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President and Board of Trustees.-The Legislative Branch consists of the Village President, elected annually, and a Board of Trustees as follows: (1) In the first class villages, not less than two or more than eight. (2) In the second class villages, not less than two or more than six. (3) In the third and fourth class villages, not less than two or more than four. The President holds office for one year and the Trustees for two, one-half of the Trustees being elected at each village election, which is held annually on the third Tuesday in March. The President presides at the board meeting, and is entitled to vote, but he possesses no right of veto. The Board has power to make by-laws, or ordinances, for the village and to direct the expenditure of the public money; to regulate and maintain the public water supply, sewers, streets, public lock-up, fire and police departments; to regulate certain trades; to fix the salaries of village officers who are paid for their services; and to act as assessors in case none are elected. Any proposed expenditure which is of an extraordinary nature, has to be submitted by the Board to the tax-payers either at the time of the annual election, or at a special election called for the purpose.


President, Treasurer, Clerk, etc.-The Executive Branch has as its chief the Village President. It is his duty to see that the by-laws of the village and the general laws of the State are enforced, and for this purpose he can command the village police and fire departments. Besides

the President, the village officers are a Treasurer, a Clerk, Assessors, Tax Collector and Street Commissioner, who are usually elected annually. The Treasurer receives and pays out the public money. The Village Clerk, who is also the clerk of the board of trustees, is the custodian of the public records of the village. The powers and duties of the Assessors and Collector are described in the chapter on Taxation. (See pages 124, 126.) The Street Commissioner has charge of the streets, bridges and walks of the village, under the direction of the board of trustees. The state law provides that every incorporated village shall have a Board of Health, the members of which, numbering from three to seven, are appointed by the board of trustees. This Board chooses a physician as the Health Officer of the village, and has general supervision of all matters relating to the public health, such as sewage, contagious diseases and exposure of garbage.


Police Justice.-The Judicial Branch consists of a Police Justice, whose jurisdiction is similar to the criminal jurisdiction of a justice of the peace (see page 64), and he also has jurisdiction of violations of the village by-laws or ordinances.

Lawsuits for and against a Village.-A village being a public corporation like a city, can sue and be sued, and for the prosecution or defense of an action the board of trustees may employ an attorney.


Limitations on Use and Amount of Public Moneys.In order to prevent local governments from the misuse of public moneys and credit, the constitution provides that:

No county, city, town or village shall hereafter give any money or property, or loan its money or credit to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation, or become directly or indirectly the owner of stock in, or bonds of, any association or corporation; nor shall any such county, city, town or village be allowed to incur any indebtedness except for county, city, town or village purposes. This section shall not prevent such county, city, town or village from making such provision for the aid or support of its poor as may be authorized by law. No county or city shall be allowed to become indebted for any purpose or in any manner to an amount which, including existing indebtedness, shall exceed ten per centum of the assessed valuation of the real estate of such county or city subject to taxation, as it appeared by the assessment-rolls of said county or city on the last assessment for state or county taxes prior to the incurring of such indebtedness; (Art. VIII., Sec. 10.)

Local, State and Federal Governments.-Counties, towns, cities and villages are directly subject to the control of the State in all matters except those of purely local concern. In this respect they resemble the States in their relation to the United States. But their governmental authority resembles that of the nation rather than that of the state, for they can exercise only those powers specifically granted to them. Local communities, state and nation thus illustrate two methods of limiting the powers of government: the state-by the prohibition of certain powers; the nation and local communities-by the grant of certain powers and the prohibition of others.

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(Limited by veto

Legislative Branch:


2 from

each ward Elected by wards 2 years To levy taxes; borrow money; fix salaries; ap

propriate money; enact ordinances and grant

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To preside over Council. (To act as Mayor in case of death, disability or absence.)

To see that the laws and ordinances are enforced; appoint certain officers; send statement of city affairs to Council; command police and firemen and approve or veto legislation.

To place valuation on taxable property and deter-
mine amount of each person's tax.

To receive and pay out city moneys and report
financial condition to Council.

To keep city records and act as clerk to the Council.
To prosecute and defend actions and advise other
city officers.

2-5 yrs. Each Department has supervision of a particular branch of the city's business, such as Education, Public Works, Health, Public Safety, Charities etc. Among these should be classed the municipal Civil Service Commission.

Elected by city or app. by Mayor

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6 years To try minor criminal and civil actions.

* In some cities these two offices are joined into one, the officer being elected Chamberlain.

Judicial Branch:



2 years To make by-laws; appropriate public moneys; maintain waterworks, sewers, streets, police and fire departments; regulate certain trades and fix salaries.

1 year

To see that the by-laws of the village are enforced and to have general charge of village affairs. To receive and pay out public moneys.

To keep the village records and act as clerk for the Board of Trustees.

To value taxable property.

To collect the taxes.

To take charge of the building and repairing of streets and bridges.

To take charge of the public health and elect a Health Officer.

4 years To try minor criminal offenses and violations of village by-laws.

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Appointed by Trustees

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