Section-1: Creation - General or special laws - Classification.
Municipal corporations shall not be created by special laws, but the Legislature, by general laws shall provide for the incorporation and organization of cities and towns and the classification of same in proportion to population, subject to the provisions of this article.
Section-2: Existing municipal corporations continued - Rights and powers.
Every municipal corporation now existing within this State shall continue with all of its present rights and powers until otherwise provided by law, and shall always have the additional rights and powers conferred by the Constitution.
Section3(a): Framing and adoption of charter - Approval by Governor - Effect - Record - Amendment.
Any city containing a population of more than two thousand inhabitants may frame a charter for its own government, consistent with and subject to the Constitution and laws of this State, by causing a board of freeholders, composed of two from each ward, who shall be qualified electors of said city, to be elected by the qualified electors of said city, at any general or special election, whose duty it shall be, within ninety days after such election, to prepare and propose a charter for such city, which shall be signed in duplicate by the members of such board or a majority of them, and returned, one copy of said charter to the chief executive officer of such city, and the other to the Register of Deeds of the county in which said city shall be situated. Such proposed charter shall then be published in one or more newspapers published and of general circulation within said city, for at least twenty-one days, if in a daily paper, or in three consecutive issues, if in a weekly paper, and the first publication shall be made within twenty days after the completion of the charter; and within thirty days, and not earlier than twenty days after such publication, it shall be submitted to the qualified electors of said city at a general or special election, and if a majority of such qualified electors voting thereon shall ratify the same, it shall thereafter be submitted to the Governor for his approval, and the Governor shall approve the same if it shall not be in conflict with the Constitution and laws of this State. Upon such approval it shall become the organic law of such city and supersede any existing charter and all amendments thereof and all ordinances inconsistent with it. A copy of such charter, certified by the chief executive officer, and authenticated by the seal of such city, setting forth the submission of such charter to the electors and its ratification by them shall, after the approval of such charter by the Governor, be made in duplicate and deposited, one in the office of the Secretary of State, a and the other, after being recorded in the office of said Register of Deeds, shall be deposited in the archives of the city; and thereafter all courts shall take judicial notice of said charter. The charter so ratified may be amended by proposals therefor, submitted by the legislative authority of the city to the qualified electors thereof (or by petition as hereinafter provided) at a general or special election, and ratified by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon, and approved by the Governor as herein provided for the approval of the charter.
Section-3(b): Election of board of freeholders.
An election of such board of freeholders may be called at any time by the legislative authority of any such city, and such election shall be called by the chief executive officer of any such city within ten days after there shall have been filed with him a petition demanding the same, signed by a number of qualified electors residing within such city, equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding general municipal election; and such election shall be held not later than thirty days after the call therefor. At such election a vote shall be taken upon the question of whether or not further proceedings toward adopting a charter shall be had in pursuance to the call, and unless a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon shall vote to proceed further, no further proceeding shall be had, and all proceedings up to that time shall be of no effect.
Section-4(a): Reservation of powers.
The powers of the initiative and referendum, reserved by this Constitution to the people of the State and the respective counties and districts therein, are hereby reserved to the people of every municipal corporation now existing or which shall hereafter be created within this State, with reference to all legislative authority which it may exercise, and amendments to charters for its own government in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
Section-4(b): Petition - Signatures - Filing.
Every petition for either the initiative or referendum in the government of a municipal corporation shall be signed by a number of qualified electors residing within the territorial limits of such municipal corporation, equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding election, and every such petition shall be filed with the chief executive officer of such municipal corporation.
Section-4(c): Presentation of petition to legislative body - Submission to voters.
When such petition demands the enactment of an ordinance or other legal act other than the grant, extension, or renewal of a franchise, the chief executive officer shall present the same to the legislative body of such corporation at its next meeting, and unless the said petition shall be granted more than thirty days before the next election at which any city officers are to be elected, the chief executive officer shall submit the said ordinance or act so petitioned for, to the qualified electors at said election; and if a majority of said electors voting thereon shall vote for the same, it shall thereupon become in full force and effect.
Section-4(d): Submission to referendum vote.
When such petition demands a referendum vote upon any ordinance or any other legal act other than the grant, extension, or renewal of a franchise, the chief executive officer shall submit said ordinance or act to the qualified electors of said corporation at the next succeeding general municipal election, and if, at said election, a majority of the electors voting thereon shall not vote for the same, it shall thereupon stand repealed.
Section-4(e): Submission of amendment to charter.
When such petition demands an amendment to a charter, the chief executive officer shall submit such amendment to the qualified electors of said municipal corporation at the next election of any officers of said corporation and if, at said election, a majority of said electors voting thereon shall vote for such amendment, the same shall thereupon become an amendment to and a part of said charter, when approved by the Governor and filed in the same manner and form as an original charter is required by the provisions of this article to be approved and filed.
Section-5(a): Grant, extension or renewal, Approval by voters - Term.
No municipal corporation shall ever grant, extend, or renew a franchise, without the approval of a majority of the qualified electors residing within its corporate limits, who shall vote thereon at a general or special election; and the legislative body of any such corporation may submit any such matter for approval or disapproval to such electors at any general municipal election, or call a special election for such purpose at any time upon thirty days' notice; and no franchise shall be granted, extended, or renewed for a longer term than twenty-five years.
Section-5(b): Petition - Calling election - Result of election.
Whenever a petition signed by a number of qualified electors of any municipal corporation equal to twenty-five per centum of the total number of votes cast at the next preceding general municipal election, demanding that a franchise be granted, extended, or renewed, shall be filed with the chief executive officer of said corporation, the chief executive officer shall, within ten days thereafter, call a special election, at which he shall submit the question of whether or not such franchise shall be granted, extended, or renewed, and if, at said election, a majority of the said electors voting thereon shall vote for the grant, extension, or renewal of such franchise, the same shall be granted by the proper authorities at the next succeeding regular meeting of the legislative body of the city.
Section-6: Business or enterprise - Right to engage in.
Every municipal corporation within this State shall have the right to engage in any business or enterprise which may be engaged in by a person, firm, or corporation by virtue of a franchise from said corporation.
Section-7: Control and regulation not divested - Surrender of powers - Exclusive franchises.
No grant, extension, or renewal of any franchise or other use of the streets, alleys, or other public grounds or ways of any municipality, shall divest the State, or any of its subordinate subdivisions, of their control and regulation of such use and enjoyment. Nor shall the power to regulate the charges for public services be surrendered; and no exclusive franchise shall ever be granted.