Haymarket, Town of

County of Prince William

History of incorporation

Established, 1799, c. 54.

Incorporated, 1882, c. 185.

Charter, 1908, c. 143; amended and reenacted 1948, c. 373.

Charter, 1948, c. 373; repealed 1950, c. 540.

Current charter

Charter, 1950, c. 540.

Amendments to current charter

1952 Special Session, c. 7 (Art. III, § 1)

1964, c. 76 (Art. III, § 2 [added])

1970, c. 178 (Art. III, §1)

1972, c. 46 (Art. III, § 1)

2023, c. 70 (Art. II, § 1; Art. III, §§ 1, 2 [repealed]; Art. VIII, § 1 [repealed]; Art. IX, § 1; Art. X, § 1 [repealed]; Art. XI, § 1)

Article I. The Town Corporate.

§ 1. (1) The Inhabitants of the territory comprised within the limits of the town of Haymarket, as such limits are hereinafter set out or as the same may be hereafter altered and established by law, shall constitute and continue a body, politic and corporate, to be known and designated as the town of Haymarket, and as such shall have and may exercise all powers which are now or hereafter may be conferred upon or delegated to towns under the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as fully and completely as though such powers were specifically enumerated herein, and no enumeration of particular powers by this charter shall be held to be exclusive, and shall have, exercise and enjoy all the rights, immunities, powers and privileges and be subject to all the duties and obligations now appertaining to and incumbent on said town as a municipal corporation, and shall have perpetual succession, may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with, and may have a corporate seal which it may alter, renew or amend at its pleasure by proper ordinance. (1950, c. 540)

Article II. Corporate Limits.

§ 1. (1) The boundaries of the Town, until altered, shall be as shown in Chapter 540 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 1950 as modified by a boundary line adjustment entered into between the Town of Haymarket and the County of Prince William, approved by Circuit Court order recorded in the Prince William County land records as Instrument number 201402260012836. (1950, c. 540; 2023, c. 70)

Article III. Administration and Government.

§ 1. (1) The council members and mayor in office on April 7, 1950, shall continue in office until the first day of July of the year following termination of their respective terms or until their respective successors shall have been duly elected and qualified.

(2) On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, 2024, and every two years thereafter, there shall be elected by the qualified voters of the town, one elector of the town, who shall be denominated mayor, and six other electors, who shall be denominated council members, and the mayor and council members shall constitute the Town council. They shall enter upon the duties of their offices on the first day of January next succeeding their election and shall continue in office until their successors are duly elected and qualified. Every person so elected shall take the oath of office as prescribed by general law.

(3) [Repealed]

(4) [Repealed]

(5) A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

(6) Each member of the council may receive a salary to be fixed by the council, payable at such times and in such manner as the council may direct.

(7) The mayor shall preside at the meetings of the council and perform such other duties as are prescribed by this charter and by general law, and such as may be imposed by the council consistent with his office. The mayor shall have no right to vote in the council, except in case of a tie the mayor shall have the right to cast a vote to break the tie, but the mayor shall have the right to veto as provided in § 1 (8) of this Article III. The mayor shall have the following duties: to take care and see that the bylaws, ordinances, acts and resolutions of the council are faithfully executed and obeyed; to see that peace and good order are preserved and that persons and property within the town are protected; to authenticate such documents and instruments as the council, this charter, or the laws of this Commonwealth require; and from time to time recommend to the council such measures as seem needful for the welfare of the town.

(8) The mayor may veto an ordinance or resolution having the effect of an ordinance by transmitting it, with the reasons for the veto in writing, to the town clerk who shall enter the reasons for the mayor's veto at length on the minute book of the council. The council may thereupon proceed to reconsider such ordinance or resolution. If, after such consideration, two-thirds of all the members elected to the council agree to pass the ordinance or resolution, it shall become operative notwithstanding the veto of the mayor. In all such cases, the votes of members of the council upon such reconsideration and the names of the members voting for and against the ordinance or resolution shall be entered on the minute book of the council. If any ordinance or resolution having the effect of an ordinance shall not be returned by the mayor within five days (Sunday excepted) after passage by the council, it shall become operative without the mayor's signature, unless the mayor's term of office or that of the council expires within said five days.

