Document explains code cities

If Port Orchard residents have lingering questions about a proposed reclassification of their city’s government, it won’t be for lack of opportunities to ask.

The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday tabled a resolution to change Port Orchard from a second class city to a “code city,” after a public hearing on the topic. Residents can ask again about the implications at a council study session on May 17 and at the council’s May 24 regular meeting, when action on the proposal is expected.

An article in tomorrow’s (May 13) Kitsap Sun outlines the significant differences between a code city and a second class city. I have attached a comparison document from the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, a nonprofit that disseminates information to cities and towns. Here it is: CodeCityComparison (For the detailed version, see below).

New powers the council would gain as a code city include the ability to enact ordinances, approve contracts and authorize payments at a properly publicized special meeting. The council now is restricted to take such actions at regular business meetings. Action items would have to be listed on the special meeting agenda.

Code city residents have the power of initiative, and — if the council authorizes it — the power of referendum. Residents of second class cities do not.

As a code city, Port Orchard technically could dispense with its planning commission, but City Attorney Greg Jacoby has heard no talk of plans to do so. Most of the states 187 code cities have planning commissions.

(Disregard the document’s item on annexation, which is dated. With a recent change in laws, the number of signatures on initial annexation petitions is 10 percent of all voters in the most recent general election.)

The MSRC has more information on different forms of government in Washington State.

Here’s more:

Code City

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