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CITY OF RICHARDSON, TEXAS

CITY CHARTER

Adopted June 23, 1956
Amended January 21, 1989
Amended November 14, 2007
Amended November 6, 2012
Amended November 3, 2015


CITY OF RICHARDSON, TEXAS
HOME RULE CHARTER
As Amended November 3, 2015


TABLE OF CONTENTS
 ARTICLE 1               Incorporation and Territory
 ARTICLE 2 Powers of the City of Richardson
 ARTICLE 3 City Council
 ARTICLE 4 Nomination and Election of City Council Members
 ARTICLE 5 Recall of City Council Members
 ARTICLE 6 City Manager
 ARTICLE 7 City Attorney - Municipal Court
 ARTICLE 8 Administrative Department
 ARTICLE 9 Boards and Commissions
 ARTICLE 10 Civil Service
 ARTICLE 11 Budget and Financial Procedures
 ARTICLE 12 Franchises 
 ARTICLE 13 Ordinances
 ARTICLE 14 Initiative and Referendum
 ARTICLE 15 Collection of Taxes
 ARTICLE 16 Issuance and Sale of bonds
 ARTICLE 17 Prohibitions
 ARTICLE 18 General Provisions
 ARTICLE 19 Effective Date and Effects of Adoption

 

ADDENDUM Exhibit “A” Ordinance No. 3391-A (Redistricting- July 8, 2002)
ADDENDUM Exhibit “A” Ordinance No. 3871 (Redistricting-May 14, 2012)

 

ARTICLE 1. - INCORPORATION AND TERRITORY

Section 1.01. - Corporate name.

All inhabitants of the City of Richardson, Dallas and Collin counties, Texas, as the boundaries and limits of said city are herein established or may hereafter be established, shall be a body politic, incorporated under, and to be known by, the name and style of the "City of Richardson," with such powers, rights and duties as herein provided.

Section 1.02. - Boundaries.

The boundaries of the City of Richardson shall be those as established and described in ordinances duly passed by the city council of the City of Richardson in accordance with state law. The city secretary shall maintain an official map of the city’s boundaries as required by state law.

Section 1.03. - Additional territory.

The city may from time to time alter its boundaries by annexing any territory adjoining its present or future boundaries in any size or shape desired in any manner provided by state law. In addition, the city may annex additional territory lying adjacent to the city with or without the consent of the territory and the inhabitants of the territory annexed where the same is not inconsistent with state law. Such annexations shall be accomplished by ordinance providing for the alteration and extension of the boundary limits, which ordinance shall describe the territory to be annexed. Any territory annexed shall become a part of the city, and said land and its residents and future residents shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of other residents of the city subject to state and local laws and regulations.

ARTICLE 2. - POWERS OF THE CITY

Section 2.01. - Specific powers.

The city shall have all powers that now are or hereafter may be granted to municipalities by the Constitution or laws of the State of Texas, and all such powers, whether expressed or implied, shall be exercised and enforced in the manner prescribed by this charter, and when not prescribed therein, in such manner as may be provided by ordinance or resolution of the city council of the City of Richardson.

Section 2.02. - General powers adopted.

The enumeration of particular powers in the charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive, but in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby or appropriate to the exercise thereof, the city shall have and may exercise all other powers which, under the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, it would be competent for the charter specifically to enumerate. The City of Richardson shall have and exercise all powers conferred upon cities by what is known as the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Texas and the enabling Act relative thereto, and all other laws passed by the Legislature of the State of Texas relating thereto or which may hereafter be passed by said Legislature in relation to such matters.

Section 2.03. – Eminent Domain.

The city shall have the full power, authority and right to exercise the power of eminent domain in any manner authorized or permitted by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas when necessary or desirable to carry out any of the powers conferred upon by this charter or by the Constitution and laws of [the] State of Texas. The power of eminent domain hereby conferred shall include the right of the city to take the fee in land so condemned and such power and authority shall include the right to condemn public property for such purposes. The city shall have and possess the power of eminent domain for any municipal or public purposes even though not specifically enumerated in this charter.

Section 2.04. Streets and public improvements.

The city shall have the full power, authority and right to exercise in any manner authorized or permitted by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas when necessary or desirable to construct, develop, improve, expand, widen and maintain or cause to be constructed, developed, improved, expanded, widened and maintained, within or outside the city limits any public streets, sidewalks, alleys, drainage facilities, sanitary sewer facilities, water and storm drainage facilities and other public improvements and to impose, levy and collect assessments or other charges for the costs of such development and improvements in any manner not prohibited by state law.

ARTICLE 3. - CITY COUNCIL

Section 3.01. - Number, election, terms.

  1. Except as otherwise provided by this charter, all powers conferred on the city shall be exercised by a city council consisting of seven (7) members comprised of a mayor and six (6) council members. The members of the city council shall each be elected by the qualified voters of the entire City to numbered places in the manner provided in this charter for a term of two (2) years and until a successor is elected and qualified. As used in this charter, unless the context clearly means otherwise, the word or phrase “city council”, “council”, “member(s) of the city council” and “member(s) of the council” means and includes the mayor and the six (6) council members. The word or phrase “councilmember(s)” or “council member(s)” means the six (6) members of the city council excluding the mayor, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
  2. No person elected or appointed to the city council at the May 2009 city officer election or thereafter, shall serve as a member of the city council in any place for more than six (6) consecutive terms until at least one full term shall have elapsed from the expiration of such person's last term of office.
  3. For purposes of this section and in computing term limits:
    1. A member of the council, who resigns or vacates office prior to the expiration of the term for which such person was elected or appointed, shall be deemed to have served a full term.
    2. A person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy on the council for an unexpired term shall be deemed to have served a full term if fifty percent (50%) or more of such term is remaining at the time of such appointment or election.

Section 3.02. - Mayor.

The mayor shall be the presiding officer. The mayor shall vote on all matters coming before the council, shall have no power of veto, shall represent the city on all ceremonial occasions and shall be known as the official head of the government.

Section 3.03. - Mayor pro tem.

The city council shall elect one (1) of its members as mayor pro tem, who shall temporarily perform the duties of mayor in case of the absence or inability of the mayor to perform the duties of office, and who shall for such time be vested with all the powers belonging to the mayor. In such event, the mayor pro tem does not assume the office of the mayor and no vacancy is created in the office of the mayor or mayor pro tem. In case of the absence of both the mayor and the mayor pro tem, the remaining council members shall select one (1) of their members to act in the place of the mayor. The mayor pro tem shall be selected after each election and shall serve for a period of two (2) years, subject to removal as mayor pro tem at any time by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the council.

Section 3.04. - Compensation.

Each member of the city council shall receive as compensation the sum of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per diem for each city council meeting attended by such member, said compensation in no event to exceed the sum of five thousand two hundred dollars ($5,200.00) per annum. In addition to the above, all necessary expenses incurred by members of the city council in the performance of their official duties shall be paid by the city.

Section 3.05. - No council interference.

Neither the council nor any of its committees or members shall dictate or attempt to dictate the appointment of any person to, or removal from, office or employment by the city manager or any of the manager's subordinates, or in any manner interfere in the appointment of officers and employees in the departments of administrative service vested in the city manager by this charter. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the council and its members shall deal with that part of the administrative service for which the city manager is responsible solely through such city manager, and neither the council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any of the subordinates of the city manager in said departments, either publicly or privately.

Section 3.06. - Council misconduct.

Willful violation of any provision of this charter by any member of the council shall constitute official misconduct, and shall authorize the council, by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership, to expel such offending member from the council, if found guilty after a public hearing, and thereby create a vacancy in the place held by such member.

Section 3.07. – Council vacancies.

  1. Mayor. A vacancy in the office of the mayor shall be filled by special election to be held on the earliest date allowed by law for the purpose of allowing the qualified voters of the city to elect a person to serve the remainder of the unexpired term unless the date of the next general election for city council occurs first. Until the vacancy is filled in accordance with this section, the mayor pro tem shall perform the duties, but not assume the office, of mayor.
  2. Council members. Vacancies in the city council other than in the office of mayor, where the same do not exceed one (1) at any one time, shall be filled by appointment by majority vote of the remaining members of the city council by a person meeting the qualifications of the charter to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. When there are two (2) or more vacancies at any one time, the vacancies shall be filled by special election to be held on the earliest date allowed by law for the purpose of allowing the qualified voters of the city to elect a person to serve the remainder of the unexpired term unless the date of the next general election for city council occurs first.

