Source: Bellingham City Charter

OPTIONS UNDER ARTICLE X - (in plain language)

Citizen Initiative Process - City of Bellingham

We wish to make clear our understanding of the provisions of the Bellingham City Charter, as it relates to Council action in response to a Citizen Initiative. This is covered in Article X : "DIRECT LEGISLATION".
(If it appears that this description is inaccurate, please tell us where.)
Using plain language to name the steps and possibilities:....


The Finance Director checks for enough signatures and sends it to the City Council as an Introduction item. There's a so-many-days time limit. The Council must deal with this before anything except money and emergencies. (Sect. 10.02)
(note: this was done on Aug 10th. The Aug 16th packet contains the item.)


  • The Council may enact it outright - (the first option).
  • The Council may reject it, which puts it on the next General ballot - (the second option). (The City may not change it - this is not an option.)
  • If the Council rejects it they may write their own alternative and put both on the ballot - (the third option).
  • The Council may do nothing; the Finance Director then must put it on the ballot - (the fourth option). (Sects. 10.04 and 10.05)

The Charter says how to deal with voting on one or two similar bills, so that it's not possible for both to pass: just like for two candidates, the one with most votes becomes law. (Sect. 10.07)

There are no other provisions or options within the City Charter.

A separate memo outlines the City Council actions which will be started by the successful vote at the polls.

ps: the full text of the Charter is available on the TIG website
and on the City's as well.
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edited February 10th , 2000 -- mgb