Perhaps the most fundamental—and most visible—of all its powers is the power the Council wields in the enactment of local laws and policies. Council determines what municipal services and programs will be provided, to whom, at what cost, and the degree or quality expected. The following is a representative sampling of some of the major legislative responsibilities of the City Council:
- Enacting local laws. The Council, in its capacity as the legislative body of the City, has authority to legislate in interests of local affairs and local matters, to regulate and license businesses, to provide for the common defense of the community, and to protect and preserve the safety, health, and welfare of the community. For a general summary of the legislative powers of the City Council.
- Transacting the business of the City. Where not otherwise provided by law, the Council has full authority to transact the business of city government. This includes creating and organizing offices, departments, and divisions to implement and administer city policies and regulations, services, and programs. The Council also has the authority to make arrangements for the joint exercise of municipal powers through agreements with other governmental units, appoint individuals to serve on intergovernmental bodies, conduct the City’s business with federal and state agencies, and participate in intergovernmental programs.
- Managing the financial affairs of the City. The Council has full authority over City finances, including but not limited to:
- Apportioning and levying taxes for the purpose of carrying out the purposes of local government.
- Adopting the City’s budget to fund government operations.
- Auditing and settling accounts.
- Safekeeping and disbursement of public monies.
- Designating depositories.
- Approving settlements.
- Providing for the general health and welfare of the City and its inhabitants. This broad grant of authority includes the following:
- Serving as the Minneapolis Board of Public Health with all powers and authorities prescribed under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 145.
- Providing for initiation or defense of actions at law where the City is an interested party .
- Laying out, arranging, constructing, and maintaining the public infrastructure, including streets and roadways, bridges and culverts, and other public grounds, and to name such streets, and to regulate the use of the same.
- Constructing or acquiring and maintaining structures and buildings necessary for the City’s purposes and to control, protect, and insure public buildings, property, and records, and to regulate the construction of buildings within the City.
- Provide for the suppression of fire and fire-related emergencies, the establishment of a fire department and its officers and personnel, and to prevent, control, and extinguish fires.
- Providing for the common health of the community by regulating the use of wells, cisterns, reservoirs, and other types of water supply, and controlling and regulating the disposal of solid waste, sewage, garbage, and other unwholesome substances, and to regulate sewer and water connections within the city.
- Regulating the keeping of animals.
- Regulating and preventing or abating noise and nuisances.
- Judging the qualifications and election of Council Members. The Council is empowered to evaluate the credentials of individuals elected as Council Members. This includes the certification of results for municipal elections, determining whether an individual has the necessary qualifications to hold office, and deciding whether a vacancy on the Council exists.
- Setting and enforcing rules to govern its proceedings. The Council has exclusive authority to establish rules to govern its proceedings and to preserve order during its meetings
This is not a comprehensive checklist of all the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the City Council. It does, however, provide a general synopsis of its responsibilities as well as the diverse nature of the official duties and functions it performs. Plenary sessions of the City Council are generally held twice each month, usually on the second and fourth Fridays, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chamber (Room 317) at City Hall, located at 350 South Fifth Street in downtown Minneapolis. See current calendar of regular meetings of the City Council and its standing committees. For more information, contact the Office of City Clerk at 612-673-2216.
Last updated Jan 8, 2015