Municipal Staff Resources

Whether you’re new to your municipal position or an experienced official or staff member, we’re committed to helping you excel by providing the support you need. The following resources will help you get started and answer questions about the General Code solutions your community is using.

Maintaining Your Code

Regardless of the size and complexity of your code update project, there are steps you can take that will enable us to process your code updates more efficiently.

When sending us your legislation or ordinances, it’s helpful that we know the following:

  • Legislation number and adoption date of the amending material.
  • Is there an ordinance list or register?
    If so, this helps us to determine if there is any missing legislation.
  • Was a particular ordinance not adopted or tabled?
    If the legislation has not yet been adopted, it won’t be included in the code at this time.
  • Do you have non-code materials (NCM)?
    Non-code material or NCM is legislation of a temporary and/or specific nature that pertains to one situation and often expires after a set period of time. Submitting all adopted ordinances and local laws is important. However, if you know you have NCM, sending us a list or note indicating the non-code materials is extremely helpful to our codification staff. Not sure if something is non-code material? Send it on to us, and our expert codifiers will determine whether it is or not.
  • Are there resolutions you want included in your code?
    You only need to send us resolutions that your community wishes to make part of your code.

More efficiency tips can be found in our “Improving Code Updates” blog.

Update your code on a regular, predictable timeline of your choosing. Send your legislation after every meeting, and we will take care of the rest. When it’s time for your next scheduled update, we’ll send you a note to ensure that we have everything and that you’re ready for us to proceed.

We offer a number of schedule options. Keep in mind, if you have something pressing and need an extra code update in between scheduled supplements, just let us know. We’re happy to work with you on any specific or unique needs as they arise.

When your eCode is regularly updated, you’re guaranteeing a resource your entire community can depend on – every hour of every day, from any location. You don’t have to wait to send your adopted legislation in batches or just at certain times of the year. You can make it part of your Board meeting close-out process to send your adopted legislative changes to General Code when everything from that meeting is already right at hand. And in eCode360, updates are posted, fully searchable, and accessible in the New Laws feature within 1 day of receiving newly adopted or amended legislation.

Simply attach your electronic files to an email and send it to [email protected]. It’s that simple!

Texas Customers Only: Send your code updates to [email protected].

The New Laws feature in eCode360 lets you clearly see what legislation has changed and when—and how those changes will impact other parts of the code. Watch the videos below to learn how to use it.

Once adopted, you’re ready to share your municipal code with your staff, constituents and municipal agencies. Before you deliver a single copy of your code, some simple procedures should be put in place that will ensure all print copies of your code are accounted for and kept properly updated when supplemental pages are published.

Create a Distribution List

A distribution list indicates those individuals to whom you provide a print copy of your code. It also indicates that those recipients will need updates when the code changes. It is recommended that you supply your list to General Code. That way, you can easily find your list of code holders in the Admin section of eCode360. With this information, we can simply print the names and/or addresses on your paper supplements, saving you and your staff valuable time.

Ask Those Receiving Your Print Code to Sign a Memorandum of Receipt

It’s a good idea for municipalities to ask officials who are issued print codes to sign a Memorandum of Receipt. This document sets forth the responsibilities accompanying receipt of the code volume.

Sample forms

A sample Code Distribution Letter and Memorandum of Receipt can be obtained by contacting General Code’s Client Services team. Call 800.836.8834 or make a request by email at [email protected].

The most important thing any community can do is keep its municipal code regularly maintained so it remains a reliable resource for the entire community. Choosing a professional codifier over having municipal staff do the work is the smart choice financially, from a time- and resource-savings perspective, and ensures the code’s enforceability.

Read more in our “Top 3 Reasons to Choose Professional Codification Over Self-Publishing Codification” blog.

Drafting Legislation

The Multicode tool lets you simultaneously search a topic across numerous codes in our database, so you can compare and contrast code language, recently adopted laws and other valuable information that can guide your municipality as it crafts its own legislation. Watch the videos below to learn how to use this valuable tool.

As your community needs change, new laws are adopted and old laws are amended. Regularly updating your Code with new laws to reflect these changes can ensure that your code is always current and enforceable.

Being Specific is Important

When drafting changes to your code, it’s important to be specific regarding sections to be changed or repealed (see the “How to Cite the Code” tab in this section). If an ordinance repeals or supersedes other ordinances or parts of ordinances that are inconsistent, be sure to repeal or amend specifically those portions of the code that are inconsistent or no longer in effect. It is much less costly and time-consuming to update only the portion of the Code that has changed instead of updating the entire chapter when most of it did not change.

Start with Sample Ordinance Language to Amend the Code

General Code helps simplify the process for you by providing templates that you can build on. See the “Legislation Templates” tab in this section.

Are you updating a section of your code, repealing an ordinance or simply adding a new chapter? Don’t start from scratch. General Code has many examples of commonly used legislation that you can use as a basis for creating or updating ordinances for your community.

Sample templates available include:

  • Change an Existing Section of the Code
  • Add a New Section to an Existing Chapter of the Code
  • Repeal a Section of the Code
  • Add a New Chapter to the Code
  • Replace an Existing Chapter of the Code With a New Chapter
  • Repeal a Chapter of the Code

NOTE: Your Municipal Attorney should be consulted with regard to content, format and the legal requirements of proposed legislation before enactment.

