Friday, January 10, 2014

Research Q of the Week: First Meeting of the Year (1/10)

Question: What are city councils required to do at their first meeting of the year?

Answer: Happy new year! A city’s annual meeting or first meeting of the year is a time for new beginnings just like most of us plan for in the New Year. If your city has newly elected councilmembers, their term of office begins on the first Monday in January, and they should take their oath of office by this date.

Regardless of whether you have new faces on the council, there is still some important business to attend to. Here’s a to-do list for the first meeting of the year:

• Pick an official newspaper where you will publish important city info and notices.
• Appoint an acting mayor from among the councilmembers. The acting mayor will perform the duties of the mayor if there is a vacancy in the mayor’s position or during the mayor’s disability or absence.
• Select an official depository for city funds. (This must be done within 30 days of the start of the city’s fiscal year).
• Charter cities should also consult their city charters to see if they have additional requirements for their first meeting of the year.

But wait, there’s more! In addition, although not required by statute, many city councils will also do the following at the first meeting of the year:

• Review different council appointments to city boards and commissions.
• Approve other annual contracts with service providers such as the city attorney, engineer or auditor.

For more optional things to review at the first meeting of the year, see page 4 of the League’s memo on Meetings of City Councils.

Bonus tip: With the new year and new budget cycle, the first meeting of the year might also be a good time for the council and city staff to start discussing their vision for the city and long-term city plans to ensure a great start!

This response is intended to convey general information and should not be taken as legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal guidance. Consult your city attorney for advice regarding specific situations. 

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