This Charter is the municipal corporation charter of the town of Washington Grove, Maryland, the corporate name of which is Town of Washington Grove.2
The terms "town", "city," "municipality," or "municipal corporation" in this charter are to be construed as synonymous. The term "Town" in this charter means the Town of Washington Grove. The term "County" in this charter means Montgomery County, Maryland. The term "County law" in this charter means the law of Montgomery County, Maryland, as amended from time to time. The term "State" in this charter means the State of Maryland. The term "State law" in this charter means the law of the State of Maryland, as amended from time to time. The term "Annotated Code of Maryland" in this charter means the Code of the State of Maryland, annotated, as amended from time to time.3
The municipal corporation here continued under its corporate name has all the privileges of a body corporate, by that name to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded in any court of law or equity, to have and use a common seal and to have perpetual succession, unless the Charter and the corporate existence are legally abrogated.4
(a) The boundaries and limits of the Town are as follows:
As shown on a copy of the boundary survey of the corporate limits and zoning map of the Town of Washington Grove, dated the 14th day of May, 1964, originally recorded June 10, 1964, in Plat Book 75 on Plat numbered 7435, and rerecorded the 5th day of June, 1981, in Plat Book Number 114 on Plat numbered 13470, among the Land Records of Montgomery County, Maryland;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Tabler and Stewart) Beginning at an iron pipe at the beginning of the first line of the description as recorded in a deed of conveyance from the Washington Grove Association of the District of Columbia and Maryland to Melvin F. Dove by deed dated the 13th day of April, 1923, and recorded in Liber 332 at Folio 312 among the Land Records of Montgomery County, Maryland, and running thence with the prolongation of the line of the western corporate boundary of the Town of Washington Grove as shown on the aforementioned boundary survey plat dated the 14th day of May, 1964, South 9°56' West 90.00 feet; Thence South 70°09'40" East 261.02 feet to the northerly right-of-way line of Washington Grove Lane; Thence with the said right-of-way line North 30°46' East 175.012 feet; Thence North 65°42' West 124.15 feet; Thence South 30°46' West 89.00 feet; Thence North 72°00'30" West 169.12 feet to the point of beginning; such area being all of that parcel of land conveyed unto Vincent Murray Tabler and Mary Marguerite Tabler, by deed from Edward H. Barber, Jr. and Catherine A. Barber, dated the 13th day of March, 1936, and recorded in Liber 618 at Folio 416 among said Land Records; and containing 24,352 square feet, more or less; described in Liber 1381 at Folio 165 among said Land Records;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Stewart and Bennet) Beginning at the end of 435.60 feet on the eleventh line of a conveyance from Flodoardo Howard and Wm. R. Woodward, Trustees, to the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association for 267.50 acres of land, by deed dated the 24th day of May 1881, and recorded in Liber E.B.P. 24 at Folio 73 among said Land Records, and running thence South 16°36' East 450.60 feet; Thence along the corporate boundary of the Town of Washington Grove as shown on the aforementioned boundary survey plat dated the 14th day of May, 1964, South 73°24' West 100.00 feet; Thence North 16°36' West 450.60 feet; Thence North 73°24' East 100.00 feet to the point of beginning; such area including all of that parcel conveyed by Shirley L. Britton, Stanley G. Britton, and Geraldine Britton, surviving Joint Tenants of Louise A. Britton and Ruth E. Britton, to Stephen M. Bennet and Peter V. Stewart by deed dated the 11th day of November, 1986, and recorded the 19th day of November, 1986, in Liber 7402 at Folio 758 among said Land Records;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (WSSC Parcel 360) Beginning at a point at the end of the third line or North 32° West, 112 perch line of a deed from Mary Regan, et vir, to William Henry Brake, dated November 12, 1902, and recorded in Liber T.D.24 at Folio 137 among said Land Records; Thence South 34°49'25" West, true, 437.86 feet with and along the East side of Ridge Road (30 feet wide) and with and along a part of the fourth or South 38° West, 106.36 perch line of the aforementioned deed, to a point thereon; Thence South 55°10'35" East, true, 170 feet to a point; Thence North 34°49'25" East, true, 371.17 feet to a point on the said third or North 32° West, 112 perch line; Thence North 33°45'09" West, true, 182.62 feet, with and along the said third line to the point of beginning; containing 68,767.55 square feet or 1.5787 acres of land; such area being all of the property acquired by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission from Grover S. Brake, et al., by deed dated May 21, 1949, and recorded in Liber 1264 at Folio 563 among said Land Records;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Ward Parcel 635) Beginning at a survey monument at the southernmost corner of Parcel 635 as shown on Tax Map GT 121, it being the common point with a parcel conveyed to Eugene B. Casey, et al., Trust (Liber 6038 at Folio 080) and also with a parcel conveyed to Oakmont Limited Partnership (Liber 10216 at Folio 108); and proceeding North 71°58'23" West 480.89 feet to a pipe at the southernmost corner of property conveyed to Peter L. Pammel, et ux. (Liber 6319 at Folio 683); Thence along the common boundaries with the Pammel property North 23°06'26" East 80.00 feet to a point; Thence North 61°52'55" West 175.09 feet to a point on the eastern edge of the Ridge Road right of way; Thence along Ridge Road North 34°47'16" East 201.62 feet to a point; Thence South 55°49'48" East 630.46 feet to an iron pipe; Thence South 25°49'43" West 129.33 feet to the point of beginning; all aforementioned bearings and distances as reported on a Boundary Survey of the Richard E. Ward Property dated October 1993 by Macris, Hendricks and Glascock, P.A.; such area being the same property as described in Liber 6403 at Folio 801 among said Land Records;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Moyer-Gussack Parcel 291) Parcel 291 as shown on Tax Map GT 121; it being the same property as described in Liber 5247 at Folio 166 among the Land Records for Montgomery