Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 14. Governing Bodies of Localities
12/5/2021

Chapter 14. Governing Bodies of Localities.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 15.2-1400. (Effective until January 1, 2022) Governing bodies.

A. The qualified voters of every locality shall elect a governing body for such locality. The date, place, number, term, and other details of the election shall be as specified by law, general or special. Qualification for office is provided in Article 4 (§ 15.2-1522 et seq.) of Chapter 15.

B. The governing body of every locality shall be composed of not fewer than three nor more than 11 members.

C. Chairmen, mayors, supervisors, and councilmen are subject to the prohibitions set forth in §§ 15.2-1534 and 15.2-1535.

D. A governing body may punish or fine a member of the governing body for disorderly behavior.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 24.2-222 and 24.2-222.1, any city or town charter, or any other provision of law, general or special, beginning with any election held after January 1, 2022, elections for mayor, members of a local governing body, or members of an elected school board shall be held at the time of the November general election for terms to commence January 1.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 199, § 15.1-37.4; 1982, c. 297; 1983, c. 595; 1995, c. 249; 1997, c. 587; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 103.

§ 15.2-1400. (Effective January 1, 2022) Governing bodies.

A. The qualified voters of every locality shall elect a governing body for such locality. The date, place, number, term, and other details of the election shall be as specified by law, general or special. Qualification for office is provided in Article 4 (§ 15.2-1522 et seq.) of Chapter 15.

B. The governing body of every locality shall be composed of not fewer than three nor more than 11 members.

C. Chairmen, mayors, supervisors, and councilmen are subject to the prohibitions set forth in §§ 15.2-1534 and 15.2-1535.

D. A governing body may punish or fine a member of the governing body for disorderly behavior.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 24.2-222 and 24.2-222.1, any city or town charter, or any other provision of law, general or special, beginning with any election held after January 1, 2022, elections for mayor, members of a local governing body, or members of an elected school board shall be held at the time of the November general election for terms to commence January 1.

F. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, in a locality that imposes district-based or ward-based residency requirements for members of the governing body, the member elected from each district or ward shall be elected by the qualified voters of that district or ward and not by the locality at large.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 199, § 15.1-37.4; 1982, c. 297; 1983, c. 595; 1995, c. 249; 1997, c. 587; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 103, 225.

§ 15.2-1401. Powers granted localities vested in their governing bodies.

Unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context in which the provisions relating thereto are set forth, all powers granted to localities shall be vested in their respective governing bodies.

1962, c. 623, § 15.1-7; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1402. Declared to be body politic of Commonwealth; seal.

Every locality of this Commonwealth is hereby declared to be a body politic of the Commonwealth and may have a seal and alter the same at its pleasure.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1403. Governing body to be continuing body.

Every governing body of a locality shall be a continuing body, and no measure pending before such body shall abate or be discontinued by reason of expiration of the term of office or removal of any or all members of the governing body.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1404. How localities may sue or be sued; arbitration.

Every locality may sue or be sued in its own name in relation to all matters connected with its duties. The process instituting suit against a locality shall be served as provided in § 8.01-300.

The governing body of any locality may enter into a written agreement to submit any existing controversy to arbitration and may execute a contract which contains a provision to submit to arbitration any controversy thereafter arising.

Code 1950, § 15-3; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-508; 1968, c. 422; 1985, c. 416; 1987, c. 483; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1405. Immunity of members of local governmental entities; exception.

The members of the governing bodies of any locality or political subdivision and the members of boards, commissions, agencies and authorities thereof and other governing bodies of any local governmental entity, whether compensated or not, shall be immune from suit arising from the exercise or failure to exercise their discretionary or governmental authority as members of the governing body, board, commission, agency or authority which does not involve the unauthorized appropriation or misappropriation of funds. However, the immunity granted by this section shall not apply to conduct constituting intentional or willful misconduct or gross negligence.

1987, cc. 261, 290, § 15.1-7.01; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1406. Compensation of governing bodies.

The compensation of governing bodies and their chairmen, vice-chairmen, mayors and vice-mayors shall be determined as provided in Article 1.1 (§ 15.2-1414.1 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 15.2.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1407. Administrative leave for certain members of governing bodies.

Any duly elected member of a governing body who is an employee of that locality may receive administrative leave each year in addition to his annual and sick leave.

Code 1950, § 15-5; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-13; 1987, c. 432; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1408. Restrictions on activities of former officers and employees by certain counties and cities.

