The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: Assistant Judges
§ 131. Powers and duties
The assistant judges shall have the care and superintendence of county property, may provide for the acceptance and processing of U.S. passport applications by county clerks pursuant to memorandums of understanding entered into under 4 V.S.A. § 691, may take deeds and leases of real estate to the county, rent or sell and convey unused lands belonging to the county, keep the courthouse, jail, and other county buildings insured, and make needed repairs and improvements in and around the same. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 167; 2011, No. 1, § 10, eff. Feb. 2, 2011.)
§ 132. United States and State flags; display
Such judges shall purchase at the expense of the county and cause to be displayed in the court room in the county courthouse a United States and a State flag. On legal holidays commemorative of historic events they shall cause such flags to be displayed on the courthouse or grounds.
§ 133. County tax; amount; assessment
(a) Annually, the assistant judges shall prepare a proposed budget of the county for the ensuing year.
(b) Before a budget to be proposed at the annual meeting is finalized, the assistant judges shall hold a meeting to invite discussion of the preliminary proposed budget. The meeting to review the preliminary proposed budget shall take place at least 30 and not more than 40 days prior to the annual meeting. Notice of this meeting shall be published in all daily newspapers having general circulation in the county at least 14 days before the meeting. If a daily newspaper of general circulation is not published in the county, the notice shall be published in a weekly newspaper of general circulation in the county. A copy of the notice shall be mailed to the legislative bodies of the towns located in the county.
(c) Annually, on or before January 31, the assistant judges shall call a meeting of the voters of the county for the purpose of presenting the proposed budget of the county for the ensuing year and inviting discussion thereon. The meeting shall be held at a place within the county and shall be warned by a notice posted in three public places in the county and published in all daily newspapers having general circulation in the county at least 30 and not more than 40 days prior to the meeting. If a daily newspaper of general circulation is not published in the county, the notice shall be published in a weekly newspaper of general circulation in the county. The warning shall include a summary of the expenditures being proposed for the various areas covered by the proposed budget and shall provide the public with information about how a copy of the proposal may be obtained. Members of legislative bodies of each of the towns within the county shall be notified of the meeting by mail. Copies of the proposed budget shall be available to the public during normal business hours in the county courthouse and in the office of the clerks of the towns located in the county.
(d) Annually, not less than 14 nor more than 21 days following the county meeting provided in subsection (c) of this section, the assistant judges shall review the proposed budget of the county in light of any discussion thereon at the county meeting and, if deemed expedient, make and deliver to the county treasurer a written order directing the treasurer to issue, on or before March 1 following, the statements required by 32 V.S.A. § 4965, and warrants to the several treasurers of the towns for the collection of a tax sufficient to pay such indebtedness and estimated expense, but the whole amount of such tax shall not exceed in one year five cents on a dollar of the equalized grand list of such county.
(e)(1) The proposed budget shall contain any cost estimates and preliminary plans for capital construction in the county pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 3 of this title, estimates of the indebtedness of the county, estimates of the probable ordinary expenses of the county for the ensuing year, and any and all other expenses and obligations of the county.
(2) The budget may contain provisions for additions to an operations reserve fund, and the accumulated total reserve fund shall not at any time exceed an amount equal to 15 percent of the current budget presented.
(3) Pursuant to a capital program, as described in section 4430 of this title, the budget may also include a provision for a separate reserve fund for capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign, which shall not at any time exceed an amount equal to 75 percent of the current budget presented. However, if capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign is necessitated by an insured loss or damage to a county building, the separate reserve fund may also include the amount of insurance proceeds received as a result of the loss or damage.
(4) All county budgets shall include the amounts currently budgeted for each item included in the proposed budget.
(f) The amount of the tax shall be apportioned upon the towns, unorganized towns, and gores according to the ratio of the equalized grand list, as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 3441, of the individual town, unorganized town, or gore to the total equalized grand list of all the towns, unorganized towns, and gores in the county.
(g) The assistant judges shall hold the meetings required by this section at times convenient to the public.
(h) The fiscal year of the county shall end on January 31, unless the assistant judges, after discussion of the issue at the annual meeting, vote to have a different fiscal year, in which case the fiscal year so voted shall remain in effect until amended. (Amended 1967, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 20, 1968; 1971, No. 73, § 3, eff. April 16, 1971, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1983, No. 78, eff. April 28, 1983; 1997, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; 2003, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 48, eff. June 8, 2004; 2011, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 15, 2012; 2019, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)
§ 134. County tax; county treasurer; warrant
The county treasurer shall issue warrants on or before March 1 requiring the tax to be paid in two equal installments on or before July 5 and on or before November 5. (Amended 1989, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), eff. May 12, 1990; 2011, No. 81 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 13, 2012; 2017, No. 74, § 62.)
§ 135. County tax; payment by town
Each town treasurer shall present such warrant to the selectboard which, within the time required by the warrant, shall draw an order on the town treasury for the amount of such tax and such treasurer shall forthwith pay the county treasurer the amount of such order. Such tax shall be assessed by the selectboard upon the grand list of the town unless otherwise provided for. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 63.)
§ 136. Actions by and against county; process; attorney
Actions in which a county is the party in interest shall be brought by or against the county, and service of process against a county shall be made by leaving copies with the county clerk or county treasurer. The assistant judges may appoint an attorney to prosecute or defend actions in which the county is a party. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 198, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 137. Jurisdiction
Superior Courts, within their respective jurisdictions, may take cognizance of actions in favor of or against the county. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 77, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 168.)
