Full Statute Name:  LAWS OF PUERTO RICO ANNOTATED. TITLE TWENTY-ONE. Municipalities. Subtitle 6. Autonomous Municipalities. CHAPTER 203. Powers and Faculties of the Municipal Government. § 4054 Municipal faculties in general

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Primary Citation:  PR ST T. 21 § 4054 Country of Origin:  Puerto Rico Last Checked:  November, 2014 Alternate Citation:  21 L.P.R.A. § 4054 Date Adopted:  1991

This Puerto Rico statute provides that each municipality has the general power to order, regulate and resolve whatever is necessary and convenient to attend to its local needs and for its greater prosperity and development.  Among these powers is the power to regulate whatever concerns stray domestic animals, including euthanasia and disposal in interest of the public health, establishing rules and conditions under which they can be rescued by their owners, the muzzling and licensing of dogs, and the adoption and implementation of such precautionary measures that are necessary or convenient to protect the public health as it may be affected by domestic stray animals.

[Ed. note - see subsection (g) for dog provisions]

Each municipality shall order, regulate and resolve whatever is necessary and convenient to attend to its local needs and for its greater prosperity and development. The municipalities shall be vested with the powers that are necessary and convenient to carry out the following functions and activities:

(a) Establish solid waste collection services and programs and public sanitation programs in general, and adopt the standards and measures that are necessary for [the improvement] and adequate control and disposal of waste.

Likewise, municipalities are hereby empowered to establish agreements with agencies of the Central Government and with residents' associations or community members to carry out maintenance works and other related activities in public facilities.

(b) Establish, maintain, manage and operate cemeteries; determine the conditions and requirements for the burial of bodies therein, and for the granting of concessions or authorizations for the construction of graves, mausoleums, sepulchers, and other vaults in accordance with health laws and regulations, pursuant to §§ 1041 et seq. of Title 24.

(c) Establish, maintain and manage market places, commercial centers, and abattoirs, pursuant to all health laws and regulations in effect, and to this subtitle.

(d) Organize and maintain a Municipal Police Corps pursuant to the provisions of in §§ 1061 et seq. of this title, known as the 'Municipal Police Act'.

(e) Impose and collect fees from the Medical Emergency Corps for the ambulance and medical emergencies services provided to the latter, except when otherwise provided by a contract signed by the parties.

(f) To establish programs and adopt convenient and useful measures to prevent and fight fires, offer assistance to the community in cases of emergency or natural disasters, catastrophic accidents or fires and for the civil protection in general, pursuant to §§ 172 et seq. of Title 25, known as the 'Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Emergency Management and Disaster Administration Agency Act'. Provided, That in the cases previously mentioned, the municipality, including any of its municipal dependencies or municipal administrative units or special corporations created thereby, shall provide a control number or, in its default, a copy to serve as a receipt of all requests made by any persons for the purpose of guaranteeing the due process and the award of the various aids to be granted as a consequence of such events.

(g) Regulate whatever concerns stray domestic animals, dispose for their euthanasia and disposal in interest of the public health, establish the rules and conditions under which they can be rescued by their owners, as well as the muzzling and licensing of dogs, and the adoption and implementation of such precautionary measures that are necessary or convenient to protect the public health as it may be affected by domestic stray animals; and establish, operate and manage animal shelters according to §§ 1094 et seq. of this title.

(h) Establish policies, strategies and plans addressed to the ordinance of the territory, conservation of its resources, and its optimum development, subject to the provisions of this subtitle.

(i) Rule and regulate outdoor graphic publicity in the municipality, provided it is done with the same or more limiting criteria than those established by the Regulations and Permits Administration and the Planning Board, and require and charge fees established by ordinance for the issuing of permits to authorize the installation or fixing of outdoor posters and graphic propaganda. To such effect, the municipality may require a deposit as a bond, which shall not be greater than five hundred dollars ($500), with the objective of ensuring the payment of the cost of cleaning and removing the authorized graphic propaganda. To such effect, the Commissioner of Municipal Affairs shall issue uniform guidelines that shall govern the municipalities when fixing or determining the amount of the deposit that will be required as a bond. In drawing up these guidelines, the Commissioner shall take into consideration the various lucrative and non-lucrative activities and institutions that use commercial entities as sponsors, and shall direct the revision thereof every two years, as of the date they are approved. The municipality may require, by regulations, a lesser amount than that recommended in the uniform guidelines, but shall never impose or require an amount that is greater. The amount deposited as a bond shall be returned when the person who requested the permits authorizing the installation or fixing of outdoor posters and graphic propaganda takes the necessary steps leading to the cleaning of the site and the removal of the publicity.

