Charter of the City of Gaylord – Page 3

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CHAPTER 9 — Eminent Domain

Section 75. POWER TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY. The city of Gaylord is hereby empowered to acquire, by purchase, gift, devise, or condemnation, any property corporeal or incorporeal, either within or without its corporate boundaries, which may be needed by said city for any public use or purpose. In addition to the power to acquire property for other public purposes, the city may also acquire, as herein provided, any gas, water, heat, power, light, telephone, or other plant, or other public utility; but no proceedings to acquire any such public utility shall be consummated unless the city has the money in its treasury to pay for the same or has by vote of the people made provisions for paying for the property proposed to be acquired. Easements for slopes, fills, sewers, building lines, poles, wires, pipes and conduits for water, gas, heat and power may be acquired by gift, devise, purchase, or condemnation in the manner provided by law.

Section 76. PROCEEDINGS IN TAKING PROPERTY. The necessity for taking of any property by the city shall be determined by the council and shall be declared by a resolution which shall describe such property as nearly as may be and state the use to which it is to be devoted. The acquisition of such property may be accomplished by proceedings at law, as in taking land for public use by right of eminent domain according to the laws of this state, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

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CHAPTER 10 — Franchises

Section 77. FRANCHISES DEFINED. The word “franchise” as used in this chapter shall be construed to mean any special privilege granted to any person, co-partnership or corporation, in, over, upon, or under any of the highways, or public places, for the city, whether such privilege has heretofore been granted by it or by the state of Minnesota, or shall hereafter be granted by the city or the state of Minnesota.

Section 78. FRANCHISE ORDINANCES. The council may grant franchises by ordinance adopted by a four-fifths vote, but in no case shall a franchise be granted by an emergency ordinance. Franchise rights shall always be subject to the superior right of the public to the use of streets and public places. All corporations, co-partnerships, or persons desiring to make an especially burdensome use of the streets or public places, inconsistent with the public’s right in such places, or desiring the privilege of placing in, over, upon, or under any street or public place any permanent or semi-permanent fixtures for the purpose of constructing or operating street or other railways, or telegraphing, or transmitting electricity, or transporting by pneumatic tubes, or for furnishing to the city or its inhabitants or any portion thereof transportation facilities, water, light, heat, power, or any other public utility, or for any other purpose, shall be required to obtain a franchise before proceeding to make such use of the streets or public places or before proceeding to place such fixtures in such places.

Section 79. PUBLICATION OF FRANCHISE. Every ordinance granting or extending any franchise shall contain all the terms and conditions of the franchise. A franchise shall be without any validity whatever until it as been accepted by the grantee, and until it has been given adequate publicity, either by the publication of the franchise verbatim in the official paper of the city at least once a week for four successive weeks after its passage, or by the posting of authentic copies’ of the franchise upon bulletin boards in at least ten of the most public places in the city for a period of thirty days after its passage. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as in any way preventing the electors from exercising their powers under the referendum to reject such franchise.

Section 80. TERM OF FRANCHISE LIMITED. No perpetual franchise shall ever be granted, nor shall any franchise be granted for a longer term than twenty five years.

Section 81 POWER OF REGULATION RESERVED. The city shall have the right and power to regulate and control the exercise by any corporation, co-partnership, or person, of any franchise however acquired and whether such franchise has been heretofore granted by it or by the state of Minnesota, or shall hereafter be granted by the city or by the state of Minnesota.

Section 82. REGULATION OF RATES AND CHARGES. All corporations, copartnerships, and persons exercising franchises in the city shall give courteous, efficient, and adequate service at reasonable rates. A reasonable rate shall be construed to be one which will, with efficient management, normally yield, above all operating expenses and depreciation, a fair return upon all money honestly and efficiently invested in the plant and equipment used by the company in the public service within the city. This shall not be construed as a guarantee of a return and in no case shall there be any return upon the franchise value. Within those limits, the determination of the maximum price or rate to be charged by any company for service rendered to the city or to any person within the city shall, be made, if possible, by direct negotiations between the company and the council at public hearings. In case of failure to reach an agreement by this method, the council shall, not less than thirty days before the expiration of any existing rate schedule or agreement, appoint some expert as its representative; the company shall appoint a representative; and these two shall by mutual agreement select a third person, preferably an expert in valuation and rate-making, who shall together constitute a board of arbitration. This board shall report its findings as soon as possible and the rate which it shall agree upon by a majority vote shall be the legal rate, subject to revision by any court of competent jurisdiction. Schedules of rates thus fixed shall be as flexible as may be, and shall in no case fix a definite rate for a period of more than five years. The city and the company, may, by mutual agreement, revise existing schedules of rates at any time, proceeding in each case as provided for the original fixing of the rates.

