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Berwyn Heights Town Charter
I. The Corporate Body
Chapter II. Corporate Limit
III. The Council
Powers Of The Council
Registration, Nomination, Election
VIII. Public Ways And Storm Drainage
CHAPTER I. THE CORPORATE BODY
Section 101. Corporate Body Defined
The residents of Berwyn Heights, Prince George's County, Maryland, within
the Corporate limits legally established are hereby constituted and continued a body
corporate by the name of "Town of Berwyn Heights" with all the privileges of such, by that
name to sue and be sued, to plead and be pleaded 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 terminated.
CHAPTER II. CORPORATE LIMITS
Section 201. Corporate Limits - Record Requirements
The courses and distances showing the exact corporate limits of the Town
shall be filed at all times with the Secretary of State, Hall of Records, State Library,
Clerk of the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, the Commissioner of the Land Office,
the Department of Legislative Reference and the Town Administrator. The file or record of
all such descriptions shall be in a suitable place, properly indexed and reasonably
available for public inspection.
Section 202. Corporate Boundaries
The boundaries of the Town of Berwyn Heights are as follows: Beginning at
concrete monument number 1, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission coordinate N 37, 024.38
E 24, 453.84 at the southwest corner of Lot 100, Block 12 Berwyn Heights, thence in a
northerly direction following the eastern right-of-way line of the Baltimore and Ohio
railroad to the intersection of the northern right-of-way line of the old
Branchville-Glendale Road, thence easterly along the northern right-of-way line of the old
Branchville-Glendale Road to the intersection of the northern right-of-way line of the
Greenbelt Road, thence easterly along the median northern right-of-way of Greenbelt Road to
the intersection of the eastern right-of-way line of Edmonston Road, thence southerly along
the eastern right-of-way line of Edmonston Road to the intersection of the southern boundary
of Block 12 Berwyn Heights extended, thence westerly along the southern boundary of Block 12
Berwyn Heights to the point of beginning, all of which is described and defined on a plat
compiled and authenticated on 12 February 1957 by the Commissioners of Berwyn Heights, and
on file with the Administrator of the Town of Berwyn Heights.
Section 202.1. Public Use
The public rights-of-way, recreation and community property under the
jurisdiction of the Town Council are dedicated to public use.
CHAPTER III. THE COUNCIL
Section 301. Number, Selection, Term
All legislative powers of the Town shall be vested in a Council
consisting of five council members who shall be elected as hereinafter provided. Council
members shall hold office for a term of two years beginning with the first public Town
Meeting following the election. This meeting shall not be held prior to the certification of
the election results by the Judges of Elections.
Section 302. Qualifications and Eligibility
Candidates for Council shall have resided in the Town for at least six
months immediately preceding the election, shall have attained the age of twenty-one years
prior to election, shall be registered voters at the time of nomination, and must
continuously reside in the Town during the term of office. No council member shall, while in
office, hold any other paid office or position in the service of the Town or any other
municipality in the State.
Section 303. Compensation
Each Council member shall receive an equal annual compensation which
shall be as specified by ordinance passed by the Council. Compensation specified shall take
effect with the next succeeding Council.
Section 304. Meetings
The Council shall meet prior to the first public Town Meeting following
election for the purpose of organization. Thereafter the Council shall meet at such times as
determined by the Council but not less frequently than once a month. All meetings shall be
open to the public and must provide residents of the Town a reasonable opportunity to be
heard in regard to any municipal matter. Special meetings shall be called at the request of
the Mayor or a majority of the Council. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to
prevent the Council from holding an executive session. No ordinance, resolution, rule,
regulation or motion shall be adopted at such an executive session. When the Council is
faced with a matter the revelation of which would invade the rights of the individual on
private matters or similar situations the public would not be permitted to attend.
Section 305. Disqualification
The Council shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members and
the grounds for disqualification. Any member who fails to meet any qualification for office
prescribed by the Charter, violates any provision of this Charter, is convicted of a felony,
or fails to attend Council meetings for three consecutive months without being excused by
the Council shall be disqualified. Decisions made by the Council under this section may be
subject to court review.
Section 306. Mayor, Mayor Pro Tempore
The Council candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the
election shall be the Mayor of the Town of Berwyn Heights. The candidate with the second
highest vote shall be the Mayor Pro Tempore. In the event of a tie vote, a runoff election
shall be held in accordance with Section 506.
Section 306.1. Mayor
The Mayor shall be recognized as head of the Town government. The Mayor
shall preside at all meetings of the Council, shall exercise such other powers and perform
such other duties as are conferred by this Charter or Ordinances, and shall in all other
respects be an equal member of the Council.
Section 306.2. Mayor Pro Tempore
The Mayor Pro Tempore shall assume all Mayoral duties and
responsibilities during the absence of the Mayor. In the event the Office of Mayor shall
become vacant, the Mayor Pro Tempore shall become Mayor.
Section 307. Quorum
A majority of the Members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for
the transaction of business. No Charter change or ordinance shall be approved without the
favorable vote of a majority of the Council.
Section 308. Procedure of Council
The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business. Minutes
of all public proceedings shall be recorded and all votes of the members shall be entered
therein. The minutes shall be open to public inspection.
