act as advisors to the city council and the mayor.
  3. The office of neighborhood services shall act as the staff support for the neighborhood councils program and as the liaison between the neighborhood councils, the community assembly, the city council, the mayor, and the various city departments. The office of neighborhood services falls under the administrative branch of the mayor and shall report to the mayor.
  4. The neighborhood councils program shall operate within the management structure of the Spokane City government as a separate department.
  5. There shall be established a position within the office of neighborhood services designated as the director of neighborhood services.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34629 Section 1

Section 73. Neighborhood Councils Program – Establishment

  1. In order to foster communication between the citizens of Spokane and all facets of City government neighborhood councils may be formed or existing associations may be recognized by the city council when they meet the minimum standards for recognition. Neighborhoods wishing to form recognized councils are encouraged to do so and may request assistance in the process by the City's office of neighborhood services and the community assembly. A neighborhood council must meet and continue to maintain conformity with the following minimum standards:
    1. Clear geographic boundaries.
    2. Adherence to established bylaws that ensure democratic deliberative and voting procedures.
    3. Periodic meetings.
    4. Compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
    5. Copy of the bylaws and all amendments filed with the office of neighborhood services.
    6. Membership consisting of persons who are sixteen years of age or older and reside, own property, or operate a business within the neighborhood council boundaries.
  2. Initial boundaries remain fixed for one year. After a year, a neighborhood council may propose an amendment to its boundaries to the community assembly for its review and recommendations.
  3. The geographic boundaries of a neighborhood council may extend to areas beyond the city limits but only members who reside, own property, or operate a business within those portions of the neighborhood council as are within the city may participate in official decisions of the neighborhood council.
  4. Each neighborhood council designates at least two individuals to receive written documentation and other information from the City's office of neighborhood services and to be responsible for disseminating this information to their respective neighborhood councils.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 3

Section 74. Neighborhood Councils Program – Neighborhood Council Duties and Responsibilities

A recognized neighborhood council may:

  1. review and recommend an action, policy, or plan to the city council neighborhood committee, the city council, the mayor, the City and any City agency, commission, or board on any matter affecting that neighborhood;
  2. assist City agencies in determining priority needs for the neighborhood;
  3. review items for inclusion in the City budget and make recommendations relating to budget items for neighborhood improvements; and
  4. undertake to manage projects as may be agreed upon or contracted with public agencies.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 4

Section 75. Neighborhood Councils Program – Community Assembly – Purpose

The community assembly is a coalition of independent neighborhood councils and serves as a forum for discussion of issues of broad interest. Each neighborhood council selects one representative and a designated alternate to serve on the community assembly. Representatives are expected to represent the interests of their respective neighborhood council. The community assembly meets with the city council neighborhood committee and the City's office of neighborhood services periodically to discuss community-wide issues. The responsibilities of the community assembly include to:

  1. review and recommend an action, policy, or plan to the city council neighborhood committee, the city council, the mayor, the City, and any City agency, commission, or board on any matter affecting the City;
  2. support and promote citizen participation and neighborhood enhancement;
  3. promote and facilitate open communication between the City and neighborhood councils and provide the primary means of communication between individual neighborhood councils;
  4. support and assist, as requested, individual neighborhood councils in becoming recognized and in performing their functions and responsibilities; and
  5. serve as an information resource to neighborhood councils.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 5

Section 76. Neighborhood Councils Program – Community Assembly – Compensation

No member of the community assembly, unless he or she is staff of the office of neighborhood services, shall receive any compensation. The compensation of the staff shall be fixed by the applicable rules for each designated position.

Effective Date: November 2000
ORD C32687 Section 6

Article IX: Legislation by the People

Section 81. General Power

The people of Spokane in regard to local legislative matters shall have the power of direct legislation by initiative and referendum.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 37

Section 82. The Initiative

The initiative shall be exercised in the following manner and in accordance with the general laws of the state:

  1. Petition: A petition signed by registered and qualified electors of the City, accompanied by the proposed legislation or measure in the form of a proposed ordinance, and requesting that such ordinance be submitted to a vote of the people, if not passed by the council, shall be filed with the city clerk.
  2. Action by Council Upon Petition – Fifteen Per Centum Petition: If such petition be signed by registered and qualified electors in number at least equal to fifteen per centum of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general municipal election, the city council shall either pass such ordinance without alteration, or submit it to popular vote at the next available special or general municipal election.

