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Scottsdale City Charter

The City Charter is the basic document that defines the powers and functions of the city. It serves as the foundation of government for the city, but leaves the details of operation to local law. The City Charter sets forth the governance structure for and defines the qualifications and role of the elected officials - the Mayor and six Councilmembers.  In broad strokes, the Charter also establishes the authority and responsibility of the city officers - the City Attorney, City Auditor, City Clerk, City Magistrate, City Manager, and City Treasurer.  Any amendment or modification to the city's charter requires a public vote.

The City of Scottsdale, which has a Council-Manager form of government, was incorporated June, 1951. The City of Scottsdale adopted its first city charter in November, 1961, which was approved by Arizona Governor Paul Fannin on Nov. 16, 1961.

Charter History



Sec. 1. Incorporation.

The inhabitants of the City of Scottsdale, within the corporate limits as now established or as hereafter established in the manner provided by law, shall continue to be a municipal body politic and corporate in perpetuity, under the name of the "City of Scottsdale".

Sec. 2. Form of government.

The municipal government provided by this charter shall be known as the council manager form of government. Pursuant to its provisions and subject only to the limitations imposed by the state constitution and by this charter, all powers of the city shall be vested in an elective council, hereinafter referred to as "the council," which shall enact local legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies and appoint the city manager and such other officers deemed necessary and proper for the orderly government and administration of the affairs of the city, as prescribed by the constitution and applicable laws, and ordinances hereafter adopted by the city. All powers of the city shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by this charter, or if the manner be not prescribed, then in such manner as may be prescribed by ordinance.

Sec. 3. Powers of city.

The city shall have all the powers granted to municipal corporations and to cities by the constitution and laws of this state and by this charter, together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution all the powers granted, and these further rights and powers, to wit:

  1. The city may acquire property within or without its corporate limits for any city purpose, consistent with state law, in fee simple or any lesser interest or estate, by purchase, gift, devise, lease or condemnation, and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold, manage and control such property as its interests may require.  Condemnation may be exercised only if it is authorized by this state, if it is for a public use, if the city has exhausted all reasonable options to avoid the use of condemnation, including the negotiation of just compensation, and if its use is narrowly tailored to advance the public use the city contemplates for the property to be acquired. Land use laws that reduce private property rights shall further comply with all Arizona laws relating to diminution in value and just compensation thereof.
  2. To designate and establish as floodways or flood plains, areas of land within the boundaries of the city reasonably required or necessary to improve, extend, maintain or facilitate the control or discharge of waters of rivers and streams and intermittent flowing creeks, washes, arroyos, drains and channels together with surface and flood waters so as to limit the loss of or injury to lives and damage to property and limit encroachments and obstructions within the floodway and flood plain areas so designated and established by the city together with criminal and civil penalty for violations thereof.
  3. To adopt and amend a comprehensive general plan as provided by Arizona law, regarding the future physical development of the city to serve as a guide to all future council action concerning land use regulations and expenditures for capital improvements. The council may by ordinance implement said general plan by adopting land use and development regulations including but not limited to an official zoning map and zoning and subdivision regulations.
  4. To levy and collect assessments and file liens on real property to collect amounts owed to the city for collection of solid waste and recyclable materials, water service and other utilities, city services rendered for special events, and sewer rental charges, service charges or fees for police or fire department responses to false or invalid alarms, and restoration of natural area open space or for other amounts owed to the city as provided by law, and reasonable amounts expended by the city in the abatement of any nuisance, flooding hazard, demolition and removal of any legally condemned building or structure and the cleaning and renovating of vacant lots which are offensive to the sight or smell or hazardous to the public health.
  5. To prescribe the place and manner a notice is to be published.
  6. The city has the exclusive control and regulation of the use and enjoyment of its streets, alleys, public grounds or ways.
  7. To require all persons, firms, or corporations responsible for new physical development within the city to the extent allowed by Arizona and/or federal law, to provide for or furnish, or where allowed by city ordinance, to pay a fee in lieu of providing for or furnishing, the following: (1) public utility easements; (2) water production, storage and transmission; (3) sewage collection, transmission, treatment and disposal; (4) park land and development; (5) school sites; (6) dedication and improvement of public rights-of-way; (7) bike paths and other necessary transportation; (8) drainage; (9) flood control; (10) parking; and (11) other public facilities necessary to maintain satisfactory levels of service for said new development, as provided by ordinance which shall include definite standards basing the foregoing requirements on the needs of the inhabitants of said new development.
  8. To require architectural and site plan review and approval prior to the development, construction, reconstruction, or conversion of any building or structure other than a detached single-family dwelling.
  9. To adopt plans for land use areas within the city for the purpose of refining the general plan.
  10. To provide for solid waste management and the collection, source separation, storage, transportation, transfer, processing, treatment, sale, disposal, regulation of garbage, all other solid waste, and recyclable materials, and to acquire, construct, operate and maintain solid waste management facilities, including the authority to enter into contracts therefor, levy and collect fees and charges, require licenses, accept grants, acquire or dispose of recyclable materials, and to impose criminal penalties for the unlawful interference with all such activities. Further, the city may by mutual agreement with other private or governmental entities provide for the management and disposal of garbage and all other solid waste and recyclable materials.
  11. To provide for the preservation and enhancement of the environment of the City of Scottsdale.
  12. To provide for the protection, development, enhancement, storage, transportation and replenishment of the water supply, including but not limited to groundwater recharge, for the benefit of the City of Scottsdale, both within and without its boundaries.
  13. To provide for the collection, transportation, disposition and regulation of wastewater and effluent, and to acquire, construct, operate and maintain wastewater and effluent treatment and management facilities, including the authority to enter into contracts therefor, levy and collect fees and charges, require licenses, accept grants, purchase and sell recovered resources, and to impose criminal penalties for the unlawful disposal of wastewater and effluent. Further, the city may by mutual agreement with other private or governmental entities provide for the disposal of wastewater and effluent.
  14. To adopt ordinances relating to the external maintenance of structures and land, to levy and collect assessments and to file liens on real property to collect amounts expended by the city for such external maintenance.
  15. The city shall not give or loan its credit in aid of, nor make any donation, grant or payment of any public funds, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation, except where there is a clearly identified public purpose and the city either receives direct consideration substantially equal to its expenditure or provides direct assistance to those in need.