Section 309. Vacancies
A. In the event of a vacancy on the Council, the remaining members shall
appoint a qualified person, in accordance with Section 302, to fill the vacancy for the
unexpired term. If the Council fails to appoint a successor within forty-five days or if
more than one vacancy occurs, the Board of Election Supervisors shall call a special
election to fill such vacancy. Such special election shall be held not sooner than
forty-five days and not later than sixty days following the occurrence of the first vacancy.
B. In the event that three or more members of the Council are no longer
active the remaining member(s) of the Council shall appeal to the District Court or Circuit
Court to appoint an Administrator to take charge of the Town Government and provide the
continuing of usual services and call for an election in accordance with the provisions of
this Charter and the Election Laws of Maryland.
C. In the event there are no active members remaining on the Council,
five concerned citizens qualified to vote may proceed as outlined in B. above.
Section 310. Recall
Upon receipt of a legal petition signed by not less than twenty-five
percent of the registered voters of the Town requesting the recall of a Council member for
specific failure to properly perform the duties of the office, the Council shall call a
special election within ninety days providing for vote for or against the recall. In the
event the majority of the voters vote for the recall, the office shall be declared vacant
and the remaining Council members shall appoint a qualified person (in accordance with
Section 302) to fill the office for the unexpired term.
Section 311. Ordinances
No ordinance shall be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced
unless it is declared to be an emergency ordinance. A favorable vote by a majority of the
Council is required to pass any ordinance. Prior to enactment, a copy or summary of each
ordinance shall be published and circulated in the Town. Ordinances shall be permanently
filed by the Town Administrator and shall be made available for public inspection.
Section 311.1. Emergency Ordinances
Emergency ordinances shall become effective immediately upon passage.
Such ordinances shall be of limited duration as specified therein but not to exceed ninety
Section 311.2. Referendum
Ordinances, except emergency ordinances, shall become effective at the
expiration of twenty calendar days following passage. If, before the expiration of twenty
days, a legal petition is filed with the Town Administrator containing the signatures of not
less than twenty percent of the registered voters of the Town and requesting that the
ordinance or any part thereof be submitted to the registered voters for their approval or
disapproval, the Council shall do so at the next regular Town election, or at their
discretion, at a special election. Such ordinance shall be held in abeyance until approved
by the voters.
CHAPTER IV. POWERS OF THE COUNCIL
Section 401. General Powers
The Council shall have the power to pass all or any such ordinances not
contrary to the Constitution and Laws of the State of Maryland, Prince George's County, 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 and property from violence,
danger, or destruction; and for the protection of the health, safety, comfort, convenience,
and welfare of the residents of the Town and visitors thereto and sojourners therein.
Section 402. Specific Powers
The Council shall also have the power to pass ordinances, not contrary to
the Constitution and Laws of the State or County, for the following purposes:
To create, change or abolish offices and departments and assign personnel
and functions to such offices and departments. To provide for advertising for purposes of
the Town and for printing and publishing materials relative to the affairs of the Town. To
provide for codification of all ordinances which have been or may hereafter be passed.
To regulate or prohibit the keeping or running at large of dogs or other
animals; to authorize the impounding, keeping, sale and redemption of such animals; to place
constraints on dogs and cats in the Town; and to provide for the disposition of homeless
dogs and cats or dogs on which no license fee has been paid.
C. Billboards and Signs
To license, regulate or prohibit the erection or maintenance of
billboards or the placing of signs, bills or posters of every kind on any building, fence,
pole or other place in the Town.
To make reasonable regulations in regard to buildings to be erected,
constructed, or modified in the Town and to grant Building Permits for the same; to
formulate a building code and to provide for inspections and enforcement of such code; to
require reasonable charges for permits and inspections of all buildings and structures. To
require the condemnation in whole or in part of buildings in violation of the code and to
require that such buildings be made safe or taken down.
E. Community Services
To provide, maintain and operate community and social services for the
preservation and promotion of the health, recreation, welfare and enlightenment of the
inhabitants of the Town.
F. Cooperative Activities
To make agreements with other Municipalities, Counties, Districts,
Bureaus, Commissions, and Governmental Authorities for participation or cooperation in any
Governmental or Public functions. To accept on behalf of the Town gifts or grants of
Federal, State or County funds from such governments or any agency thereof, and to expend
same for any lawful purpose in accordance with the conditions under which the gifts or
grants were made.
G. Dangerous Conditions
To compel persons about to undertake improvements of a dangerous nature
to execute bonds with sufficient sureties conditioned that the owner or contractor will pay
all damages resulting from such work which may be sustained by any person or property.
To have general management of the finances of the Town; to levy and
collect municipal taxes permitted by the State; to provide that any valid charges, taxes or
assessments made against property within the Town shall be liens upon such property; to
appropriate Municipal funds for any purpose within the powers of the Council; to borrow
money in accordance with the provisions of this Charter.
To suppress fire hazards and prevent the dangers thereof; to contribute
funds to volunteer fire companies serving the Town; to inspect buildings and any combustible
materials for the purpose of reducing fire hazards; to issue regulations to prohibit the use
of fire-hazardous buildings or materials; to regulate or prevent the use or storage of
gunpowder, gasoline or any other explosive or combustible material.