Section 3.08. – Meetings.

All meetings of the council shall be held in the City Hall or at such other locations as may be designated by the city council and at such times as may be prescribed by council; but not less than two (2) meetings shall be held each month, unless cancelled by the council.

Section 3.09. - Special meetings.

Special meetings of the city council shall be called by the city secretary or city manager upon the written request of the mayor, the city manager or three (3) council members. Any such notice shall state the subject to be considered at the special meeting.

Section 3.10. - Open meetings.

All meetings of the city council shall be open to the public except as otherwise permitted by state law, and the rules of the city council shall provide that with the exception of emergency meetings and authorized closed meetings of the city council, citizens of the city shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at the meetings of the city council, in regard to any matter there considered.

Section 3.11. - Quorum.

A quorum shall consist of five (5) members of the council, except where the number of members of the council, due to vacancies, is reduced to less than five (5), in which event a quorum shall consist of all of the remaining members of the council.

Section 3.12. - Voting and rules of procedure.

The yes and no votes shall be taken on the passage of all ordinances or resolutions and entered in the minutes of the proceedings of the council, and every ordinance or resolution shall require for final passage the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the council present. No member of the council shall be excused from voting except on matters involving the consideration of such member's own official conduct, or where such member's financial interests are involved, unless otherwise required by law. The council shall determine its own rules of procedure, may punish members of the council for misconduct, and may compel the attendance of absent members of the council.

Section 3.13. - Summoning witnesses.

The city council shall have power to summon and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers before it whenever it may be necessary for the more effective discharge of its duties, and shall have the power to punish for contempt before it with the same fines and penalties as the County Judge may punish for contempt before the County Court. All processes shall be signed by the mayor, attested by the city secretary and shall be served by the chief of police or any police officer of the said city.

Section 3.14. - Administering oaths.

The mayor, city secretary, municipal judge, city attorney, or any member of the city council shall have authority to administer oaths in any matter pertaining to the municipal affairs.

Section 3.15. - City Secretary.

The council shall appoint a city secretary and prescribe the duties and compensation of said officer. The city secretary shall hold office at the pleasure of the council.

ARTICLE 4. - NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF CITY COUNCIL

Section 4.01. - Number and description of districts.

The city is hereby divided into four (4) districts, known as Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 established by ordinance of the city from time to time.

Section 4.02. - Designated places.

The places of the several council members shall be designated as Places No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Council members in Places 1, 2, 3 and 4, shall reside in their correspondingly numbered districts and remain in that district for the period of time that they serve in that place. The mayor and council members in Places 5 and 6, may reside in any district. The council place for the mayor shall be designated as Place 7. All six (6) council members and the mayor shall be elected by all of the qualified voters of the city.

Section 4.03. - District revisions.

The city council shall appoint a commission, starting in January 1992 and every ten (10) years thereafter, to review the district boundaries in order to maintain a substantial equality of population in each district. They shall advise the city council, who shall within six (6) months of appointment fix the boundaries by ordinance, if necessary. The commission shall be made up of voters from all the districts of the city.

Section 4.04. - Qualifications.

Each member of the city council shall, in addition to the other qualifications prescribed by law, be on the date of the election a qualified voter, a resident of the city for one (1) year prior to the date of election, and at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

Section 4.05. - Election date.

The city council general election shall be held biennially in the City of Richardson in each odd-numbered year on the uniform election date in May or other date as may be prescribed by state law. There shall be elected at that election six (6) city council members and the mayor.

Section 4.06. - Nomination by petition.

The method of determining the names of the candidates entitled to be placed upon the official ballot for election to the city council shall be by petition, separately circulated, on behalf of each proposed candidate for the office and place on the city council for which they are a candidate. The petition must comply in all respects with the requirements of this charter and state law. Each petition circulated on behalf of each proposed candidate shall designate the office and place to be filled by such candidate. In all elections the name of each candidate shall appear on the official ballot for the office and place number designated on the petition. No candidate's name shall be placed on the official ballot unless requested by a petition as set out above.

Section 4.07. - Official ballot.

The names of candidates for mayor place 7 and council members places 1-6, except such as may have withdrawn, died or become ineligible, shall be printed on the official ballots without party designation and in the order determined by lot, in a drawing held under the supervision of the city secretary conducted in accordance with the election laws of the State of Texas. The election shall be held in conformity with the election laws in the City of Richardson and the State of Texas, or with those that may be hereafter enacted. All members of the city council shall be elected by a vote of the qualified voters of the City of Richardson at large. All qualified voters in the city shall be entitled to vote for candidates for each place number.

Section 4.08. - Election by majority.

The candidate for mayor and council member receiving a majority of all votes cast as provided in the charter hereof for the position of mayor place 7 and council member places 1-6 under the place number which that person's name appears shall be declared the duly elected mayor and council member to hold such position. If no candidate for mayor or a council member shall receive a majority of all votes cast in an election for such office and place, a runoff election shall be called to be held on a date in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas for that office and place on the council. At this special election, only the names of the two (2) candidates receiving the highest number of votes at the regular election, for the office and place for which they are candidates, shall be printed on the ballot and submitted to the qualified voters for election. The candidate receiving the majority of votes in the special election for the office and place for which such person was a candidate shall be declared duly elected. Should one of such candidates for office and place withdraw, die, or become ineligible, the other candidate for such office and place shall be declared elected to such office and place without a second election. Any tie shall be decided by lot in accordance with the election laws of the State of Texas. All elections shall be governed by the charter, the Texas Election Code and the laws applicable to municipal elections.

ARTICLE 5. - RECALL OF MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Section 5.01. - Recall of mayor and city council members.

The mayor and any council member of this city may be recalled and removed from office by the electors qualified to vote.

Section 5.02. - Procedure.

  1. Before the question of recall of the mayor or a council member shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the city, a petition addressed to the city council of the City of Richardson demanding the recall of the mayor or a council member shall first be filed with the city secretary, which petition shall name the mayor or council member whose removal is sought, and contain a complete statement of the grounds for which the removal is sought. A separate petition shall be required for the mayor and each council member whose removal is sought.
  2. The petition shall be signed by qualified voters equal in number to at least ten (10) percent of the total number of qualified voters on the date of the last regular municipal election of the city.
  3. Notice shall be given in writing to the city secretary by five (5) registered voters on the first day that such petition is circulated, and the total signatures required must be secured and the petition filed within thirty (30) days thereafter.
  4. The petition may consist of one (1) or more papers circulated separately and the signatures thereto may be upon the paper or papers containing the form of the petition, or upon other paper attached thereto. For a petition signature to be valid, a petition must contain, in addition to the signature: the signer's printed name, residence address, county of residence, date of signing, and either voter registration number or date of birth, and must comply with any other applicable requirements prescribed by state law. One (1) of the signers to each of such papers shall make oath before an official competent to administer oaths that each signature is that of the person whose name it purports to be and was signed by such person on the date indicated.
  5. Within ten (10) days after the filing of such petition, the city secretary shall examine the same and from the list of qualified voters ascertain whether or not said petition is signed by the requisite number of qualified voters. The city secretary shall attach to said petition a certificate showing the result of such examination.
  6. If by the secretary's certificate the petition is shown to be insufficient, it may be amended within ten (10) days from the date of said certificate. The secretary shall, within ten (10) days after such amendment is filed, in the event one is filed, make like examination of the said amended petition, and if the certificate shall show the petition to be insufficient, it shall not be further amended.
  7. If the petition is found to be sufficient, the city secretary shall within five (5) days or at the next regular city council meeting, whichever is later, submit it and the certificate declaring the petition to be sufficient to the city council, and notify the affected mayor or council member sought to be recalled. The city council, in the event that the mayor or council member fails to resign, shall order and set an election to be held on the earliest date allowed by law following the submission of the certified petition to the city council.
  8. If the mayor or council member in question resigns, no recall election shall be necessary and the vacancy shall be filled by the council as in other cases of vacancies.