Except as prohibited by the United States constitution, the Arizona constitution, the laws of this state preempting the charter, or as restricted by this charter, the city shall and may exercise all municipal powers, functions, rights, privileges and immunities of every name and nature whatsoever.

The enumeration of particular powers by this charter shall not be deemed to be exclusive, and in addition to the powers enumerated herein or implied hereby, or appropriate to the exercise of such powers, it is intended that the city shall have and may exercise all powers which under the constitution of this state, it would be competent for this charter specifically to enumerate.

Sec. 3-1. Intergovernmental relations.

The city may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation by contract, or otherwise, with any one or more states, political subdivisions, school districts, Indian tribal councils or any board, commission or agency, or combination of them, or with the United States or any department or agency thereof.

Sec. 4. Boundaries.

The boundaries of the city shall be the boundaries as established at the time this charter takes effect, or as such boundaries may be changed thereafter in the manner authorized by law.

Sec. 1. Powers of the council.

All powers of the city, not in conflict with the constitution and subject to the limitations of this charter, shall be vested in the council, who shall enact appropriate legislation and do and perform any and all acts and things which may be necessary and proper to carry out these powers or any of the provisions of this charter.

Sec. 2. Number; selection.

The council shall consist of a mayor and six (6) councilmen elected from the city at large.

Sec. 3. Terms of mayor and council members.

The terms of the mayor and each member of the council shall commence at the first regular meeting of the council following the date set for the general election, even if no such general election is held, and shall be for four consecutive years thereafter, or until his or her successor is duly elected and inducted into office.  The mayor and three members of the council shall be elected in the year 2000, and three members of the council shall be elected two years thereafter.

Sec. 4. Qualifications.

The mayor and councilmen shall be qualified electors of the city and shall hold no other public office which in any way conflicts with the office of mayor or councilman, and shall have resided in said city, or in an area annexed to said city, for one (1) year next preceding the date of such election or appointment. If the mayor or a councilman shall cease to possess any of these qualifications or shall be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, his office shall immediately become vacant.  The council, as provided by ordinance, shall be the judge of the election and the qualifications of its members and for such purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses and require the production of records, but the decision of the council in any such case shall be subject to review by the courts.

Sec. 5. Limitations on filing for election.

Any incumbent mayor or councilman, who is not in the final year of the term being served, shall resign from office before offering himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office. An incumbent mayor or councilman, in the final year of a term being served, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office, without resignation from office. To be eligible to run for the office of mayor, an incumbent councilman who is not in the final year of the term being served, shall resign his office upon offering himself for nomination, or ninety (90) days prior to the primary election, whichever occurs first. "Offer for nomination or election" means either filing a nomination paper required by law to run for public office or making a formal public declaration of candidacy. Resignations required by this section shall be in writing, filed with the city clerk and shall be effective upon filing.

Sec. 6. Duties of the mayor.

  1. The mayor shall be a voting member of the council and shall attend and preside at meetings of the council; represent and appoint members of the council to represent the council in intergovernmental relationships; present an annual state of the city message; appoint the members of council committees, provided that all such appointments shall be subject to the approval of the council; assign agenda items to committees; and perform other duties specified by the council and allowed by law. 
  2. The mayor shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of martial law, but shall have no regular administrative duties.

  3. The mayor shall govern the city by proclamation during times of riot, civil insurrection, major disaster and times of great public danger.

Sec. 7. Vice Mayor.

The council shall designate one of its members as vice mayor, who shall serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the council. The vice mayor shall perform the duties of the mayor during his absence or disability.

Sec. 8. Salaries of mayor and councilmen.

The monthly salary of the mayor shall be three thousand dollars ($3,000.00), and of the councilmen shall be one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00), until changed by ordinance, but shall not be increased during the current term of mayor and councilmen enacting such ordinance.

Sec. 9. Induction of mayor and council into office.

Each newly elected mayor and member of the council shall be inducted into office at the beginning of the first regular meeting of the council following the date set for the general election, even if no general election is held.

Sec. 10. Vacancies in council and office of mayor.

