331.301  General powers and limitations.

1.  A county may, except as expressly limited by the Constitution, and if not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, exercise any power and perform any function it deems appropriate to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and property of the county or of its residents, and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, health, welfare, comfort, and convenience of its residents. This grant of home rule powers does not include the power to enact private or civil law governing civil relationships, except as incident to an exercise of an independent county power.

2.  A power of a county is vested in the board, and a duty of a county shall be performed by or under the direction of the board except as otherwise provided by law.

3.  The enumeration of a specific power of a county, the repeal of a grant of power, or the failure to state a specific power does not limit or restrict the general grant of home rule power conferred by the Constitution and this section. A county may exercise its general powers subject only to limitations expressly imposed by a state law.

4.  An exercise of a county power is not inconsistent with a state law unless it is irreconcilable with the state law.

5.  A county shall substantially comply with a procedure established by a state law for exercising a county power unless a state law provides otherwise. If a procedure is not established by state law, a county may determine its own procedure for exercising the power.

6.  A county shall not set standards and requirements which are lower or less stringent than those imposed by state law, but may set standards and requirements which are higher or more stringent than those imposed by state law, unless a state law provides otherwise.

7.  A county shall not levy a tax unless specifically authorized by a state statute.

8.  A county is a body corporate for civil and political purposes and shall have a seal as provided in section 331.552, subsection 4.

9.  Supervisors and other county officers may administer oaths and take affirmations as provided in chapter 63A.

10.  A county may enter into leases or lease-purchase contracts for real or personal property in accordance with the following terms and procedures:

a.  A county shall lease or lease-purchase property only for a term which does not exceed the economic life of the property, as determined by the board.

b.  A lease or lease-purchase contract entered into by a county may contain provisions similar to those sometimes found in leases between private parties, including, but not limited to, the obligation of the lessee to pay any of the costs of operation or ownership of the leased property and the right to purchase the leased property.

c.  A provision of a lease or lease-purchase contract which stipulates that a portion of the rent payments be applied as interest is subject to chapter 74A. Other laws relating to interest rates do not apply. Chapter 75 is not applicable. A county enterprise is a separate entity under this subsection, whether it is governed by the board or another governing body.

d.  The board must follow substantially the same authorization procedure required for the issuance of general obligation bonds issued for the same purpose to authorize a lease or a lease-purchase contract made payable from the debt service fund.

e.  The board may authorize a lease or lease-purchase contract which is payable from the general fund and which would not cause the total of lease and lease-purchase payments of the county due from the general fund of the county in any future year for lease or lease-purchase contracts in force on the date of the authorization, excluding payments to exercise purchase options or to pay the expenses of operation or ownership of the property, to exceed ten percent of the last certified general fund budget amount in accordance with the following procedures:

(1)  The board must follow substantially the authorization procedures of section 331.443 to authorize a lease or lease-purchase contract for personal property which is payable from the general fund. The board must follow substantially the authorization procedures of section 331.443 to authorize a lease or lease-purchase contract for real property which is payable from the general fund if the principal amount of the lease-purchase contract does not exceed the following limits:

(a)  Four hundred thousand dollars in a county having a population of twenty-five thousand or less.

(b)  Five hundred thousand dollars in a county having a population of more than twenty-five thousand but not more than fifty thousand.

(c)  Six hundred thousand dollars in a county having a population of more than fifty thousand but not more than one hundred thousand.

(d)  Eight hundred thousand dollars in a county having a population of more than one hundred thousand but not more than two hundred thousand.

(e)  One million dollars in a county having a population of more than two hundred thousand.

(2)  The board must follow the following procedures to authorize a lease or lease-purchase contract for real property which is payable from the general fund if the principal amount of the lease or lease-purchase contract exceeds the limits set forth in subparagraph (1):

(a)  The board must institute proceedings for entering into a lease or lease-purchase contract payable from the general fund by causing a notice of the meeting to discuss entering into the lease or lease-purchase contract, including a statement of the principal amount and purpose of the lease or lease-purchase and the right to petition for an election, to be published as provided in section 331.305 at least ten days prior to the discussion meeting. No sooner than thirty days following the discussion meeting shall the board hold a meeting at which it is proposed to take action to enter into the lease or lease-purchase contract.

(b)  If at any time before the end of the thirty-day period after which a meeting may be held to take action to enter into the lease or lease-purchase contract, a petition is filed with the auditor in the manner provided by section 331.306, asking that the question of entering into the lease or lease-purchase contract be submitted to the registered voters of the county, the board shall either by resolution declare the proposal to enter into the lease or lease-purchase contract to have been abandoned or shall direct the county commissioner of elections to call a special election upon the question of entering into the lease or lease-purchase contract. However, for purposes of this subparagraph, the petition shall not require signatures in excess of one thousand persons. The question to be placed on the ballot shall be stated affirmatively in substantially the following manner: Shall the county of . . . . enter into a lease or lease-purchase contract in an amount of $. . . . for the purpose of . . . . ? Notice of the election and its conduct shall be in the manner provided in section 331.442, subsections 2 through 4.

