The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 24: Municipal and County Government

Chapter 121: INTERMUNICIPAL COOPERATION AND SERVICES

 

Sub-Chapter 1: General Provisions

§ 4801. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Municipality" shall mean "municipality" as defined in section 126 of Title 1.

(2) "Legislative branch" shall mean "legislative branch" as defined in subdivision 1751(2) of this title. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4802. Approval of plan

(a) Every agreement for a union municipal district under this chapter shall be submitted to the attorney general before being presented to the voters for acceptance or rejection. The attorney general shall determine whether the agreement is in proper form and compatible with the laws of this state. In the event that the attorney general fails to notify the joint survey committee provided for in subchapter 2 of this chapter of his or her determination within 30 days after receipt of a copy of the agreement, it shall be deemed to have been approved.

(b) In the event that an agreement for a union municipal district deals in whole or in part with services or facilities over which an officer or agency of the state government has constitutional or statutory powers of control, the agreement shall be submitted to him or her or it, at the time of its submission to the attorney general. The officer or agency involved may file objections with the attorney general.

(c) No agreement shall be submitted to the voters unless it has been approved by the attorney general under subsection (a) of this section. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85f.)

§ 4803. Powers as supplementary

The powers granted to municipalities by this chapter are supplementary to any other powers heretofore or hereafter granted by any other statute for the same or similar purposes. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

Sub-Chapter 2: Joint Survey Committees

§ 4831. Creation of committee

The legislative branch of any two or more municipalities may by agreement create a joint municipal survey committee to plan for the strengthening of local governments and to promote plans for more efficient and economical operation of local government services within or by the participating municipalities. For purposes of establishing a mosquito control district under chapter 85 of Title 6, a municipality may create a municipal survey committee under this section with all the powers and duties that a joint municipal survey committee possesses under this chapter. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 34, § 2, eff. May 18, 2007.)

§ 4832. Powers and duties

The committee shall have the following powers for any of the purposes authorized by charter or general statute:

(1) To make surveys and studies and conduct research programs to enable municipalities to make the most efficient use of their powers by cooperation with other municipalities on a basis of mutual advantage, and thereby to provide services and facilities in a manner and pursuant to forms of governmental organization that will accord best with geographic, economic, population and other factors influencing the needs and development of municipalities.

(2) To provide for the distribution of information resulting from such surveys, studies and programs.

(3) To consult and cooperate with appropriate state, municipal and public or private agencies in matters affecting municipal government.

(4) To employ persons and adopt rules, regulations and by-laws as are necessary and proper to effectuate the purposes of this chapter. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4833. Officers

The members of a joint municipal survey committee shall consist of an equal number of representatives from each municipality designated by the legislative branch. Members of the legislative branch of a municipality may serve as members of the committee. The committee shall elect from its own number a chair and secretary and other necessary officers to serve for such period as the members shall decide. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85g.)

 

Sub-Chapter 3: Union Municipal Districts

§ 4861. Authorization

If a joint municipal survey committee approves the creation of a union municipal district, it shall prepare an agreement for the formation of the district and shall file a copy with the legislative body, planning commission and clerk of each participating municipality. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4862. Contents of agreement

Any agreement for the creation of a union municipal district shall specify the following:

(1) Its duration, if it is to be limited in time.

(2) The precise organization, composition and nature of any separate legal or administrative entity created thereby, with the powers delegated thereto.

(3) Its purposes.

(4) The manner of election or designation of officers of the district, and the powers and duties thereof.

(5) The means of establishing a budget and financing the union municipal district, and the method, if so provided, for assessing the member municipalities or the taxpayers thereof for the expenses of the district.

(6) The permissible method or methods to be employed in accomplishing the partial or complete termination of the agreement and for disposing of property thereon.

(7) The manner in which the agreement may be amended or renewed, where applicable.

(8) The conditions and procedure under which a municipality may withdraw from a union municipal district or join a district already in operation.

(9) Any other necessary and proper matters. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

§ 4863. Approval of agreement

(a) Any participating municipality may enter into the agreement for the formation of the union municipal district at any annual or special meeting of such municipality duly warned for such purpose.

(b) The vote on the question of accepting the agreement shall be by printed ballot substantially as follows:

Shall the    (name of municipality)  enter into an agreement for the formation of a union municipal district to be known as "       ".

