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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.892

Introduced by Representative Gervais of Enosburg

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Municipal government; municipal charters; village of Enosburg Falls

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to approve amendments to the charter of the village of Enosburg Falls.

AN ACT RELATING TO APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE VILLAGE OF ENOSBURG FALLS

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 village of Enosburg Falls as provided in this act.  The proposal of amendment was approved by the voters on February 26, 2008.

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 2 is amended to read:

§ 2.  Annual meeting

The annual meeting of the corporation shall be held on the last Tuesday in February, at the hour as the notice hereafter mentioned shall state, in the opera house in the village, or at another time and place as the corporation shall hereafter appoint, of which a notice shall be posted at three public places in the village, at least ten days previous to the meeting, which notice shall be signed by the clerk of the corporation and, in case of the clerk’s failure, by the trustees, and for want of the trustees, by a majority of the justices of the peace residing in the village, who shall give notice of the first meeting and organize the same; and whenever five percent of the legal voters of the corporation shall so request, upon the clerk’s neglect or refusal, the trustees may call a special meeting of the corporation, giving like notice of the same, and specifying in the notice the object of the meeting; and at the meeting none but inhabitants qualified by law to vote in town meetings in the town, and who shall have resided for one year within the bounds herein or hereinafter described and established for the village, shall be entitled to vote.

Sec. 3.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 3 is amended to read:

§ 3.  Officers

(a)  At every annual meeting, the corporation shall, by ballot, if called for, elect for the ensuing year, and until their successors shall be chosen, a moderator, who shall preside at all meetings of the corporation, with the powers of a moderator at town meetings; a clerk, who shall keep a record of all proceedings of the corporation, with power to certify copies of the same, and who shall perform the usual duties of clerk; a treasurer, who shall be sworn, and who shall discharge the usual duties of the office, and give bond in the sum as the corporation shall direct for the faithful performance of the same; and one chief engineer, one first assistant engineer, and one second assistant engineer, who shall be ex officio fire wardens of the village, and the duties of the engineers shall be as may be prescribed by the bylaws and ordinances of the village, and they shall, also, at all fires in the village, superintend all labor to extinguish the same, subject to the bylaws and ordinances of the village.

* * *

(d)  Any elected village officer may be removed from office subject to the following conditions and procedures:

(1)  There is filed with the village clerk a written petition signed by not less than 30 percent of the registered voters of the village seeking the removal of the village officer.

(2)  There shall be held thereafter and within 45 days after the filing of the petition with the village clerk a special village meeting for the purpose of voting on the removal of the village officer.

(3)  If two-thirds of the votes cast at the special village meeting result in an affirmative vote to remove the village officer, the village officer shall cease to hold that office and the office shall be considered to be vacant at the conclusion of the affirmative vote.

(4)  The vacancy shall be filled as provided by law and this charter.

(e)  Only one petition for removal may be filed against any given village officer during any 12-month period of his or her term of office.


Sec. 4.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 5 is amended to read:

§ 5.  Highway taxes; expenditure

(a)  The trustees of the corporation shall have power to direct the expenditure of all the highway taxes assessed upon the grand list of the inhabitants of the village, and upon the ratable estate belonging to nonresidents, situated within the bounds of the village, except that the village shall pay to the town road district of the town of Enosburg each year beginning with the first day of February, 1932, the sum of $600.00 toward the expense of winter roads, and the village limits shall constitute a highway district of itself. It shall be the duty of the trustees of the village to appoint annually not exceeding two highway surveyors for the village, who shall be governed by the general laws of this state in the collection and expenditure of the highway taxes of the village, subject to the direction of the trustees of the village in the expenditure of the same a director of public works and supporting staff as they may deem necessary who shall manage the construction and maintenance of all village highways and streets within the village road district, subject to the laws of the state regarding those duties and subject to the direction of the trustees of the village.