A. The term "officer or employee," as used in this section, includes members of local governing bodies, county or city officers and employees, and individuals who receive monetary compensation for service on or employment by agencies, boards, authorities, sanitary districts, commissions, committees, and task forces appointed by the local governing body.

B. In the Counties of Bedford, Fauquier, James City, Pittsylvania, and Stafford and the Cities of Charlottesville and Virginia Beach, the governing body, by ordinance, may prohibit former officers and employees, for one year after their terms of office have ended or employment ceased, from providing personal and substantial assistance for remuneration of any kind to any party, in connection with any proceeding, application, case, contract, or other particular matter involving the county or city or an agency thereof, if that matter is one in which the former officer or employee participated personally and substantially as a county or city officer or employee through decision, approval, or recommendation.

C. In the City of Richmond, the governing body, by ordinance, may prohibit former officers and employees, for one year after their terms of office have ended or employment has ceased, from representing a client or acting in a representative capacity on behalf of any person or group, for compensation, on matters related to ordinances, contracts, proceedings, applications, cases, or other matters of any nature involving any agency, department, or office of local government in which the former officer or employee served or was employed during the one-year period immediately prior to the termination of employment or service. This prohibition shall be in addition to any other prohibition that may be provided by law.

1991, c. 582, § 15.1-29.22; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 945; 2005, cc. 257, 289; 2019, cc. 111, 472.

§ 15.2-1409. Investigations by governing bodies.

The governing body of any locality may make such investigations relating to its government affairs as it deems necessary, may employ financial, legal and other personnel it deems necessary to assist in such investigations, may order the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers and may administer oaths. Such governing bodies may apply to the circuit court for their locality for a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum against any person refusing to appear and testify or refusing to produce books, papers or records as ordered by such governing bodies and the judge of such court shall, upon good cause shown, cause the subpoenas to be issued. Any person failing to comply with any such subpoena shall be subject to punishment for contempt by the court issuing the subpoena.

Code 1950, § 15-394; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-801; 1980, c. 335; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1410. Chairman and mayor may administer oaths.

Every chairman and mayor shall have power to administer an oath to any person concerning any matter submitted to the board or council or connected with their powers or duties.

Code 1950, § 15-234; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-529; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1411. Appointment of advisory boards, committees and commissions; compensation and reimbursement of expenses.

The governing body of any locality may appoint such advisory boards, committees, and commissions as it deems necessary to advise the governing body with regard to any matter of concern to the locality. Members shall be appointed to serve at the pleasure of the governing body.

The governing body may provide for (i) reimbursement of the actual expenses incurred by members while serving on such advisory boards, committees, and commissions and (ii) compensation to members for their services for attendance at regularly scheduled meetings, and for training in an amount determined appropriate by the governing body from available funds.

1981, c. 254, § 15.1-33.2; 1993, c. 894; 1994, c. 165; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 27; 2005, cc. 740, 879.

§ 15.2-1412. Reproductions of records and documents and legal status thereof; destruction of originals.

Any locality may provide for the photographing or microphotographing, or the recording by any other process which accurately reproduces or forms a durable medium for reproducing the original of all or any part of the papers, records, documents or other material kept by or in the charge of any department, agency or institution of such locality in accordance with such standards and retention schedules as may be issued in pursuance of § 42.1-82.

A reproduction thereof if substantially the same size as the original, when satisfactorily identified, is as admissible in evidence as the original itself in any judicial or administrative proceeding whether the original is in existence or not, and an enlargement or facsimile of such reproduction is likewise admissible in evidence if the original reproduction is in existence and available for inspection under direction of the court. The introduction of a reproduced record, enlargement or facsimile, does not preclude admission of the original.

Whenever photographs or microphotographs have been made and put in conveniently accessible files, and provision has been made for preserving, examining and using the same, the locality may notify the Librarian of Virginia that it intends to destroy the records and papers so photographed or microphotographed, or any part thereof. If within sixty days the Librarian of Virginia has not notified the locality that such records or papers should be retained, the locality may destroy them. A locality may also, in its discretion, consult with the locality's librarian with reference to the advisability of destroying any such records, papers, documents or other material because of any historical significance or value.

Code 1950, § 15-5.1; 1952, c. 289; 1958, c. 9; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-8; 1966, c. 303; 1970, c. 225; 1979, c. 155; 1983, c. 419; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 427; 2012, c. 802.