To grant and regulate franchises to public utilities or others conducting
business within the Town, subject to the limitations and provisions of the Annotated Code of
Maryland. No franchise shall be granted for a period longer than fifty years.
To regulate, inspect and abate any buildings, drains or places which
cause or may cause unsanitary conditions or conditions detrimental to health and to compel
the owner or occupant of any filthy or unwholesome premises to abate the condition. The
exercise of these powers shall not conflict in any manner with the powers and duties of the
State Board of Health or the Health Officer of Prince George's County.
Subject to any restrictions imposed by the General Laws of the State and
County and Regional Commissions, to regulate all persons or businesses beginning or
conducting transient or permanent businesses in the Town, to regulate or prohibit public
amusements when in the interest of public welfare. To regulate or prohibit the solicitation
of funds; and to establish and collect fees and charges for all permits issued under the
authority of this Charter.
To prevent or abate all nuisances in the Town which may be so defined by
the Laws of the State or County, or by Ordinance of the Town.
N. Parks and Recreation
To establish and maintain public parks, gardens, playgrounds, and other
recreational facilities and programs to promote the health, welfare and enjoyment of the
residents of the Town.
To regulate, control or prohibit the pollution of the air, waters or land
in any manner whatsoever detrimental to the public health, or welfare within the limits of
the Town whether the source be within or without the Town.
To prevent the deposit of any unwholesome or objectionable substance such
as garbage, refuse, or other waste either on private or public property, and to compel its
removal to designated points. To require, regulate or provide for the collection, removal
and disposal of refuse or any other matter that is or may become injurious to the health of
or comfort of the residents of the Town. To make reasonable charges for the removal or
disposition of refuse other than household garbage.
To exercise the powers as to planning and zoning conferred upon
municipalities generally by the Annotated Code of Maryland subject to the limitations and
Section 402.1. Saving Clause
The enumeration of powers in Section 402 is not to be construed as
limiting the powers of the Council to the subjects mentioned.
Section 403. Enforcement
A. To ensure the observance of the Ordinances of the Town, the Council
shall have the power to prosecute violations thereof. Where the violation is of a continuing
nature and is persisted in, the conviction for one violation shall not be a bar to a
conviction for a continuation of the offense subsequent to the first or any succeeding
conviction. Any person subject to any penalty for violation of any ordinance passed under
the authority of this Charter shall have the right of appeal within thirty days to a court
of competent jurisdiction.
1) The Council may provide that violations of any municipal ordinance shall be a municipal
infraction unless that violation is declared to be a felony or misdemeanor by the laws of
the State or other ordinance. For purposes of this article a municipal infraction is a civil
2) A fine may be imposed for each conviction of a municipal infraction.
The fine is payable by the offender to the municipality within 20 calendar days of receipt
of a citation. Repeat offenders may be assessed a fine for each repeat offense, and each day
a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
3) Any person receiving a citation for an infraction may elect to stand
trial for the offense by notifying the Town in writing of this intention at least five days
prior to the date set for payment of the fine. Failure to pay the fine or to give notice of
intent to stand trial may result in an additional fine or adjudication by a court of
4) Adjudication of a municipal infraction is not a criminal conviction
for any purpose, nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a
CHAPTER V. REGISTRATION, NOMINATION, ELECTION
Section 501. Voters
Every person who is a citizen of the United States, is at least 18 years
of age at the time of the election, has resided within the Corporate Limits of the Town for
thirty days immediately preceding any Town election, and is registered in accordance with
the provisions of this Charter or the Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 33, is a qualified
voter and is entitled to vote at all Town elections.
Section 502. Supervisors of Elections
There shall be a Board of Supervisors of Elections consisting of three
Judges of Elections and two Clerks who shall be appointed by the Council in February of
election year to serve for a term of two years.
Section 502.1. Qualifications
Members of the Board shall be qualified voters of the Town and not hold
or be candidates for any elective office during their term of office. Immediate family
members of Council members or Candidates for Council are also disqualified.
Section 502.2. Vacancies
Vacancies on the Board shall be filled by the Council for the remainder
of the unexpired term.
Section 502.3. Compensation
Compensation of the Members of the Board shall be determined by the
Section 502.4. Removal
Any member of the Board may be removed for good cause by the Council if
in the judgment of the Council the member is not properly performing or will not properly
perform the duties of the position. Before removal, the member shall be given a written copy
of the charges against him and, shall have a hearing on them before the Council if request
is made within ten days after receiving the written copy of the charges.
Section 502.5. Duties
The Board shall exercise general supervision of Town elections and voter
registration. The Board shall give at least two weeks notice of every election by an
advertisement in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the Town and by posting a
motion thereof in at least three public places in the Town.
Section 503. Voter Registration
Supplemental Town voter registration shall be held at any time during
normal Town Office hours and also between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the last Monday of
March of election year. At those times the Town Clerk or others so authorized by the Council
shall accept applications for registration. Application shall be in writing in such form as
the Council shall prescribe and shall be submitted under oath or affirmation. Registration
shall be closed thirty days prior to election.
Section 503.1. Validation
Voter registration is complete upon validation by the Judges of
Elections. Applicants refused registration shall be notified in writing.