Section 83. CONDITIONS IN EVERY FRANCHISE. Every franchise which does not contain provisions prescribed in this section shall be absolutely void and incapable of ratification by estoppel or otherwise. Every franchise shall contain the following provisions:

(a) That the grantee shall be subject to and will perform on its part all the terms of this charter.

(b) That the grantee shall in no case claim or pretend to exercise any power to fix fares, rates, and charges; but that such fares, rates, and charges shall at all times be just, fair, and reasonable for the services rendered, and shall in all cases be fixed and from time to time changed in the manner provided in this charter.

(c) That the council shall have the right to require reasonable extensions of any public service system from time to time, and to make such rules and regulations as may be required to secure adequate and proper service and to provide sufficient accommodations for the public.

(d) That the grantee shall not issue any capital stock on account of the franchise or the value thereof, and that the grantee shall have no right to receive, upon condemnation proceedings brought by the city to acquire the public utility exercising such franchise, any return on account of the franchise or its value.

(e) That no sale or lease of said franchise shall be effective until the assignee or lessee shall have filed in the office of the city clerk an instrument, duly executed, reciting the fact of such sale or lease, accepting the terms of the franchise, and agreeing to perform all the conditions required of the grantee thereunder. The Assignee or Lessee shall also file a bond in such amount and with such conditions as the council may require, which bond shall run to the city as obligee, with sureties satisfactory to the council and shall obligate the Assignee or Lessee to discharge all obligations and liabilities imposed by said franchise.

(f) That every grant in said franchise contained of permission for the erection of poles, masts, or other fixtures in the streets and for the attachment of wires thereto, or for the laying of tracks, or of pipes or conduits under the streets or public places, or for the placing in the streets or other public places of any permanent or semi-permanent fixtures whatsoever, shall be subject to the conditions that the council shall have the power to require such alteration therein, or relocation or rerouting thereof, as the council may at any time deem necessary for the safety, health, or convenience of the public, and particularly that it shall have the power to require the removal of poles, masts and other fixtures bearing wires and the placing underground of all wires for whatsoever purpose used.

(g) Every franchise and every extension or renewal of such franchise, shall contain a provision for its acceptance in writing by the grantee within thirty days after its passage by the council and before its submission to a vote of the people in case of a referendum. No such franchise shall be binding upon the city until its acceptance by the grantee. Such acceptance shall be construed to be an acceptance of, and consent to, all the terms, conditions, and limitations contained in the ordinance granting the franchise as well as the provisions of this charter.

The violation by the holder of any franchise of any of the express provisions prescribed by this section shall be sufficient cause for the forfeiture of the franchise by a resolution of the council.

Section 84. FURTHER PROVISIONS OF FRANCHISE. The enumeration and specification of particular matters which must be included in every franchise or renewal or extension thereof, shall not be construed as impairing the right of the city to insert in any such franchise or renewal or extension thereof such other and further conditions and restrictions as the council may deem proper to protect the city’s interests, nor shall anything contained in this charter limit any right or power possessed by the city over existing franchises.

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CHAPTER 11 — Public Ownership and Operations of Utilities

Section 85. ACQUISITION AND OPERATION OF UTILITIES. The city shall have power to acquire public utilities as provided in this charter. The operation of all public utilities owned by the city shall be under the supervision of the city council.

Section 86. RATES AND FINANCES. The council shall have the power to fix all rates and charges for water, light, heat, and all other utilities provided by plants owned by the city, but such rates and charges shall be just and reasonable. In like manner the council may prescribe the time and manner in which payments for all such services shall be made, and the manner in which water and electric current shall be computed or measured whether by meter or flat rate, and make such other regulations as may be necessary, and may prescribe penalties for violations for such regulations.

Section 87. PURCHASE IN BULK. The council may, in lieu of providing for the local production of gas, electricity, water and other utilities, purchase the same In bulk and resell them to local consumers at such rates as it may fix.

Section 88. CITY TO PAY FOR SERVICES. The council shall make a reasonable charge, based on the cost of service, for lighting the streets and public buildings, or for suppling heat, power, or any other utility, and a reasonable hydrant rental and other charges for suppling the city with water, and shall credit the same to the publicly owned utility supplying the service. Such rentals and other charges for light, heat, power, water and other services, shall be collected in the same manner as from other consumers, unless the council provides some other plan.

Section 89. LEASE OF PLANT. The council may, if the public interest will be served thereby, contract with any responsible person, co-partnership, or corporation, for the operation of any utility owned by the city, upon such rentals and conditions as it may deem necessary, but such contract shall be embodied in and let only by an ordinance approved by four-fifths of the council and subject to popular referendum. In no case shall such contract be for a longer term than ten years. The contractor shall be subject as far as possible to the rules as to rates and service, and as to council control, laid down for the holders of franchise in this charter.

