A charter ordinance creates or revises any part of the charter of a city or village and is used when a municipality elects not to be governed by state laws relating to its local affairs and government, other than laws enacted by the legislature that are of statewide concern and with uniformity affect every city and village. Wis. Stat. §§ 66.0101(1m), 66.0101(4). In Wisconsin, the general city charter law applicable to all cities except Milwaukee, which has a special charter, is chapter 62 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The village charter law is chapter 61.
There are a number of different ways municipalities can adopt a charter ordinance under § 66.0101. However, a charter ordinance is originated in only two ways: by the governing body or by petition of the electors.