§ 138. Local option taxes
(a) Local option taxes are authorized under this section for the purpose of affording municipalities an alternative method of raising municipal revenues to facilitate the transition and reduce the dislocations in those municipalities that may be caused by reforms to the method of financing public education under the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997. Accordingly:
(1) the local option taxes authorized under this section may be imposed by a municipality;
(2) a municipality opting to impose a local option tax may do so prior to July 1, 1998 to be effective beginning January 1, 1999, and anytime after December 1, 1998 a local option tax shall be effective beginning on the next tax quarter following 90 days' notice to the Department of Taxes of the imposition; and
(3) a local option tax may only be adopted by a municipality in which:
(A) the education property tax rate in 1997 was less than $1.10 per $100.00 of equalized education property value; or
(B) the equalized grand list value of personal property, business machinery, inventory, and equipment is at least ten percent of the equalized education grand list as reported in the 1998 Annual Report of the Division of Property Valuation and Review; or
(C) the combined education tax rate of the municipality will increase by 20 percent or more in fiscal year 1999 or in fiscal year 2000 over the rate of the combined education property tax in the previous fiscal year.
(b) If the legislative body of a municipality by a majority vote recommends, the voters of a municipality may, at an annual or special meeting warned for that purpose, by a majority vote of those present and voting, assess any or all of the following:
(1) a one percent sales tax;
(2) a one percent meals and alcoholic beverages tax;
(3) a one percent rooms tax.
(c) Any tax imposed under the authority of this section shall be collected and administered by the Department of Taxes, in accordance with State law governing such State tax or taxes; provided, however, that a sales tax imposed under this section shall be collected on each sale that is subject to the Vermont sales tax using a destination basis for taxation. Except with respect to taxes collected on the sale of aviation jet fuel, a per-return fee of $5.96 shall be assessed to compensate the Department for the costs of administration and collection, 70 percent of which shall be borne by the municipality, and 30 percent of which shall be borne by the State to be paid from the PILOT Special Fund. The fee shall be subject to the provisions of 32 V.S.A. § 605.
(d)(1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section and subdivision (2) of this subsection with respect to taxes collected on the sale of aviation jet fuel, of the taxes collected under this section, 70 percent of the taxes shall be paid on a quarterly basis to the municipality in which they were collected, after reduction for the costs of administration and collection under subsection (c) of this section. Revenues received by a municipality may be expended for municipal services only, and not for education expenditures. Any remaining revenue shall be deposited into the PILOT Special Fund established by 32 V.S.A. § 3709.
(2)(A) Of the taxes collected under this section on the sale of aviation jet fuel, on a quarterly basis, 70 percent of the taxes shall be paid to the municipality in which they were collected, and 30 percent shall be deposited in the Transportation Fund.
(B) All revenues referenced in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) shall be used exclusively for aviation purposes consistent with 49 U.S.C. § 47133 and Federal Aviation Administration regulations and policies.
(e) As used in this section, "municipality" means a city, town, or incorporated village.
(f) Nothing in this section shall affect the validity of any existing provision of law or municipal charter authorizing a municipality to impose a tax similar to the local option taxes authorized in this section.
(g) If the legislative body of a municipality by a majority vote recommends or by petition of ten percent of the voters of a municipality recommends, the voters of a municipality may at an annual or special meeting warned for that purpose by a majority vote of those present and voting rescind any or all of the local option taxes assessed under subsection (b) of this section. (Added 1997, No. 60, § 88; amended 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 61, eff. March 11, 1998; 1999, No. 49, § 87, eff. June 2, 1999; 2001, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 2003, No. 66, § 53b, see effective date note set out below; 2003, No. 68, §§ 66, 68, eff. June 18, 2003; 2003, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 286, 293b, 293c; 2009, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2011, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 37; 2011, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 48, eff. May 15, 2012; 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 36, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.)
§ 139. Assistant judge judicial education
The assistant judges, either collectively or through a duly authorized committee of assistant judges established by a majority vote of the assistant judges after consultation with the administrative judge, shall, by majority vote:
(1) identify the training needs of assistant judges, including needs which are required by law; and
(2) design, organize, and implement training for assistant judges, including training which is required by law. (Added 2001, No. 70, § 3, eff. June 16, 2001.)
- Subchapter 002: County Clerk
§ 171. Appointment
The assistant judges shall appoint a county clerk who shall be sworn and hold his or her office during the pleasure of such judges and until his or her successor is appointed and has qualified. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 169.)
§ 172. Certificate of appointment
Upon the appointment of a county clerk, such judges shall transmit to the Secretary of State their certificate of appointment and qualification of such clerk signed by them. Such certificate shall bear on its face the signature and impression of the official seal of the clerk and verification of the genuineness of each.
§ 173. Certificate of Secretary of State
Upon request, the Secretary of State shall certify under seal to the appointment, qualification, and authority of a county clerk described in a certificate on file in his or her office, and as to the genuineness of the signature and seal of office of a county clerk appearing on any instrument within the authority of such clerk to execute.
§ 174. Repealed. 2009, No; 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.
