Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

The city council of the city shall have power and authority:

1. Ordinances: To make and pass all ordinances, orders and resolutions not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or the state of Washington, or the provisions of this Charter, necessary for the municipal government and management of the affairs of the city, for the execution of the powers vested in said body corporate, and for the carrying into effect of the Provisions of this Charter.

2. License of Shows: To fix and collect a license tax, for the purpose of revenue and regulations, on theaters, melodeons, balls, concert, dances, theatrical, circus and other performances, and all performances where an admission fee is charged; also, all shows, billiard tables, pool tables, bowling alleys, exhibition or amusements.

3. Hotel, etc., Licenses: To fix and collect a tax for the purposes of revenue and regulation on and to regulate all taverns, hotels, restaurants, banks, brokers, manufactories, livery stables, garages, express companies and persons engaged in transmitting letters or packages, railroad, state and steamboat companies or owners, whose principal place of business is in the city, or who shall have an agency therein.

4. Auctioneers’ Licenses: To license and regulate auctioneers for the purpose of revenue and regulation.

5. Dance Houses: To prohibit or suppress, or to license and regulate all dance houses, fandango houses, or any exhibition or show of any animal or animals.

6. License Vehicles: To license for the purpose of revenue and regulation, and to tax hackney coaches, cabs, omnibuses, drays, market trucks and all other vehicles used for hire, and to regulate their stands, and to fix the taxes to be charged for the transportation of persons, baggage and property.

7. Hotel Runners: To license or suppress runners for steamboats, taverns or hotels.

8. License Generally: To fix and collect a license tax for the purposes of revenue and regulation, upon all occupations and trades, and all and every kind of business authorized by law not heretofore specified: Provided, that on any business trade or calling not provided by law to be licensed for state and county purposes the amount of licenses shall be fixed at the discretion of the City Council, as they may deem the interest and good order of the city may require.

9. Riots: To prevent and restrain any riot or riotous assemblages, disturbance of any peace or disorderly conduct in any place, house or street in the city.

10. Nuisances: To declare what shall be deemed nuisances; to prevent, remove and abate nuisances at the expense of the parties creating, causing or committing or maintaining the same, and to levy a special assessment on the land or premises whereon the nuisance is situated to defray the cost or to reimburse the city for the cost of abating the same.

11. Stock Pound: To establish, maintain and regulate a common pound for astrays, and to appoint a pound-keeper, who shall be paid out of the fines and fees imposed, and collected of the owners of any animals impounded, and from no other source; to prevent and regulate the running at large of any and all domestic animals within the city limits or any part thereof, and to regulate or prevent the keeping of such animals within any part of the city; to appropriate the necessary funds for and provide for humane work within the boundaries of the city.

12. Control of Certain Trades: To control and regulate slaughter houses, wash houses, laundries, tanneries, forges, and offensive trades, and to provide for their exclusion or removal from the city limits or from any part thereof.

13. Street Cleaning: To provide by regulation, for the prevention and summary removal of all filth and garbage in streets, sloughs, alleys, back yards or public grounds of the city, or elsewhere therein.

14. City Jail: To establish, alter and repair city prisons and to provide for the regulation of same, and for the safekeeping of persons committed thereto; to provide for the cares feeding and clothing of the city prisoners; to provide for the formation of a chain-gang for persons convicted of crimes or misdemeanors, and their proper employment and compulsory working for the benefit of the city; and also to provide for the arrest and compulsory working of vagrants: Provided, that no prisoners shall be required to perform any labor until he shall have been duly convicted of some offense punishable by imprisonment and duly sentenced thereto.

15. Gambling, etc.: To prohibit and suppress all gambling and all gambling for disorderly houses, and houses of ill fame, and all immoral and indecent amusements, exhibitions and shows.

16. Markets: To establish and regulate markets and market places.

17. Speed of Railroad Cars: To fix and regulate speed at which any railroad cars, street cars, automobile and other vehicles may run within the city limits, or any portion thereof.

18. City Commons: To provide for and regulate the commons of the city.

19. Fast Driving: To regulate or prohibit fast driving or riding in any portion of the city.

20. Combustibles: To regulate or prohibit the loading and storage of gunpowder and combustible or explosive materials in the city, or transporting the same through its streets or over its waters.

