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5. Amendment or revision of existing charters:
I. Revision-by charter commission. (Secs. 18, 19, 20,
22.) II. Amendment-to be proposed by legislative body, or
by initiatory petition. (Secs. 21, 22.) Ill. All revisions and amendments to be published, etc. L
(Secs. 23, 24.) IV. Initiatory petition. (Sec. 25.) 6. Representation on boards of supervisors. (Sec. 27.) 7. Judicial and police officers of newly-organized cities. (Secs.
28-34.) I have examined with much interest the program of the National Municipal League, and, while it is excellent, it could never
be adopted in Michigan by legislative action, enMunicipal
tirely or substantially. It is too comprehensive Program
and ambitious for our state legislature to act upon. It involves matters upon which there would be sharp differences of opinion among various cities; these differences would result in sufficient opposition on the part of the several city members to one and another feature, to result in the defeat of plan as a whole. Even if the city members should be reconciled, there are matters sufficiently disturbing to the relations between city and county governments to insure county opposition and consequent defeat.
Further, if political conditions remain in the future as they have been in the past, the program would receive no support from the state administration, and would consequently fail, for the reason that it looks only to the public good, could not be used as a means to political strength, and is not what is known as a popular measure. “The people" do not demand it.
For these reasons, I believe a measure which leaves the form of city government absolutely to local discretion, while prescribing certain essentials and inhibiting certain things which might be productive of trouble, is the one best suited to conditions as they exist in Michigan. It was with this idea in mind that the constitutional provisions were framed, and the municipal act drafted. Though the act contains defects and weaknesses, it is thought to be a step in the right direction. The imperfections will be discovered by experience and corrected by future legislation.
Under this act, the citizens of the several cities of the state can make their city government good, efficient, and economical, or the reverse, in just the proportion that they themselves are active, wise, and public-spirited. They have asked for a broad measure of home rule, and they have it. Whether the result meets the expectations rests with each locality.
I wish at this time to say that the credit for the original draft of those parts of the municipal act which deal with the powers of cities and the method of adopting, revising, and amending charters must be given to Mr. P. J. M. Hally, Corporation Counsel of Detroit; and that the careful working-out of details in the balance of the law is due to the painstaking work of Messrs. Tuttle, Taylor, and Fowle, of the Senate Committee on Cities and Villages.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS. ART. V, Sec. 30. The legislature shall pass no local or special act in any case where a general act can be made applicable, and whether a general act can be made applicable shall be a judicial question. No local or special act shall take effect until approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon in the district to be affected.
ART. VIII, SEC. 20. Cities and villages. The legislature shall provide by a general law for the incorporation of cities, and by a general law for the incorporation of villages; such general laws shall limit their rate of taxation for municipal purposes, and restrict their powers of borrowing money and contracting debts.
Under such general laws, the electors of each city and village shall have power and authority to frame, adopt and amend its charters, and, through its regularly-constituted authority, to pass all laws and ordinances relating to the municipal concerns, subject to the constitution and general laws of this state,
Sec. 22. Any city or village may acquire, own, establish and maintain, either within or without its corporate limits, parks, boulevards, cemeteries, hospitals, alms-houses and all works which involve the public health or safety.
Sec. 23. Subject to the provisions of this constitution, any city or village may acquire, own and operate, either within or without its corporate limits, public utilities for supplying water, light, heat, power and transportation to the municipality and the inhabitants thereof; and may also sell and deliver water, heat,
power and light without its corporate limits to an amount not to exceed twenty-five per cent. of that furnished by it within the corporate limits; and may operate transportation lines without the municipality within such limits as may be prescribed by law: Provided, That the right to own or operate transportation facilities shall not extend to any city or village of less than twentyfive thousand inhabitants.
SEC. 24. When a city or village is authorized to acquire or operate any public utility, it may issue mortgage bonds therefor beyond the general limit of bonded indebtedness prescribed by law: Provided, That such mortgage bonds issued beyond the general limit of bonded indebtedness prescribed by law shall not impose any liability upon such city or village, but shall be secured only upon the property and revenues of such public utilities, including a franchise stating the terms upon which, in case of foreclosure, the purchaser may operate the same, which franchise shall in no case extend for a longer period than twenty years from the date of the sale of such utility and franchise on foreclosure.