Section 503.2. Registration Records
No person shall be entitled to vote in Town Elections unless registered
at the County or Town. The Judges of Elections shall cause the name of any person who has
died, terminated residence in the Town, has failed to vote in the previous three Town
elections, or who has otherwise become disqualified, to be stricken from the Town
supplemental registration records. A notice of this action and the reason therefor shall be
sent to the last known address of the voter notifying him of the Action as may be legally or
reasonably applicable under this section. The records shall be revised by the Judges of
Elections after the close of registration prior to the Town election. A list of all
registered Town voters shall be prepared by the Judges of Election as requested by the
Council. All old registration books or forms shall be retained for a period of at least
Section 503.3. Appeal
If any person shall feel aggrieved by the action of the Board of
Supervisors of Elections in refusing to register or in striking off the name of a person, or
by any other action, such person may appeal to the Council. Any decision or action of the
Council upon such appeals may be appealed to the Circuit Court for Prince George's County
within thirty days of the decision or action of the Council.
Section 504. Nomination for Council
Persons qualified for membership on the Council shall be nominated by
filing a certificate of nomination at the Town Office before the close of business on the
first Tuesday in March preceding the Town Election. Certificates of nomination shall be in
the form prescribed by the Council and shall include the signatures of five registered
voters residing in the town indicating their support of the nomination of the candidate.
Section 505. Elections
On the first Tuesday in May of every even numbered year the qualified
voters of the Town shall elect, at large, five persons to the Council to serve for terms of
two years. Elections shall be on a non-partisan basis.
Section 505.1. Conduct of Elections
For each General or Special Election the Council shall provide a suitable
place for voting and suitable ballots or voting machines in the manner prescribed by
Maryland Registration and Election Laws.
Section 505.2. Election Hours
The Board of Supervisors of Elections shall keep the polls open on
Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Section 505.3. Vote Count
Immediately after the closing of the polls, the ballots shall be publicly
counted and the Judges of Elections shall, within forty-eight hours, certify the results of
the election to the Mayor, who shall have the results recorded in the Minutes of the
Council. The five candidates for Council with the highest number of votes shall be declared
elected to the Council. In the event of the claim of Fraud of the election, the Council
shall call for a recount of the ballots.
Section 505.4. Preservation of Ballots
All ballots used in any Town Election shall be preserved for at least six
months from the date of election.
Section 506. Run-off Elections
If under the provisions of this Charter, one or more Council seats or the
positions of Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tempore remain unfilled after the election because of an
equal number of votes being received by two or more candidates, a second election shall be
held among those candidates for the Council Seat or seats remaining unfilled. Such election
shall be held no later than the second Tuesday of June and shall in all respects be in
accordance with the election provisions of this Charter.
Section 507. Special Elections
All special Town Elections shall be conducted by the Board of Supervisors
of Elections in the same manner as regular Town Elections.
Section 508. Failure to Proclaim Election
In the event the Council fails to proclaim an election at the time
appointed or neglects to do any needful thing to ensure the holding of a legal election to
elect their successors, the Circuit Court of Prince George's County shall, upon the petition
of five voters of the Town, appoint five town residents to conduct an election on a date to
be fixed by the Court in the manner provided for in this Charter.
Section 509. Regulation and Control
The Council shall have the power to provide by ordinance for any
procedure in the elective process not otherwise covered by the provisions of this Charter.
CHAPTER VI. FINANCE
Section 601. Fiscal Year
The Town shall operate on an annual budget. The fiscal year of the Town
shall begin on the first day of July and end on the last day of June in each year. Such
fiscal year shall constitute the budget year and the accounting year.
Section 602. Budget
The proposed annual budget shall be presented at a regular public meeting
of the Council in April of each year for the purpose of a Public Hearing. Prior to or at the
Public Hearing, the proposed budget, together with the current year's budget as adjusted,
shall be distributed to Town residents. Before adoption of the budget, the Council may
adjust items and sums but must retain a balance between proposed expenditures and
anticipated revenues. The budget shall be adopted at a regular public meeting of the Council
in May. Adoption requires a favorable vote of a majority of the Council.
Section 602.1. Appropriations
No public money may be expended without having been appropriated by the
Council. The amounts stated in the adopted budget as proposed expenditures shall be
appropriated to the several objects and purposes named therein. Any transfer of money
appropriated for different purposes must be approved by a majority of the Council.
Section 602.2 Over-Expenditure Prohibited
During any budget year, no officer or employee shall 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 purposes in excess of the amounts appropriated for
or transferred to that general classification of expenditure. Any contract, verbal or
written, made in violation of this section shall be null and void. Nothing in this section
shall prevent the making of contracts or the spending of money for capital improvements to
be financed in whole or in part by the issuance of bonds, nor the making of contracts of
leases, purchases or for services for a period exceeding the budget year in which such
contract is made.
Section 602.3. Capital Equipment and Outlay
All capital equipment included in the proposed annual budget shall be
identified as a separate line item under the appropriate Town Department requiring it.
