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H.882

Introduced by Representative Barnard of Richmond

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Municipal government; municipal charters; town of Richmond

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to approve amendments to the charter of the town of Richmond.

AN ACT RELATING TO APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF RICHMOND

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

Sec. 1.  CHARTER APPROVAL

The general assembly approves the amendments to the charter of the town of Richmond as provided in this act.  Proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on March 7, 2006.

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 107 is amended to read:

§ 107.  FORM OF GOVERNMENT

Pursuant to its provisions and subject only to the limitations imposed by the Vermont Constitution and by this charter, all powers of the town shall be vested in an elective council, hereinafter referred to as the board of selectboard, which shall enact ordinances, codes, and regulations, adopt budgets and determine policies, and which shall execute the laws and administer the government of the town.

Sec. 3.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 108 is amended to read:

§ 108.  Intergovernmental relations

The town, through its board of selectboard, may enter into any agreement with the United States of America or the state of Vermont, or both, or with any subdivision, department, agency, or activity of the United States of America or the state of Vermont, or both, to accept grants, loans, and assistance from the United States of America or the state of Vermont, or both, or from any subdivision, department, agency, or activity of the United States of America or the state of Vermont, or both, to make public improvements within said the town, or upon property or rights of said the town outside its corporate limits, whether owned by said the town as sole owner or owned by said the town in common with another municipality or other municipalities, and may make appropriations consistent with the charter to accomplish such this purpose.

Sec. 4.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 111(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The board of 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 agent, constables or police officers who for such these 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.

Sec. 5.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 112 is amended to read:

§ 112.  Ordinance; introduction and readings

(a)  Every ordinance shall be introduced in writing.  The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be "The Board of Selectboard of the town of Richmond hereby ordains".  If the board of selectboard passes the proposed ordinance upon first reading, it The selectboard shall cause it the ordinance to be published in its entirety or in abbreviated form a table of contents of the ordinance to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town, 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 adoption and the place where the ordinance may be viewed.  The first such last publication shall be at least one week prior to the date of said the public hearing.

(b)  At the time and place so advertised, or at any time and place to which such the hearing may from time to time be adjourned, such the ordinance shall be read in full, except that by vote of a majority of the board of selectboard, the ordinance may be read by title, and at such the hearing, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard.


Sec. 6.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 113 is amended to read:

§ 113.  Ordinance; consideration and passage

After such the hearing, the board of selectboard may finally pass such adopt the ordinance with or without amendment, except that if the board of selectboard amends said ordinances, it 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 last three 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, except that by vote of a majority of the board of selectboard, the ordinance may be read by title. After such hearing, the board of selectboard may pass finally such amended ordinance, or again amend it subject to the same procedure as outlined herein.

Sec. 7.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 114 is amended to read:

§ 114.  Ordinance; effective date

An ordinance shall become effective in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 59 of Title 24, relating to the adoption of ordinances, except that if adoption of the ordinance by the board of selectboard is conditioned upon approval of the voters of the town, then the ordinance shall become effective upon a favorable vote by Australian ballot of a majority of those voting thereon at a special or annual town meeting.  A vote to disapprove an ordinance under section 1973 of Title 24 shall be by Australian ballot.  A reconsideration, rescission, or validation vote pertaining to any of these votes shall be by Australian ballot.

Sec. 8.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 115 is amended to read:

§ 115.  Ordinances; filing

The town clerk shall prepare and keep in the town office a book of ordinances which shall contain each ordinance passed finally adopted by the board of selectboard or finally approved by the voters together with a complex an index of the ordinances according to the subject matter.

Sec. 9.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 302 is amended to read:

§ 302.  Elective TOWN officers

(a)  The elected officers of the town shall be elected and have their compensation fixed by the town at its annual meeting selectboard.

(b)  All elected officers, except as provided by law or as specifically provided in this charter, shall be chosen at large from the legally qualified voters of the town and shall hold office for the term hereafter specified and by law or in this charter or until their successors are elected.  All elected officers shall be elected by Australian ballot.

(c)  All officers shall be elected by Australian ballot.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the town shall not have the following officers:

(1)  road commissioner;

(2)  town agent;

(3)  town auditor;

(4)  town grand juror.

(d)  When an elected or appointed officer resigns, makes another town his or her residence, dies, or becomes incapacitated, the office shall become vacant and shall be filled by the selectboard.  A person who fills such a vacancy shall serve until his or her predecessor's term expires.  Vacancies in elective offices shall be filled until the next annual meeting.  In the case of a vacancy in an office which term does not expire at the next annual meeting, the vacancy shall be filled by the selectboard until the next annual meeting.  At the next annual meeting, the voters shall fill the vacancy by Australian ballot for the remainder of the unexpired term; provided, however, that if the vacancy occurs within the 60-day period prior to the next annual meeting, the vacancy shall be filled by the selectboard until the annual meeting following the next annual meeting, at which the voters shall fill the vacancy by Australian ballot for the remainder, if any, of the unexpired term.

