Skip to code content (skip section selection)
§ 1-100. The City's Powers Defined. 1
Pursuant to Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution and the Act of the General Assembly, approved April 21, 1949, P.L. 665, of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia (hereafter in this charter called "the City") shall have and may exercise all powers and authority of local self-government and shall have complete powers of legislation and administration in relation to its municipal functions, including any additional powers and authority which may hereafter be granted to it. The City shall have the power to enact ordinances and to make rules and regulations necessary and proper for carrying into execution its powers; and such ordinances, rules and regulations may be made enforceable by the imposition of fines, forfeitures and penalties not exceeding three hundred dollars and by imprisonment for a period not exceeding ninety days or by such greater fines, forfeitures and penalties and periods of imprisonment as the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may from time to time authorize.
Sources: First Class City Home Rule Act, April 21, 1949, P.L. 665, Section 17.
Purposes: 1. The powers of the City are stated in the broadest and most comprehensive terms to assure the City the fullest possible benefits of home rule. Specification of powers is avoided because any list of powers, despite its detail, would inevitably omit some.
Under Dillon's rule a municipal corporation does not have any powers other than those granted in express words and those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers and purposes of the corporation, not simply convenient but indispensable. Dillon, Municipal Corporations (Fifth Ed. 1911) § 237. Following Dillon's rule, Pennsylvania decisions have denied the existence of a specific power where there has been a failure to provide for it while other powers have been enumerated. LESLEY v. KITE, 192 Pa. 268 (1899); AMERICAN ANILINE PRODUCTS, INC. v. LOCK HAVEN, 288 Pa. 420 (1927); PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS CO. v. P.S.C., 115 Pa. Super. Ct. 58 (1934).
However, the Constitution in authorizing home rule provides that any "Cities, or cities of any particular class, may be given the right and power to frame and adopt their own charters and to exercise the powers and authority of local self-government, subject, however, to such restrictions, limitations, and regulations, as may be imposed by the Legislature." (Article XV, Section 1.) The enabling Act provides that any city taking advantage of its provisions "shall have and may exercise all powers and authority of local self-government and shall have complete powers of legislation and administration in relation to its municipal functions." (Section 17). Section 1-100 uses substantially the same language. Under these circumstances, the City has and may exercise any power pertaining to local self-government and to its municipal functions. Thus, it will have zoning powers, even though they are not specified in Section 1-100. Dillon's rule does not operate by way of limitation.
2. Provision is made that the City's powers shall be enlarged if at any time in the future restrictions on the grant of powers appearing in the enabling legislation are removed or the City's powers are increased by constitutional amendment. No further legislation under Section 1-100 would be necessary to grant the City such additional powers for the section is intended to be self-executing.
3. The General Assembly, having granted to the City powers of home rule pursuant to the Constitution, is now foreclosed from legislating on matters coming within the scope of the powers granted. Legislation in the home rule area is now within the exclusive province of the City Council. Nor may any of the powers granted be withdrawn by the General Assembly; they may, of course, be enlarged by the General Assembly.
4. The limitations as to fines, forfeitures and penalties in Section 1-100 are those imposed by the enabling Act. Section 17.
The three hundred dollar ($300) limit on fines, forfeitures and penalties has been increased by the General Assembly effective November 30, 2004. Act 193 of 2004.