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The original item was published from 5/9/2023 4:24:52 PM to 5/9/2023 4:25:27 PM.

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Columbus News

Posted on: May 9, 2023

[ARCHIVED] CITY GOVERNMENT 101: How does the Columbus City Council work?


All of the governmental powers of the City of Columbus shall be vested in the City Council. But what does that mean?

NOTE TO READERS: “City Government 101” is an ongoing weekly series that debuted in May 2023 that highlights different aspects of municipal government as it pertains to Columbus, Nebraska, in hopes to provide information on how the City of Columbus operates. Please send questions and suggestions to

 All of the governmental powers of the City of Columbus shall be vested in the City Council. But what does that mean?

In essence, all ordinances and resolutions or orders for the appropriation or payment of money shall require for their passage or adoption the concurrence of a majority of all members elected to the City Council.

Ordinances of a general or permanent nature shall be read by title on three different days unless three- fourths of the City Council Members vote to suspend this requirement, except that the requirement shall not be suspended for any ordinance for the annexation of territory.

In case the requirement shall be suspended, the ordinances shall be read by title or number and then moved for final passage. Three- fourths of the City Council members may require a reading of any such ordinance in full before enactment under either procedure set out in this section.

There are eight members who are elected by registered voters to serve on the City Council, two for each of its four wards. No person shall be eligible who is not at the time of election an actual resident of the ward for which the person is qualified and a registered voter. If any City Council member moves from the ward from which the City Council member was elected, that member’s office shall thereby become vacant.

The City Council may, by resolution, divide and distribute its work precedent to the exercise of legislative power into such number of standing and special committees as the City Council may from time to time deem necessary or expedient and may from time to time by resolution name and prescribe the powers and duties of the committees. Until such further division and distribution of work, the committees of the City Council and their powers and duties shall be as already established.

Columbus City Council members are paid $7,166 per year for their efforts, as of May 2023.

City Council members of this City shall take office and commence their duties on the first regular meeting in December following their election. The newly elected City Council members who have qualified as prescribed by law, together with the members of the City Council holding over, shall assemble in a regular meeting at the hour and place prescribed in City Code and perfect the reorganization of the City Council as herein provided, and all appointive offices in which the terms of incumbents are expired shall be filled by appointment.

After the meeting has been called to order, the City Clerk shall report to the City Council the names of all City Council Members-elect who have qualified for their respective offices, and this report shall be spread upon the minutes of the meeting preceding the roll call.

The City Council shall elect one of its own body each year who shall be termed the President of the Council and who shall preside at all meetings of the City Council in the absence of the mayor. In the absence of the mayor and the president of the Council, the City Council shall elect one of its own body to occupy that place temporarily who shall be termed “Acting President of the Council.”

At the first meeting in July of the City Council following any general and regular City election, the City Council shall, by resolution, pass and adopt such rules of procedure and order of business as may be deemed necessary to ensure orderly, efficient and lawful conduct of its affairs, and the rules, when so adopted, shall constitute the standing rules to govern proceedings at all regular and special meetings of the City Council, provided that provision may be made in the rules for amending, temporarily suspending or rescinding any rule or portion thereof. Additional rules may further be adopted from time to time at the discretion of the City Council.

A vacancy on the City Council shall exist if a member is absent for more than five consecutive regular meetings of the City Council unless the absences are excused by a majority vote of the remaining Members.

To learn more about the current Columbus City Council, visit here. You can be read the previously published story on the role of the mayor in Columbus, Nebraska, by clicking here.

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