CHARTER of the CITY OF CINCINNATI  


Article I. Powers Of The City
Article II. Legislative Power
Article III. Mayor
Article IV. Executive And Administrative Service
Article V. Civil Service
Article VI. Institutions
Article VII. Boards And Commissions
Article VIII. Taxation And Finance
Article IX. Nominations And Elections
Article X. Miscellaneous
Article XI. Fluoridation Of Water
Article XII. No Special Class Status May Be Granted Based Upon Sexual Orientation, Conduct Or Relationships (Repealed)
Article XIII. Campaign Finance
Article XIV. Limitations On Use Of Photo-Monitoring Devices To Detect Certain Traffic Law Violations
Article XV. Prevention Of The Transfer Or Sale Of Any Assets Of The City Of Cincinnati, Or Any Of Its Boards Or Commissions, To Any Regional Water District, Or Any Regional Water And Sewer District, Formed Pursuant To Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6119
Article XVI. Against A Tax Or Assessment On Trash Collection

CHARTER
of the
CITY OF CINCINNATI

Article I. Powers of the City
Article II. Legislative Power
Article III. Mayor
Article IV. Executive and Administrative Service
Article V. Civil Service
Article VI. Institutions
Article VII. Boards and Commissions
Article VIII. Taxation and Finance
Article IX. Nominations and Elections
Article X. Miscellaneous
Article XI. Fluoridation of Water
Article XII. No Special Class Status May Be Granted Based Upon Sexual Orientation, Conduct or Relationships (Repealed)
Article XIII. Campaign Finance
Article XIV. Limitations on Use of Photo-Monitoring Devices to Detect Certain Traffic Law Violations
Article XV. Prevention of the Transfer or Sale of Any Assets of the City of Cincinnati, or Any of Its Boards or Commissions, to Any Regional Water District, or Any Regional Water and Sewer District, Formed Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6119
Article XVI. Against a Tax or Assessment on Trash Collection

 

HISTORICAL

Under the Constitution of the State of Ohio as it existed up to 1912, all legislation relating to cities was inclined to be "general legislation," that is, applied uniformly to all cities of the state. This was true of all cities which did not adopt a home rule charter.

However, on September 3, 1912, a constitutional amendment (Article 18, Section 3) was adopted, extending to municipalities the power to adopt charters with a greater amount of home rule provision than existed previous to that date. This authority, if taken advantage of and passed upon favorably by the citizens, would permit such cities as desired "to exercise all power of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations as would not conflict with general laws."

The history of the municipal government in Ohio has been a constant struggle between cities trying to obtain legislation suited to their respective needs, and the legislature trying to ward off the demand for special legislation which threatened to consume all its time.

Originally the legislature could enact special legislation for each separate city, but the demand for such legislation was so great that the constitution of 1851 provided that no such special laws should be further passed. The demand for special treatment for municipalities different from each other in every conceivable way was so insistent, however, that the constitutional provision was circumvented by classifying cities according to population so that each city was practically in a class by itself.

Again the legislature was overwhelmed by local legislation about which it was almost entirely ignorant. In 1902 the Supreme Court of Ohio declared this type of legislation to be unconstitutional and the legislature was obliged to frame a municipal code applying hard and fast rules to every city in the state. Finally the demand for treating cities according to their needs resulted in the passage of the 1912 amendment allowing each city to adopt a charter for itself.

The reader can see from this explanation that Cincinnati, or any other city under the old regulation, could only enact laws for its government through the state legislature. If the law were changed for Cincinnati, it would be changed for any other city, and in the case of a change by other municipalities, Cincinnati would be obliged to follow under the same new law.

Legislatures, chiefly composed of legislators from districts remote from municipalities who were not familiar with the various cities, would cause the passage of some of these regulations. Again the reader can see the fallacy of such procedure.

FIRST CHARTER 1802

The act to incorporate the town of Cincinnati was passed at the first session of the Second General Assembly at Chillicothe and approved by Governor Arthur St. Clair, January 1, 1802.