Section 602.4. Appropriations Lapse
All appropriations not spent or encumbered shall lapse at the end of the
budget year and shall be included among the anticipated revenues for the succeeding budget
Section 603. Checks
All checks issued in payment of salaries or other municipal obligations
shall be issued and signed by the Town Administrator and shall be countersigned by at least
one member of the Council. In the absence of the Town Administrator checks shall be signed
by three Councilmembers.
Section 604. Taxes
A. All real property, franchises, and all personal property within the
Corporate limits of the Town shall be subject to taxation for Municipal purposes as
permitted by State Laws. Exempted from taxation are household furniture and effects held for
household use and not held or employed for the purposes of profit or in connection with any
business, profession or occupation. The assessment used for municipal taxation shall be the
same as that for State and County taxes. No authority is given to impose taxes on any
property which is exempt from taxation by any Act of General Assembly.
B. From the effective date of the budget, the amount stated therein as
the amount to be raised by the property tax shall constitute a determination of the amount
of the tax levy in the corresponding tax year.
C. The Council shall have authority to levy taxes annually upon all
property and franchises within the Town. Such taxes shall be levied at rates necessary to
meet the anticipated expenses for the next fiscal year. The rate of taxation shall be
determined at the regular public meeting in May of each year. (Res. 10-83; 12-14-83)
Section 604.1. Notice of Tax Levy
A. The Administrator shall contract with the County Treasurer to make out
and mail or deliver in person to each taxpayer or his agent at his last known address, a
bill or account of the taxes due. This bill or account shall contain a statement of the
assessed valuation of property, the rate of taxation, amount of taxes due, and the date on
which taxes will bear interest. Failure to receive any tax notice required by this section
shall not relieve any taxpayer of the responsibility to pay all taxes levied on his
B. The taxes provided herein shall be due and payable on the first day of
July in the year for which they are levied and shall be overdue and in arrears on the first
day of the following October. While in arrears they shall bear interest at the rate of
two-thirds of one percent and penalties at the rate of one percent for each month or
fraction thereof until paid. All taxes not paid and in arrears after the first day of the
following January shall be collected as provided for in Section 604.1.C below.
C. A list of all property on which the Town taxes are not paid and are in
arrears after the first day of January shall be turned over to the Official of Prince
George's County responsible for the sale of tax delinquent property. All property listed
thereon shall, if necessary, be sold for taxes in the manner prescribed by State Law.
Section 605. Fees
All fees, fines and other funds received by any official or employee of
the Town in his official capacity shall belong to the Town and be accounted for by the
Section 606. Audit
The financial books and accounts of the Town shall be audited annually as
required by the Annotated Code of Maryland. Financial records and the audit reports shall be
made available for inspection upon written request by any resident of the Town in the manner
prescribed by State Law.
Section 607. Tax-anticipation Borrowing
The Town shall have the power to borrow in anticipation of the collection
of property taxes, and to issue tax anticipation notes or other evidence of indebtedness
therefor. Such notes or evidence of indebtedness shall be a first lien upon the proceeds of
such tax and shall mature and be paid not later than six months after issued. Total tax
anticipation indebtedness of the Town shall not exceed fifty percent of the property tax
levy for the fiscal year in which issued. The Council shall have authority to regulate all
matters concerning the issuance and sale of tax anticipation notes.
Section 607.1. General Obligation Borrowings*
A. The Town shall have the power to borrow money for any proper public
purpose and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance and sale of its general obligation
bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness in the manner prescribed in this Section.
B. All general obligation bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness
issued under the provisions of this Section shall be authorized by an ordinance that shall
contain: (1) a statement of the maximum aggregate principal amount of such obligations to be
issued; (2) a statement of the purpose or purposes for which the proceeds of such
obligations are to be expended; (3) a pledge of the security for such obligations and, if
applicable, a statement that such obligations shall be payable in the first instance from a
specified source of revenue or provisions for the making of such statement by resolution;
and (4) a requirement that, subject to subsection (d) below, prior to the issuance of any
such obligations, the Council shall adopt a resolution in accordance with the provisions of
subsection (c) below. Any such ordinance shall be subject to petition to referendum in
accordance with Section 311.2 of this Charter.
C. Prior to issuing any such obligations identified in subsection (b)
above, the Council shall adopt a resolution containing, determining or providing for the
determination of, or approving or providing for the approval of: (1) the designation, date
of issue, denomination or denominations, form or forms and tenor of such obligations; (2)
the rate or rates of interest payable on such obligations (which may be fixed or variable or
may be determined by a method approved or provided for); (3) the date or dates and amount or
amounts of maturity, which may be in any denomination; (4) the manner of selling such
obligations, which may be either at public sale after publication or dissemination of the
notice of sale or by private (negotiated) sale without advertisement or solicitation of
competitive bids; (5) the price or prices of such obligations, which may be at, above or
below par value; (6) any desired provisions relating to the redemption of such obligations
prior to maturity (which may be at, above or below par value), and the manner of publishing
or otherwise giving notice of such redemption; (7) the manner of executing and sealing such
obligations, which may be by facsimile; (8) any documents pursuant to which such obligations
are to be issued or secured, including, without limitation, agreements with banks,
fiduciaries, insurers or others for the purpose of enhancing the marketability of or as
security for such obligations and for securing any tender option granted to the holders
thereof; and (9) such other provisions regarding the terms, conditions, issuance, sale,
delivery and security of and for such obligations as the Council may determine necessary or
desirable, including, without limitation, whether such obligations shall be sold for cash or
other valuable consideration or further specifying the purposes for which such obligations
are to be expended (within the limitations set forth in the applicable ordinance). By
resolution the Council may delegate to a specified official or officials the authority to
approve any matters or make any determinations contemplated by this subsection (c). A
resolution adopted pursuant to this subsection (c) may be introduced and adopted at a single
session of the Council, may not be petitioned to referendum and shall become effective
immediately upon adoption or upon the date specified in such resolution, notwithstanding the
provisions of any other Section of this Charter.
