(1) One or more counties and at least one of the municipalities in each county may create a municipal county to carry out all county services and all municipal services. The process of creating a municipal county shall begin by passage of a joint resolution by the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities involved. The joint resolution may be initiated by the governing bodies or by petition as provided in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) Whenever registered voters of any county and of at least one municipality in the county, equal in number to ten percent of the total vote cast for Governor in the county or municipality at the preceding election, petition the respective county board and city council or village board of trustees to pass a resolution as contemplated by this section, it shall be the duty of the county board and city council or village board to pass a joint resolution creating an interjurisdictional planning commission. Petitions shall be filed with the county clerk, election commissioner, city clerk, or other officer having charge of the records of the governing body. The official shall ascertain the number of registered voters signing such petitions and transmit his or her findings, along with the petition, to the county board and city council or village board of trustees.
(3) Within ninety days after the passage of the joint resolution or within ninety days after receipt of a petition by the registered voters, the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities involved shall create an interjurisdictional planning commission. A commission may also be created by the district court having jurisdiction over the counties and municipalities involved upon the failure by the counties and municipalities to pass a joint resolution after submission of a petition by the registered voters. The commission shall have no less than nine members and no more than twenty-one members representing the counties and municipalities involved as determined by the governing bodies of the counties and municipalities involved in order to achieve proportionate representation. The governing bodies shall select the members. Representation on the commission shall be prorated based upon population of the counties and municipalities involved, except that (a) each county and each municipality involved shall have at least one representative selected by its respective governing body and (b) not more than forty percent of the total membership shall be public officials. Meetings of the commission shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act.
(4)(a) The commission shall hold at least one public hearing prior to preparing the plan for the creation of the municipal county, study all governmental subdivisions in the affected area, and then make a determination of whether creation of a municipal county is in the public interest. If it is not in the public interest to do so, the commission shall issue a report stating its findings, including, but not limited to, any recommendations regarding (i) interlocal agreements, (ii) agreements to provide for the joint delivery of services, or (iii) any other such recommendations. If it is in the public interest to do so, the commission shall prepare one plan for the creation of the municipal county. Such plan shall be approved by the governing body of each county and each municipality involved prior to submission of the issue to a vote of the registered voters unless the commission was created by a petition of the registered voters.
(b) The plan shall specify (i) which counties and municipalities will be dissolved upon creation of the municipal county, (ii) the form of government, with an elected executive officer, a professional municipal county manager or administrator appointed by the commission, or both, to operate the executive functions of the municipal county, (iii) the number of council members of the municipal county and whether they will be elected by district or at large, and (iv) which elected officials, if any, will be eliminated.
(c) At least ninety days prior to submission of the issue to a vote of the registered voters, the commission and the governing body of each county and each municipality involved shall hold at least one public hearing in its respective jurisdiction and make available for review by residents of the county and municipality all material terms and conditions set forth in the resolution to create the municipal county, including information regarding the tax implications and quality and cost of services to be provided by the proposed plan to create the municipal county.
(5) Upon approval of the plan by the governing body of each county and each municipality involved, if required, or upon the governing bodies' approval or failure to approve if the commission was created by a petition of the registered voters, the county clerks or election commissioners shall place the issue on the ballot at the next primary, general, or special election.