(9) The council shall, as soon as practicable after qualification, and biennially thereafter following the regular municipal election, appoint one of its members as vice-mayor. The vice-mayor, during the absence or disability of the mayor, shall perform the duties and be vested with all the powers, authority, and jurisdiction of the mayor except the power to veto; and in the event of a vacancy for any reason in the office of mayor shall act as mayor until a mayor is duly appointed by the Town council or is elected. The member of the council who shall be chosen vice-mayor shall continue to have all of the rights, privileges, powers, duties and obligations of a council member even when performing the duties of mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor of the town.

(10) The council shall, by ordinance, fix the time for their regular meetings, which shall be held at least once a month. Special meetings may be called by the clerk at the instance of the mayor or any two members of the council in writing; and no other business shall be transacted at a special meeting except that stated in the call, unless all members be present and consent to the transaction of such other business. The meetings of the council shall be open to the public except when in the judgment of the council the public welfare shall require executive meetings consistent with the terms of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) as then in effect.

(11) The council shall keep a minute book, in which the clerk shall note the proceedings of the council and shall record proceedings at large on the minute book and keep the same properly indexed.

(12) The council may adopt rules for regulating its proceedings.

(13) There shall be appointed by the council at its first meeting in March, or as soon as practicable thereafter, a treasurer, who shall hold office for a term of two years. The council may provide a salary for the treasurer. The treasurere shall give such bond, with surety and in such penalty as the council prescribes. The treasurer shall receive all money belonging to the town and keep correct accounts of all receipts from all sources and of all expenditures of all departments. The treasurer shall be responsible for the collection of all taxes, license fees, levies and charges due to the town and shall disburse the moneys of the town in the manner prescribed by the council as it may by ordinance direct.

(14) The treasurer shall make such reports and at such time as the council may prescribe. The books and accounts of the treasurer shall be examined and audited in accordance with general law.

(15) The council may in its discretion designate the place of deposit of all town funds, consistent with state law, which shall be kept by the treasurer separate and apart from the treasurer's personal funds.

(16) There shall be appointed by the council, at its first regular meeting in March after its election, a clerk of the council, who need not be a resident of the town, and who shall hold office at the pleasure of the council. The clerk shall attend the meetings of the council and keep its minutes and records and have charge of the corporate seal and shall attest the same. The clerk shall keep all papers required to be kept by the council, shall publish such reports and ordinances as are required to be published, and shall perform such other duties as the council may from time to time require. The clerk's compensation shall be fixed by the council. Any vacancy in this office shall be filled by the council.

(17) There shall be appointed by the council at its first regular meeting in March or as soon as practicable thereafter, a town sergeant, who shall also be chief of police, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the council. The town sergeant's duties shall be such as the council prescribes. The town sergeant shall be vested with the powers of a conservator of the peace. The town sergeant's compensation shall be fixed by the council.

(18) [Repealed]

(19) The council may appoint or select such other officers as may be necessary, including a business manager for the town, and fix their salaries and define their duties.

(20) All ordinances, resolutions and bylaws passed by the council take effect at the time indicated in such ordinances, resolutions or bylaws, but in event no effective date shall be set forth in any such ordinances, resolutions or bylaws passed by the council, the same shall become effective thirty days from its passage. (1950, c. 540; 1952 Sp Sess, c. 7; 1970, c. 178; 1972, c. 46; 2023, c. 70)

§ 2. (1964, c. 76; repealed 2023, c. 70)

Article IV. Taxation and Finances.

§ 1. (1) The Town council shall have control of taxation and finances for its municipal purposes. It shall have the following powers:

(2) To prepare, or cause to be prepared, annually a budget showing the estimated receipts and proposed expenditures for town purposes as required by State law, and to publish the same.

(3) To raise annually by levy and collection of taxes and assessments in the said town on all such property, real and personal, as is now or may hereafter be subject to taxation by towns by the laws of the Commonwealth, such sums of money as the council thereof may deem necessary for the purposes of the said town in such manner as the said council shall deem expedient in accordance with this charter, the Constitution and laws of this State and the United States; provided, however, that it shall impose no taxes on the bonds of the said town.

(4) To impose special or local assessments for local improvements and enforce the payment thereof, subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by the Constitution and laws of this State, as may be in force at the time of the imposition of such special or local assessments.

(5) To contract debts in the name of and for the use of the town and make and issue, or cause to be made and issued, as evidence thereof, bonds, notes or other obligations, within the limitations prescribed by the Constitution and laws of this State concerning bonds issued by towns, upon credit of the town, or solely upon the credit of specific property owned by the town or solely upon the credit of income derived from property used in connection with any public utility owned and operated by the town.