(c) All elections in the separate municipalities shall be held on the same day. The vote shall be by Australian ballot as provided for in subchapter 3 of chapter 55 of Title 17.

(d) Where three or more municipalities are concerned in the voting, and at least two approve the agreement, rejection of the agreement by one or more shall not defeat the creation of a district composed of the municipalities voting affirmatively on the question, if the joint survey committee decides that it is feasible or practical to continue the district as a geographic unit, unless the agreement as proposed expressly provides that specific participating municipalities or a minimum number of participating municipalities shall approve the agreement. Members from municipalities rejecting the agreement may take no part in the decision of the joint survey committee, or in any subsequent matters relating to the agreement rejected by the municipalities they represent.

(e) The governing body of the district may authorize the inclusion of additional municipalities outside of the district. Any authorized municipality may take action to enter into the district according to the approval procedures contained herein.

(f) A municipality which is a member of a union municipal district may vote to withdraw from the union municipal district if one year has elapsed since said union municipal district has become a body politic and corporate as provided in section 4865 of this title and if the union municipal district has not voted to bond for construction and improvements as provided in section 4866 of this title.

(g) When a majority of the voters of a member municipality present and voting at a meeting of such municipality duly warned for that purpose shall vote to withdraw from a union municipal district, the vote shall be certified by the clerk of that municipality to the governing body of the union municipal district. Thereafter, the governing body of the union municipal district shall give notice to the remaining member municipalities of the vote to withdraw and such body shall hold a meeting to determine whether it is in the best interests of the district to continue to exist. Representatives of the member municipalities shall be given an opportunity to be heard at such meeting together with any other interested persons. After such meeting, the governing body may declare the district dissolved immediately or as soon thereafter as each member municipality's financial obligations have been satisfied, or it may declare that the district shall continue to exist despite the withdrawal of the member municipality.

(h) A vote of withdrawal taken after a union municipal district has become a body politic and corporate but less than one year after that date shall be null and void. A vote of withdrawal taken after the union municipal district has voted to bond itself for construction and improvements shall likewise be null and void.

(i) The membership of the withdrawing municipality shall terminate as of one year following the vote to withdraw or as soon after such one year period as the financial obligations of said withdrawing municipality have been paid to the union municipal district. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 6, § 12(c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85h.)

§ 4864. Employee organizations; police employees; state labor relations board

If an employee organization is the exclusive bargaining representative of employees in one or more participating municipalities in a proposed agreement to create a union municipal district for the purpose of providing services currently provided by these employees, any questions of unit determination or representation involving these employees shall be resolved by the state labor relations board pursuant to chapter 22 of Title 21. (Added 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85i.)

§ 4865. Organization

Upon the approval of the agreement by the required number of municipalities as provided in section 4863 of this title, the union municipal district shall become a body politic and corporate with the powers incident to a public corporation. The district shall be known by the name given in the agreement, by that name may sue and be sued, and may hold and convey real and personal estate for the use of the district. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

§ 4866. Powers and duties

A union municipal district may:

(1) Hire and fix the compensation of employees.

(2) Contract with consultants and other experts for services.

(3) Contract with the state of Vermont or the federal government, or any agency or department thereof, for services.

(4) Contract with any participating municipality for the services of any officers or employees of that municipality useful to it.

(5) Contract with a county sheriff to provide law enforcement services to the union district.

(6) Promote cooperative arrangements and coordinated action among its participating municipalities.

(7) Make recommendations for review and action to its participating municipalities and other public agencies which perform functions within the region in which its participating municipalities are located.

(8) Exercise any other powers which are exercised or are capable of exercise by any of its participating municipalities, and necessary or desirable for dealing with problems of mutual concern.

(9) Borrow money and issue evidence of indebtedness as provided by chapter 53 of this title. Obligations incurred under such chapter shall be the joint and several obligations of the district and of each member municipality but shall not affect any limitation on indebtedness of a member municipality. The cost of debt service shall be included in the annual budget of the district, and shall be allocated among the member municipalities as provided in the agreement for the allocation of the assessment for the ordinary expenses of the district. Where voter approval is required pursuant to chapter 53 of this title, the governing body of the district shall determine the number and location of polling places, and when a majority of all the voters present and voting on the question from all of the member municipalities at such meeting vote to authorize the issuance of bonds, the district shall be authorized to issue the bonds as provided in said chapter. The counting of ballots shall be conducted by the governing board of the district together with the town or city clerk from each member municipality or his or her designee. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85j.)