(c)  If a petition is not filed or if a petition is filed and the proposition of entering into a lease or lease-purchase contract is approved at the election, the board may proceed and enter into the lease or lease-purchase contract.

f.  The governing body may authorize a lease or lease-purchase contract payable from the net revenues of a county enterprise or combined county enterprise by following the authorization procedures of section 331.464.

g.  A lease or lease-purchase contract to which a county is a party or in which a county has a participatory interest is an obligation of a political subdivision of this state for the purposes of chapters 502 and 636, and is a lawful investment for banks, trust companies, building and loan associations, savings and loan associations, investment companies, insurance companies, insurance associations, executors, guardians, trustees, and any other fiduciaries responsible for the investment of funds.

h.  Property that is lease-purchased by a county is exempt under section 427.1, subsection 2.

i.  A contract for construction by a private party of property to be leased or lease-purchased by a county is not a contract for a public improvement under section 331.341, subsection 1. However, if a lease-purchase contract is funded in advance by means of the lessor depositing moneys to be administered by a county, with the county's obligation to make rent payments commencing with its receipt of moneys, a contract for construction of the property in question awarded by the county is a public improvement and is subject to section 331.341, subsection 1.

11.  A county may enter into insurance agreements obligating the county to make payments beyond its current budget year to procure or provide for a policy of insurance, a self-insurance program, or a local government risk pool to protect the county against tort liability, loss of property, or any other risk associated with the operation of the county. Such a self-insurance program or local government risk pool is not insurance and is not subject to regulation under chapters 505 through 523C. However, those self-insurance plans regulated pursuant to section 509A.14 shall remain subject to the requirements of section 509A.14 and rules adopted pursuant to that section.

12.  The board of supervisors may credit funds to a reserve for the purposes authorized by subsection 11 of this section; section 331.424, subsection 1, paragraph "f"; and section 331.441, subsection 2, paragraph "b". Moneys credited to the reserve, and interest earned on such moneys, shall remain in the reserve until expended for purposes authorized by subsection 11 of this section; section 331.424, subsection 1, paragraph "f"; or section 331.441, subsection 2, paragraph "b".

13.  The board of supervisors may waive a tax penalty, interest, or costs related to the collection of a tax if the board finds that a clerical error resulted in the penalty, interest, or cost. This subsection does not apply to bonded special assessments without the approval of the affected taxing jurisdiction.

14.  The county may establish a department of public works. The department shall be administered by the county engineer or other person appointed by the board of supervisors. In addition to other duties assigned by the board, the department shall provide technical assistance to political subdivisions in the county including special districts relating to their physical infrastructure and may provide managerial and administrative services for special districts and combined special districts.

15. a.  A county may adopt and enforce an ordinance requiring the construction of a storm shelter at a mobile home park which is constructed after July 1, 1999. In lieu of requiring construction of a storm shelter, a county may require a park owner to provide a plan for the evacuation of park residents to a safe place of shelter in times of severe weather including tornadoes and high winds if the county determines that a safe place of shelter is available within a reasonable distance of the mobile home park for use by park residents. Each evacuation plan prepared pursuant to this subsection shall be filed with, and approved by, the local emergency management agency. If construction of a storm shelter is required, an ordinance adopted or enforced pursuant to this subsection shall not include any of the following requirements:

b.  For the purposes of this subsection:

(1)  "Mobile home park" means a mobile home park as defined in section 562B.7.

(2)  "Storm shelter" means a single structure or multiple structures designed to provide persons with temporary protection from a storm.

(1)  That the size of the storm shelter be larger than the equivalent of seven square feet for each mobile home space in the mobile home park.

(2)  That the storm shelter include a restroom if the shelter is used exclusively as a storm shelter.

(3)  That the storm shelter exceed the construction specifications approved by a licensed professional engineer and presented by the owner of the mobile home park.

Section History: Early form

  [C51, § 93; R60, § 221; C73, § 279; C97, § 394; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 5128; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, § 332.1; S81, § 331.301; 81 Acts, ch 117, § 300]

Section History: Recent form

  85 Acts, ch 156, § 1; 86 Acts, ch 1211, § 19; 87 Acts, ch 115, § 51; 89 Acts, ch 101, § 1; 92 Acts, ch 1138, § 1; 92 Acts, ch 1204, § 8; 95 Acts, ch 67, §53; 95 Acts, ch 206, §8, 12; 99 Acts, ch 186, §1

Footnotes

  1995 amendment to subsection 12 is effective January 1, 1996, and applies to taxes payable in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1996, and subsequent fiscal years; 95 Acts, ch 206, §12


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