The City Council receives new business at the Regular City Council meetings or at Special City Council meetings which may be called by the President of the City Council or the Mayor from time to time.
The agenda before the City Council at its meeting is called the Order of the Day. Items brought before the City Council must be in writing. The deadline for filing a matter with the Clerk of the Council for presentation to the City Council is 1:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the regular meeting. If a matter arises after the time the meeting was posted which was not reasonably anticipated by the President to be discussed at the meeting, the City Council can by oral motion and by suspension of the rules add matters to the Order of the Day during the meeting. Generally these are matters that do not require final action and are not controversial. Five members must be present for a quorum. Often the items received by the City Council are disposed of at the meeting. However, some business is referred to various Committees for further review and investigation. Particular matters are required to be sent to Committee before final action by the full City Council including appointments, ordinances, most financial matters and licenses.
Each committee consists of all Aldermen with either three or five voting members. They are appointed to their positions by the President of the City Council. There are several standing committees. In addition, special committees may be formed by the City Council from time to time to deal with particular issues. The first member named to the committee serves as Chair. In the absence of the Chair, the next named Alderman serves as Chair. A majority of the voting committee members must be present for a quorum.
Once a matter is referred to committee, the Chair sets a meeting date and invites those with an interest in the matter to the meeting. Committee meetings are generally held in the Committee Room in City Hall.
The committee can take one of three actions in reporting to the full City Council. They can recommend that the matter be approved, that the matter be denied, or that the matter be sent “back for action.” A matter sent back for action in essence receives no recommendation from the committee and the decision is left to the full City Council. This is generally used for appointments, the annual budget and particularly controversial matters.
Once the report of the committee is received by the full City Council, final action is taken. The report can be accepted, denied or received. If the report is received, the City Council by its own motion will decide how to handle the matter. At times a committee report is returned to the committee for further review if additional information is needed by the full City Council before final action.