CHARTER 1815

The first charter under Act of 1802 was repealed by an act of January 10, 1815. This act, effective April 1, 1815, reincorporated the territory covered by the first act. The officers of the town were mayor, recorder and trustee.

CHARTER 1819
(First City Charter)

Cincinnati's life as a city began with its first charter in 1819, when by an act of the General Assembly it was vested with the power of a council, composed of president, recorder and nine trustees. This act was passed February 5, 1819 and by virtue of an emergency act took effect March 1, the same year.

Several acts were passed during 1821 and 1824 wherein provisions for election of additional officers and division of cities were added to the charter.

CHARTER 1827

On January 26, 1827 the second act incorporating the city of Cincinnati as a city was passed repealing all other acts. This act took effect March 1, 1827. Some amendments were added to this chapter in 1829 to enlarge its scope.

CHARTER 1834

On March 1, 1834 there was passed "An Act to incorporate and establish the City of Cincinnati and for revising and repealing all laws and parts of laws heretofore enacted on that subject."

The act, superseding the charter of 1827, remained the fundamental law of the city until the adoption of the new state constitution in 1851.

STATE CONSTITUTION 1851

After the adoption of the state constitution in 1851, cities were governed by general laws which were modified by the state legislature almost every year.

CHARTER 1917

After the amendment to the state constitution of 1912, which provided ways and means of securing a charter for the various cities, an attempt was made to adopt a charter under these provisions in Cincinnati. This first attempt was unsuccessful, but on November 6, 1917 the voters of Cincinnati approved a new charter that was to provide home rule except in taxation matters.

1924 AMENDMENTS

The 1917 charter was amended in 1924 by the voters of Cincinnati, establishing the city manager form of government and the small council nominated by petition and elected at large by the proportional representation method of voting.

CHARTER 1926

The committee that wrote the 1924 amendment realized that the charter would have to be further amended to make it conform to the city manager form of government and to give our city real home rule. They therefore provided that a charter commission be appointed by council in July, 1926. Accordingly, council appointed three Cincinnatians as follows:

Robert Taft, formerly floor leader of the House of Representatives at Columbus, Ohio.

Robert Gorman, who had been Solicitor in a number of communities of Hamilton County and who had experience in interpreting municipal law.

Henry Bentley, president of the City Charter Committee, who assisted in writing the amendment passed by the people in 1924 and under whose leadership the amendment was adopted.

Howard Bevis, Professor of Law of the University of Cincinnati, who was appointed secretary of the commission.

The charter was drafted and three public hearings were held in accordance with law. Some minor changes were made in the original draft which was finally presented to the voters in November, 1926, adopted, and is the charter of the city of Cincinnati and the fundamental law of our municipality.

1947 AMENDMENT

The General Assembly of Ohio, on June 26, 1946, amended Section 4003-11 of the Ohio Municipal Code empowering city council to increase the amount of taxes assessed and levied for the support of the municipal university from .55 of a mill to 1 mill.

In a resolution adopted by the board of directors of the University of Cincinnati on July 29, 1947, the board not only requested a.55 of a mill levy for university purposes for the fiscal year of 1948, but also requested council to effectuate the amended state law by submitting to the electorate at the November 4, 1947 general election, a charter amendment to provide for the additional.46 of a mill levy for university purposes.

The amendment (Section 3a of Article VIII) was approved by the electorate.

1949 AMENDMENTS

The city council in 1949 determined that the city charter should be reviewed and a study made, in order that consideration could be given by council to amendments or supplements which such a study might indicate were advisable and necessary, and to be submitted to the electorate at the November 8, 1949 general election.

To accomplish this purpose an ordinance was passed unanimously by council appointing a committee of three citizens of Cincinnati to make such a study. The members of this committee were:

B. Gates Dawes, Jr., insurance executive.

Robert P. Goldman, lawyer, associated with Paxton & Seasongood, Attorneys.

Stanley G. McKie, state senator of Ohio, and vice-president and secretary of Weil, Roth & Irving, municipal and corporation bond brokers.

The committee held appropriate hearings and submitted a report embodying a number of amendments. The report advised council that the committee had recommended only amendments which had the unanimous approval of its members.

