By Laws

November 12th, 2007

BY LAWS
WATSONTOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL

ARTICLE 1 ~ Borough Council
Section 1 The Council shall organize on the first Monday of January of each even numbered year at 7:30 pm. If the first Monday is a legal holiday, the meeting and organization shall take place on the first day following. The Mayor shall preside until Council shall organize, and he/she shall be deemed a member of Council at such organizational meeting if his/her membership becomes necessary to constitute a quorum, but he/she shall not be entitled to vote unless his/her vote shall, for any reason whatsoever, be required to effect the organization of Council.

Section 2 Council shall organize by electing a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, who shall serve for a term of two years from the first Monday of January of the even numbered years in which they were elected. In addition, Council may, at its organizational meeting elect such other officers as may be provided for by law or ordinance, or as may be deemed necessary for the conduct of the affairs of the Borough.

Section 3 At or before the organizational meeting, certificates of election of the newly elected Council members shall be presented and the oath of office shall be taken before the Mayor. Certificates of election and copies of the oath of office shall be filed with the Borough Secretary and retained for a period of six years.

Section 4 If any person, having qualified as a member of Council, shall fail to attend three successive regular meetings, unless detained by illness, or prevented by a necessary absence from the Borough, or any other just cause, the Council, acting without such person, may declare that person’s office as a member of Council vacant, and may fill such vacancy as provided by the Borough Code. For such actions, a majority of the remaining members of Council shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5 No office of a member of Council shall be declared vacant for failure to attend meetings of the Council until the holder thereof shall have been given an opportunity of a hearing before the remaining members of Council, at which time such Council person shall show cause why he/she shall not be removed from office as a member of Council. Such Council persons shall be given at least ten days written notice of the time and place of such hearing.

Section 6 Members of Watsontown Borough Council and the Mayor shall serve without compensation.

Section 7 Vacancies on Council shall be filled by Council in accordance with the Borough Code.

Section 8 A majority of the entire membership of Council shall constitute a quorum except as provided in Section 4 of this article.

Section 9 Council shall follow the Sunshine Laws.

ARTICLE 2 ~ Regular and Special Meetings

Section 1 Council shall convene for regular meetings on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 pm, unless the same shall fall on a legal holiday in which event the meeting shall be held on a date set by motion of Council.

Section 2 If no quorum is present for a regular meeting, a majority of those present may agree upon a date for the holding of the meeting.

Section 3 Council shall convene for Committee Meetings on the last Monday of each month at 7:30 pm, unless the same shall fall on a legal holiday in which event the meeting shall be held on a date set by motion of Council.

Section 4 Special meetings may be called by the President of Council at any time and shall be called by him/her upon written request of one third of the members of the Council. Members of Council shall be given at least twenty-four hours notice of any special meetings. Such notice shall contain a general statement of the business to be transacted.

Section 5 All regular, committee and special meetings of the Watsontown Borough Council shall be held in the Council Room of the Watsontown Borough Municipal Building, Fourth and Main Streets, Watsontown, PA. The location of the meeting may be changed by a motion of Council.

ARTICLE 3 ~ Order of Business

Section 1 The order of business at regular meetings shall be as follows:

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Opening Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance
  • Approval of Minutes
  • Approval of Bills and Transfers
  • Public Audience
  • Correspondence
  • Business Items
  • Reports
  • Council Comments and Discussion
  • Adjournment

Section 2 The order of business at committee meetings shall be as follows:

  • Call to Order
  • Public Audience
  • Visitors
  • Cemetery Committee
  • Electric Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Insurance Committee
  • Parks and Recreation Committee
  • Personnel Committee
  • Protection to Persons and Property
  • Streets and Highways Committee
  • Waste Management Committee
  • Mayor/Chief of Police
  • President of Council
  • Solicitor
  • Borough Manager
  • Code Enforcement Officer
  • Additional Comments and Discussion
  • Adjournment

Section 3 The order of business may be suspended by motion of Council to permit the introduction of such business, as Council may desire to consider.