Citations of code provisions should be complete in order to direct the reader to the appropriate provision, but not so detailed that they are difficult to read or become easily outdated.

The Code: The code itself should be cited as “The Code of the _______ of _________ ” or “the Code.” Even though the code is divided into parts, it is not necessary to cite the parts.

Chapters: When referring to a specific chapter of the code, either in a separate document or in the text of the code, the citation is “Chapter______” (for example, “Chapter 230, Plumbing”).

Articles: Articles are used in the code in two ways:

  • When two or more pieces of legislation on a single subject are placed in the same chapter, they are designated as separate articles of that chapter. Each will have a legislative history and its title will appear in the Table of Contents. (For example, this is regularly done in the Taxation Chapter.)
  • In some lengthy chapters, articles are used only as a tool to facilitate the organization of the material in the chapter and not to distinguish between two or more separate pieces of legislation. These organizational articles do not appear in the Table of Contents.

Articles are numbered using Roman numerals and are cited in the text as either “Article IV of Chapter 230” or “Chapter 230, Article IV.” It is helpful to include the article title in the citation also.

An example of a reference containing more than one “segment” (e.g., an article number as well as a chapter) is as follows: “Chapter 230, Plumbing, Article V” or “Article V, Licensing, of Chapter 230, Plumbing.”

Sections: Sections are cited using the section symbol (§). For example: “…as provided in § 230-4, Standards, of Chapter 230, Plumbing.” The only exception to this is when beginning a sentence, in which case the word “Section” is used instead. Multiple sections are cited by using two section symbols preceding the first section. For example: §§ 230-3 and 230-4.

Because of the numbering system of the code, it is not necessary to use the chapter number and name in the citation. There will never be two sections with the same number, and it is possible to cite a section as “§ 230-4 of the code.” For clarity, however, it is often preferable to include the chapter number and name.

Subsections: Multiple subsections in a section should always be designated by an appropriate letter or number. Except for the main, or lead-in, paragraph of a section, multiple undesignated paragraphs should not be used.

Definitions: Definitions are included in alphabetical order and not numbered or lettered. This allows for alphabetical insertion of future additions without renumbering or relettering an entire section.

Since definitions are not numbered or lettered, but arranged alphabetically, they are cited “…as defined in § 230-1” or “… in accordance with the definition of the word “permit” in § 230-4.”

Unless another lead-in statement is provided in the legislation, the section containing the definitions is prefaced with the following: “As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:”

Definitions are most useful if included at the beginning of a chapter.

We urge you to call us at 800.836.8834 or email [email protected] for a review of your ordinances before the drafts are adopted. Our review will include assistance in titling and numbering when drafting amendments or new legislation to prevent possible problems later on.

The Codification team at General Code is here to provide your municipality with the expertise and resources to keep your code clear, updated and enforceable.

Glossary of Terms

The process of organizing all legislation of a general and permanent nature into a Code. The essential elements of codification are research, organize, analyze, and publish.

Code Updates
An update to an existing code where new legislative content is incorporated. Clients can get code updates (or “supplements”) immediately as legislation is adopted and submitted to General Code or on a calendar-based schedule of their choosing.

Municipal Code
A systematic statement of a body of law integrating local legislation of a general and permanent nature into a single document, organized logically by subject matter so that users can, at any time, accurately determine the current state of the law.

Laws adopted by the governing body of a municipality; includes ordinances, local laws and resolutions.

Typical form of municipal legislation that requires a public hearing and some form of publication.

A less formal type of legislation, not requiring a public hearing or publication, usually procedural in nature. In some states, resolutions are codified, but most often are not.

State or federal laws.

The provisions of an old ordinance(s) are no longer in effect and replaced by a new ordinance(s); typically applies to an entire ordinance.

See Code Updates.

An organizational structure used in original legislation and in Code chapters; with sections subsumed under it.

The primary organizational unit within a Code, representing either a single piece of legislation, as amended, or a broader topical container comprised of articles adopted by separate legislation

A legislated document that outlines the form and organization of municipal government. Charters can be adopted by municipalities, but sometimes are granted and revised by state governments. Often Charters in a Code have distinct numbering systems and may be printed verbatim.

Disposition List (DL)
A chronological listing of legislation which indicates where particular items may be found in the Code or why they are excluded. This list serves as a final check and verification of the contents of the code prior to the adoption of the code by the municipality. After publication, a supplemental Disposition List is maintained as part of the routine code update process.

History (or Histories)
The bold, bracketed information in a Code which indicates the legislation source of the chapter, article, section, or subsection and whether the Code material was adopted, added, amended, or repealed.

The formal action (vote) by the governing body on a proposed law to enact/adopt the law.

Adopting Ordinance
Legislation used by the client to “adopt” the Code as an official body of law.

Code Review
An enhanced review tool for the client’s use during the Code project utilizing the eCode360® platform. The tool creates an exceptional user experience by providing the client with access to comprehensive work-in-process project materials as the codification moves through the major milestone stages.

Distribution List
The municipality’s list of Code book holders.

Non-Code Materials (NCM)
Indicates “non-Code material”; legislation that is not general and permanent in nature and not normally codified. For example, NCM legislation would include, for most states: bond ordinances, appropriations, street acceptances, salaries, etc.

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