Section 5.03. - Appeal.

Should the city council fail or refuse to order an election as herein provided for the recall of the mayor or a council member, when all the requirements for such election have been complied with by the petitioning citizens, in conformity with this article of the charter, then it shall be the duty of any one of the district judges of Dallas County, Texas, upon proper application being made therefore, to order such election and to enforce the carrying into effect of the provisions of this article of the charter.

Section 5.04. Recall limitations.

No recall petition shall be filed against the mayor or any council member within six (6) months after such person’s election or appointment to the city council and qualifying for office within three (3) months after an election for such person’s recall, and in no case within three (3) months prior to the expiration of such person’s current term of office.

ARTICLE 6. CITY MANAGER

Section 6.01. Appointment.

The council shall appoint a city manager, who shall be the chief administrative and executive officer of the city. The city manager shall be accountable to the council for the proper administration of the city. The city manager may be appointed without a definite fixed time. The city manager shall be removable at the will and pleasure of the council by a vote of the majority of the entire council. The city manager shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the council.

Section 6.02. Qualifications.

The city manager shall be chosen by the council solely on the basis of executive and administrative training, experience and ability, and without regard to political consideration. The city manager need not, when appointed, be a resident of the City of Richardson or the State of Texas, but shall be a resident within six (6) months after appointment. No member of the council shall, during the time for which elected, and one (1) year thereafter, be chosen as city manager.

Section 6.03. Absence or disability.

In case of the absence or disability of the city manager, the council may designate some qualified person to perform the duties of the office during such absence or disability.

Section 6.04. Removal.

If the city manager is removed by a vote of the majority of the entire council after serving three (3) months, unless otherwise set out in any contract, the city manager may demand written charges and the right to be heard thereon at a public meeting of the council prior to the date on which the city manager’s final removal shall take effect, but pending such hearing the council may suspend the city manager from office. The action of the council in suspending or removing the city manager shall be final, it being the intention of this charter to vest all authority and fix all responsibility for such suspension or removal in the council.

Section 6.05. Powers and duties.

The powers and duties of the city manager shall be as follows:

  1. To make certain that all laws and ordinances are enforced.
  2. To appoint and remove all directors of departments and all subordinate officers and employees of the city except as otherwise provided in this charter; all appointments to be upon merit and qualifications alone, and in the classified civil service all appointments to be subject to the civil service provision of this charter. All such directors of departments shall be immediately responsible to the city manager and may be removed by the city manager at any time.
  3. To exercise control over all departments and subdivisions thereof created by the charter, or that may hereafter be created by the council.
  4. To make certain that all terms and conditions imposed in favor of the city or its inhabitants in any public utility franchise are faithfully kept and performed, and upon knowledge of any violation thereof to call the same to the attention of the city attorney, whose duty it shall be to take such steps as may be necessary to enforce the same.
  5. To attend all meetings of the council, with the right to take part in the discussion, but having no vote. The city manager shall be entitled to notice of all special meetings.
  6. To recommend to the council for adoption such measures as the city manager may deem necessary or expedient.
  7. To keep the council at all times fully advised as to the financial condition and needs of the city.
  8. To prepare or cause to be prepared and submitted to the council the annual budget.
  9. To make certain that the city operates within its budget.
  10. To execute deeds and to make and execute all contracts on behalf of the city when authorized by ordinance, resolution or motion of the city council.
  11. To perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter, or by ordinance or resolution of the city council.

Section 6.06 . Bond of city manager.

The city council shall require the city manager, before entering upon the duties of the office, to execute a good and sufficient bond with a surety company doing business in the State of Texas, and approved by the city council, as surety thereon, said bond to be in such amount as the council may demand, payable to the City of Richardson, and conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of office; premium of such bond to be paid by the city.

Section 6.07. Investigations.

The council, the city manager or any person or committee authorized by either or both of them shall have power to inquire into the conduct of any department or office of the city, to make investigations as to city affairs, and for that purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and compel the production of books, papers and other evidence material to said inquiry. The council shall establish by ordinance penalties for contempt in refusing to obey any such subpoenas or failure to produce books, papers and other evidence, and shall have the power to punish any such contempt in the manner provided by ordinance.

ARTICLE 7. CITY ATTORNEY—MUNICIPAL COURT

Section 7.01. City attorney.

The city council shall appoint a competent attorney licensed and practicing law in the State of Texas who shall be the city attorney. The city attorney shall receive for services such compensation as may be fixed and approved by the city council, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the city council. The city attorney, or other duly licensed practicing attorneys in the United States selected by the city council, shall represent the city in all litigation and shall serve as the legal advisor of and attorney and counsel for the city. The city attorney may serve as the municipal court prosecutor or may provide a municipal court prosecutor and alternate municipal court prosecutor. The city council may contract with an attorney or with a firm of attorneys who may designate one (1) member of said firm to serve as city attorney.

Section 7.02. Municipal court.

There shall be established and maintained by the city council a court designated as a municipal court, with all the powers and duties as are now or hereafter may be prescribed by the laws of the State of Texas relating to municipal courts.

Section 7.03. Municipal court judge.

The judge of the municipal court, while in office, shall be a bona fide resident of the City of Richardson, a duly licensed, practicing attorney in the State of Texas, and shall be appointed by the city council for a term of two (2) years, subject to removal by the city council by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the city council.

Section 7.04. Alternate municipal court judge.

The city council may appoint an alternate judge or judges of the municipal court, who need not be a resident of the City of Richardson, but must be a duly licensed, practicing attorney in the State of Texas, who shall be appointed by the city council for a term of two (2) years, subject to removal by the city council by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the city council.

Section 7.05 . Compensation.

The judge, alternate judge, prosecutor and alternate prosecutor shall receive compensation as is approved by the city council.

Section 7.06. Municipal court clerks.

The city manager shall appoint the clerk of the municipal court and the deputy clerks, and said clerks shall each qualify as a notary public and shall have the power to administer oaths and affidavits, make certificates, affix the seal of the court thereto, and generally do and perform any and all acts usually necessary by the clerk of courts in issuing process of said courts and conducting the business thereof.

ARTICLE 8. ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENTS

Section 8.01. Creation and control.

The council shall have power by ordinance to establish departments and offices. The council may discontinue any department or office established by ordinance and may prescribe, combine, distribute or abolish the functions and duties of such departments and offices. No administrative department or office created by ordinance shall be established, discontinued or combined until the recommendation of the city manager thereon shall have first been heard by the council. Such departments and offices as may be hereby created shall be placed under the control of the city manager.

Section 8.02. Administrative code.

The city manager shall prepare and submit to the council for its approval and adoption an administrative code and such amendments, from time to time, as are necessary to maintain the administrative code current with regard to the organization, functional operation and such other definitions and delineations of the organization of the city as are required. The administrative code shall include and provide for departments and offices as required by this charter and other departments and offices created by ordinance. The administrative code shall provide for a director, or other designated officer for each department, the duties and responsibilities of such director or officer and such other matters as shall be necessary for the proper control and management of each department or office of the city. Each director or officer so designated shall be appointed by the city manager and shall serve until removed by the city manager. The administrative code shall define the organization structure and reporting responsibility of each department or office, whether to the city manager, deputy or assistant city manager or other director or officer of the city as set out in said administrative code.

Section 8.03. Responsibility of department directors.

The directors of departments appointed by the city manager shall be immediately responsible to the city manager for the administration of their departments, and their advice in writing may be required by the city manager on all matters affecting their departments. They shall prepare departmental estimates, which shall be open to public inspection, and they shall make all their reports and recommendations concerning their departments at stated intervals, or when requested by the city manager.

ARTICLE 9. - BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Section 9.01. - Creation.

There are hereby created and placed under the control and direction of the city council the following boards and commissions, and such other boards and commissions as may be hereafter created:

  1.  City Plan Commission.
  2. Parks and Recreation Commission.
  3. Library Board.
  4. Zoning Board of Adjustment.
  5. Civil Service Board.
  6. Civil Service Appeals Board.

