Été
Cradled between hills and rivers

Municipal Council

Composition

The municipal council represents and administers the affairs of the municipality. The municipality of Pontiac is a legal entity governed by public law consisting of the inhabitants and taxpayers within its territory.

In a municipal election, the duration of an elected representative’s mandate is four years.  It begins when he/she is sworn in, and ends on the date of the newly appointed representative.

Rresponsibilities and competence

The municipality exercices the powers vested to it by the laws of the Quebec National Assembly.  It cannot override these powers.  It also cannot delegate them to others, except if the Law expressly allows it.

The municipality’s administration is governed by administrative rules that are clearly defined in these laws.  Elected representatives can manage their municipality only by abiding to these rules, contrary to the private industry where it can do so at its convenience, according to methods of management it deems appropriate.

The municipality possesses the authority to intervenene in a number of different areas.  The following lists a few of these competences.

  • Urban planning and development
  • Economic development
  • Municipal roads
  • Supply of potable water
  • Community, recreation and cultural development
  • Taxation and property assessment authorities
  • Recovery of residual materials
  • The municipal Court
  • Social housing
  • Police and fire services
  • Tourism promotion
  • Holding elections and referendums

The municipality may intervene in all of these areas.  Some of its powers however are optional, while others are mandatory.  Amongst these, the municipal obligation of preparing and adopting a budget remains.  It must also ensure that its territory is subject to a plan and urban planning regulations and that it is served by a police force.

Moreover, when the municipality decides to exert authority and to offer a service to its citizens, if this function has been wrongly transmitted, it becomes liable for damages caused.  Authorities are exerted differently from one municipality to the next, according to the available resources, the requirements to be fulfilled and the means of actions taken to meet them.

Functionning of a municipality

Elected representatives assembled as council represent the population, and as such, make decisions on the municipality’s objectives and priorities of action and therefore transact and carry out all necessary administrative business.

They can only make decisions by way of resolutions or by-laws adopted during a meeting held under the basic rules of assembly.  Thus, municipal council meetings are the principle places where municipal democracy is exercised.

Quorum of the municipal council means that the majority of its members are present.  The regular or general council meetings are public meetings and are held once a month.  The council meeting includes a period during which the attending public may direct their questions to the council members.  Council may, through a by-law, stipulate what the duration of the question period will be, at what moment it will take place and what the procedure will be.

Any disputed question is decided by the majority of the members present, except when a provision of the Law requires a greater number of corroborating decisions.

Individually and outside of council meetings, elected representatives do not have the power to make decisions on behalf of the municipality, nor do they to interfere with its administration.  In the case of force majeure, only the mayor has the power to do so.  He also has the right of supervision over the administration and the employees.

Council fulfills the municipality’s obligations.  It therefore assumes the rights and duties that are vested by the principle Laws, or certain charters if applicable (the Cities and Towns Act, the Quebec Municipal Code, as well as certain related acts including the Act respecting municipal taxation and the Land Use Planning and Development Act).

In order to help them carry out their responsiblities and to implement council’s decisions, the elected representatives may count on the Director General as well as other municipal employees, notably the city planner who is usually the contact person for the Planning advisory committee.

Through the adoption of a by-law, a municipal council may fix the mayor’s remuneration and that of its other members.

Municipal committees

Council may appoint committees, which may be comprised of as many of its members that it deems suitable.  They have the authority to examine or study any given issue.  In this case, these committees must notify Council of their work by sumitting a report signed by the president or the majority of its members.  None of these reports have any effect until they are approved by council.

Budget

During the period between November 15th and December 31st, Council must prepare and adopt the municipal budget for the next fiscal year and project revenues that will at least cover the expenditures therein.

At a regular Council meeting held at least four weeks prior to the adoption of the budget, the mayor reports on the municipality’s financial situation.  He notably addresses the recent financial statements, the last external auditor’s report, and the last three-year capital expenditure program.  He also addresses preliminary indications on the financial statements of the year previous to that of the new budget, and the main guidelines for the next budget as well as the next three-year capital expenditure program.

Three-year capital expenditure program

A municipal council must adopt the municipality’s capital expenditure program for the subsequent three fiscal years, no later than on December 31st.