§ 15.2-1413. Governing bodies of localities may provide for continuity of government in case of enemy attack, etc.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, any locality may, by ordinance, provide a method to assure continuity in its government, in the event of an enemy attack or other disaster. Such ordinance shall be limited in its effect to a period not exceeding 12 months after any such attack or disaster and shall provide for a method for the resumption of normal governmental authority by the end of the 12-month period.

1964, c. 307, § 15.1-13.1; 1997, c. 587; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 295.

§ 15.2-1414. Governing bodies may have a legal enumeration of the population.

Any locality wishing to have a legal enumeration of the population of the locality, or part thereof, may make application therefor to the circuit court for the locality. When the application is made, the judge shall forthwith divide the locality, or part thereof, into such districts, with well-defined boundaries, as may appear advisable and shall appoint for each of the districts one enumerator. Before entering on their duties, such appointees shall take an oath before a notary public or other officer qualified to administer oaths under the laws of this Commonwealth, for the faithful discharge of their duties. The enumerators shall at once proceed to enumerate the actual bona fide inhabitants of their respective districts. They shall report to the judge the result of their enumeration and a list of the persons enumerated by them within a reasonable time after their appointment, and a copy of the list of persons so enumerated by them shall be furnished by the enumerators to the clerk of the court, who shall receive the list and keep it open to public inspection. Upon evidence produced before him, the judge may add to the list the name of any person improperly omitted and may strike from the list the name of any person improperly listed. If it appears advisable to the judge, he may order that the enumeration for any or all of the districts be retaken under all the provisions of this section by other enumerators, who shall be forthwith appointed by him. The judge shall cause to be tabulated and consolidated the lists and return to the governing body the results thereof, in accordance with the application of the governing body. The judge shall allow each enumerator a reasonable fee for each day actually employed by him in making the enumeration. He shall certify the allowance and costs to the governing body for payment out of the local treasury, and the allowance shall be a legal charge upon the governmental unit requesting the enumeration.

Code 1950, § 15-19; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-17; 1997, c. 587.

Article 1.1. Salaries.

§ 15.2-1414.1. Each member to be paid annual salary.

Each member of the board of supervisors of each county shall be allowed and paid out of the county levy an annual salary, to be fixed as herein provided, for his services in attending the meetings of the board and in discharging the duties imposed by law upon him.

Code 1950, § 14-55; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-45; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1414.2. Salaries to be fixed by board; limits; reimbursement in addition to salary.

The annual compensation to be allowed each member of the board of supervisors of a county shall be determined by the board of supervisors of such county but such compensation shall not be more than a maximum determined in the following manner. Prior to July 1 of the year in which members of the board of supervisors are to be elected or, if the board is elected for staggered terms, of any year in which at least forty percent of the members of the board are to be elected, the current board, by a recorded vote of a majority present, shall set a maximum annual compensation which will become effective as of January 1 of the next year.

Until the board is able to set a maximum compensation as provided above, the maximum compensations for the several counties shall be as authorized on July 1, 1981.

Any board of supervisors may fix a higher salary for the chairman, or the vice-chairman, or both, than for the other members of the board without respect to the limits herein set forth.

A member of the board of supervisors of any county may accept in lieu of salary, reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in maintaining an office and secretarial assistance necessary for the proper performance of his duties. Such reimbursement shall be subtracted from the amount of the salary due such official and the remaining sum shall be paid to him at his option; however, such expense shall not exceed the salary. In addition to the salary, members of each governing body may receive the same fringe benefits which are given to county employees generally, and all prior grants of such benefits are validated.

A county may provide a member of its board of supervisors in addition to salary, reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in purchasing, operating, maintaining and using a telephone, including a car telephone or other portable telephone, provided the expenses are attributable directly to the proper performance of the member's official duties.

No increase in the salary of a member of the board of supervisors shall take effect during the incumbent supervisor's term in office; however, this restriction shall not apply to boards of supervisors when the supervisors are elected for staggered terms nor to corrections to the above listed compensation.

1976, c. 590, § 14.1-46.01; 1977, cc. 391, 416; 1978, cc. 319, 435, 572; 1979, c. 256; 1980, cc. 3, 450; 1981, cc. 13, 623; 1982, c. 376; 1990, c. 518; 1996, c. 371; 1998, c. 872; 2000, c. 299.

§ 15.2-1414.3. Alternative procedure for establishing salaries of boards of supervisors; limits; fringe benefits.