The council, by majority vote of its remaining members, shall within thirty-one (31) days, fill the vacancy in its own membership including the office of mayor, by appointing a person to serve until the office is filled by election. If a vacancy in either the office of mayor or councilman occurs less than thirty (30) days prior to the final date for filing nomination petitions for the primary election, the council shall appoint by majority vote a person to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. If a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor more than thirty (30) days prior to the final date for filing nomination petitions for the primary election, the vacancy shall be filled for a four (4) year term at the next regular primary election and general election, if necessary, as provided in this charter. If a vacancy occurs in the office of councilman more than thirty (30) days prior to the final date for filing nomination petitions, the unexpired term shall be filled at the next regular primary election and general election, if necessary, as provided in this charter. In any primary election or general election, if necessary, as provided in this charter, when more than three (3) vacancies exist in the office of councilman, and have to be filled at said election, the three (3) candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected for four (4) year terms as provided in article 2, section 4 of this charter and the candidate or candidates equal in number to the vacancies to be filled receiving the next greatest number of votes in descending order shall be elected for the unexpired term or terms.

Sec. 11. Council meetings; open to public.

The council shall meet regularly at such times and at such places as may be prescribed by its rules, but not less frequently than two (2) times each month. All meetings of the council to conduct official business shall be open to the public in a manner consistent with state law.

Sec. 12. Special meetings.

Special meetings may be called by the mayor or four (4) members of the council, with reasonable notice given to all members of the council.

Sec. 13. Rules of procedure; record.

The council shall determine its own rules and order of business subject to the provisions of this charter. It shall keep a record of its proceedings and the record shall be open to public inspection during regular office hours.

Sec. 14. Quorum; ayes and nays.

A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day or from time to time.  The vote on any question shall be by ayes and nays and shall be entered in the record. At the request of any member of the council, a roll call vote shall be taken.

Sec. 15. Consideration of petitions.

Any citizen of the city may appear before the council at any regular meeting and present a written petition; such petition shall be acted upon by the council, in the regular course of business, within thirty (30) days.

Sec. 16.  Appointments, removals and interactions with city employees.

  1. Neither the council, any of its members, nor any member of an appointed public body shall control or demand the appointment or removal of city employees subject to the direction and supervision of any officer of the city. 
  2. The council and its members may interact with such employees for the purpose of inquiries.  However, neither the council, any of its members, nor any member of an appointed public body shall give orders to any such employees, either publicly or privately.

  3. This section does not apply to city employees whose primary duties are to directly serve the mayor or members of the council.

The council, at a public meeting, may express its views and fully and freely discuss with any officer of the city anything pertaining to city affairs or the interests of the city.

    Sec. 17. Conduct of council as to powers authorized by charter when no procedure established by law.

    Whenever, by any provisions of this charter, it is prescribed that any power, duty or procedure shall or may be exercised, performed or adopted in the manner established by any law of this state, and there be no procedure established by law therefor, then the council may prescribe the procedure.

    Sec. 18. Limitation of terms.

    No mayor shall serve more than three consecutive elected terms as mayor and no councilman shall serve more than three consecutive elected terms as councilman.

    Sec. 1. General provisions.

    The council shall appoint as officers of the city the following: city manager, city treasurer, city clerk, city attorney and city auditor. The council shall set compensation for officers of the city who collectively shall be responsible to manage the affairs of the city, report directly to the council, serve at the pleasure of the council, and have the powers and perform the duties in this charter provided. Each officer of the city shall appoint and, when necessary, remove employees of their respective offices, as provided by city ordinances and formally adopted policies.

    No councilman shall receive such appointment during the term for which he shall have been elected, nor within one year after the expiration of his term.

    Officers of the city shall become residents of the city within six (6) months after the start of their employment.

    Officers of the city shall be chosen by the council on the basis of qualifications with special reference to actual experience in, or knowledge of, the duties of the office as set forth in this charter.

    It shall be the duty of each officer to perform all services required of their respective positions.

    The council shall approve the appointment of acting officers in the event an officer is unable to perform the duties of the office, is suspended by the council, or if there is a vacancy in the office.

    Sec. 2. The city manager.  

    As the chief executive of the administrative branch of the city government, the city manager shall be responsible to the council for the proper administration of all affairs of the city, not otherwise assigned by this charter to another officer. To that end, subject to the provisions of this charter, the city manager shall have power and shall be required to:

    1. See that all ordinances are enforced and that the provisions of all franchises, leases, contracts, permits and privileges granted by the city are observed;
    2. Provide for the appointment and removal of employees of the city, except as otherwise provided by this charter.  The city manager may authorize a subordinate head of a department or office to appoint and remove employees in such department or office;
    3. Prepare annual budget estimates, in accordance with the provisions of Article 6, and submit them to the council and be responsible for the administration of the budget after adoption;
    4. Keep the council advised at all times of the affairs and needs of the city and make reports as required by the council;
    5. Supervise the purchasing for all departments of the city;
    6. Perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter or required by the council, not inconsistent with this charter.

    Sec. 3. City clerk.

    The city clerk shall give notice of all council meetings, keep the official record of the council’s proceedings, authenticate and record in full all ordinances and resolutions, and shall perform such other duties as shall be required by this charter or by ordinances. 

    Sec. 4. City treasurer.

    The city treasurer shall be the chief financial officer of the city, shall receive and have custody of all the money of the city and shall keep and save said money and dispense the same only as provided by law, and shall prepare the official financial and accounting records of the city.

    The city treasurer shall issue monthly public financial statements to the council within fifteen (15) business days of the month end, except for reports at fiscal year end, which shall be prepared as directed by the council. The monthly financial statements shall include, but not be limited to, the actual, budgeted, and prior year comparisons of revenue and expenditures of each office, division and department, and any additional information required by ordinance.