County, Maryland; together with the 30-foot public road right-of-way, lying between and bounded in length by said Parcel 291 and Parcel 360 on said Tax Map; Beginning for said Parcel 291 at a point on the southeasterly margin of Ridge Road as shown on the plat of Section No. 2, of the subdivision of Washington Grove, recorded in Plat Book 1 at Plat 21, one of the land records of Montgomery County, Maryland, said point being at the end of 1506.85 feet on the last line of the first parcel in a conveyance recorded in Liber 292 at Folio 381 (opposite the stone shown on said plat in Lot 10, Block 33, Washington Grove, it being the stone at the end of the 86th line of Crabb's Fortress) and running thence towards Washington Grove Hills with the northerly edge of the 30 foot public road right-of-way South 32°04'30" East 214.66 feet; Thence leaving said right-of-way and running North 36°37'40" East 245.97 feet; Thence North 53°22'20" West 200.00 feet to the previously established southeasterly corporate boundary of the Town of Washington Grove; Thence running with said previously established corporate boundary South 36°37'40" West 168.00 feet to the point of beginning; and containing 0.95 acres, more or less;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Pammel Parcel 660) Parcel 660 as shown on Tax Map GT 121; Beginning for the same at a stone at the southeasternmost corner of the Town's corporate limits, along the eastern edge of the Ridge Road right-of-way, such stone as shown on the Corporate Limits and Zoning Map of the Town of Washington Grove, recorded June 5, 1981, in Plat Book 114 at Plat 13470 among the Land Records of Montgomery County, Maryland; and running thence North 34°48'25" East 116.00 feet to a point;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Voigt Properties, Washington Grove Hills and Ridge Road) -- Beginning at an iron pipe set along the corporate limits of the Town of Washington Grove, Maryland, said iron pipe being at the westernmost point as shown on the plat of subdivision entitled Mill Creek South, Plat Four, Part of Block E, dated April 1979, recorded on Plat numbered 12499 among the Land Records of Montgomery County, Maryland; thence with the southerly boundary on said plat South 55°15'18" East 474.62 feet to an iron pipe; thence with the southerly boundary on said plat North 63°52'36" East 196.13 feet to an iron pipe; thence with the southerly boundary on said plat South 76°38'43" East 562.04 feet to a point; said point being the common point for Lots 9 and 10 along the northerly boundary as shown on the plat of subdivision entitled Washington Grove Hills, dated April 1948, recorded in Plat Book 33 on Plat numbered 2149 among the Land Records of Montgomery County; thence with the easterly line of Lot 9 as shown on said plat South 03°21' West 413.07 feet to a point along the northerly right of way line of the road dedicated to public use on said plat; thence along the northerly right-of-way line of the aforesaid road South 77°54'40" East to an iron pipe set at the end of the aforesaid road; thence South 03°21' West 40.47 feet to a point on the southerly right of way line of the aforesaid road; thence along the southerly right of way line of the aforesaid road North 77°54'40" West 535.31 feet to a point; thence along the southerly right of way line of the aforesaid road on a curve to the left having a radius of 556.63 feet and an arc distance of 191.87 feet to a point; thence along the southerly right of way line of the aforesaid road South 82°20'20" West 458.86 feet to a point where the southerly right of way line makes an turn to the right with an obtuse angle; thence along the westerly right-of-way line of the aforesaid road North 33°53'30" West 270 feet, more or less, to the previously established easterly corporate boundary of the Town of Washington Grove; said point being at the easternmost corner of the property conveyed to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission by deed dated May 21, 1949, and recorded in Liber 1264 at Folio 563 among the Land Records of Montgomery County; thence crossing the aforesaid road approximately North 86°06'30" East 40 feet, more or less, to a point on the easterly right-of-way line of the aforesaid road at the boundary between Parcels 291 and 303 as shown on Tax Map GT 121; said point being the westernmost corner of the property conveyed to Michael Lee Voigt and Robert Leroy Voigt by deed dated October 17, 1980, and recorded in Liber 5595 at Folio 758 among the aforesaid land records; thence along the first line of said conveyance North 36°37'40" East 245.97 feet to a point; thence running in reverse direction with the second and first lines of the deed recorded in Liber 1926 at Folio 494 so as to include all of the land conveyed in the deed recorded in Liber 2612 at Folio 485 North 53°22'20" West 200.00 feet to the southeasterly margin of Ridge Road; thence running with said margin North 36°37'40" East 217.80 feet to the point of beginning; so as to include Lots 1 through 9 inclusive and the dedicated road contained in the aforesaid plat of subdivision entitled Washington Grove Hills recorded in the aforesaid land records; all of the land conveyed in the deed recorded at Liber 2612 at Folio 485; and all of the land conveyed in the deed recorded at Liber 5595 at Folio 758, together with all of the public road abutting said land; containing 13.55 acres, more or less;
And also the following area in Montgomery County -- (Railroad Park) An irregular shaped parcel of land, described as commencing at a point on the westerly side of Railroad Street, the point also being the point of beginning of the first line of that certain deed dated September 14, 1992, recorded among the land records of Montgomery County at Liber 12385, Folio 465; thence with all of said first line South 34°23'10" East 47.50 feet to a point; thence with all of the second line of said deed South 52°35'03" West 49.12 feet to a survey monument placed at the beginning of the third line of said deed; thence with all of the said third line of said deed North 48°00'00" West 38.00 feet to a survey monument placed at the beginning of the fourth line of said deed; thence with all of the said fourth line of said deed North 42°49'35" East 59.48 feet to the point of beginning of this description; containing 2,295 square feet, more or less; together with the Railroad Street right-of-way adjoining this parcel;
