Chapter 4-5

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Article 178

A Municipality has competence to govern and administrate its interests, manage those matters assigned to it by this Constitution and national laws.

This includes:

  • local life
  • the ordering and promotion of economic and social development
  • the equipping and providing of household public utility services
  • the application of policy with respect to these matters on a basis of fairness, justice and social interest
  • the promotion of participation
  • improvement of living conditions in the following areas:
  1. Territorial zoning and city planning matters; historic heritage; housing in the interest of society; local tourism; parks and gardens; plazas; bathing and other recreational areas; civil architecture, nomenclature and public ornament.

  2. Urban roadways; circulation and ordering of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on municipal thoroughfares; urban public passenger transportation services.

  3. Public spectacles and commercial advertising, to the extent pertinent to specific municipal interests and purposes.

  4. Protection of the environment and cooperation with environmental sanitation efforts; urban and household sanitation, including cleaning, waste collection and treatment and civil protection.

  5. Healthiness and primary health care; services for the protection of infants and children, adolescents and senior citizens; preschool education; family services to integrate the disabled into the development of the community; cultural and sports activities and facilities. Prevention and protective services; surveillance and control of property and activities relating to matters within municipal competency.

  6. Drinking water services, electricity and gas for household use, sewers. channeling and disposal of wastewater; cemeteries and funeral services.

  7. Small claims courts, neighborhood prevention and protection and municipal police services, in accordance with applicable national legislation.

  8. Any others with which Municipalities may be charged under the Constitution and by law.

The actions that Municipalities have the power to take within the scope of their competence are without prejudice to national and state competence as defined by law in accordance with the Constitution.

Article 179

Municipalities shall have the following revenues:

  1. Those deriving from their capital assets, including the proceeds from their common lands and other property.
  2. Charges for the use of their goods or services; administrative charges for licenses or authorizations; taxes on economic activities in the areas of industry, business and services, or those of similar kind, with the limitations established in this Constitution; taxes on urban real property, vehicles, public shows, games and lawful wagering; advertising and commercial publicity; and, the special tax on increased property values generated by changes in use or intensity of exploitation from which they benefit because of zoning plans.
  3. The rural territorial tax or tax on rural estates; sharing in the tax on improvements and other national and state taxes, in accordance with the laws creating such taxes.
  4. Those deriving from the constitutional revenue share and other national or state transfers or subsidies.
  5. The proceeds from fines and penalties imposed within the scope of their competence, or delegated to them.
  6. Such others as may be determined by law. Article 180 The taxing power that is vested in Municipalities is different from and independent of the regulatory powers over certain fields or activities conferred by this Constitution or laws on National or State Authority.

Immunities from the taxing power of Municipalities in favor of other territorial political entities extend only to public sector juridical persons created by such organs, and not to concession holders or other parties entering into contracts with the administrative arm of National or State government.

Article 181

Municipal common lands are inalienable and not subject to the law of limitations. Title to them can be conveyed only subject to compliance with the formalities provided for under municipal ordinances and under the circumstances provided for thereunder, in accordance with this Constitution and such laws as may be promulgated to develop the principles container herein.

Ownerless land located within the urban area of towns in a municipality is municipal common land, without prejudice to legitimate and validly constituted rights of third parties.

Vacant land located within the urban area also becomes common land.

However, this does not include land which is part of native communities. The mechanism for converting other public land into common land shall be established by law.

Article 182

The Local Public Planning Council is hereby created, presided over by the Mayor and consisting of municipal Council members, Chairpersons of Parish Boards and representatives of neighborhood organizations and other organized social groups, in accordance with such provisions as may be established by law.

Article 183

States and Municipalities shall not have the power to:

  1. Create customs authorities or import, export or transit duties on domestic or foreign goods, or on other revenue sources under national competence.

  2. Tax consumer goods before the same are marketed within their territory.

  3. Prohibit the consumption of goods produced outside their territory, nor tax the same differently from those produced within their territory.

States and Municipalities have the power to tax agriculture, livestock, fishing and forest activities only at the times, in the manner and to the extent permitted by national laws.

Article 184

Open and flexible mechanisms shall be created by law to cause the States and Municipalities to decentralize and transfer to communities and organized neighborhood groups services the latter manage and demonstrate the ability to provide, promoting:

  1. The transfer of services in the areas of health, education, housing, sports, culture, social programs, the environment, maintenance of industrial areas, maintenance and upkeep of urban areas, neighborhood prevention and protective services, construction of works projects and providing of public services. To this end, they shall have the power to enter into agreements, whose content shall be guided by the principles of interdependence, coordination, cooperation and shared responsibility.
  2. Participation by communities and citizens, through neighborhood associations and nongovernmental organizations, in the formulation of investment proposals for presentation before the state and municipal authorities in charge of preparing the pertinent investment plans, as well as participation in the execution, evaluation and control of works projects, social programs and public services within their jurisdiction.
  3. Participation in economic processes, stimulating manifestations of the social economy, such as cooperatives, saving funds, mutual funds and other forms of association.
  4. Participation by workers and communities in the running of public sector business enterprises, through self-management and joint management methods.
  5. Creation of community service enterprises, organizations and cooperatives as mechanisms to generate employment and social Welfare, providing for their permanent existence through the design of policies whereby these groups are given means of participating.
  6. Creation of new decentralized organs at the parish, community, ward and neighborhood levels, with a view to guaranteeing the principle of shared responsibility in the public administration of local and state governments, and developing process of self-management and joint management in the administration and control of state and municipal public services.
  7. Participation by communities in activities to establish closer ties with penal institutions and ties between the latter and the general population.

Chapter 5. The Federal Council on Government

Article 185

The Federal Council on Government is the organ charged with planning and coordination of policies and actions to develop the process of decentralization and transfer of powers from National Authority to the States and Municipalities. It shall be presided over by the Executive Vice-President and shall consist of the Cabinet ministers, the Governors, one Mayor from each State and representatives of organized society, in accordance, with law.

The Federal Council on Government shall have a Secretariat made up of the Executive Vice-President, two Ministers, three Governors and three Mayors. The Federal Council on Government shall have a dependency known as the Inter territorial Compensation Fund, intended for the purpose of financing public investments with a view to promoting the balanced development of regions, cooperation and complement among the development policies and initiatives of the various public territorial entities, and in particular supporting the providing of works projects and services in regions and communities with relatively low levels of development. The Federal Council on Government, based on regional unbalances, shall discuss and approve annually the resources to be allocated to the Inter-territorial Compensation Fund and the priority investment areas to which these resources are to be applied.

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