(6) To borrow money temporarily, pending the issuance and sale of any bonds, notes or other obligations authorized by this charter, or in anticipation of the receipt of taxes and revenue of the current fiscal year, and to issue notes or other evidences of indebtedness therefor, and from time to time to renew such temporary loans or to use current funds to be ultimately repaid from the proceeds of said bonds, notes or other obligations, or from the town taxes and revenues, as the case may be.

(7) To expend the money of the town for all lawful purposes.

(8) To levy a tax or a license on any slot machine or similar device of any kind, whether a license may be required therefor by the State or not, and may, if permitted by general law, exceed the State license, if any be required, and may provide penalties for any violation thereof.

(9) To license and regulate the holding and location of shows, circuses, public exhibitions, carnivals, and other similar shows or fairs, or prohibit the holding of the same, or any of them within the limits of the town or within one mile thereof; provided that the license fee for holding any of the foregoing within one mile of the town shall only be sufficient to provide regulation and protection.

(10) To impose licenses by ordinance upon businesses, trades, professions or callings, and upon persons, firms, associations or corporations engaged therein or offering to do business within the boundaries of the town, whose principal office is or is not located in the town, except when prohibited by general law, whether or not a license may be required therefor by the State. The fee for such license may exceed the State license fee if any be required.

(11) Licenses may also be imposed upon and a fee therefor collected from persons, firms, or corporations selling and delivering at the same time at other than a definite place of business, goods, wares or merchandise, to licensed dealers or retailers in the town.

(12) For every license issued or transferred under this charter, there may be prescribed by ordinance a reasonable charge or fee, for issuing or transferring the same. Such charges or fees shall be paid into the town treasury.

(13) A lien shall exist on all real estate within the corporate limits for taxes, levies, penalties or assessments in favor of the town, levied or assessed thereon from the commencement of the year for which the same was levied or assessed, and the penalties and procedure for collecting such taxes and for selling real estate for town taxes shall be the same as provided by the general laws of this Commonwealth. The council shall have the benefit of all other remedies for the collection of town taxes which are now, or may hereafter be permitted under the general law of the State, including the power to distrain goods and chattels for failure to pay taxes levied thereon. (1950, c. 540)

Article V. Property.

§ 1. The Town council shall have within the provisions of general law and the Constitution of this State the following powers:

(1) To acquire by purchase, gift, devise, condemnation, or otherwise, as provided by general law and the Constitution of this State, property, real or personal, or any estate therein within or without the town, for any purpose of the town, and to hold, improve, sell, lease, mortgage, or pledge, or otherwise dispose of the same or any part thereof, including any property now owned by the town.

(2) To acquire by gift, purchase, exchange or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain within this State, lands, or any interest or estate in lands, rock quarries, gravel pits, sandpits, water and water rights, and the necessary roadways thereto, either within or without the town, and to acquire and install machinery and equipment and build the necessary roads or trainways thereto, and to operate the same for producing material required for any and all purposes of the town.

(3) To acquire and operate parks, playgrounds, and public grounds within or without the corporate limits of the town, and to place on the same either within or without the town, stadia, swimming pools, recreation and amusement buildings, structures or enclosures of every character, and charge admission thereto, and to rent out or lease the privileges of the same.

(4) To acquire by condemnation, purchase or otherwise, provide for, maintain, operate and protect aircraft landing fields either within or without the corporate limits of the town.

(5) To acquire in any lawful manner, for the purpose of encouraging commerce and manufacture, lands within or without the town, not exceeding at any one time five hundred acres in the aggregate, and from time to time sell or lease the same or any part thereof for industrial or commercial use and purposes, irrespective of the consideration paid for such lease or sale.

(6) To construct, purchase, maintain, regulate and operate public improvements of all kinds, including municipal and other buildings, armories, sewage disposal plants, jails, comfort stations, markets and all buildings and structures necessary or appropriate for the use and proper operation of various departments of the town and to acquire by condemnation or otherwise all lands, riparian and other rights and easements necessary for such improvements, or any of them, and, either within or without the town to construct, maintain, or aid therein, roads and bridges to any property owned by the said town, and situated beyond the corporate limits thereof, and to acquire land necessary for the aforesaid uses by condemnation or otherwise.