ARTICLE 4 ~ Officers and Duties

Section 1 President of Council
The President of Council shall preside at all regular, special and committee meetings of Council, and in his/her absence, the Vice President shall act in his/her stead. The President shall appoint all standing and special committees and fill vacancies which may occur therein. The President shall act as an ex-officio member of all committees.

Section 2 Secretary
The Secretary shall attend all meetings of Council and keep minutes of its proceedings. The Sunshine Act requires that the minutes must include:
The time, date and place of the meeting.
The names of members present.
The substance of all official actions and a record of the roll call votes.
The names of all citizens who appeared officially at the meeting and the subject of their testimony.
Verbatim accounts of proceedings will not be included in the minutes. An exception may be made to include specific comments if they are typewritten and copies are distributed to each Council member and the Secretary prior to the comments being made at the meeting. The comments will only be included in the minutes verbatim upon an affirmative vote by the members of Council.
The Secretary shall also transcribe resolutions and ordinances into a book for that purpose; preserve the records and documents of the Borough and shall have custody of the Borough Seal. The Secretary shall certify copies of any book, paper, record, by-law, rule, regulation, resolution, ordinance or proceeding of the Borough under the seal thereof and shall attest the execution of all instruments and record the publication of all ordinances and attest the same. The Secretary shall be given further duties and obligations as shall be designated from time to time by Council and/or the Borough Manager.

Section 3 Treasurer
The Treasurer shall keep a just account of all receipts and disbursements. All monies received for the use of the Borough shall be deposited in a bank in the name of the Borough. Expenditures shall be paid by check signed by the President of Council, or Vice President and the Borough Secretary, or Assistant Secretary.

Section 4 Solicitor
The Borough Solicitor shall have control of the law matters of the Borough. When requested or directed by the Borough Council or Borough Manager he/she shall prepare such instruments as shall be necessary and shall commence and prosecute all actions brought by or on behalf of the Borough, or any officer thereof, whereby anything affecting the Borough or any department thereof may be brought in question before any court in the Commonwealth. The solicitor shall, when requested by the Council or the Borough Manager, give his/her opinion, in writing, upon any question of law, which may be submitted by them in their official capacity.

Section 5 Borough Manager
The Borough Manager shall attend all meetings of Borough Council. The Manager shall be the Chief Administrative Officer of the Borough and shall be responsible to the Borough Council. His/her powers and duties shall relate to the general management of all Borough Business. The powers and duties of the Borough Manager are described in Ordinance # 1974-2 as amended.

Section 6 Other Officers
Other officers may be designated by Council from time to time and shall have such duties as Council may see fit to prescribe.

ARTICLE 5 ~ Committees and Duties

Section 1 The President shall appoint the following standing committees:

  • Cemetery
  • Electric
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Personnel
  • Protection of Persons and Property
  • Streets and Highway
  • Waste Management

And any other such committees as may be required by law, ordinance, resolution or other action of Council.

Section 2 The President shall appoint such special committees, as he/she may from time to time deem appropriate, unless Council, by a majority vote, shall determine otherwise.

Section 3 The first person named to a committee shall serve as chairperson.

Section 4 The President of Council and Borough Manager shall be ex-officio members of all committees and shall be notified of all meetings thereof.

Section 5 The respective committees shall, with the assistance of the Borough Manager have supervision of such matters as are customarily included within its designated nomenclature and other such matters as may be specially referred to it by the President of Council.

Section 6 The basic duties of the standing committees of Council are as follows:

Cemetery Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager the Cemetery Committee shall oversee the operation and maintenance of the Watsontown Cemetery and shall make recommendations to the Borough Council regarding the Watsontown Cemetery.

Electric Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager, the Electric Committee shall oversee the operation and maintenance of the Borough of Watsontown Electric distribution system. Upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee this Committee shall recommend rate increases as necessary for the sale of electricity. The Electric Committee shall also make recommendations regarding the distribution of electric that may be necessary for the welfare of the community.
This committee shall also be in charge of all streetlights within the Borough.

Finance Committee
The Borough Manager shall serve as chairperson of the Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee shall have charge of the finances of the Borough of Watsontown and shall make recommendations to Council upon all questions regarding the finances of the Borough.