§ 175. Bond to county
Before entering upon the duties of his or her office, a county clerk shall become bound to the county in the sum of $3,000.00, with sufficient sureties, by way of recognizance, before the assistant judges, or give a bond to the county executed by principal and sureties in like sum to be approved by the assistant judges, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties. Such bonds of county clerks shall be taken biennially in the month of February and recorded in the office of the county clerk. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 170.)
§ 176. Deputy clerk
A county clerk may, subject to the approval of the assistant judges, appoint one or more deputies who may perform the duties of clerk for whose acts he or she shall be responsible and whose deputations he or she may revoke at pleasure. A record of the appointments shall be made in the office of the clerk. In case of the death of the clerk or his or her inability to act, the deputy or deputies in order of appointment shall perform the duties of the office until a clerk is appointed. In case of the suspension of the clerk's duties as a condition of release pending trial for violating 13 V.S.A. § 2537, the assistant judges of the county shall appoint a person to perform the duties of the office until the charge of violating 13 V.S.A. § 2537 is resolved. The compensation for the clerk and deputy clerk shall be fixed by the assistant judges and paid for by the county. Such compensation may include such employment benefits as are presently provided to State employees, including health insurance, life insurance, and pension plan, the expense for which shall be borne by the county and the employees. (Amended 1973, No. 106, § 7, eff. May 25, 1973; 2007, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 171.)
§ 177. Certification of election and qualification of officers
Upon request, a county clerk shall certify under seal to the election or appointment of officers or magistrates, certificates of whose election or appointment and of having taken the oath of office, when such oath is required, have been filed with him or her as provided by law.
§ 178. Record of sheriff's commission; copies; evidence
The county clerk shall record, in a book kept for that purpose, sheriffs' commissions with the oath of office indorsed thereon. In case of loss or destruction of an original commission or recognizance, a certified copy of the record may be used in court as evidence of the facts therein contained. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 172.)
§ 179. Repealed. 1969, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.
§ 180. Claim; clerk to draw orders
Claims against a county shall be examined and allowed by the assistant judges, unless other provision is made by law. A statement of each claim with the amount allowed shall be certified by them to the county clerk, who shall draw an order therefor upon the county treasurer.
§ 181. Settlements; record; filing
Such clerk shall keep on file in his or her office the statements furnished him or her by the assistant judges, upon which he or she has drawn orders, and shall keep a record of such orders, within the number of each, its date, amount, to whom payable, and for what purpose drawn. He or she shall also preserve and keep on file the claims, accounts, or vouchers for which such orders were drawn.
§ 182. Repealed. 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.
§ 183. Repealed. 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. October 1, 2020.
§ 184. Processing of passport applications
The county clerk shall, if so directed by the assistant judges, accept and process applications for U.S. passports pursuant to memorandums of understanding entered into under 4 V.S.A. § 691. (Added 2011, No. 1, § 11, eff. February 2, 2011.)
- Subchapter 003: County Treasurer
§ 211. Appointment; vacancy
Biennially, on February 1, the assistant judges shall appoint a treasurer for the county who shall hold office for two years and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. If the treasurer dies or in the opinion of the assistant judges becomes disqualified, they may appoint a treasurer for the unexpired term. If the treasurer has his or her duties suspended as a condition of release pending trial for violating 13 V.S.A. § 2537, the assistant judges of the county shall appoint a person to perform the duties of the treasurer until the charge of violating 13 V.S.A. § 2537 is resolved. If the assistant judges cannot agree upon whom to appoint, the Auditor of Accounts shall make the appointment. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2007, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 174.)
§ 212. Bond
Before entering upon the duties of his or her office, a county treasurer shall become bound to the county in the sum of $5,000.00, with sufficient sureties, by way of recognizance, before the assistant judges, or give a bond to the county executed by principal and sureties in like sum to be approved by the assistant judges, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties. The recognizance or bond shall be lodged with and recorded by the county clerk and renewed annually in the month of February. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 175.)
§ 213. Accounts; disbursements
The treasurer shall keep proper entries of monies received and paid out, under appropriate accounts, so that the revenue of the county and the disbursements shall appear in detail. No money shall be paid out of the county treasury except upon the order of the county clerk.
§ 214. Care of lands in unorganized towns and gores; lease lands
The treasurer shall have the care of the lands in unorganized towns and gores in the county, granted as glebes, lands granted to the use of the ministry or the social worship of God, lands granted to the first settled minister, and lands granted or reserved for the use or support of schools, until such towns or gores are organized, but this section shall not affect a lease or contract respecting such lands made under previous law. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 64.)
§ 215. Lands in unorganized towns and gores; power to sue and defend actions
During the time the towns or gores described in section 214 of this subchapter remain unorganized, the treasurer may commence and prosecute or defend in the name of the county any action necessary to recover or protect the possession of such lands or to recover damages for trespass committed thereon. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 65.)
§ 216. Lands in unorganized towns and gores; rents
(a) The treasurer may lease the lands described in section 214 of this subchapter in such manner as he or she judges beneficial, reserving rents for the same, which shall annually be paid into the treasury of the county, until the town or gore in which the lands lie is organized. Thereafter the rents shall be paid into the treasury of the town in which the lands lie.
(b) Lands granted to the first settled minister shall not be leased at any one time for a longer period than five years, or until a minister is settled who is entitled to the same. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 66.)
§ 217. Disposal of rents of lands in unorganized towns and gores
When paid into the county treasury, the rents described in section 216 of this subchapter shall be disposed of as other funds in the treasury. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 67.)