D. The Council may, at its option, determine or provide for the
determination of, or approve or provide for the approval of, any of the matters referenced
in subsection (c) above by ordinance instead of by resolution, which ordinance shall be
subject to petition to referendum in accordance with Section 311.2 of this Charter.
E. In connection with any sale of general obligation bonds, notes or
other evidences of indebtedness by the solicitation of competitive bids at public sale, any
such competitive bids may be delivered by electronic and/or facsimile means and/or by any
other then-commercially reasonable manner for the sale of municipal obligations at
competitive bid; and any notice of sale may be published solely in summary form in a
newspaper of general circulation in the Town and/or in a generally recognized financial
journal such as The Bond Buyer, or any notice of sale may be disseminated solely in
electronic form and/or by any other then-commercially reasonable manner for the sale of
municipal obligations, as determined by the Council in accordance with subsection (c) or
subsection (d) above, as applicable.
F. The power conferred on the Town under this Section shall be deemed to
be additional and supplemental to any other general obligation borrowing authority granted
to the Town by Maryland public general or public local law, and the Town may authorize,
issue and secure any such general obligation debt in conformity with this Charter and/or any
other applicable law.
G. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any tax anticipation
borrowing incurred in accordance with Section 607 of this Charter.
H. All general obligation bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness
validly issued by the Town previous to the effective date of this Charter, as amended, and
all ordinances and resolutions passed concerning them, are hereby declared to be valid,
legal and binding and of full force and effect as if herein fully set forth.
Section 608. Payment of Indebtedness
The power and obligation of the Town to pay any and all bonds, notes or
other evidence of indebtedness issued by it under the authority of this Charter shall be
unlimited and the Town shall levy taxes upon all the taxable property of the Town for
payment thereof and interest thereon. The faith and credit of the Town is hereby pledged for
the payment of the principal and interest on all legal evidence of indebtedness issued under
the authority of this Charter, whether or not such pledge be stated in such evidences of
indebtedness in the Council action authorizing their issuance.
Section 608.1. Previous Issues
All bonds, notes, or evidence of indebtedness issued by the Town previous
to the effective date of this Charter, and all ordinances concerning them, are hereby
declared to be valid, legal, and binding as in herein fully set forth.
Section 609. Purchases
All expenditures for equipment, public improvements, or contractual
services involving more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) shall be made through
solicitation of at least three competitive bids and obtaining a written contract. All such
contracts shall be approved by the Council at a Public Meeting before becoming effective.
Section 609.1. Negotiated Contracts
A. The Mayor is authorized to negotiate a purchase or contract without
regard to the formal advertising and bidding procedures required by Sections 609 and 806 of
this Charter under the following circumstances:
1) In the event of any emergency situation, and with the consent of the
Town Council, in which the immediate procurement of supplies, contractual services or
capital improvements is required to preserve the public order and to protect the health,
safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Town. Any contract or purchase negotiated
under the provisions of this subsection must be approved by the Town Council before being
signed or executed by the Mayor.
2) When proprietary articles are involved or when only one source of
supply is available.
3) When competition is precluded because of the existence of patent
rights, copyrights, secret processes, control of basic raw material or similar
4) When bids have been solicited pursuant to the requirements of formal
advertising in Sections 609 and Section 806 and no responsive bid was received from a
B. Authority to negotiate does not excuse compliance with the basic
policy of obtaining maximum competition consistent with the needs of the occasion, to the
end that all purchases will be made to the best advantage of the Town, price and other
factors considered. The authority to negotiate contracts in no way eliminates the need of
the Mayor to exert every reasonable effort to obtain the most favorable prices possible.
Bargaining shall be free from practices or actions which may cause inequities for bidders or
justified criticism of the purchase policies and procedures. Each purchase or contract
negotiated under this authority shall be supported by a statement signed by the Mayor
justifying the use of negotiation procedures.
Section 701. Authority to Hire
The Council shall have the authority to appoint, hire or otherwise engage
such persons as deemed necessary to fulfill the responsibilities and duties of the Town.
Section 702. Compensation of Employees
The Council shall determine and periodically review the compensation of
all officers and employees of the Town, subject to the restrictions imposed on their own
Section 703. Employee Benefit Programs
The Council shall be authorized by ordinance to provide for or
participate in hospitalization or other forms of reasonable benefit or welfare programs for
its officers and employees, and to expend public funds of the Town for such purposes.
Section 704. Retirement System
The Council shall have the authority to do all things necessary to
include its officers and employees, themselves excepted, within a retirement or pension
system, and to pay the employer's share of the cost of such a system out of the general
funds of the Town.
