The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: POWERS OF THE TOWN
§ 101. Corporate existence retained
The area and inhabitants within the current boundaries of the Town of Colchester shall continue to be a municipal corporation by the name of the Town of Colchester. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 102. General law; application
Except when changed or modified by this charter, or by any lawful regulation or ordinance of the Town of Colchester, all of the statutes of the State relating to municipalities shall apply to the Town of Colchester.
§ 103. Powers of the Town
(a) The Town shall have all the powers granted to towns by the Constitution and laws of the State together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution the powers granted; it may enact ordinances consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State of Vermont or with this charter, and impose penalties for violations thereof not in excess of a fine of $100.00, together with the costs of prosecution, or imprisonment for not more than 60 days, or both.
(b) The Town of Colchester may adopt, amend, enforce, and repeal ordinances relating to any aspect of municipal concern for the peace, order, health, safety, comfort, protection, morality, and general welfare of the Town and of its citizens.
(c) The Town may acquire real property within its corporate limits for any Town purpose, in fee simple or any lesser interest or estate, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, or condemnation, or without its corporate limits by purchase, gift, devise, lease, with approval of the voters, consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State of Vermont, and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold, manage, and control such property as its interests may require.
(d) In this charter, no mention of a particular power shall be construed to be exclusive or to restrict the scope of the powers that the Town would have if the particular power were not mentioned.
(e) The Town may merge with political subdivisions within its boundary after approval of the voters in elections to be held by both the Town and political subdivision involved.
§ 104. Additional powers
In addition to powers otherwise conferred upon it by law, the Town is authorized:
(1) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to making and installing local improvements including curbs, sidewalks, storm drains, and water and sanitary waste systems; apportioning part of the expense of such improvements against property owners who benefit thereby; providing for the collection of such assessments and penalties for nonpayment; provided however:
(A) That, in absence of an ordinance, no assessment shall be made by the Selectboard until it has received a petition in writing from 50 percent of the owners of property fronting on such local improvements as proposed. Upon receiving such petition, the Selectboard may order the proposed improvements to be made.
(B) That no assessment shall be made in excess of the actual benefit to the land so assessed as determined by the Selectboard after notice to and hearing of the owners of the property assessed.
(C) That the total assessment made on account of any such improvements shall not exceed 50 percent of the cost of such improvement and the remaining cost of such improvement shall be borne by the Town.
(2) To adopt and enforce ordinances requiring the installation of curbs, sidewalks, and storm drains in a manner specified by the Town as a condition precedent to the issuance of a building permit.
(3) To adopt and enforce ordinances regulating signs and billboards.
(4) To adopt and enforce police ordinances regulating the parking, operation, and speed of motor vehicles upon Town and State aid streets and highways; to adopt police ordinances regulating the use of firearms, air rifles, and devices having a capacity to inflict personal injury; to adopt and enforce police ordinances prohibiting the use of firearms, air rifles, and devices having a capacity to inflict personal injury in specified areas, but only with approval of the voters.
(5) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to regulation, licensing, or prohibition of the storage and accumulation of garbage, ashes, rubbish, refuse, and waste materials.
(6) To create and maintain a Police Department.
(7) To establish a policy whereby the Selectboard may determine it to be in the public interest to plow those private roads serving two or more year-round residences, which had previous to January 1, 1997, have the Town providing winter road maintenance. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 105. Ordinances; enforcement; adoption
(a) The Selectboard may provide monetary penalties or injunctive relief for the breach of any ordinance authorized by general law or this charter; may prosecute any person violating the same through the Town legal counsel or police officers who for such purposes shall be informing officers and may maintain actions to restrain actual or threatened violations of the same. The establishment of any fine or penalty shall be by ordinance.
(b) Ordinance-making authority granted to the Town by this charter and general law shall be exercised in accordance with sections 106 through 109 of the charter. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 106. Introduction; first and second readings; public hearing
(a) Every ordinance, repeal of an ordinance, or amendment to an ordinance shall be introduced in writing. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be “The Selectboard of the Town of Colchester hereby ordains...”. If the Selectboard passes the proposed ordinance upon first reading it shall cause the proposed ordinance to be published in its entirety, or a concise summary of it, in the Selectboard’s designated newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least once, together with a notice of the time and place when and where there will be a public hearing to consider the same for final passage. The first publication shall be at least 15 days prior to the date of said public hearing.