(b)  In the event that the town of Enosburg does not approve the adoption of a charter that would create a separate road district consisting of all town roads lying outside the village road district, and as a result, the village residents are assessed taxes for the maintenance of town roads, the trustees of the village shall have the authority, at their discretion, to dissolve the village road district and notify the selectboard of the town that it will be obligated to maintain the roads within the village as town highways.  In this event, the trustees of the village shall also have the authority to negotiate and enter into agreements as they deem proper for the equitable reimbursement from the town of taxes assessed on village residents and attributable to the town highway budget.  In this event, the trustees of the village shall also have the authority to prepare and present to the selectboard of the town a statement of the operating costs incurred by the village road district and request reimbursement of those expenses from the town general fund.  In the event that the town of Enosburg accepts responsibility for the maintenance of highways within the village, subsection (a) of this section shall not apply.

Sec. 5.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 9 is amended to read:

§ 9.  Corporate powers

The corporation may purchase, hold, and convey any real estate, and erect and keep in repair any building necessary for their purposes; may construct, maintain, or purchase such aqueducts and reservoirs as they may judge best; may make bylaws regulating the sale, measurement, and weight of wood, hay, grain, and all other articles, within the limits of the village; the construction, location, and use of hay scales, markets and slaughterhouses, victualing shops, and zoning and development; may adopt municipal ordinances for the erection of dwelling houses and other buildings, so as to provide for the safety of the village; may make such bylaws and regulations as they shall deem proper in relation to horses, carriages, and other vehicles standing in any street in the village; to restrain all nuisances, or abate the same; direct the clearing, repairing, and improvement of streets, highways, commons, or walks, and protect the same from injury, light the same, keep a watch, restrain cattle, horses, sheep, swine, geese, and other creatures from running at large, or permit the same to run at large under such restrictions as they may provide; provide for the planting and preservation of shade and other trees, lay out, grade, fence, and otherwise improve all public parks and commons, and may impose any fine not exceeding $500.00 for a breach of any bylaws, which fines, and all others prosecuted within six months from the time they accrue, in the name of the corporation, may be recovered in the district court of the state, in an action of debt, declaring generally for a breach of the bylaws or of this charter.

Sec. 6.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 10 is amended to read:

§ 10.  Grand list; taxes; assessment and collection

The corporation may, at any annual or special meeting called for that purpose, as hereinbefore provided, lay a tax on the grandlist of the town of the inhabitants of the village, and upon the ratable estate within the same belonging to nonresidents, and the trustees shall make out a rate bill accordingly, and deliver the same to the collector, who shall have the same power to collect the tax as the collector of town taxes, and may, in like manner, sell property to satisfy the same, and for want thereof commit any person against whom he or she has such tax to jail; and it shall hereafter be the duty of the listers of the town of Enosburg, in making out the list of the town, to designate therein such of the ratable estate belonging to nonresidents as shall be within the limits of the village of Enosburg Falls.

Sec. 7.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 18 is amended to read:

§ 18.  Judicial review

If a person having an interest in a pond, spring, stream, water source, water right, land, or easement in or over lands is dissatisfied with the action of the selectboard, either as to the necessity for taking or with the damages awarded therefor by it, he or she may apply by petition to the county superior court at its next stated term, if there is sufficient time for notice, and, if not, the succeeding term; and any number of persons aggrieved may join in the petition.  The petition, with a citation, shall be served on the trustees of the village at least 12 days before the session of court; and the court shall appoint three disinterested commissioners who shall inquire into the necessity for taking of the ponds, springs, streams, water sources, water rights, lands, or easements in or over lands; and as to the amount of damages sustained by the persons interested therein.

Sec. 8.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 19 is amended to read:

§ 19.  Applicability of state law

Sections 4165, 4166, and 4167 of the General Laws all apply and control as to further proceedings in the premises.  To the extent not otherwise inconsistent with this charter, the provisions of Title 24, chapters 95 through 105, inclusive, shall apply.

Sec. 9.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 23 is amended to read:

§ 23.  Sewers and drains; construction and maintenance

Whenever the public health or convenience shall require the construction of a common sewer or main drain in the village of Enosburg Falls, the trustees of the village, upon the application in writing of five percent or more freeholders and lawful voters of the village, are hereby authorized and empowered to lay, make, and maintain such common sewer or main drain, and to repair the same from time to time when necessary.

