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1. Initiative. The qualified electors have the right to propose ordinances to the Council, and if the Council fails to adopt an ordinance so proposed without any change in substance, to have the ordinance submitted to the voters at an election.
2. Referendum. The qualified electors have the right to require reconsideration by the Council of an existing ordinance, and if the Council fails to repeal such ordinance, to have it submitted to the voters at an election.
3. Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms have these meanings:
A. “Eligible electors” mean persons who possess all of the qualifications necessary to entitle the person to be registered to vote, whether or not the person is in fact so registered.
B. “Ordinance” means all measures of a legislative nature, however designated, which are of permanent rather than temporary character and include a proposition enacting, amending or repealing a new or existing law, policy or plan, as opposed to one providing for the execution or administration of a law, policy or plan already enacted by the Council.
C. “Qualified electors” mean residents of the City who are registered voters of the City.
4. Limitations as to Subject Matter. The right of initiative and referendum shall not extend to any of the following:
A. Any measure of an executive or administrative nature.
B. The City budget.
C. The appropriation of money.
D. The levy of taxes or special assessments.
E. The issuance of General Obligation and Revenue Bonds.
F. The letting of contracts.
G. Salaries of City employees.
H. Emergency ordinances.
I. Any measure required to be enacted by State or Federal law.
J. Amendments to this Charter, except as provided in Section 2.08(1)(B) of this Charter.
K. Amendments affecting the City Zoning ordinance.
5. Limitation as to Resubmission. No initiative or referendum petition shall be filed within two years after the same measure or a measure substantially the same has been submitted to the voters at an election.
6. Council Repeal, Amendment and Reenactment. No ordinance proposed by initiative petition and adopted by the vote of the Council without submission to the voters, or adopted by the voters pursuant to this section, may for two years thereafter be repealed or amended except by a vote of the people, unless provision is otherwise made in the original initiative ordinance. No ordinance referred by referendum petition and repealed by the vote of the Council without submission to the voters, or repealed by the voters pursuant to this section, may be reenacted for two years thereafter except by vote of the people, unless provision is otherwise made in the original referendum petition.
A. Scope of Power. It is intended that this section confer broad initiative and referendum powers upon the qualified electors of the City.
B. Initiative. It is intended that an initiative petition will be valid and may repeal an existing ordinance in whole or in part by virtue of proposing a new ordinance. It is intended that an initiative petition may amend an existing ordinance.
C. Referendum. It is intended that a referendum petition may propose an election to repeal an ordinance in whole or in part.
8. Effect of Filing Petition. The filing of an initiative or referendum petition does not suspend or invalidate any ordinance under consideration and such ordinance shall remain in full force and effect until its amendment or repeal by Council pursuant to this Charter, or until a majority of the qualified electors voting on an ordinance vote to repeal or amend the ordinance and the vote is certified by the Clinton County, Iowa Board of Canvassers.
9. City Obligation. An initiative or referendum vote which repeals an existing ordinance in whole or in part does not affect any obligations entered into by the City, its agencies or any person in reliance on the ordinance during the time it was in effect.
10. Commencement of Proceedings. One or more qualified electors, hereafter referred to as the “petitioners,” may commence initiative or referendum proceedings by filing with the City Clerk an affidavit stating they will supervise the circulation of the petition and will be responsible for filing it in proper form, stating their names and addresses and specifying the address to which all relevant notices are to be sent, and setting out in full the proposed initiative ordinance or citing the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.
11. Affidavit. The City Clerk shall accept the affidavit for filing if on its face it appears to have signatures of one or more qualified elector(s). The City Clerk shall issue the appropriate petition forms to the petitioners within two (2) days after the affidavit is accepted for filing.
A. Number of Signatures. Initiative and referendum petitions must be signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the number of persons who voted in the last regular City election, but by not fewer than 1,500 qualified electors.
