Chapter 14
Public Utility Franchises
Franchises Remain in Effect:
Section 14.1 All franchises to which the City of Reed City is a party when this charter becomes effective shall remain in full force and effect in accordance with their respective terms and conditions.
Granting the Public Utility Franchises:
Section 14.2 Public utility franchises and all renewals and extensions thereof and amendments thereto shall be granted by ordinance only. No exclusive franchise shall ever be granted. No franchise shall be granted for a longer period than thirty years.
No franchise ordinance which is not subject to revocation at the will of the Council shall be enacted nor become operative until the same shall have first been referred to the people at a regular or special election and received the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the electors voting thereon. No such franchise ordinance shall be approved by the Council for referral to the electorate before thirty days after application therefor has been filed with the Council nor until a public hearing has been held thereon, nor until the grantee named therein has filed with the Clerk his unconditional acceptance of all terms of such franchise. No special election for such purpose shall be ordered unless the expense of holding such election, as determined by the Council, shall have first been paid to the Treasurer by the grantee
A franchise ordinance or renewal or extension thereof or amendment thereto which is subject to revocation at the will of the Council may be enacted by the Council without referral to the voters, but shall not be enacted unless it shall have been complete in the form in which it is finally enacted and shall have so been on file in the office of the Clerk for public inspection for at least four weeks after publication of a notice that such ordinance is on file.
Conditions of Public Utility Franchises:
Section 14.3 All public utility franchises granted after the adoption of this charter, whether it be so provided in the granting ordinance or not, shall be subject to the following rights of the city, but this enumeration shall not be exclusive or impair the right of the Council to insert in such franchise any provision within the power of the city to impose or require:
   (a)   To repeal the same for misuse; non-use or failure to comply with the provisions thereof;
   (b)   To require proper and adequate extension of plant and service and maintenance thereof at the highest practicable standard of efficiency;
   (c)   To establish reasonable standards of service and quality of products and prevent unjust discrimination in service or rates;
   (d)   To require continuous and uninterrupted service to the public in accordance with the terms of the franchise throughout the entire period thereof;
   (e)   To use, control and regulate the use of its streets, alleys, bridges and other public places and the space above and beneath them;
   (f)   To impose such other regulations as may be determined by the Council to be conducive to the safety, welfare and accommodation of the public.
Regulation of Rates:
Section 14.4 All public utility franchises shall make provision therein for fixing rates, fares and charges, and may provide for readjustments thereof at periodic intervals. The value of the property of the utility used as a basis for fixing such rates, fares and charges, shall in no event include a value predicated upon the franchise, goodwill or prospective profits.
Use of Public Places by Utilities:
Section 14.5 Every public utility whether it has a franchise or not shall pay such part of the cost of improvement or maintenance of streets, alleys, bridges and other public places as shall arise from its use thereof and shall protect and save the city harmless from all damages arising from said use. Every such public utility may be required by the city to permit joint use of its property and appurtenances located in the streets, alleys and other public places of the city by the city and by other utilities insofar as such joint use may be reasonably practicable and upon payment of reasonable rental therefor. In the absence of agreement and upon application by any public utility, the Council shall provide for arbitration of the terms and conditions of such joint use and the compensation to be paid therefor, and the arbitration award shall be final.