american jurisprudence, second edition

database updated may 2003


municipal corporations, counties, and other political subdivisions

kenneth w. biedzynski, j.d., richard b. gallagher, j.d., stephanie giggetts,

j.d., gary a. hughes, j.d., mindy pittell hurwitz, j.d., theresa l. leming,

j.d., william lindsley, j.d., eric c. surette, j.d., tim a. thomas, j.d., and

jane e. lehman, j.d. and anne e. melley, j.d., of the national legal research

group, inc.

vi. powers, functions, and duties of municipalities

a. in general

1. generally


topic summary; topic contents; parallel references; list of topics; index



§ 167. delegated powers



  the powers of municipal corporations and counties are derived solely through the state legislature, [fn1] except when the home-rule provisions of the state constitution vest local governmental bodies with some degree of local sovereignty, independent of the legislature. [fn2] however, powers the state legislature does not itself possess cannot be transferred to or shared with local governments. [fn3]


  a statute may provide that a municipality has the power to act unless a particular power is denied by the statute, [fn4] or municipalities may have only those powers expressly or impliedly granted by the state constitution or legislature. [fn5]



              practice guide: municipal corporations have no inherent powers. [fn6]



  if the municipalities' powers are derived from the state legislature, the legislature may enlarge, abridge, or entirely withdraw those powers. [fn7]



[fn1]. joslin mfg. co. v. city of providence, 262 u.s. 668, 43 s. ct. 684, 67 l. ed. 1167 (1923) (distinguished by, gramlich v. joint county park bd., 191 f.2d 792 (7th cir. 1951)) and (distinguished by, remington realty co. v. city of providence, 89 r.i. 102, 151 a.2d 376 (1959)); chicago motor coach co. v. city of chicago, 337 ill. 200, 169 n.e. 22, 66 a.l.r. 834 (1929) (overruling on other grounds recognized by, american tel. & tel. co. v. village of arlington heights, 216 ill. app. 3d 474, 160 ill. dec. 30, 576 n.e.2d 984 (1st dist. 1991)) and (abrogation on other grounds recognized by, american tel. & tel. co. v. village of arlington heights, 138 pub. util. rep. 4th (pur) 351, 1992 wl 356097 (ill. 1992)); carroll v. city of cedar falls, 221 iowa 277, 261 n.w. 652 (1935); city of owensboro v. board of trustees of public library of owensboro, 210 ky. 482, 276 s.w. 143 (1925); harsha v. city of detroit, 261 mich. 586, 246 n.w. 849, 90 a.l.r. 853 (1933); gunter v. city of jackson, 130 miss. 686, 94 so. 842, 27 a.l.r. 1043 (1923); hart v. teaneck tp., 135 n.j.l. 174, 50 a.2d 856, 169 a.l.r. 973 (n.j. ct. err. & app. 1947); munro v. city of albuquerque, 48 n.m. 306, 150 p.2d 733 (1943); geauga cty. bd. of commrs. v. munn rd. sand & gravel, 67 ohio st. 3d 579, 621 n.e.2d 696 (1993); city of sapulpa v. land, 1924 ok 92, 101 okla. 22, 223 p. 640 (1924); state ex rel. bayer v. funk, 105 or. 134, 209 p. 113, 25 a.l.r. 625 (1922); shirk v. city of lancaster, 313 pa. 158, 169 a. 557, 90 a.l.r. 688 (1933); williams v. wylie, 217 s.c. 247, 60 s.e.2d 586, 21 a.l.r.2d 717 (1950); state ex rel. witcher v. bilbrey, 878 s.w.2d 567 (tenn. ct. app. 1994), appeal denied, (june 13, 1994); village of hardwick v. town of wolcott, 98 vt. 343, 129 a. 159, 39 a.l.r. 1222 (1925); town of falls church v. arlington county bd., 166 va. 192, 184 s.e. 459 (1936); brown v. city of cle elum, 145 wash. 588, 261 p. 112, 55 a.l.r. 1175 (1927) (distinguished by, wilson v. city of mountlake terrace, 69 wash. 2d 148, 417 p.2d 632 (1966)); state ex rel. smith v. wertz, 91 w. va. 622, 114 s.e. 242, 29 a.l.r. 391 (1922).



[fn2]. holm-sutherland co., inc. v. town of shelby, 1999 mt 150, 295 mont. 65, 982 p.2d 1053 (1999).

  as to chartered municipalities, see § § 108 et seq.

  as to the constitutional delegation of legislative powers, see am. jur. 2d, constitutional law § § 293 to 312.

  as to the doctrine that the creation of municipal corporations exercising delegated powers of local self-government does not contradict the rule prohibiting delegation, see am. jur. 2d, constitutional law § 309.



[fn3]. sugarloaf citizens ass'n, inc. v. gudis, 319 md. 558, 573 a.2d 1325 (1990).



[fn4]. goodell v. humboldt county, 575 n.w.2d 486 (iowa 1998).