    Sec. 5. City attorney.

    The city attorney shall be the chief legal advisor to the council and all offices, departments and agencies and all officers and employees in matters relating to their official powers and duties.

    Sec. 6. City auditor.

    The city auditor shall have the authority to conduct financial and performance audits and investigations of all activities of the city in accordance with applicable government auditing standards, and shall be provided free and open access, except as limited by law, to all city records, personnel, facilities and information necessary to carry out these duties.

    Sec. 1. Administrative departments and offices.

    The council, by ordinance not inconsistent with this charter, shall provide for the organization, conduct and operation of the several offices and departments of the city as established by this charter, for the creation of additional departments, divisions, offices and agencies and for their consolidation, alteration or abolition.

    The council, by ordinance not inconsistent with this charter, may assign additional functions or duties to offices, departments or agencies.

    The council shall provide the number, titles, qualifications, powers, duties and compensation of all officers and employees of the city.  Except as otherwise provided in Article 3, Section 1, the council may by ordinance provide residency requirements for all city employees.

    Sec. 1. Appointive boards and commissions.

    The council may by ordinance create, change, and abolish boards or commissions as in its judgment are required, or as are now or hereafter provided by law and may grant to them such powers and duties as are consistent with the provisions of this charter.

    All members of appointive boards or commissions shall at the time of their appointment be a resident of the city, and shall maintain this residency for the duration of their term in office. No member of a board or commission shall serve for more than six consecutive years on that board or commission.

    Sec. 2. Civil service board.

    The city council shall create a civil service board consisting of three qualified electors of the city to be appointed by the city council for six (6) year terms. The board shall prescribe, amend and enforce rules for personnel hearings as provided by city ordinance.

    Sec. 1. Fiscal year.

    The fiscal year of the city shall commence on the first day of July each year.

    Sec. 2. Council to provide for tax system; use of county services.

    The council may by ordinance provide a system for the assessment, levy and collection of all city taxes, not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter; provided, however, the council shall have power to avail itself of any law of this state, now or hereafter in force, and comply with the requirements thereof whereby assessments may be made by the assessor of the county in which the city is situated and taxes collected by the tax collector of said county for and in behalf of the city.

    Sec. 3. Submission of recommendations and estimates to council.

    Each year, on or before the second regular council meeting in May, or on such date as determined by the council, the city manager, after consultation with the other city officers, shall prepare and submit in writing to the council recommendations for the next fiscal year with estimates of the city’s probable expenditures, including funds required to service any outstanding indebtedness, the amount of income expected from all sources, and the probable amount required to be raised by taxation.

    Sec. 4. Preparation and tentative adoption of a budget; publication of budget and notice of meeting to fix tax levies.

    The council shall meet annually prior to fixing the tax levy and make a budget of the estimated amounts required to pay the expenses of conducting the business of the city for the next fiscal year. The budget shall be prepared in such detail as provided by law and, together with a notice that the council will meet for the purpose of making tax levies, in accordance with said budget, at the time and place set out in said notice, shall be published as required by state law or ordinance.

    Sec. 5. Public hearing and adoption of budget.

    The council shall, at the first regular meeting in June and at the time and place designated in such notice, hold a public hearing at which any taxpayer may appear and be heard in favor of or against any proposed expenditure or tax levy. When such hearings shall have been concluded, the council shall finally determine and adopt estimates of proposed expenditures for the various purposes as set forth in the published proposal and such adopted estimates will constitute the budget for the next fiscal year.

    Sec. 6. Exceeding adopted budget.

    Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit the power of the council to exceed the adopted budget for emergency or unanticipated municipal expenditures, as provided by state law.

    Sec. 7. Adoption of ordinance fixing tax rate.

    On the day set for making tax levies, but not later than the third Monday in August, the council shall meet and adopt an ordinance levying upon the assessed valuation of the property within the city, subject to the provisions of this charter, a rate of taxation upon each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of valuation, sufficient to raise the amounts estimated to be required in the annual budget, less the amounts estimated to be received from fines, licenses and other sources of revenue.

    Sec. 8. Additional taxes for special purposes.

    The council shall have the power to levy and collect taxes in addition to the taxes herein authorized to be levied and collected, sufficient to pay the interest and maintain the sinking fund of the bonded indebtedness of the city and an additional amount deemed to be advisable and necessary for any public or municipal purposes.

    Sec. 9. Transaction privilege tax.

    The council shall have the power to levy a transaction privilege tax provided that no such tax levy computed or measured on the gross receipts, gross income or gross proceeds of sales of the taxpayer without deduction for cost of goods, or property or services sold or other costs shall be levied at a rate in excess of one percent of such gross receipts, gross income or gross proceeds of any such taxpayer unless such rate is approved by a majority of the qualified electors of the city, voting on the question whether such a rate should be approved at a general or special election wherein such question has been submitted.

    Sec. 10. Tax exempt property.

    All the property within the city shall be subject to taxation, except that property which is exempt from taxes under the laws of the United States and the laws of this state.

    Sec. 11. Transfer of appropriations.

    The city manager, subject to the approval of the council, may at any time transfer any unencumbered appropriation balance or portion thereof between general classifications of expenditures within an office, department or agency. At the request of the city manager, the council may transfer any unencumbered appropriation balance or portion thereof from one office, department or agency to another.

