BULLET St. Louis City Charter Article XIX Franchises*

St. Louis City Charter has been converted to electronic format by the staff of the St. Louis Public Library. This electronic version has been done for the interest and convenience of the user. These are unofficial versions and should be used as unofficial copies.

Official printed copies of St. Louis Missouri City Charter may be obtained from the Register's Office at the St. Louis City Hall.

Article XIX


An agreement between the city and a corporation granting the corporation the exclusive use of a municipal dock for a maximum of twenty years was properly termed a lease agreement as distinguished from a franchise and constituted a valid and binding contract. St. Louis Terminals v. City of St. Louis, 535 S.W. 2d 593 (1976).

Section 1 Limitations on grant; powers reserved to city; ordinances required; incidental regulations.

All grants or renewals of franchises shall be subject to the right to amend, alter or repeal the same in whole or in part, and to forfeit the same at any time for misuse or nonuse; and subject always to the city's power of taxation and its authority to regulate rates, quality of use, service, and products and methods of conduct and operation; subject also to the right of the city at the end of ten years after the beginning of operation and at the end of every five-year period thereafter, at its option to be exercised by ordinance, to acquire the plant and property used in the operation of the franchise, upon terms and conditions to be ascertained in the manner provided in the granting or renewing ordinance, but in no event is the franchise itself to enter as an element into such compensation. Upon such acquisition the franchise shall cease. Every such grant shall cease unless construction thereunder is begun within the time specified in the ordinance and completed with reasonable speed, and no grant shall be exclusive or for a longer term than fifty years.

Any ordinance granting or renewing a franchise may also provide for regulating, from time to time, the amount of capitalization, indebtedness and expenditure of the grantee or assignee in operating thereunder. Such ordinance may also provide that the franchise shall be sold at public sale, and nothing in any such ordinance shall prevent the city from acquiring the property of any such utility by condemnation proceedings or in any other lawful way subject to the limitation of time herein provided.

Every grantee of a franchise for any public utility shall keep such reports of its finances and operation as may be prescribed by ordinance, and the city may at any time examine its records and accounts.

No ordinance granting or renewing a franchise shall be adopted until a report thereon in the form in which it is put upon its adoption has been made to the board of aldermen by the board of public service with its recommendations as to the action that should be had thereon, nor until the bill and the report of the board of public service, or a fair summary thereof, shall have been published as provided by ordinance.

No franchise shall be assignable except with the city's approval expressed by ordinance.


82.230 Regulation of public franchises

City Counselor Ops.: 9884


Public utility company must obtain consent to put electric wires over city streets. Holland Realty and Power Co. v. City of St. Louis, 221 S.W. 51, 282 Mo. 180 (1920).

Contract for possession and profit of dock constituted a "lease" and not a "franchise." St. Louis Terminals v. City of St. Louis, 535 S.W. 2d 593 (1976).


Ch. 34 Franchises

Section 2 Control of public utilities.

The board of aldermen shall at all times have full power, to be exercised by ordinance, over all public utilities now or hereafter existing in the city, and may regulate the charges for the use, service or product thereof and establish whatever requirements may be necessary to secure efficient use, service or products, and no terms or conditions contained in any grant shall limit or impair this power.


This section is inoperative insofar as state statute has provided a uniform system of regulation for public utilities. State v. Public Service Commission, 192 S.W. 958, 270 Mo. 429 (1917).

The city cannot enact penal ordinances pertaining to use of public utilities that are under state control. Ex parte Packman, 296 S.W. 366, 317 Mo. 732 (1927).

Section 3 Conditions of grant or renewal.

The board of aldermen shall, in the granting or renewal of any franchise as herein provided, prescribe or provide for the character of construction and equipment, the kind and quality of use, service or product to be furnished; the rate to be charged therefor; manner in which the streets, public grounds or other public property shall be used or occupied; and any other terms and conditions in the interest of the public, including, among others, provision for compensation to the city for the use of such streets, public grounds or property based on a share in the gross or net receipts or on the number of passengers transported or number of cars owned or operated or on any one or more of such bases or any other basis or bases.

Section 4 Maintenance of streets by street railroads.

Street railroad companies shall keep the street between the rails and between the tracks and to the extent of at least twelve inches outside of each rail in perfect repair, and as nearly on a level with such rails as practicable, and that portion outside the rails shall be of the same material as the street itself or such other material as may be approved by the board of public service, and give such bond or other security for compliance with the provisions of this section as may be provided by ordinance.


Street railroad companies are liable to private persons for injuries caused by noncompliance with this subsection. Asmus v. United Rys. Co. of St. Louis, 134 S.W. 2d 92, 152 Mo. App. 521 (1911); Corte v. St. Louis Public Service Company, 370 S.W. 2d 297 (1963).

Railroad is not responsible for any injury after city took over service even if injury was caused by defect present prior to railroad's abandonment. Vanaak v. St. Louis Public Service Company, 358 S.W. 2d 808 (1962).

Section 5 Use of tracks of one street railroad by another.

Any street railroad company shall have the right to run its cars over the track of any other street railroad company in whole or in part, upon the payment of just compensation for the use thereof, under such rules and regulations as may be provided by ordinance.

Return to Top of Charter, Code, and Ordinances.
Return to Charter Table of Contents.

 | | | | | | |  | | | | | | | | | | | |  |