Sec. 10.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 25 is amended to read:

§ 25.  Sewer and drains; condemnation; appeal

(a)  When any person shall be dissatisfied with the decision of the trustees in the award for damages for land taken for a sewer or main drain, or in any


assessment for contribution for the same, the person may appeal by petition to the next stated term of Franklin county superior court for a reassessment of such damages or contribution, and any number of persons aggrieved may join in the petition, but the petition and appeal shall not delay the laying or repairing of the sewer or main drain.  The petition and appeal shall be served on the clerk of the village within 60 days next after the award of damages or assessment for contribution shall be filed in the clerk’s office, if there be that many days before the next stated term of Franklin county superior court; otherwise, the petition and appeal shall be served on the clerk before the commencement of the next stated term of court and shall be entered in the court at that term.

(b)  The proceedings shall be had on such petition and appeal in the county superior court as are provided for by law in sections 2988, 2989, and 2990. Revised Laws of Vermont section 3415 of Title 24 and the laws of the state, except as herein provided, and the commissioners appointed by the county superior court to reexamine any assessment or contribution, shall notify the clerk of the village of the time and place when they will hear the matter.

Sec. 11.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 26(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Every person whose particular drain shall enter into any sewer or main drain, or who, in the opinion of the trustees shall receive benefit thereby for draining the person’s premises, including all owners of buildings, lands, or premises adjacent to or abutting on any street or streets along which the sewer or main drain shall be laid, shall be liable to contribute a just share for the benefits received toward the expenses of laying and constructing the sewer or main drain, and shall be assessed therefor by the trustees; and six days’ notice in writing of time and place of the assessment for the contribution shall be given to the person, the person’s agent, tenant, or lessee; or in their or either of their absence, at their last and usual place of abode in the village; and if the person has no known tenant or lessee, then a copy of the notice shall be left in the town clerk’s office of the town of Enosburg for the person; and a certificate of the assessment shall be left with the clerk of the village of Enosburg Falls and recorded by the clerk and, when so recorded, the amount assessed shall be and remain a lien in the nature of a tax upon the lands assessed until paid; and if the owner of the lands shall neglect for 60 days after the final decision of the trustees, or final decision in case of petition and appeal to the county superior court, to pay to the village treasurer the amount of such assessment, the trustees shall issue their warrant for the collection of the same, directed to the village collector of taxes, who shall have authority to sell at public auction so much of the lands as will satisfy the assessment and all legal fees and who shall proceed in the same manner as collectors of town taxes are required by law to proceed in selling real estate at auction for the collection of town taxes, or the trustees’ warrant for the collection of the assessment may run against the goods, chattels, or estate of the delinquent, and shall be executed accordingly.

Sec. 12.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, § 28 is amended to read:

§ 28.  Electric light plant; purchase; operation

The incorporated village of Enosburg Falls is hereby authorized and empowered to acquire, purchase, own, construct, maintain, and operate plants for generating of electricity, transmission and distribution lines, or any or all of such things, for the purpose of lighting the streets, walks, public grounds, and public buildings of the village, and the village may furnish and sell for public or private use electric light, heat, or both, and electric power to parties residing within or without the corporate limits of the village upon such terms and subject to such regulations as may be fixed by the village trustees or agreed upon between the contracting parties.  The charges and rates for electric service shall be a lien on real estate, wherever located, furnished with the service in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien upon real property under section 5601 of Title 32.  The owner of the property, furnished with electric service, wherever located, shall be liable for the charges and rates.  The village clerk shall file in the land records in the town in which the property is located a notice of delinquency for all unpaid charges, to be indexed under the name of the property owner, regardless of whether an agreement has been made for the repayment of the charges.  The lien provided for in this section shall be released only upon receipt of payment in full for all outstanding charges, interest, and late fees in the amount of eight percent of the delinquent charges.

Sec. 13.  REPEAL

24 App. V.S.A. chapter 219, §§ 6 (selectboard duties related to highway taxes); 7 (powers of fire warden); and 8 (regulation of engine and hook and ladder companies) are repealed.

Sec. 14.  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