Working with City Council


The work of the City relies heavily on the authorization of City Council.  The annual Budget, prepared by the Mayor, and reviewed and approved by City Council, represents the broadest oversight Council has of City operations.  The Budget establishes the basic work plan and financial allocations for each department; it also incorporates the Capital Improvement Program which lays out the spending and borrowing parameters for all physical improvements the City plans to undertake.  In large part, the Budget is the foundation and framework for the City's work, providing a broad overview of how much money will be spent by each department and for what major purpose.  However, much of the detail of the Administration's work requires additional Council action, including:

  • Approving contracts for professional services that are greater than $10,000 
  • Authorizing agreements for work done with other government bodies (Federal, State, County, municipalities, School District)
  • Appropriating certain grants
  • Amending the Budget (e.g., adding grant funding; reallocating funds)
  • Authorizing the issuance of bonds
  • Establishing Local Laws  (e.g., amendments to the City Charter)
  • Approving amendments to the Zoning Map and the Official Map of the City
  • Confirming certain Mayoral appointments (e.g., department heads, members of boards and commissions)


Requests for Council action are submitted by the Mayor through a transmittal letter and its accompanying proposed legislation.
Transmittal letters are drafted by the responsible department and submitted to the Mayor's Office for technical and policy review, and editing. The letter is then paired with its legislation, which is prepared by the Law Department, and submitted to the Mayor for final review and signature. 

All signed items, 30 per month on average, are delivered to the City Clerk's Office, where each is given an Introductory Number and is assigned to the appropriate Council Committee.  One week later, Council members, with their staff, meet to review and discuss the items. Questions generated from this review are forwarded to the Administration for response. Responses are coordinated by the Mayor's Office and forwarded to Council.

One week following their review, Council meets in Committees for further discussion and to vote on whether to recommend the item for consideration by the Council, or to hold the item in committee. Members of the Administration attend Committee meetings, providing councilmembers the opportunity to engage directly with them regarding proposed legislation.

The City Council meets five days later - a Tuesday, except in unusual circumstances - to vote on all items that have been recommended by the Committees. 

Finally, the Mayor receives, from the City Clerk, the certification document for each item, which, upon signing, is returned to the Clerk's Office for filing and publication.