The council shall have power by ordinance to create, establish and abolish such other boards and commissions as the council shall determine are necessary and desirable. Such ordinance shall as a minimum include:

  1. Title of the board or commission.
  2. Purpose and duties.
  3. Number of persons comprising membership.
  4. Terms.
  5. Appointment of chairperson and vice-chairperson.

No person shall be appointed to serve more than four (4) consecutive two (2) year terms on any single board or commission. This provision does not apply to alternate members of boards and commissions.

Section 9.02. - Appointments.

The council shall appoint members to all boards and commissions, who are qualified voters of the City of Richardson, who have been residents of the State of Texas for at least one (1) year and residents of the city for at least six (6) months immediately prior to the date of such appointment, and who hold no elected public office and are not in arrears in taxes or other liability due the city.

Section 9.03. - Removal and vacancies.

Except as otherwise provided by state law or ordinance, the council may, upon the affirmative vote of the majority of the full membership of the council, remove members of any board or commission without notice. If an individual appointed to a board or commission shall cease to possess any of the qualifications for appointment, shall file or announce as a candidate for any public office, or shall be convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, such individual shall immediately be considered removed and such appointment vacant. Vacancies in the appointive board or commission, whether by resignation, death, removal or other cause, shall be filled by council appointment for the unexpired term.

Section 9.04. - Meetings.

All meetings shall be open to the public except as otherwise permitted by law. Minutes of the meetings open to the public shall be kept and attendance, subject matter and voting shall be recorded.

Section 9.05. - Quorum.

Except as otherwise provided by state law or ordinance, a majority of board or commission members shall constitute a quorum.

Section 9.06. - Voting.

No member of a board or commission shall be excused from voting unless otherwise required by law.

Section 9.07. – City plan commission.

  1. Purpose. The city plan commission shall exercise all powers granted and shall make recommendations to the city council, and exercise the powers granted thereto on matters affecting the comprehensive plan or plans, zoning, zoning regulations and changes thereto.
     
  2. Powers. The city plan commission shall have any and all powers granted to planning and zoning commissions by the statutes of the State of Texas, this charter and by ordinance and resolution of the city council of the City of Richardson. The city plan commission shall be responsible to, and advise the city council. The city plan commission shall:
     
    1. provide reports and recommend to city council, approval or disapproval of proposed changes to the comprehensive zoning ordinance and map as provided by state law and city ordinance;
       
    2. review and make recommendations to the city council regarding the adoption and amendments to the comprehensive plan;
       
    3. pursuant to city ordinances, exercise control over platting and subdivision of land within the corporate limits of the city, and the extra territorial jurisdiction of the city to the extent authorized by law; and
       
    4. perform such other additional duties and exercise such additional powers as may be prescribed by city ordinance.
       
  3. Membership and Terms. The commission shall consist of seven (7) members and two (2) alternate members who shall be appointed by the city council for two (2) year terms. At least one (1) member shall reside in each of Districts 1 through 4 of the city. An alternate member shall, at the request of the chairperson, sit for and in place of an absent regular member and shall, for the duration of the absence, be as a regular member.
     
  4. Procedures. A chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be appointed by the city council. Said commissioners shall serve without pay and shall adopt such rules and regulations as shall best govern their proceedings, deliberations and actions.

Section 9.08. - Parks and recreation commission.

  1. Purpose. The city parks and recreation commission shall act in an advisory capacity to the city council in all matters pertaining to parks and recreation, and shall exercise such other duties and further powers as are delegated by ordinance.
     
  2. Membership and terms. The commission shall consist of nine (9) members who shall be appointed for two (2) year terms. At least one (1) member shall reside in each of Districts 1 through 4 of the city.
     
  3. Procedures. A chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be appointed by the city council. Meetings shall be held monthly or as required. Guidelines, regulations and responsibilities shall be prescribed by ordinance.

Section 9.09. – Library board.

  1. Purpose. The city library board shall act in an advisory capacity to the city council in all matters pertaining to the public library, and shall exercise such other duties and have such powers as is delegated by ordinance.
     
  2. Membership and terms. The board shall consist of seven (7) members who shall be appointed for two (2) year terms. At least one (1) member shall reside in each of Districts 1 through 4 of the city. 
     
  3. Procedures. A chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be appointed by the city council. Meetings shall be held monthly or as required. Guidelines, regulations and responsibilities shall be prescribed by ordinance.

Section 9.10. - Zoning board of adjustment.

  1. Purpose. The zoning board of adjustment shall, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, make special exceptions to the terms of the comprehensive zoning ordinance, or any successor thereto, in harmony with its general purpose and intent and in accordance with general or specific rules therein contained.
     
  2. Powers. The zoning board of adjustment shall have the following powers:
     
    1. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of any zoning ordinance.
       
    2. To hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of the comprehensive zoning ordinance, or any successor thereto, when the comprehensive ordinance requires the board to do so under such ordinance.
       
    3. To authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variance from the terms of a zoning ordinance if the variance is not contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the zoning ordinance will result in unnecessary hardship, and so that the spirit of the zoning ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done.
       
    In exercising the above-mentioned powers, such board may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination appealed from and may make such order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made, and to the end shall have all the powers of the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken.
     
    The concurring vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the members of the board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of any such administrative official or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under any such ordinance or to effect any variation in such ordinance.
     
    Any person or persons, jointly or severally, aggrieved by any decision of the board of adjustment, or any taxpayer, or any officer, department, board or bureau of the municipality, may present to the District Court a petition, duly verified, setting forth that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of the illegality, as allowed by state law. Such petition shall be presented to the District Court within ten (10) days after the filing of the decision in the office of the board.
     
  3. Membership and terms. The board shall consist of at least five (5) regular members and two (2) alternate members, who shall be appointed for two (2) year terms. At least one (1) member shall reside in each of Districts 1 through 4 of the city. An alternate member shall at the request of the chairperson sit for and in place of an absent regular member and shall for the duration of the absence be as a regular member. 
     
  4. Procedures. A chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be appointed by the city council. Meetings shall be held monthly or as required. All matters heard by the board of adjustment shall be heard by the minimum of seventy-five percent (75%) of the members of the board.

    The board shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section. Meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the chairperson and at such other times as the board may determine. Such chairperson, or in the absence of the acting chairperson, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the board and shall be a public record.

    Appeals to the board of adjustment may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board or bureau of the municipality affected by any decision of the administrative official. Such appeal shall be taken within a reasonable time, as provided by the rules of the board, by filing with the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken and with the board of adjustment a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The administrative official from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.

    Except as otherwise provided by state law, an appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the board of adjustment after the notice of appeal shall have been filed and that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would cause imminent peril to life or property.

    The board of adjustment shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal, give public notice thereof, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, and decide the same within a reasonable time. Upon the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.

Section 9.11. – Civil service board.

  1. Purpose. The primary purpose of the civil service board is to oversee the civil service system of the City of Richardson.
     
  2. Powers. The civil service board, subject to the approval of the city council, shall adopt, amend, and enforce a code of rules and regulations providing for appointment and employment in all positions in the classified service which shall have the force and effect of law; also rules regulating reduction of forces of employees and in what order they shall be dismissed and reinstated; shall assure the enforcement of the civil service sections of this charter and of the rules adopted under the powers herein granted.
     
  3. Membership and terms. The civil service board [shall] consist of five (5) members who shall be appointed for two (2) year terms.
     
  4. Procedures. The city council shall appoint a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. The board may appoint such other officers as it may deem necessary from time to time. In the absence of one or more of the permanent officers, temporary officers may be appointed by the board for the conduct of business. The board shall meet monthly, or as needed.

Section 9.12. - Civil service appeals board.

  1. Purpose. The civil service appeals board is hereby created for the purpose of hearing and determining any charges made against any employee of the city in the classified service.
     