21. Property: To have, purchase, hold, use and enjoy property of every name or kind whatsoever, and the same to sell, leases transfer, mortgage, convey, control or improve; to build, erect, or construct houses, building or structures of any kind needful for the use or purposes of the city.

22. Fire Department: To establish, continue, regulate, and maintain a Fire Department for the City, to change or organize the same, and to disband any company or companies of the said Department; also to discontinue and disband said fire department and to create, organize, establish and maintain a paid Fire Department for the city.

23. Water Supply: To adopt, enter into and carry out means for securing a supply of water for the use of the city or its inhabitants, or for irrigating purposes therein.

24. Overflow of water: To prevent the overflow of the city or to secure its drainage, and to assess the cost thereof to the property benefited.

25. House Numbers: To provide for the numbering of houses.

26. Health Board: To establish a Board of Health; to prevent the introduction and spread of disease; to establish a city infirmary and to provide for the indigent sick, and to provide and enforce regulations for the protection of health, cleanliness, peace and good order of the city; to establish and maintain hospitals within or without the city limits, to control and regulate interments and to prohibit them within the city limits.

27. Harbor and Wharves: to build, alter, improve, keep in repair and control the waterfront; to erect, regulate and repair wharves, and to fix the rate of wharfage and transit wharf, and levy dues upon vessels and commodities; and to provide for the regulation of berths, landing, stationing and removing of steamboats, sail vessels, rafts, barges and all other water craft; to fix the rate of speed at which steamboats and other steam water craft may run along the waterfront of the city, to build bridges so as not to interfere with navigation, to provide for the removal of obstructions to the navigation of any channel or watercourses or channels.

28. License of Steamers: To license steamers, boats and vessels used in any watercourse in the city, and to fix and collect a license tax thereon.

29. Ferry Licenses: To license ferries and toll bridges under the law regulating the granting of such licenses.

30. Penalty for Violation of Ordinances: To determine and impose fines for forfeitures and penalties that shall be incurred for the breach or violation of any city ordinance, notwithstanding that the act constituting a violation of any such ordinance may also be punishable under the state laws, and also a violation of the provisions of the charter, when no penalty is affixed thereto or provided by law, and to appropriate all such fines, penalties and forfeitures for the benefit of the city; but no penalty to be enforced shall exceed for any offense the amount of Five Hundred Dollars or three months’ imprisonment or both; and every violation of any lawful order, regulation or ordinance of the City Council of the city is hereby declared a misdemeanor or public offense, and all prosecutions for the same may be in the name of the State of Washington.

31. Police Department: To create and establish a city police; to prescribe their duties and their compensation and to provide for the regulation and government of the same.

32. Elections: To provide for conducting elections and establishing election precincts when necessary, to be as near as may be in conformity with the state law.

33. Examine Official Accounts: To examine, either in open session or by committee, the accounts or doings of all officers or other persons having the care, management or disposition of moneys, property or business of the city.

34. Contracts: To make all appropriations, contracts or agreements for the use or benefit of the city and in the city’s name.

35. Streets and Sidewalks*: To provide by ordinance for the opening, laying out, altering, constructing, extending, repairing, grading paving, planking, graveling, macadamizing, or otherwise improving of public streets, avenues, and other public ways, or any portion of either thereof; and for the construction, regulation and repair of sidewalks and other street improvements, all at the expense of the property to be benefited thereby without any recourse, in any event, upon the city for any portion of the expense of such work, or any delinquency of the property holders or owners, and to provide for the forced sale thereof for such purposes; to establish a uniform grade for streets, avenues, sidewalks and squares, and to enforce the observance thereof.

*Statutory provisions—See RCW Chapter 35.68.

36. Waterways**: To clear, cleanse, alter, straighten, widen, fill up or close any waterway, drain or sewer or any watercourse in such city when not declared by law to be navigated and to assess the expense thereof, in whole or part, to the property specially benefited.

**Statutory provisions—See RCW Chapter 35.56.

37. Sewerage***: To adopt, provide for, establish and maintain a general system of sewerage, draining or both, and the regulation thereof; to provide funds by local assessments on the property benefited for the purpose aforesaid and to determine the manner, terms and place of connections with main or central lines of pipes, sewers, or drains established, and compel compliance with and conformity to such general system of sewerage or drainage, or both, and the regulations of said council thereto relating, by the infliction of suitable penalties and forfeitures against persons and property, or either, for nonconformity to, or failure to comply with the provisions of such system and regulations, or either.

