NO. M-9.  AN ACT RELATING TO THE INCORPORATION OF ST. GEORGE FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1.

(H.301)

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

Sec. 1.  APPROVAL OF INCORPORATION

The general assembly approves the incorporation of St. George Fire District No. 1 as provided in this act.  Articles of incorporation were approved by the selectboard of the Town of St. George pursuant to the provisions of 20 V.S.A. § 2481 on October 15, 1998.

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 503 is added to read:

CHAPTER 503.  ST. GEORGE FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1

§ 1.  BOUNDARIES

The boundaries of St. George Fire District No. 1 shall be as recorded in volume 25, page 111 of the Town of St. George land records.

§ 2.  PURPOSE

St. George Fire District No. 1 is a fire district incorporated:

(1)  To design, construct, upgrade, operate, and maintain a water supply and distribution system, including the maintenance and repair of water mains and the provision of a limited water service to the area described in section 1 of this chapter.

(2)  To maintain the private roads, Rocky Ridge Circle and Peet Lane, as shown on the map referenced in section 1 of this chapter.

§ 3.  POWERS

The St. George Fire District No. 1 shall have all powers granted to a fire district pursuant to chapter 171 of Title 20, and the fire district shall have the authority:

(1)  To construct, install, maintain, and repair all facilities and equipment necessary for the provision of water supply and distribution services to the members of the district.

(2)  To bill all users of water services provided by the district for their pro rata share of the expense of providing, operating, and maintaining the service.

(3)  To purchase, own, grant, convey, sell, or take by eminent domain real property, easements, and personal property and to purchase insurance in the name of St. George Fire District No. 1.

§ 4.  ANNUAL AND SPECIAL FIRE DISTRICT MEETINGS

(a)  Warnings.  Annual and special meetings of the fire district shall be warned by the clerk, or in the clerk’s absence, any member of the prudential committee.  The warning shall include the purpose of the meeting and the time and place of the meeting.  The notice shall be posted at two or more public places in the district not more than 40 days or less than 30 days before the meeting.  The district clerk shall record all warnings in the fire district records.

(b)  Annual meetings.  The annual meeting of the fire district shall be held on the third Tuesday in May.

(c)  Special meetings.  The clerk of the fire district shall warn a special meeting upon petition of three or more voters of the district or five percent of the district, whichever is greater.

(d)  Quorum and voting.  Persons residing within the fire district who are voters in the Town of St. George shall be entitled to vote at a fire district annual or special meeting.  A quorum at an annual or special meeting of the fire district shall be by seven or more voters of the district.

§ 5.  OFFICERS

(a)  Prudential committee.  The prudential committee shall consist of three members elected for a term of three years.  The members of the prudential committee shall be elected to staggered terms so that only one member shall be elected annually.

(b)  District clerk.  The district clerk shall keep minutes of all fire district and prudential committee meetings and votes. 

(c)  District Treasurer.  The duties of the district treasurer shall include:

(1)  Accepting payment of all current accounts on behalf of the fire district. 

(2)  Keeping accurate records of all payments made to the district.

(3)  Writing and signing all checks on behalf of the district.

(4)  Alerting the prudential committee of any past due accounts.

(5)  Keeping accurate records of all financial transactions made by the district.

(d)  District collector of delinquent taxes.  The collector of delinquent taxes shall collect all past due accounts, interest on those accounts, and penalties in accordance with the rules adopted by the prudential committee under section 11 of this chapter. 

§ 6.  RESIGNATION, VACANCY, AND REMOVAL OF OFFICERS

(a)  Any officer, other than a member of the prudential committee, may resign at any time by giving written notice to the prudential committee.  Unless otherwise specified in the notice, resignation shall take effect on the receipt of the notice.  Acceptance of the notice is not necessary to make it effective.

(b)  A vacancy occurring in any district office, other than a member of the prudential committee, caused by death, resignation, removal, or incapacity of an officer to carry out his or her duties shall be filled within 30 days by the prudential committee.  The officer appointed by the prudential committee shall serve until the next annual meeting.