After due consideration council determined to submit certain of the amendments and withhold submission of the balance.

The amendments were submitted at the November election and approved by the electorate:

Article II, Section 3 - Ordinances prescribing rates and charges by publicly-owned public utilities may not contain emergency clauses unless introduced at least three weeks before final vote is taken and public hearing held.

Article II, Sections 4 and 5 - Article III, Sections 1 and 2 - Beginning with the council elected at the November 6, 1950 election, the two-year term of office will commence on December 1st instead of January 1st.

Article IV, Section 6 - Article IV, Section 10 - The office of city auditor was replaced by a department of finance and the city manager authorized to appoint a director of finance, and other subordinates, including a city treasurer. Section 8 of Article IV was repealed which related to appointment of city auditor.

Article IX, Section 2 - Nominating petitions for council candidates may contain up to eight hundred signatures instead of seven hundred signatures, the minimum remaining at five hundred signatures.

Article IX, Section 10 - Amendment in subparagraph (i), pertaining to council candidates who have surplus votes, and providing a modified procedure for designating ballots taken for surplus.

1950 AMENDMENTS

The electorate, at the November 7, 1950 general election approved amendments in Article V, creating supplemental Sections 5 and 6, which establish the ranks for members of the police force and fire force engaged in their respective fire protection and police services, and also pertain to eligibility for promotion, and promotional examination.

The electorate at the same election also approved amendment of Article V, Section 3 - Modification that "except as provided in this Charter," council shall have no power to modify state law relating to civil service and civil service commission.

These amendments were submitted pursuant to ordinance passed by the city council.

1953 AMENDMENTS

Article II, Section 4 - This amendment provided for increasing the compensation of council members from $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 per annum.

Article II, Section 4a - A supplementary section requiring councilmen-elect to file with council, or with clerk, a successor designation certificate before taking office, certifying the names of one or more of his fellow members to select his successor in case of his office becoming vacant due to any cause whatever.

1957 AMENDMENTS

Article IX, Section 5, Section 10 - Changed the method of electing members of city council by providing for the use of the 9 X system rather than the proportional representation system of voting.

Article VIII, Section 6a - A supplementary section providing that if council shall at any time levy a tax on earned income, such tax shall not exceed one percent without having obtained approval by the electors.

1960 AMENDMENT

Article VI, Section 3 - This amendment provided that, notwithstanding the provisions of Article VI, Section 2, city council may, by ordinance approved by resolution adopted by the board of directors of the University of Cincinnati, provide for transfer, for fixed or indefinite period of time, of control and direction of administrative and executive work of General Hospital from the city manager to the board of directors of the university. (Ordinance No. 107-1961, passed by city council April 5, 1961 effectuated such transfer.)

1962 AMENDMENT

Article VIII, Section 3b - This amendment authorized city council to levy an additional tax of one mill, over and above the amounts authorized by Sections 3 and 3a of Article VIII of the charter, for the purposes of the University of Cincinnati.

1964 AMENDMENTS

Article V, Section 7 - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the general election on November 3, 1964, by Ordinance No. 326-1964, passed by Cincinnati city council August 5, 1964, pursuant to petitions filed with council July 21, 1964, signed by more than 10% of the electors of the city of Cincinnati as required by law. The amendment provides for equal rates of pay for corresponding ranks in the fire and police forces of the city of Cincinnati.

Article IX, Section 10 - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the general election on November 3, 1964, by Ordinance No. 317-1964, passed by Cincinnati city council on August 5, 1964. The amendment provides that in the event council provides for mechanical or other devices for marking and sorting of ballots and tabulating the results for election of council such election shall be conducted in accordance with existing laws of the state of Ohio or laws thereafter in force relating to voting and tabulating equipment.

1967 AMENDMENT

Article VI, Section 6 - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the general election on November 7, 1967 by Ordinance No. 307-1967, passed by Cincinnati city council on August 2, 1967. The amendment provides for the appointment by the governor of the state of Ohio of not to exceed four of the nine members of the board of directors of the University of Cincinnati so long as there continues in effect an agreement entered into pursuant to law between the board of directors and Ohio board of regents for establishment or continued operation by the board, of directors of one or more colleges, departments or other instructional units of the university, conditioned upon the continued provision of additional state financial aid to the University of Cincinnati.

