The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 011 : STOWE ELECTRIC UTILITY COMMISSION(Cite as: 24 App. V.S.A. ch. 153, § 1101)
§ 153-1101. Electric Utility Commission
(a) There shall be a Town of Stowe Electric Department.
(b)(1) The Electric Commission shall be composed of three commissioners appointed by the Town of Stowe Selectboard for staggered terms of three years each.
(2) It shall be the policy of the Town, as implemented by the Selectboard, insofar as possible to appoint commissioners with appropriate background and with an interest in the utilities field, bearing in mind the complexities of those related operations.
(3) Should any commissioner become unable to serve for any reason, or resign, the Selectboard shall appoint a replacement to serve until the end of that term. The Selectboard may remove a commissioner if just cause is stated to the member in writing and after a public meeting if the commissioner requests one.
(c) The commissioners shall serve as electric commissioners under 30 V.S.A., §§ 2915 and 2916. The Electric Commission shall have authority to construct an electric light plant, for the purpose of lighting the street, walks, and other public grounds, and lighting any buildings therein, and supplying and furnishing electricity for domestic and other purposes to such persons and corporations in Stowe and adjoining town as it may desire upon such terms as may be agreed upon. And for this purpose may take, purchase, or acquire and hold any water power, land, and rights-of-way in said Town, needed for the construction, maintenance, and operation of said electric light plant, and may use any public highway over which it may be necessary or desirable to pass with the poles and wire of the same, provided the use of such public highway for the purpose of public travel is not thereby unnecessarily impaired. The Electric Commission shall have the power to purchase, hire, construct, or otherwise acquire an interest in, to maintain, operate, and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any plant (including a gas plant) or system (including existing rights-of-way, poles, lines, towers and fixtures, and transmission line serving the existing system owned by others) located within or outside the State, for the production, distribution, purchase, or sale of electricity, to extend, enlarge, or improve the same and for that purpose to purchase, hire, construct, or otherwise acquire any real or personal property. These powers may be exercised through a taking by eminent domain in the manner prescribed by law. The Electric Commission shall also have the power to purchase, sell, and otherwise acquire and dispose of electricity including sale to electric distribution companies, cooperatives, municipal and privately owned, within or outside the State and to make all agreements, conveyances, and regulations necessary or convenient in connection therewith. All of the foregoing powers are in addition to and not in substitution for or in limitation of any other powers conferred by law, and are subject to regulatory review for municipal utilities as provided in Title 30, Vermont Statutes Annotated.
(d) The Electric Department shall have its own professional management, staff, plan, equipment, and entirely separate financial accounts.
(e) The Electric Department shall be directly managed by a General Manager who shall be responsible to the Electric Commission for the performance of his or her duties.
(f) The General Manager shall be the chief executive officer and head of the Electric Department and shall be responsible to the Electric Commission for the efficient administration of the Electric Department.
(g) The General Manager shall attend all meetings of the Electric Commission, except when the General Manager's removal or discipline is being considered, and shall keep the Electric Commission informed of the financial condition and future needs of the Electric Department, and shall make reports as required by law or ordinance or which may be requested by the Electric Commission. The General Manager shall make other reports and recommendations as the General Manager may deem advisable. The General Manager shall perform other duties as may be prescribed by this charter, or required of the General Manager by law, ordinance, or resolution of the Electric Commission not inconsistent with this charter.
(h) Prior to hiring a General Manager, the commissioners shall notify the Selectboard of the intent to hire, and the Selectboard may take action within seven days of receipt of that notice overriding the commissioners' authority to hire the identified individual as the General Manager. Thereafter, the commissioners shall select and submit notification to the Selectboard of an alternate choice for General Manager until the Selectboard is in agreement.
(i) The commissioners shall have the authority to enter into labor agreements and to adopt personnel policies affecting the working conditions and terms of employment for Electric Department employees without the approval of the Selectboard. The General Manager of the Electric Department shall, subject to terms of labor agreements and personnel policies adopted by the electric commissioners, have the authority to hire, appoint, fix the salary of, discipline, suspend, and remove all employees of the Electric Department. The General Manager of the Electric Department shall receive all funds due the Electric Department, shall issue bills for services rendered, and have responsibility to maintain books of account. The electric commissioners shall approve the expenditure of money as it pertains to the Electric Department. The General Manager and other designated persons with authority specifically approved by the commissioners shall execute and issue on behalf of the Stowe Electric Department drafts, checks, and/or other negotiable orders for the payment of bills and charges of the Electric Department. All such accounting functions of the Electric Department shall be subject to an annual independent audit by a certified public accountant chosen by the electric commissioners.
(j) The Town of Stowe Electric Department shall operate under the statutory authority and requirements of 30 V.S.A., chapter 79, relating to municipal electric plants, and 24 V.S.A., chapter 53, relating to municipal indebtedness, all of which control the financing, improvements, expansion, and disposal of the municipal electric plant and its operations. With specific reference to the legislative authorization contained in 24 V.S.A., chapter 53, subchapter 2, "Indebtedness for Public Utility Purposes," sections 1821-1828, the Electric Commission is permitted to issue revenue-backed bonds and/or general obligation bonds for any capital improvement purpose related to their responsibilities to operate such utilities for the benefit of the people of Stowe, provided each such issue of bonds is approved by the Selectboard and the voters according to law.
(k) The charges and rates for electric service shall be a lien on real estate, wherever located, furnished with such service in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien upon real property under 32 V.S.A. § 5061. The owner of such property, furnished with electric service, wherever located, shall be liable for such charges and rates.
( l ) The Electric Department shall every year make a contribution to the Town of Stowe in lieu of taxes in form of a cash payment and/or the equivalent in free services and municipal rate benefits in an amount equaling the amount of money which would be received by the Town of Stowe in ad valorem real estate taxes were such department a privately owned utility.
(m) An official record of the proceedings of the Commission shall be kept by its Clerk, shall be kept in the office of the Town Clerk, and shall be open for public inspection within five days of the meeting. The minutes of each meeting shall be approved by the Commission at its next meeting and the official copy authenticated by signature of the Clerk of the Selectboard. (Added 1905, No. M-9 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2001, No. M-7, § 2, eff. May 21, 2001; 2009, No. M-18 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. May 5, 2010; 2013, No. M-4, § 2, eff. May 8, 2013.)