In order to require a deposit for the cleaning and removal of outdoor commercial graphic publicity, the municipality shall adopt the needed regulations through an ordinance, which shall establish the amounts of the deposits required according to the size, type and number, among others, of the sign or graphic propaganda to be installed or fixed.

(j) Rule and regulate the location and operation of mobile businesses, including the power to require and charge for a license or periodic rent to be able to operate, pursuant to this subtitle. Those mobile businesses which hold an authorization as of the effective date of this act, which is duly issued pursuant to repealed Act No. 56 of July 21, 1978, as amended, known as the 'Act to Regulate the Operation of Mobile Sales Businesses in Puerto Rico' and who comply with it and with any applicable regulations and ordinances, may continue to operate without any additional requirement until the expiration of the authorization or permit.

The municipal authority may proceed against those mobile sales businesses that operate illegally, once it adopts the needed regulations. Under no circumstances shall the municipality issue authorizations to operate mobile sales businesses on Commonwealth highways.

(k) Name the streets, avenues, walks, parks, plazas, alleys, pedestrian walks, buildings, facilities and all kinds of municipal public highways, works, structures or facilities, when the total construction cost, or more than fifty percent (50% ) thereof, has been defrayed with municipal funds proceeding from their budgetary funds.

The mayor shall determine the corresponding name, which shall be approved through a municipal ordinance to such effects. In no case shall the name of persons who have not passed away be used. The municipality shall, to the extent possible, choose names related to the municipal history, geography, and traditions or of distinguished persons of the past identified with the municipality.

(l) Establish and operate a school transportation system for students, either for pay or free of charge, without being subject to the provisions of §§ 1001 et seq. of Title 27, known as 'Puerto Rico Public Service Act'. Notwithstanding the above, and for the best safety of the students, the Public Service Commission shall inspect every motor vehicle used for the transportation of school children at least three (3) times a year, and such inspection shall include the capacity of the motor vehicle, the authorized number of passengers, equipment, school vehicle operator's license, and insurance policy. The Public Service Commission shall establish the fees that it will charge the municipalities for said inspections, by regulations.

(m) Establish, maintain, operate or contract for the operation or maintenance of mass interurban or intermunicipal transportation systems, either for pay or free of charge, subject to §§ 2001 et seq. of Title 9, and any other applicable statutes. Two (2) or more municipalities may agree to operate these systems jointly.

(n) Contribute to the planning and solution of the affordable housing economic problem through the development of housing projects, the distribution of lots for the construction of said housing by the municipalities themselves or jointly with any public agency or private entity; as well as, to carry out developments and housing construction, and other related activities through the formalization of agreements with natural or juridical persons, special corporations, and profit or nonprofit corporations organized under §§ 2601 et seq. of Title 14, known as the 'General Corporations Act of 1995', subject to the maximum limits of the value of the real property established by the applicable laws.

(o) Provide services and facilities to moderate income families for the construction, paving, or provision of an entrance or access to their dwellings from a road, highway, alley, lane, sidewalk, walk, or any other public way, provided that the laws and regulations that apply or that any duly-constituted right of way allows such entrance or access. The requirements, procedures, and norms for the request and concession of the services authorized in this subsection shall be established by ordinance.

(p) Establish, with the advice of the Puerto Rico Planning Board, the necessary conditions and requirements to grant authorization for the control of access of vehicles and of the streets, pursuant to §§ 64-64h of Title 23, and also subject to the following:

(1) That the community that is interested in controlling the access of motor vehicles can be isolated within the geographic area in which it is located and that it, in turn, does not control the entrances and exits of other communities that have not requested the control of motor vehicle traffic.

(2) That the flow of vehicles and pedestrians is not hindered on local streets which have continuity between the municipality's communities and wards, and which not only provide options for the traffic of the members of the community but also for those who live in other sectors.

(3) That the design of the facilities to control access of vehicles does not interfere with the free flow of rainwater.

