NO. M-6.  AN ACT RELATING TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF BRATTLEBORO.

(H.433)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  CHARTER APPROVAL

The general assembly approves the Town of Brattleboro charter as provided in this act.  The charter was approved by the voters in accordance with 24 App. V.S.A. chapter 107, subchapter 7 of this charter on March 5, 2002.

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 107 is amended to read:

* * *

§ 2.1.  ELECTED OFFICERS

The voters of the town shall elect by Australian ballot the following:

* * *

(2)  A board selectboard of five selectmen members, elected at large, of whom two shall serve for one year and three shall serve for three years.

* * *

§ 2.3.  REPRESENTATIVE TOWN MEETING

(a)  Description:

(1)  The representative town meeting is a body, not exceeding one hundred forty voters of the town, elected by district to exercise exclusively all powers vested in the voters of the town.  In addition to the elected members, the following shall be members ex officio: the selectmen members of the selectboard, the school directors, treasurer, clerk, moderator, and state senators and state representatives who reside in BrattleboroRepresentative town meeting shall act upon all articles on the town meeting warning except those which relate to the election of officers, referenda, and other matters voted upon by Australian ballot.

(2)  The representative town meeting is a guiding body for the town and a source of ideas, proposals and comments. (See Addendum A, No. 302 of the Acts of 1959.)  In the event of a discrepancy between this section and No. 302 of the Acts of 1959, the provision set forth in No. 302 of the Acts of 1959 this charter shall prevail.

(b)  Ratifications:

(1)  The representative town meeting shall:

(A)  Ratify or reject the date proposed by the selectmen selectboard and school directors for the annual town and town school district meeting. Such date shall be set at the preceding annual town meeting and shall remain the same until changed by the representative town meeting.

(B)  Ratify or reject the appointment by the selectmen selectboard of a town clerk for a term of one year whose term shall run from annual town meeting to annual town meeting.

(i)  The town clerk shall keep the official records of the town, including the records of the proceedings of all town meetings.  In addition, the town clerk shall:

(I)  Record deeds and other instruments respecting real estate, writs of execution, other writs and other instruments which are delivered to him to record be recorded;

* * *

(VII)  Appoint Subject to the approval of the selectboard, appoint one or more assistant clerks, for whose official acts he is assistants, remaining responsible, and may for their acts and omissions, and able to revoke said appointment at any time;

* * *

(C)  Ratify or reject the appointment by the selectmen selectboard of a town treasurer for a term of one year whose term shall run from annual town meeting to annual town meeting.

(i)  The town treasurer shall:

* * *

(VI)  Appoint Subject to the approval of the selectboard, appoint one or more assistants, for whose official acts he is remaining responsible, and may for their acts and omissions, and able to revoke said appointment at any time; and

(VII)  Perform other duties as prescribed in 24 V.S.A. chapter 51.

(D)  Ratify or reject the appointment by the selectmen selectboard of a town attorney (which may be a law firm) for a term of one year whose term shall run from annual town meeting to annual town meeting.

(i)  The town attorney shall:

* * *

(III)  Provide legal advice to the selectmen selectboard, town manager, department heads, zoning board of adjustment development review board, planning commission, and other town boards, commissions, and committees;

(IV)  Perform other duties pertaining to the office as directed by the selectmen selectboard; and

(V)  Have the right to appoint, subject to approval of the selectmen selectboard, one or more assistants for whose official acts and omissions he is remaining responsible for their official acts and omissions, and may revoke said appointment at any time.

(E)  Ratify or reject the recommendations of the selectmen selectboard and the school directors regarding administrative and functional organization of the town or school district.

(c)  Elections:

(1)  Any article which requires balloting shall be among the first articles in the warning.  The annual town meeting shall elect by ballot:

(A)  The board of trustees of the Brattleboro free library Brooks Memorial Library, which shall determine library policy, approve the library budget, and employ a librarian.  Operating policies and procedures are established by the library trustees and executed by the librarian and staff.

(i)  The board of library trustees consists of nine members serving three years each.  Three trustees are elected each year from among persons nominated by the selectmen selectboard, by the board of library trustees, and from the floor of the annual town meeting.

