373.1 Creation of commission.
1. Cities within a county may unite to form a single unit of local government in accordance with this chapter. Any city located in two or more counties shall be allowed to participate in a metropolitan consolidation in the county where at least fifty percent of its population resides. An alternative form of metropolitan government shall be submitted to the electorate by a commission in the form of a charter or charter amendment proposed in accordance with this chapter.
2. Participation in a charter commission under this chapter may be proposed by:
a. The city council adopting a resolution calling for participation.
b. By petition of the number of eligible electors of the city equal to at least twenty-five percent of the votes cast in the city at the last regular city election petitioning the council to adopt a resolution calling for participation. The council shall within thirty days of the filing of a valid petition adopt such a resolution.
373.10 Taxing authority.
The metropolitan council shall have the authority to levy city taxes to the extent the city tax levy authority is transferred by the charter to the metropolitan council. A member city shall transfer a portion of the city's tax levy authorized under section 384.1 or 384.12, whichever is applicable, to the metropolitan council. The maximum rates of taxes authorized to be levied under sections 384.1 and 384.12 by a member city shall be reduced by an amount equal to the rates of the same or similar taxes levied in the city by the metropolitan council.
373.11 Service delivery.
1. The charter of consolidation shall provide for the transfer into the metropolitan consolidated corporation of areawide services which had been provided by other boards, commissions, and local governments. The metropolitan council shall have the authority to determine the boundaries of the service areas, except that formation of a consolidated metropolitan corporation shall not affect the assignment of electric utility service territories pursuant to chapter 476, and shall not affect the rights of a city to grant a franchise under chapter 364.
For each service provided by the consolidated metropolitan corporation, the consolidated metropolitan corporation shall assume the same statutory rights, powers, and duties, except taxing authority, relating to the provision of such service as if the member city were itself providing the service to its citizens. However, the consolidated metropolitan corporation shall not assume any of the governmental functions of its member cities except as the functions relate to the delivery of services and except as provided in section 373.8.
If a service is being provided by the consolidated metropolitan corporation to any member city that member city shall not invoke any statutory right, power, or duty relating to the delivery of the service to its citizens.
2. A member city may apply to the metropolitan council for the purchase of any service which is being provided by the consolidated metropolitan corporation to any other member city, including the home city of the consolidated metropolitan corporation. Such an agreement to provide services shall be executed pursuant to chapter 28E and must contain provisions necessary for the lawful execution of the agreement.
373.2 Appointment of commission members.
1. Within forty-five days after the establishment of a commission, the members of the commission shall be appointed as follows:
a. One member shall be appointed by the city council of each city participating in the charter process.
b. An additional member shall be appointed by each city council for every twenty-five thousand residents in the participating city.
c. One member shall be appointed by each state legislator whose legislative district is located in the commission area if a majority of the constituents of that legislative district resides in the commission area. However, if a commission area does not have a state legislative district which has a majority of its constituents residing in the commission area, the legislative district having the largest plurality of constituents residing in the commission area shall appoint one member.
2. Only eligible electors of the county not holding a city, county, or state office shall be members of the commission. In counties having multiple state legislative districts, the districts shall be represented as equally as possible. The membership shall be bipartisan and gender balanced and each appointing authority under subsection 1 shall provide for representation of various age groups, racial minorities, economic groups, and representatives of identifiable geographically defined populations, all in reasonable relationship to the proportions in which these groups are present in the population of the commission area. A vacancy on the commission shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as the original appointment. The county auditor shall notify the appropriate appointing authority of a vacancy.
The legislative appointing authorities shall be considered one appointing authority for the purpose of complying with this subsection. The senior legislative appointing authority in terms of length of legislative service shall convene the legislative appointing authorities to consult for the purpose of complying with this subsection.
373.3 Organization and expenses.
1. Within thirty days after the appointment of the members of the commission, the city clerk of the participating city with the largest population shall give written notice of the date, time, and location of the first meeting of the commission. At the first meeting the commission shall organize by electing a chairperson, vice chairperson, and other officers as necessary. The commission shall adopt rules governing the conduct of its meetings, subject to chapter 21.
2. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but they are entitled to travel and other necessary expenses relating to their duties of office.
3. The participating cities shall make available to the commission in-kind services such as office space, printing, supplies, and equipment and shall pay the other necessary expenses of the commission, including compensation for secretarial, clerical, professional, and consultant services. The total annual expenses, not including the value of in-kind expenses, to be paid from public funds shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars or an amount equal to thirty cents times the population of the commission area, according to the most recent certified federal census. The commission may employ staff as necessary.
4. The expenses of the commission may be paid from the general fund of the participating cities or from any combination of public or private funds available for that purpose. The commission's annual expenses may exceed the amount in subsection 3 only if the excess is paid from private funds. If a proposed charter is submitted to the electorate, private funds donated to the commission may be used to promote passage of the proposed charter.
373.4 Commission procedures and reports.
1. Within sixty days after its organization, the commission shall hold at least one public hearing for the purpose of receiving information and material which will assist in the drafting of a charter. Notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing shall be published in the official county newspapers of each county in which the participating cities are located.
2. Within nine months after the organization of the commission, the commission shall submit a preliminary report to the councils of the participating cities, which report may include the text of the proposed charter. If a proposed charter is included in the preliminary report, the report shall also include an analysis of the fiscal impact of the proposed charter. Sufficient copies of the report shall be made available for distribution to residents of the participating cities who request a copy. The commission shall hold at least one public hearing after submission of the preliminary report to obtain public comment.