In lieu of other provisions of law, the boards of supervisors of the several counties may establish annually, by ordinance, and pay in monthly installments each of their members an annual salary pursuant to the following procedure and schedule:

1. On a date determined by the board of supervisors, not earlier than May 1 nor later than June 30 each year, the board, after public hearing pursuant to notice in the manner and form provided in §§ 15.2-1426 and 15.2-1427, shall establish by ordinance the salary of its members for the ensuing fiscal year not to exceed the maximums herein set out.

2. Counties within the following population brackets shall be allowed to set salaries for board members not to exceed the following amounts:

aPopulationAnnual Salary
b200,000 and over$15,000
c105,000 to 199,99913,000
d80,000 to 104,99911,000
e50,000 to 79,9999,000
f25,000 to 49,9997,000
g15,000 to 24,9995,500
h14,999 and under4,000

The maximum annual salaries herein provided may be adjusted in any year or years, by ordinance as above provided, by an inflation factor not to exceed five percent.

3. Any board of supervisors may fix, by ordinance as above provided, annually an additional sum to be paid as hereinabove provided to the chairman and vice-chairman of the board not to exceed $1,800 and $1,200, respectively, without regard to the maximum salary limits.

4. In addition to and without regard for the salary limits herein set out, any board of supervisors by resolution may grant to its members any or all of the fringe benefits in the manner and form as such benefits are provided for county employees or any of them.

1984, c. 221, § 14.1-46.01:1; 1990, cc. 63, 854; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1414.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2006, c. 126, cl. 2.

§ 15.2-1414.5. Each councilman to be paid annual salary; effect of charter.

Each member of the council of each city shall be allowed and paid out of the city levy an annual salary in equal monthly installments, or in accordance with the payroll cycle of city employees, to be fixed as herein provided, for his services in attending the meetings of the council and in discharging the duties imposed by law upon him. Any city, however, whose charter imposes no limitation on salaries, may continue to pay its councilmen and mayor pursuant to such charter.

1981, c. 358, § 14.1-47.1; 1998, c. 872; 2004, c. 570.

§ 15.2-1414.6. Permitted salaries; salary increases; reimbursement for expenses.

Subject to the exception provided for in § 15.2-1414.5, the annual salary of each member of the council of any city shall be set by its members by ordinance notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special. The setting of such salaries by members of council shall include the salary of the mayor or president of the council whether such official is a member of council or not.

Cities within the following population brackets shall be allowed to set salaries for mayors, which include presidents of council, and council members not to exceed the following:

aPopulationAnnual Salary
b260,000 and over
cMayor$30,000
dCouncil28,000
e175,000 to 259,999
fMayor27,000
gCouncil25,000
h75,000 to 174,999
iMayor25,000
jCouncil23,000
k35,000 to 74,999
lMayor20,000
mCouncil18,000
n20,000 to 34,999
oMayor13,000
pCouncil12,000
q15,000 to 19,999
rMayor12,000
sCouncil11,500
t14,999 and under
uMayor11,500
vCouncil11,000

No increase in the salary of a member of council shall take effect until July 1 after the next regularly scheduled general election of council members.

Every proposed increase in the salary of a member of council shall be adopted at least four months prior to the date of the next municipal election except in the case of a newly created consolidated city when the proposed increase shall be adopted at least two months prior to the date of its first municipal election.

Any member of council shall be eligible to be reimbursed for any personal expenses incurred by him for official business. However, all claims for reimbursement shall be for reasonable expenses to the extent permitted by law incurred in the conduct of official city business and shall be itemized and documented by stamped paid receipts to the extent feasible.

In addition to salary, each member of the council of any city may be compensated with such benefits as are provided city employees by the city.

1981, c. 358, § 14.1-47.2; 1982, c. 125; 1985, c. 111; 1986, cc. 111, 312; 1988, c. 213; 1996, c. 263; 1997, c. 592; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1414.7. Salaries of town council members and mayors.

Notwithstanding any provision of a charter of a town or any other law, a town council may establish the compensation to be paid to council members and the mayor. No increase in salary of a council member or mayor shall take effect during the incumbent council member's or mayor's term in office; however, this restriction shall not apply to councils or mayors when the council members are elected for staggered terms. In addition to salary, each member of the council and the mayor of any town may be compensated with such benefits as are provided town employees by the town.

1975, c. 253, § 15.1-827.1; 1985, c. 63; 1997, c. 587, § 14.1-47.3; 1998, c. 872; 2001, cc. 9, 254.

