|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representatives McCullough of Williston and Peterson of Williston
Subject: Municipal government; municipal charters; town of Williston
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to approve amendments to the charter of the town of Williston which: (1) authorize a local options tax in the event the state law authorizing the tax is repealed or in the event that the 70‑percent allocation to the town is reduced; (2) change the cemetery commission and the old brick church trustees from elected to appointed boards and eliminates the positions of fence viewer, grand juror, town agent, trustee of public funds, surveyor of wood and timber, and weigher of coal; and (3) clarify language and authorizes the town to enter into employment agreements with the police chief and fire chief.
AN ACT RELATING TO APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF WILLISTON
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 Williston as provided in this act. Proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on November 7, 2006.
Sec. 2. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 5(a) is amended to read:
(a) Town legislation. Town legislation shall be by ordinance, or by bylaw in the case of zoning or subdivision regulation. Ordinances, bylaws, and rules promulgated pursuant thereto shall have the full force of law embodied in this charter.
Sec. 3. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 13(b)(3) is amended to read:
(3) The date or time of the annual town meeting may be changed by a vote of the citizens at a town meeting duly warned for that purpose.
Sec. 4. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 13(f)(1) is amended to read:
The moderator shall preside at all town meetings. In the moderator’s absence or
prior to the election of the moderator,
the town clerk a
selectboard member shall call the meeting to order and the first order of
business shall be the election of a moderator protempore to preside for the
duration of the meeting.
Sec. 5. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 14 is amended to read:
§ 14. Local elected officials
(a) Local elective offices to be filled by the voters of the town of Williston shall be only those articulated by this charter, and shall include:
(2) Town clerk;
(3) Town treasurer;
Cemetery commissioner; (8)
Town agent; (9)
Trustee of public funds; (10)
Library trustee; (11)
Old Brick Church trustee; (12)
* * *
(c) Elected officers, duties, responsibilities, and conduct.
* * *
Cemetery commissioners. (A)
There shall be elected five cemetery commissioners for staggered terms of five
The cemetery commission shall advise the selectboard regarding the condition,
operation, and maintenance of cemeteries, but in no way shall the selectboard
supervise administration of cemetery personnel. (C)
The town clerk shall, under the direction of the cemetery commissioners, ensure
that cemetery lots are properly laid out and that sale of lots is properly
The cemetery commissioners shall issue and update regulations regarding
cemetery use, interment, and burial fees. (E)
Vacancies in the office of cemetery commissioner shall be filled by a majority
vote of the remaining cemetery commissioners, and the appointment shall run
until the next annual town meeting at which an election can be warned to fill
the unexpired term. (7)
Trustees of public funds. There shall be elected three trustees of public
funds, each to serve a three-year term. (A)
The town treasurer shall serve the trustees of public funds in an advisory
capacity in connection with fund management and shall attend all meetings. (B)
The trustees shall perform all duties as provided for by statute as limited or
defined by charter. (C)
The trustees shall be charged with maximizing the return on all invested funds
held in trust, while maintaining their security. In service of this goal, they
shall file with the selectboard an annual plan outlining the program of
investments for the year. (D)
All funds entrusted to the trustees shall be audited yearly as part of the town’s
annual audit. (8)
Board of library trustees.
(A) The board of library trustees consists of seven members elected by the voters of the town to staggered five-year terms.
(B) The library trustees have full power to manage the library, pursuant to section 143 of Title 22 and other general state law.
Old Brick Church trustees. (A)
The Old Brick Church board of trustees consists of five members elected by the
voters of the town to staggered five-year terms. (B)
The board is responsible for overseeing the use and maintenance of the Old Brick Church building. (10)
Grand juror. (A)
The grand juror shall serve for a one-year term. (B)
The grand juror shall make presentment of all information he or she obtains, to
the state’s attorney, for possible prosecution, but shall not undertake any
prosecutions. The grand juror shall be bound by general law in the
administration of his or her responsibilities.
Sec. 6. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 15 is amended to read:
§ 15. Appointed nonadministrative officials
* * *
(b) Appointed positions.
(1) The following positions are created by this charter, their functions to be governed by the applicable state statute, as limited by charter or ordinance:
Weigher of coal; (B)
Fence viewers; (C)
Tree warden; (D)
Surveyor of wood and lumber; (E)(B)
Pound keeper; (F)(C)
Collector of delinquent taxes; (G)(D)
Town service officer; (H)(E)
Town health officer. The town health officer is appointed by the commissioner
of health upon the recommendation of the selectboard.
* * *
(5) Cemetery commission.
(A) The cemetery commission shall consist of up to five cemetery commissioners appointed by the selectboard for staggered terms of five years.
(B) The cemetery commission shall advise the selectboard regarding the condition, operation, and maintenance of cemeteries.
(C) The town clerk shall, under the direction of the cemetery commissioners, ensure that cemetery lots are properly laid out, and that sale of lots is properly conducted.
(D) The cemetery commissioners shall issue and update regulations regarding cemetery use, interment, and burial fees.
(6) Old brick church board of trustees.
(A) The old brick church board of trustees shall consist of up to five members appointed by the selectboard for staggered terms of five years.
(B) The board shall be responsible for overseeing the use and maintenance of the old brick church building.
(7) Boards, commissions, committees created by selectboard action:
(A) The selectboard may, at any time, in response to a perceived need, create, by ordinance or resolution, a board, commission, or committee.
(B) In doing so, the action must clearly state the reason for the creation of the body.
Sec. 7. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156, § 18 is added to read:
§ 18. LOCAL OPTIONS TAX
The selectboard is authorized to impose a one percent sales tax, a one percent meals and alcoholic beverages tax, and a one percent rooms tax upon sales within the town which are subject to the state of Vermont tax on sales, meals, alcoholic beverages, and rooms. The town tax shall be implemented in the event the state local options tax as provided for in section 138 of Title 24 is repealed or the 70-percent allocation to the town is reduced. A tax imposed under the authority of this section shall be collected and administered by the Vermont department of taxes in accordance with state law governing the state tax on sales, meals, alcoholic beverages, and rooms. The amount of 70 percent of the taxes collected shall be paid to the town, and the remaining amount of the taxes collected shall be remitted to the state treasurer for deposit in the pilot special fund first established in Sec. 89 of No. 60 of the Acts of 1997. The cost of administration and collection of this tax shall be paid 70 percent by the town and 30 percent by the state from the pilot special fund. The tax to be paid to the town, less its obligation for the 70 percent of the costs of administration and collection, shall be paid to the town on a quarterly basis and may be expended by the town for municipal services only and not for education expenditures. The town may repeal the local option taxes by Australian ballot vote.
Sec. 8. 24 V.S.A. App. chapter 156 § 19 is added to read:
§ 19. APPOINTMENT OF FIRE CHIEF, POLICE CHIEF, AND DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The police chief, fire chief, and director of public safety shall be appointed by the manager and shall be employed by written contract for a term not to exceed five years nor less than one year, and shall perform the duties designated in the contract or as assigned by the manager. Dismissal from the position may be for cause or as specified in the contract of employment.
Sec. 9. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street