Section 90. PUBLIC UTILITY. HOW SOLD. No public utility owned by the city whether acquired prior to the adoption of this charter or thereafter, shall be sold or otherwise disposed of by the city, unless the full terms of the proposition of said sale or other disposition thereof, together with the price to be paid therefor, shall have been embodied in any ordinance passed by a four-fifths vote of the council in the usual way, and submitted to the electors at a general or special election and approved by a majority vote of the electors voting thereon.

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CHAPTER 12 — Miscellaneous and Transitory Provisions

Section 91. OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS. The council shall annually designate a legal newspaper of general circulation in the city as its official newspaper in which shall be published ordinances and other matters required by law to be so published as well as such other matters as the council may deem it in the public interest to have published in this manner.

Section 92. OATH OF OFFICE. Every elected officer of the city shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe an oath of office in substantially the following form: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) to support the constitution of the United States and of this state, and to discharge faithfully the duties devolving upon me as (mayor, or councilman) of this city to the best of my judgment and ability.”

Section 93. CITY OFFICIALS NOT TO BE INTERESTED IN CONTRACTS. Except as otherwise permitted by law, no officer of the city who is authorized to take part in any manner in any contract with the city shall voluntarily have a personal financial interest in such contract or personally benefit financially therefrom.

Section 94. OFFICIAL BONDS. The city clerk, the city treasurer, and such other officers and employees of the city as may be provided for by ordinance shall each, before entering upon the duties of his respective office or employment, give a corporate surety bond to the city in such form and in such amount as may be fixed by the council as security for the faithful performance of his official duties and the safekeeping of the public funds. Such bonds may be either individual or blanket bonds in the discretion of the council. They shall be approved by the city council, and approved as to form by the city attorney, and filed with the city clerk. The provisions of the laws of the state relating to official bonds not inconsistent with this charter shall be complied with. The premiums on such bonds shall be paid by the city.

Section 95. CITY PROPERTY NOT LOST BY ADVERSE POSSESSION. No right, title, estate, or easement of the city in any property shall be lost by adverse possession or occupancy, and no statute of limitations shall operate against the city in favor of any person occupying any public property or highway, whether such highway shall have been improved or not.

Section 96. SALES OF REAL PROPERTY. No real property of the city shall be disposed of except by ordinance or resolution. The proceeds of any such sale shall be used as far as possible to retire any outstanding indebtedness incurred by the city in the purchase, construction, or improvement of this or other property used for the same public purpose; but if there be no such outstanding indebtedness, then the council may be a resolution adopted by a four-fifths vote designate some other public use for such proceeds.

Section 97. VACATION OF STREETS. The council may, by ordinance approved by at least four members of the council, vacate any street or alley or part thereof within the city. Such vacation may be made only after published notice and an opportunity for affected property owners and public to be heard, and upon such further terms and by such procedure as the council by ordinance may prescribe. A notice of completion of such proceedings shall be filed with the proper county officers in accordance with law.

Section 98. CITY TO SUCCEED TO RIGHT AND OBLIGATIONS OF FORMER CITY. The city shall succeed to all the property, rights, and privileges, and shall be subject to all the legal obligations of the city under the former charter.

Section 99. PRESENT OFFICERS TO HOLD OFFICE TILL WHEN. The present officers of the city shall continue in their respective offices and functions, and shall continue to govern the city in the usual manner for the terms for which they were elected and until their successors are elected and qualify.

Section 100. STATUTES NOT AFFECTED BY CHARTER. All general laws and statutes of the state applicable to all cities operating under home rule charters, or applicable to cities of the same class as the City of Gaylord operating under home rule charters, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, shall apply to the city of Gaylord and shall be construed as supplementary to the provisions of this charter.

Section 101. EXISTING ORDINANCES CONTINUED. All ordinances and regulations of the city in force when this charter takes effect, and not inconsistent with the provisions thereof, are hereby continued in full force and effect until amended or repealed.

Section 102. PENDING CONDEMNATIONS AND ASSESSMENTS. Any condemnations or assessment proceeding in progress when this charter takes effect shall be continued and completed under the laws under which such Proceedings were begun. All assessments made by the city prior to the time when this charter takes effect shall be collected and the lien thereof enforced in the same manner as if this charter had not been adopted.

Section 103. ORDINANCES TO MAKE CHARTER EFFECTIVE. The council is hereby empowered to, and it shall by ordinance, make such regulations as may be necessary to carry out and make effective the provisions of this charter.

Warren L. Gaare City Clerk
Dated November 8, 1973

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