§ 218. Rents for county property
The county treasurer shall collect rents due from persons holding county property by lease or otherwise.
§ 219. Treasurer to levy tax to meet execution
When demand is made of a county treasurer for the payment of an execution against the county and there are not funds in the treasury sufficient to satisfy such execution, such treasurer shall forthwith issue the certified statement required by 32 V.S.A. § 4965 and shall issue warrants to the several treasurers of the towns for the collection of a tax sufficient to pay such execution, the charges thereon, 12 percent interest, and other incidental expenses, returnable within 60 days from the date of such warrants.
§ 220. Tax warrant; payment by town
Each town treasurer shall present the warrant described in section 219 of this subchapter to the selectboard, which shall, within the time required by the warrant, draw an order on the town treasury for the amount of such warrant and that treasurer shall forthwith pay the county treasurer the amount of such order, which amount shall be assessed by the selectboard as a tax upon the grand list of the town unless otherwise provided for. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 68.)
§ 221. Annual statement; penalty
(a) Annually, on or before February 5, a county treasurer shall make settlement with the county auditor and deliver to the assistant judges of the county a statement of his or her accounts for the year ending on January 31 preceding, exhibiting the orders accepted by him or her, giving the number, date, amount, and payee of each, the amount and source of revenue of the county and each item thereof, the orders paid by him or her, giving the number, date, and amount of each, to whom made payable and for what purpose drawn, the amount of interest paid thereon, the amount of indebtedness of the county, with a copy of the abstract of orders outstanding and unpaid at the commencement of such year, and the orders accepted by him or her during such year.
(b) A county treasurer who fails to comply with a provision of this section, or who knowingly makes a false return, shall be fined not more than $500.00.
§ 222. Neglect to settle; penalty
A treasurer who refuses or neglects to settle with the auditor, after being notified, shall be fined $20.00, and a like sum for each month's refusal or neglect thereafter.
§ 223. Statement compared, corrected, and filed
The assistant judges shall compare such statement with the record of the county clerk of orders drawn upon the treasurer for such year, and after correcting errors therein shall cause the same to be recorded in the office of the county clerk.
§ 224. Annual reports; publication; penalty
(a) Within 14 days after the receipt of such statement, the assistant judges shall publish annually such a summary as will show the source and amount of the income of the county, the items and amount of expenditures by the treasurer for the year, together with the indebtedness of the county, and such other facts as to the financial condition of the county as they deem important. Such publication shall be made in not more than three newspapers in the county, or if a newspaper is not published in the county, in some newspaper having general circulation therein.
(b) An assistant judge who fails to comply with a provision of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00. (Amended 1991, No. 186 (Adj. Sess.), § 35, eff. May 7, 1992.)
- Subchapter 004: County Auditor
§ 261. County financial audit
(a) Biennially, all of the accounts of the county treasurer, including any reserve funds, shall be subject to a financial audit conducted according to the generally accepted government accounting standards as established by the federal government accounting office. The audit shall be performed by a public accountant regulated under Title 26 and shall be conducted within four months after the close of the fiscal year being audited. The accountant's report shall be accompanied by a management letter containing findings and recommendations.
(b) The assistant judges shall enter into a contract with a public accountant to perform the audits required by this section. The assistant judges may enter into a multiple year contract under this section, provided that the person to whom a contract is awarded is selected by use of an open request for proposals process. (Added 1997, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.)
§ 262. Repealed. 1997, No. 107 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1999, pursuant to 1997.
- Subchapter 005: Sheriffs
§ 290. County sheriff's department
(a) A sheriff's department is established in each county. It shall consist of the elected sheriff in each county, and such deputy sheriffs and supporting staff as may be appointed by the sheriff. Full-time employees of the sheriff's department, paid by the county, shall be county employees for all purposes but shall be eligible to join the State Employees Retirement System, provided the county shall pay the employer's share. The sheriff's department shall be entitled to utilize all State services available to a town within the county.
(b) Full-time deputy sheriffs whose primary responsibility is transportation of prisoners and persons with a mental condition or psychiatric disability shall be paid by the State of Vermont. The appointment of such deputies and their salary shall be approved by the Governor or his or her designee. The Executive Committee of the Vermont Sheriffs Association and the Executive Director of the Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs shall jointly have authority for the assignment of position locations in the counties of State-paid deputy sheriffs and shall review the county location assignments periodically for efficient use of resources.
(c) Equity, indebtedness, ownership of equipment, and title to motor vehicles associated with the operation of each sheriff's department and purchased with department funds shall be held in the name of the department, not in the name of the sheriff. The department is constituted as a legal entity with the power to contract and incur liabilities.
(d) Upon the election of a sheriff-elect who is not the incumbent sheriff, or upon notice of the resignation of the sheriff, all financial disbursements from the accounts of the department, including the transfer of real or personal property, or other assets, of the department shall be co-signed by the sheriff and the assistant judges. A report of all financial disbursements or transfers made pursuant to this subsection shall be forwarded by the assistant judges to the Auditor of Accounts within 15 days of completion of the out-going sheriff's duties. (Added 1977, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1991, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 149.)