(ii)  Vacancies on the board of library trustees are filled by the selectmen selectboard until the next annual town meeting, at which time a trustee shall be elected to serve for the remainder of the term.

(d)  Finance committee:  The representative town meeting may shall establish and may abolish a finance committee for the general purpose of reviewing proposed and actual expenditures by the town and, town school district, and other budgets which affect the taxpayers of the town of Brattleboro, as from time to time they see fit to review, and of making recommendations to the voters with respect thereto.  The meeting shall fix and from time to time may alter the number of members, the manner of their selection, their terms of office, their compensation if any, and their other duties and functions.  The committee may choose its own officers.  Pursuant to the rules established by town meeting, appointment or election of finance committee members shall be made at each annual town meeting.

* * *

§ 2.4.  BOARD OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD

The board of selectmen selectboard is a legislative body of five persons elected at large by the voters of the town.  The selectmen selectboard direct the affairs of the town within areas specified in subchapter 4 of this charter.

* * *

§ 2.6.  RELATIONSHIP OF THE BODIES

The town meeting, the selectmen selectboard, and the school directors act independently of one another but all of them are responsible for performing the functions of the town.  The selectmen selectboard and the school directors are accountable to town meeting.  They may act in conjunction with each other in the performance of their respective functions.

§ 2.7.  CONSOLIDATION OF SERVICES

The selectmen selectboard and the school directors may negotiate for the establishment of regional departments of public service, schools, or like regional organizations.  No regional affiliation shall be established, however, without the consent of the town meeting.  The town or town school district may, by vote of town meeting, also withdraw from any regional affiliation or organization.

§ 2.8.  CONFLICT OF INTEREST

No member of any town or town school district board, commission or committee shall vote on any matter in which he has a direct financial interest nor shall he vote on any matter in which he has an indirect financial where there is a direct or indirect financial interest or any direct or indirect personal interest, without the consent of the majority of his fellow board, commission, or committee members given in public session.

§ 2.9.  LIMITS ON TERMS OF OFFICE

A member of any appointed commission or committee shall not serve for more than nine consecutive years or two consecutive terms, whichever is longer.  He, and shall thereafter be ineligible for one year to serve in such office.  This section does not apply to town meeting members or to appointed town officials.

* * *

§ 3.1.  POWERS

(a)  In addition to the powers granted under this charter, the town shall have all powers conferred upon towns by the constitution and laws of the state.  Enumeration of particular powers in this charter shall not be construed as limiting the general powers of the town.

(b)  All powers of the town not specifically delegated in this charter to the voters or to the selectmen selectboard, school directors, or other boards, commissions, committees, or officers shall be vested in the town meeting.

§ 3.2.  INITIATIVE

(a)  The voters of the town shall have the power to:

(1)  Petition for inclusion in the warning of an article to reflect public sentiment and to be advisory only.

* * *

(B)  The selectmen selectboard or the school directors, upon receipt of such petition, shall place the article on the warning for the next town or town school district meeting.

* * *

(2)  Petition for inclusion in the warning of an article to adopt an ordinance.

* * *

(B)  The selectmen selectboard or school directors, upon receipt of such petition, shall place the article on the warning for the next town or town school district meeting.

* * *

(D)  A binding initiative article passed by the representative town meeting shall be acted upon by all voters of the town by Australian ballot, no later than the next townwide election.

(E)  An initiative approved under the provisions of this subsection shall be considered in all respects as if it had been adopted by the selectmen selectboard or school directors.

 

 

§ 3.3.  RECONSIDERATION

(a)  The voters of the town may petition for reconsideration by the town meeting of ordinances adopted by the selectmen selectboard.

(1)  The selectmen selectboard, upon receipt of a petition signed by at least 20 percent of the voters of the town, shall place the language of the petition for reconsideration on the warning for the town meeting or shall call a special town meeting for the purpose of reconsideration.

* * *

Subchapter 4.  Powers and Responsibilities of the Selectman Selectboard

§ 4.1.  COMPOSITION; ELIGIBILITY; ELECTIONS; TERMS

(a)  The board of selectmen selectboard shall be elected at large by the voters of the town from among their number.