Insurance Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager the Insurance Committee shall make recommendations to Borough Council regarding all insurance needs of the Borough.

Parks and Recreation Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager the Parks and Recreation Committee shall be responsible for overseeing the operation and maintenance of all parks and recreation spaces within the Borough of Watsontown. This Committee shall recommend rates charged for use of Borough recreation facilities including the Swimming Pool and Pavilion rentals.

Protection of Persons and Property Committee
This Committee shall make recommendations to Borough Council regarding the internal work of the police department as shall be necessary to promote the highest efficiency. The Committee shall also supervise and maintain all equipment, materials, and supplies used by the Police Department; and shall recommend the purchase of equipment, materials and supplies as are necessary for the use of the Police Department.
The Committee shall also make recommendations to Borough Council regarding traffic, and the installation of traffic signals, signs and other devises for the regulation of traffic.

Streets and Highway Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager it shall be the duty of the Streets and Highway Committee to oversee the maintenance of all public streets, sidewalks, highways and alleys within the Borough of Watsontown.

Waste Management Committee
With the assistance of the Borough Manager this committee shall oversee all waste management activities within the Borough of Watsontown, including refuse pick-up, storm water management activities and the operation and maintenance of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

ARTICLE 6 ~ Conduct of Business

Section 1 All ordinances and resolutions shall be enacted by a majority vote of Council members in attendance and shall be recorded in the proper ordinance or resolution book by the Secretary within thirty days of enactment.

Section 2 Any ordinance, returned by the Mayor as disapproved, shall be considered by Council at the meeting at which it is returned and if reenacted by a majority of four of the six members of Council shall become law and be recorded in the ordinance book.

Section 3 Ordinary resolutions shall be first read and then adopted by a recorded yea or nay vote.

Section 4 All motions shall be enacted by a majority of Council members in attendance.

Section 5 All members of Council present shall vote on all questions under penalty of forfeiture of office as provided by the Borough Code, unless abstaining for personal interest or other disclosed reason, such as lack of information as to be able to form an opinion.

Section 6 When a roll call vote is required, the Secretary shall call the roll in alphabetical order.

Section 7 Voting on all ordinances, resolutions and all motions concerning the expenditure of funds shall be by roll call vote, and shall be recorded in the minutes as such. Voting on all other matters shall be by voice vote.

Section 8 All petitions, complaints and correspondence requiring action of Council, shall be referred by the President of Council to the Chairperson of the Committee having charge thereof, for such action or study as the President may deem proper.

ARTICLE 7 ~ Public Comment

Section 1 A period of Public Comment will be held at the same point in each meeting.

Section 2 A sign-in sheet will be available prior to the meeting so that a record can be maintained of all persons in attendance as well as to assure that all persons who wish to address Council can be recognized.

Section 3 The time allotted for each individual to speak shall be five minutes. If a group is present and wishes to make a comment a spokesperson should be chosen such that only one person provides the request or opinion of the group. At the discretion of the President of Council, additional individuals may speak after being recognized by the President.

Section 4 The President of Council shall preside over the Public Comment portion of the meeting and within the discretion of that position may:
Recognize individuals wishing to offer public comment.
Require identification of such person.
Direct that the subject of the Public Comment be referred to the appropriate committee or office of the Borough for study and recommendation, if there is a need for further investigation as to the request being made.
Rule out of order scandalous, impertinent and redundant comments or any comment the purpose of which is to disrupt or prevent the conduct of the meeting.

ARTICLE 8 ~ Amendments

Section 1 These By-laws and rules may be amended provided the amendment is submitted in writing at a regular or special meeting of Council and is passed by a majority vote of the members present at the next regular meeting.

ARTICLE 9 ~ Repealer

Section 1 All ordinances and resolutions, rules or by-laws inconsistent with the provisions hereof, be and the same are hereby repealed.

Section 2 If any sentence, clause or section, or any part hereof, is for any reason found to be illegal or invalid, such illegality or invalidity shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions hereof.

These Articles were adopted on the fourth day of August, 2003; signed by Harriet S. Miller, President of Council and attested by Edith A. Moser, Borough Secretary.

Last Modified: 3.7.09

One Response

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