The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 3301. Water supply; construction; condemnation; exceptions
A municipal corporation is hereby authorized and empowered to construct, maintain, and repair an artesian well, reservoir or reservoirs, pumps, engines and apparatus, take, purchase and acquire, in the manner hereinafter mentioned, any artesian wells, ponds, springs, streams, water courses, real estate, water rights, flowage rights, and easements necessary for its purposes within the limits hereinafter described, together with such land surrounding and adjacent to the same as may be reasonably necessary for protecting and preserving the purity of the water in such artesian wells, ponds, springs and streams, and may enclose such artesian wells, ponds, springs and streams by suitable fences for the purpose of such protection; and such corporation, within the limits hereinafter set forth, and subject to the provisions of section 108 of Title 30, may take, acquire or purchase any or all of the aforementioned rights or properties owned or operated by any person or corporation engaged in the business of a water company, as defined by section 203 of Title 30, within the limits of such municipal corporation. Such corporation may enter in and upon any land or water for the purpose of making surveys, may take and construct dams and reservoirs, lay pipes and aqueducts, may connect the same with the main aqueduct as may be necessary to convey the water taken as aforesaid to the reservoirs of such municipal corporation and distribute the same through such municipal corporation for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants thereof with water for fire, domestic, and other purposes. However, such municipal corporation shall not take otherwise than by purchase, water or a spring of water which the owner or lessee or other person having a vested right or interest in such water or the use thereof, may reasonably require for domestic use or the watering of animals on the premises where such water may be in use.
§ 3302. Entry on lands
For the purposes enumerated in section 3301 of this title, such municipal corporation may enter upon and use any land and enclosures over or through which it may be necessary for an aqueduct or pipes to pass, and may thereon dig, place, lay and construct such pipes, aqueducts, reservoirs, appurtenances, and connections as may be necessary for the complete construction and repairing of the same. From time to time, such corporation may open the ground in any streets, lanes, avenues, highways and public grounds for the purpose of laying down, and repairing such pipes, aqueducts, reservoirs, and appurtenances, as may be necessary for conducting the water and the purposes aforesaid. However, such streets, lanes, avenues, highways and public grounds shall not be injured, but shall be left in as good condition as before the laying of such pipes, aqueducts, reservoirs, and appurtenances.
§ 3303. Compensation; condemnation
The municipal corporation may agree with the owner or owners of any property, franchise, easement, or right that may be required by the municipal corporation for the purposes of this chapter, as to the compensation to be paid therefor. In case of failure to agree as to the compensation, or in case the owner is an infant, a person who lacks capacity to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability, absent from the State, unknown, or the owner of a contingent interest, the Superior Court within and for the county where the subject property is situated on the petition of either party, may cause the notice to be given of the petition as the presiding judge of the court may prescribe. After proof thereof, the presiding judge may appoint three disinterested persons as commissioners to examine the property to be taken, or damaged by the municipal corporation. The commissioners after being duly sworn, upon due notice to all parties in interest, shall view the premises, hear the parties in respect to the property, and shall assess and award to the owners and persons so interested just damages for any injury sustained as aforesaid and make report in writing to the presiding judge. The presiding judge may thereupon accept the report, unless just cause is shown to the contrary. The presiding judge may order the municipal corporation to pay the same in the time and manner as he or she may prescribe, in full compensation for the property taken, or the injury done by the municipal corporation, or the presiding judge may reject or recommit the report if the ends of justice so require. On compliance with the order, the municipal corporation may proceed with the construction of its work without liability for further claim for damages. The presiding judge may award costs in the proceeding in his or her discretion. The cause may be transferred to the Supreme Court as provided in 12 V.S.A. § 4601. (Amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 154.)
§ 3304. Record
Such municipal corporation, within 60 days after the taking of any property, franchise, easement, or right under the provisions of this chapter, shall file in the office of the clerk of the municipal corporation where the same is situated, a description thereof.
§ 3305. Contract for water
(a) Such municipal corporation may contract with any town, city, or village, or any corporation and individuals to supply water to such municipal corporation for the protection of property and for domestic and other purposes.
(b) A municipal corporation is authorized to enter into, with any contracting party or parties, contracts, leases, or lease-purchase agreements with respect to the construction, operation and maintenance of water systems. These contracts may be entered into for terms not to exceed 40 years or the useful life of the system, whichever is less. (Amended 1983, No. 191 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 3306. Charges, lien
The owner or occupant of any tenement, house, or building, who takes the water of such municipal corporation shall be liable for the rent or price of the same, and the officers and agents of such municipal corporation intrusted with the care and superintendence of the water may at all reasonable times enter all premises so supplied to examine the pipes and fixtures and prevent any unnecessary waste. If any person, without the consent of such municipal corporation, shall use any water, a civil action on this statute may be maintained against such person by such municipal corporation for the recovery of damages therefor. The charges, rates or rents for water shall be a lien upon the real estate furnished with the municipal corporation water in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien on real estate under section 5061 of Title 32.
