Local Decision-Making for Better Communities 

State law determines the various powers its municipalities have. Like most Washington cities, the City of Newcastle is classified as a code city. Code cities have broad home rule powers granted in both the state constitution and statutes. State law (RCW 35A.11.020) includes language that "the legislative body of each code city shall have all powers possible for a city or town to have under the constitution of this state and not specifically denied to code cities by law."

The legislative body of the City of Newcastle is the City Council, which is made up of seven elected representatives. Councilmembers adopt ordinances to regulate actions within the city. These ordinances are then codified, or reorganized and re-published in a different format. So the city's ordinances do not differ substantively from the Newcastle Municipal Code, and both are enforceable.

City Councilmembers also approve written resolutions. Resolutions are not laws, but some can have the effect of law such as the City's fee resolution. Often resolutions are used for internal, administrative purposes or are passed to express policy positions or opinions. Other enforceable documents, such as the city's public works standards, are adopted by resolution. The Council approves contracts and other agreements by resolution. Newcastle is a contract city, meaning it provides many of its services such as police and fire through agreements with other jurisdictions.

The City Council also makes decisions and provides direction by approving motions. The City Clerk records these final actions of the Council and prepares written minutes following each meeting. Regular meetings of the City Council are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month starting at 7 p.m. at Newcastle City Hall. Special meetings also are held on occasion. A special meeting is any meeting of the Council that is not held according to this schedule.

Newcastle operates with a Council-Manager form of government. The Council adopts policies and the City Manager implements them. Every two years the Council elects a Mayor who presides at Council meetings and represents the Council to the public.
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