1970 AMENDMENT

Article VIII, Section 6a - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the primary election on May 5, 1970 by Ordinance No. 63-1970, passed by Cincinnati city council on March 4, 1970. The amendment authorized city council to levy an earnings tax of up to 1.7% of which .15% was designated for permanent improvement purposes. The amendment also authorized council to establish exemptions, deductions and a graduated tax rate when and as allowed by state law.

1971 AMENDMENT

Article VII, Section 11 - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the general election on November 2, 1971 by Ordinance No. 292-1971, passed by Cincinnati city council on September 1, 1971. The amendment authorizes the city to reduce the term of office for members of the board of health from ten years to three years and increase the number of members of the board from five to nine members at such time as such change may be allowed by the state of Ohio.

1972 AMENDMENT

Article VIII, Section 6a - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the general election on November 7, 1972 by Ordinance No. 364-1972 passed by Cincinnati city council on August 2, 1972. The amendment authorized city council to levy a tax on earned income at a rate not to exceed.3% for public transit purposes including capital and current operating expenses. This tax is in addition to the presently authorized 1.7% tax on earned income.

1974 AMENDMENT

Article XI - This amendment was submitted to the electors at the May 7, 1974 special election by Ordinance No. 55-1974 passed by Cincinnati city council on February 6, 1974. The amendment provides for a supplementary section requiring that any ordinance enacted by the council providing for the fluoridation of water must first be submitted to the voters for approval.

1976 AMENDMENTS

Article II, Section 4 - The voters approved an increase in the salaries of the members of council for the first time since 1953, from $8,000 a year to an amount equal to three-fourths of the salary paid to the commissioners of Hamilton county as such salaries are established from time to time by the Ohio General Assembly.

Article VI, Section 7 and Article V, Section 1 - The year 1976 also saw the completion of the conversion of the University of Cincinnati from a municipal university to a state university with the enactment of Article VI, Section 7 which transferred the educational functions of the University of Cincinnati to the state, terminated the 2 mill municipal tax support, and provided for the continuation of the university's administration of Cincinnati General Hospital. At the same time Article V, Section 1 was amended to provide that after the conversion of the University to state status the mayor of the city would appoint the member of the Civil Service Commission formerly appointed by the university.

1977 AMENDMENT

Article V, Section 3 - In order to modify the state provisions for veterans' preference in the grading of civil service examinations Article V, Section 3 of the charter was amended to specifically provide that the city would grant a civil service examination credit of five points to veterans and ten points to disabled veterans competing in entry level examinations for the classified service of the city of Cincinnati.

1979 AMENDMENT

Article VIII, Section 6a - This section of the charter was amended to repeal .3% of the current earned income tax levied for public transit purposes in the event that Hamilton County voters approved a 1% sales and use tax levy at the November 6, 1979 election to provide general revenues for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

1980 AMENDMENT

Article V, Section 7 - This section of the charter was repealed to eliminate police and fire wage parity provisions.

1984 AMENDMENTS

Article IX - Sections 2, 3 and 4 - These sections of the charter were amended to conform councilmanic election procedures to state law by requiring nominating to be filed 75 days prior to the election; requiring candidates to be notified ten days after petitions are certified; and to permit electors to sign petitions for as many candidates as are to be elected.

1985 AMENDMENTS

Article IX - Sections 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and supplementary Section 11 - These sections of the charter were amended and adopted to conform councilmanic election procedures more closely to state law for the counting of ballots, rotation of candidate names on the ballot, conduct at the polling and counting places, write-in candidate procedures and specific counting procedures required by the board of elections.

Article III - Section 1 - This section of the charter was amended to require that the mayor serve a two-year term.

Article VII - Section 2 - This section of the charter was amended to authorize the city manager to select an alternate to serve on the city planning commission in place of the city manager.

