The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 1911. Definitions
The following terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meaning:
(1) "Acquire" shall mean to purchase, to acquire by eminent domain, to hire, to lease, to construct, to reconstruct, or to replace.
(2) "Communications plant" shall mean any and all parts of any communications system owned by the municipality, whether using wires, cables, fiber optics, wireless, other technologies, or a combination thereof, and used for the purpose of transporting or storing information, in whatever forms, directions, and media, together with any improvements thereto hereafter constructed or acquired, and all other facilities, equipment, and appurtenances necessary or appropriate to such system. However, the term "communications plant" and any regulatory implications or any restrictions under this chapter regarding either "communications plant" or "communications service" shall not apply to facilities or portions of any communications facilities intended for use by, and solely used by, the municipality and the municipality's own officers and employees in the operation of municipal departments or systems of which such communications are merely an ancillary component.
(3) "Communications service" shall include ownership, operation, and utilization of a communications plant within or without the corporate limits of the municipality to transport or store information in any form and medium.
(4) "Improve" shall mean to acquire or construct any improvement, whether consisting of real or personal property.
(5) "Improvement" shall mean any extension, betterment, addition, alteration, reconstruction, and extraordinary repair, equipping, or reequipping of the communications plant of the municipality. (Added 2007, No. 79, § 4, eff. June 9, 2007.)
§ 1912. Communications plant; authority to acquire, construct, operate, improve, extend, and better
(a) A municipality is authorized and empowered to own, maintain, operate, improve, and extend, or otherwise acquire, and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of, in accordance with and in any situation or manner not prohibited by law, its communications plant for the furnishing of communications services within or without the corporate limits of the municipality, for public, domestic, commercial, and industrial use, and for the provision of communications service. For the aforesaid purposes, the municipality may hire, lease, purchase, own, hold, and acquire by contract, agreement, or eminent domain proceedings any buildings, land, rights-of-way, and any other real property necessary or convenient to the operation of the communications 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 that the use of such public highway for the purpose of public travel is not thereby unnecessarily impaired. These powers may be exercised through a taking by eminent domain in the manner prescribed by law. All of the foregoing powers are in addition to and not in substitution for or in limitation of any other powers conferred by law.
(b) Before a municipality may sell any service using its communications plant subject to Public Utility Commission jurisdiction and for which a certificate of public good is required under 30 V.S.A. chapter 5 or 13, it shall obtain a certificate of public good for such service. Each such certificate of public good shall be nonexclusive and shall not contain terms or conditions more favorable than those imposed on existing certificate holders authorized to serve the municipality. (Added 2007, No. 79, § 4, eff. June 9, 2007.)
§ 1913. Communications plant; operation and regulation
(a) A municipality shall operate its communications plant in accordance with the applicable State and federal law and regulation, and chapter 53 of this title, relating to municipal indebtedness, with regard to the financing, improvements, expansion, and disposal of the municipal communications plant and its operations. However, the powers conferred by such provisions of law shall be supplemental to, construed in harmony with, and not in restriction of, the powers conferred in this chapter.
(b) A municipality's operation of any communications plant shall be supported solely by the revenues derived from the operation of such communications plant, except that portion which is used for its own municipal purposes.
(c) A municipality may finance any capital improvement related to its operation of such communications plant for the benefit of the people of the municipality in accordance with the provisions of chapter 53 of this title, provided that revenue-backed bonds shall be paid from net revenues derived from the operation of the communications plant.
(d) Any restriction regarding the maximum outstanding debt that may be issued in the form of general obligation bonds shall not restrict the issuance of any bonds issued by a municipality and payable out of the net revenues from the operation of a public utility project under chapter 53, subchapter 2 of this title.
(e) To the extent that a municipality constructs communication infrastructure with the intent of providing communications services, whether wholesale or retail, the municipality shall ensure that any and all losses from these businesses, or in the event these businesses are abandoned or curtailed, any and all costs associated with the investment in communications infrastructure, are not borne by the municipality's taxpayers.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a municipality may enter into a public-private partnership for the purpose of exercising its authority under this subchapter regarding the provision of communications services. A municipality may contract with a private entity to operate and manage a communications plant owned by the municipality or may contract with a private entity to co-own, operate, or manage a communications plant. A communications plant that is the subject of a public-private partnership authorized by this subsection may be financed in whole or in part pursuant to this chapter and chapter 53, subchapter 2 of this title, provided the municipality first issues a request for proposals seeking an Internet service provider to serve or to assist with serving unserved and underserved locations targeted by the issuing municipality. The terms of such a partnership shall specify that the owner or owners of the communications plant, as applicable, shall be responsible for debt service. (Added 2007, No. 79, § 4, eff. June 9, 2007; amended 2019, No. 79, § 13, eff. June 20, 2019.)
§ 1914. Validation of bonds voted for communications construction
No action shall be brought directly or indirectly attacking, questioning, or in any manner contesting the legality or validity of bonds, issued or unissued, voted by any municipality, after six months from the date upon which voters in such municipal entity met pursuant to warning and voting affirmatively to issue bonds to defray costs of communications improvements or upon vote of a question of rescission thereof, whichever occurs later. This section shall be liberally construed to effect the legislative purpose to validate and make certain the validity of bonds issued or authorized by municipalities for communications system purposes, and to bar every right to question in any manner the validity of bonds voted for such purposes, and to bar every remedy therefore, notwithstanding any defects or irregularities, jurisdictional, or otherwise, after the expiration of the six-month period. (Added 2007, No. 79, § 4, eff. June 9, 2007.)