And also the following area in Montgomery County - (Harrison Parcel 655) Parcel 655 as shown on Tax Map GT 11; it being the same property as described in Liber 19908 at Folio 800 among the Land Records for Montgomery County, Maryland; Beginning for the same at a stone planted at the end of the first (307 feet) line of a conveyance from Thomas R. Suter and Wife, to The Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association for seventy-one one hundredths (71/100) of an acre of land, and running thence South 25 1/2 degrees West, 242 feet to the lines of the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and with said lines, South 31 1/8 degrees East, 218 1/2 feet to a stone, thence North 51 3/4 degrees East 413 feet to a stone, thence North 64 1/2 degrees West 346 feet to the place of beginning, containing 2 acres, more or less; together with all of the public road right-of-way adjoining this parcel.
(b) The courses and distance showing the exact corporate limits of the Town must be filed at all times with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, and the Director of the Department of Legislative Reference.
In addition, a copy of the courses and distances describing the corporate boundaries must be on file in the office of the Town. All of the officials named in this section are hereby directed to file or record all such descriptions of corporate boundaries so filed with them, each in a suitable book or place, properly indexed and reasonably available for public inspection.5
(a) The government of the Town is vested in the qualified voters of the Town. The will and decision of the qualified voters is expressed in actions taken in regular and special Town Meetings, and in the annual election of Town officials. There must be one regular Town Meeting each year held on the second Saturday in May. Special Town Meetings may be called by the Mayor or by a majority of the Council, and must be called by the Mayor within 30 days following receipt of a petition signed by 25 qualified voters requesting a Special Town Meeting on a specified subject. The election of Town officials must take place in conjunction with the regular Town Meeting. Fifty qualified voters constitutes a quorum at any regular or special Town Meeting.
(b) Written notice as to time, date, and place of each Town Meeting and, in the case of Special Town Meetings, the subject(s) thereof, must be sent by mail to all persons on the list of qualified voters at least 14 days and not more than 21 days prior to such meeting.
(c) The Parliamentary Authority of the Town Meeting is Robert's Rules of Order, latest edition. This authority governs all procedure in all Town Meetings except where it conflicts with this Charter or any special Rules of Order. The Mayor presides at all Town Meetings. In the absence of the Mayor, or the Mayor Pro Tempore, the Town Meeting must select a temporary Chairman from the qualified voters present.
The Council consists of six Councilors, each elected as hereinafter provided and holding office for a term of three years or until the succeeding Councilor takes office. The regular terms of Councilors expire on the second Monday following the election of their successors. Councilors holding office at the time this Charter becomes effective continue to hold office for the terms for which they were elected and until the succeeding Councilors take office under the provisions of this Charter.7
Councilors must have resided in the Town for at least one year immediately preceding their election and must be qualified voters of the Town.8
Councilors must not receive compensation for their service on the Council.9
The Council must meet regularly at such times as may be prescribed by its rules, but not less frequently than once each month. Special meetings may be called by the Mayor or a majority of the members of the Council. All meetings of the Council must be open to the public unless closed by the Council as authorized by State law. Residents of the Town must be given reasonable notice of Council meetings and an opportunity to be heard.10
The Council is the judge of the election and qualification of its members.11
The Mayor presides at all meetings of the Council. The Mayor may take part in all discussions, but has no vote except in case of a tie. The Council must elect a Mayor Pro Tempore from among its members, who must exercise the powers of the Mayor in the absence of the Mayor. In the absence of both the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tempore, the Council must select a presiding officer from among its members. The Mayor Pro Tempore and the presiding officer retain the power to vote as a Councilor.12
A majority of the members of the Council constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business, but no ordinance may be approved without the favorable votes of a majority of the whole number of members elected to the Council.13
The Council must determine its own rules and order of business. It must keep a journal of its proceedings and enter therein the yeas and nays upon final action on any question, resolution, or ordinance, or at any other time if required by any one of its members. Once approved by the Council, the journal must be open to public inspection during normal business hours.14
Vacancies in the Council must be filled as provided in Section 35 of this Charter.15
(b) Prior to the enactment of any ordinance by the Council, the Council must hold a public hearing to provide an opportunity for the qualified voters of the Town to comment on the proposed legislation. Notice of the public hearing must be given to the qualified voters of the Town by mailing a summary of the proposed ordinance to each dwelling unit in the Town at least 10 days prior to the public hearing. Within 10 days of the enactment of any ordinance by the Council, notice must be given to the qualified voters of the Town and to the public by mailing a summary of such ordinance to each dwelling unit in Town. If, within the 30 days after enactment, a petition signed by 25 qualified voters is submitted to the Mayor and Council, requesting a referendum on such ordinance, the Mayor must call a special Town Meeting. If at such meeting the majority of the qualified voters present and voting vote to disapprove such ordinance, it is null and void. If no such petition is submitted, the ordinance becomes effective on the date set forth in the ordinance, but in no event less than 30 days after its enactment; or if such petition be submitted and the qualified voters fail to disapprove the proposed ordinance, the ordinance becomes effective 10 days after the action at the Town Meeting.
