FAQs
Following is a list of questions our office receives from municipal government officials regularly.  Please keep in mind that the responses are not complete answers to the questions.  Municipal officials are encouraged to contact the League office for more information and to consult their city attorney on all legal matters.
What's the difference between an ordinance and a resolution?
The word "ordinance" means "a permanent legislative act within the limits of its powers of the governing body of a municipality." (SDCL 9-19-1)

A "resolution" on the other hand, means any determination, decision, or direction of the governing body of a municipality of a temporary or special character for the purpose of initiating, effecting, or carrying out its administrative duties and functions. (SDCL 9-19-1) In the case of State ex rel. Wagner v. Summers, 33 S.D. 40, 54, 144 N.W. 730, 734 (1913) the Court ruled that the terms "resolution" and "motion" are practically synonymous.

How many times does an ordinance need to be read and published?
All ordinances shall be read twice by title with at least five days between each reading. The ordinances, if passed, shall be signed by the mayor or acting mayor or president of the board of trustees, and filed with the finance officer. (SDCL 9-19-7)

After being signed and filed, the ordinances must be published at least once in the official newspaper. The only exception to this is that an ordinance incorporating or adopting comprehensive regulations or a code promulgated, approved, and published by a recognized and established national organization prescribing building, electrical, plumbing, safety, fire, health, or milk regulations need not be published in a newspaper. All that is required is that the finance officer publish the fact of adoption once a week for two successive weeks in the official newspaper. (SDCL 9-19-7) The vote on the second reading of all ordinances must be recorded and published. (SDCL 9-19-9)

Amendments or additions to a planning or zoning ordinance may be published without republishing the full ordinance if the section or subsection of the ordinance containing the change is published in its entirety. (SDCL 11-4-8)

What is the effective date of an ordinance that is passed?
Unless an ordinance or resolution is drawn to take effect immediately upon passage, all ordinances and resolutions become effective on the twentieth day after passage and publication, unless suspended by operation of a referendum. (SDCL 9-19-13)
When must public meeting minutes be published?
The governing body of every municipality must publish the full accounts of its meetings. The publication is to appear in the official newspaper of the municipality, or if there is no official newspaper, any legal newspaper which serves the municipality. (SDCL 9-18-1)

The proceedings must be published within thirty days after each meeting. (SDCL 9-18-1)  It is further required that the finance officer deliver a copy of the proceedings to be published to the official newspaper within one week after the meeting. (SDCL 9-18-1.1)

What is the Open Meeting Law?
The open meeting law is contained in SDCL chapter 1-25.   Municipalities are required to hold open meetings.  This includes any association, authority, board, commission, committee, council, or task force which is created by statute, ordinance, resolution and is vested with the authority to exercise any sovereign power derived from state law. (SDCL 1-25-1) 

It states that at least 24 hours prior to each regular city council, commission or board meeting, a notice including the proposed agenda must be posted in city hall in a place where the public can see it. This requirement is mandatory for all regular meetings of the board, council or commission. (SDCL 1-25-1.1)

When an entity is appointed by the governing body but does not meet the definition of an entity required to hold an open meeting, any report to the governing body must be given to the governing body in an open meeting.  The governing body shall delay taking any official action on the recommendations, findings, or reports until the next meeting of the governing body. (SDCL 1-27-1.18)

For special or rescheduled regular meetings, all bodies shall also comply with the public notice provisions of this section for regular meetings to the extent that circumstances permit. In addition, information in the notice must be given, in person, by mail, or by telephone to members of the local news media who have requested notice. (SDCL 1-25-1.1)

What is the residency requirement for Elected Officials?
No person may hold any elected municipal office who is not a qualified voter of the municipality and who has not resided therein at least three months next preceding his election or appointment. However, if the person has resided in an area annexed for at least three months, he is eligible for any municipal office. Statute further provides that no person who is a defaulter to the municipality can be an officer. This section does not apply to appointive officers. (SDCL 9-14-2)
Which municipal officials need to be bonded?
The amount of the bond for the municipal finance officer shall be set at an amount equal to the maximum monetary total estimated to be on hand at any one time, but the amount of the bond may not exceed $250,000 in first class municipalities or $150,000 in second and third class municipalities. (SDCL 9-14-6.1)

