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(a) Right to Referendum. A petition requesting the repeal of an existing ordinance or resolution may be filed with the clerk of council at any time within 40 days after the adoption of any ordinance or resolution by council; the expiration of the time within which it may be disapproved by the mayor; or its passage or adoption notwithstanding the disapproval by the mayor, as the case may be. The petition must be signed by registered voters of the city equal in number to at least 10 percent of the total votes cast for the office of mayor at the last regular municipal election at which a mayor was elected. The ordinance or resolution that is the subject of the petition shall not become operative until the steps in this section have been taken.
(b) Form of Referendum Petition. Petitions seeking a referendum vote on any ordinance or resolution shall be filed with the clerk of council. Signatures to a petition need not all be appended to one paper, but all petition papers circulated with respect to a referendum vote on any ordinance or resolution shall be uniform in character. It need not contain the text of the ordinance or resolution the repeal of which is sought, but shall contain the number assigned to the ordinance or resolution and its full title. There shall appear on the petition the names and addresses of at least five registered voters of the city who shall be officially regarded as filing the petition and shall constitute a committee of the petitioners for the purpose set forth in this section.
(c) Signatures to Referendum Petition. Each signer of a referendum petition shall sign his or her name in ink, and shall place his or her residence address on the petition paper after his or her name. The signatures to any petition paper need not all be appended to one paper, but to each paper there shall be attached an affidavit by the circulator of the petition stating the number of signers to that part of the petition and that each signature appended to the paper is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be, and was made in the presence of the circulator.
(d) Filing of Referendum Petition. All papers constituting a petition shall be assembled and filed with the clerk of council as one instrument. Within 10 days after the filing of a petition the clerk shall transmit all the papers constituting the petition to the county board of elections. The board shall examine all signatures on the petition to determine the number of registered voters of the city who signed the petition. The board shall return the petition to the clerk within 10 days after receiving it, together with a statement attesting to the number of registered voters of the city who signed the petition. Upon receipt of the statement from the board of elections, the clerk shall endorse upon the petition a certificate of the result by showing the number of signatures required and the number of registered voters the board has determined signed the petition.
(e) Additional Referendum Signatures. If the clerk's certificate shows that the petition contains insufficient valid signatures in its support, the clerk shall at once notify each member of the committee described in Section 9.3(b) by depositing the notice in the United States mail with postage prepaid and by sending to an email address indicated to be sufficient for notice by the member of the committee. The committee shall have 15 days after the notice of insufficient valid signatures is sent to file petitions containing additional signatures with the clerk. Within 10 days after the filing of these additional signatures, the clerk shall transmit all the additional petitions to the county board of elections. The board shall examine all signatures on the additional petitions to determine the number of registered voters of the city who signed the additional petitions. The board shall return the additional petitions to the clerk within 10 days after receiving them, together with a statement attesting to the number of registered voters of the city who signed the additional petitions. If the signatures are still insufficient, or if no further petitions have been filed, the clerk shall file the petition in the clerk's office and shall notify, in the manner specified above, each member of the committee of that fact.
(f) Procedure. If the referendum petition is found sufficient, or is rendered sufficient by additional signatures as permitted in this section, the clerk shall certify that fact to council and place the ordinance or resolution on the next council docket for reconsideration. Council shall have 30 days within which to reconsider and at its discretion repeal the ordinance or resolution. If on reconsideration the ordinance or resolution is not entirely repealed, or if council takes no final or other action within the 30-day period, council shall submit the ordinance or resolution to a vote of the registered voters. If a primary, special, regular municipal or other general election is to be held not more than six months after the refusal of council to reconsider the ordinance or resolution, provided the deadline imposed by the county board of elections for filing ballot issues has not passed, the ordinance or resolution shall then be submitted to a vote of the registered voters. If no election is to be held within that time, council may submit the ordinance or resolution to the registered voters at a special election not sooner than 60 days after the receipt of the clerk's certificate by council and not later than the next primary, regular municipal or other general election, whichever of these elections comes first. If no other provision is made as to the time of submitting the ordinance or resolution to a vote of the registered voters, it shall be submitted at the next primary, regular municipal or other general election.
(g) Ballot Form. The ballots used when voting upon any ordinance or resolution proposed under this section shall state the title of the ordinance or resolution and be in a form created by the county board of elections in accordance with general law in order to determine whether the registered voters are for the ordinance or resolution or against the ordinance or resolution.
(h) Majority Vote. If a majority of registered voters shall vote against the ordinance or resolution that is the subject of referendum, it shall be deemed repealed.
(i) Enactments not Subject to Referendum. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in Section 9.3(a), (k) or (l) or any other provisions of this charter, ordinances or resolutions enacted for the following purposes shall not be subject to referendum: to appropriate money for any lawful purpose; to create, revise or abolish departments or to provide regulations for their governance; to authorize the appointment of employees in any of the departments; to authorize or otherwise affect the issuance of bonds, notes or other debt instruments of the city; to authorize a contract for a public improvement or an expenditure of money which contract is to be paid or expenditure is to be made, in whole or part, from the proceeds of bonds, notes or other debt instruments of the city; and to provide for the payment of operating expenses of any department of the city.
(j) Initiated Legislation Subject to Referendum. Ordinances and resolutions submitted to council by initiative petition, as provided in Section 9.2, and passed by council without change, or passed in an amended form and not required to be submitted to a vote of the registered voters by a committee of the petitioners, shall be subject to referendum in the same manner as other ordinances and resolutions.
(k) Referendum of Measures Taking Early Effect. An ordinance or resolution that under Section 2.12 goes into effect earlier than 40 days after its passage and approval by the mayor, or the expiration of the time within which it may be disapproved by the mayor, or its passage notwithstanding the disapproval by the mayor, as the case may be, shall go into effect at the time indicated in the ordinance or resolution but shall be subject to referendum in the same manner as other ordinances and resolutions, except that it shall go into effect at the time indicated in the ordinance or resolution. If the ordinance or resolution is submitted to the registered voters and not approved, it shall be considered repealed and any further action under the ordinance or resolution shall cease; but the repealed ordinance or resolution shall be deemed sufficient au-thority for payment under the ordinance or resolution of any expense incurred, work done, or material or service furnished previous to the referendum.
(l) Acts Preliminary to Referendum Election. In case a petition is filed requiring that a measure passed by council providing for an expenditure of money or a public improvement be submitted to a vote of the registered voters, all steps preliminary to the actual expenditure or actual execution of a contract for the improvement may be taken prior to the election.