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NO. M-7. AN ACT RELATING TO APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF STOWE.

(H.487)

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

Sec. 1. CHARTER AMENDMENT

The Charter of the Town of Stowe is amended as provided in this act. Proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on March 6, 2001.

Sec. 2. 24 App. V.S.A. chapter 153 is amended to read:

CHAPTER 153. TOWN OF STOWE

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§ 202. POWERS OF THE TOWN

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(b) The town may acquire real property within or without its corporate limits for any town purpose, in fee simple or lesser interest or estate, by purchase, gift, devise or lease, and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold, manage and control such real property as its interests may require. The town may further acquire property within its corporate limits by condemnation where such authority is granted to towns by the statutes of the State of Vermont. The vote of the town shall be required for purchase or sale of any real property, except that purchase, lease or sale of real property or any right or interest therein may be approved by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard from authorized conservation funds for conservation purposes consistent with 10 V.S.A. chapter 155 after following the ordinance procedures set forth in section 204 of this charter. A petition for rescission under this subsection must be filed within ten (10) days of final passage.

(c) In this charter no mention of a particular power shall be construed to be exclusive or to restrict the scope of the powers which the town would have if the particular power were not mentioned.

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§ 204. ORDINANCES

(a) Method of adoption and enforcement.

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(2) The *[selectmen]* Selectboard may provide penalties for the breach of any ordinance authorized by general law or this charter; may prosecute any person violating the same through the town grand jurors or police officers who for such purposes shall be informing officers; and may maintain actions to restrain actual or threatened violations of the same; the establishment of any fine or penalty shall be by ordinance.

(b) Introduction; first and second readings; public hearings.

(1) Every ordinance shall be introduced in writing. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be "The *[Selectmen]* Selectboard of the Town of Stowe hereby *[ordain]* ordains". If the *[selectmen pass]* Selectboard passes the proposed ordinance upon first reading they shall cause it to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town in the form passed, at least once, together with a notice of the time and place when and where there will be a public hearing to consider the same for final passage. The first such publication shall be at least one week prior to the date of said public hearing.

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(3) After such hearing, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard may finally pass such ordinance with or without amendment, except that, if the *[selectmen make]* Selectboard makes an amendment, they shall cause the amended ordinance to be published at least once together with a notice of the time and place of a public hearing at which such amended ordinance will be further considered, which publication shall be at least three (3) days prior to the public hearing. At the time so advertised or at any time and place to which such meeting may be adjourned, the amended ordinance shall be read in full, and after such hearing, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard may finally pass such amended ordinance, or again amend it subject to the same procedure as outlined herein.

(c) Effective Date. Every ordinance shall become effective upon passage unless otherwise specified.

(d) Rescission. All ordinances shall be subject to rescission by a special town meeting, as follows: If, after final passage by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard of any such ordinance, a petition signed by voters of the town not less in number than five (5) percent of the legal voters of the town is filed with the town clerk requesting its reference to a special town meeting, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall fix the time and place of such meeting, which shall be within sixty (60) days after the filing of the petition, and notice thereof shall be given in the manner provided by law in the calling of a special town meeting. An ordinance so referred shall remain in effect upon the conclusion of such meeting unless a majority of those present vote against the ordinance at the special meeting.

(e) Petition for enactment.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, voters of the town may at any time petition in the same manner as in subsection (d) for the enactment of any proposed lawful ordinance by filing such petition, including the text of such ordinance, with the town clerk. The *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall call a special town meeting to be held within sixty (60) days of the date of such filing, unless prior to such meeting such ordinance shall be enacted by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard. The ordinance shall take effect immediately after the conclusion of such meeting provided that voters constituting a majority of those voting thereon, shall have voted in the affirmative.

(2) The proposed ordinance shall be examined by the town attorney before being submitted to the special town meeting. The town attorney is authorized, subject to the approval of the *[selectmen]* Selectboard, to correct such ordinances so as to avoid repetitions, illegalities and unconstitutional provisions and to *[insure]* ensure accuracy in its text and references and clearness and precision in its phraseology, but he or she shall not materially change its meaning and effect.

(f) Filing. The town clerk shall prepare and keep in the town clerk’s office a book of ordinances which shall contain each ordinance finally passed by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard, together with a complete index of the ordinances according to subject matter.