Section 705. Insurance and Bonding
The Council shall determine bonding and insurance requirements for its
officers and employees and may expend public funds for such purposes.
Section 706. Personnel
The Council is authorized to appoint the following personnel. This in no
way restricts the Council from engaging the services of other employees as deemed necessary
to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Town.
Section 706.1. Administrator
The Council shall appoint an Administrator to serve at the pleasure of
the Council. The Administrator shall, under the supervision of the Council, be the financial
and administrative officer of the Town. Duties and responsibilities of the Administrator may
be as specified by Ordinance but shall include the preparation of the budget and financial
reports, maintain a general accounting system as recommended by the Auditor, supervise and
account for the disbursement of monies, collect all revenues, serve as Clerk to the Council,
and maintain all Town records and correspondence, including the minutes of all public
meetings and those executive meetings specified by the Mayor.
Section 706.2. Town Attorney
The Council shall appoint a Town Attorney who shall be a member of the
Bar of the Maryland Court of Appeals. He shall serve as the legal advisor and legal
representative of the Town. He shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and his
compensation shall be determined by the Council. The Council shall have the authority to
employ other legal consultants as it deems necessary.
Section 706.3. Code Enforcement Officer
The Council may appoint a Code Enforcement Officer who shall be
responsible for enforcing the Town Codes and the Maryland livability code, and perform other
related duties as may be specified by ordinance.
Section 706.4. Town Engineer
The Council may appoint a Town Engineer who shall be a registered land
surveyor for the State and shall be the engineering advisor for the Town and shall perform
such other related duties as may be required by the Council.
Section 706.5. Police Officers
The Council may appoint one or more Police Officers for the Town. They
shall have all police powers in accordance with Federal, State and County Laws. Duties and
responsibilities shall be further specified by ordinance.
CHAPTER VIII. PUBLIC
WAYS AND STORM DRAINAGE
Section 801. Control of Public Ways
The Town shall have control of all public ways in the Town except those
under the jurisdiction of the State Highway Administration. The Town may do whatever it
deems necessary to establish, operate, and maintain the public ways of the Town.
Section 802. Streets, Sidewalks, Curbs and Bridges
The Town Council shall have the power:
A. To establish or change the grade lines, placements, width and
construction materials of any new or existing public way of the Town.
B. To grade, pave, repair, improve, open or close any public way of the
Town or part thereof including streets, sidewalks, curbs, gutters and bridges.
C. To have surveys, plans, specifications and estimates made for any of
the above activities
Section 803. Consent of Property Owners
When it is determined by the Council that the cost of constructing public
ways is to be paid for by special assessment, such construction shall not be authorized
without the signature, consent or request of at least fifty-one percent of the front foot
abutting property owners representing at least fifty-one percent of the front footage on the
street or section thereof.
Section 804. Special Assessment
A. To make the improvements to the public ways under the special
assessment provision, the Council is authorized to levy and collect special assessment taxes
upon property for the benefits conferred thereon by such improvements. The cost of any
project to be paid for in whole or in part by special assessment shall include the direct
cost, land acquired for the project, interest on bonds or certificates of indebtedness, a
reasonable charge for the services of Town personnel, and any other costs which may be
reasonably attributed to the project.
B. The Council shall levy against each parcel of land abutting the
improvement an assessment based on the assessable front footage of the property multiplied
by the cost per unit foot for the entire project. When two or more sides of a parcel of land
abut two or more public ways under the jurisdiction of the Town, the Council shall have the
authority to adjust the assessable front footage in such amounts as may be just and
equitable; however, such adjustment shall be computed at not less than fifty percent of the
actual footage abutting the improvements.
C. Special assessments when made shall constitute a tax or lien upon the
abutting property and shall be payable from the date of assessment. Any assessment or part
thereof remaining due and unpaid shall be collected in the same manner as Town taxes are
collected provided the Town serves legal notice on the property owners of such assessment.
Section 805. Certificates of Indebtedness
A. To effectuate the construction and repairs of public ways, the Council
is authorized to borrow on the credit of the Town sums of money which shall not in total
amount exceed ten percent of the assessed valuation of all real property in the Town. They
may issue bonds or certificates of indebtedness thereof which shall be payable on or before
twenty years from the date of issuance, at the most acceptable interest rate available, but
not to exceed the current prime interest rate. Funds derived from the sale of such bonds or
certificates of indebtedness shall be deposited in a safe banking institution in the State
and shall be subject to withdrawal by check only when countersigned by at least three
Council members. (Resolution 16-81; August 27, 1981)
B. The bonds or certificates of indebtedness authorized to be issued will
be sold through public advertisements for bids. Notice of sale of such bonds or certificates
of indebtedness shall be advertised at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a
newspaper having general circulation in the Town. The advertisement shall state that the
Council shall be in readiness at a specified place, time and date not less than fifteen days
after final publication of the advertisement to publicly open and read the sealed bids.
Provided the bids are adequate in the judgement of the Council, the bonds or certificates of
indebtedness shall then be sold to the highest responsible bidder.