§ 290b. Audits
(b) The Auditor of Accounts shall adopt and sheriffs shall comply with a uniform system of accounts, controls, and procedures for the sheriff's department, which accurately reflects the receipt and disbursement of all funds by the department, the sheriff, and all employees of the department. The uniform system shall include:
(1) requirements for written financial records and books;
(2) procedures for the recording of all financial transactions and the maintenance of such records;
(3) procedures to ensure proper documentation to ensure that all disbursement transactions are properly supported, approved, and recorded;
(4) procedures to ensure that all receipts are properly supported and recorded;
(5) procedures to ensure that bank receipt and disbursement accounts are reconciled on a timely basis;
(6) procedures for the preparation of an annual set of financial reports which accurately reflects the financial transactions and condition of the department;
(7) procedures to ensure that all payments for services performed by the sheriff, deputy sheriffs, or other employees of the department rendered by virtue of their office are made to the sheriff's department;
(8) procedures and controls which identify revenues received from public entities through appropriations or grants from the federal, State, or local governments from revenues received through contracts with private entities; and
(9) other procedures and requirements as the Auditor of Accounts deems necessary.
(c) The Auditor of Accounts and his or her designee may at any time examine the records, accounts, books, papers, contracts, reports, and other materials of the county sheriff departments as they pertain to the financial transactions, obligations, assets, and receipts of that department. The Auditor or his or her designee shall conduct an audit of the accounts for a sheriff's department whenever the incumbent sheriff leaves office, and the auditor shall charge for the costs of the report pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 168(b).
(d) Annually, each sheriff shall furnish the Auditor of Accounts on forms provided by the Auditor a financial report reflecting the financial transactions and condition of the sheriff's department. The sheriff shall submit a copy of this report to the assistant judges of the county. The assistant judges shall prepare a report reflecting funds disbursed by the county in support of the sheriff's department and forward a copy of their report to the Auditor of Accounts. The Auditor of Accounts shall compile the reports and submit one report to the House and Senate Committees on Judiciary. The provisions of 2 V.S.A. § 20(d) (expiration of required reports) shall not apply to the required report to be made under this subsection.
(e) Biennially, according to a schedule established by the Auditor of Accounts, the Auditor shall retain a public accountant to conduct an audit of the financial systems, controls, and procedures within each department. The public accountant shall prepare a written report detailing the review of the department. A copy of this report shall be forwarded to the sheriff, assistant judges, and the Auditor of Accounts. The Auditor shall charge for the costs of the report pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 168(b). (Amended 1991, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 1993; 1993, No. 60, § 55a; 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. May 14, 2012; 2015, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2019, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § E.130.1, eff. Oct. 2, 2020.)
§ 291. Bond; oath
Before entering upon the duties of his or her office, a sheriff shall become bound to the treasurer of the county in the sum of $100,000.00, with two or more sufficient sureties by way of recognizance, before the two assistant judges in such county, or give a bond to the treasurer executed by such sheriff with sufficient sureties in like sum to be approved by the two assistant judges, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties and shall take the oath of office before one of the judges, who shall certify the same on the sheriff's commission. Such recognizance or bond and the commission shall be forthwith recorded in the office of the county clerk. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1991, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 176.)
§ 291a. Contracts
(a) In the name of the sheriff's department, the sheriff may enter into written contracts with the State of Vermont, an agency of the United States, one or more towns within or without the county, or any nongovernmental entity, to provide law enforcement or other related services including security services, central dispatching for police, fire, or ambulance services, and centralized support services. Contracts between the sheriff's department and a town shall be valid if approved by the sheriff and by a majority of the selectboard of the town provided that funding has been approved by a duly warned annual or special town meeting. Deputy sheriffs engaged in the performance of a contract shall be considered employees of the sheriff's department for all purposes, except that for purposes of determining eligibility for Social Security, employees under this section shall be considered county employees, provided however that the sheriffs' departments shall be responsible for employers' contributions.
(b) A contract made with a town to provide law enforcement or related services shall contain provisions governing the following subjects as best suit the needs of the parties:
(1) the services to be provided, including State statutes or town ordinances, or both, which are to be enforced;
(2) rates of compensation, allocation of expenses, total cost of contract, and methods of payment therefor;
(3) ownership of any property acquired under the contract in event of termination of the contract;
(4) the type, frequency, and information to be contained in reports submitted by the sheriff's department to the town;
(5) methods adopted to resolve disputes;
(6) the term of the contract shall specify the commencement and termination date of the services to be provided and provisions for renewal thereof; and
(7) such other items, not inconsistent with law, as may be agreed upon.
(c) A contract under this section may contain provisions for compensation to the sheriff for administration of the contract and related services. No compensation may be paid to a sheriff for administration of the contract or related services unless the contract sets forth in writing the rate or method of calculation for the compensation and a schedule of payment; provided that a sheriff's compensation for administration shall not exceed five percent of the contract. A sheriff's rate of compensation shall be at a rate equivalent to other employees of the department who provide similar services under the contract. Compensation to the sheriff shall be made in accordance with the schedule set forth in the contract but in no event may a sheriff be compensated for administration of the contract and related services unless the compensation is made in the same calendar year in which the revenue was received by the department under the contract.
(d) An agreement or contract for services between a sheriff's department and governmental or nongovernmental entity shall be in writing if the total cost of the contract or agreement exceeds $2,000.00 or the duration of the services provided exceeds ten working days or if the cumulative total of the contracts or agreements entered into by the sheriff's department and the same governmental or nongovernmental entity exceeds $2,000.00 or ten working days within a calendar year. Annually, the sheriff shall submit to the assistant judges for filing with the county clerk a report of all written contracts, categorized by the contracting party, services rendered, date of contract, and amount received.