  2. Powers. The civil service appeals board shall have final jurisdiction to hear and decide all appeals made to it by any suspended, reduced, demoted or discharged employee in the classified service, and the judgment or decision of a majority of the members of the appeals board at a hearing shall be final. Any aggrieved employee who desires to appeal to the appeals board must do so promptly and within ten (10) days from the date that the aggrieved employee received notification of the suspension, demotion, reduction or dismissal action by giving written notice to the civil service appeals board of appeals. The civil service board shall set a hearing date within twenty (20) days after receipt of the notice of appeal, and an appeals board shall be convened to hear the appeal. The aggrieved employee may be represented by counsel and shall have the right to an open hearing and to compel the attendance of witnesses to testify on behalf of the aggrieved employee. The appeal to the appeals board shall not suspend the execution of the order of suspension, reduction, demotion or discharge pending final decision of the appeals board. The appeals board may either sustain or reverse the action taken against the employee, or may modify or amend the action as it may deem justified, appropriate and equitable in light of all the facts and circumstances of the particular case.
     
  3. Membership. The civil service appeals board shall consist of at least three (3) members of the civil service board.
     
  4. Minimum standard. The civil service board shall fix a minimum standard of conduct and efficiency for each grade in the service, and whenever it shall appear from the reports of efficiency made to the said board that the conduct and efficiency of any employee has fallen below this minimum, that employee may be called before the board to show cause why such employee should not be removed, suspended or reduced in grade, as the board shall determine.
      
  5. Payroll certified by the board. The city shall not make payment of any salary or compensation for service to any persons holding a position in the classified service unless the payroll or account of such salary or compensation shall show that the persons named therein have been appointed or employed and are performing service in accordance with the provisions of the charter and of the rules established thereunder.
      
  6. Appeals proceedings. In any appeals proceeding conducted by the board, it shall have the power to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production thereby of books and papers pertinent to the proceeding and to administer oaths to such witnesses.
      
  7. No discrimination. No discrimination shall be exercised, threatened, or promised against or in favor of any applicant, competitor, candidate, eligible or employee because of race, color, sex, age, disabilities, religion, national origin or political opinions.

ARTICLE 10. - CIVIL SERVICE

Section 10.01. - Organization of civil service board.

The civil service board shall be established as provided in Article 9 of this charter.

Section 10.02. - Unclassified and classified service.

The civil service of this city is hereby divided into the unclassified and classified service, to-wit:

  1. (a) The unclassified service shall include:
     
    1. The city manager and persons assigned to the office of the city manager.
       
    2. The directors and heads of departments, assistant directors and assistant heads of departments, and the city secretary.
       
    3. The labor class, which shall include all ordinary, unskilled labor.
       
  2. The classified service shall comprise all positions not specifically included in the unclassified service. There shall be in the classified service two (2) classes to be known as the competitive class and the noncompetitive class, to-wit:
     
    1. The competitive class shall include all positions and employment for which it is practicable to determine the merit and fitness of the applicants by competitive examination.
        
    2. The noncompetitive class shall consist of all positions requiring peculiar and exceptional qualifications of a scientific, managerial, professional or educational character, as may be determined by the rules of the board.

Section 10.03. - List of eligibles.

The board shall provide for examination in accordance with the regulations of the board, and maintain lists of eligibles to each class of the service of those meeting the requirements of said regulations. Positions in the classified service shall be filled from such eligible lists upon requisition of the city manager, or designee.

Section 10.04. - Promotions in the classified.

The board shall provide for promotion to all positions in the classified service competitive class.

Section 10.05. - Probation period.

Appointment or promotion in the classified service shall not be deemed complete until a probationary period has been completed. A probationary period not to exceed six (6) months shall be determined by the civil service board for each employee classification.

Section 10.06. - Discharge of employee after probation period.

Any employee in the classified service may be removed, suspended, laid off or reduced in grade by the city manager, or the head of the department in which employed, after the probation period has expired. If demanded by such employee, it shall be the duty of the city manager or department head, as the case may be, discharging such employee to furnish a written statement of the reasons therefore. The discharged, suspended or reduced employee shall have the right to demand a public hearing upon said charges within a reasonable time thereafter before the civil service appeals board as hereinafter defined.

Section 10.07. - Appeals board.

The civil service appeals board shall be established as provided in the preceding article of this charter for the purpose of hearing and determining any charges made against any employee of the city in the classified service.

ARTICLE 11. - BUDGET AND FINANCIAL PROCEDURE

Section 11.01. - Fiscal year.

The fiscal year of the City of Richardson shall begin on October 1 of each calendar year and will end on September 30 of the following calendar year. The fiscal year will also be established as the accounting and budget year.

Section 11.02. - Preparation and submission of budget.

The city manager, on or before August 15 of each year, shall prepare and submit to the council a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. In preparing this budget, each employee, officer, board and department shall assist the city manager by furnishing all necessary information. The budget shall comply with and contain such information and itemization as may be required by state law.

Section 11.03. – Proposed budget a public record.

The proposed budget and all supporting schedules shall be filed with the city secretary when submitted to the council and shall be open to public inspection.

Section 11.04. - Public hearing.

At the council meeting when the budget is submitted, the council shall name the date and place of a public hearing. The hearing shall be no less than fifteen (15) days after the budget is filed. Public notice of the hour, date and place of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper of the city not less than ten (10) nor more than thirty (30) days before the hearing. At this hearing, citizens of the city may be present and express their opinions concerning items of expenditures and revenue.

Section 11.05. - Proceeding on adoption.

After public hearing, the council shall analyze the budget, making any additions or deletions which they feel appropriate, and shall, by ordinance, adopt the budget by a majority vote of all members of the council.

Section 11.06. - Budget appropriation; tax levy.

On final adoption, the budget shall be in effect for the budget year. Final adoption of the budget by the council shall constitute the official appropriations for the current year and shall constitute the basis of the official levy of the property tax as the amount of tax to be assessed and collected for the corresponding tax year. Estimated expenditures for operating purposes will in no case exceed proposed revenue, plus unallocated fund balance, and other financing sources. Unused appropriations may be transferred to any item required for the same general purpose.

Section 11.07. - Transfer of appropriations.

The council may at any time transfer an unencumbered balance of an appropriation made for the use of one department, division, or purpose; but no such transfer shall be made of revenues or earnings of any nontax supported public utility for any other purpose. This prohibition does not apply to the transfer of budgeted funds of any nontax supported public utility or other enterprise fund for the purposes of reimbursing the general fund for providing administrative services to such operations.

Section 11.08. - Unallocated fund balance.

When recommended by the city manager and at the discretion of the council, the budget may contain a reasonable sum set aside as an unallocated fund balance to meet unexpected and unforeseen contingencies in current operating costs of each fund.

Section 11.09. - Amending the budget.

Expenditures to meet unusual and unforeseen conditions, which were not included in the original budget, may from time to time be authorized as amendments to the original budget. Any amendment providing for additional expenditure shall also provide for reductions in other expenditures or supplemental revenues to fund such amendments, or an amount from the unallocated fund balance as a supplement. These amendments shall be ratified by ordinance at the end of the fiscal year.

Section 11.10. - Adopted budget made available.

A copy of the budget, as adopted, shall be filed with the city secretary, the Richardson Public Library, and such other places as may be required by state law. The adopted budget shall be printed or otherwise reproduced and sufficient copies shall be made available for the use of all offices, agencies and for the use of interested persons and civic organizations.

Section 11.11. - Independent audit.

At the close of each fiscal year, and at such other times as it may deem necessary, the council shall cause an independent annual audit to be made of accounts of the city in accordance with applicable auditing standards by a certified public accountant or firm of such accountants who have no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the financial affairs of the city or of any of its officers. The council may, without requiring competitive bids, designate such certified public accountant or firm annually or for a period not to exceed five (5) years. The annual audit, including all reports and management letters, shall be submitted and reported to the council. A copy of the annual audit, after acceptance by the council, will be filed with the city secretary and shall be available for public inspection.

Section 11.12. - Defect shall not invalidate tax levy.

Errors or defects in the form or preparation of the budget or the failure to perform any procedural requirements shall not nullify the tax levy or the tax rate.

ARTICLE 12. - FRANCHISES

Section 12.01. - Ownership, control and use of real and public property by the city.