Sec. 10.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 303 is amended to read:

§ 303.  Appointed officers

The board of selectboard may appoint any officers required by the town's personnel regulations, this charter or the general law of this state and shall fix their compensation.

Sec. 11.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 305 is amended to read:

§ 305.  Oath of office

All elected officials and appointed officers and all police officers of the town shall, before assuming office, take, subscribe, and file with the town clerk the following oath: "I ____ solemnly swear (or affirm) that I shall faithfully execute the office of ______ of the Town of Richmond to the best of my judgment and abilities, according to law, so help me God (or I so affirm)." or other oath as is specifically required for a position by the general law of this state.

Sec. 12.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 306 is amended to read:

§ 306.  Town clerk and; TOWN treasurer; COLLECTOR OF

        DELINQUENT TAXES; school district officers;

        DUTIES

(a)  The clerk, auditors and town treasurer of the town shall perform those duties imposed upon the clerk, auditors and town treasurer of the town of Richmond school district by the general law of this state.

(b)  The town treasurer, any assistant town treasurer, and the collector of delinquent taxes shall perform those duties imposed upon those positions by law and those duties imposed upon those officers by the selectboard.


Sec. 13.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 501 is amended to read:

§ 501.  selectboard; Powers and duties; terms

(a)  The members of the board of selectboard shall constitute the legislative body of the town of Richmond for all purposes required by law and except as otherwise herein specifically provided in this charter, and shall have all powers and authority given to, and perform all duties required of town legislative bodies or boards of selectboard selectboards under the Constitution and general laws of the state of Vermont.

(b)  The board of selectboard shall consist of five persons who are residents of the town at the time of their election to office, three of whom shall serve for three-year terms and two of whom shall serve for two-year terms.  At each annual meeting, one selectboard member shall be elected for a three-year term and one for a two-year term.

(c)  To the extent permitted by law, the board of selectboard shall establish, regulate, control and determine assessments for the benefit of property which is provided street lighting and sidewalks.  In addition to all the eminent domain powers available under state statutes, the town, by the selectboard, shall have the power to take property, or interests therein, for the purpose of disposal or dispersement of stormwater from town highways, town highway culverts and ditches, and municipal parking lots.  In any such taking, the procedures shall be the procedure provided by law for the taking of property, or interests therein, for highways; provided, however, that alternatively the selectboard may follow any other procedure available by law.  Any taking shall be of the minimum property or interest therein necessary for such disposal or dispersement.

Sec. 14.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 701(b) is amended to read:

(b)(1)  By resolution, the board of selectboard may designate areas of the town special water and sewer system districts, and may provide that property therein shall be provided by water and sewer services not so provided to all other areas within the town; provided, however, that such the designation shall not become effective until approved by a majority of all voters residing within such the proposed district present and voting at a special meeting called and held for that purpose.

(2)  A special water or sewer district shall be reasonable geographically, taking into account the areas, property, and persons actually benefited, the types of services to be provided, and the fact that the efficiency of providing multiple services in a single, special service district might outweigh the fact that the areas and property benefiting from the respective services might not coincide exactly.  All costs required to support a given special service district shall be paid for by persons receiving said the service, by a tax on the grand list in the for that special service district involved, to be assessed annually by the selectboard, or by any other charge or fee permitted by law.  If the costs are to be paid by a tax, such the tax shall be paid and collected in the same manner as other taxes and such the tax assessed on any part of the grand list shall be a lien thereon.  All funds of any special service shall be kept in a special fund, no part of which may be used for any purpose other than the payment of debt service, operation, and maintenance, and a reserve fund with respect to the service for which such the funds are collected.

Sec. 15.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 902 is amended to read:

§ 902.  Water and sewer commissioners

(a)  Upon the effective date of this charter, the board of selectboard may appoint three The town shall have a single board of water and sewer commissioners consisting of five members whose duties, powers, and authority with respect to the municipal water system and sewer system shall be as established by the law of this state, applicable to boards of water commissioners and boards of sewage disposal commissioners generally, and as specifically provided for in this charter.  One commissioner shall serve for a term of three years, one shall serve for a term of two years, and one shall serve for a term of one year. Thereafter, at the first meeting of the board of selectboard following each annual town meeting, the board of selectboard shall appoint one commissioner for a term of three years.