(b)  The regular election of selectmen the selectboard shall be held on the first Tuesday in March each year as provided in subchapter 2, section 2.1(2) of this charter.  One selectman selectboard member shall be elected for a term of three years, and two selectmen selectboard members shall be elected for terms of one year each.  The candidate receiving the highest number of votes for the three year term shall be declared elected.  The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for the one year terms, even if there is a tie between them, shall be declared elected.  In case of a tie between more candidates than there are seats remaining, a recount of ballots shall begin within 24 hours.  If the tie is not broken, a new election shall be held as soon as practical.

§ 4.2.  COMPENSATION

The annual town meeting shall fix the compensation of the selectmen selectboard.

§ 4.3.  PROHIBITIONS

(a)  Except where authorized by law, a selectman shall not hold any other town office and shall not be employed by the town member of the selectboard shall not be employed by the town and shall not be a voting member of any committee to which all members are appointed by the selectboard.  A former selectman member of the selectboard shall not hold any appointive office for which compensation is paid until one year after the expiration of his the term of office.

(b)  The selectmen selectboard may not remove or require the removal by the town manager of any employee or officer whom the town manager is empowered to appoint.  The selectmen selectboard may, however, express their views as to appointment and removal of such officers or employees.

(c)  The selectmen selectboard may investigate all matters pertaining to town officers and employees, and shall conduct all appeals and hearings required by law, but the town manager shall otherwise have exclusive supervision of town employees.

 

 

 

§ 4.4.  VACANCIES

(a)  When a selectman member of the selectboard resigns, is removed from office, dies, or if his or her name is removed from the checklist, his the office shall become vacant.

(b)  A selectman member of the selectboard shall forfeit his office if he ceases to meet any qualifications for the office prescribed by this charter or by state law are no longer met or if he or she violates express provisions of this charter, or if he is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, or if he is absent from three consecutive regular meetings of the board without being excused by the board.  The board shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture.  For these purposes and for purposes of its hearings, inquiries and investigations, the board may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of evidence.  A selectman member of the selectboard charged with conduct requiring forfeiture of his or her office shall have the right to a public hearing.

(c)  When a vacancy occurs on the board, the remaining selectmen selectboard shall fill the vacancy by appointment until the next election. If there is more than one vacancy, the board shall call a special election to fill the vacancies for the remainder of the terms.  Such election shall be held not less than forty 40 nor more than sixty 60 days following the occurrence of the vacancies.

(d)  When a vacancy occurs in any other town office, the selectmen selectboard shall forthwith fill such vacancy by appointment until the next election.

§ 4.5.  APPOINTMENTS

(a)  Forthwith after their election and qualification, the selectmen selectboard shall elect a chairman chair, a vice chairman chair and a clerk.

(b)  The chairman chair shall preside at meetings of the board, shall represent the town government for ceremonial purposes, but he or she shall have no administrative duties. The vice chairman chair shall act as chairman chair during the absence or disability of the chairman chair.

(c)  The selectmen selectboard shall appoint the following officers and shall certify such appointments to the town clerk.  All vacancies in appointed offices shall be published in a local newspaper at least ten days before they are filled.  Unless required by law or by this charter, officers, boards, commissions, and committees described herein may be abolished by the selectmen selectboard and new ones may be created (See addendum C for descriptions of the various officers, officials, boards, commissions, and committees):

* * *

(11)  A town attorney (which may be a law firm), to serve also as town agent and assistant grand juror, subject to ratification by the town meeting;

* * *

(13)  Members of the following boards, commissions, and committees as required to fill vacancies therein;

(A)  Brattleboro housing authority

(B)  Bus service advisory committee

(C)  Honor roll committee

(D)  Housing advisory & appeals board committee

(E)  Human services evaluation committee

(F)  Personnel appeals board

(G)  Planning commission

(H)  Recreation & parks board

(I)    Zoning board of adjustment Development review board.

(d)  At least as often as every 15 years, the selectmen selectboard shall appoint from among the voters a charter revision commission to review the language of the charter and the rights, powers, duties and responsibilities specified therein.  The commission may propose amendments and may redraft the charter in whole or in part.  Any amendments or changes shall be voted upon in accordance with subchapter 7 of this charter or as otherwise required by law.