1986 AMENDMENT

Article V - Sections 5 and 6 - These sections of the charter were amended to provide for the selection of a police or fire chief from the highest three candidates certified from the promotional eligible list for the position.

1987 AMENDMENT

Article III - Section 1, Article II - Section 4a, and Article IX, Section 8 were repealed and new Article III - Sections 1, 4 and 5, Article II - Section 4a, and new Article IX - Section 8 were adopted to provide that the member of Council receiving the highest number of votes in the regular municipal election be declared mayor and to establish a procedure to accomplish such declaration.

FOREWORD

The charter of the city of Cincinnati, state of Ohio, as adopted by vote of the people on November 2, 1926, is published herewith with amendments thereto as subsequently submitted to and approved by the electors of the city of Cincinnati on November 4, 1947; November 8, 1949; November 7, 1950; November 3, 1953; September 30, 1957; November 5, 1957; November 8, 1960; May 8, 1962; November 3, 1964; November 7, 1967; May 5, 1970; November 2, 1971; November 7, 1972; May 7, 1974; June 8, 1976; November 8, 1977; November 6, 1979; November 4, 1980; November 6, 1984; November 5, 1985; November 4, 1986; November 3, 1987; November 5, 1991; November 2, 1993; November 3, 1998; November 6, 2001.

The amendments to the charter adopted November 2, 1926 are listed below as to article, section and date of approval:

Article II Section 3 November 8, 1949
Article II Section 4 November 8, 1949
Article II Section 4 November 3, 1953
Article II Section 4 June 8, 1976
Article II Section 4a November 3, 1953
Article II Section 5 November 8, 1949
Article II November 3, 1987
Article III Section 1 November 8, 1949
Article III Section 1 November 5, 1985
Article III Section 1 November 3, 1987
Article III Section 2 November 8, 1949
Article III Section 4 November 3, 1987
Article III Section 5 November 3, 1987
Article IV Section 6 November 8, 1949
Article IV Section 8 Repealed November 8, 1949
Article IV Section 10 November 8, 1949
Article V Section 1 June 8, 1976
Article V Section 3 November 7, 1950
Article V Section 3 November 8, 1977
Article V Section 3 November 6, 2001
Article V Section 5 November 7, 1950
Article V Section 5 November 4, 1986
Article V Section 5 November 6, 2001
Article V Section 6 November 7, 1950
Article V Section 6 November 6, 2001
Article V Section 7 November 3, 1964
Article V Section 7 Repealed November 4, 1980
Article VI Section 3 November 8, 1960
Article VI Section 6 November 7, 1967
Article VI Section 7 June 8, 1976
Article VII Section 2 November 5, 1985
Article VII Section 11 November 2, 1971
Article VII Section 1 November 5, 1991
Article VIII Section 3a November 4, 1947
Article VIII Section 3b May 8, 1962
Article VIII Section 4 November 6, 1979
Article VIII Section 6a November 5, 1957
Article VIII Section 6a May 5, 1970
Article VIII Section 6a November 7, 1972
Article VIII Section 6a November 6, 1979
Article VIII Section 6a November 3, 1998
Article VIII Section 6b November 3, 1998
Article VIII Section 6c November 3, 1998
Article IX Section 1 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 2 November 8, 1949
Article IX Section 2 November 6, 1984
Article IX Section 3 November 6, 1984
Article IX Section 4 November 6, 1984
Article IX Section 5 September 30, 1957
Article IX Section 5 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 6 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 7 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 8 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 8 November 3, 1987
Article IX Section 9 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 10 November 8, 1949
Article IX Section 10 September 30, 1957
Article IX Section 10 November 3, 1964
Article IX Section 10 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 11 November 5, 1985
Article IX Section 2 November 5, 1991
Article IX Section 12 November 5, 1991
Article X Section 4 November 3, 1998
Article XI May 7, 1974
Article XII November 2, 1993
Article XIII Section 1 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 2 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 3 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 4 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 5 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 6 November 6, 2001
Article XIII Section 7 November 6, 2001

 

We, the people of the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, in order to secure home rule, do adopt the following as the charter of our city: