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City of Porter, Minnesota Ordinances



30.              GENERAL PROVISIONS





30.01   City Council meetings

30.02   Presiding officer

30.03   Minutes

30.04   Order of business

30.05   Voting

30.06   Ordinance, resolutions, motions, petitions and communications

30.07   Suspension or amendment of rules

30.08   Compensation of Mayor and Council Members

30.09   Compensation of officers and employees

30.10   Quorum for conducting business

30.11   Fees and charges






(A)       Regular meetings.  Regular meetings of the City Council shall be held at least once each month at a date, time and place as established by the City Council.  Any regular meeting falling upon a holiday shall be held on the next following business day at the same time and place.  All meetings, including special and adjourned meetings, shall be held in the city hall unless the City Council decides otherwise at a prior meeting, or meeting in the city hall is impossible.


(B)       Special meetings.  The Mayor or any two members of the City Council may call a special meeting of the City Council upon at least 24 hours written notice to each member of the City Council.  This notice shall be delivered personally to each member or shall be left at the member's usual place of residence with some responsible person.  Pursuant to M.S. § 471.705, as it may be amended from time to time, written notice of any special meeting shall be posted giving the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting at least three days before the meeting.  Written notice shall be mailed at least three days before the meeting to anyone who has filed a written request for notice of special meetings.  In calculating the three days, if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next regular business day shall be counted as the third day.


(C)       Emergency meetings.  Notice of emergency meetings shall be given as required by M.S. § 471.705, Subd. 1c(c), as it may be amended from time to time.  An emergency meeting is a meeting defined by M.S. § 471.705, Subd. 1c(c), as it may be amended from time to time.


(D)       Initial meeting.  At the first regular City Council meeting in January of each year, the City Council shall:


(1)        Designate the depositories of city funds;


(2)        Designate the official newspaper;


(3)        Choose one of the Council Members as Acting Mayor, who shall perform the duties of the Mayor during the disability or absence of the Mayor from the city or, in case of a vacancy in the office of Mayor, until a successor has been appointed and qualifies;


(4)        Appoint officers and employees and members of departments, boards, commissions and committees as may be necessary;


(5)        Establish and appoint Council Members to those City Council committees as are deemed appropriate for the efficient and orderly management of the city.


(E)       Public meetings.  All City Council meetings, including special, emergency and adjourned meetings and meetings of City Council committees, shall be conducted in accordance with the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, M.S. § 471.705, as it may be amended from time to time.





(A)       Who presides.  The Mayor shall preside at all meetings of the City Council.  In the absence of the Mayor, the Acting Mayor shall preside.  In the absence of both, the City Clerk shall call the meeting to order and shall preside until the Council Members present at the meeting choose one of their number to act temporarily as presiding officer.


(B)       Procedure.  The presiding officer shall preserve order, enforce any rules of procedure adopted by the City Council, and determine without debate, subject to the final decision of the City Council on appeal, all questions of procedure and order.


(C)       Appeal procedure.  Any member may appeal to the City Council a ruling of the presiding officer.  If the appeal is seconded, the member may speak once solely on the question involved and the presiding officer may explain the ruling, but no other Council Member shall participate in the discussion.  The appeal shall be sustained if it is approved by a majority of the members present, including the presiding officer.



§ 30.03  MINUTES.


(A)       Generally.  Minutes of each City Council meeting shall be kept by the City Clerk or, in the City Clerk's absence, by the Deputy City Clerk.  In the absence of both, the presiding officer shall appoint a secretary pro tem.  Ordinances, resolutions and claims need not be recorded in full in the minutes if they appear in other permanent records of the City Clerk and can be accurately identified from the description given in the minutes.


(B)       Approval.  The minutes of each meeting shall be reduced to typewritten form, shall be signed by the City Clerk, and copies thereof shall be delivered to each Council Member as soon as practicable after the meeting.  At the next regular City Council meeting following the delivery, approval of the minutes shall be considered by the City Council.  The minutes need not be read aloud, but the presiding officer shall call for any additions or corrections.  If there is no objection to a proposed addition or correction, it may be made without a vote of the City Council. If there is an objection, the City Council shall vote upon the addition or correction.  If there are no additions or corrections, the minutes shall stand approved.





(A)       Order established.  Each meeting of the City Council shall convene at the time and place appointed therefore.  The City Council has the power to regulate its own procedure.  City Council business may be conducted in the following order unless varied by the City Council:


(1)        Call to order.


(2)        Roll call.


(3)        Approval of minutes.


(4)        Consent agenda.


(5)        Public hearings.


(6)        Petitions, requests, and communications.


(7)        Ordinances and resolutions.


(8)        Reports of officers, boards, and committees.


(9)        Unfinished business.


(10)      New business.


(11)      Miscellaneous.


(12)      Adjournment.


(B)       Petitions and agenda.  Petitions and other papers addressed to the City Council shall be read by the City Clerk upon presentation of the same to the City Council.  All persons desiring to present new business before the City Council shall inform the City Clerk thereof at least 24 hours before new business is to be heard.  The City Clerk may prepare an agenda of the new business for submission to the City Council on or before the time of the next regular meeting.



§ 30.05  VOTING.


The votes of the Council Members on any question may be taken in any manner which signifies the intention of the individual members, and the votes of the Council Members on any action taken shall be recorded in the minutes.  The vote of each Council Member shall be recorded on each appropriation of money, except for payments of judgments, claims and amounts fixed by statute.  If any Council Member is present but does not vote, the minutes, as to his or her name, shall be marked “Present-Not Voting.”





(A)       Signing and publication proof.  Every ordinance and resolution passed by the City Council shall be signed by the Mayor, attested by the City Clerk, and filed by the City Clerk in the ordinance or resolution book.  Proof of publication of every ordinance shall be attached and filed with the ordinance.


(B)       Repeals and amendments.  Every ordinance or resolution repealing a previous ordinance or resolution or a section or subdivision thereof shall give the number, if any, and the part of the ordinance or code number of the ordinance or resolution to be repealed in whole or in part.  Each ordinance or resolution amending an existing ordinance or resolution or part thereof shall set forth in full each amended section or subdivision as it will read with the amendment.





These rules may be suspended only by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.





The compensation of the Mayor and the compensation of each Council Member shall be established from time to time by City Council ordinance pursuant to M.S. § 415.11, as it may be amended from time to time.





Officers and employees of the city shall be compensated at a rate as established from time to time by City Council ordinance.




(A)       A quorum shall consist of a majority of the entire City Council, including the Mayor.  A quorum shall be necessary to transact the business of the City Council.


(B)       If no quorum is present, the City Council shall not thereby stand adjourned, but the members present shall adjourn or recess the City Council by a majority vote.





The City Council may enact an ordinance establishing those fees and charges that are authorized by this code.  Until that ordinance becomes effective, all fees and charges established by ordinance or resolution prior to the adoption of this code shall remain in effect.  All fees and charges established by the ordinance establishing fees and charges may be amended from time to time by amendment of that ordinance.









            Volunteer Fire Department


31.20     Volunteer Fire Department continued

31.21     Duties of Chief

31.22     Duties of Fire Marshal

31.23     Records

31.24     Practice drills

31.25     Assistant Chief

31.26     Firefighters

31.27     Loss of membership

31.28     Compensation

31.29     Interference with Volunteer Fire Department

31.30     Bylaws


            Planning Commission


31.45     Establishment of the Planning Commission

31.46     Composition

31.47     Organization, meetings, minutes and expenditures

31.48     Powers and duties; comprehensive plan










(A)       There is continued in this city a Volunteer Fire Department, which department shall have the following officers: a Chief, and Assistant Chief, and a Fire Marshal.





The Chief shall have control of all fire fighting apparatus and shall be responsible for its care and condition.  The Chief shall make a report semi-annually to the City Council at its meeting in March and in September as to the condition of the equipment and needs of the Volunteer Fire Department.  The Chief may submit additional reports and recommendations at any meeting of the City Council, and he or she shall report each suspension by him or her of a member of the Volunteer Fire Department at the first meeting of the City Council following the suspension.  The Chief shall be responsible for the proper training and discipline of the members of the Volunteer Fire Department and may suspend any member for refusal or neglect to obey orders pending final action by the City Council on his or her discharge or retention.





The office of Fire Marshal may be held by the Chief if the City Council approves.  The Fire Marshal shall be charged with the enforcement of all city ordinances and laws of the state for fire prevention including, if authorized by the City Council, the Uniform Fire Code, Minn. Rules Ch. 7510, as it may be amended from time to time.  The Fire Marshal shall have full authority to inspect all premises and to cause the removal or abatement of all fire hazards.



§ 31.23  RECORDS.


The Chief shall keep in convenient form a record of all fires.  The record shall include the time of the alarm, location of fire, cause of fire if known, type of building, name of owner or tenant, purpose for which occupied, value of building and contents, members of the Volunteer Fire Department responding to the alarm and other information as he or she may deem advisable or as may be required from time to time by the City Council or state law or regulation.





It shall be the duty of the Chief, when the weather permits, to hold practice drills for the Volunteer Fire Department and to give the firefighters instruction in approved methods of fire fighting and fire prevention.





In the absence or disability of the Chief of the Volunteer Fire Department, the Assistant Chief shall perform all functions and exercise all of the authority of the Chief.





Firefighters shall not be less than 18 years of age and able bodied. 




Loss of membership shall be determined and enforced by the Volunteer Fire Department according to the bylaws as stated in § 31.30.





The members and officers of the Volunteer Fire Department may receive compensation as provided by the City Council.





It shall be unlawful for any person to give or make, or cause to be given or made, an alarm of fire without probable cause, or to neglect or refuse to obey any reasonable order of the Chief or other firefighter at a fire, or to interfere with the Volunteer Fire Department in the discharge of its duties.

Penalty, see § 10.99



§ 31.30  BYLAWS.


The existing bylaws shall remain in effect.  The Volunteer Fire Department may amend these bylaws for its government, which bylaws shall be effective upon approval by the City Council.








A Planning Commission for the city is hereby established.  The Planning Commission shall be the city planning agency authorized by M.S. § 462.354(1), as it may be amended from time to time.





(A)       The Planning Commission shall consist of five members from the resident population of the city to be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council.  Terms shall commence on the first day of January in the year of appointment.  Upon expiration of a term, the appointee shall continue until reappointed or a successor is appointed.  Absences from any three meetings in a year, unless excused in advance by the Chair, constitutes a vacancy.  In the event of any vacancy, the Mayor, with the approval of the City Council, shall appoint a person to complete the unexpired term.


(B)       Two members shall be from the membership of the City Council, to be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council.  The members from the City Council shall serve for a one year term to expire on December 31 of each year.  Terms of office for members other than Council members shall be for three years, except that two members shall initially serve a term of two years; and thereafter terms of three years.


(C)       Other persons may serve in an ex officio capacity as the City Council may, in its discretion, deem appropriate.


(D)       Each of the five regular Planning Commission members shall have equal voting privileges.  Any member may be removed for cause by majority vote of the City Council upon written charge and after a public hearing.





(A)       At the first regular meeting in each calendar year, the Planning Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson from among its appointed members, each for a term of one year.  The secretary of the Planning Commission shall be the City Clerk.  The Planning Commission may create and fill other offices as it may determine. 


(B)       The Planning Commission shall schedule at least one meeting each month at the time and place as they may fix by resolution.  Special meetings may be called at any time by the Chairperson, or in the case of the Chairperson's absence, by the Vice-Chairperson.


(C)       Written minutes of meetings shall be kept and filed with the City Clerk prior to the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting, but shall be subject to approval at the next Planning Commission meeting.


(D)       No expenditures by the Planning Commission shall be made unless and until authorized for the purpose by the City Council.





(A)       Generally.  The Planning Commission shall exercise the duties conferred upon it by this code. 


(B)       Comprehensive plan.  The planning commission may prepare a comprehensive plan as deemed necessary.


(C)       Zoning ordinance.  Pursuant to M.S. § 462.357(3), as it may be amended from time to time, the Planning Commission shall review all proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance, take part in public hearings, and make recommendations to the City Council as may be prescribed by the zoning ordinance.


(D)       Special permits.  The Planning Commission may make recommendations on all requests for a conditional use permit under the terms of the zoning ordinance.  The Planning Commission shall report its recommendations to the City Council for action.


(E)       Subdivision regulations.  The Planning Commission may make recommendations in relation to the subdividing of land as prescribed by the ordinance.  The Planning Commission shall report its recommendations to the City Council for action.


(F)       Variances and Appeals.  All applications for variances and appeals shall be referred to the Planning Commission which shall have the powers of a Board of Appeals and adjustments as provided for in M.S. § 462.357, Subd. 6 , as it may be amended from time to time, and forwarded with or without recommendations directly to the City Council for its decision.  The Board of Appeals shall be advisory to the City Council.  Variances may be granted from the literal provisions of an ordinance only where strict enforcement would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the individual property under consideration as authorized by M.S. § 462.357, Subd. 6(2) as it may be amended from time to time.







32.01   Policy and purpose

32.02   Definitions

32.03   Establishment of emergency management organization

32.04   Powers and duties of Director

32.05   Local emergencies

32.06   Emergency regulations

32.07   Emergency management a government function

32.08   Participation in labor disputes or politics


32.99   Penalty





Because of the existing possibility of the occurrence of disasters of unprecedented size and destruction resulting from fire, flood, tornado, blizzard, destructive winds or other natural causes, or from sabotage, hostile action, or from hazardous material mishaps of catastrophic measure; and in order to insure that preparations of this city will be adequate to deal with those disasters, and generally, to provide for the common defense and to protect the public peace, health, and safety, and to preserve the lives and property of the people of this city, it is hereby found and declared to be necessary:


(A)       To establish a city emergency management organization responsible for city planning and preparation for emergency government operations in time of disasters.


(B)       To provide for the exercise of necessary powers during emergencies and disasters.


(C)       To provide for the rendering of mutual aid between this city and other political subdivisions of this state and of other states with respect to the carrying out of emergency‑preparedness functions.


(D)       To comply with the provisions of M.S. § 12.25, as it may be amended from time to time, which requires that each political subdivision of the state shall establish a local organization for emergency management.





For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.


DISASTER.  A situation which creates an immediate and serious impairment to the health and safety of any person, or a situation which has resulted in or is likely to result in catastrophic loss to property, and for which traditional sources of relief and assistance within the affected area are unable to repair or prevent the injury or loss.


EMERGENCY.  An unforeseen combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action to prevent from developing or occurring.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.  The preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, other than functions for which military forces are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize, and repair injury and damage resulting from disasters caused by fire, flood, tornado, and other acts of nature, or from sabotage, hostile action, or from industrial hazardous material mishaps.  These functions include, without limitation, fire-fighting services, police services, emergency medical services, engineering, warning services, communications, radiological, and chemical, evacuation, congregate care, emergency transportation, existing or properly assigned functions of plant protection, temporary restoration of public utility services and other functions related to civil protection, together with all other activities necessary or incidental for carrying out the foregoing functions.  Emergency management includes those activities sometimes referred to as “civil defense” functions.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FORCES.  The total personnel resources engaged in city‑level emergency management functions in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or any rule or order thereunder.  This includes personnel from city departments, authorized volunteers, and private organizations and agencies.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION.  The staff responsible for coordinating city‑level planning and preparation for disaster response.  This organization provides city liaison and coordination with federal, state, and local jurisdictions relative to disaster preparedness activities and assures implementation of federal and state program requirements.





There is hereby created within the city government an emergency management organization which shall be under the supervision and control of the City Emergency Management Director, called the Director.  The Director shall be appointed by the Mayor with approval of the City Council for an indefinite term and may be removed by him or her at any time.  The Director shall serve with a salary as established by the City Council and shall be paid his or her necessary expenses.  The Director shall have direct responsibility for the organization, administration and operation of the emergency preparedness organization, subject to the direction and control of the City Council.








(A)       The Director, with the consent of the Mayor, shall represent the city on any regional or state conference for emergency management.  The Director shall develop proposed mutual aid agreements with other political subdivisions of the state for reciprocal emergency management aid and assistance in an emergency too great to be dealt with unassisted, and shall present these agreements to the Council for its action.  These arrangements shall be consistent with the State Emergency Plan.


(B)       The Director shall make studies and surveys of the human resources, industries, resources, and facilities of the city as deemed necessary to determine their adequacy for emergency management and to plan for their most efficient use in time of an emergency or disaster.


(C)       The Director shall coordinate the emergency management activities of the city to the end that they shall be consistent and fully integrated with the emergency plans of the federal government and the state and correlated with emergency plans of the county and other political subdivisions within the state.


(D)       In accordance with the State and City Emergency Plan, the Director shall institute training programs, public information programs and conduct practice warning alerts and emergency exercises as may be necessary to assure prompt and effective operation of the City Emergency Plan when a disaster occurs.


(E)       The Director shall utilize the personnel, services, equipment, supplies, and facilities of existing departments and agencies of the city to the maximum extent practicable.  The officers and personnel of all city departments and agencies shall, to the maximum extent practicable, cooperate with and extend services and facilities to the city's emergency management organization and to the Governor upon request.  The head of each department or agency in cooperation with the Director shall be responsible for the planning and programming of those emergency activities and will involve the utilization of the facilities of the department or agency.


(F)       The Director shall, in cooperation with those city departments and agencies affected, assist in the organizing, recruiting, and training of emergency management personnel, which may be required on a volunteer basis to carry out the emergency plans of the city and state.  To the extent that emergency personnel are recruited to augment a regular city department or agency for emergencies, they shall be assigned to the departments or agencies and shall be under the administration and control of the department or agency.


(G)       Consistent with the state emergency services law, the Director shall coordinate the activity of municipal emergency management organizations within the city and assist in establishing and conducting training programs as required to assure emergency operational capability in the several services as provided by M.S. § 12.25, as it may be amended from time to time.


(H)       The Director shall carry out all orders, rules, and regulations issued by the Governor with reference to emergency management.





(A)       A local emergency may be declared only by the Mayor or his or her legal successor.  It shall not be continued for a period in excess of three days except by or with the consent of the Council.  Any order, or proclamation declaring, continuing, or terminating a local emergency shall be given prompt and general publicity and shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk.


(B)       A declaration of a local emergency shall invoke necessary portions of the response and recovery aspects of applicable local or inter-jurisdictional disaster plans, and may authorize aid and assistance thereunder.


(C)       No jurisdictional agency or official may declare a local emergency unless expressly authorized by the agreement under which the agency functions.  However, an inter-jurisdictional disaster agency shall provide aid and services in accordance with the agreement under which it functions.

Penalty, see § 32.99





(A)       Whenever necessary, to meet a declared emergency or to prepare for an emergency for which adequate regulations have not been adopted by the Governor or the Council, the Council may by resolution promulgate regulations, consistent with applicable federal or state law or regulation, respecting:  the conduct of persons and the use of property during emergencies; the repair, maintenance, and safeguarding of essential public services, emergency health, fire, and safety regulations, drills or practice periods required for preliminary training; and all other matters which are required to protect public safety, health, and welfare in declared emergencies.


(B)       Every resolution of emergency regulations shall be in writing; shall be dated; shall refer to the particular emergency to which it pertains, if so limited; and shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk.  A copy shall be kept posted and available for public inspection during business hours.  Notice of the existence of these regulations and their availability for inspection at the City Clerk's Office shall be conspicuously posted at the front of the city hall or other headquarters of the city or at other places in the affected area as the Council shall designate in the resolution.  By resolution, the Council may modify or rescind a regulation.


(C)       The Council may rescind any regulation by resolution at any time.  If not sooner rescinded, every regulation shall expire at the end of 30 days after its effective date or at the end of the emergency to which it relates, whichever comes first.  Any resolution, rule, or regulation inconsistent with an emergency regulation promulgated by the Council shall be suspended during the period of time and to the extent conflict exists.


(D)       During a declared emergency, the city is, under the provisions of M.S. § 12.31, as it may be amended from time to time and notwithstanding any statutory or Charter provision to the contrary, empowered, through its Council, acting within or without the corporate limits of the city, to enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat the disaster by protecting the health and safety of persons and property and providing emergency assistance to the victims of a disaster.  The city may exercise these powers in the light of the exigencies of the disaster without compliance with the time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by law pertaining to the performance of public work, entering rental equipment agreements, purchase of supplies and materials, limitations upon tax levies, and the appropriation and expenditure of public funds, including, but not limited to, publication of resolutions, publication of calls for bids, provisions of personnel laws and rules, provisions relating to low bids, and requirement for bids.

Penalty, see § 32.99





All functions and activities relating to emergency management are hereby declared to be governmental functions.  The provisions of this section shall not affect the right of any person to receive benefits to which he would otherwise be entitled under this resolution or under the worker's compensation law, or under any pension law, nor the right of any person to receive any benefits or compensation under any act of Congress.





The emergency management organization shall not participate in any form of political activity, nor shall it be employed directly or indirectly for political purposes, nor shall it be employed in a labor dispute.



§ 32.99  PENALTY.


Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted thereunder relating to acts, omissions, or conduct other than official acts of city employees or officers is guilty of a misdemeanor.

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