§ 4.6.  GENERAL POWERS, DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE

           BOARD OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD

The selectmen selectboard shall have the general supervision of the affairs and property of the town not committed by law to the care of any particular officer, including but not limited to the following powers, duties and responsibilities:

* * *

(5)  To provide for the construction and maintenance of roads, sidewalks, and bridges under town control, and to lay out, construct, erect, maintain and repair additional roads, sidewalks and bridges for the safety and convenience of the people as deemed appropriate.

(6)  To provide, maintain for the maintenance and repair of water, sewer and storm water drainage systems, including a system for the supply of water to the people by wells, reservoirs, pipelines and otherwise, and to provide for treatment of water, sewage and storm drainage for the health, safety and welfare of the people as deemed appropriate (as provided in Act No. 180 of the 1943 session, as amended by Act No. 123 of the 1975 session).

(7)  To provide for the lighting of roads, sidewalks, bridges, parks, parking lots and other public places for the safety and convenience of the people as deemed appropriate.

(8)  To purchase and distribute electricity or gas, and to or acquire, establish and maintain an electric light and power system and a gas system for the welfare and convenience of the people, and for use by the town.

* * *

(11)  To provide for the collection, storage and disposal of garbage and other refuse, including building demolition materials, toxic or chemical wastes, and other commercial or industrial waste materials as consistent with section 6607a of Title 10.

* * *

(14)  To condemn lands or buildings to which public ownership is deemed necessary for the exercise of any of the powers of the town or selectmen selectboard, and to hold public hearings thereon for just compensation to be paid to the owners of any right or interest therein.

* * *

(26)  To promote and safeguard the public health, safety, comfort or general welfare by the adoption of ordinances and regulations relating to the following subjects:

* * *

(M)  Providing penalties for noncompliance with orders of any inspector named in subdivision (L) of this subdivision, made by virtue of any resolution, ordinance, by-law bylaw or regulation adopted by the board of selectmen selectboard hereunder.  However, provision shall be made to appeal such orders and decisions in the manner specified by 24 V.S.A. chapter 83;

* * *

(28)  To adopt ordinances, including emergency ordinances effective for no more than 30 days, rules, regulations, plans, and directives, or to promulgate maps or by-laws bylaws in furtherance of the powers of the town, whether under the authority of this charter or of other general or special enactments, all of which shall be published in accordance with law.  All ordinances, regulations, plans or by-laws bylaws of the town, except emergency ordinances, whether enacted under authority of general or special law, shall be published in a newspaper to be designated by the selectmen selectboard and circulated in the town at least 20 days before the effective date thereof.  A single publication of the full text of the ordinances, regulations, plan or by-law bylaw shall be sufficient, any statute to the contrary notwithstanding.  All such ordinances, regulations, plans or by-laws bylaws shall thereupon be recorded at length by the town clerk in a book kept for that purposes.

* * *

§ 4.7.  GENERAL POWERS; DUTIES; RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE

           TOWN MANAGER

Subject to the provisions of law and under the supervision of the selectmen selectboard, the town manager shall have the authority:

(1)  To cause duties required by law or by the selectmen selectboard or school directors, and not committed to the care of any other particular officer, to be performed and executed.

(2)  To ensure the performance of all duties now conferred by law or by this charter on the selectmen selectboard, except where prohibited by law.

* * *

(10)  To perform on behalf of the school district such of these the duties in this section as the school directors may request.

* * *

§ 5.3.  PROHIBITIONS

(a)  Except when authorized by law, a school director shall not hold any other town school district office, or be employed by the school district and shall not be a voting member of any committee to which all members are appointed by the school directors.  No former school director shall hold any appointive office for which compensation is paid until one year after the expiration of his or her term of office.

* * *

§ 5.4.  VACANCIES

(a)  When a school director resigns, is removed from office, dies, or his or her name is removed from the checklist, his the office shall become vacant.