(7) To provide in or near the town land to be used as burial places for the dead, to improve and care for the same and the approaches thereto, and to charge for and regulate the use of the ground therein, to cooperate with any nonprofit corporation or association in the improvements and care of burial places and approaches thereto; and to provide for the perpetual upkeep and care of any plot or burial lot therein, the town is authorized to take and receive sums of money by gift, bequest, or otherwise, to be kept and invested, and the income thereof used in and about the perpetual upkeep and care of the said lot or plot for which the said donation, gift, or bequest has been made. And all acts of the said town in accepting from any cemetery company, society or corporation such land to be used as a burial place for the dead, whether the land has been heretofore used or not, as well as all contracts and agreements made with any person or persons for perpetual care and maintenance, are hereby declared valid. (1950, c. 540)

Article VI. Utilities.

§ 1. The Town council shall have the following powers:

(1) To own, operate and maintain electric light and gas works, either within or without the corporate limits of the town and to supply electricity and gas, whether the same be generated or purchased by said town, to its customers and consumers both within and without the corporate limits of the said town, at such price and upon such terms as it may prescribe, and to that end it may contract for and purchase electricity and gas from the owners thereof upon such terms as it may deem expedient.

(2) To own, operate and maintain water works and to acquire in any lawful manner in any county of the State, such water, lands, property rights and riparian rights as the council of the town may deem necessary for the purpose of providing an adequate water supply to the town and piping and conducting the same; to lay, erect and maintain all necessary mains and sewer lines, either within or without the corporate limits of the town, and to require abutting property owners within such corporate limits to connect therewith, for the distribution of water to its customers and consumers, both within and without the corporate limits of the town, and to charge and collect water rents therefor; to erect and maintain all necessary dams, pumping stations and other works in connection therewith; to make reasonable rules and regulations promoting the purity of its water supply and for protecting the same from pollution; and for this purpose to exercise full police powers and sanitary patrol over all land comprised within the limits of the watershed, tributary to any such water supply wherever such lands may be located in this State; to impose and enforce adequate penalties for the violation of any such rules and regulations; and to prevent by injunction any pollution or threatened pollution of such water supply, and any and all acts likely to impair the purity thereof; and to carry out the powers herein granted, the town may exercise within the State all powers of eminent domain provided by the laws of this State.

(3) To establish, construct, and maintain sanitary sewers, sewer lines and systems, and to require abutting property owners to connect therewith; to establish, construct, maintain, and operate sewage disposal plants, and to acquire by condemnation or otherwise, within or without the town limits, all land, rights-of-way, riparian and other rights and easements necessary for said purposes, and to charge and assess and collect reasonable fees, rentals, assessments of costs of service for connecting with and using the same.

(4) To charge and collect fees for permits to use public facilities and for public services and privileges; and to have the right and power to charge for any service rendered or convenience furnished to those residing without the corporate limits different from the rates charged for similar services or conveniences to those residing within the corporate limits.

(5) To collect and dispose of sewage, offal, ashes, garbage, carcasses of dead animals, and other refuse, and make reasonable charges therefor, to acquire and operate reduction or any other plants for utilization and disposal of such material; to contract for or regulate the collection and disposal thereof; and to require the collection and disposal thereof, and to acquire land within or without the town for said purpose.

(6) To establish, impose and enforce the collection of water and sewage rates, and rates and charges for public utilities, or other services, products, or conveniences, operated, rented, or furnished by the town; and to assess, or cause to be assessed, after reasonable notice to the owner or owners, water and sewage rates and charge directly against the owner or owners of the building, or against the proper tenant or tenants; and may by ordinance require a deposit of such reasonable amount as it may prescribe before furnishing such service either to owner or tenant.

(7) To grant franchises for public utilities in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and general laws; provided, however, the town shall at any time have the power to construct, own, operate, manage, sell, encumber, or otherwise dispose of, either within or without the town, any and all public utilities for the town, and to sell the services thereof any existing franchises to the contrary notwithstanding.

(8) To regulate, permit or prohibit poles and wires for electric, telephone, and telegraph purposes erected or to be erected and gas pipes to be laid in the streets and alleys of the town; to require the owner or lessee of an electric light, telephone, or telegraph pole, or poles, or wires, now in use or hereafter erected, to change the location of or move the same. (1950, c. 540)

Article VII. Streets.

§ 1. 1. The Town council shall have the following powers:

(1) The town shall have the power to acquire, establish, enter, open, widen, extend, grade, improve, construct, maintain, and clear public highways, streets, sidewalks, boulevards, parkways, alleys and to alter, vacate, or close the same; to establish and maintain parks, golf courses, playgrounds and public grounds and to keep them lighted and in good order; to construct, maintain and operate bridges, viaducts, subways, tunnels, sewers and drains, and to regulate the use of all such highways, parks, public grounds and works; to plant and maintain or remove shade trees along the streets and upon such public grounds; to prevent the obstruction of such streets, alleys and highways, to regulate the operation and speed of cars and vehicles within the streets and highways within the town and to do all other things whatsoever adapted to make the streets and highways safe, convenient and attractive.