    Sec. 12. Claims or demands against the city.

    The time and manner for making notice of a claim against the city shall be as set forth in state law. The council shall prescribe by ordinance procedures relating to the auditing and payment of a claim.

    Sec. 13. Transfer of sums from any funds to principal and interest funds.

    Whenever there shall not be sufficient moneys, in any of the interest or principal reduction funds for bonded indebtedness of the city to pay the interest or any principal payment on such bonded indebtedness when due, the council shall direct the transfer from the general or any other fund having moneys therein, except private contributions or endowment funds in the possession or control of the city, to such interest or principal funds the necessary amounts of money to pay the interest or principal payment due on said bonded indebtedness, and the amount so transferred shall be returned to the respective funds from which such transfer was made whenever sufficient moneys shall accrue in said bonded indebtedness funds.

    Sec. 14. Independent annual audit.

    Prior to the end of each fiscal year the council shall designate certified public accountants who shall perform an independent audit of the city’s annual financial statements in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. The certified public accountants shall be independent of the city government, having no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of city government or any of its officers. The certified public accountants shall submit their reports to the council. All such audit reports shall be a matter of public record.

    Sec. 15. Investment of funds.

    The council shall have the authority to invest all funds available at the highest available interest rate, assuring that all moneys are fully secured.

    Sec. 16. Capital improvements excluded from expenditure limitations.

    The City of Scottsdale may accumulate and expend local revenues for the purpose of purchasing land, buildings or improvements or constructing buildings or improvements as funds excluded from expenditure limitations pursuant to article IX, section 20(3)(d)(viii) Arizona Constitution.

    Sec. 1. Council to act by resolution, ordinance or motion.

    The council shall act by resolution, ordinance or motion.

    In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provision of this charter to be done by ordinance, acts of the council shall be by ordinance if they:

      1. adopt, amend, or repeal any city ordinance or law, or establish, alter, or abolish any city department, office, or agency; 
      2. provide for a fine or other penalty or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed;
      3. levy taxes; 
      4. regulate the rates charged for utility services provided by the city;
      5. authorize the borrowing of money;
      6. change a property’s zoning district(s).

    Sec. 2. Ayes and nays to be recorded.

    The ayes and nays shall be taken upon the passage of all ordinances and resolutions and entered upon the record of the proceedings of the council.

    Sec. 3. When majority or larger than majority vote required.

    A majority vote of all the members of the council shall be necessary to pass any ordinance, resolution or motion except where a larger than majority vote is required by this charter, ordinance, or state or federal law.

    Sec. 4. Enacting style.

    The enacting clause of all ordinances passed by the council shall be in these words: "Be it ordained by the Council of the City of Scottsdale as follows:".

    Sec. 5. Reading or posting and passage of ordinances and resolutions; effective date.

    All proposed ordinances shall either be read in full or posted in a public place at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to their adoption, provided that if any amendments are proposed to a posted ordinance such amendments shall be presented and discussed during the public meeting prior to their adoption.

    Measures, ordinances or any other referable actions without the emergency clause shall take effect and become operative thirty (30) days after the date of their passage.

    Sec. 6. Emergency measures; effective date.

    An emergency measure is one necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, in which the emergency is set forth and defined. Passage of an emergency measure shall require the affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the council, or such other number of affirmative votes as may be required by law, taken by ayes and nays. An emergency measure shall take effect immediately upon its passage.

    Sec. 7. Signing of ordinances and resolutions.

    All ordinances and resolutions shall be signed by the mayor and attested by the city clerk.

    Sec. 8. Publication of ordinances and resolutions.

    All ordinances and resolutions having the effect of law shall be published, as required by state law or ordinance, once within fifteen (15) days of their passage.

    Sec. 9. How ordinances are to be revised; reenacted and amended.

    Ordinances shall not be revised, reenacted or amended by reference to title only, but the ordinance to be revised or reenacted, or the section or sections thereof to be amended, or the new section or sections to be added thereto, shall be set forth and adopted in the method provided in this charter for the adoption of ordinances.

    Sec. 10. How ordinances or resolutions are to be repealed or suspended.

    No ordinance or resolution, or section thereof, shall be repealed or suspended except by ordinance or resolution adopted in the manner provided in this charter.

    Sec. 11. Ordinances and resolutions to be filed, recorded and certified; ordinances and resolutions as evidence.

    All ordinances and resolutions shall be filed and safely kept by the city clerk and duly recorded and certified by him in books for that purpose marked "city ordinances" and "city resolutions" respectively; and record copies thereof certified by the city clerk, or the originals thereof shall be prima facie evidence of the contents of such ordinances or resolutions and of the due passage and publication of the same, and shall be admissible in evidence in any court of this state, or in any proceeding where the contents of such ordinance or resolution, or any of them, is in question; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the proof of passage and publication of any ordinance or resolution in the manner otherwise prescribed by law.

    Sec. 12. Procedure for adoption by reference.

    The council may enact the provisions of a code or public record by reference in an ordinance, as provided by state law, without setting forth such provisions, but the adopting ordinance shall be published in full. Copy(s) of the code or public record shall be filed in the office of the city clerk and kept available for public use and inspection, as provided by state law. A code or public record enacted by reference may be amended in the same manner.

    No penalty clause shall be enacted by reference thereto. A penalty clause contained in a code or public record adopted by reference shall be set forth in full in the adopting ordinance.