(g) Existing ordinances. All existing ordinances shall remain in effect.

§ 205. RESERVATION OF POWERS TO THE TOWN

Nothing in this subchapter shall be so construed as in any way to limit the powers and functions conferred upon the Town of Stowe and the *[selectmen]* Selectboard of the town by general or special enactments in force or effect or hereafter enacted by the General Assembly; and the powers and functions conferred by this charter shall be cumulative and in addition to the provisions of such general or special enactments.

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§ 303. TIME OF HOLDING

(a) The annual town meeting for the consideration of the budget and other town business shall be held on the first Tuesday of March.

(b) The election of officers by Australian ballot and the voting on all questions to be decided by Australian ballot shall take place on the annual town meeting day. The polls shall be opened for a minimum of nine (9) consecutive hours between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. as shall be determined and warned by the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard.

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§ 401. OFFICERS GENERALLY

The elected officers of the Town of Stowe shall be: *[Selectmen]* Selectboard members, town clerk, moderator, treasurer, listers, constable(s) and auditors. Such officers shall have all the powers and duties necessary to carry out the provisions of this charter as well as those provided by the laws of the State of Vermont. All officers elected prior to the effective date of the charter shall remain in office until the end of their term. Those persons in office as of the effective date of the charter whose terms would otherwise expire prior to the next annual town meeting shall remain in office until said town meeting.

§ 402. *[SELECTMEN]* SELECTBOARD; NUMBER OF MEMBERS; TERMS OF OFFICE; ELECTION

(a) There shall be a *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard consisting of five (5) members.

(b) The term of office of *[selectman]* a Selectboard member shall be as follows: Three (3) *[selectmen]* Selectboard members shall serve for terms of three (3) years and two (2) *[selectmen]* Selectboard members shall serve for terms of two (2) years. *[Selectmen]* Selectboard members shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.

(c) All *[selectmen]* Selectboard members shall be elected at large.

§ 403. ORGANIZATION OF *[SELECTMEN]* THE SELECTBOARD

(a) Forthwith after their election and qualification, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall organize and elect a *[chairman]* chair, *[vice-chairman]* vice-chair and clerk by a majority vote of the entire *[board]* Selectboard, and shall file a certificate of such election for record in the office of the town clerk. The clerk shall not be a member of the *[board]* Selectboard.

(b) The *[chairman]* chair of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard or, in his or her absence, the *[vice-chairman]* vice-chair, shall preside at all meetings of the *[board]* Selectboard and shall be recognized as head of the town government for all ceremonial purposes.

(c) In the event of death, resignation, change of residence to a location outside the town, or incapacity of any *[selectmen]* Selectboard member, the remaining members of the *[board]* Selectboard may appoint a person eligible to fill that position until the next annual or special town meeting. Incapacity shall include the failure by any member of the *[board]* Selectboard to attend at least seventy (70) percent of the meetings of the *[board]* Selectboard in any calendar year. In the event the *[board]* Selectboard is unable to agree upon an interim replacement until the next annual town meeting, a special election shall be held forthwith to fill the position. In the event of a second vacancy, an election shall be held forthwith to fill both positions.

§ 404. MEETINGS OF *[SELECTMEN]* THE SELECTBOARD

(a) As soon as possible after the election of the *[chairman]* chair and *[vice-chairman]* vice-chair, the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings. Such meetings shall be held at least once a month.

(b) The *[board]* Selectboard shall determine its own rules and order of business.

(c) The presence of three (3) members shall constitute a quorum.

(d) All meetings of the *[board]* Selectboard shall be open to the public unless, by an affirmative vote of the majority of the members present, the *[board]* Selectboard shall vote that any particular session shall be an executive session in accordance with 1 V.S.A. § 313.

§ 405. RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF *[SELECTMEN]* THE SELECTBOARD

(a) An official record of the proceedings of the *[board]* Selectboard shall be kept by its clerk, which shall be kept in the office of the town clerk and shall be open for public inspection within five (5) days.

(b) The minutes of each meeting shall be approved by the *[board]* Selectboard at its next meeting and the official copy authenticated by signature of the clerk of the *[board]* Selectboard.

§ 406. APPOINTMENTS BY *[SELECTMEN]* THE SELECTBOARD

(a) Before making appointments, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall make public a list of all vacancies.