§ 4867. Cooperation with other agencies

Whenever a union municipal district intends to operate in a geographical area which may involve other governmental agencies acting in a regional capacity, it shall notify that governmental agency of its plans and intentions. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4868. Reports

Each union municipal district shall prepare an annual report of its activities, including a financial statement, to be distributed to its member municipal units, and shall prepare and distribute any other reports required by its by-laws. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

Sub-Chapter 4: Interlocal Contracts

§ 4901. Authorization

(a) Any one or more municipalities may contract with any one or more other municipalities to perform any governmental service, activity, or undertaking which each municipality entering into the contract is authorized by law to perform, provided that the legislative body of each municipality approves the contract, and expenses for such governmental service, activity, or undertaking are included in a municipal budget approved under 17 V.S.A. § 2664 or comparable charter provision.

(b) If the interlocal contract is such that the participating municipalities or their legislative bodies, commissions, boards, officers or voters have the authority to enter into it, by virtue of any charter provision, statute, or the general authority of such municipality or its officers and bodies, then the procedures of this section for approval shall not be exclusive, it being the intent that the powers and procedures set forth herein for interlocal contracts are supplementary to any other powers or procedures heretofore or hereafter possessed by any municipality.

(c) A municipality may submit an interlocal contract to the attorney general prior to approval by its legislative body. If such a contract is submitted, the attorney general shall determine whether the contract is in proper form and compatible with the laws of this state and notify the legislative body of the municipality of his or her determination. In the event that the attorney general does not respond to the request within 30 days after receipt of a copy of the contract, the legislative body may approve the contract. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 85k.)

§ 4902. Contents of contract

(a) The contract shall set forth fully the purposes, powers, rights, and objectives, and responsibilities of the contracting parties.

(b) The contract may provide:

(1) That one person shall hold the same office or offices in the participating municipalities, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

(2) The method of choosing officers by election or appointment, the term of office, the compensation of, or mode of setting the compensation of, and the authority to discharge, a person holding office under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3) For any duly constituted local or regional board to have jurisdiction in all the municipalities.

(4) For a transfer of a local service function or activity or a portion thereof, previously authorized or exercised by a municipality, to another municipality.

(5) For the acquisition and maintenance of property, forces and services which the municipalities participating in the contract are authorized by law to acquire and maintain.

(6) For the use of any property, equipment or personnel of a municipality which is a party to the contract in connection with a joint service or activity authorized by the terms of the contract.

(7) For the deposit of funds appropriated, received or contributed for purposes of any joint municipal activity or service in one or more special bank accounts, and for designation of persons authorized to have custody of and to draw on such funds.

(8) For the exercise of any powers consistent with law in order to carry out the purposes contemplated in the contract. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

Sub-Chapter 5: Outside Aid

§ 4931. Source of funds

Any union municipal district may accept, receive, and disburse in furtherance of the duties and functions, any funds, grants, and services made available by the state of Vermont and its agencies, the federal government and its agencies, any municipality or other governmental unit whether or not a member of the district, or private or civic sources. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4932. Technical assistance

The state and all departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, and other agencies thereof are hereby authorized and empowered, within the limitations of the constitution, to furnish and make available services, assistance, funds, property, and other incentives to any two or more municipalities participating in a union municipal district or interlocal contract so as to effectuate economy or simplification in the administration or financing thereof. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4933. Municipal contributions

Each municipality which is a party to an interlocal contract shall have authority to appropriate funds for the purpose of the contract and may also levy taxes and issue bonds for the payment of the appropriation as a special purpose. Services of personnel, use of equipment and office space, and other services may be accepted from contracting municipalities either in addition to or as part of their financial support. (Added 1969, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 4934. Repealed. 1973, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. July 1, 1974.

 

Sub-Chapter 6: Intermunicipal Insurance Agreements

§ 4941. Definitions

As used in this subchapter:

(1) "Association" shall mean an association, compact or corporation, any of which shall be organized not for profit, and formed for the purpose of entering into intermunicipal insurance agreements under this subchapter.