3. Within twenty months after organization, the commission shall submit the final report to the councils of the participating cities. If the commission recommends a charter of consolidation, the final report shall include the full text and an explanation of the proposed charter, an analysis of the fiscal impact of the proposed charter, any comments deemed desirable by the commission, and any minority reports. The final report may recommend no change to the existing form of government and that no charter be submitted to the electorate, or it may recommend consolidation of the participating cities with the county. If the board of supervisors by resolution agrees to participate in consolidation, then the participating cities and county shall proceed under sections 331.231 through 331.252.
4. The final report of the commission shall be made available to the residents of the participating cities upon request. A summary of the final report shall be published in the official newspapers of the county. If a charter is not recommended, the commission is dissolved upon submission of its final report to the councils of the participating cities.
373.5 Consolidation charter.
A proposed charter written by a charter commission shall specify the consolidated metropolitan form of government. The proposed consolidation charter shall do all of the following:
1. Provide the official name of the consolidated unit of local government and establish its geographic boundaries.
2. Establish an elective legislative
3. Provide for the at-large election of an officer to preside over the metropolitan council and perform other duties as specified, and provide for the election of other necessary officers.
4. Provide for the nonpartisan election of officers of the consolidated metropolitan corporation government.
5. Specify the powers and duties of the metropolitan council, its administrative officers, and elected officials.
6. Provide for delivery of certain services to the member cities, pursuant to section 373.11, and may provide for the abolition or consolidation of a department, agency, board, or commission and the assumptions of its powers and duties by the metropolitan council or another officer.
7. Provide for a system of revenue collection pursuant to section 373.10.
8. Provide for the orderly transition to the charter form of metropolitan consolidation.
9. Include other provisions which the consolidation charter commission elects to include and which are not inconsistent with state law.
10. Specify a charter amendment process pursuant to section 372.11.
11. Provide for the appointment of a manager by the metropolitan council pursuant to section 372.8.
373.6 Referendum--effective date.
1. If a proposed charter for consolidation is received not later than sixty days before the next general election, the council of the participating city with the largest population shall direct the county commissioner of elections to submit to the registered voters of the participating cities at the next general election the question of whether the proposed charter shall be adopted. A summary of the proposed charter shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each city participating in the charter commission process at least ten but not more than twenty days before the date of the election. The proposed charter shall be effective in regard to a city only if a majority of the electors of the city voting approves the proposed charter.
2. If a proposed charter for consolidation is adopted:
a. The adopted charter shall take effect July 1 following the election at which it is approved unless the charter provides a later effective date. A special election shall be called to elect the new elective officers.
b. The adoption of the consolidated metropolitan corporation form of government does not alter any right or liability of any participating city in effect at the time of the election at which the charter was adopted.
c. All departments and agencies shall continue to operate until replaced.
d. All ordinances or resolutions in effect remain effective until amended or repealed, unless they are irreconcilable with the adopted charter.
e. Upon the effective date of the adopted charter, the participating cities shall adopt the consolidation form by ordinance, and shall file a copy with the secretary of state, and maintain available copies for public inspection.
3. If a charter is submitted to the electorate but is not adopted, another charter shall not be submitted to the electorate for two years. If a charter is adopted, it may be amended at any time. If a charter is adopted, a proposed charter for another alternative form of city government shall not be submitted to the electorate for six years.
4. Section 372.2 shall not apply to a charter commission established under this chapter.
373.7 Form of ballot.
The question of metropolitan consolidation shall be submitted to the electors in substantially the following form:
Should the cities of . . . . . and . . . . . unite to form one joint metropolitan corporation government?
The ballot must contain a brief description and summary of the proposed charter or amendment.
373.8 Effect of consolidation.
Cities consolidating pursuant to this chapter shall retain all the rights, powers, and duties conferred upon them by the Constitution of the State of Iowa and shall retain all the rights, powers, and duties conferred upon them by the laws of the state of Iowa, except to the extent those statutory rights, powers, and duties are limited by the charter government in fulfilling its duty to provide efficient administration and delivery of services to its citizens.
The consolidation charter may provide for the replacement of the city government of the member city with the largest population, according to the most recent certified federal census. That city shall be known as the home city of the consolidated metropolitan corporation. If its government is replaced, the consolidation charter shall provide that the home city be governed either directly by the metropolitan council or by those members of the metropolitan council who reside within the corporate boundaries of the home city. The home city shall retain its geographic boundaries for the purposes of taxation.
Cities participating in consolidation shall be referred to as member cities of the consolidated metropolitan corporation.
A city may join an existing consolidated metropolitan corporation government by resolution of the city council or upon petition of eligible electors of the city equal in number to at least twenty-five percent of the persons who voted at the last general election for the office of governor or president of the United States, whichever is fewer. Within fifteen days after receiving a valid petition, the city council of the petitioning city shall adopt a resolution in favor of participation and shall immediately forward the resolution to the metropolitan council. If a majority of the metropolitan council approves the resolution, the question of joining the consolidated metropolitan corporation shall be submitted to the electorate of the petitioning city within sixty days after approval of the resolution.
373.9 Metropolitan council.
1. A consolidated metropolitan corporation shall be governed by a metropolitan council. The council shall consist of an odd number of members, not less than eleven and not more than seventeen. If a vacancy on the metropolitan council occurs more than sixty days before the next general election, the council shall direct the county commissioner of elections to conduct a special election to fill the vacancy until the next general election.
2. Unless otherwise specified in the consolidation charter, the council shall act by a majority vote of the members on the council.