Less Than Fifteen Per Centum Petition: If such petition be signed by registered and qualified electors in number at least equal to five but less than fifteen per centum of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general municipal election, the council shall either pass such ordinance without alteration or submit it to popular vote at the next available general municipal election.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 38

Section 83. Referendum

If, prior to the date when any ordinance shall take effect, a petition signed by qualified electors in number at least equal to ten per centum of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general municipal election shall be filed with the city clerk protesting against the enactment of such ordinance, it shall be suspended from taking effect. Thereupon the council shall reconsider such ordinance and, if it does not entirely repeal the same, shall submit it to popular vote at the next municipal election; or, the council, in its discretion, may call a special election for that purpose, and such ordinance shall not take effect unless a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at such election shall vote in favor thereof.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 39

Section 84. Submission by Council

  1. The council, of its own motion, may submit to popular vote for adoption or rejection at any election, any proposed ordinance or measure, in the same manner and with the same force and effect as provided in the article for submission on petition.
  2. The council shall submit to popular vote any proposed ordinance imposing or increasing the rate of a business and occupation tax, except a tax upon utilities, and no such business and occupation tax ordinance shall take effect until approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Section 85. Capital Expenditures

  1. A vote of the people shall be required for capital expenditures (excepting that no vote of the people shall be required for expenditures to provide for the necessary and legitimate expenses of the City, including maintenance and operation of existing facilities, assessments for construction of storm sewers, sanitary sewers, landfills, water mains and trunklines, street maintenance and construction, resurfacing streets, snow and ice control, and/or expenditures of an emergency nature) requiring indebtedness of the taxpayers and property owners for capital projects, including the mass burn plant for refuse disposal (waste-to-energy plant).
  2. The use of public funds for the construction of any new vehicular bridge in the Central Falls area of the Spokane River, defined in the shoreline management plan as the area between Division and Monroe Streets, including Havermale and Canada Islands, shall require an affirmative majority vote of approval by the City electors, except as otherwise provided by the constitution and laws of the state. For the purposes of this subsection, the construction of any new vehicular bridge shall not include the maintenance, resurfacing, renovation, or expansion of existing vehicular bridges.
  3. Capital expenditures for capital projects requiring a vote of the people shall include but not be limited to coliseums, convention centers, stadiums, planetariums, and new proposed projects not currently the obligation of the taxpayers and property owners.
  4. No councilmanic bonds shall be used for capital projects. Any proposal for capital expenditures submitted to the voters must designate the revenue source sought for funding of a project or projects.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 40

Section 86. Publication of Ordinances – Notice of Election

The city clerk shall publish every proposed or referred ordinance in each number of the Official Gazette issued within fifteen days before the date of the election; and shall give such other notices and do such other things relative to such election, as may be required by law.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Section 87. Adoption of Ordinances

If a majority of the qualified electors voting on any proposed ordinance or measure shall vote in favor thereof the same shall thereupon, or at a time fixed therein, become effective as a law or as a mandatory order to the council.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Section 89. Repeal or Amendment of Ordinances Passed by the People

No ordinance which has been passed by the council upon a petition, or adopted by popular vote, under the provisions of this article, shall be repealed or amended within three years, except by popular vote. After three years, the council may pass an amendatory or repealing ordinance by a vote of one more than a majority. Any such ordinance shall be subject to referendum.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Section 90. Number of Elections

There shall not be held under this article more than one special election in any period of six months.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Section 91. Regulations by Council

The council, by ordinance, may make other and further regulations for carrying out the provisions of this article not inconsistent herewith.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27612 Section 1

Article X: Local Improvements

Section 92. Local Improvements

The City of Spokane shall have the power to order and carry out local improvements in the mode and manner prescribed by state law, including but not limited to:

  1. alleys, streets, park drives, public places, and squares;
  2. auxiliary water systems;
  3. auditoriums, field houses, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and other recreational facilities;
  4. bridges, culverts, and trestles;
  5. bulkheads and retaining walls;
  6. dikes and embankments;
  7. drains, sewers, and sewer appurtenances;
  8. escalators and moving sidewalks;
  9. parks and playgrounds;
  10. sidewalks, curbings, and crosswalks;
  11. street lighting systems;
  12. underground utilities transmission lines;
  13. water mains, hydrants, and appurtenances;
  14. fences, culverts, siphons, and coverings over open canals and ditches.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 93. Initiation

