Cities and Incorporated Towns
We have seen that the civil township has but few powers, and that
its activities are simple. This is because the needs of a rural
community are few. However, when a large number of people have
settle on a small area, as in Des Moines and Davenport, or in New
York, Chicago and Boston, they need many things that a rural
community never requires. Chief among these need are an abundant
supply of pure water, a sewage system, a system of street lighting,
fire protection, regulation of traffic on the main-traveled streets,
health regulations not necessary in the country, public parks,
playgrounds and police protection.
problem of caring for a large number of people residing in cities is
much more difficult than that of caring for a rural community; it is
therefore necessary that cities and large towns have a government
possessing greater power than that of the township. In order to
supply this need the General Assembly of Iowa had enacted laws under
which these large communities may organize and adopt a government
suited to their needs. Such organized communities are generally
known as municipalities.
Incorporation of Municipalities.
Whenever a community not already within the limits of a municipality
desires to adopt a city form of government it must become
incorporated, which is done in the following manner:
desiring to be incorporated must present a petition to the district
court signed by not less than 25 voters residing within the limits
of the community. The judge of this court then appoints five
commissioners who arrange for and give notice of an election which
they conduct within the limits of the proposed city or town. If a
majority of the qualified voters favor incorporation the court
directs the same commissioners to hold another election for choosing
a council, a mayor, a clerk and a treasurer.
Classification of Cities.
In Iowa there are three classes of municipalities.
Cities of the
first class contain at least 15,000 inhabitants, and those of the
second class, from 2,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. Municipal
governments of less than 2,000 inhabitants are called incorporated
Each city or town
contains as much territory as the inhabitants think necessary, and
additions are frequently made to the original plats. This territory
is separated into blocks which are divided into lots for convenience
of ownership. For governmental purposes, cities are divided into
wards, and each ward chooses its own members of the city council…
The duties of the marshal correspond to those of constable. He
attends the courts of the mayor and police judge, and is, in fact,
next to the mayor, the chief executive officer of the city. Many
important duties devolve upon this officer in preserving the peace
and maintaining order. He may appoint deputies to aid him in the
discharge of his duties, but he is responsible for their acts…
The police judge has jurisdiction of all offenses against any
ordinance of the city in which he serves. In criminal matters, his
powers are coordinate with those of justice of the peace, and he is
entitled to the same fees as that officer. He may also take
acknowledgments of signatures to deeds, mortgages and other papers.
His court, which is open at all times for the transaction of
business, is a court of record. The clerk of this court is chosen by
the qualified electors of the city or appointed by the police judge,
as the council may direct. In case of vacancy in the office of
police judge, the duties of that officer devolve upon the mayor. For
the prosecution of any person for violating an ordinance of the
city, the police judge, or mayor, is entitled to such compensation
as the city council may allow.
the Market. The superintendent of the market acts as overseer of all
places provided by the city for the sale of fresh meats, vegetables,
and other articles of a perishable nature usually offered for sale
in a public market…