(b)  A school director shall forfeit his or her office if he shall cease to meet any qualifications for the office prescribed by this charter or by state law are no longer met or if he or she violates any express provisions of this charter, or the director is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or is if absent from three consecutive regular meetings of the board without being excused by the board.  The board shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture.  For these purposes and for purposes of its hearings, inquiries, and investigations, the board may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of evidence.  A school director charged with conduct requiring forfeiture of his or her office shall have the right to a public hearing.

(c)  When a vacancy occurs on the board, the selectmen selectboard shall fill the vacancy.  If there is more than one vacancy, the board shall call a special election to fill the vacancies.  The election shall be held not less than forty 40 nor more than 60 days following the occurrence of the vacancies.

§ 5.5.  APPOINTMENTS

Forthwith after their election and qualification, the school directors shall elect a chairman chair, a vice chairman chair and a clerk.

§ 5.6.  GENERAL POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL

           DIRECTORS

The school directors are responsible for the administration and maintenance of the public schools; and, in addition to other duties specifically assigned by law (See 16 V.S.A. § 563), shall:

* * *

(15)  Exercise the general powers given to the selectmen selectboard.

* * *

§ 6.1.  CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

(a)  The selectmen selectboard and the school directors shall submit to the annual town meeting a list of possible capital expenditures for the next five years for the guidance and information of town meeting which shall not be binding on either the selectmen selectboard or the school directors.  Such list, which shall not be regarded as indicative of intent, should specify possible and preferred methods of financing such capital expenditures and the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining the facilities to be constructed or acquired.  It may be revised and expanded each year with regard to capital improvements still pending or in process of construction or acquisition.

(b)  No capital expenditure by the town shall be made or submitted for action at town meeting without prior consideration of the selectmen selectboard.

* * *

§ 6.2.  CAPITAL GRANT REVIEW BOARD

A capital grant review board shall be established to study and evaluate all requests made on behalf of the town or its boards for grants or loans for capital expenditures.  The board shall consist of two representatives appointed annually by the selectmen selectboard, two representatives appointed annually by the school directors and two representatives appointed annually by town meeting.  The board shall submit its recommendations in writing to the selectmen selectboard or the school directors, as the case may be.  Its recommendations are advisory only.

§ 6.3.  REVENUE

* * *

(c)  The selectmen selectboard or school directors may establish user fees for specific services provided by it and for the use of its facilities.  User fees shall be based on the cost and value of services provided or on the extent of use of facilities and may take into consideration prior subsidy through taxation.

§ 6.4.  REAPPRAISAL OF PROPERTY

Taxable property within the town may be reappraised from time to time as may be deemed expedient by the town meeting on recommendation of the selectmen and shall be reappraised by the board of listers at least every ten years selectboard when advised by the board of listers that the state division of property valuation and review has determined that the common level of assessment has dropped below 80 percent or the coefficient of dispersion has exceeded 20 percent.  In the event that a sufficient sum is not appropriated or existing in any reserve fund designated for reappraisals to defray the expense of such reappraisal, the selectmen selectboard shall impose a special assessment on the grand list in addition to all others approved by the voters or as provided by law.

* * *

§ 6.6.  INDEPENDENT AUDIT

The selectmen selectboard and the school directors may provide for an independent audit of all town and town school district accounts as they deem necessary or as directed by town meeting.  Such audit shall be made by a certified public accountant or firm of accountants having no direct or indirect personal interest in the fiscal affairs of the town or the school district or any of their officers.

§ 6.7.  BORROWING IN ANTICIPATION OF TAXES

The selectmen selectboard and the school directors may borrow money, at the most favorable rate of interest they can obtain, in anticipation of town and school district revenues to be collected within the fiscal year.

* * *

§ 7.1.  CHARTER AMENDMENTS

This charter may be amended:

* * *

(2)  By the selectmen selectboard or the school directors, pursuant to vote by the voters of the town, by Australian ballot, and subject to approval of the legislature, or

* * *

§ 9.2.  DISTRICTS; REPORT OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD;

           MEETINGS; VOTING

(a)  The selectmen selectboard shall divide the territory of the town into four districts and shall define their respective boundaries.  The districts shall be so established as to consist of compact and contiguous territory and shall be bounded so far as possible by the center line of streets or by geographical limits.  The district boundaries shall be reviewed and, if need be, wholly or partially revised, or the number of districts changed, by the selectmen selectboard, every five years thereafter, and in any year when so directed by vote of the annual representative town meeting held that year.