(2) "Municipality" shall mean "municipality" as defined in section 4801 of this title, but shall also include the following:

(A) all governmental entities defined in section 126 of Title 1 and in subdivision 1751(1) of this title;

(B) all bodies corporate and politic created and existing under any special act of the general assembly;

(C) all bodies corporate and politic created and existing under an interstate compact;

(D) all bodies corporate and politic created under intermunicipal agreements entered into and approved as provided in subchapter 3 of chapter 121 of this title;

(E) all supervisory unions created under subchapter 1 of chapter 7 of Title 16;

(F) all incorporated school districts;

(G) all entities providing educational services and eligible for state aid under section 3447 of Title 16;

(H) all consolidated water and sewer districts;

(I) all ambulance districts created under subchapter 1 of chapter 71 of this title;

(J) all regional mass transportation authorities created under chapter 127 of this title;

(K) all local housing authorities created under section 4003 of this title;

(L) all conservation commissions created under section 4501 of this title;

(M) all special assessment or tax increment financing districts created under subchapter 5 of chapter 53 of this title;

(N) all counties established by chapter 1 of this title;

(O) all regional planning commissions established under chapter 117 of this title;

(P) all instrumentalities and agencies of the foregoing. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986.)

§ 4942. Contents of agreement

Two or more municipalities, by resolution of their respective legislative bodies or boards, may establish and enter into agreements for obtaining or effecting insurance by self-insurance, for obtaining or effecting insurance from any insurer authorized to transact business in this state as an admitted or surplus lines carrier, or for obtaining and effecting insurance secured in accordance with any other method provided by law, or by combination of the provisions of this section for obtaining and effecting insurance. Agreements made pursuant to this section may provide for pooling of self-insurance reserves, risks, claims and losses, and of administrative services and expenses associated with the same, among municipalities. To accomplish the purposes of this subchapter, two or more municipalities may form an association under the laws of this state to develop and administer an intermunicipal risk management program, having as its purposes reducing the risk of its members; safety engineering; distributing, sharing, and pooling risks; acquiring insurance, excess loss insurance, or reinsurance; and processing, paying, and defending claims against the members of such association. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986.)

§ 4943. Contributions

Any contributions made to such association, for the purpose of distributing, sharing, or pooling risks shall be made on an actuarially sound basis, and any such association shall have its books, records, and financial affairs audited annually by a certified public accountant, copies of which shall be provided to each municipal member and the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986; amended 1989, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 25(b); 1995, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 38(a); 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012.)

§ 4944. Approval of agreements

(a) No association organized under this subchapter shall receive funds from any municipality for the purpose of distributing, sharing, or pooling any risk until a plan for the operation of the association together with all contracts, agreements, and any other documents underlying or implementing the plan, and all amendments thereto, have been approved by the Commissioner of Financial Regulation.

(b) The Commissioner shall adopt rules to assist in the formation of such associations and to expedite approval of any plan of operation. The Commissioner shall also adopt rules relating to the administration and operation of such associations in order to provide for the fiscal integrity of agreements entered into under section 4942 of this title and to provide that trade, market, and claim practices engaged in by such associations are equitable, fair, and consistent. In adopting such rules, the Commissioner shall recognize that such associations are undertaking an essential governmental function and that they shall not be considered insurance companies nor insurers under the laws of this State. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986; amended 1989, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 25(b); 1995, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 38(a); 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012.)

§ 4945. Inapplicability of other laws

The provisions of section 4863 of this title shall not apply to the formation of an association organized under this subchapter, nor to the participation therein by a municipality. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986.)

§ 4946. Declaration of policy

The general assembly hereby finds and declares that the implementation of this subchapter by any municipality and the activity of any association organized hereunder shall constitute essential governmental functions. Participation by a municipality in an agreement or association established hereunder shall not create joint and several liability as a result of any act or omission of any other municipality or association, nor shall such participation constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity under 29 V.S.A. § 1403. (Added 1985, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 3, 1986.)

§ 4947. Independent schools; eligible to participate

An association that offers hospital, surgical and medical benefits insurance to entities that are providing educational services under this subchapter, may make such insurance available to approved or recognized independent schools operating in Vermont. Participation shall be on the same terms and conditions that apply to municipalities and shall not create joint and several liability as a result of any act or omission of any other school, municipality or association. Schools that participate under this section shall be provided with copies of the annual audit. The provisions of section 166 of Title 16 shall apply for purposes of determining whether a school qualifies as an "approved or recognized independent school."  (Added 1997, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 20a, eff. April 27, 1998.)