Section 806. Construction Bids
When construction of public ways is authorized, the Council shall invite
bids for such construction by advertisement for two weeks in a newspaper having general
circulation in the Town. The Council shall award the contract for such construction to the
lowest responsible bidder, reserving at all times the right to reject any or all bids
received. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Council may, when deemed in the public
interest, upon unanimous vote of the Council, contract directly with any responsible
contractor for the construction of improvements which do no exceed ten thousand dollars
($10,000) in cost. All contractors awarded contracts shall post bond in such sum as the
Council shall require for the faithful performance of the contract.
Section 807. Storm Drainage
A. The Council is authorized to plan, design, construct, maintain, and
operate a system for the control and disposition of surface waters, including storm water
drainage, within the limits of the Town. For such purposes the Council is authorized to
condemn, obtain easements, and to negotiate and make contracts with any Public Agency
including the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
B. The Council is authorized to borrow on the credit of the Town, sums of
money for the purpose of paying for storm water or surface drainage improvements. Total
annual expenditures to meet principal and interest payments for all such improvements shall
not exceed one-half one percent of the assessed valuation of all real property in the Town
unless approved by a majority of all the votes cast on a referendum submitted to the voters
of the Town.
C. The Council is authorized to levy and collect an ad valorem tax upon
all the assessed property of the Town sufficient to meet the annual cost of storm drainage
CHAPTER IX. TOWN
Section 901. Acquisition, Possession and Disposal
The Council may acquire real, personal or mixed property within or
without the Corporate limits of the Town 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 possession of the Town at the time this Charter becomes effective are
vested in the Town, subject to the terms and conditions thereof.
Section 902. Condemnation
The Council shall have power to condemn property of any kind, or interest
therein or franchise connected therewith, in fee or as an easement, within the corporate
limits of the Town, for any public purpose, any activity, project or improvement authorized
by the provision of this Charter or any State Law applicable to the Town shall be deemed to
be a public purpose. The manner and procedure of any condemnation proceeding shall be that
established in the Annotated Code of the General Public Laws of Maryland under Eminent
Section 903. Town Buildings
The Council shall have the power to acquire, to obtain by lease or rent,
to purchase, construct, and maintain all buildings and structures it deems necessary for the
operation of the Town Government or for the welfare of Town residents.
Section 904. Protection and Accountability of Town Property
The Council shall have the power and responsibility to do whatever may be
necessary to account for, to protect and to maintain all Town property in good condition.
CHAPTER X. GENERAL
Section 1001. Oath of Office
A. Before entering upon the duties of their offices, the Council, the
Town Administrator, the Members of the Board of Supervisors of Elections, and all other
persons elected or appointed to any office of trust or profit in the Town Government shall
take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:
"I, ____________, do swear (or affirm) that I will support the
Constitution of the United States; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to
the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and Laws thereof; and that I will, to
the best of my skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or
prejudice, execute the Office of , according to the Constitution and Laws of this State and
the Charter and Ordinances of Berwyn Heights".
B. The Council shall take this oath or affirmation before the Clerk of
the Circuit Court for Prince George's County or before a sworn Deputy of the Clerk. All
other persons taking the oath shall do so before the Mayor.
Section 1002. Prior Rights and Obligations
All rights, 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
previous 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 shall 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 be hereafter instituted
for causes of action now existing or offenses already committed against any law or ordinance
repealed by this Charter, shall be instituted, proceeded with, and prosecuted to final
determination and judgment as if this Charter had not become effective. All officials
elected or appointed under the previous Charter will continue in effect until terminated as
Section 1003. Effect of Charter on Existing Ordinances
A. All ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations in effect in the
Town at the time this Charter becomes effective which are not in conflict with the
provisions of this Charter shall remain in effect until changed or repealed.
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 provisions of
this Charter are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.
Section 1004. Misdemeanors
Every act or omission which is made a misdemeanor under the authority of
this Charter, unless otherwise provided shall be punishable upon conviction before any
District Court or in the Circuit Court for the County within which the offense is committed
by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or imprisonment for thirty days in the County
jail, or both, at the discretion of the District Court or Circuit Court. The party aggrieved
shall have the right to appeal as is now provided under the General Laws of the State. Where
the act or omission is of a continuing nature and persisted in, a conviction for one offense
shall not be a bar to a conviction for a continuation of the offense subsequent to the first
or any succeeding conviction.
Section 1005. Liability for Damages
A. Before the Town shall be liable for damages of any kind, someone in
behalf of, or the person injured must give the Administrator notice in writing of the injury
within one hundred and eighty days after the injury has been received, stating when, where
and how the injury occurred and the extent of the injury.
B. The Town shall not be liable for damage or injury to any person or
property arising from or occasioned by any public way or public grounds or any defect
thereon, unless proper diligence has not been exercised to correct the defect.
Section 1006. Separability
If any section or part of section of the Charter shall be held invalid by
a Court of Competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect the remainder of this
Charter nor the context in which such section or part of section so held invalid shall
appear, 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
shall directly apply.
Section 1007. Amendment
This Charter may be amended in accordance with the constitution of
Maryland and Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Section 1007.1. Effectiveness of Amendment
Any amendment to the Charter adopted by referendum can be changed by
referendum only and shall not be negated by a Town Council resolution.
*Section 607.1, Private Sale Authority, adopted 02/13/08