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H.509

Introduced by   Representative Green of Berlin

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Municipal government; municipal charters; Town of Berlin

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to amend the charter of the Town of Berlin by:  (1) establishing terms for elected and appointed officers; (2) clarifying specific conflicts for disqualification of town officers from certain proceedings; and (3) defining the decision‑making authorities of the selectboard, sewer commission, and voters of the town.

AN ACT RELATING TO AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF BERLIN

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

Sec. 1.  CHARTER APPROVAL

The general assembly approves the Town of Berlin charter amendments as provided in this act.

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 105 § 42 is amended to read:

§ 42.  ELECTED OFFICERS

The following officers of the town and such other town officers as are provided by law and previous vote of the electorate as to number, length of term and manner of election at an annual meeting shall be elected by Australian ballot, unless otherwise stated, and shall include the following:

(a)(1)  A moderator to be elected by paper ballot from the floor, for a term of one year;

(b)(2)  A town clerk, for a term of three years;

(c)(3)  A town treasurer/collector of current and delinquent taxes, for a term of three years;

(d)(4)  selectboard members, three of whom shall serve staggered three‑year terms and two of whom shall serve one‑year terms;

(e)(5)  listers, for terms of three years, staggered to ensure no more than one term ends in any particular year;

(f)(6)  auditors, for terms of three years, staggered to ensure no more than one term ends in any particular year;

(g)(7)  A first constable, and if needed a second constable, for a term or terms of one year; and

(h)(8)  One or more grand jurors;

(i)  A town agent; and

(j)  Such other town officers as the town shall order as provided by law.

Sec. 3.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 105 § 44(g) is amended to read:

(g)  Zoning administrator, for a term of three years;

Sec. 4.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 105 § 62(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The town officer has previously expressed an opinion as to the proper disposition of a specific case or controversy involving the exercise of his/her his or her discretion while acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, such as serving on the development review board on permits and appeals or as a member of the selectboard acting to lay out, alter, reclassify, or discontinue town highways.

Sec. 5.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 105 § 101 is amended to read:

§ 101.  ADOPTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE CODE GOVERNANCE

The selectboard shall adopt an administrative code.  The administrative code as presented shall in all respects be consistent with law.  The code shall contain the following:

(a)  Administrative organization of the town including a description of the powers, duties and responsibilities of town officers.

(b)  Personnel policy for town employees.

(c)  Financial procedures including preparation of budgets.

(d)  Such other procedures as may be necessary to carry out the effective operation of town government, the same to be consistent in all respects with the general law.

Decisions of the town of Berlin shall be made using the following procedure:

(1)  The selectboard shall have sole and exclusive authority to make decisions affecting:

(A)  the construction and maintenance of highways;

(B)  personnel;

(C)  proposed budgets;

(D)  the use of space within municipal buildings and other property;

(E)  short‑term borrowing; and

(F)  other proprietary matters not within the jurisdiction of any other officer, board, or commission.

(2)  The sewer commission shall have sole and exclusive authority to make decisions affecting:

(A)  the construction and maintenance of the town sewer system;

(B)  rate setting;

(C)  the adoption of policies relating to connections and disconnections to the system;

(D)  the allocation of sewer capacity; and

(E)  other questions relating to the operation of the sewer system.

(3)(A)  The selectboard shall make decisions affecting:

(i)  the adoption of ordinances;

(ii)  the laying out, reclassification, and discontinuance of highways;

(iii)  the creation of new town employee positions; and

(iv)  financial matters including borrowing sums for longer than one year, following notice as provided in section 1972 of Title 24. 

(B)  The voters may petition the selectboard to warn a special meeting to approve or disapprove decisions made under subdivision (A)(iv) of this subdivision (3) pursuant to section 1973 of Title 24.

(4)  The sewer commission shall make decisions affecting the siting and laying out of new sewer lines, following notice as provided in section 1972 of Title 24.  The voters may petition the selectboard to warn a special meeting to approve or disapprove such decisions, pursuant to section 1973 of Title 24.

(5)  Voters equal to or exceeding five percent of the checklist may petition the selectboard for a special town meeting or to add an article to the warning for an annual town meeting to propose ordinances for adoption by Australian ballot or to vote on advisory, nonbinding articles directly affecting the town, which questions shall be voted at the annual or special town meeting.

(6)  The sole and exclusive body authorized to make decisions relating to issues of statewide or national interest, including positions on pending legislation, shall be the voters of the town at town meeting.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us