Article 2. Meetings of Governing Bodies.

§ 15.2-1415. At what meetings governing body may act.

Unless otherwise specially provided, a governing body may exercise any of the powers conferred upon it at any meeting of the governing body, regular, special or adjourned at which a quorum is present. A majority of the governing body shall constitute a quorum except as may be otherwise provided in the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.). Meetings of governing bodies shall be subject to the applicable provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 15-247; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-542; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 613.

§ 15.2-1416. Regular meetings.

A. The governing body shall assemble at a public place as the governing body may prescribe, in regular session in January for counties and in July for cities and towns. Future meetings shall be held on such days as may be prescribed by resolution of the governing body but in no event shall less than six meetings be held in each fiscal year.

B. The days, times and places of regular meetings to be held during the ensuing months shall be established at the first meeting which meeting may be referred to as the annual or organizational meeting; however, if the governing body subsequently prescribes any public place other than the initial public meeting place, or any day or time other than that initially established, as a meeting day, place or time, the governing body shall pass a resolution as to such future meeting day, place or time. The governing body shall cause a copy of such resolution to be posted on the door of the courthouse or the initial public meeting place and inserted in a newspaper having general circulation in the county or municipality at least seven days prior to the first such meeting at such other day, place or time. Should the day established by the governing body as the regular meeting day fall on any legal holiday, the meeting shall be held on the next following regular business day, without action of any kind by the governing body.

At its annual meeting the governing body may fix the day or days to which a regular meeting shall be continued if the chairman or mayor, or vice-chairman or vice-mayor if the chairman or mayor is unable to act, finds and declares that weather or other conditions are such that it is hazardous for members to attend the regular meeting. Such finding shall be communicated to the members and the press as promptly as possible. All hearings and other matters previously advertised shall be conducted at the continued meeting and no further advertisement is required.

C. Regular meetings may be adjourned from day to day or from time to time or from place to place, not beyond the time fixed for the next regular meeting, until the business before the governing body is completed. Notice of any regular meeting continued under this section shall be reasonable under the circumstances and be given as provided in subsection D of § 2.2-3707.

D. The governing body shall provide members of the general public with the opportunity for public comment during a regular meeting at least quarterly.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any city or town that holds an organizational meeting in compliance with its charter or code shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section.

Code 1950, § 15-241; 1950, p. 8; 1954, c. 286; 1958, c. 291; 1960, c. 33; 1962, cc. 218, 623, § 15.1-536; 1964, c. 403; 1980, c. 420; 1994, cc. 371, 591; 1997, c. 587; 2004, c. 549; 2017, c. 616; 2020, c. 1144.

§ 15.2-1416.1. Actions prior to convening of meeting.

During the time prior to the governing body's actual call to order or convening of business, any expressions by members of the governing body or members of the public shall be held consistent with the individual's First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

2005, c. 592.

§ 15.2-1417. Special meetings.

The governing body may also hold such special meetings, as it deems necessary, at such times and places as it finds convenient. It may adjourn such special meetings from time to time as it finds convenient and necessary.

Code 1950, § 15-242; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-537; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1418. Same; how called.

A special meeting of the governing body shall be held when called by the chairman or mayor or requested by two or more of the members of the board of supervisors or council. The call or request shall be made to the clerk, and shall specify the matters to be considered at the meeting. Upon receipt of such call or request, the clerk of the governing body, after consultation with the chairman or mayor, shall immediately notify each member of the governing body and the attorney for the Commonwealth or the county or municipal attorney, as appropriate in writing delivered in person or to his place of residence or business or, if so requested by the member of the governing body, by electronic mail or facsimile to attend such meeting at the time and place stated in the notice. Such notice shall specify the matters to be considered at the meeting. No matter not specified in the notice shall be considered at such meeting, unless all members are present. The notice may be waived if all members of the governing body attend the special meeting or sign a waiver.

Code 1950, § 15-243; 1954, c. 181; 1960, c. 412; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-538; 1964, c. 249; 1966, c. 33; 1975, c. 575; 1979, c. 210; 1983, c. 403; 1994, c. 87; 1997, c. 587; 2011, c. 180.

§ 15.2-1419. Meeting times of certain authorities, boards and commissions.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, the governing body of any locality may establish the regular meeting times (day and hour) of its authorities, boards and commissions so as to prevent conflict with other meetings.

1995, cc. 198, 240, § 15.1-37.3:14; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1420. How questions determined; tie breaker.