(c) If a petition signed by 25 qualified voters is submitted to the Mayor and Town Council requesting an ordinance be enacted or other action taken, the Council must consider such request at the next regular Council meeting or at a special Council meeting. Notice must be given as to the time, date and place of said meeting.
Should the Council fail to act favorably upon the petition, the Mayor must call a special Town Meeting for the purpose of considering the petition. If at such meeting the majority of the qualified voters present and voting vote to approve the petition, the Mayor and Council must promptly take whatever action is necessary to implement the approved petition.16
Ordinances must be permanently filed and kept available for reasonable public inspection.
The Mayor must be elected as hereinafter provided and holds office for a term of one year or until a successor is elected and qualified. The newly elected Mayor takes office on the second Monday following the election. The Mayor holding office at the time this amended Charter becomes effective continues to hold office for the term for which elected and until a successor takes office under the provisions of this Charter.18
The Mayor must have resided in the Town for at least two years immediately preceding election and must be a qualified voter of the Town.19
The Mayor may receive such annual salary as may be set from time to time by an ordinance adopted by the Town Meeting; provided, however, no change may be made in the salary for any Mayor during the term for which elected.20
(a) The Mayor must see that the ordinances of the Town are faithfully executed and is the chief executive officer and the head of the administrative branch of the Town government.
(b) The Mayor, with the approval of the Council, must appoint a Planning Commission and a Board of Appeals with the powers and duties set forth in the ordinances establishing the Commission and Board. The heads of all offices, departments, and agencies of the Town government as established by this Charter or by ordinance are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. All subordinate officers and employees of the offices, departments, and agencies of the Town government are appointed and removed by the Mayor, in accordance with the rules and regulations of any merit system which may be adopted by the Council.
(c) The Mayor each year must report to the Town Meeting the condition of municipal affairs and make recommendations proper for the public good and the welfare of the Town.
(d) The Mayor has complete supervision over the financial administration of the Town government. The Mayor must prepare or have prepared annually a budget and submit it to the Council and the Town Meeting. The Mayor must supervise the administration of the budget as adopted by the Council and the Town Meeting. The Mayor must supervise the disbursement of all monies and have control over all expenditures to assure that the budget appropriations are not exceeded.
(e) The Mayor has such other powers and performs such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter or as may be required by the Council, not inconsistent with this Charter.
(a) Subject to the provisions of Sections 5 and 15 of this Charter, the Council has the power to pass all such ordinances not contrary to the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland or this Charter as it may deem necessary for the good government of the Town; for the protection and preservation of the Town's property, rights, and privileges; for the preservation of peace and good order; for securing persons or property from violence or destruction; and for the protection and promotion of the health, safety, comfort, convenience, welfare, and happiness of the residents of and visitors to the Town.
(b) Subject to the provisions of Section 5 and 15, the Council has the power to pass ordinances not contrary to the laws and Constitution of the State of Maryland for any or all of the specific purposes provided in the remaining subparts of this subsection, or set forth in Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland; as amended from time to time; it being the intention of this charter to empower the Council to utilize all the powers granted to municipalities from time to time by State law. These specific powers include:
(c) In addition to all the powers granted to the Council by this Charter or any other provisions of law, the Council may exercise any power or perform any function which is not now or hereafter denied to it by the Constitution of Maryland, this Charter, or any applicable law passed by the General Assembly of Maryland. The enumeration of powers and functions in this Charter or elsewhere must not be deemed to limit the power and authority granted by this section.
(d) To the extent permitted by law, the Town may exempt itself from County law.
(e) The Council has the power to obtain such insurance for the Town as it deems necessary and appropriate, including insurance indemnifying the Mayor, Councilors, and other Town officials against all claims and charges, including attorneys' fees, arising out of the performance of their official duties, and to provide for the payment of the premiums. The Council may approve the expenditure of public funds to reimburse the Mayor, Councilors, or other Town officials for all claims and charges, including attorney's fees, arising out of the performance of their official duties.22
For the purpose of carrying out the powers granted in this Charter, the Council may pass all necessary ordinances, subject to the provisions of Sections 5, 15 and 21 of this Charter. All powers of the Town must be exercised in the manner prescribed by this Charter.23
(a) To ensure the observance of the ordinances of the Town, the Council has the power to provide that a violation thereof is a misdemeanor and has the power to affix thereto a penalty of a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000) or imprisonment not exceeding 180 days or both such fine and imprisonment, or such other penalty limits as may be authorized by State law, whichever is higher. The Council may provide that, where the violation is of a continuing nature and is persisted in, a conviction for one violation is not a bar to a conviction for a continuation of the offense subsequent to the first or any succeeding conviction.