Sec. 25. No city or village shall have power to abridge the right of elective franchise, to loan its credit, nor to assess, levy or collect any tax or assessment for other than a public purpose. Nor shall any city or village acquire any public utility or grant any public utility franchise which is not subject to revocation at the will of the city or village, unless such proposition shall have first received the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the electors of such city or village voting thereon at a regular or special municipal election; and upon such proposition women taxpayers having the qualifications of male electors shall be entitled to vote.
Sec. 27. The legislature shall not vacate nor alter any road laid out by commissioners of highways, or any street, alley or public ground in any city or village or in any recorded town plot.
Sec. 28. No person, partnership, association or corporation operating a public utility shall have the right to the use of the highways, streets, alleys or other public places of any city, village or township for wires, poles, tracks or conduits, without the consent of the duly constituted authorities of such city, village or township; nor to transact a local business therein without first obtaining a franchise therefor from such city, village or township. The right of all cities, villages, and townships to the reasonable control of their streets, alleys and public places is hereby reserved to such cities, villages and townships.
The Paine Law in Ohio.
JOHN R. SCHINDEL, CINCINNATI,
Governor Cincinnati City Club.
The so-called Paine Code is not in itself a complete charter, and for that reason any attempt to explain or describe its provisions and operation must necessarily be introduced by a description of the law out of which it grew and to which it was an amendment.
In 1851, when our present constitution was adopted, the total population of Ohio was 1,980,329, and the total population of all incorporated municipalities was 373,828; more than five times as many people lived in the country as in cities and villages. In the next fifty years the population doubled, and in 1900 considerably more than half of the people lived in municipalities. In other words, while the total population of the state had increased about one hundred per cent., the population of cities and villages had increased more than seven hundred per cent.
This marvelous growth of inhabitants in Ohio had more to do in accelerating the various movements of civil reform and in
inducing a closer analysis and criticism of muniConstitutional
cipal affairs and directing a more careful scruProvisions
tiny of the constitution of 1851 than any other cause. That constitution contains three provisions which are of special interest to municipalities. First, that the general assembly shall pass laws to provide for the incorporation of cities and villages and limit their powers of taxation, borrowing money, etc.; second, that all laws of a general nature passed by the general assembly shall have a uniform operation throughout the state; and, third, that no special act shall be passed granting corporate power.
In 1852, the general assembly passed the first municipal code. It divided municipalities into cities, first and second class, and villages, and contained one hundred and eleven sections. Between that date and 1869 more than one hundred and eightyfour acts were passed amending and supplementing the law, and
in the latter year the second municipal code was adopted. This contained the previous system of classification which remained
unchanged until the statutes were revised in First Municipal 1880, when the subdivision of grade was introCode
duced and special charters were thereby created for the five largest cities of the state. From that time on every succeeding session of the general assembly called forth new refinements in the art of isolating municipal corporations. Fourteen grades and classes of cities and villages were created and nine of these included one city each. The result was that every large city in the state was governed by a special law, and the most trifling differences in population and characteristics were made to justify so-called classifications. The condition became so bewildering that it was an almost impossible task to discover the class or grade of a particular city. The legislature completely usurped the duties of local councils and home rule was entirely destroyed. The legislature determined for nearly every city in the state what officers they should elect or appoint, what salaries should be paid, what streets or hospitals should be built, what the tax limit should be, what bonds they should issue, and what power each and every department of the government should exercise.
In the closing days of the nineteenth century the general assembly passed an act authorizing the governor to appoint a com
mission to revise the municipal laws of the state. Supreme Court
This commission prepared and reported a bill Decision
which, though not favored by all advocates of uniform municipal government, seemed to provide relief from the evils of special legislation; it failed to pass and their hopes seemed indefinitely deferred when, in June, 1902, the supreme court of Ohio overthrew all classification of municipalities in the state as it had developed since the adoption of the constitution of 1851. Perhaps never before had such a condition prevailed in any state. Nearly every municipality was operating under an unconstitutional law. Acting upon the suggestion of the supreme court, the governor called an extraordinary session of the general assembly, which, after several months of wrangling, during which the great opportunity which was presented to