(b)  On or before the 15th day of November of any year in which said districts are established, revised or changed as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the selectmen selectboard shall file a report of their proceedings with the town clerk, with maps and descriptions of all of the districts, and shall cause a copy of such maps and descriptions to be posted at the municipal building and in at least one public place in each district.  The division of the town into districts, and any revision of such districts, shall take effect upon the date of the filing of the report thereof by the selectmen selectboard with the town clerk.

(c)  Elections of the town meeting members for the several districts shall be held on the first Tuesday in March, at the same hour and at such places within the town as the selectmen selectboard shall direct in the warning for such elections.

 

 

 

 

 

§ 9.3.  ELECTION OF TOWN MEETING MEMBERS; CERTIFICATION

           OF VOTERS; TOWN MEETING MEMBERSHIP; NOTICE;

           QUALIFICATION; RESPONSIBILITIES

* * *

(b)  On the 15th day of December of any year in which said districts are established, revised or changed, the selectmen selectboard shall certify to the town clerk the total number of voters in each district and the total number of town meeting members each district is entitled to elect.

(c)  The total number of town meeting members shall in no event be more than 140 nor less than 100.  If the total number of town meeting members on the basis set forth in subsection (a) of this section would be more than 140 or less than 100, then the selectmen selectboard shall revise the proportion of representation so that the total number of town meeting members shall be no more than 140 nor less than 100, and the selectmen shall set forth such proportion in their certification to the town clerk provided for in subsection (b) of this section.

* * *

(f)  In addition to the elected town meeting members hereinbefore provided for, the following shall be members ex officio: the selectmen selectboard, school directors, town clerk, town treasurer, moderator and town representatives who are residents of Brattleboro.

* * *

(h)  Town meeting members shall be expected to attend the annual town meeting, all special town meetings, and any other meetings where issues affecting Brattleboro taxpayers are voted on and all other relevant informational meetings.

* * *

§ 9.6.  VOTING; MEMBERS TO RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION;

           QUORUM; WARNING

* * *

(f)  The warning for any town meeting shall be prepared and posted in manner and form provided by law.  The warning for the annual meeting shall include the articles to be voted upon by the representative town meeting in meeting assembled on the third Saturday following the first Tuesday in March at a time to be designated by the selectmen selectboard.

* * *

§ 9.8.  REFERENDUM

No article in the warning shall at any representative town meeting be finally disposed of by a vote to pass over, to lay upon the table, to postpone indefinitely or take no action thereon.  No vote passed at any representative town meeting under any article in the warning, except a vote to adjourn, or a vote for the temporary borrowing of money in anticipation of taxes, shall be operative until the expiration of five days, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, from the adjournment of the meeting.  If within said five days a petition, signed by not fewer than 250 voters of the town, including at least 50 from each district, containing their names and addresses as they appear on the check list, or signed by not fewer than 50 town meeting members, be filed with the selectmen selectboard requesting that the question or questions involved in such vote be submitted to the voters of the town at large, then the selectmen selectboard within 14 days after the filing of the petition, shall call a special town meeting, which shall be held within ten days after the issuing of the call for the sole purpose of presenting to the voters at large the question or questions so involved.  The polls shall be opened at not later than ten o’clock in the forenoon and shall be closed not earlier than six o’clock in the evening, and all votes upon any questions so submitted shall be taken by ballot, and the check list shall be used in the several district meetings in the same manner as in the election of town officers.  The questions so submitted shall be determined by vote of the same proportion of voters at large voting thereon as would have been required by law of the town meeting members had the question been finally determined at a representative town meeting.  The question so submitted shall be stated upon the ballot in the same language and form in which it was stated when presented to said representative town meeting by the moderator as appears from the records of the said meeting.  If such petition be not filed within the said period of five days, the vote of the

 

representative town meeting shall become operative upon the expiration of the said period.

Approved:  May 21, 2003