(2) To give names to or alter the names of the streets. (1950, c. 540)

Article VIII. Building Regulations. (Repealed)

§ 1. (1950, c. 540; repealed 2023, c. 70)

Article IX. Additional Powers.

§ 1. In addition to powers elsewhere mentioned in this charter and the powers conferred by general law and the Constitution, the town shall have the following powers:

(1) To compel the abatement and removal of all nuisances within the town or upon property owned by the town without its limits at the expense of the person or persons causing the same or of the owner or occupant of the ground or premises wherein the same may be, and to collect said expense by suit or motion or by distress and sale; to require all lands, lots and other premises within the town to be kept clean and sanitary and free from stagnant water, weeds, filth, and unsightly deposits, or to make them so at the expense of the owners or occupants thereof, and to collect said expense by suit or motion or by distress and sale; to regulate or prevent noisome or offensive business within the said town, or the exercise of any dangerous or unwholesome business, trade, or employment therein; to regulate the transportation of all articles through the streets of the town; to compel the abatement of smoke and dust, and prevent unnecessary noise; to regulate the location of stables and the manner in which the same shall be constructed and kept; to regulate the location, construction, operation, and maintenance of billboards and signs; generally to define, prohibit, abate, suppress, and prevent all things detrimental to the health, morals, aesthetics, safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants of the town; and to require all owners or occupants of property having public sidewalks adjacent thereto to keep the same clean and sanitary, free from weeds, filth, unsightly deposits, ice and snow, and any obstruction.

(2) [Repealed]

(3) [Repealed]

(4) [Repealed]

(5) [Repealed]

(6) To provide and maintain, either within or without the town, charitable, recreative, curative, corrective, detention or penal institutions.

(7) To regulate poultry or other fowl, hogs, dogs or other animals being kept in or running at large in the town, or any thickly populated portion thereof, and to subject the same to such taxes, regulations and penalties as the council may think proper.

(8) [Repealed]

(9) To establish markets in the town and regulate the same and to enforce such regulations in regard to the keeping and sale of fresh meats, vegetables, eggs, and other green groceries, and the trade of hucksters and junk dealers as may be deemed advisable.

(10) [Repealed]

(11) To exercise full police powers and establish and maintain a department or division of police.

(12) [Repealed]

(13) [Repealed]

(14) [Repealed]

(15) [Repealed]

(16) To enjoin and restrain the violation of any town ordinance or ordinances, although a penalty is provided upon the conviction of such violation.

(17) To pass and enforce all by-laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances which it may deem necessary for the good order and government of the town, the management of its property, the conduct of its affairs, the peace, comfort, convenience, order, morals, health, and protection of the citizens and their property, and to do such other things and pass such other laws as may be necessary or proper to carry into full effect all powers, authority, capacity or jurisdiction, which is or shall be granted to or vested in said town, or in the council, court of officers, thereof or which may be a necessary incident to a municipal corporation.

(18) To do all things whatsoever necessary or expedient and lawful to be done for promoting or maintaining the general welfare, comfort, education, morals, government, peace, health, trade, commerce, or industries of the town, or its inhabitants.

(19) To offer and pay rewards for the apprehension of criminals.

(20) [Repealed]

(21) [Repealed]

(22) [Repealed]

(23) [Repealed]

(24) [Repealed]

(25) [Repealed]

(26) To make and enforce and effect by ordinances any and all the laws of this State.

(27) [Repealed]

(28) The enumeration of particular powers by this charter shall not be deemed to be exclusive, and in addition to the powers enumerated herein or implied hereby, or appropriate to the exercise of such powers, it is intended that the Town council shall have and may exercise all powers which, under the Constitution and laws of this State, it would be competent for this charter specifically to enumerate. (1950, c. 540; 2023, c. 70)

Article X. Actions against Town. (Repealed)

§ 1. (1950, c. 540; repealed 2023, c. 70)

Article XI. Miscellaneous.

§ 1. (1) If any clause, sentence, paragraph, or part of this act shall for any reason be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of the act, but shall be confined in its operation to the part of the act directly involved in the controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.

(2) This act may be referred to or cited as the Haymarket Charter of 2022. (1950, c. 540; 2023, c. 70)