Introduced by Representative Jewett of Ripton
Subject: Conservation; water resources; stormwater
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to authorize property owners located in a drainage area contributing stormwater runoff to a shared stormwater system to petition a municipality for an estimate of the cost to construct, repair, or upgrade the system to current standards. The bill also authorizes property owners to petition a municipality to issue a bond for payment of the costs to construct, repair, or upgrade a stormwater system.
AN ACT RELATING TO THE REPAIR AND UPGRADE OF STORMWATER SYSTEMS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 24 V.S.A. chapter 96 is added to read:
CHAPTER 96. STORMWATER SYSTEMS
§ 3450. DEFINITIONS
In addition to the following, the definitions found in section 1264 of Title 10 apply to this section unless otherwise indicated. As used in this section:
(1) “Property” means real estate.
(2) “Special assessment” means a tax assessed against one or more properties receiving the benefit of municipal construction, upgrade, or repair of a stormwater system.
(3) “Stormwater discharge permit” or “stormwater permit” means a permit issued by the secretary of natural resources under chapter 47 of Title 10 for the discharge of regulated stormwater runoff to a water of the state.
(4) “Stormwater system” means the storm sewers; outfall sewers; surface drains; natural and manmade wetlands; channels; ditches; rivers; streams; wet and dry bottom basins; and other flood control equipment necessary and appurtenant to the collection, transportation, conveyance, pumping, treatment, disposal, and discharge of regulated stormwater runoff.
§ 3451. BONDS ISSUANCE; USE OF PROCEEDS
(a) Debt may be incurred and bonds issued under this chapter for the construction, upgrade, and repair of a stormwater system.
(b) If a bond is issued under this chapter and no expenditure of the proceeds has been made for the purpose or purposes for which the debt was incurred, or if a balance remains after the completion of the project or projects for which the debt was authorized, a municipality by a majority of the voters present and voting on the question at a meeting or meetings of such municipality held for that purpose may authorize the expenditure of the proceeds or portion thereof for any purpose or purposes for which bonds may be issued; provided, however, that if the proceeds obtained from the issuance of bonds or any balance thereof is not appropriated as aforesaid, the same shall be used to pay the principal of the loan as it matures. The warning calling the meeting provided in this section shall state the amount of the proceeds and the purpose for which they are to be used and shall fix the place where and the date on which the meeting shall be held and the hours of opening and closing of the polls. Notice of the meeting shall conform to section 1756 of this title, and the conduct of the meeting and the qualifications of voters shall conform to section 1758 of this title.
§ 3452. PETITION FOR ESTIMATE
(a) A minimum of 15 percent of the owners of record of property located in a drainage area contributing stormwater runoff to a shared stormwater system may file a petition with the clerk of the municipality in which the stormwater system is located requesting that the municipality estimate the cost of constructing, repairing, or upgrading such stormwater system so that it meets the requirements of the 2002 stormwater management manual. The municipality shall issue an estimate under this section within 90 days of receipt by a municipal clerk of a petition for an estimate.
(b) An estimate shall include:
(1) A commitment by the municipality, as indicated by a vote of the legislative body of the municipality, to incur liability for the cost of any estimated construction, repair, or upgrade of a relevant stormwater system; or
(2) A recommendation by the municipality of a method of apportionment of a special assessment among property owners to pay for the cost of the estimated construction, repair, or upgrade.
(c) A municipality shall be liable for the costs incurred in issuing an estimate under subsection (a) of this section.
§ 3453. PETITION FOR BOND ISSUANCE
If a municipality does not commit to incur liability under subdivision 3452(b)(1) of this title, a minimum of 30 percent of the owners of record of property located in a drainage area contributing stormwater runoff to a shared stormwater system may file a petition with the clerk of the municipality in which the stormwater system is located requesting that the municipality issue a bond to pay for the construction, upgrade, or repair of such stormwater system and levy a special assessment against the property owners located in the drainage area to pay for the cost of the construction, upgrade, or repair of the stormwater system.
§ 3454. AUTHORIZATION BY VOTERS; CONSENT BY PROPERTY
(a) A bond may be issued under this chapter only by a vote of a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality voting at an annual or special meeting duly warned for that purpose and held within 30 days of receipt by a municipal clerk of a petition filed under subsection (a) of section 3452 of this title. The question need not be submitted to the voters of the municipality if all of the owners of record of property located in the drainage area of the relevant stormwater system consent in writing to a special assessment to pay for the cost of the bond.
(b) A consent by property owners to a special assessment or the notice of an annual or special meeting held under subsection (c) of this section shall:
(1) Identify the project for which it is proposed to issue bonds;
(2) Include an estimate of the cost of the project or projects;
(3) Propose the amount of bonds to be issued under this subchapter; and
(4) Propose the apportionment of the special assessment.
(c) Notice of an annual or special meeting held under subsection (a) of this section shall be published and posted as provided in section 1756 of this title and shall fix the place where and the date on which such meeting shall be held and the hours of opening and closing the polls.
§ 3455. METHOD OF APPORTIONMENT
A special assessment under this chapter may be apportioned among the properties to be benefited according to the listed values of such properties in the grand list, the frontage thereof, the added value accruing to each property by reason of the public improvement for which such assessment is made, or by any method other than the foregoing which results in a fair apportionment of the cost of the improvement in accordance with the benefits received.
§ 3456. APPEAL
When a person is dissatisfied with a special assessment or method of apportionment of a special assessment under this chapter, such person may petition to the superior court for a reassessment of the costs or benefits. Any number of persons aggrieved may join therein, but such petition shall not delay the construction, repair, or upgrade of the relevant stormwater system.
§ 3457. COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENTS; LIENS
Special assessments under this section shall constitute a lien on the property against which the assessment is made in the same manner and to the same extent as taxes assessed in the grand list of a municipality, and all procedures and remedies for the collection of taxes shall apply to the special assessments.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street