B. Form and Content. All papers of a petition prepared for filing must be substantially uniform in size and style and must be assembled as one instrument. Each signature on the petition must be followed by the address of the person signing and the date signature is executed. A petition prepared for circulation must contain or have attached thereto throughout its circulation the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered. The petition filed with the City Clerk need have attached to it only one copy of the ordinance being proposed or referred.
C. Affidavit of Circulator. Each paper of a petition containing signatures must have attached to it when filed an affidavit executed by a qualified elector certifying the number of signatures on the paper, that he/she personally circulated it, that all signatures were affixed in his/her presence, that he/she believes them to be genuine signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be and that each signer had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered. Any person filing a false affidavit will be liable to criminal penalties as provided by Iowa law.
D. Time for Filing Initiative Petitions. Signatures on an initiative petition must be secured and the petition filed within six months after the date the affidavit required under Section 2.07(10) was filed.
E. Time for Filing Referendum Petitions. Referendum petitions may be filed within six months after the date the affidavit required under Section 2.07(10) was filed.
13. Procedure After Filing.
A. Certificate of Clerk. Within twenty (20) days after a petition is filed, the City Clerk shall complete a certificate as to its sufficiency, specifying, if it is insufficient, the particulars wherein it is defective and shall promptly send a copy of the certificate to the petitioners by registered mail, and a copy to the Mayor, who shall advise the Council. If a petition is certified sufficient, the City Clerk shall promptly present the certificate to the Council.
B. Validity of Signatures. A petition shall be deemed sufficient for the purposes of this section if it contains valid signatures in the number prescribed by subsection 12 and is timely filed, even though the petition may contain one or more invalid signatures. A valid signature need not be in the identical form in which the qualified elector’s name appears on the voting rolls, nor may a signature be deemed invalid because the address accompanying the name on the petition is different from the address for the same name on the current voting rolls.
14. Action on Petitions.
A. Action by Council. When an initiative or referendum petition has been certified sufficient, the Council shall promptly consider the proposed initiative ordinance or reconsider the referred ordinance. If the Council fails to adopt a proposed initiative ordinance without any change in substance within sixty (60) days, or fails to repeal the referred ordinance within sixty (60) days after the date the petition was finally determined sufficient, it shall submit the proposed or referred ordinance to the qualified electors of the City as hereinafter prescribed. The Council shall submit to the voters any ordinance which has been proposed or referred in accordance with the provisions of this section unless the petition is deemed insufficient pursuant to subsection 13 of this section. If at any time more than thirty (30) days before the scheduled initiative or referendum election the Council adopts the proposed initiative ordinance without any change in substance, or repeals a referred ordinance, the initiative or referendum proceedings shall terminate and the proposed or referred ordinance shall not be submitted to the voters.
B. Submission to Voters. The vote of the City on a proposed or referred ordinance shall be a special election to be held at the regular City election, or at a general election, whichever comes first, provided, however, that the Council may provide for a special referendum election on a referred ordinance any time after the expiration of the sixty (60) day period provided for reconsideration in paragraph A of this subsection. Copies of the proposed or referred ordinance shall be made available to the qualified electors at the polls and shall be advertised at the City’s expense in the manner prescribed by the laws of the State. The subject matter and purpose of the referred or proposed ordinance shall be indicated on the ballot.
15. Results of Election.
A. Initiative. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a proposed initiative ordinance vote in its favor, it shall be considered adopted upon certification of the election results by the Clinton County, Iowa Board of Canvassers and shall be treated in all respects in the same manner as ordinances of the same kind adopted by the Council, except as provided in Section 2.07(6). If conflicting ordinances are approved by majority vote at the same election, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.
B. Referendum. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a referred ordinance vote against it, it shall be considered repealed upon certification of the election results by the Clinton County, Iowa Board of Canvassers. If conflicting ordinances are approved by majority vote at the same election, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.
16. Prohibition on Establishment of Stricter Conditions or Requirements. The Council may not set, except by Charter amendment, conditions or requirements affecting initiative and referendum which are higher or more stringent than those imposed by this Charter.