(e) Each sheriff's department shall establish a procedure for all purchase contracts entered into by the department. The procedure shall be established in writing, filed with the assistant judges, and made available for public review. The written procedure shall also be forwarded to the Auditor of Accounts for use in the conduct of audits required under this chapter. (Added 1977, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1987, No. 121, § 10; 1991, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 292. Office vacant
When such sheriff neglects to become so bound within 15 days from the beginning of his or her term of office, the office of sheriff shall be vacant.
§ 293. Duties
A sheriff so commissioned and sworn shall serve and execute lawful writs, warrants, and processes directed to him or her, according to the precept thereof, and do all other things pertaining to the office of sheriff.
§ 294. Sheriff imprisoned
If a sheriff is confined in prison by legal process, his or her functions as sheriff shall be suspended. When the sheriff is released from imprisonment during his or her term of office, he or she shall file a certificate of his or her discharge signed by one of the judges of the Superior Court, in the office of the county clerk, and deliver a like certificate to the high bailiff. Thereupon he or she shall resume the powers and execute the duties of sheriff. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 177.)
§ 295. Repealed. 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.
§ 296. Transportation of prisoners
All commitments to a State correctional facility or to any other place named by the Commissioner of Corrections or committing court shall be made by any sheriff, deputy sheriff, State Police officer, police officer, or constable in the State, or the Commissioner of Corrections or his or her authorized agent. (Amended 1967, No. 345 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. April 1, 1969; 1969, No. 33, § 3, eff. April 1, 1969; 1989, No. 187 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1995, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2007, No. 15, § 19; 2011, No. 79 (Adj. Sess.), § 29a, eff. April 4, 2012.)
§ 296a. Civil liability resulting from escaped prisoner
A jailer or other officer who, through negligence, suffers a prisoner in his or her custody, convicted of or charged with a crime, to escape, shall be civilly liable to any person proximately damaged as a result thereof to the maximum amount of $500.00. A person so damaged may maintain a civil action therefor. (Added 1977, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. April 17, 1978.)
§§ 297, 298. Repealed. 1967, No. 345 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. April 1, 1969.
§ 299. Duties as peace officer
A sheriff shall preserve the peace, and suppress, with force and strong hand, if necessary, unlawful disorder. He or she may apprehend, without warrant, persons assembled in disturbance of the peace, and bring them before a Criminal Division of the Superior Court, which shall proceed with such person as with persons brought before it by process issued by such court. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, eff. July 1, 1965, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 78, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)
§ 300. May require assistance
A sheriff or other officer in the discharge of the duties of his or her office, for the preservation of the peace, or the suppression or prevention of any criminal matter or cause, may require suitable assistance.
§ 301. Penalty for refusal to assist
A person being required in the name of the State by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, high bailiff, deputy bailiff, or constable, who neglects or refuses to assist the officer in the execution of his or her office, in a criminal cause, in the preservation of the peace, in the apprehension and securing of a person for a breach of the peace, in a search and seizure of alcohol as defined in 7 V.S.A. § 2 or in transporting the alcohol when seized, or in a case of escape or rescue of persons arrested on civil process, shall be fined not more than $500.00, unless the circumstances under which his or her assistance is called for amount to a riot, in which case he or she shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $100.00, or both. (Amended 2017, No. 83, § 157.)
§ 302. Power to search; return
In the daytime, a sheriff may enter and search houses, buildings, or other places for a person for whose apprehension he or she has a warrant, issued in a criminal prosecution, a prosecution for bastardy, or on a bailpiece. He or she may so enter with a warrant or extent for the collection of taxes, or the collection of a fine, or with a warrant to search for goods or chattels stolen or purloined, when such property is supposed to be secreted therein. He or she shall not make return in any case that he or she cannot execute any such precept.
§ 303. Obstructing sheriff; penalty
A person who refuses a sheriff entrance to his or her house or other buildings as provided in section 302 of this title, or threatens him or her or abuses him or her or his or her assistants before or after he or she has entered such buildings, or hinders him or her in any way in the execution of the warrants provided for in section 302, shall be fined not more than $200.00.
§ 304. Liability for misfeasance of deputy
Actions for official misfeasance or neglect of a deputy sheriff, or for cause affecting his or her administration of the office, shall be sustained only against the sheriff; but the sheriff shall not be amenable criminally for the conduct of his or her deputy, other than for fines for neglect of duty.
§ 305. Not to appear as counsel, or make writ
A sheriff or deputy sheriff shall not appear in any court as counsel, nor make a writ, complaint, answer, or other precept or process, except in his or her own cause. A writ, complaint, or other process herein prohibited made by him or her shall be dismissed and the defendant recover his or her costs.
§ 306. Term of office
A sheriff shall execute his or her official duties until his or her successor is qualified to act.
§ 307. Deputy sheriffs; appointments and revocation
(a) A sheriff may appoint deputies who need not be legal residents of the State, one or more of whom shall be a woman. The duties of deputy sheriffs shall be the same as those imposed by law on sheriffs and other peace officers in the enforcement of the criminal law. A deputy shall not perform an official act until his or her deputation and oath are filed for record in the office of the county clerk. A sheriff may dismiss a deputy and revoke his or her deputation. Such revocation shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk and shall take effect from the day of such record.
