Erie City Council is a legislative body that creates ordinances, or local laws, and resolutions that express the will of the Council. Through these legislative tools, City Council guides how the city is governed. It is the responsibility of the Mayor and his cabinet to implement and administer laws based upon City Council’s ordinances.
Council has the responsibility of adopting annual operating budgets, and establishes land use policy through its zoning powers.
Council also is empowered to confirm the Mayor’s appointments to various City Authorities.
City Council operates under a committee system with seven (7) standing Committees. Committee members are appointed by the President of Council.
There are seven (7) members of Council, all elected “at large” who represent citizens citywide. Council appoints a President from its members and establishes its rules of procedure.
When Council Meets
Council meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 9:00 A.M. and on the third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 P.M.
City Council may hold a caucus thirty (30) minutes before each meeting. Issues to be taken up on that meeting’s regular agenda are discussed at a caucus, and presentations are made on specific issues, but no votes or formal actions are taken.
A special meeting of City Council may be called by the Mayor, and two City Council members, provided twenty (24) hours notice has been given to each Council member and to the public. An agenda for the special meeting must be provided at that time and only items on that agenda may be considered at a special meeting of City Council.
The President is the presiding officer of Council. The President maintains and keeps rules of Council, countersigns all requisitions for the purchase of miscellaneous materials for Council or the Clerk of Council’s office, and supervises the employees of Council. In the President’s absence, City Council appoints an acting President from its members.
Reorganization is held on the first regularly scheduled meeting of January of each year when a new President is appointed.
City Council operates under a committee system with seven (7) standing committees and special committees, which are created as needed. The Council President assigns matters that come before Council to the appropriate committee. The committee can hold open meetings on any matter, and then makes a report and recommendation to the full body of City Council. Council usually adopts the recommendations of committees.
Following are the seven (7) standing committees of Council.
- Governmental Relations (usually assigned to Council President)
- Bureau of Police
- Public Works
- Economic and Community Development
- Bureau of Fire
- Finance Department
General Order of City Council Business
- Roll call
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Approval of Minutes and Bills
- Citizens to be Heard
Agenda items are considered and voted on separately and include:
- Ordinances for Final Passage and First Reading
- Old Business (Ordinances and resolutions held over from previous meetings)
- New Business
- Contracts and Purchase Orders
- Committee Reports
Agendas are prepared by the City Clerk’s Office and can be obtained the Monday prior to the regularly scheduled Wednesday Council meeting. They can also be accessed on line.
Can I speak at a Council meeting?
City Council meetings are primarily for acting on legislation that has been discussed and deliberated in committee or at caucus. However, you may request to address Council on an issue by submitting a written or verbal request specifying the topic, to the City Clerk’s office no later than the Thursday prior to the next scheduled City Council meeting. Presentations are limited to five (5) minutes.
When you speak:
- Give your name and address for the record.
- Limit your remarks to the time allotted.
- Clearly state your point, and then present any factual evidence to back up your point.
- Avoid repetition. We encourage that if a previous speaker has made a point, simply indicate your support or disagreement, unless you have new information.
How can I participate in a Public Hearing?
City Council will listen to your arguments for or against a proposed legislation at scheduled public hearings. Prior notices of all public hearings are published in the Erie Times News - Legal Advertisement section. If you wish to be heard, you need only attend the Council meeting at which the public hearing is scheduled. The Clerk of Council also can provide information on public hearings that are scheduled.