A qualified voter entitled to vote at all Town elections and Town meetings is a Town resident who is included on a certified copy of a Montgomery County voter registration list furnished to the Town by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors of Elections.25
There is a Board of Supervisors of Elections, consisting of three members who are appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Council on or before the first Monday in March in every odd-numbered year. The terms of members of the Board of Supervisors of Elections begin on the first Monday in March in the year in which they are appointed and run for two years or until their successors are qualified. Members of the Board of Supervisors of Elections must be qualified voters of the Town and may not hold or be candidates for any elective office during their term of office. The Board must appoint one of its members as Chairperson. Vacancies on the Board must be filled by the Mayor with the approval of the Council for the remainder of the unexpired term.26
Any member of the Board of Supervisors of Elections may be removed for good cause by the Council. Before removal, the member of the Board to be removed must be given a written copy of the charges against the member and must have a public hearing on them before the Council if the member so requests within 10 days after receiving the written copy of the charges.27
The Board of Supervisors of Elections is in charge of nominations and all Town elections. The Board must obtain from the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors of Elections a certified list of qualified voters not more than 10 days before the Town election or Town meeting. Prior to any Town meeting or Town election, the Board may strike from the list of qualified voters persons known to have died or to have moved out of Town. The Board may appoint election clerks or other employees to assist it in any of its duties.28
The Board of Supervisors of Elections must give at least two weeks notice of every election by giving notice thereof reasonably calculated to inform the residents of the Town.29
If any person feels aggrieved by the action of the Board of Supervisors of Elections in striking off the name of any person, or by any other action, such person may appeal to the Council. Any decision or action of the Council upon such appeal may be appealed to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County within the time allowed for administrative appeals.30
Persons may be nominated for elective office in the Town by filing a certificate of nomination with the Board of Supervisors of Elections on or before the second Monday in April next preceding the Town election. The certificate of nomination must be in writing and must be signed by at least two qualified voters of the Town. A certificate of nomination for Councilor must indicate whether the person is being nominated for a regular three-year Council term or for the balance of the term of a vacated Council position, if any vacancies exist. No person may file for nomination to more than one elective Town public office or hold more than one elective Town public office at any one time. A person accepting nomination for the office of Mayor who is at the time a member of the Council must resign office as a member of the Council upon accepting the nomination for the office of Mayor, the resignation to be effective on the date on which the newly elected Mayor assumes office. A vacancy in the Council must be considered a separate elective office.31
All regular elections must be conducted on the second Saturday of May of each year. The qualified voters of the Town must elect one person as Mayor, two persons as Councilors for terms of three years, and such number of persons to fill vacancies on the Council as there are vacancies, for the number of years remaining in the respective terms.32
It is the duty of the Board of Supervisors of Elections to provide for each special and general election a suitable place or places for voting and suitable ballot boxes and/or voting machines.Space shall also be provided on the ballots and/or voting machines for write-in votes to be recorded. The ballots and/or voting machines must show the name of each candidate nominated to elective office in accordance with the provisions of this Charter, arranged in alphabetical order by office with no party designations of any kind. The Board must keep the polls open from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on election day or for longer hours if the Council requires it. The Board must supply an absentee ballot to any qualified voter of the Town requesting one who certifies in writing that he or she will not be able to be present to vote during the time designated for the polls to be open. Such absentee ballots, if delivered to the Board prior to the end of the time designated for the polls to be closed, must be counted as though cast at the polls. Within two hours of the closing of the polls, the Board of Supervisors of Elections must determine the vote cast for each candidate or question and must certify the results of the election to the Clerk-Treasurer of the Town, and thereafter must announce the results at the Town Meeting. The Clerk-Treasurer must record the results in the minutes of the Town Meeting. The candidate for Mayor with the highest number of votes must be declared elected as Mayor. The candidates for Councilor with the highest number of votes for each Council position must be declared elected as Councilors.33
All special Town elections must be conducted by the Board of Supervisors of Elections in the same manner with the same personnel, as far as practicable, as regular Town elections.34
All ballots used in any Town election must be preserved for at least 6 months from the date of the election.35
In case of a vacancy on the Council for any reason, the Council may select a qualified person to fill such vacancy until the next regular Town election. At such election, a qualified person must be chosen for each vacant unexpired term. In case of a vacancy in the office of Mayor for any reason, the Council may elect a qualified person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any vacancies on the Council or in the office of Mayor may be filled by the favorable votes of a majority of the remaining members of the Council. The results of any such vote must be recorded in the minutes of the Council. However, the Council may order a special election to fill any such vacancy.36
The Council has the power to provide by ordinance in every respect not covered by the provisions of this Charter for the conduct of nominations and Town elections, for the prevention of fraud in connection therewith, for a recount of ballots in case of doubt or fraud, for special elections in case a regular or special election is not held as announced, and for resolving tie votes.37
Any person who (a) willfully and corruptly fails to perform any duty required of said person under any provisions of Sections 24 through 36 of this Charter or any ordinance passed thereunder, (b) in any manner willfully and corruptly violates any of the provisions of Sections 24 through 36 of this Charter or any ordinances passed thereunder, or (c) willfully and corruptly does anything which will or will tend to affect fraudulently any registration, nomination, or Town election, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any officer or employee of the Town government who is convicted of a misdemeanor under the provisions of this section must immediately upon conviction thereof cease to hold such office or employment.