(b) The *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall appoint the following:

(1) Members of the zoning board of adjustment or development review board;

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(c) The *[selectmen]* Selectboard may appoint such additional commissions, committees and officers they feel to be in the best interest of the town.

(d) The *[selectmen]* Selectboard may appoint in the event their services become necessary: Grand jurors, real estate appraiser, fence viewers and all other appointive or elective officers authorized by statute.

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§ 407. COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS; APPOINTEES

(a) Compensation paid to the *[selectmen]* Selectboard members and other elected officials shall be set by the voters at the annual meeting. Officers’ salaries must be set forth as a separate item in the annual budget presented to the meeting.

(b) The *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall fix the compensation of all other officers, appointees and employees, except as otherwise provided in this charter.

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§ 408. POWERS AND DUTIES OF *[SELECTMEN]* THE SELECTBOARD

(a) The members of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard shall constitute the legislative body of the Town of Stowe for all purposes required by statute except as otherwise herein specifically provided, and shall have all powers and authority given to and perform all duties required of town legislative bodies or *[boards of selectmen]* Selectboards under the laws of the State of Vermont.

(b) Within the limitations of the foregoing, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall have the power to:

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(5) Exercise each and every other power which is not specifically set forth herein, but which is granted to the *[selectmen]* Selectboard by the statutes of the State of Vermont.

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§ 502. APPRAISAL OF PROPERTY

The board of listers shall appraise or cause to be appraised by the real estate appraiser appointed by the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard all real property *[and all taxable personal property]* for the purpose of establishing the grand list.

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§ 701. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR; APPOINTMENT; TERM

The town administrator shall be appointed by a majority of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard. He or she shall be appointed for a period of one (1) year and shall be removable at the discretion of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard. The town administrator shall not simultaneously hold any elective office within the town, nor shall he or she be employed by the town in any capacity except as town administrator.

§ 702. POWERS AND DUTIES

(a) To organize, operate, continue or discontinue such departments as the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard may determine.

(b) To carry out the policies laid down by the *[board]* Selectboard, to keep the *[board]* Selectboard informed of the financial condition and future needs of the town, and to make such reports as may be required by law or requested by the *[board]* Selectboard, together with any other reports and recommendations which he or she may deem advisable.

(c) To be present at all meetings of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard, except when excused by the *[board]* Selectboard.

(d) To furnish to the *[selectmen]* Selectboard annually a detailed budget proposal for their review and recommendation to the town.

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(g) To participate in the discussion of matters coming before the *[selectmen]* Selectboard and committees, commissions, or departments, but not the right to vote.

(h) To act as collector of delinquent taxes if so designated by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard.

(i) To perform such other duties which may be requested of him or her by vote of the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard, by law or by ordinance, consistent with this charter.

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§ 802. PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION

(a) The town administrator, at least fifty (50) days before the annual town meeting, or at such previous time as may be directed by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard, shall submit to the *[selectmen]* Selectboard a financial report containing:

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(5) Such other information as may be required by the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard.

(b) The budget shall be published not later than two (2) weeks after its preliminary adoption by the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard. The *[board]* Selectboard shall fix the time and place for holding a public hearing for the budget, and shall give a public notice of such hearing. The *[board]* Selectboard shall then review the budget and propose it, with or without change, to the annual town meeting.

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§ 901. TAXES ON REAL *[AND PERSONAL]* PROPERTY

Taxes on real *[and personal]* property shall be paid in two (2) equal payments, with one-half of the annual tax bill for each taxpayer due and payable on November 10 and May 10. Any taxes not paid when due shall be deemed delinquent and payable to the collector of delinquent taxes.

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§ 903. BOARD OF ABATEMENT

The board of civil authority (the *[selectmen]* Selectboard members, town clerk and justices of the peace) with the town treasurer and listers shall constitute a board of abatement as provided by law.

§ 1001. APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL

All town employees not elected by the voters shall be appointed, supervised and removed by the *[town selectmen]* Selectboard unless otherwise specified by this charter. There shall be no discrimination in employment on account of race, religion, sex or political opinions. Appointments, lay-offs, suspensions, promotions, demotions, and removals shall be made primarily on the basis of training, experience, fitness and performance of duties.