(b) At the time and place so designated or at any time and place to which the hearing may from time to time be adjourned, such ordinance shall be available in written form for the public. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 107. Further consideration; final passage
After the hearing, the Selectboard may finally pass such ordinance with or without amendment, except that if the Selectboard makes an amendment, it shall cause a summary of the amended ordinance to be published at least once together with a notice of the time and place of a public hearing at which such amended ordinance will be further considered, which publication shall be at least three days prior to the public hearing. At the time so designated or at any time and place to which such meeting may be adjourned, the amended ordinance shall be read in full, and after such hearing the Selectboard may finally pass such amended ordinance, or again amend it subject to the same procedure as outlined herein. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 108. Effective date
Every ordinance shall become effective 21 days after passage unless a petition for overrule is filed in accordance with section 305 of this charter; or, if the ordinance is conditioned upon approval of the voters of the Town, then upon a favorable vote of a majority of those voting thereon at a meeting duly warned for the purpose.
§ 109. Filing
The Town Clerk shall prepare and keep in the Town Clerk’s office the original signed copy of all ordinances and/or any changes, adopted by the Selectboard. This original file shall be indexed by subject matter and shall note in the record procedural information relating to the enactment of each original or changed ordinance. The Town Manager shall arrange for publishing and updating of codified sets of all ordinances for distribution and use by Town officials. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 110. Annual Town report
The annual Town report shall be made available for general distribution not later than 10 days prior to the annual meeting.
§ 111. Reservation of powers to the Town
Nothing in this subchapter shall be so construed as in any way to limit the powers and functions conferred upon the Town of Colchester and the Selectboard of said Town by general or special enactments in force or effect or hereafter enacted; and the powers and functions conferred by this charter shall be cumulative and in addition to the provisions of such general or special enactments. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
- Subchapter 002: OFFICERS
§ 201. Officers generally
The officers of the Town of Colchester shall be those provided by law for towns, except as otherwise provided by this charter. Such officers shall have all the powers and duties necessary to carry out the provisions of this charter as well as those provided by law. All officers shall be elected or appointed as hereinafter provided.
§ 202. Elective officers; generally
(a) At the annual meeting, the Town shall elect by Australian ballot from among the legally qualified voters thereof the following Town officers, who shall serve until the next annual meeting or until others are chosen.
(1) Selectboard, number, terms of office, election:
(A) There shall be a Selectboard consisting of five members, and all Selectboard members shall be elected at large.
(B) Three members of the Selectboard shall have terms of office of three years; two members shall have terms of office of two years. At each election, one Selectboard member shall be elected for a three-year term and one for a two-year term.
(2) A Moderator.
(3) One Lister for a term of three years.
(4) A Library Trustee for a term of five years.
(b) In such case as three or more candidates run for the same office and no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the votes cast for said office, no one shall be declared elected and a run-off election shall be held. The only candidates in the run-off election shall be the two persons receiving the greatest number of votes for that office. The Town Clerk shall within 7 days warn a run-off election to be held not less than 15 nor more than 30 days after the date of the warning. The person receiving a plurality of all votes cast in a run-off election shall be declared elected. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017; 2017, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 21, 2018.)
§ 203. Recall
(a) Any officer elected under section 202 of this charter may be removed from office as follows: A petition signed by not less than 15 percent of the registered voters shall be filed with the Selectboard, requesting a vote on whether the elected officer shall be removed from office. The Selectboard shall call a special Town meeting, to be held within 45 days of receiving the petition, to vote on whether the elected officer shall be removed. The official shall be removed only if at least as many registered voters of the Town vote as voted in the election wherein the officer was elected, or at least one-third of the registered voters of the Town vote, whichever is greater, and a majority of that number vote for removal.
(b) If the Town votes for removal of an elected officer, the office shall thereupon become vacant, and the Selectboard shall call a special meeting, to be held within 45 days of the vote for removal, to fill the vacancy until the term of the officer so removed expires. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 204. Vacancies
In case of a vacancy of any elected Town official, such vacancy shall be filled by the Selectboard until the next annual election. The person then elected shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. If more than one vacancy occurs on an elected board at the same time, the vacancy shall be filled by a special Town meeting called for that purpose. Separate filing shall be made for such unexpired term. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 205. Selectboard; organization
(a) Forthwith after their election and qualification, the Selectboard shall organize and elect a Chair, Vice Chair, and a Clerk by a majority vote of the entire Selectboard and file a certificate of such election for record in the office of the Town Clerk.