All questions submitted to the governing body for decision shall be determined by a majority of the members voting on any such question unless another method of determination is required by the Constitution of Virginia or general law.

In counties which have designated a tie breaker pursuant to § 15.2-1421, in any case in which there is a tie vote of the board upon any question when all the members are not present, the question shall be passed by till the next meeting when it shall again be voted upon even though all members are not present; in any case in which there is a tie vote on any question after complying with the herein above procedure, the clerk shall record the vote and immediately notify the tie breaker elected by the voters as provided in § 15.2-1421, to give the casting vote in case of a tie, if that is practicable, and request his presence at the present meeting of the board; but if that is not practicable then the board may adjourn to a day fixed in the minutes of the board, or in case of a failure to agree on a day, to a day fixed by the clerk and entered by him on the minutes. At the present meeting or on the day named in the minutes the tie breaker shall attend. He shall be entitled to be fully advised as to the matter upon which he is to vote, and if not prepared to cast his vote at the time he may require the clerk to enter an order adjourning the meeting to some future day to be named in the minutes not to exceed thirty days and from time to time he shall have continuances entered until he is ready to vote, not to exceed thirty days. When he casts his vote the clerk shall record his vote and the tie shall be broken, and the question shall be decided as he casts his vote. If a meeting for any reason is not held on the day named in the minutes, the clerk shall enter on the minute book a day within ten days as a substitute day and duly notify all the members, and this shall continue until a meeting is held. After a tie has occurred, the tie breaker shall be considered a member of the board for the purpose of counting a quorum for the sole purpose of breaking the tie. Final votes on any ordinance or resolution shall be in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article VII, Sections 7 and 9 of the Constitution of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 15-245; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-540; 1972, cc. 734, 790; 1974, c. 550; 1980, c. 172; 1994, c. 550; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 833.

§ 15.2-1421. Tie breakers.

The governing body of each county may designate a tie breaker, whose duty it shall be to cast the deciding vote in case of tie, as set forth in § 15.2-1420. The designation of the tie breaker shall be by election by the voters of the county from the county at large. Every tie breaker shall serve for a period of four years from the date of his election and every tie breaker so elected shall serve the same term as a member of the governing body. No person shall be elected or serve as tie breaker who is not a resident of the county; who is not qualified to hold office as supervisor or who is an employee or officer of the county. Tie breakers heretofore appointed or elected shall continue in office until the expiration of the respective terms. Vacancies in the position of tie breaker shall be filled in the same manner as vacancies in the governing body.

Code 1950, § 15-240; 1952, c. 159; 1952, Ex. Sess., c. 10; 1954, c. 91; 1962, cc. 595, 623, § 15.1-535; 1966, c. 280; 1972, c. 593; 1974, c. 550; 1981, c. 261; 1994, c. 550; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 833.

Article 3. Presiding Officers and Vacancies in Certain Offices.

§ 15.2-1422. Electing a chairman and vice-chairman or a mayor and vice-mayor.

Unless the presiding officer is elected by popular vote, every governing body, at its first meeting after taking office, shall elect one of its number as presiding officer. Such officer shall be called "chairman," "chairwoman," "chair," "chairperson," or "chair-at-large," in the presiding officer's discretion, if a member of a board of supervisors and "mayor" if a member of a city or town council. Such member, if present, shall preside at the first meeting and all other meetings during the term for which so elected. The governing body also shall elect a vice-chairman or vice-mayor, as the case may be, who shall preside at meetings in the absence of the chairman or mayor and may discharge any duty of the chairman or mayor during his absence or disability. Chairmen and vice-chairmen and mayors and vice-mayors may be so elected to serve for terms corresponding with their terms as supervisors or councilmen or may be elected for such other period as determined by the governing body. Whenever any board or council at the time of such election, fails to designate the specific term of office for which a chairman or vice-chairman or a mayor or vice-mayor is elected, it shall be presumed that such officers were elected for a term of one year and shall serve until their successors have been elected and qualify. Chairmen and vice-chairmen and mayors and vice-mayors may succeed themselves in office. In the case of the absence from any meeting of the chairman and vice-chairman or mayor and vice-mayor, the members present shall choose one of their number as temporary presiding officer.

1997, c. 587; 2020, c. 133.

§ 15.2-1423. Powers of chairman or mayor.

In addition to being presiding officer, the chairman or mayor, as the case may be, shall be the head of the local government for all official functions and ceremonial purposes. He shall have a vote but no veto.