[fn5]. kenai peninsula borough v. associated grocers, inc., 889 p.2d 604 (alaska 1995); arizona dept. of revenue v. arizona public service co., 188 ariz. 232, 934 p.2d 796 (ct. app. div. 1 1997); pacific gas & electric co. v. county of stanislaus, 16 cal. 4th 1143, 69 cal. rptr. 2d 329, 947 p.2d 291 (1997); bainbridge, inc. v. board of county com'rs of county of douglas, 964 p.2d 575 (colo. ct. app. 1998), reh'g denied, (mar. 19, 1998) and cert. denied, (oct. 19, 1998); twiggs county v. atlanta gas light co., 262 ga. 276, 417 s.e.2d 13 (1992); american waste and pollution control co. v. st. martin parish police jury, 609 so. 2d 201 (la. 1992), related reference, 627 so. 2d 158 (la. 1993), reh'g denied, (jan. 6, 1994); holmes v. maryland reclamation associates, inc., 90 md. app. 120, 600 a.2d 864 (1992), cert. granted, 327 md. 55, 607 a.2d 564 (1992) and cert. dismissed, 328 md. 229, 614 a.2d 78 (1992) and related reference, 1993 wl 460835 (d. md. 1993) and related reference, 342 md. 476, 677 a.2d 567 (1996) (distinguished by, county com'rs of queen anne's county v. days cove reclamation co., 122 md. app. 505, 713 a.2d 351 (1998)); state ex rel. scherer v. madison county com'rs of madison county, 247 neb. 384, 527 n.w.2d 615 (1995) (declined to extend by, sanitary and imp. dist. no. 2 of stanton county v. county of stanton, 252 neb. 731, 567 n.w.2d 115 (1997)); board of water com'rs, laconia water works v. mooney, 139 n.h. 621, 660 a.2d 1121 (1995) (declined to extend by, taber v. town of westmoreland, 140 n.h. 613, 670 a.2d 1034 (1996)); bolton v. board of county com'rs of valencia county, 119 n.m. 355, 890 p.2d 808 (ct. app. 1994), cert. denied, 119 n.m. 311, 889 p.2d 1233 (1995) and (distinguished by, board of com'rs of rio arriba county v. greacen, 2000 -nmsc- 016, 3 p.2d 6723 p.3d 672 (n.m. 2000)); city of bismarck v. fettig, 1999 nd 193, 601 n.w.2d 247 (n.d. 1999); hawkins v. town of foster, 708 a.2d 178 (r.i. 1998); piedmont public service dist. v. cowart, 319 s.c. 124, 459 s.e.2d 876 (ct. app. 1995), reh'g denied, (aug. 8, 1995) and cert. granted, (mar. 20, 1996) and aff'd, 324 s.c. 239, 478 s.e.2d 836 (1996); weese v. davis county com'n, 834 p.2d 1 (utah 1992); state v. yorkey, 163 vt. 355, 657 a.2d 1079 (1995); superb video v. county of kenosha, 195 wis. 2d 715, 537 n.w.2d 25 (ct. app. 1995), review denied, 540 n.w.2d 201 (wis. 1995); ford v. board of county com'rs of converse county, 924 p.2d 91 (wyo. 1996).

  the state constitution confers upon all cities and counties the power to make and enforce within their limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with the general state laws. kucera v. lizza, 59 cal. app. 4th 1141, 69 cal. rptr. 2d 582 (1st dist. 1997), reh'g denied, (jan. 7, 1998) and review denied, (feb. 25, 1998).

  counties possess only those powers and duties imposed on them by statute. saunders v. mcfaul, 71 ohio app. 3d 46, 593 n.e.2d 24 (8th dist. cuyahoga county 1990) (disagreed on other grounds with by, williams v. franklin cty., ohio sheriff's dept., 84 ohio app. 3d 826, 619 n.e.2d 23 (10th dist. franklin county 1992)).

  villages have only such powers and authority as is conferred upon them by the state legislature, and powers reasonably incidental thereto. village of webster v. town of webster, 270 a.d.2d 910, 705 n.y.s.2d 774 (4th dep't 2000), appeal and reargument denied, 710 n.y.s.2d 238 (app. div. 4th dep't 2000).



[fn6]. cosgrove v. city of west memphis, 327 ark. 324, 938 s.w.2d 827 (1997); dill v. board of county com'rs of lincoln county, 928 p.2d 809 (colo. ct. app. 1996), reh'g denied, (oct. 10, 1996); windham taxpayers ass'n v. board of selectmen of town of windham, 234 conn. 513, 662 a.2d 1281, 102 ed. law rep. 1116 (1995); boyd for and on behalf of 2,463 signatories v. ford, 133 ill. app. 3d 626, 88 ill. dec. 724, 479 n.e.2d 337 (5th dist. 1985); graham v. kochville township, 236 mich. app. 141, 599 n.w.2d 793 (1999); northern states power co. v. city of oakdale, 588 n.w.2d 534 (minn. ct. app. 1999); new york telephone co. v. city of amsterdam, 200 a.d.2d 315, 613 n.y.s.2d 993 (3d dep't 1994); donovan v. city of deadwood, 538 n.w.2d 790 (s.d. 1995); city of huntington v. bacon, 196 w. va. 457, 473 s.e.2d 743, 111 ed. law rep. 1001 (1996); northwest properties v. outagamie county, 223 wis. 2d 483, 589 n.w.2d 683 (ct. app. 1998), review denied, 224 wis. 2d 265, 590 n.w.2d 490 (1999).



[fn7]. cape girardeau county court v. u.s., 118 u.s. 68, 6 s. ct. 951, 30 l. ed. 73 (1886); town of mt. pleasant v. beckwith, 100 u.s. 514, 25 l. ed. 699 (1879).

  a county government possesses only those powers granted to it by the general assembly, and is subject to the power of the general assembly to enlarge or diminish its powers or to be abolished at any time by an act of the general assembly. candler v. blevins, 922 s.w.2d 376 (ky. 1996).

  as to the existence of an inherent right of local self-government with respect to certain municipal matters, see § 107.



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 amjur munccorp § 167

end of document

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