(b) The Chair of the Selectboard, or in the Chair’s absence the Vice Chair, shall preside at all meetings of the Selectboard and shall be recognized as the head of the Town government for all ceremonial purposes.
(c) The rules of conduct of all meetings shall be governed by “Robert’s Rules of Order.” (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 206. Meetings of the Selectboard
(a) As soon as possible after the election of the Chair and Vice Chair, the Selectboard shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings and such meetings shall be held at least once each month.
(b) The Selectboard shall determine its order of business.
(c) The presence of three members of the Selectboard shall constitute a quorum. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 207. Record of proceedings
(a) It shall be the duty of the Selectboard to keep an official record of its proceedings and policies, which shall be open for public inspection and published on the Town’s website.
(b) The minutes of each meeting shall be approved by the Selectboard at a subsequent meeting. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 208. Appointments
(a) The Selectboard shall appoint the members of the following permanent commissions of the Town of Colchester:
(1) Development Review Board;
(2) Planning Commission;
(3) Cemetery Advisory Committee.
(b) The Selectboard may appoint such additional commissions or committees as it feels to be in best interest of the Town.
(c) The Selectboard shall appoint legal counsel and a Tree Warden if needed. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 209. Jurisdiction over other officers or employees
Neither the Selectboard nor any of its members shall direct or request the appointment by another officer or employee of the Town of any person to office or employment, or any person’s suspension or removal therefrom, or in any manner take part in the appointment, discipline, or removal of subordinates and employees of the Town except as otherwise provided in this charter. The Selectboard and its members shall deal with that portion of the service of the Town for which the Town Manager is responsible solely through the Town Manager, and neither the Selectboard nor any of its members shall give any orders to or request any action by any subordinate in office. This shall not prohibit the Selectboard from recommending to the Town Manager a prospective employee for the Town Manager’s consideration. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 210. Compensation of Selectboard; appointees
(a) Compensation paid to the Selectboard shall be set by the voters at the annual meeting.
(b) The Selectboard shall fix the compensation of all officers and employees, except as otherwise provided in this charter. All fees payable to the Town Clerk shall be paid to the Town Treasury and the compensation fixed by the Selectboard shall be in lieu of any such fees otherwise payable to the Town Clerk. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 211. Powers and duties
(a) The members of the Selectboard shall constitute the legislative body of the Town of Colchester for all purposes required by statute and, except as otherwise herein specifically provided, shall have all the powers and authority given to and perform all duties required of town legislative bodies or selectboards under the laws of the State of Vermont.
(b) Within the limitations of the foregoing, the Selectboard shall have the power to:
(1) appoint and remove a Town Manager and supervise, create, change, and abolish offices, commissions, or departments other than the offices, commissions, or departments established by this charter;
(2) assign additional duties to offices, commissions, or departments established by this charter but may not discontinue or assign to any other office, commission, or department duties assigned to a particular office, commission, or department established by this charter;
(3) appoint the members of all boards, commissions, committees, or similar bodies unless specifically provided otherwise by this charter;
(4) make, amend, and repeal ordinances as provided in sections 106-109 of this charter;
(5) provide for an independent audit by a certified public accountant;
(6) inquire into the conduct of any officer, commission, or department and investigate any and all municipal affairs. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
- Subchapter 003: TOWN MEETINGS
§ 301. Application of general laws
Provisions of the laws of the State of Vermont relating to the qualifications of voters, the manner of voting, the duties of election officers, and all other particulars respective to preparation for, conduct, and management of elections, so far as they may be applicable, shall govern all municipal elections, and all general and special meetings, except as otherwise provided in this charter.
§ 302. Time of holding
(a) An annual Town meeting for the consideration of the budget and other Town business shall be held on the first Tuesday in March unless otherwise legally warned by the Selectboard. However, all business that may be decided without Australian ballot shall take place on the evening before the first Tuesday in March and shall be adjourned when all matters have been decided. The time shall be established by policy of the Selectboard at its annual organizational meeting in consultation with the Colchester School District.