A Clerk-Treasurer must be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Council. However, the Mayor may, with the approval of the Council, assign all or part of the duties of the Clerk-Treasurer to one or more employees of the Town. The Clerk-Treasurer serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and receives such compensation as determined by the Council. The Clerk-Treasurer is the chief financial officer of the Town. The financial powers of the Town, except as otherwise provided by this Charter, are exercised by the Clerk-Treasurer under the direct supervision of the Mayor.39
Under the supervision of the Mayor, the Clerk-Treasurer has authority and is required to:
(a) Prepare at the request of the Mayor an annual budget to be submitted by the Mayor to the Council.
(b) Supervise and be responsible for the disbursement of all monies and have control over all expenditures to assure that budget appropriations are not exceeded.
(c) Maintain a general accounting system for the Town in such form as the Council may require, not contrary to State law.
(d) Submit at the end of each fiscal year, and at such other times as the Council may require, a complete financial report to the Council through the Mayor.
(e) Ascertain that all taxable property within the Town is assessed for taxation.
(f) Collect all taxes, special assessments, license fees, liens, and all other revenues, including utility revenues of the Town, and all other revenues for whose collection the Town is responsible, and receive any funds receivable by the Town.
(g) Have custody of all public monies belonging to or under the control of the Town, except as to funds in the control of any set of trustees, and have custody of all bonds and notes of the Town.
(h) Do such other things in relation to the affairs of the Town as the Mayor or the Council may require or as may be required elsewhere in the Charter.40
The Clerk-Treasurer, or the employee assigned to exercise the financial powers of the Town, must provide a bond with corporate surety and in such amount as the Council by ordinance may require.
The Town operates on an annual budget. The fiscal year of the Town begins on the first day of July in any year and ends on the last day of June the following year. The fiscal year constitutes the tax year, the budget year, and the accounting year.42
The Mayor, on such date as the Council may determine, but at least 32 days before the beginning of any fiscal year, must submit a budget to the Council. The budget must provide a complete financial plan for the budget year and must contain estimates of anticipated revenues and proposed expenditures for the coming year. The total of the anticipated revenues must equal or exceed the total of the proposed expenditures. The Council may insert new items or increase or decrease the items in the budget. Where the Council or the Town Meeting increases the total proposed expenditures it must also increase the total anticipated revenues in an amount at least equal to such total proposed expenditures. The budget is a public record, open to reasonable public inspection. A summary of the proposed budget must be circulated to all residences of the Town at least two weeks prior to the regular Town Meeting to be held in May. The Mayor must then present to the Town Meeting for adoption the budget as recommended by the Council. The budget as finally approved by a majority vote of the qualified voters present and voting becomes the limitation of the total expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year, subject to modification by a Special Town Meeting. The Council may, however, increase or decrease items in the budget subject to the aforesaid limitation on total expenditures.43
No public money may be expended without having been appropriated by the Council. From the effective date of the budget, the several amounts stated therein as proposed expenditure become thereby appropriated to the several objects and purposes named therein, subject to the provisions of Section 42.44
No officer or employee may, during any budget year, expend or contract to expend any money or incur any liability or enter into any contract which by its terms involves the expenditure of money for any purpose in excess of the amounts appropriated for or transferred to that general classification of expenditure by subsequent action pursuant to this Charter. Any contract, verbal or written, made in violation of this Charter is null and void. Nothing in this section, however, prevents the making of contracts or the spending of money for bonds, nor the making of contracts or the spending of money for capital improvements to be financed in whole or in part by issuance of bonds. A contract for a period exceeding the budget year in which such contract is made is permitted if the contract is subject to termination by the Town because sufficient funds are not appropriated for a subsequent budget year.45
All appropriations lapse at the end of the budget year to the extent that they have not been expended or lawfully encumbered. Any unexpended and unencumbered funds must be considered a surplus at the end of the budget year and must be reflected in the budget for the next succeeding year.46
All checks issued in payment of municipal obligations must be issued and signed by the Clerk-Treasurer or the Mayor or the Mayor Pro Tempore.47
(a) All real property, and all tangible personal property of any commercial enterprise taxable under State law within the corporate limits of the Town is subject to taxation for municipal purposes, and the assessment used is the same as that for State and County taxes. No authority is given by this section to impose taxes on any property which is exempt from taxation by State law.