Local improvements may be initiated by the city council or by petition of certain property owners. It shall be the responsibility of the city clerk to have available at all times informational sheets regarding the formation of local improvement districts.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 94. Sale of Bonds

Local improvement district bonds shall be sold by negotiation or by public sale at competitive bid, at the discretion of the council.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Article XI: Franchises

Section 95. Term

No exclusive franchise shall ever be granted and no franchise shall be granted for a period longer than twenty-five years.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 98. Renewals

No franchise shall be renewed earlier than three years prior to its expiration.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 99. Specified Location

Franchises for railroads and franchises for power lines in excess of thirty-five thousand volts shall specify plainly the streets or other public places or parts thereof to which they apply, and any other franchises shall state the bounds of the district or districts in which they shall be exercised. The City shall have the power, whether or not it is specified in any franchise, to regulate by ordinance, consistent with state law, the placing of wires carrying electricity.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 41

Section 100. Publication

Proposed ordinances for the granting of franchises, or a summary thereof, shall be filed with the city clerk and published once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation before their final reading and final passage by the city council. No proposed ordinance granting any franchise shall be placed upon the city council's agenda for final passage within thirty days after its first reading.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 42

Section 101. Referendum

All franchise ordinances, except as otherwise provided by state law, shall be subject to referendum under the general provisions of this Charter.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 102. Compensation to City

No franchise shall be granted without provision for proper compensation to the City as may be determined by the city council.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 105. Right-of-use by City

All franchises which include the use of poles or conduits shall reserve for the City suitable space on the grantee's poles or conduit lines as may be required for the City's governmental functions.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 106. Conditions of Franchises

The grant of every franchise shall be made expressly subject to the condition that the council shall have the right with respect to any such franchise so granted:

  1. to hear and determine what are just, fair and reasonable rates, fares, and charges for public service, and to order that only reasonable charges shall be imposed, and to make effective such order by penalties and forfeitures. The granting of a franchise shall not be deemed to confer any right to include in the charge for any service any return upon the value of the franchise or grant;
  2. to require, so far as consistent with state law, the elevation or depression of the tracks of railroads, or the placing under ground of wires, whenever such action is necessary, in the interests of public safety or convenience;
  3. to require reasonable extensions of any public service system;
  4. to make such rules and regulations as may be required to secure adequate and proper service, and to provide sufficient accommodations for the public.

The foregoing provisions set forth in (A), (B), (C), and (D) shall not be applicable to the extent that the same may conflict with the jurisdiction of the State of Washington utilities and transportation commission or any other state or federal authority.

When any person or corporation against whom any order is directed under the provisions of subdivisions (A), (B), (C), or (D) hereof shall believe such order to be unjust or unreasonable, the person or corporation may test the justice or reasonableness of the order by a proper action in the courts, commenced within thirty days after service of such order, and in such action such order may be entered as shall be warranted by the facts developed upon the trial and the law applicable thereto.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 108. Reports

The City may require every grantee of a franchise whose rates, charges, and services are subject to regulation by the City, to submit to the city council within ninety days after the first day of January of each year an annual report of operations for the prior year, verified by the manager, principal officer, or treasurer of the grantee. The report shall contain detailed information. The City shall have the power to examine the books and records of any such grantee and to compel the production of the books and records pertaining to such report to determine the grantee's revenue from the use of its franchise. When a report is required, any grantee who shall fail to make such report available or refuse to permit such examination shall be liable to a penalty of one hundred dollars for each and every day during which the grantee shall fail to file such report or refuse to permit such examination, to be sued for and recovered by the City in any court having jurisdiction.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 109. Franchises Not to be Capitalized

Ordinances granting franchises shall contain provisions prohibiting any corporation holding any franchise from issuing any capital stock on account of the franchise or the value thereof. Conditions shall be inserted in all such ordinances that the grantee shall have no right to receive upon a condemnation proceeding brought by the City to acquire the public utility using such franchise any return on account of the franchise or its value.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 110. Transfer of Franchises

No sale or lease of any franchise granted by the City shall be effective until the assignee or lessee shall have filed in the office of the clerk of the City an instrument, duly executed, reciting the fact of the sale or lease, accepting the terms of the franchise affected, and agreeing to perform all the conditions required of the grantee thereunder. The assignee or lessee shall file a bond in such amount and with such conditions as the city council may require, which bond shall run to the City as obligee, with sureties satisfactory to the city council, and shall obligate the grantee, or lessee, to discharge all obligations and liabilities imposed upon the grantee by the franchise.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 111. Common User Provisions