§ 3307. Interference with supply
If any person diverts the water or part thereof of any of the artesian wells, ponds, springs, streams, aqueducts, water courses, or reservoirs, which shall be taken, used or constructed by such municipal corporation, or shall corrupt the same, or make it impure, or commit any nuisance therein, or shall bathe therein, or within the limits, that may be taken or prescribed by such municipal corporation pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or injure or destroy any artesian well, dam, embankment, aqueduct, pipe, reservoir, conduit, hydrant, structure, pump, machinery, or other property held, owned or used by such municipal corporation under the provisions of this chapter, such person shall be liable to such municipal corporation in treble damages therefor, to be recovered in a civil action on this statute, and any such person on conviction of a violation hereunder shall be fined not exceeding $100.00 or committed to the commissioner of corrections not more than six months, or both. (1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)
§ 3308. Taxes; bonds
For the purpose of successfully organizing, establishing, and operating its waterworks, and making such improvements as may be necessary, such municipal corporation is authorized and empowered to purchase, take, and hold real and personal estate; levy and collect such taxes upon the ratable estate of the municipal corporation as is necessary for the payment of municipal corporation water department expenses and indebtedness; issue its negotiable bonds in such sums and payable at such times and places as may be deemed advisable, for the purpose aforesaid only; and borrow such money from time to time as may be necessary to enable the water department to carry on the work of adequately supplying the municipal corporation with water.
§ 3309. Bond issue
Any municipal corporation which is authorized by any general or special law to acquire and maintain a water system may issue its bonds for water purposes pursuant to such law, without regard to any restrictions thereon prescribed by this chapter.
§ 3310. Limitations
Bonds issued under the authority of this chapter shall be authorized and issued in accordance with and subject to the limitations and provisions of subchapter 1 of chapter 53 of this title. They shall not be considered as indebtedness of the municipal corporation limited by section 1762 of this title, may be paid in not more than forty years from the date of issue notwithstanding the limitation of section 1759 of this title, may be authorized by a majority of those voting by ballot on the question at a meeting of the municipal corporation held for the purpose under subchapter 1 of chapter 53 of this title notwithstanding any provisions of general or special law which may require a greater vote, and may be so arranged that beginning with the first year in which principal is payable, the amount of principal and interest in any year shall be as nearly equal as is practicable according to the denomination in which such bonds or other evidences of indebtedness are issued notwithstanding other permissible payment schedules authorized by section 1759 of this title. (Amended 1965, No. 63, eff. May 19, 1965; 1971, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 22, 1972.)
§ 3311. Rates
Such municipal corporation may establish rates by meter service or annual rents to be charged and paid at such times, and in such manner as such municipal corporation shall determine for the supply of water to the inhabitants of such municipal corporation and others. From time to time, it may alter, modify, increase, or diminish such rates and extend them to any description of property or use as such municipal corporation may deem proper. Such rates or rents may be ordered to be paid in advance, and all necessary orders and provision may be made and enforced by such municipal corporation, relating to the supply or stoppage of water, as it may deem necessary to insure such advance payments.
§ 3312. Repealed. 1977, No. 50, § 5.
§ 3313. Duties of water commissioners, use of proceeds
(a) Water commissioners shall have the supervision of such municipal water department and shall make and establish all needful water rates, charges, rules, and regulations for its control and operation. Such commissioners may appoint or remove a superintendent at their pleasure. The receipts derived by the municipal corporation from its waterworks shall only be used and applied to pay the principal and interest upon the water bonds of such municipal corporation, the expense of repairs and management of the water department, and payment into the dedicated fund created under subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Receipts derived by a municipality from its waterworks may be deposited in a dedicated fund created by the water commissioners under section 2804 of this title, to finance major rehabilitation, major maintenance and costs of upgrading the water supply system, and for the accumulation of funds to be used to match federal funds pursuant to subsection 1624(d) of Title 10. Such revenues may include a surcharge established by the water commissioners of up to 15 percent on the costs of normal operations, maintenance and debt service. The fund balance shall not exceed the estimated costs of the purposes for which the fund is established, and shall be maintained in deposits insured by the United States of America or an agency of the United States. Withdrawals shall be made only for purposes for which the fund was established. Such a fund shall meet the requirements of subdivision 4756(a)(4) of this title. (Amended 1997, No. 62, § 62, eff. June 26, 1997.)
§ 3314. Records
Every bond issued by such municipal corporation for water purposes, under the provisions of sections 3309 and 3310 of this title, shall be signed by the clerk and treasurer of such municipal corporation and shall have the certificate of such clerk that such bond is one of a series authorized by such municipal corporation. Its records shall be so kept as to show the issue of the bonds, the amounts and dates of the same, when due, and the time of their payment.
§ 3315. Ordinances
Such municipal corporation shall have the power to make, establish, alter, amend, or repeal ordinances, regulations, and bylaws relating to the matters contained in this chapter and not inconsistent with law, including the authority to require existing customers to remain connected to such municipal system, and to impose penalties for the breach thereof, and enforce the same. (Amended 1997, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)
§ 3316. Meetings, vote
Any action taken by such municipal corporation under the provisions of this chapter or relating to the matters therein set forth, shall be by vote of the majority of the legal voters of such municipal corporation, at a meeting duly warned and holden, unless otherwise provided.