(c)  Any officer, other than a member of the prudential committee, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the prudential committee if the committee believes that removal will serve the best interests of the fire district.

§ 7.  PRUDENTIAL COMMITTEE

(a)  The prudential committee shall be the administrative body of the fire district and shall be responsible for the control and management of the affairs, property, and interests of the fire district.  The prudential committee may exercise all powers of the fire district unless otherwise provided in chapter 171 of Title 20 or this chapter.  These powers shall include the execution of contracts, the commencement of actions in the name of the fire district, defending actions brought against the fire district, and the settlement of claims on behalf of the fire district.  The prudential committee may appoint an assistant clerk and an assistant treasurer as it deems necessary.

(b)  The prudential committee shall meet on the first Wednesday of each month.  The prudential committee may alter the date of regular meetings upon a majority vote of the members present and voting.  Meetings of the prudential committee shall be warned by the district clerk, and the warning shall contain the purpose of the meeting and the time and place of the meeting.  The notice shall be posted in at least two public places in the district at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

(c)  At the first regular meeting of the prudential committee following an annual meeting, the members of the prudential committee shall elect a chair and vice chair from their membership.  At all meetings of the prudential committee and fire district, the chair of the prudential committee shall preside.  In the absence of the chair, the vice chair shall preside.

(d)  A majority of the members of the prudential committee present at a regular or special meeting of the prudential committee shall constitute a quorum.  Each member of the prudential committee shall have one vote, and the act of a majority of the prudential committee present and voting shall be an act of the prudential committee.

(e)  Any member of the prudential committee may resign at any time by giving written notice to the chair of the prudential committee.  Unless otherwise stated in the resignation, the resignation is effective upon receipt and acceptance by the chair is not necessary to make the resignation effective.

(f)  A member of the prudential committee may be removed, with or without cause, at a special meeting of the fire district called for that purpose, upon a majority vote of the members of the district present and voting.  A member of the prudential committee may be removed for cause upon a majority vote of the members of the prudential committee present and voting.

(g)  Any vacancy on the prudential committee may be filled by the selectboard of the Town of St. George.  The appointee shall be a registered voter of the Town of St. George and reside within the boundaries of the fire district.  The appointee shall serve until the next annual meeting of the fire district, at which time an election shall be held to fill the unexpired portion of the term.

§ 8.  FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of St. George Fire District No. 1 shall be July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

§ 9.  RATES

The prudential committee shall establish rates for the water and road services provided by the fire district, and all rates for water and road services shall be paid to the district treasurer.  All rates shall be established to provide revenue for the following services:

(1)  To pay current expenses for the operation and maintenance of the water and road system.

(2)  To pay the principal and interest on any debt owed by the district.

(3)  To create a sinking fund, with any surplus at the end of a fiscal year, or to pay for any improvements to the road or water system.

§ 10.  TAX EXEMPTION

All property owned by the fire district shall be exempt from taxation.

§ 11.  AMENDMENT OF CHARTER

This charter shall be amended in the same manner as provided in section 2645 of Title 17, except that in lieu of the requirements of subdivision 2645(a)(7), a vote affirming the amendment of this charter must be by two‑thirds of the members of the fire district present and voting, and the vote shall be by ballot in the form of a yes or no proposition.  The district shall make all proposed changes to this charter available to any member of the district in amended form, with deleted material in brackets and new matter underlined or in italics.

§ 12.  RULES

The prudential committee shall adopt rules that govern the administration, operation, and maintenance of the water system.  Rules adopted by the committee shall become effective upon a majority vote of the prudential committee.

§ 13.  OFFICE

The St. George Fire District No. 1 office shall be maintained at the residence of the fire district clerk.  The fire district may alter its designated office or may maintain offices at other places upon approval of a majority of the members of the prudential committee present and voting at a duly warned meeting.

Approved:  May 26, 2003