Every franchise shall provide that the franchise and all things constructed thereunder, other than rolling stock and power, shall be subject to common use by any other grantee or assignee of any other franchise, whenever there shall be necessity therefor, upon payment or tender of compensation for such use. The question of necessity, compensation and all other questions relating thereto, shall be judicial questions, but no judicial proceeding shall suspend or postpone such use if the person or corporation desiring such common use shall deposit in the court such sums as the court, in a preliminary hearing may determine.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 112. Non-user of Franchises

Every franchise shall contain such provisions as the City shall deem reasonable regarding the commencement and continued use of such franchise and the procedures for termination thereof in the event of nonuse or abandonment.

Effective Date: November 16, 1981
ORD C25862

Section 113. Construction of this Article

The enumeration and specification of particular matters which must be included in every franchise granted shall not be construed to impair the right of the City to insert in such franchises such other and further conditions and restrictions as the council may deem proper to protect the City's interests.

Effective Date: 1910

Article XII: Miscellaneous

Section 115. Claims Against City

To the extent permitted by law the council shall have the power to prescribe the manner, form, and time by which the various types of claims for damages against the City, if any, shall be made, settled, and paid. The council may provide for insurance and for adjustment and settlement of claims.

Effective Date: November 19, 1980
ORD C25656 Section 6

Section 116. Liability of Owner of Abutting Property

In case any injury or damage to any person shall be caused by the defective condition of any sidewalk, or by ice or snow thereon, or by lack of proper guards or railings on or along the property abutting on any public way, the abutting property where the injury or damage occurs, and the owner or owners thereof, shall be liable to the City for all damage, injuries, costs and disbursements which it may be required to pay to the person injured.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 116.5. Liability for Utilities and Franchise Holders

Any utility or transportation company, quasi municipality, or other person occupying the right-of-way with roadway, pipe, poles, and wires or other fixed conduit or facility, shall be responsible to maintain its property and the right-of-way it occupies in a safe condition and as specified by franchise or easement, if any.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 43

Section 117. Power to Subpoena Witnesses

The council shall have the power to enforce the attendance of witnesses and the production of all books, papers, documents, and files, and to administer oaths in all matters relating to the administration of City affairs or business.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 118. Public Works

To the extent permitted by law, the City shall have the rights to acquire, construct, and operate, by contract or directly with city personnel, plants and facilities for the production of materials for public works; to do, by contract or directly, public works, utilizing the materials of its plants and facilities; and to cause payment for public works and materials to be funded by assessment against properties benefited.

Effective Date: November 19, 1980
ORD C25656 Section 6

Section 119. Continuation of Ordinances

Every ordinance and resolution in force at the time of the adoption of any amendment to this Charter, except insofar as it is inconsistent with the amendments to said Charter, shall continue in force until amended or repealed.

All rights and obligations in favor of and against the City existing at the time of the adoption of any amendment to this Charter shall continue without modification.

Article XIII: Municipal Indebtedness

Section 121. Power to Incur Indebtedness

The City may borrow money and may authorize and incur debt subject, as to the amount, purpose and the manner of incurring such indebtedness, to the limitations of the constitution and statutes of the state; and, subject to the same limitations, the City may evidence and secure such indebtedness in the form and manner as the council shall determine.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27613 Section 1

Section 122. Incidental Power of Council

The council may provide for the employment of bond counsel, brokers and underwriters, and financial consultants and for all other matters incidental to the marketing and servicing of bonds, debentures, and other instruments.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27613 Section 2

Section 124. Sale of Bonds

All bonds may be sold at such price and in such manner as authorized or required by the Revised Code of Washington, as amended.

Effective Date: November 1984
ORD C27613 Section 4

Article XIV: Amendment

Section 125. Amendment of the Charter

This Charter may be amended by majority vote of the electorate of the City. The provisions of this Charter, with respect to submission of legislation to popular vote by the initiative, or by the council of its own motion, shall apply to and include the proposal, submission and adoption of amendments.

The council may make further regulations for carrying out the provisions of this article, not inconsistent herewith.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 44

Article XV: Plan Commission

Section 126. Establishment

The city council shall, by ordinance, establish a city plan commission, to consist of ten members, who shall serve without pay.

