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North Dakota Century Code Title 54. State Government § 54-40.4-03. Charter commission alternatives--Powers and limitations--Charter contents

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1. Within sixty days after proceedings are initiated for a county-city home rule charter, the governing bodies of the affected counties and cities shall enter into a joint powers agreement specifying the procedure for framing the charter, which may include the establishment of a single, cooperative charter commission with membership representing each county and city.  As an alternative, the governing body of each county and city may establish a charter commission to frame the charter in cooperative study with the charter commissions of the other counties or cities.  The governing bodies shall designate one of the members as chair of the charter commission.

2. Each governing body may, whether separate charter commissions are established or another procedural arrangement is established through execution of a joint powers agreement, set the compensation and expenses of charter commission members and, from its general funds, furnish the charter commission with office space, supplies, and legal, clerical, and other assistance.

3. A charter commission, during its deliberation, may hold public hearings and community forums and use other suitable means to disseminate information, receive suggestions and comments, and encourage public discussion on the subject of the proposed county-city home rule charter, and may report periodically to the affected governing bodies on its progress.  In preparing the charter, the charter commission may:

a. Include all, or any part, of the available powers enumerated by sections 11-09.1-05 and 40-05.1-06 for county and city home rule in the county-city charter, subject to the limitations of those provisions.  A unified county-city government may not levy any tax that would not otherwise be authorized within the jurisdiction of a city or county pursuant to section 11-09.1-05 or 40-05.1-06, and city taxes may be levied only within areas of the unified government which are designated as participating cities;

b. Provide for adjustment of existing bonded indebtedness and other obligations in a manner that will provide for a fair and equitable burden of taxation for debt service;

c. Provide for the transfer or other disposition of property and other rights, claims, assets, and franchises of local governments unified under the charter;

d. Provide for the reorganization, abolition, or adjustment of boundaries of any existing boards, commissions, agencies, and special districts of the unified governments;

e. Include provisions for transition in implementing the charter, including elements that consider the reasonable expectations of current officeholders such as delayed effective dates for implementation at the end of a current term or a future term, upon the occurrence of a vacancy, or on a date certain;

f. Include provisions for the limited application or temporary implementation of the charter, including provisions that permit implementation on a trial or experimental basis such as the expiration of the charter on a date certain in the future, required reapproval of the charter by the electors at a future date, or a phased-in implementation of various aspects of the charter;  and

g. Include other provisions that the charter commission decides to include and which are consistent with state law.

4. A county-city home rule charter may not diminish the term of office for which a current county officer was elected, redesignate that elected office during that term as appointed, or reduce the salary of the office for that term.

5. A county-city home rule charter may not diminish the future term of office, or redesignate an elected office as appointed, with respect to any person who, on August 1, 1993, holds an elected county office and continues to hold that specific office for future terms on an uninterrupted basis.  This subsection does not apply after January 1, 2002, or if the person holding the affected office consents in writing to the proposed charter and submits that written document prior to the scheduled implementation of the charter to a district judge serving the judicial district in which the county is located.

6. The charter commission shall submit a single, joint report and proposed charter within one year after appointment, unless a later submission date is agreed to by the affected governing bodies.  The proposed charter or accurate summary of the charter must be published in the official newspaper of each affected county and city, at the expense of each county and city, at least once during two different weeks within the thirty-day period immediately preceding the date of election.  However, a city with a population of one thousand or less may, instead of publishing the charter in a newspaper, distribute copies of the charter door-to-door and have them posted and available at prominent locations in the city.

Cite this article: - North Dakota Century Code Title 54. State Government § 54-40.4-03. Charter commission alternatives--Powers and limitations--Charter contents - last updated January 01, 2020 |

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