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H.530

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

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

Sec. 1.  CHARTER APPROVAL

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

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 103 § 506 is amended to read:

§ 506.  CREATION AND DISSOLUTION OF BENNINGTON

             DOWNTOWN DISTRICT

(a)  There is hereby created in the Town of Bennington a special district to be known as the Bennington Downtown Improvement District (District) which shall be that area set forth on a map approved by the voters of Bennington and filed with the Town Clerk.  The area of the District may be changed upon a majority vote of the legal voters at an annual or special meeting duly warned.

(b)  The Bennington Downtown Improvement District shall exist for three years and shall dissolve on the third anniversary of its creation unless its existence is extended by a vote of the legal voters at an annual or special meeting duly warned.  Upon dissolution of the District all assets under the control of the Commission shall be disbursed in such a manner as to insure that they be used for similar purposes as those for which the District was created, and thereupon all components of the District, including the Commission, shall cease.

Sec. 3.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 103 § 508 is amended to read:

§ 508.  PURPOSES AND POWERS

(a)  The District is created for the general purpose of maintaining and improving the economic, social, cultural and environmental vitality and quality of the Town of Bennington (in particular, the District created by this section 507 of this charter); to promote the Town and the District as a regional retail, commercial and service center; and to serve as an advocate for the orderly development of the District in order to encourage expansion of the retail, commercial and service base of the District and the Town by attracting new business and investment.

(b)  The rights, powers and duties of the Commission acting on its own authority or through the Select Board as set forth in this section, District shall be exercised by the Select Board and shall be broadly construed to accomplish the purposes set forth above and shall include the following:

(1)  To advertise and promote the Improvement District.

(2)  To represent the interests of the District.

(3)  To hire and remove personnel.

(4)  To receive and expend contributions, grants and income.

(5)(4)  To expend funds as provided for in the Commission budget or as otherwise approved by the Select Board.

(6)(5)  To manage and maintain public spaces and to assume or supplement the services and maintenance heretofore provided to the District by the Town as recommended to and approved by the Select Board.

(7)(6)  To acquire and dispose of property on behalf of the Town as recommended and approved by the Select Board.

(8)(7)  To install and make public improvements as recommended to and approved by the Select Board.

(9)(8)  To cooperate with the Town in the use, management and improvement of public parking facilities and to undertake such management or improvements and to regulate vehicular traffic within the District as recommended to and approved by the Select Board To improve, manage and regulate public parking facilities and vehicular traffic within the District.

(10)(9)  To enter into contracts with the approval of the Select Board Members and in the name of and on behalf of the Town as may be necessary or convenient to carry out the purpose of this charter.  In no case may a contract entered into during the first three years of the existence of the District, extend beyond the Sunset date as set forth in Section 511 (b).

(11)(10)  To regulate, lease, license, establish rules and fees and otherwise manage the use of public spaces within the District as recommended to and approved by the Select Board.

(12)(11)  To plan for the orderly development of the District in cooperation with the Town Planning Commission.

(13)(12)  To do all other things necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes for which this District was created except that the Commission may not assume authority over any subject matter or activity under the jurisdiction of another Town official, department or board as of the effective date of section 507 of this charter or contrary to any order or ordinance in effect as of such date, other than to hire and remove its own personnel, unless and until the Select Board, by order, transfers such jurisdiction to the Commission, or amends the order or ordinance, so long as there is consistency to applicable sections of the charter and State Statute.

Sec. 4.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 103 § 509 is amended to read:

§ 509.  ANNUAL BUDGET

The Commission town manager shall submit each year an operating budget of anticipated expenditures and revenues to the Select Board for approval for the next fiscal year.  In the event the Select Board does not approve the budget as submitted, the Select Board shall return the budget forthwith to the Commission town manager with its recommendations for the Commission's town manager’s reconsideration.  Appropriations other than from contributions, grants and income for the Commission shall be raised solely through District Taxes which shall be assessed and collected as a tax on property as provided for in Section 515 510 of this charter.  The Commission Select Board may borrow money in anticipation of District Taxes upon approval of the Select Board.

Sec. 5.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 103 § 510 is amended to read:

§ 510.  DISTRICT TAXES

(a)  District Taxes are charges levied upon the owners of taxable properties located in the District, excepting properties used exclusively for residential purposes, which taxes shall be used to defray the expenses incurred by the Commission in connection with the operation, maintenance and repair of the District.

(b)  The District Tax for each property in the District subject to the tax shall be based upon a rate on each one hundred dollars of listed value of the property as adjusted under subsection (c) of this section.  The tax rate shall be determined by dividing the amount to be raised by taxes, by the total value of the taxable properties on the grand list as adjusted located in the District which are subject to the District Tax under this subchapter.  Under no circumstance shall the amount raised by taxes in the District exceed the sum of $40,000 in any of the first three years of existence of the District.

The District Tax shall be set by the Town Assessor Select Board upon approval of the Commission budget by the Select Board and notice in writing thereof shall be given by the assessor to owners of record as of April 1 of each year of property so assessed, or to their agents or attorneys, stating therein the amount of such District Taxes, and such Taxes shall be due and payable to the Town Treasurer when normal Town and School Taxes are due.  The Town Treasurer shall collect unpaid District Taxes as provided for the collection of taxes in the charter.  The Treasurer shall transmit all such collected taxes to the Treasurer of the District.  District Taxes shall be a lien on the properties when assessed and until the tax is paid or the lien is otherwise discharged by operation of law.

(c)  In the case of any property used for both residential and nonresidential purposes within the District as of April 1, the Board of Listers (Board) shall adjust the listed value for the purposes of determining the District Tax under this section to exclude the value of that portion of the property used for residential purposes.  The Board shall determine the adjusted grand list value of the business portion of the property and give notice of the same as provided under Chapter 131 of Title 32 of the Vermont Statutes.  Any property owner may file a grievance with the Board and appeal the decision of the Board as provided for under Chapter 131 of Title 32 of the Vermont Statutes; however, the filing of an appeal of the determination of the Board and pendency of the appeal shall not vacate the lien on the property assessed, and the District taxes must be paid and continue to be paid as they become due.

Sec. 6.  REPEAL

24 App. V.S.A. chapter 103 § 507 (Bennington Downtown Improvement Commission) is repealed.

Sec. 7.  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