In the event that there is no chief administrative officer, it shall be the duty of the chairman or mayor, as the case may be, to see that the functions set forth in § 15.2-1541 are carried out if the governing body has not acted otherwise.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1424. Vacancies in office.

Vacancies in the office of board of supervisors or of council or an elected chairman or mayor, for whatever reason, shall be filled as provided for in Title 24.2. A member of the board or council may be elected or appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of chairman or mayor.

The person appointed or elected to fill the vacancy shall possess the same legal qualifications for the office as did the person whose position he is filling.

In the event of a vacancy in the office of chairman or mayor, the duties of the office of chairman or mayor shall be performed by the vice-chairman or vice-mayor until a chairman or mayor is appointed or elected and qualifies.

Vacancies in the office of vice-chairman or vice-mayor shall be filled by appointment by the remaining members of the appropriate governing body from its membership.

1997, c. 587.

Article 4. Ordinances and Other Actions by the Local Governing Body.

§ 15.2-1425. Actions by localities.

The governing body of every locality in the performance of its duties, obligations and functions may adopt, as appropriate, ordinances, resolutions and motions.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1426. Form of ordinances.

The object of every ordinance, except an ordinance approving a budget, an annual appropriation ordinance or an ordinance which codifies ordinances, shall be clearly expressed in its title. All ordinances which repeal or amend existing ordinances shall identify by title the section to be repealed or amended.

Code 1950, §§ 15-8, 15-10; 1950, p. 113; 1954, c. 529; 1956, cc. 218, 664; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 40; 1958, cc. 190, 279; 1960, c. 606; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-504; 1966, cc. 405, 612; 1968, c. 625; 1970, c. 581; 1972, cc. 41, 837; 1973, c. 380; 1978, c. 235; 1983, c. 11; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1427. Adoption of ordinances and resolutions generally; amending or repealing ordinances.

A. Unless otherwise specifically provided for by the Constitution or by other general or special law, an ordinance may be adopted by majority vote of those present and voting at any lawful meeting.

B. On final vote on any ordinance or resolution, the name of each member of the governing body voting and how he voted shall be recorded; however, votes on all ordinances and resolutions adopted prior to February 27, 1998, in which an unanimous vote of the governing body was recorded, shall be deemed to have been validly recorded. The governing body may adopt an ordinance or resolution by a recorded voice vote unless otherwise provided by law, or any member calls for a roll call vote. An ordinance shall become effective upon adoption or upon a date fixed by the governing body.

C. All ordinances or resolutions heretofore adopted by a governing body shall be deemed to have been validly adopted, unless some provision of the Constitution of Virginia or the Constitution of the United States has been violated in such adoption.

D. An ordinance may be amended or repealed in the same manner, or by the same procedure, in which, or by which, ordinances are adopted.

E. An amendment or repeal of an ordinance shall be in the form of an ordinance which shall become effective upon adoption or upon a date fixed by the governing body, but, if no effective date is specified, then such ordinance shall become effective upon adoption.

F. In counties, except as otherwise authorized by law, no ordinance shall be passed until after descriptive notice of an intention to propose the ordinance for passage has been published once a week for two successive weeks prior to its passage in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county. The second publication shall not be sooner than one calendar week after the first publication. The publication shall include a statement either that the publication contains the full text of the ordinance or that a copy of the full text of the ordinance is on file in the clerk's office of the circuit court of the county or in the office of the county administrator; or in the case of any county organized under the form of government set out in Chapter 5, 7 or 8 of this title, a statement that a copy of the full text of the ordinance is on file in the office of the clerk of the county board. Even if the publication contains the full text of the ordinance, a complete copy shall be available for public inspection in the offices named herein.

In counties, emergency ordinances may be adopted without prior notice; however, no such ordinance shall be enforced for more than sixty days unless readopted in conformity with the provisions of this Code.

G. In towns, no tax shall be imposed except by a two-thirds vote of the council members.

Code 1950, §§ 15-8, 15-10; 1950, p. 113; 1954, c. 529; 1956, cc. 218, 664; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 40; 1958, cc. 190, 279; 1960, c. 606; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-504; 1966, cc. 405, 612; 1968, c. 625; 1970, c. 581; 1972, cc. 41, 837; 1973, c. 380; 1978, c. 235; 1983, c. 11; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 823; 2000, c. 895.

§ 15.2-1428. Procedures for certain acts.