The amount of the bonds for the mayor and commissioners shall be $2,000 for second class municipalities and $5,000 for first class municipalities. (SDCL 9-9-5) The amounts of all other bonds shall be established by the governing body. (SDCL 9-14-7) All bonds are required to be filed with the governing body. (SDCL 9-14-9)

In third class municipalities the finance officer within ten days after notice of their appointment shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation of office in the form required by the Constitution and furnish an undertaking to be approved by the board of trustees in such sum as it shall direct. (SDCL 9-14-7; Cn. XXI, sec. 3)

When are Municipal Elections Held?
Annual elections for officers of municipalities traditionally are held on the second Tuesday of April each year.  (SDCL 9-13-1) The members of the governing body of a municipality may choose to hold a general municipal election in conjunction with a school district on a date agreed upon by the governing bodies.  Details of this provision can be found in SDCL 9-13-1.1.  The 1996 Legislature also gave municipalities the ability to hold the general election in conjunction with any political subdivision, including on the June primary date or on the first Tuesday in June.  (SDCL 9-13-37; 12-2-5; 12-2-6; 9-13-40)  If the governing body chooses a different election day as provided in SDCL 9-13, that election date must be established by January 14 of the election year.  Statute fur¬ther provides that the polls must be kept open continuously from seven o'clock a.m. to seven o'clock p.m.. (SDCL 9-13-1)

Within fifteen days of setting a date and time for any public election, the person in charge of the election shall notify the secretary of state in writing or by telephone or e-mail. (SDCL 12-2-7)

What is a Special Election?
Special elections are to be held upon the same notice, at the same polling places, be conducted, returned, and canvassed, and the result declared as provided for the annual municipal election. (SDCL 9-13-14) Statute also requires that the notice of the special election must state any question or questions to be voted upon. (SDCL 9-13-14)

Special elections, for example, are required to be held on certain ordinances, and initiated measures; and when creating boards and commissions, increasing the tax levy and/or imposing certain special mill levies in addition to the twenty-seven mill levy requirement for general purposes.

What is the Special Malt Beverage Retailers License and Special Retail On-Sale Wine Dealers License?
Any municipality may issue these temporary licenses or permits:

(1)         A special malt beverage retailers license in conjunction with a special event within the municipality or county to any civic, charitable, educational, fraternal, or veterans organization or any licensee licensed pursuant to subdivision 35-4-2(4), (6), or (16) in addition to any other licenses held by the special events license applicant;
(2)        A special on-sale wine retailers license in conjunction with a special event within the municipality or county to any civic, charitable, educational, fraternal, or veterans organization or any licensee licensed pursuant to subdivision 35-4-2(4), (6), or (12) or chapter 35-12 in addition to any other licenses held by the special events license applicant;
(3)         A special on-sale license in conjunction with a special event within the municipality or county to any civic, charitable, educational, fraternal, or veterans organization or any licensee licensed pursuant to subdivision 35-4-2(4) or (6) in addition to any other licenses held by the special events license applicant; or
(4)         A special off-sale package wine dealers license in conjunction with a special event within the municipality or county to any civic, charitable, educational, fraternal, or veterans organization or any licensee licensed pursuant to subdivision 35-4-2(3), (5), (12), (17A), or (19) or chapter 35-12 in addition to any other licenses held by the special events license applicant. A special off-sale package wine dealer licensee may only sell wine manufactured by a farm winery that is licensed pursuant to chapter 35-12.

Any of these licenses may be issued for a period of time established by the municipality. However, no period of time may exceed fifteen consecutive days. No public hearing is required if the person applying for the license holds an on-sale alcoholic beverage license or a retail malt beverage license or holds an operating agreement for a municipal on-sale alcoholic beverage license and the license is to be used in a publicly owned facility. The local governing body shall establish rules to regulate and restrict the operation of the special license, including limiting the number of licenses that may be issued to any person within any calendar year.  (SDCL 35-4-124)

A municipality may allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on public property or property owned by a nonprofit corporation during a special event. The licenses above shall be issued to the person and the location specified on the application. The governing body of the municipality shall determine the fee for these licenses, and the fee is retained by the municipality. Each application shall be accompanied by the fee at the time of submission to the governing body of the municipality. (SDCL 35-4-125)

What is a municipal budget and is it required?
The budget is the master financial plan of the municipality, showing the proposed cost for each function of activity and the proposed means of financing them.  State law requires the preparation and submission of a budget. (SDCL 9-21-2)
 
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