***Statutory provisions--See RCW Chapter 35.67.

38. Buildings and Parks: To provide for all public buildings, public parks, or squares, necessary or proper for the use of the city.

39. Franchises: To permit the use of the streets for railroad and other public service purposes.

40. Payment of Judgment: To order paid any final judgment against the city, but none of its lands or property of any kind or nature, taxes, revenue, franchise, or rights, or interest, shall be attached, levied upon or sold in or under any process whatsoever.

41. Weighing of Fuel: To regulate the sale of coal and wood in the city, and may appoint a Measurer of Wood and Weigher of Coal for the city, and define his duties, and may prescribe his term of office, and the fees he shall receive for his services; Provided, that such fees shall in all cases be paid by the parties requiring such service.

42. Hospitals, etc.: To erect and establish hospitals and pest houses and to control and regulate the same.

43. Waterworks: To provide for the erection, purchase or otherwise acquiring of waterworks within or without the corporate limits of the city to supply the city and its inhabitants with water, and to regulate and control the use and price of the water so supplied.

44. City Lights: To provide for lighting the streets and all public places of the city and for furnishing the inhabitants of the city with gas, electric or other light, and for the ownership, purchase or acquisition, construction, or maintenance of such works as may be necessary or convenient therefor: Provided, however, that no purchase of any such water plant or light plant shall be made without first submitting the question of such purchase to the electors of the city.

45. Parks: To acquire by purchase, or otherwise, land for public parks within or without the limits of the city, and to improve the same.

46. Bridges: To construct and keep in repair bridges, and to regulate the use thereof.

47. Power of Eminent Domain: In the name of and for the use and benefit of the city, to exercise the right of eminent domain, and to condemn lands and property for the purpose of streets, alleys, parks, public grounds, waterworks or for any other municipal purpose and to acquire by purchase or otherwise, such lands and property as may be deemed necessary for any of the corporate uses provided for by this act, as the interests of the city may from time to time require.

48. To provide for the Assessment of Taxes: To provide for the assessment, levying and collecting of taxes on real and personal property for the corporate uses and purposes of the City and to provide for the payment of the debts and expenses of the corporation.

49. Local Improvements*: To provide for making local improvements, and to levy and collect special assessments on the property benefited thereby and for paying the same or any portion thereof; to determine what work shall be done or improvements made, at the expense, in whole or in part, of the adjoining, contiguous or proximate property, and to provide for the manner of making and collecting assessments therefor.

*Statutory provisions—See RCW Chapters 35.43, 35.44, 35.45, 35.48, 35.49, 35.50 and 35.53, 35.54, 5.55 and 35.56

50. Cemeteries: To regulate the burial of the dead and to establish and regulate cemeteries, within or without the corporate limits, and to acquire lands therefor by purchase or otherwise.

51. Fire Limits: To establish fire limits with proper regulations and to make all needful regulations for the erection and maintenance of buildings or other structures within the corporate limits as safety of persons or property may require, and to cause all such buildings and places as may from any cause be in a dangerous state to be put in a safe condition; to regulate the manner in which stone, brick and other buildings, party walls and partition fences shall be constructed and maintained, and to provide for the establishment of a zoning system within the city.

52. Safety and Sanitary Measures: To require the owners of public halls, theaters, hotels and other buildings to provide suitable means of exit and proper fire escapes; to provide for the cleaning and purification of watercourses and canals and for the draining and filling up of ponds on private property within its limits when the same shall be offensive to the senses or dangerous to the health, and to charge the expense thereof to the property especially benefitted, and to regulate and control and provide for the prevention and punishment of the defilement or pollution of all streams running in or through its corporate limits and a distance of five miles beyond its corporate limits, and of any stream or lake from which the water supply of the city is or may be taken and for a distance of five miles beyond its source of supply, and to make all quarantine and other regulations as may be necessary for the preservation of the public health and to remove all persons afflicted with any contagious disease to some suitable place to be provided for that purpose.

53. To establish Streets on Tide Lands: To project or extend or establish streets over and across any tide lands within the limits of the city.

54. To provide for the General Welfare.

55. Airports and Aviation Fields: To acquire, hold, maintain and operate air ports and aviation fields.

56. Group Insurance: The Council may provide for group insurance covering the employees of the city on such terms and conditions and in such amount as may be prescribed by ordinance.