On November 4, 2014, the voters of Emeryville passed Measure U which established the City of Emeryville as a charter city. The City was originally founded in 1896 as a general law city.
Charter cities, unlike general law cities, are authorized by the State Constitution to govern themselves in matters considered to be municipal affairs. When a city is incorporated as or later becomes a charter city, the electorate essentially adopts a municipal “constitution” or charter that grants and/or limits the city’s powers related to municipal affairs, such as but not limited to, certain taxation authority, local elections, local campaign financing, and contracting. General law cities do not have the authority to establish any powers relating to municipal affairs that are different than what is granted by the laws of the State of California.
The Emeryville City Charter approved by the voters of Emeryville specifically establishes that the City’s new powers over municipal affairs will be limited solely to municipal revenue, including taxation and assessment, and a system for a real property transfer tax. These powers have historically been found by the State courts to be municipal affairs. The Emeryville Charter states that in all other respects, the powers of the City shall remain as they were previously and therefore shall be constrained by, subject to, and governed by the general laws of the State of California
City of Emeryville Charter
ARTICLE I. NAME AND BOUNDARIES
Section 100. Name and Boundaries
The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Emeryville, hereafter referred to as “the City”, shall remain and continue to be a municipal body corporate and politic, as at present, in name, in fact, and in law.
ARTICLE II. POWERS OF CITY
Section 200. Exercise of Constitutional Power of Taxation
The City of Emeryville adopts this Charter to exercise all constitutional powers conferred on cities under Article XI Sections 7 and 5 of the California Constitution solely with respect to the powers over municipal affairs in relation to municipal revenues including taxation and assessment, and a system for the imposition, levy and collection of a tax on the conveyance of real property based on the value of the real property in addition to the amount authorized by California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
Section 201. Subject to General Laws
Except as provided in this Charter with respect to the power of the City over municipal affairs in relation to municipal revenues including taxation and assessment, the power to the City shall otherwise be constrained by, subject to, and governed by the general laws of the State as now and hereafter existing relating to cities organized under said general laws.
Section 202. Severability
If any provision of this Charter is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the remaining provisions of the Charter shall remain in full force and effect.
ARTICLE III. SUCCESSION
Section 300. Rights and Liabilities
The City shall remain vested with and continue to have, hold , and enjoy all property, rights of property, and rights of action of ever nature and description now pertaining to this municipality, and is hereby declared to be the successor of same. It shall be subject to all the obligations, contracts, liabilities, debt, and duties that now exist against or with the City.
Section 301. Ordinances, Codes, and Other Regulations
All ordinances, codes, resolutions, regulations, rules, and portions thereof, in force at the time this Charter takes effect, and not in conflict or inconsistent herewith, shall continue in force until repealed, amended, changed, or superseded in the manner provided by this Charter and any other applicable laws.
Section 302. Pending Actions and Proceedings
No action or proceeding, civil or criminal, pending at the time this Charter takes effect, brought by or against the City or any officer, office, or department thereof, shall be affected or abated by the adoption of this Charter, or by anything herein contained.
ARTICLE IV. FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Section 400. Form of Government
The form of government shall be that commonly known as the Council-Manager form of government. The City Council, consisting of five councilmembers elected at large for four year staggered terms, in the manner in effect when this Charter was adopted, shall establish the policy of the City and the City Manager shall carry out that policy.