(b) The Mayor and Town Council must annually prepare an estimate as to the amount of money required, over and above the tax authorized in paragraph (a), to provide for the cost of the public service, such as the collecting of trash and garbage, the clearing, cleaning and lighting of streets, and such other public service, insurance, repair and upkeep of the public buildings and parks and maintenance of the same, and other charges which may be necessary for the conduct of affairs of the Town and for the well-being and the health of the entire community. The Mayor and Council must present such estimate for the approval of the qualified voters in annual Town Meeting. Upon the approval of a majority of such qualified voters in meeting assembled, the Town Council may annually impose a uniform running front foot charge in the nature of an assessment against all improved and unimproved lots within the corporate limits of said Town, and/or a flat uniform and equal assessment against each dwelling upon lots within said Town, to provide the additional funds necessary over and above the tax provided in paragraph (a) as called for in the approved budget.48
From the effective date of the budget, the amount stated therein as the amount to be raised by the property taxes authorized in Section 47 constitutes a determination of the amount of the tax to be imposed in the corresponding tax year.49
Promptly after the property taxes are imposed by the Town, the Clerk-Treasurer, or a designated agent, must make out and mail to each taxpayer or designated agent at the last known address a bill or account of the taxes due. This bill or account must contain a statement of the amount of real and personal property with which the taxpayer is assessed, the rate of taxation, the amount of taxes due, and the date on which the taxes will begin bearing interest and penalty. Failure to give or receive any bill required by this section does not relieve any taxpayer of the responsibility to pay on the dates established by this Charter all taxes imposed on the property.50
The taxes provided for in Sections 47 and 48 of this Charter are due and payable on the first day of July in the year for which they are imposed and are overdue and in arrears on the first day of the following October. They bear a penalty while in arrears at the rate fixed by resolution of the Council prior to the first day of the tax year for which the tax is imposed. All taxes not paid and in arrears after the first day of the following March may be collected as provided in Section 51. All taxes imposed on property are a lien on the property to the same extent as State and County property taxes.51
A list of all property on which Town taxes have not been paid and which are in arrears as provided in Section 50 above may be turned over by the Clerk-Treasurer to the official of Montgomery County responsible for the sale of tax delinquent property, as provided in State law. All property listed thereon may, if necessary, be sold for taxes by this Montgomery County official or the Town, in the manner prescribed by State law.52
All Town fees received by an officer or employee of the Town belong to the Town and must be accounted for to the Town.53
The financial books and accounts of the Town must be audited annually as required by State law.54
(a) During the first 6 months of any fiscal year, the Town has the power to borrow in anticipation of the collection of the property tax imposed for that fiscal year, and to issue tax anticipation notes or other evidences of indebtedness as evidence of such borrowing in conformance with State law. Such tax anticipation notes or other evidences of indebtedness are a first lien upon the proceeds of such tax and must mature and be paid not later than 6 months after the beginning of the fiscal year in which they are issued. No tax anticipation notes or other evidences of indebtedness may be issued which cause the total tax anticipation indebtedness of the Town to exceed 50 percent of the property tax imposed for the fiscal year in which such notes or other evidences of indebtedness are issued. All tax anticipation notes or other evidences of indebtedness must be authorized by ordinance before being issued. The Council has the power to regulate all matters concerning the issuance and sale of tax anticipation notes.
(b) The Town has the authority to incur bonded indebtedness, subject to the provisions of State law; however, such bonded indebtedness must at no time exceed 10 percent of the total assessed value of real property subject to tax, as provided in Section 47 of this Charter, within the corporate limits of the Town.55
The power and obligation of the Town to pay any and all bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued by it under the authority of this Charter are unlimited and the Town may impose ad valorem taxes upon all the taxable property of the Town for the payment of such bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness and interest thereon, without limitations of amount. The full faith and credit of the Town is hereby pledged for the payment of the principal and the interest on all bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness, hereafter issued under the authority of this Charter, whether or not such pledge be stated in the bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness, or in the ordinance authorizing their issuance.56
All bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness validly issued by the Town previous to the effective date of this Charter and all ordinances passed concerning them are hereby declared to be valid, legal, and binding and of full force and effect as if herein fully set forth.57
The Council may provide by ordinance for rules and regulations regarding the use of competitive bidding and contracts for all or part of the Town's purchases and contracts. All expenditures for supplies, materials, equipment, construction of public improvements, or contractual services involving more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) must be made on written contract. The Clerk-Treasurer is required to ask for sealed bids, in such manner as may be prescribed by ordinance, for all such written contracts. Such written contracts must be awarded to the bidder who offers the lowest or best bid, quality of goods and work, time of delivery or completion, and responsibility of bidders being considered. All such written contracts must be approved by the Council before becoming effective. The Clerk-Treasurer, with the approval of the Mayor and Council, has the right to reject all bids and re-advertise. The Town at any time in its discretion may employ its own forces for the construction and reconstruction of public improvements without advertising for (or re-advertising for) or receiving bids. All written contracts may be protected by such bonds, penalties, and conditions as the Town may require.