The ownership, right of control and use of the streets, highways, alleys, parks, public places and all other real property of the City of Richardson is hereby declared to be inalienable to said city, except by ordinances passed by vote of the majority of the city council of the city, as hereinafter provided. No franchise or easement involving the right to use same, either along, across, over or under the same, shall ever be valid unless expressly granted and exercised in compliance with the terms hereof, and of the ordinances granting the same. No act or omission of the city, its city council, officers or agents shall be construed to confer or extend by estoppel or indirection any right, franchise or easement not expressly granted by ordinance.

Section 12.02. - Exclusive franchises prohibited.

No franchise to construct, maintain or operate a public or private utility, or a renewal or extension thereof, shall be exclusive.

Section 12.03. – Power to grant a franchise.

Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, the City of Richardson shall have the full power as now or hereafter granted under the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas by ordinance to grant, renew, amend and extend a franchise for public or private utilities of every character and consents and agreements as to all other users of public property, including, but not limited to users of the public rights-of-way, streets and utility easements, operating within the city.

Section 12.04. - Ordinances granting.

Ordinances granting franchises shall be subject to the terms hereof, and shall contain such terms and conditions as the city council shall see fit to impose. All franchises shall be exercised in accordance with the terms of the ordinance granting the same and of the charter. If such franchises shall not be exercised in substantial accordance with the terms hereof, and of the ordinance granting the same, then, after notice and reasonable hearing to the holders thereof, such franchise may be cancelled or annulled and the city council shall, by ordinance, adopt reasonable rules and regulations for such notice and hearing.

Section 12.05. - Term of franchises.

No determinate or fixed term franchise shall ever be granted for a longer term than twenty (20) years; nor shall any right, privilege or franchise now in existence be extended beyond the period now fixed for its termination, directly or indirectly, unless by specific ordinance granting an extension for the purpose of renegotiating such franchise. No holder of a franchise heretofore or hereafter granted shall have a right (unless such right is granted in the franchise) to transfer or assign its properties and franchise to any other person, firm or corporation without the consent of the city, and such consent when given shall not operate as the granting of a franchise or as a new franchise.

Section 12.06. - Indeterminate franchises.

In addition to the powers conferred to grant privileges and franchises for a fixed term not to exceed twenty (20) years, the City of Richardson shall have power to grant indeterminate franchises. The term "indeterminate franchise," as used in this charter, shall mean and embrace every privilege, franchise or easement granted directly or indirectly by the City of Richardson which shall have no fixed or determinate duration. An indeterminate franchise shall continue in force only until such time as the city shall exercise an option, to be provided for in the ordinance granting any such franchise. Such ordinance shall give the city in express terms the right to purchase the property of the franchise holder or cause a purchaser to buy such property. Such ordinance shall also fix the time or times when such right may be exercised or terminated.

Section 12.07. - Compensation for franchises.

All persons, firms or corporations to whom franchises may hereafter be granted, or their assigns and successors, shall as compensation for the right or privilege enjoyed pay to the city a sum not less than two (2) percent of the gross receipts of the business pursued by the holder of the franchise earned for service rendered in the City of Richardson, or such other sums as may be allowed by applicable law.

All sums required to be paid by the holder of any franchise under the terms of this section shall be due and payable quarterly as shall be set out in the franchise agreement or ordinance, and shall be exclusive of and in addition to all ad valorem taxes upon the value of the franchise and other property of the holder thereof and all lawful occupation taxes imposed upon the occupation or calling of the holder thereof; and the amount of such compensation may be changed from time to time as in the opinion of the city council may be just and reasonable, to the extent and upon such terms and conditions as may be fixed in the ordinance granting such franchise.

Section 12.08. - Right to fix rates.

The right is hereby delegated where applicable to the City of Richardson, acting through its city council, to determine, fix and regulate the charges, fares or rates of any holder of a franchise or other public privilege in Richardson, and to prescribe the kind of service to be furnished and the manner in which it shall be rendered, as allowed by state and federal law. The city has the right to alter or change such rules, regulations, and compensation, from time to time.

Section 12.09. - Changes and extensions.

The city council shall have the power, by ordinance or resolution and without reference to the other franchise provisions of this charter, to grant the right and to require utility companies and all other companies or individuals enjoying a franchise from the city now or hereafter to make and furnish necessary changes in or reasonable extensions of facilities and service in or to any portion of the city as in the judgment of the city council may be necessary. Said changes or extensions are under and subject to the terms and conditions of the franchise then enjoyed by such franchise holder in connection with which the change or extension is to be made, and under such further terms and conditions as the city council may deem proper. The city council shall have the power to prevent the making of unnecessary or unprofitable extensions.

Section 12.10. - Discrimination forbidden.

Every public service corporation shall furnish and provide equal and uniform service alike to all persons, firms and corporations in the City of Richardson. It shall be unlawful and a sufficient ground for the forfeiture of any franchise for any such corporation to grant free service or furnish better service or to furnish service for a lower price or rate, conditions or quantity of service considered to any person, firm or corporation than to any other person, firm or corporation or to otherwise discriminate in the matter of rates or service. Any such public service corporation may, however, from time to time, with the consent and approval of the city council, adopt schedules governing rates, conditions or quantities of service considered, and allow applicants to choose between alternative schedules. But no such schedule shall be operative nor shall service be furnished in accordance therewith until filed and approved by the city council of the City of Richardson.

Section 12.11. - Authorization of railway companies and transit systems.

The city council shall have power to authorize railway companies and transit systems operating within the City of Richardson and operating their lines from the City of Richardson to other towns and cities beyond its limits to lay their tracks and establish their switches on and over the streets and other property of the City of Richardson or such parts thereof as the city council may see fit, subject to the terms of the charter and to such other conditions as may be imposed by the city council.

Section 12.12. - Railway and transit operations.

Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, the City of Richardson shall have the following powers by ordinance or otherwise:

  1. To regulate the speed of trains, subways, monorails, or any other engines and locomotives within the limits of Richardson;
     
  2. To require railway companies and transit systems to keep the streets over which they run properly drained and to pay all or any part of the paving, grading, draining, and repair thereof along the streets so used by such railway companies or transit systems;
     
  3. To require railway companies and transit systems to light streets over which they run wherever deemed necessary or advisable by the city council;
     
  4. To require railway companies and transit systems to construct and keep in repair from curb to curb, bridges and crossings over all the ditches made or crossed by them, and to construct and maintain drains and culverts where crossed by any line of said railway companies or transit systems, on all streets over which they run;
     
  5. To direct and control the laying and construction of railway companies and transit system tracks, turnouts and switches and to regulate the grade of same, and to require them to conform to the grade of the streets of Richardson as they may hereafter be or are now established;
     
  6. To require that said tracks and turnouts and switches be so constructed and laid out as to interfere as little as possible with the ordinary travel in the use of the streets;
     
  7. To require any or all railway companies and transit systems operating any track(s) upon or across any public streets of the City of Richardson to reduce such track(s) below or elevate such track(s) above the level of the streets intersected or occupied by such track(s) and to require the company or companies owning or operating such track or tracks to provide necessary and proper crossing for the public travel at intersecting streets; all such work to be done in the manner required by the City of Richardson.

The portion of the street occupied by a railway company and transit system shall be deemed to be the space between the tracks and twenty-four (24) inches on the outside of each of the rails, and all the space between the double tracks, turnouts and switches. Should any railway company and transit system propose to lay a track on any street or portion of a street which shall have been improved under the provisions of this charter, it shall become liable for such portion of the cost of such improvement as the city council may direct, or as is fixed by this charter.

Section 12.13. - Abutting property.

The city council shall have the power, by ordinance, or resolution, to grant to any owner of property abutting upon the streets or other property of the city the use thereof or to go over or under the same in any manner which may be necessary or proper to the enjoyment of said abutting property by the owner; provided, that such use be not inconsistent with or does not unreasonably impair the public use to which said street or other public property may be dedicated. The city council shall fix the terms and conditions of any such grant and the time for which the same shall exist. The right is expressly reserved to the city, acting through said city council to terminate such grant when deemed inconsistent with the public use of the property of the city or when the same may become a nuisance.

Section 12.14 . - Shared use.

Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, the city council shall have the power to require any corporation or transit system holding a franchise from the city to allow the use of its tracks, poles and wire by any other corporation to which the city shall grant a franchise, upon payment of a reasonable rental therefore to be fixed by the city council.