(b) A sheriff may appoint persons as deputy sheriffs to serve civil process, including child support enforcement as provided in 15 V.S.A. § 800, whom the sheriff shall train and supervise. Such deputies need not be qualified law enforcement officers, but if not so qualified shall not have arrest powers, and shall not carry firearms in performance of their duties in serving civil process.
(c) The powers of deputy sheriffs with respect to criminal matters and the enforcement of the law may be exercised statewide. (Amended 1977, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1987, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 26, 1988; 2009, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § C20; 2013, No. 49, § 4.)
§ 308. Deputy sheriffs; no compensation for appointment; penalty
(a) A sheriff shall not ask of or receive from his or her deputies any pay, compensation or reward by way of deputation fee, or otherwise, for such appointments.
(b) A sheriff who violates a provision of this section shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $50.00. (Amended 2017, No. 74, § 69.)
§ 309. Bonds of deputies; liability of sheriff; deputy's powers and duties
A sheriff shall be liable for the official acts and neglects of his or her deputies, and may take bonds of indemnity from them. Such deputies may, and when required, shall perform any official duty which may be required of the sheriff. Returns of their acts and doings shall be signed by them as deputy sheriffs, and their official acts shall be deemed to be the acts of the sheriff.
§ 310. Repealed. 2013, No. 49, § 5.
§ 311. Training requirements
No person may receive an appointment as a deputy sheriff unless he or she has been awarded a certificate by the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Training Council attesting to his or her satisfactory completion of an approved basic training program, except as provided in section 307(b) of this title. (Added 1971, No. 7, § 2, eff. July 1, 1971; amended 1977, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)
§ 312. Jurisdiction of sheriffs
The powers of sheriffs with respect to criminal matters and the enforcement of the law may be exercised statewide. (Added 1987, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 26, 1988; amended 1991, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2015, No. 2, § 3, eff. March 12, 2015.)
- Subchapter 006: High Bailiff
§ 331. Oath; bond
Before entering upon the duties of his or her office, a high bailiff shall be sworn and give a bond such as may be required by the assistant judges. The cost of such bond shall be paid by the county.
§ 332. Powers and duties
A high bailiff may serve writs which the sheriff is incompetent to serve, and his or her fees shall be the same as those of the sheriff.
§ 333. Confinement of sheriff; vacancy
A high bailiff by virtue of a writ or other process directed to him or her against the sheriff may commit the sheriff to the Commissioner of Corrections. While the sheriff remains in confinement, or in case of vacancy in the office, the functions of the sheriff shall be exercised by the high bailiff, who shall have the powers and be subject to the liabilities of a sheriff until the sheriff is released from confinement or one is appointed and sworn into office. (1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. July 1, 1972.)
- Subchapter 007: State's Attorney
§ 361. General duties
(a) A State's Attorney shall prosecute for offenses committed within his or her county, and all matters and causes cognizable by the Supreme and Superior Courts on behalf of the State, file informations and prepare bills of indictment, deliver executions in favor of the State to an officer for collection immediately after final judgment, taking duplicate receipts therefor, one of which shall be sent to the Commissioner of Finance and Management, and take measures to collect fines and other demands or sums of money due to the State or county.
(b) Part-time State's Attorneys may represent private clients in Superior Court or the Supreme Court on the question of compensation in highway condemnation cases under the provisions of 19 V.S.A. chapter 5, in those cases where the condemned land is located in any county other than that county in which the State's Attorney was elected. (Amended 1959, No. 328 (Adj. Sess.), § 8(c); 1965, No. 194, § 10, eff. July 1, 1965, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 1969, No. 131, § 24, eff. April 23, 1969; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1975, No. 33, § 1, eff. April 11, 1975; 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 178.)
§ 362. Full-time State's Attorneys; private law practice
Elected State's Attorneys shall devote full time to their duties and during their terms shall not engage in the private practice of law nor be a partner or associate of any person practicing law. The State's Attorneys of Essex and Grand Isle Counties shall not serve on a full-time basis and shall not be subject to this section. (Added 1967, No. 164, § 3, operative on Feb. 1, 1969; amended 1967, No. 363 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Feb. 1, 1969; 1969, No. 266 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 8, 1970; 1971, No. 120, § 48, eff. July 1, 1971; 1971, No. 260 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 1977, No. 63, § 1, eff. April 23, 1977; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.205.)
§ 363. Deputy State's Attorneys
(a) A State's Attorney may appoint as many deputy State's Attorneys as necessary for the proper and efficient performance of his or her office and may remove them at pleasure.
(b) The pay for deputy State's Attorneys shall be fixed by the Executive Director of the Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs or through collective bargaining pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 27, but it shall not exceed the pay of the State's Attorney making the appointment. Deputy State's Attorneys shall be compensated only for periods of actual performance of the duties of the office. Deputy State's Attorneys shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in connection with their official duties when approved by the State's Attorneys and the Commissioner of Finance and Management.
(c) Deputy State's Attorneys shall exercise all the powers and duties of the State's Attorneys except the power to designate someone to act in the event of their own disqualification.