(b) The election of officers and the voting on all other questions to be decided by the Australian ballot system shall take place on the first Tuesday in March. The ballot boxes shall be open between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. or as shall be determined and warned by the Selectboard.
(c) The Selectboard shall determine which articles are to be voted upon by Australian ballot and which articles are to be voted upon by other methods, and it shall indicate in the warning the questions to be voted by Australian ballot. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 303. Eligible voters
A means for the identification and designation of the eligible voters in Town meeting shall be devised and enforced by the Board of Civil Authority.
§ 304. Budget
An annual Town budget exclusive of school district budget shall become effective after adoption at Town meeting by the vote of the majority of those eligible to vote present at such meeting. After such budget has been adopted, the Selectboard may make emergency appropriations totaling not in excess of four percent of the aggregate budget appropriations, following an opportunity for public comment on the matter. Such emergency appropriations shall be reported to the next Town meeting. Any appropriation in excess of such four percent shall require prior approval of a special Town meeting. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 305. Overrule of ordinances
All ordinances shall be subject to overrule by a special Town meeting, as follows; if, within 20 days after final passage by the Selectboard of any such ordinance, a petition signed by voters of the Town not less in number than 10 percent of the largest number of votes cast by Australian ballot at the last annual Town meeting is filed with the Town Clerk requesting its reference to a special Town meeting, the Selectboard shall fix the time and place of such meeting, which shall be not less than 30 nor more than 40 days after the filing of the petition and notice thereof shall be given in the manner provided by law in the calling of a special Town meeting. An ordinance so referred shall become effective upon the conclusion of such meeting unless voters not less in number than 10 percent of the largest number of votes cast by Australian ballot at the last annual Town meeting and constituting a majority of those voting thereon, shall have voted against the ordinance. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 306. Petition for enactment of ordinance; special meeting
(a) Subject to the provisions of section 305 of this charter, voters of the Town may at any time petition in the same manner as in section 305 for the enactment of any proposed lawful ordinance by filing such petition, including the text of such ordinance, with the Town Clerk. The Selectboard shall call a special Town meeting to be held not less than 30 nor more than 40 days after the date of such filing, unless prior to such meeting such ordinance is enacted by the Selectboard. The warning for such meeting shall state the proposed ordinance in full and shall provide for an aye and nay vote as to its enactment. Such ordinance shall take effect on the 10th day after the conclusion of such meeting provided that the voters as qualified in section 305 of this charter, constituting a majority of those voting thereon, shall have voted in the affirmative.
(b) Any proposed ordinance shall be examined by the Town Attorney before being submitted to the special Town meeting. The Town Attorney is authorized subject to the approval of the Selectboard to correct such ordinance so as to avoid repetitions, illegalities, and unconstitutional provisions, and to ensure accuracy in its text and references, and clearness and preciseness in its phraseology, but the Attorney shall not materially change its meaning and effect.
(c) This section shall not apply to appointments of officers, members of commissions, or boards made by the Selectboard or to the appointment or designation of Selectboard members, or to rules governing the procedure of the Selectboard. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
- Subchapter 004: TOWN MANAGER
§ 401. Appointment
The Selectboard shall appoint a Town Manager pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 37. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 402. Qualifications
The Town Manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of executive and administrative and professional qualifications. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 403. Oath
Before entering upon official duties, the Town Manager shall be sworn to the faithful performance of those duties by the Town Clerk. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 404. Powers and duties
(a) The Town Manager shall carry out the policies laid down by the Selectboard and to that end the Town Manager shall be the Chief Executive Officer and the head of the administrative branch of the Town government and shall be responsible to the Selectboard for the efficient administration thereof.
(b) Unless otherwise excused by the Selectboard, the Town Manager or his or her designee shall attend all meetings of the Selectboard and the Town Manager or his or her designee shall keep the Selectboard informed of the financial condition and future needs of the Town and shall make such reports as may be required by law, or ordinance, or that may be requested by the Selectboard. The Town Manager shall make such other reports and recommendations as the Town Manager may deem advisable, but shall not vote. The Town Manager shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter, or required of the Town Manager by law, ordinance, or resolution of the Selectboard not inconsistent with this charter.
(c) The Town Manager shall be an ex-officio member of all standing committees but shall not vote.