Section 12.15. - Revocable permits.

Permits or licenses unconditionally revocable at the will of the city council for minor or temporary privileges in the streets, public ways and public places of the city may be granted and revoked by ordinance or resolution, from time to time, and such permits shall not be deemed franchises as the term is used in this charter.

Section 12.16. - Public services; condemnation.

The City of Richardson shall have power to buy or construct, own, maintain and operate a system or systems of waterworks, gas or electric lighting plants, telephones, transit systems and sewers, or any other public service or enterprise that may be approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the City of Richardson voting therefore at any regular election for city officers in accordance with the provisions of this charter; and may demand and receive compensation for such services furnished for private purposes, and shall have power to condemn the property of any person, firm or corporation for the purpose of operating and maintaining any such utility, and for distributing such service throughout the city or any portion thereof, but in such condemnation proceedings no allowance shall be made for the value of any franchise and only the actual physical assets shall be purchased by the City of Richardson.

ARTICLE 13. - ORDINANCES

Section 13.01. - Rules and regulations validated.

All ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations of the City of Richardson heretofore ordained, passed or enacted that are in force at the time this charter or any amendment thereto becomes effective, and which are not in conflict with such charter, shall remain in full force and effect until altered, amended or repealed by the city council after such charter or any amendment thereto takes effect.

Section 13.02. - Action requiring an ordinance.

Acts of the city council shall be by adoption of an ordinance when state law or other provisions of this charter require such acts to be approved by ordinance.

Section 13.03. - Ordinance authentication, recordation and publication.

All measures of the city council shall be authenticated and recorded as established by this charter or by such means as may otherwise be allowed by state law, or as the city council may provide by ordinance from time to time. Every ordinance imposing any penalty, fine, imprisonment or forfeiture for a violation of its provisions shall, after passage thereof, be published by publishing the caption thereof at least once in a local newspaper or by such other means as may be allowed by state law.

Section 13.04. - Style.

The style of ordinances shall be "Be It Ordained by the City Council of the City of Richardson," but such caption may be omitted when said ordinances are published in book form or are revised and digested under the order of the council.

Section 13.05. - Codification.

The city council shall have power to cause the ordinances of the city to be printed in code form, and shall have the same arranged and digested as often as the council may deem advisable.

Section 13.06. - Valid and effective.

The final passage of an ordinance by the city council and the publication of the same when so required shall be all that is necessary to make such ordinances valid and effective. The signature of the mayor and city secretary shall be affixed to each ordinance.

Section 13.07. - Enrollment.

Each ordinance passed by the city council shall be enrolled by the city secretary within five (5) days after its passage, or as soon thereafter as is practicable.

ARTICLE14. - INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM

Section 14.01. – Power of initiative.

The people of the City of Richardson reserve the power of direct legislation by initiative, and in the exercise of such power may propose that any ordinance, except those not legally authorized to be considered by initiative by the state constitution or state law, be submitted to the qualified voters of the city [council] by submitting a petition to the city secretary which shall contain the full text of the proposed ordinance, signed by qualified voters of the city equal in number to ten (10) percent of the total number of qualified voters on the date of the last regular municipal election. The signatures to the petition need not all be appended to one (1) paper, but all signers shall in addition to their signature provide their residence address, county of residence, printed name, date of signing and comply with any other applicable requirements prescribed by state law. One (1) of the signers to each of such papers shall make oath before an officer of the State of Texas competent to administer oaths that each signature is that of the person whose name it purports to be and was signed by such person on the date indicated. All petition papers comprising an initiative petition shall be assembled and filed with the city secretary as one instrument on the same day.

Section 14.02. - Examination of initiative petition.

Within ten (10) days from the date of filing an initiative petition, the city secretary shall examine the same and ascertain from the list of qualified voters whether or not said petition is signed by the requisite number of qualified voters, and shall attach to said petition a certificate showing the result of such examination. If by the secretary's certificate the petition is shown to be insufficient, it may be amended within ten (10) days from date of said certificate. The secretary shall within ten (10) days after receipt of such amendment make like examinations of the amended petition. If the secretary's certificate shall show the same to be insufficient, the petition may not be further amended, however, a new petition may be filed to the same effect. The city attorney shall review the petition to determine that it is a proper subject and in proper form. If the petition shall be found to be sufficient, the secretary shall submit the same to the city council without delay.

Section 14.03. - City council action.

When the city council receives an initiative petition certified by the city secretary to be sufficient, the city council shall either:

  1. Pass said proposed ordinance without alteration within twenty (20) days after the attachment of the city secretary’s certificate of sufficiency to the accompanying petition; or
     
  2. Call a special election to be held on the next allowable election date as authorized by state law at which said ordinance, without alteration, shall be submitted to a vote of the people.

Section 14.04. - Ballots—Proposed initiative ordinance.

The ballots used when voting upon an ordinance proposed by initiative petition shall state the nature of the proposed ordinance and shall contain the words "For the Ordinance," and "Against the Ordinance." Any number of proposed ordinances may be voted at the same election, in accordance with the provisions of this section of the charter.

Section 14.05. - Valid and effective date of initiated ordinance.

If a majority of the qualified voters voting upon an ordinance proposed by initiative petition shall vote in favor thereof, such ordinance shall thereupon become a valid and binding ordinance of the city, and any ordinance adopted by city council proposed by initiative petition, or which shall be adopted by a vote of the people, cannot be repealed or amended except by a vote of the people.

Section 14.06. - Repeal or amendment of initiated ordinance.

The city council may submit a proposition for the repeal of any ordinance adopted by the city council proposed by initiative petition or such ordinance adopted by a vote of the people, or for amendments thereto, to be voted upon at any succeeding city election, and should such proposition so submitted receive a majority of the votes cast thereon at such election, such ordinance shall be repealed or amended accordingly.

Section 14.07. - Publication of ordinance proposed by petition initiative.

Whenever any ordinance proposed by initiative petition is required by the charter to be submitted to the qualified voters of the city at any election, the city secretary shall cause the proposed ordinance to be published at least thirty (30) days before such election in a local newspaper or other official publication of the city, or by such other means as may be allowed by state law.

Section 14.08. - When initiative ordinance is effective.

No ordinance proposed by initiative petition passed by the city council or such ordinance adopted by a vote of the people shall go into effect until thirty (30) days after its final passage, except when otherwise required by the general laws of the state.

Section 14.09. – Power of referendum.

The qualified voters of the city may require that any ordinance enacted by the city council be submitted to the qualified voters of the city for approval or disapproval by filing a petition with the city secretary within forty-five (45) days after passage of said ordinance or within forty-five (45) days after its publication, whichever is later. Said petition shall be signed by qualified voters of the city equal in number to at least ten (10) percent of the total number of qualified voters on the date of the last regular municipal election. Within ten (10) days after the filing of the petition the city secretary shall examine the same and from the list of qualified voters ascertain whether the petition is signed by the requisite number of qualified voters. If by the city secretary’s certificate the petition is shown to be sufficient, the petition shall be presented to the city council, the ordinance shall thereupon be suspended from taking effect, and it shall be the duty of the city council to reconsider such ordinance, and if the same is not entirely repealed the city council shall submit the ordinance to the vote of the qualified voters of the city at the next uniform election date or other date allowed by state law. Such ordinance shall be suspended from taking effect and shall not later take effect unless a majority of the qualified voters voting on the same shall vote in favor of the ordinance. The power of referendum shall not apply to ordinances levying taxes, appropriating money, authorizing the issuance of bonds, zoning and any ordinance not the proper subject of referendum by the state constitution or state law.

ARTICLE 15 . - COLLECTION OF TAXES

Section 15.01. - Property taxes.

All property, real, personal or mixed, lying and being within the corporate limits of the City of Richardson on the first day of January of each year, excepting such property as may be exempt from taxation under the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, shall be subject to taxation.

Section 15.02. - Power to levy and collect taxes.

The city council shall have such power and authority as is granted by this charter and the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas to provide by ordinance such rules, regulations and procedures as are necessary for the assessment, levy and prompt collection of all taxes assessed and imposed pursuant to and consistent with this charter and the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas.