    Sec. 13. Codification of ordinances.

    Any or all ordinances of the city which have been enacted and published in the manner required at the time of their adoption, and which have not been repealed, may be compiled, consolidated, revised, indexed and arranged as a comprehensive ordinance code, and such code may be adopted by reference, with the same effect as an ordinance, by the passage of any ordinance for such purpose. Such code need not be published in the manner required for other ordinances but one (1) copy shall be filed for use and examination by the public in the office of the city clerk prior to adoption.

    Ordinances codified shall be repealed as of the effective date of the code amendments. Amendments to the code shall be enacted in the same manner as ordinances.

    Sec. 1. Preparation.

    All contracts shall be executed in the name of the City of Scottsdale by the mayor, except as it may be otherwise provided either by this charter, by law, or by ordinance or resolution of the city council.  Contracts executed by the mayor must be countersigned by the city clerk who shall number and register the same in a book kept for that purpose.

    Sec. 2. Contracts for city improvements.

    The city may contract for city improvements as provided by law. When required, all such contracts shall be executed in writing and shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder after public notice and competition unless the council rejects all bids.

    Sec. 3. Purchases and bids.

    The city council shall by ordinance specify the conditions and procedures that shall apply when formal bidding is required, when informal bidding is required, and when no bidding is required, for all goods and services contracted for by the city.

    Sec. 4. Transfer of property.

    The city manager may transfer to or between offices, departments and agencies supplies, materials and equipment, subject to such regulations as the council may prescribe.

    Sec. 5. Fraud and collusion.

    Any member of the council or any officer or employee of the city who shall aid or assist a bidder in securing a contract to furnish labor, material, equipment, supplies or services at a higher price than proposed by any other bidder, or who shall favor one bidder over another by giving or withholding information or who shall willfully mislead any bidder in regard to the character of the labor, material, equipment, supplies or services called for, or the conditions under which the proposed work is to be done, or who shall knowingly accept materials, supplies, or equipment of a quality inferior to those called for by any contract, or who shall knowingly certify to a greater amount of labor or service performed than has been actually performed or to receipt of a greater amount or different kind of material, supplies, or equipment than was actually received, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be removed from office.

    Sec. 6. Conflict of interest.

    All elected and appointed officers of the city, including members of boards and commissions; whether established by charter, ordinance, resolution, state constitution or statute; and all city employees shall be subject to the conflict of interest laws of the state of Arizona.

    Sec. 7. Sale or transfer of interests in city property.

    The city council shall, by ordinance, specify the conditions and procedures that shall apply when formal bidding is required, when informal bidding is required, and when no bidding is required for leasing, selling, or disposing of other interests in city real or personal property in a manner provided by law.

    Sec. 8. Preserve land designation.

    To establish a mountain and desert preservation heritage for present and future citizens of the city, the council may designate as preserve land any land owned by the city which is suitable for mountain or desert preservation. The council shall designate preserve land by resolution. Land purchased directly with the proceeds of a tax specifically authorized by the electors for purchase of preserve land shall be deemed designated as preserve land upon the city's acquisition. Land that may be designated as preserve land is any land owned by the city in fee title and any other real property interest which gives the city possession or use of land or power to cause land to be left in its natural condition.

    Sec. 9. Permanent designation.

    A preserve land designation shall be perpetual unless that designation is removed as provided in this charter.

    Sec. 10. Encumbrance of preserve land.

    The city shall not convey ownership or grant any easement, lease, lien or other real property interest in any land designated as preserve land.

    Sec. 11. Removal of preserve land designation.

    The council may remove the preserve designation from any parcel of land less than one (1) acre in area. Such removal shall be limited to a maximum of six (6) parcels within any one (1) calendar year. Such removal shall not become effective until sixty (60) days after an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of all members of the council and after resolution of any referendum concerning such removal. Removal of the preserve designation from any other parcel of land shall require approval by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of all members of the council, but shall not become effective unless submitted by the council to the electors and approved by vote of the majority of votes cast at the election.

    Sec. 1. Permitted types of election.

    Elections to be held in the city shall be either primary, general or special elections.

    (a)  Primary elections shall be held for the purpose of electing officers of the city and determining whether a general election is necessary.  In the event that no more than two candidates file nominating petitions for each vacancy in office, the primary election may be dispensed with as to that office.

    (b)  General elections shall be held when any elected offices remain unfilled after the primary election.

    (c)  All other municipal elections that may be held by authority of this charter, or of any other law, shall be known as special elections and may, at the discretion of the city council, be conducted concurrently with a primary, general or any other election authorized by law.

    Sec. 2. Qualifications of electors; registration.

    The qualifications of electors shall be as required by the constitution and laws of this state for state, county and city electors. Registration of voters shall be as required by the laws of this state and the register of qualified electors shall be compiled from the general county register.

    Sec. 3. Arrangement of names not to reveal source of candidacy or support of candidates.

    The names of the candidates for each office shall be arranged as provided by law and nothing on the ballot shall be indicative of the source of the candidacy or of the support of any candidate.

    Sec. 4. Time of holding primary elections.

    Primary elections shall be held in even numbered years on the first calendar date authorized by the state law establishing mandatory election dates.  If there is no such law, or if the state law is made optional or is determined not to be mandatory for charter cities, then the primary election shall be held on the third Tuesday in February.  General elections, if necessary, shall be held following primary elections on the second calendar date authorized by the state law establishing mandatory election dates.  If there is no such law, or if the state law is made optional or is determined not to be mandatory for charter cities, then the general shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in March.