(4) Every resolution to approve or deny an access control request by the municipality shall be notified to the concerned parties including in said notice the right to request a judicial review before the Court of First Instance within twenty (20) days pursuant to the provisions in § 4702 of this title.

Any regulations for the execution and implementation of the authorizations and functions provided in this subsection shall be approved pursuant to §§ 2101 et seq. of Title 3, known as 'Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Uniform Administrative Procedures Act'.

(q) Design, organize, and develop general welfare and public service projects, programs and activities, and to such ends, create and establish such administrative units and bodies as are needed for their implementation and operation.

This listing of municipal functions is not taxative in nature, therefore, the competence of the municipalities in each of the areas of activities and services described, shall comprise the faculties indicated above, as well as those that are congruent with the respective interest and public service area or function. In addition to the functions indicated above, the municipal government shall carry out any and all of the administrative functions needed for its proper operation and administration.

(r) Rule on and regulate the use, delegation, disbursement and supervision of funds proceeding from the 'Program for Citizen Participation in Municipal Development', pursuant to this subtitle and to the municipal ordinances or resolutions applicable and subject to the norms established by the Commissioner.

(s) Regulate and approve regulations for the authorization, location, and installation of physical speed controls in the municipal thoroughfares and roads.

(t) To contract public advertising services to broadcast, announce and inform public interest activities, programs or services sponsored by the municipality. All expenditures of municipal funds for public advertising shall be governed by reasonable parameters in said industry and subject to the applicable rules. The validity of contracts entered into and formalized prior to the effectiveness of this provision is hereby acknowledged, but their prospective application shall be subject to the provisions set forth herein.

(u) Municipalities are hereby authorized, upon approval by the Municipal Legislature, to acquire commercial franchises and to operate any kind of for-profit venture or corporate entity so as to promote economic development; to create new sources of employment and acquire through these ventures additional funds to boost their municipal treasuries, to improve the quality of life of their constituents, insofar as such franchises or establishments are located in municipal structures. Likewise, municipalities are authorized to establish through regulations any such procedures to be followed as pertinent to the provisions of this section.

Before conducting any transactions in connection with the authority conferred herein, municipalities must comply with the following provisions:

(1) Before making any efforts conducive to the acquisition of one or more franchises, municipalities shall conduct feasibility and marketing studies to assess the success rate for such franchises and the chances of sustaining losses, depletion, or any other negative factor that could result in losses for the municipalities. A copy of this study shall be forwarded to the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (GDB) for evaluation by its staff and for the Bank to issue its opinion on this matter.

(2) Upon receipt of the opinion issued by GDB officers, a draft for a resolution shall be prepared, to be submitted to the Municipal Legislature for its evaluation and approval by at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Municipal Legislature. The resolution draft shall be submitted together with a draft for the regulations that shall govern the operations of franchises so acquired. Municipalities shall take precautionary measures at the time of deciding the franchise concept to be adopted and the track record of their franchisors.

(3) All costs relative to the acquisition and transaction of one or more franchises must be defrayed with funds originating from accrued surplus resulting from the regular operations of the municipalities, as certified by a firm of authorized external auditors or by a single audit for the year immediately preceding the year in which the acquisition of the franchise(s) is sought. Municipalities may not use more than fifty percent (50% ) of such annual surplus for these purposes.

(4) Municipalities shall abstain from granting and/or denying any endorsements or permits to those who wish to establish businesses or operate commercial franchises whose products are similar to those produced by municipalities and which are physically located in close proximity. These cases may be referred to the Permit and Endorsement Regulatory Administration (ARPE, Spanish acronym) for its opinion on the matter, or to the Commonwealth agency responsible for granting permits.

(5) Municipalities shall establish monitoring plans and stringent oversight programs in order to ensure a sound administration and the proper management of the operation of municipal ventures.

— Aug. 30, 1991, No. 81, § 2.004; Oct. 29, 1992, No. 84, § 7; May 22, 1996, No. 45, § 18; Aug. 20, 1998, No. 253, § 1, 2; May 10, 1999, No. 112, § 1; Sept. 1, 2000, No. 279, § 2; Mar. 3, 2002, No. 44, § 1; Sept. 7, 2004, No. 258, § 9; Sept. 1, 2006, No. 178, § 1; Mar. 8, 2007, No. 20, § 1; Nov. 22, 2009, No. 149, § 1.




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