§ 1002. PERSONNEL RULES AND REGULATIONS

(a) The town administrator shall be the personnel director. He or she may prepare personnel rules and regulations protecting the interests of the town and of the employees. These rules and regulations must be approved by the *[board of selectmen]* Selectboard and shall include the procedure for amending them and for placing them into practice. Each employee shall receive a copy of the rules and regulations when *[he is]* hired.

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§ 1004. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

No elective or appointive officer or employee of the town shall be beneficially interested directly or indirectly in any contract with the town, regardless of amount; or furnish any material, or perform any labor, except in the discharge of his or her official duties, unless such contract shall have been awarded upon bids advertised for by publication. Such publication shall be at least two (2) times in a newspaper having general circulation in the town; the second publication shall be at least seven (7) days prior to the opening of such bids. No officer or employee of the town shall take part in any decision concerning the business of the town in which he or she has a direct or indirect financial interest, aside from his or her salary as an officer or employee, greater than any other citizen or taxpayer in the town. This section shall not apply in the event of an emergency where immediate action shall be deemed more important to the town than the receipt of formal bids.

§ 1101. ELECTRIC UTILITY COMMISSION

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(e) The Town of Stowe Electric Department shall inherit all of the assets, accounts and liabilities of the Village of Stowe Electric Department, subject to the management of the Stowe Electric Utility Commission under the general supervision of the *[Town of Stowe Selectmen]* Selectboard. It shall operate under the statutory authority and requirements of 30 V.S.A., Chapter 79, relating to municipal electric plants, and 24 V.S.A., Chapter 53, relating to municipal indebtedness, all of which control the financing, improvements, expansion and disposal of the municipal electric plant and its operations. With specific reference to the legislative authorization contained in 24 V.S.A., Chapter 53, subchapter 2, "Indebtedness for Public Utility Purposes," Sections 1821-1828, the Stowe Electric Utility Commission is permitted to issue revenue-backed bonds and/or general obligation bonds for any capital improvement purpose related to their responsibilities to operate such utilities for the benefit of the people of Stowe, provided each such issue of bonds is approved by the Selectboard and the voters according to law.

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(h) The Electric Department shall every year make a contribution to the Town of Stowe in lieu of taxes in form of a cash payment and/or the equivalent in free services and municipal rate benefits in an amount equaling the amount of money which would be received by the Town of Stowe in ad valorem real estate taxes *[and personal property inventory taxes]* were such department a privately owned utility.

§ 1201. WATER UTILITY COMMISSION

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(f) The Water Department shall every year make a contribution to the Town of Stowe in lieu of taxes in form of a cash payment and/or the equivalent in free services and municipal rate benefits in an amount equaling the amount of money which would be received by the Town of Stowe in ad valorem real estate taxes *[and personal property taxes]* were such department a privately owned utility.

§ 1301. LAWS GOVERNING

No section or provision of this charter may be repealed or amended unless the act making such repeal or amendment refers specifically to this charter and to the sections or provisions so repealed or amended. Any amendment to this charter must be submitted to the voters for their approval and, upon such approval, submitted to the legislature as provided by statutes. Amendments may be placed on the ballot by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard, a duly authorized charter review commission appointed by the *[selectmen]* Selectboard, or upon petition filed with the town clerk by five (5) percent of the legal voters of the town. The petition must clearly state the amendment and must be filed at least seventy-five (75) days before any annual town meeting. In the event the petition is filed more than ninety (90) days prior to the next annual town meeting, the *[selectmen]* Selectboard shall be required to hold a special town meeting for the purpose of considering the proposed amendment.

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§ 1502. ASSETS TRANSFERRED AND LIABILITIES ASSUMED

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(c) The duly elected officers of the Village of Stowe shall remain in office on and after the effective date of this merger for the purpose of doing anything that the *[Board of Selectmen]* Selectboard of the Town of Stowe might request be done in effecting the transfer of the assets of the Village of Stowe to the Town of Stowe and the assumption by the Town of Stowe of the liabilities of the Village of Stowe. Prior to said effective merger date, the officers of the Village of Stowe shall settle, so far as possible, the financial affairs of the Village of Stowe and on said date shall turn over to the proper officers of the Town of Stowe all the assets of the Village of Stowe.

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Sec. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Approved: May 21, 2001