The Mayor, with the approval of the Council, may appoint a Town Attorney. The Town Attorney must be a member of the bar of the Maryland Court of Appeals. The Town Attorney is the legal advisor of the Town and performs such duties in this connection as may be required by the Council or by the Mayor. The Town has the power to employ such legal consultants as it deems necessary from time to time and to provide such compensation as the Council determines.59
The Town has the power to employ such officers and employees as it deems necessary to execute the powers and duties provided by this Charter or other State law and to operate the Town government.60
The Town may provide by ordinance for appointments and promotions in the administrative service on the basis of merit and fitness. To carry out this purpose the Council may adopt such rules and regulations governing the operation of a merit system as it deems desirable or necessary. Among other things these rules and regulations may provide for competitive examinations, the use of eligibility lists, a classification plan, a compensation plan, a probation period, appeals by employees included within the classified service from dismissal or other disciplinary action, and vacation and sick leave regulations. The Town may request and avail itself of the facilities of the Commissioner of State Personnel for the administration of its merit system as provided in State law.61
The Town has the power to include its officers and employees, or any of them, within any retirement or pension system under the terms of which they are admissible, and to pay the employer's share of the cost of any such retirement or pension system out of the general funds of the Town.62
The compensation of all officers and employees of the Town may be set from time to time by the Council, subject to the provisions of this Charter.63
The Town is authorized and empowered, by ordinance, to provide for or participate in hospitalization or other forms of employee benefits for its officers and employees, and to expend public monies of the Town for such programs.
The term "public ways" as used in this Charter includes all streets, avenues, roads, highways, public thoroughfares, walkways, sidewalks, lanes, and alleys.65
The Town has control of all public ways in the Town except such as may be under the jurisdiction of the Maryland State Highway Administration. Subject to State law, the Town may, by ordinance, where appropriate, do whatever is necessary to establish, close up, modify, operate, and maintain in good condition the public ways of the Town.66
The Town has the power by ordinance, where appropriate:
(a) To establish, regulate, and change from time to time the grade lines, widths, and construction materials of any Town public way or part thereof, including bridges, curbs, and gutters;
(b) To grade, lay out, construct, open, extend, and make new Town public ways;
(c) To grade, straighten, widen, alter, improve, or close up any existing Town public way or part thereof;
(d) To pave, surface, repave, or resurface any Town public way or part thereof; and
(e) To install, construct, reconstruct, repair, and maintain curbs and/or gutters along any Town public way or part thereof.
The Town may acquire real, personal, or mixed property for any public purpose by purchase, gift, bequest, devise, lease, condemnation, or otherwise and may sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any property belonging to the Town. All municipal property, funds, and franchises of every kind belonging to or in the possession of the Town (by whatever prior name known) at the time this Charter becomes effective are vested in the Town, subject to the terms and conditions thereof.68
The Town has the power to condemn property of any kind, or interest therein or franchise connected therewith, in fee or as an easement, within and outside the corporate limits of the Town, for any public purpose or benefit. Any activity, project, or improvement authorized by the provisions of this Charter, Town ordinances, or State law applicable to the Town is deemed to be a public purpose or benefit. The manner of procedure in case of any condemnation proceeding must be that established by State law.69
The Town has the power to acquire, to obtain by lease or rent, to purchase, construct, operate, and maintain or to convey when deemed to be in the interests of the Town, all buildings and structures it deems necessary for the operation of the Town government.70
The Town, by Ordinance, may establish a procedure for the acquisition or sale of real property as authorized by this Charter.71
The Town has the power to do whatever may be necessary to protect Town property and to keep all Town property in good condition.
(a) Before entering upon the duties of their offices, the Mayor, the Councilors, and all other persons elected to any office of profit or trust in the Town government must take and subscribe the following:
(b) The Mayor must take and subscribe this affirmation before the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County or before one of the sworn deputies of the Clerk. All other persons taking and subscribing the affirmation must do so before the Mayor.73
Officers or employees of the Town as the Council or this Charter may require must give bond in such amount and with such surety as may be required by the Council. The premiums on such bonds must be paid by the Town.74
All right, title, and interest held by the Town or any other person or corporation at the time this Charter is adopted, in and to any lien acquired under any prior Charter of the Town, are hereby preserved for the holder in all respects as if this Charter had not been adopted, together with all rights and remedies in relation thereto. This Charter does not discharge, impair, or release any contract, obligation, duty, liability, or penalty whatever existing at the time this Charter becomes effective. All suits and actions, both civil and criminal, pending, or which may hereafter be instituted for causes of action now existing or offenses already committed against any law or ordinance repealed by this Charter, may be instituted, proceeded with, and prosecuted to final determination and judgement as if this Charter had not become effective.75
(a) All ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, and taxes imposed or in effect in the Town of Washington Grove at the time this Charter becomes effective which are not in conflict with the Charter remain in effect until changed or repealed according to the provisions of this Charter.
(b) All ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations in effect in the Town at the time this Charter becomes effective which are in conflict with the provision of this Charter be and the same are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.76
This Charter may be amended in accordance with the provisions for amendment of municipal charters set out in State law.77
If any section or part of this Charter is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such holding does not affect the remainder of this Charter, nor the context in which such section or part of section so held invalid appears, except to the extent that an entire section or part of section may be inseparably connected in meaning and effect with the section or part of section to which such holding directly applies.
Roy McCathran, the Town's first mayor, referred poetically to Washington Grove as "a town within a forest, an oasis of tranquility and a rustic jewel in the diadem of the great free state of Maryland."
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