Effective Date: 1910

Section 127. General Authority

The city plan commission shall perform such functions and have such powers as may be conferred upon it by the city council by ordinance. The city council may, by a majority vote, direct the plan commission to perform specific actions in relation to potential or pending legislative action of the city council. The council shall have power to appropriate any moneys necessary in its judgment to further the work of the commission, including the employment of necessary clerical assistants and experts, and to provide for the same in its annual budget and tax levy.

Effective Date: August 31, 2011
ORD C34634 Section 1

Section 128. Specific Powers

In addition to the powers that may be specially conferred upon the plan commission by ordinance, it shall have power to investigate and make recommendations to the city council in relation to all matters pertaining to the living conditions of the City; the betterment of facilities for doing public and private business therein; the elimination of slums; the correction of unhealthful housing conditions; the proper laying out, platting, and naming of streets, squares, and public places, and the numbering of buildings and houses therein; the location, planning, and architectural designing of public buildings; and generally, all things tending to promote the health, convenience, safety, and well being of the City's population, and to further its growth along consistent, comprehensive and permanent plans.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
ORD C34385 Section 45

Article XVI: Office of Police Ombudsman and Police Ombudsman Commission

Section 129. Office of Police Ombudsman

  1. The office of police ombudsman (OPO) is established in order to:
    1. help ensure that investigation of complaints against police officers are accomplished in a timely, fair, and thorough manner;
    2. provide visible, professional, independent civilian oversight of police officers;
    3. provide policy makers with recommendations on improvements to police policy, training and recruitment; and
    4. reassure the public that investigations into complaints and allegations of police misconduct are conducted in a timely, thorough, and objective manner.
  2. The OPO shall have the following responsibilities, as well as other duties and functions established by ordinance:
    1. The OPO shall actively monitor all police department internal investigations.
    2. The OPO shall act as an observer to any administrative or civil investigation conducted by or on behalf of the police department when an employee of the police department is involved as a principal, victim, witness, or custodial officer, where death or serious bodily injury results, or where deadly force was used regardless of whether any injury or death resulted.
    3. The OPO shall independently investigate any matter necessary to fulfill its duties under subsection (A) of Section 129, within the limits of the Revised Code of Washington, Washington State case law, Public Employment Relations Commission decisions, the Spokane Municipal Code, and any collective bargaining agreements in existence at the time this amendment takes effect, but only until such agreement is replaced by a successor agreement.
    4. The OPO shall publish reports of its findings and recommendations regarding any complaints it investigates.
  3. The police ombudsman and any employee of the OPO must, at all times, be totally independent. Any findings, recommendations, reports, and requests made by the OPO must reflect the independent views of the OPO.
  4. The duties and functions of the OPO shall be established by ordinance consistent with the City Charter. All authority, duties and functions granted to the OPO shall be consistent with the City's managerial prerogative authority under Washington State labor law.
  5. If any portion of Section 129 is found to be pre-empted by any existing collective bargaining agreement, it shall be deemed severed from this section and unenforceable until such time as the applicable collective bargaining agreement has been replaced by a successor agreement.
  6. The City shall not enter into any collective bargaining agreement that limits the duties or powers of the OPO as set forth in Section 129 unless such limitation is required to comply with existing federal or state law.

Effective Date: February 26, 2013
ORD C34941 Section 1

Section 130. Police Ombudsman Commission

  1. The office of police ombudsman commission (“commission”) is established in order to determine whether the OPO has performed his or her duties consistent with this Charter, the SMC and applicable collective bargaining agreements in existence at the time this amendment takes effect, but only until such agreement is replaced by a successor agreement. The commission may direct the OPO to complete specific functions required under the Charter, SMC or collective bargaining agreement, including performing additional investigative actions necessary for the OPO to comply with his or her duties and responsibilities.
  2. The commission shall consist of a minimum of five members, two nominated by the mayor and appointed by the city council and one member from each of the three city council districts nominated and appointed by the city council. Members shall serve for a three-year term and may be appointed for additional three-year terms. The commission shall select its own chair from its membership who shall be responsible for the administrative functions of the commission. The duties and functions of the commission, procedures for increasing the size of the commission by adding additional commissioners and the minimum qualifications for commissioners shall be established by ordinance consistent with the City Charter. All authority, duties and functions granted to the commission shall be consistent with the City's managerial prerogative authority under Washington State labor law.

Effective Date: February 26, 2013
ORD C34941 Section 1

 

Phone: 509.755.CITYFax: 509.625.6217Email: info@spokanecity.org

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