    Sec. 5. Majority to elect in primary.

    Any candidate who shall receive at the primary election, the number of votes constituting a majority of all of the legal votes cast in that candidate's race, shall be declared to be elected to the office for which he is a candidate, and no further elections shall be held as to said candidate.  A "legal vote" means a vote actually cast in that candidate's race and excludes ballots and other votes that were not actually cast in that race.

    The majority of votes cast shall be determined by dividing the total number of legal votes cast in each candidate's race by the number of seats to be filled, dividing that number in half, and rounding to the next highest whole number.

    If more candidates than there are offices to be filled receive the number of votes constituting a majority of all of the legal votes cast, then those candidates, equal in number to the number of offices to be filled, receiving the highest number of legal votes shall be declared to be elected.

    Sec. 6. General election.

    If at any primary election there be any office or offices to which no candidate therefor was elected, then a general election shall be held to elect candidates to fill such office or offices. The candidates not elected at the primary election, equal in number to twice the number to be elected to any given office, or less if so there be, and who received the highest number of votes for the respective offices at the primary election, shall be the only candidates at the general election; provided, that if there be any person who under the provisions of this section would have been entitled to become a candidate for any office, except for the fact that some other candidate received an equal number of votes therefor, then all such persons receiving said equal number of votes shall likewise become candidates for such office.

    Sec. 7. Candidates receiving most votes to be elected.

    The candidates, equal in number to the persons to be elected, who shall receive the highest number of votes at a general election shall be declared elected to such office. In any cases of ties, the decision as to winner shall be determined by lot.

    Sec. 8. Special elections.

    Subject to the requirements of any state election laws that may apply, the council shall provide the time, manner and means of holding any special election, provided that no election shall be called less than thirty (30) days following public notice as required by state law or ordinance. All special elections shall be conducted in the same manner and under the same provisions as are provided for the holding of general elections.

    Sec. 1. Initiative, referendum and recall.

    There is hereby reserved to the electors of the city the powers of the initiative and referendum and of the recall of elective officers. The provisions of the constitution and general laws of the state, as the same now exist or hereafter may be amended, governing the initiative and referendum and recall of elected officers shall apply in the city. No initiative measure, however, may change or alter, or remove or limit, any power, right, duty, privilege or immunity conferred by or established by this charter, and no initiative measure which in any way conflicts with a provision of this charter or responsibilities conferred by it, shall, to the extent of such conflict, be operative. All city matters on which the council is or shall be empowered to legislate may be submitted by the council, of its own motion, to the electors for adoption or rejection at a general or special election in the same manner and with the same force and effect as matters submitted on petition.

    Sec. 1. Establishment.

    There shall be and is hereby established in the city a municipal court, to be known and designated "The City Court of Scottsdale, Maricopa County, State of Arizona."

    Sec. 2. City judge; appointment; term; judges pro tempore.

    The city judge shall be the presiding judge of the city court, shall be a duly licensed attorney in the State of Arizona and shall be selected in a manner provided by ordinance.  The initial term of a presiding judge shall be for two (2) years.  Subsequent reappointments of the presiding judge shall be for terms to be determined by ordinance, but in any event for not less than two years.  Additional city judges and judges pro tempore may be appointed to the city court in a manner provided by ordinance.  The city council shall determine the compensation to be paid to all city judges, including the presiding judge, and may remove them for cause.

    Sec. 3. Ordinances to give effect.

    The council shall pass all necessary ordinances to give effect to the provisions of this article, not otherwise herein provided.  The presiding judge shall propose and administer the court’s budget consistent with city budget and finance ordinances and policies.

    Sec. 1. Franchises.

    A person desiring to obtain a franchise to operate a public utility from this city shall present the franchise desired to the city council of the city and it shall be filed among its records. If the council deems the granting of the franchise beneficial to the city, it shall pass a resolution stating that fact, and shall submit the question to the qualified voters, as to whether or not the franchise shall be granted, at the following regular election held in the city or at a special election called for that purpose.

    The proposed franchise shall be published prior to the election as required by state law or ordinance.

    If a majority of the votes cast are in favor of granting the franchise, the council shall grant the franchise only in the form filed and published.

    A franchise shall not be granted for a longer term than twenty-five (25) years.

    Before calling any such election, the estimated expense of publication and election thereof (to be determined by the council) shall be first deposited by the applicant for such franchise with the city clerk.

    Sec. 2. Establishment of municipally owned and operated utilities.

    The city shall have the power to own and operate any public utility, to construct and install all facilities that are reasonably needed, and to lease or purchase any existing utility properties used or useful to public service. The city may also furnish service to adjacent and nearby territories which may be conveniently and economically served by the municipally owned and operated utility, subject to the limitations of the provisions of the general laws of this state. The council may provide by ordinance for the establishment of such utility and provide for its regulation and control and the fixing of rates to be charged. The council may by ordinance provide for the extension, enlargement or improvement of existing utility, and provide reasonable reserves for such purpose.

    Sec. 3. Establishment of classifications and regulations of rates of public utilities.

