Municipalities Act

The Municipalities Act contains rules about the governing bodies of municipalities: the council, the executive and the mayor.

The council, which is directly elected by the population of the municipality, represents the population of the municipality for a term of four years and is the highest power of the municipality.

The mayor and aldermen together constitute the municipal executive. The council appoints the aldermen for a term of four years. The municipal executive and each of its members is accountable to the council for their management of municipal affairs. The mayor chairs the municipal executive and the council. He is appointed for a term of six years by royal decree on the recommendation of the council. He is accountable to the council for his management of municipal affairs.

The power to regulate and administer the internal affairs of the municipality is vested in the municipal authority. Municipalities may also be required by the national government to cooperate in the execution of laws.

Municipal ordinances are adopted by the council in so far as the power of adoption has not been granted to the municipal executive or the mayor by Act of Parliament or by the council pursuant to Act of Parliament. Municipal ordinances may not contravene Acts of Parliament or provincial ordinances.

The power to regulate and administer the internal affairs of the municipality is executed by the council. The council shows through the budget each year the amounts which it makes available for all tasks and activities and the financial resources it expects to be able to use for this purpose. In that way, the council has the lead in the municipality.

The municipal executive has to prepare and perform all the decisions of the council. In that way the municipal executive is the management of the municipality. Moreover the mayor is charged with maintaining public order and safety.

Municipalities receive income from the national government by the Municipal Fund. Above this income, municipalities are allowed to collect taxes, limitative described by the Municipalities Act.

The provincial government and national government are in charge of supervision of the municipal authority. A decision of the municipal authority can be annulled or suspended by those governments when decisions are contrary with the law or public interests.

Where the council, municipal executive or mayor fails to make a decision or fails to do so properly the provincial executive or, in the case of the mayor, the King’s Commissioner must take a decision to intervene.