(d) Deputy State's Attorneys may not enter upon the duties of the office until they have taken the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the State and the oath of office required by the Constitution, and until the oath together with their appointment is filed for record with the county clerk. If appointed and under oath, a deputy State's Attorney may prosecute cases in another county if the State's Attorney in the other county files the deputy's appointment in the other county clerk's office. In case of a vacancy in the office of State's Attorney, the appointment of the deputy shall expire upon the appointment of a new State's Attorney. (Amended 1959, No. 253, eff. June 11, 1959; 1959, No. 328 (Adj. Sess.), § 8(c); 1967, No. 363 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2, eff. March 27, 1968; 1969, No. 266 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. April 8, 1970; 1971, No. 120, § 49; 1971, No. 260 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 2009, No. 58, § 24; 2017, No. 81, § 12, eff. June 15, 2017.)
§ 364. Investigator
(a)(1) A State's Attorney may appoint an investigator and, with the approval of the Governor, shall fix the investigator's pay not to exceed that of a noncommissioned officer of the Department of Public Safety, and may remove the investigator at will.
(2) An investigator shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in connection with his or her official duties when approved by the State's Attorney and the Commissioner of Finance and Management.
(3) Investigators shall take part in the investigation of crime, the detection of persons suspected of committing crimes, the preparation of any criminal cause for trial, and other tasks related to the office of the State's Attorney.
(4) No person may be appointed as an investigator unless he or she has had appropriate experience in investigative work for a period of not less than two years, including employment as a private detective or a law enforcement officer, or has successfully completed a course of training under 20 V.S.A. chapter 151.
(b) A person appointed as an investigator who has obtained certification as a Level II or Level III law enforcement officer under the provisions of 20 V.S.A. § 2358 shall have the same powers as sheriffs in criminal matters and the enforcement of the law and in serving criminal process, and shall have all the immunities and matters of defense now available or hereafter made available to sheriffs in a suit brought against them in consequence for acts done in the course of their employment. (Added 1959, No. 299, § 1; amended 1967, No. 368 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 27, 1968; 1969, No. 266 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. April 8, 1970; 1971, No. 120, § 50, eff. July 1, 1971; 1973, No. 77, § 55, eff. July 1, 1973; 1981, No. 108, § 327; 1989, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. June 6, 1996; 2003, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2007, No. 7, § 7; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. July 1, 2015.)
§ 365. Penalty for taking bribe
A State's Attorney who, directly or indirectly under color of his or her office, unlawfully receives to his or her use, or the use of another person, money or other valuable thing, shall be fined not less than $300.00 and shall be incapable of holding civil office in the State.
§ 366. Deputy sheriffs; police school
Subject to the approval of the Attorney General, a State's Attorney may enroll a deputy sheriff in a police school for the purpose of receiving training in crime prevention, detection, and apprehension. The officer so enrolled shall receive compensation during the police school session in an amount fixed by the Attorney General which shall not exceed $20.00 per day. The officer so enrolled shall receive his or her necessary expenses. Bills for his or her compensation and expenses shall be sworn to by him or her. Upon approval by the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Finance shall issue his or her warrant in payment thereof. (Added 1967, No. 368 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. March 27, 1968; amended 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b).)
§ 367. Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs
(a) There is established a Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs, which shall consist of the 14 State's Attorneys and 14 sheriffs. The State's Attorneys shall elect an Executive Committee of five State's Attorneys from among their members. The members of the Executive Committee shall serve for terms of two years.
(b) The Executive Committee and the Executive Committee of the Vermont Sheriff's Association shall appoint an Executive Director who shall serve at the pleasure of the Committees. The Executive Director shall be an exempt employee.
(c)(1) The Executive Director shall prepare and submit all budgetary and financial materials and forms that are required of the head of a department of State government with respect to all State funds appropriated for all of the Vermont State's Attorneys and sheriffs. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Executive Director, with the approval of the Executive Committee, shall establish allocations for each of the State's Attorneys' offices from the State's Attorneys' appropriation. Thereafter, the Executive Director shall exercise budgetary control over these allocations and the general appropriation for State's Attorneys. The Executive Director shall monitor the sheriff's transport budget and report to the sheriffs on a monthly basis the status of the budget. He or she shall provide centralized support services for the State's Attorneys and sheriffs with respect to budgetary planning, training, and office management, and perform such other duties as the Executive Committee directs. The Executive Director may employ clerical staff as needed to carry out the functions of the Department.
(2) The Executive Director shall prepare and submit a funding request to the Governor and the General Assembly for the purpose of securing General Fund appropriations for any increased costs related to a collective bargaining agreement and to the Department's contract bargaining and administration.
(d)(1) If an individual State's Attorney is aggrieved by a decision of the Executive Director pertaining to an expenditure or proposed expenditure by the State's Attorney, the question shall be decided by the Executive Committee. The decision of the Committee shall be final.
(2) If an individual sheriff is aggrieved by a decision of the Executive Director pertaining to an expenditure or proposed expenditure by the sheriff, the question shall be decided by the Executive Committee of the Vermont Sheriff's Association. The decision of the Executive Committee of the Vermont Sheriff's Association shall be final.
(e) [Repealed.] (Added 1983, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2009, No. 33, § 83(j); 2013, No. 49, § 6; 2013, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 82, eff. Feb. 25, 2014; 2017, No. 81, § 13, eff. June 15, 2017.)
- Subchapter 008: Commissioners of Jail Delivery
§§ 401-404. Repealed. 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.
- Subchapter 009: Notaries Public
§§ 441-443. Repealed. 2017, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. July 1, 2019.
§ 444. Repealed. 1983, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.
§§ 445, 446. Repealed. 2017, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. July 1, 2019.