    The city shall have full power to and may prescribe just and reasonable classifications to be used and just and reasonable rates and charges to be made and collected by all corporations rendering public utility service within the corporate limits of the City of Scottsdale as now or hereafter constituted, except public service corporations as such corporations are defined and the regulation thereof delegated to the Arizona Corporation Commission by article XV, section 2, Arizona Constitution..

    The city council may establish such boards as are necessary and convenient to discharge its duties pursuant to this enactment. The powers hereby conferred shall be exercised by the city council pursuant to ordinance providing for hearings and investigations and establishing procedures to be followed in determining and fixing fair value of any such utility property and a reasonable rate of return and providing for suitable penalties, civil and criminal, for violation of any lawful order or requirement made or imposed pursuant to any regulatory ordinance or in furtherance of any regulatory investigation.

    Sec. 1. Publicity of records.

    All records and accounts of every office, department or agency of the city shall be open for inspection by any citizen, any representative of a citizen’s organization or any representative of the press at all reasonable times pursuant to all applicable laws.

    Sec. 2. Official bonds.

    All elected and appointed officers and such other employees as the council may by ordinance or resolution require to do so, shall give bond in such amount and with such surety as may be approved by the council; the premium on such bonds to be paid by the city.

    Sec. 3. Oath of office.

    Every officer of the city, whether elected or appointed under the provisions of this charter, or under any ordinance of the city shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe an oath required by the state constitution.

    Sec. 4. Short title.

    This charter, adopted by the people of the City of Scottsdale, shall be known and may be cited as the Charter Form of Government of the City of Scottsdale.

    Sec. 5. Plenary and implied powers of the council.

    The council shall have plenary power to enact and make all proper and necessary ordinances, resolutions and orders to carry out and give effect to the express, as well as the implied powers granted in this charter, to the end that a complete, harmonious, and effective municipal government may be initiated, installed, operated and maintained in the city, and thereby protect and safeguard the rights, interests, safety, morality, health and welfare of the city and its inhabitants.

    Sec. 1. Rights of officers and employees preserved.

    Nothing in the charter contained, except as specifically provided, shall affect or impair the rights or privileges of officers or employees of the city or of any office, department, or agency existing at the time when this charter shall take effect, or any provision of law in force at the time when the charter shall take effect and not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, in relation to the personnel, appointment, rank, grade, tenure of office, promotion, removal, pension and retirement rights, civil rights or any other rights or privileges of officers or employees of the city or any office, department or agency.

    Sec. 2. Continuance of present officers.

    All persons holding executive and administrative office at the time this charter takes effect shall continue in office and in the performance of their duties until provisions shall have been made in accordance therewith for the performance of such duties or the discontinuance of such duties.

    Sec. 3. Continuance of present offices, departments and agencies.

    Any office, department or agency provided for in this charter to be named or with powers and duties the same or substantially the same as those heretofore existing, shall be deemed a continuation of such office, department or agency and shall have powers to continue any business proceedings or other matters within the scope of the powers and duties prescribed by the charter. Any office, department or agency not provided for in this charter, heretofore existing, shall continue to exercise powers and duties as the same were heretofore exercised and shall have the power to continue any business proceedings or other matters within the scope of its regular powers and duties until such office, department or agency shall be changed or abolished by the council as heretofore provided in this charter.

    The powers conferred and the duties imposed upon any office, department or agency of the city by the laws of this state shall, if such office, department or agency be abolished by this charter or under its authority, be thereafter exercised and discharged by the office, department or agency designated by the council, unless otherwise provided herein.

    Sec. 4. Continuance of appointive boards and commissions.

    All appointive boards and commissions, heretofore existing, shall continue and shall exercise such powers and duties as were granted them until such boards and commissions shall be changed or abolished by the council as heretofore provided in this charter.

    Sec. 5. Transfer of records and property.

    All records, property and equipment whatsoever of any office, department or agency or part thereof, all the powers and duties of which are assigned to any other office, department or agency by this charter, or under its authority shall be transferred and delivered to the office, department or agency to which such powers and duties are so assigned.

    Sec. 6. Continuance of contracts.

    All contracts entered into by the city prior to the taking effect of this charter, shall continue in full force and effect.

    Sec. 7. Pending actions and proceedings.

    The adoption of the charter shall not abate or otherwise affect any action or proceeding, civil or criminal, pending when it takes full effect, brought by or against the city or any office, department, agency, or officer thereof.

    Sec. 8. Ordinances to remain in force.

    All ordinances, resolutions and regulations of the city in force at the time of this charter taking effect, and not inconsistent with the provisions thereof, are hereby continued in force until the same shall be duly amended or repealed.

    Sec. 9. Inauguration of government under this charter.

    If a majority of the qualified electors of the city, voting on the question, vote to ratify this charter, the provisions of this charter shall go into effect for all purposes immediately upon the approval of the governor as provided by the constitution of this state.

    Sec. 1. Gender

    Wherever the context of this instrument so requires, words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular; the word person includes a corporation, company, partnership or association, or society, as well as a natural person

    Sec. 1. Method of amendment.

    This charter, or any part or article or section thereof, may be amended in the manner provided by the constitution of this state.

    Contact Information

    City of Scottsdale - Mayor and City Council
    3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Mayor's Office
    P: 480-312-2466
    F: 480-312-2738

    Council Offices
    P: 480-312-2550
    F: 480-312-7885

    Email Mayor and All City Council Members: citycouncil@scottsdaleaz.gov