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Oklahoma Municipal League

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Inquiry Blog and FAQ

Welcome to the OML Inquiry FAQ Blog! Please feel free to discuss and share experiences in the comments section.

The Oklahoma Municipal League Inquiry Service does not render legal advice or act as a legal advisor. Your municipal attorney is your legal advisor. Acting on his/her advice gives your municipality a measure of protection should there be any questions regarding the particulars of your unique situation.

The Oklahoma Municipal League provides library and reference services to its members. OML does not give legal advice or act as a legal advisor. Please discuss all legal matters with and follow the advice of your city or town attorney.

Please Note: This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. You should consult your city or town attorney prior to taking any action based on this document.

You can find more information on our Inquiry FAQ page.

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at OML via our Inquiry Page or contact your municipal attorney.

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How do ordinances differ from resolutions?

Posted on May 16, 2016 at 5:40 PM

 

A. What is an ordinance? An ordinance is defined as a formal legislative act of a municipal governing body which has the force and effect of a continuing regulation and a permanent rule of conduct or government for the municipality. 11 O.S. Section 1-102.

 

B. What is a resolution? A resolution is a special or temporary act of a governing body which is declaratory of the will or opinion of a municipality in a given matter and is in the nature of a ministerial or administrative act. A resolution is not a law and does not prescribe a permanent rule of conduct or government. 11 O.S. Section 1-102.

 

C. What are resolution details? Resolutions are not required to be published unless required by Charter. Municipal clerks are not required to keep a “Resolution Book”. Some clerks record resolutions in full in a minute book, but no statute requires this.

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at OML via our Inquiry Page or contact your municipal attorney. We welcome you to comment on any of our Inquiry FAQ blog posts.

Please Note: This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. You should consult your city or town attorney prior to taking any action based on this document.

We don't have enough members of the governing body to have our regular meeting. What do we do?

Posted on March 8, 2016 at 2:00 PM

The statutes do not offer any specific guidance on procedures to cancel regularly scheduled meetings. However, they do offer guidance on the procedure to have a special meeting. Meetings can be cancelled for a variety of reasons. Unless the day, time and/or place are permanent changes, the regular meeting is simply cancelled for reasons (list reasons; no quorum, emergency, holiday...) Cancellation of the meeting(s) should meet the same posting requirements provided in the notification of the meeting(s). Any meeting that is to take place that is 'other' than a regularly scheduled meeting, would be called a special meeting. Notification of a special meeting is found in Title 25 OS sec 311 of the Open Meetings Act under item A. (11).

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at OML via our Inquiry Page or contact your municipal attorney. We welcome you to comment on any of our Inquiry FAQ blog posts.

Please Note: This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. You should consult your city or town attorney prior to taking any action based on this document.

Budgets, Do I really have to have one? Who is responsible for creating the budget? Are there legal deadlines?

Posted on March 7, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Who is responsible for creating the budget? Are there legal deadlines?

 

Developing a Budget is a never ending process. The process begins the moment you begin your fiscal year and ends, only to begin again.

 

There are two basic budget options for Oklahoma municipalities. The Municipal Budget Act (11.O.S. §§ 17-201 through 17-216) and the Estimate of Need Law ( 68 O.S. §§ 3001 through 3033 & 62 O.S. § 461). You will need to determine which one is Applicable to your municipality.

 

It will depend on your form of government on who prepares the budget.

 

Aldermanic form of Government - Mayor prepares the budget

 

Council-Manager form of Government - City Manager prepares the budget

 

Strong-Mayor form of Government - Mayor prepares the budget

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at OML via our Inquiry Page or contact your municipal attorney. We welcome you to comment on any of our Inquiry FAQ blog posts. 

Town form of Government - Council prepares the budget

 

The legal deadlines for municipalities under the Municipal Budget Act are as follows:

 

Chief Executive Officer must submit the budget to the Governing Body thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. (June 1st)

Governing Body must hold a public hearing on the proposal no later than fifteen (15) days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. (June 15th)

Notice of the date, time and place of the hearing together with the proposed budget summary shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality not less than five (5) days before the date of the hearing. (June 11th)

Governing Body must adopt budget by resolution at least seven (7) days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. (June 24th)

Adopted budget must be filed with the State Auditior & Inspector and Municipal Clerk on or before the first day of the fiscal year. (July 1st)

Within fifteen (15) days after filing with the State Auditor & Inspector, any taxpayer may protest alleged irregularities.

The legal deadlines for municipalities under the Estimate of Need Law are as follows:

 

Governing Body must begin preparing Estimate of Need and report of revenues, the first Monday in August. (1st Monday in August)

Excise Board convenes July 1, to set schedule for public meetings. (July 1st)

Prepare Estimate of Needs. (by September 1st)

Submit financials and needs of estimate to county excise board.

Incorporated towns by August 22nd

Cities by August 27th

Publication affidavit filed at least 5 days after budget filing.

(For more details about budgets see pages G-6 through G-20 of the OML Handbook for City and Town Officials.)

Please Note: This summary is not a substitute for legal advice. You should consult your city or town attorney prior to taking any action based on this document.

Competitive Bidding: Contracting With a Service Provider

Posted on March 1, 2016 at 6:35 AM

A common question received by OML concerns contracting with a service provider such as a trash hauler. Must this be bid if it is greater than the bidding statutes bid requirements?

A: Well, it depends.

Q: Depends on what?

A: Principally on whether it is the municipality or the public trust awarding the contract.

If it is the municipality that is contracting with the trash hauler

Public Competitive Bidding Act (61 O.S. 101 and following) does not apply since it only applies to “public improvements” which are defined as a “beneficial or valuable change or addition, betterment, enhancement or amelioration of or upon any real property . . . “

If it is the public trust that is contracting with the trash hauler

There is a split among municipal attorneys about whether the public trusts bidding statutes applies. It requires competitive bidding for “construction, labor, equipment, material or repairs . . . “ The minority opinion is that the word “labor” can be broadly interpreted to include all types of service contracts and even professional services such as engineers, attorneys etc. Other city/town attorneys do not read it this expansively. 

Q: You mean attorneys disagree with each other?

A: Sure. You know, ask two attorneys – get three opinions!

Q: What if it is an emergency – like a trash hauler suddenly going out-of-business?

A: Well, it depends.

Q: Here we go again!

A: Sad, but true. It depends on whether the facts fit the definition of “emergency”.

Under the Public Trusts Bidding Statute (60 O.S. Section 176(h))

The term used in the law is an “immediate emergency” which is a factual situation where the “trustee or the trustees find that an immediate outlay of trust funds in an amount exceeding $25,000 is necessary in order to avoid loss of life, substantial damage to property, or damage to the public peace or safety.” This is a factual determination and, unfortunately, there is no clear, bright line on this issue. The city or town should take no action without getting the okay of their municipal attorney.

In addition, if it is an “immediate emergency” under the law, the statute requires that a finding of an emergency “shall be entered in the journal of the trust proceedings”.

If you have any questions or comments to share, please contact [email protected] or post a comment below.


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