(b)  Following each annual meeting, the selectboard shall appoint the members of the board of water and sewer commissioners, who shall serve until appointments are made to the board of water and sewer commissioners following the next annual meeting, subject to subdivisions (2)(A) and (B) of this subsection as to any nonselectboard members.  Appointments shall be made to the board of water and sewer commissioners in the following manner:

(1)  Appointments shall be made so that there are at least three members who are members of the selectboard, but who need not be customers of the town water system or the town sewer system, and so that there are at least two members, each of whom is a customer of at least either the town water system or the town sewer system.  A person shall be deemed a customer of the town water or the town sewer system if he or she owns property which is connected to either system or owns an interest in an entity which owns property connected to either system.

(2)  If appointments cannot be made so as to constitute the board of water and sewer commissioners in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection by appointments solely from members of the selectboard, the following shall apply:

(A)  The selectboard shall appoint as many nonselectboard members as are necessary to constitute the board of water and sewer commissioners in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection.  Each non-selectboard member shall be a resident of the town and a customer of at least the town water system or the town sewer system and shall serve at the pleasure of the selectboard.

(B) If a nonselectboard member ceases to be a resident of the town, or ceases to be a customer of at least the town water system or the town sewer system, or the office otherwise becomes vacant, the selectboard shall fill the vacancy with a selectboard member or a nonselectboard member who is a customer of at least the town water system or the town sewer system to serve until an appointment is made to the board of water and sewer commissioners following the next annual meeting.

(C)  If a selectboard position on the board of water and sewer commissioners becomes vacant, the selectboard shall fill the vacancy with another selectboard member who need not be a customer of either the town water system or town sewer system to serve until an appointment is made to the board of water and sewer commissioners following the next annual meeting.

(D)  Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection, if within 45 days following an annual meeting, the selectboard does not fill a requisite nonselectboard position on the board of water and sewer commissioners, the selectboard shall fill the position with a selectboard member, regardless of whether he or she is a customer of either the town water system or the town sewer system.

(c)  In addition to those powers, duties, and responsibilities imposed by law, upon boards of water commissioners and sewage disposal commissioners, the board of water and sewer commissioners shall:

(1)  exercise control over, administer, manage, and operate the municipal water and sewage disposal systems of the town as presently constituted or as may be enlarged hereafter; and

(2)  establish rates and charges for water service and sewage disposal services provided by the town.

(c)  This section shall not prevent the board of selectboard from constituting itself as a board of water and sewer commissioners, as provided by the general law of this state.

Sec. 16.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 1501 is amended to read:

§ 1501.  Fiscal year

(a)  The fiscal year of the town shall commence on the first day of July and end on the last day of June.  Upon the close of each fiscal year, the selectboard shall order an audit by an outside firm that the selectboard chooses for that purpose.  The annual audit shall be made available to the general public prior to the annual meeting upon request and upon payment of the town’s actual and reasonable copying costs.

(b)  The fiscal year of the Richmond town school district shall commence on the first day of July and end on the last day of June.  The Richmond town school district shall not have school district auditors.  Upon the close of each school district fiscal year, the school board shall order an audit by an outside firm that the school board chooses for that purpose.  The annual school district audit shall be made available to the general public upon request and upon payment of the town school district’s actual and reasonable copying costs.

Sec. 17.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 1503 is amended to read:

§ 1503.  Taxation

(a) Taxes on real and personal property shall be paid as voted at the annual town meeting.

(b)  Taxes may be paid with discount if approved at the annual town meeting.

(c)  Taxes shall be collected as established by law.

(d)  Delinquent property taxes shall accrue penalty, interest, fees and costs to the maximum extent permitted by law.

All matters pertaining to taxation shall be exclusively controlled by the general law of the state, except as specifically provided as follows:

(1)  All taxes assessed on real and on personal property shall be due and payable to the town tax collector in four equal installments on August 15, November 15, February 15, and May 15; provided, however, that if any due date is on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date shall be the next following day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.  Each installment not paid by its due date shall bear interest at the rate of one percent per month or fraction thereof for the first three months, and thereafter at the rate of one and one-half percent per month or fraction thereof.

(2)  On all taxes not paid by the last tax installment due date, the collector of delinquent taxes shall collect an additional amount equal to eight percent on the amount of the tax owed.  This amount shall be in lieu of any amount collected by the collector of delinquent taxes under section 1674 of Title 32 and shall be paid into the town general fund.

Sec. 18.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 1504 is amended to read:

§ 1504.  Fees and fines

All fines and penalties payable to the town by reason of any violation of any law, ordinance, or bylaw, shall be paid over promptly upon receipt to the town treasurer for inclusion in the general appropriate fund of the town.  All fees established by law or ordinance and payable to any town officer, except those fees payable to the town clerk, shall be paid over promptly upon receipt to the town treasurer for inclusion in the general appropriate fund of the town.

Sec. 19.  REPEAL

24 App. V.S.A. chapter 143 § 1502 (amount to be raised by taxation) is repealed.

Sec. 20.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us