No ordinance or resolution appropriating money exceeding the sum of $500, imposing taxes, or authorizing the borrowing of money shall be passed except by a recorded affirmative vote of a majority of all members elected to the governing body. In case of the veto of such an ordinance or resolution, where the power of veto exists, it shall require for passage thereafter a recorded affirmative vote of two-thirds of all members elected to the governing body.

Code 1950, § 15-412; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-819; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 35; 1991, c. 668; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1429. Penalties for violation of ordinances.

Any locality may prescribe fines and other punishments for violations of ordinances, which shall be enforced by proceedings as if such violations were misdemeanors. However, no fine or term of confinement for the violation of ordinances shall exceed the penalties provided by general law for the violation of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and such penalties shall not exceed those penalties prescribed by general law for like offenses.

Code 1950, §§ 15-8, 15-77.64; 1954, c. 529; 1956, cc. 218, 664; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 40; 1958, cc. 279, 328; 1960, c. 606; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-505, 15.1-901; 1974, c. 598; 1976, c. 582; 1978, c. 150; 1991, cc. 25, 609, 710; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1430. Bonds of persons convicted.

Upon conviction for the violation of any ordinance, the court trying the case may require bond of the person so convicted with proper security in the penalty of not more than $5,000, conditioned not to violate the ordinance for the breach of which he has been convicted for the period of not more than one year.

Code 1950, § 15-77.65; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-902; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1431. Appeals; nonpayment of fine.

An appeal from any fine or imprisonment shall be as in misdemeanor cases. Whenever any fine is imposed but not paid, the court trying the case shall proceed in accordance with Article 4 (§ 19.2-354 et seq.) of Chapter 21 of Title 19.2.

Code 1950, § 15-77.66; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-903; 1973, c. 342; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1432. Injunctive relief against continuing violation of ordinance.

A court of competent jurisdiction, in addition to the penalty imposed for the violation of any ordinance, may enjoin the continuing violation thereof by proceedings for an injunction brought in any court for the county or municipal corporation having jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief.

Code 1950, § 15-77.68; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-905; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1433. Codification and recodification of ordinances.

Any locality may codify or recodify any or all of its ordinances, in permanently bound or loose-leaf form. Such ordinances may be changed, altered or amended by the governing body, and ordinances or portions thereof may be deleted and new material may be added by the governing body. Such changes, alterations, amendments or deletions and such new material shall become effective on the effective date of the codification or recodification.

Ordinances relating to zoning and the subdivision of land may be included in any codification or recodification of ordinances; however, no change, alteration, amendment, deletion or addition of a substantive nature shall be made and no new material of a substantive nature shall be added to such ordinances unless, prior to the date of adoption of such codification or recodification, notice of such proposed changes, alterations, amendments, deletions or additions shall be published as required by the Code of Virginia and public hearings held thereon as provided by the Code of Virginia for adoption and amendment of zoning and subdivision ordinances. Renumbering or rearranging of sections, articles or other divisions of any such ordinance shall not be deemed to be a change, alteration or amendment of a substantive nature.

Any such codification or recodification may be adopted by reference by a single ordinance, without further publication of such codification or recodification or any portions thereof. The ordinance adopting such codification or recodification shall comply with all laws of the Commonwealth and any provision of any city or town charter requiring posting or publication of ordinances or notice of intent to adopt ordinances. At least one copy of such codification or recodification or a complete set of printer's proofs of the text thereof shall be made available for public inspection in the office of the clerk of the governing body in which such codification or recodification is proposed to be adopted.

No ordinance levying or increasing taxes shall be enacted as new material in any such codification or recodification or amended in substance therein unless advertised in accordance with general law.

Supplements for such codifications or recodifications may be prepared from time to time at the direction of the governing body of the locality, either as units or on a replacement page basis; however, where replacement pages are prepared, a distinguishing mark or notation shall be placed on each replacement page to distinguish it from original pages and pages of other supplements. No further adoption procedure shall be required for supplements or replacement pages in which no substantive change is made in ordinances previously and validly adopted by the governing body of the locality. If changes, alterations, amendments, deletions or additions of a substantive nature are made in any such supplement, then such supplement shall be adopted by the governing body in the same manner provided by general or special law.

At least one copy of any codification or recodification adopted hereunder and at least one copy of every supplement thereto shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the governing body and shall there be available for public inspection during normal business hours.

Any codification or recodification adopted hereunder shall be admitted in evidence in all courts without further proof.

1966, c. 269, § 15.1-37.3; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 200.