Section 15.03. – Tax payments.

Except as otherwise provided by state law, taxes are due on receipt of the tax bill and are delinquent if not paid before February 1 of the year following the year in which imposed. The city council may by ordinance provide for penalty and interest to be assessed on all delinquent taxes in such amounts as may be authorized by law.

Section 15.04. - Tax lien.

A lien is hereby created on all property, personal and real, in favor of the City of Richardson, to secure the payment of all taxes, ad valorem or otherwise. Said lien shall exist from January first in each year until such taxes are fully paid. Such lien shall be prior to all other claims, and no gift, sale, assignment or transfer of any kind, or judicial writ shall defeat such lien. The City of Richardson may pursue, or cause to be pursued, such property, and whenever found, may seize and sell enough thereof to satisfy such taxes as are owed to the City of Richardson.

ARTICLE 16. - ISSUANCE AND SALE OF BONDS

Section 16.01. - Authority to borrow.

The city shall have the power to borrow money on the credit of the city, in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, for permanent public improvements or for any other public purpose not now or hereafter prohibited by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, including the funding of economic development programs permitted by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas. The city shall have the power to issue general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, funding and refunding bonds, time warrants, certificates of obligation, notes and other evidences of indebtedness permitted by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas as are now authorized or as may hereafter be authorized to be issued by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas applicable to the city. In accordance with the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, the city shall have the right to refund any outstanding bonds or obligations by the issuance of refunding bonds.

Section 16.02. - Bond election.

Any proposition to issue general obligation bonds, payable from the ad valorem taxes as authorized herein, shall be first submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the city at an election to be held for that purpose. Any such election shall be held and conducted in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, as the same may be amended from time to time.

Section 16.03. - Authorized bonds.

All bonds, the issuance of which have been authorized at any election heretofore held, are hereby validated.

Section 16.04 . - Misapplication of public funds.

Any officer of the City of Richardson who shall willfully or knowingly divert or use any funds arising from the issuance of any bonds or any sinking fund for any other purpose except that for which the fund is created or are herein otherwise authorized shall be deemed guilty of a misapplication of public funds and subject to prosecution as provided under the laws of the state for the diversion and conversion of funds belonging to any of the municipalities of the state.

ARTICLE 17. - PROHIBITIONS

Section 17.01. - Church and school property assessments.

No property of any kind, church, school or otherwise, in the City of Richardson shall be exempt from any of the special taxes and assessments authorized by this charter or state law; except as provided by state law.

Section 17.02. - Notice of damage or injury.

The City of Richardson shall never be liable for any personal injury, whether resulting in death or not, or for damage to real or personal property unless the person who is injured or whose property is damaged or someone in such person's behalf, or in the event the injury results in death, the person or persons who may have a cause of action under the law by reason of such death injury, shall file a notice in writing with the city manager or city secretary within six (6) months after the day that the incident giving rise to the claim for damage or injury occurred, stating specifically in such notice when, where and how the exact injury, death or property damage occurred and the full extent thereof, together with the amount of damages claimed or asserted. Provided, however, nothing herein contained shall be construed to mean that the city waives any rights, privileges, defenses or immunities which are provided under the common law, the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas.

Section 17.03. - Execution, garnishment and assignment.

Except as provided by state or federal law, property, real and personal, belonging to the city shall not be liable to be sold or appropriated under any writ of execution or cost bill, nor shall the funds belonging to the city, in the hands of any person, be liable to garnishment on account of any debt it may owe or funds it may have on hand due any person, nor shall the city or any of its officers or agents be required to answer to any writ of garnishment on any account whatsoever, nor shall the city be liable to the assignee of any wages of any officer, agent or employee of the city, whether earned or unearned, upon any claim or account whatsoever, and as to the city and such assignment shall be void.

Section 17.04. - Liens on public property.

No lien of any kind can ever exist against the property, real and personal, of the City of Richardson.

ARTICLE 18. - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 18.01. - Personal financial interest.

No officer or employee of the city shall have a financial interest, direct or indirect, in any contract with the city, or be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in the sale to the city of any land, materials, supplies or services, except on behalf of the city and any officer or employee guilty thereof shall thereby forfeit such person's office or position. Any violation of this section, with the knowledge, expressed or implied, of the person or corporation contracting with the city council shall render the contract involved voidable by the city manager or the city council.

Section 18.02. - City contracts—Appropriations and Execution.

No contract shall be entered into by the city council until after an appropriation has been made therefore, and no contract shall be binding upon the city unless it has been signed by the mayor or city manager, or city manager designee.

Section 18.03. - Bid opening.

The city shall comply with state law regarding purchasing and contracting of municipalities including provisions relating to notice of contracts, advertisements for notice, requirements for taking sealed bids or proposals on specifications for public improvements or purchases, the manner of opening bids and the award of contracts.

Section 18.04. - Acquisition of land for parks.

The City of Richardson may acquire and appropriate land inside or outside of the City of Richardson for use as parks, open space or other recreational activities.

Section 18.05. - Public library.

The city shall establish and maintain a public library or libraries within the city free to the residents of the City of Richardson and to cooperate with any person, firm or corporation under such terms the city council may prescribe for the establishment of such public library or libraries, and to that end the city council shall appropriate annually out of the general revenue of the city a fund for the support and maintenance of the public library.

Section 18.06. - Building permits.

The City of Richardson shall have power to prohibit the erection or construction of any building or structure of any kind within the City of Richardson without a permit first having been issued by the city for the construction or erection of such building or structure, and may authorize a fee to be charged for such permit, and in pursuance of said authority may authorize the inspection by the city of all buildings or structures during the progress of their construction and may require that all buildings shall be constructed in conformity with the building regulations which exist in said city or which shall hereafter be passed.

Section 18.07. - Condemnation of dangerous structures.

Whenever, in the opinion of the city council, any buildings, fence, shed, awning or structure of any kind or part thereof is liable to fall down and injure persons or property, the city council may order the owner or agent of the same or occupant of the premises to take down and remove the same within such time as it may direct, and may punish by fine all persons failing so to do. The city council shall have the additional power to remove the same at the expense of the city on account of the owner of the property and assess the expenses thereof, including condemnation proceedings, as a special tax against the land, and the same may be collected as other special taxes provided for in this charter, or by suit in any court of competent jurisdiction. The city council shall have full power to condemn all dangerous buildings or obstructions of any kind and may provide regulations therefore by ordinance.

Section 18.08. - Bonds of city official, employee or department director.

In addition to any bonding provision herein provided, the city council may require any city official, department director or city employee, before entering upon such person's duties, to execute a good and sufficient bond with a surety company doing business in the State of Texas, and approved by the city council, as surety thereon, said bond to be in such amount as the council may demand, payable to the City of Richardson, and conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of the office; premium of such bond to be paid by the city.

ARTICLE 19. - EFFECTIVE DATE AND EFFECTS OF ADOPTION

Section 19.01. - Effective date.

The provisions of this charter and any amendments thereto shall be in effect from and after their approval by the electors of the city and the entering of an official order upon the records of the city by the city council declaring the same adopted.

Section 19.02. - Effect on present city council.

The duly elected city council serving at the time of the adoption of this charter or amendment thereto shall continue to be, serve as, and to constitute the city council of the city until the next regular election.

Section 19.03. - Charter amendment.

This charter may be amended no more than once every two (2) years. Amendments to this charter may be proposed:

  1. (a) By action of the city council submitting a proposed amendment to the voters for approval; or

    (b) By report of a charter commission created by ordinance; or

    (c) By the voters, consistent with state law. Proposal of an amendment by the voters of the city shall be by petition containing the full text of the proposed amendment and shall be governed by state law. There shall be no limitation as to the subject matter.

Section 19.04. - Separability.

If any provision of this charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the application of the charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Section 19.05. – Charter review.

The city council shall appoint a commission at least every ten (10) years to review the charter. The commission shall be made up of qualified voters from all the districts of the city.

Section 19.06.- Renumbering.

The city council shall have the power, by ordinance, to renumber articles, sections, subsections, and subparagraphs of this Charter or any amendments thereto, as it shall deem appropriate.

Last updated: 11/17/2015 8:36:10 AM