(d) The Town Manager shall prepare the annual budget and submit it to the Selectboard and be responsible for its administration after adoption.
(e) The Town Manager shall compile for general distribution at the end of each fiscal year a complete report on the finances and administrative activities of the Town for the year.
(f) The Town Manager shall provide to the Selectboard a monthly financial statement, with a copy to the Town Treasurer.
(g) The Town Manager shall be the general purchasing agent of the Town and purchase all supplies for every department thereof.
(h) The Town Manager shall be responsible for the system of accounts except where otherwise delegated under this charter.
(i) The Town Manager shall perform any other duties assigned by State law not in conflict with this charter.
(j) The Town Manager shall be responsible for the operation of all departments of the Town not otherwise provided for in this charter.
(k) The Town Manager shall have authority to appoint, fix the salary of, suspend, and remove all employees of the Town, including the Town Clerk and Treasurer, subject to the provisions of this charter. The Town Manager shall obtain the advice and consent of a majority of the Selectboard before appointing or fixing the salary of the head of any department, including the Town Clerk and Treasurer.
(l) The Town Manager may, when advisable or proper, delegate to subordinate officers and employees of the Town any duties conferred upon the Town Manager by this charter or by action of the Selectboard, including the enforcement of Town ordinances, and hold them responsible for the faithful discharge of such duties.
(m) The Town Manager shall be responsible for the enforcement of all Town laws and ordinances.
(n) The Town Manager or his or her designee shall be responsible for the Town cemeteries and will manage, maintain, and operate them with the advice and assistance of a Cemetery Advisory Committee, appointed by the Selectboard. The duties and responsibilities of this Committee are established by the Town Manager and approved by the Selectboard. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017; 2017, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 21, 2018.)
§ 405. Compensation
The Town Manager shall receive such pay as may be fixed by the Selectboard, subject to the provisions of this charter. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 406. Removal
(a) On 90 days’ notice, the Town Manager shall be removed by a majority of the entire Selectboard so voting upon a finding of cause for removal. The Town Manager may be suspended during this period, but the Town Manager’s pay shall continue until removal.
(b) The Selectboard shall adopt a resolution stating its intention to remove the Town Manager and the reasons therefor, a copy of which shall be served forthwith on the Town Manager, along with a notice of termination hearing not less than 10 days or more than 20 days from the date of notice. The Town Manager shall have an opportunity to be heard at the hearing. The Selectboard may thereafter dismiss the Town Manager for cause. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
- Subchapter 005: DEPARTMENT OF ASSESSMENT
§ 501. Department of Assessment
There shall be established a Department of Assessment headed by a professionally qualified real estate appraiser who shall be appointed by the Town Manager with the approval of the Selectboard. The three elected listers shall comprise a Board of Assessment that shall hear assessment grievance appeals. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 502. Appraisal of property
The Department of Assessment shall appraise all real property for the purpose of establishing the grand list. Appraisals shall be reviewed periodically and updated. Technically qualified individuals or firms may be employed as needed.
§ 503. Duties
(a) The Department of Assessment shall have the same powers, discharge the same duties, proceed in the discharge thereof in the same manner, and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed for listers or the board of listers under the laws of the State of Vermont, except as herein otherwise provided.
(b) The Department shall review, or cause to be reviewed, the appraisals of all real property in the Town that is subject to taxation in accordance with the standards for appraising established by the laws of the State of Vermont.
§ 504. Appeal
If a property owner is dissatisfied with the assessment of the owner’s property, the property owner may proceed first to a grievance hearing before the Board of Assessment, thence secondly to a Board of Civil Authority meeting, and further a subsequent appeal to the Director of the Property Valuation and Review Division. Any dissatisfied property owner may appeal in the same manner and under the same time restrictions and regulations as set forth in Vermont Statutes Annotated as amended.
- Subchapter 006: BUDGET
§ 601. Fiscal year
The fiscal year of the Town and Town School District shall begin the first day of July and end on the 30th day of June of the next calendar year. The fiscal year shall constitute the budget and accounting year as used in this charter.
§ 602. Preparation and submission
(a) The Town Manager, at least 75 days before the annual Town meeting or at such previous time as the Town Manager may be directed by the Selectboard, shall submit to the Selectboard a budget containing:
(1) an estimate of the financial condition of the Town as of the end of the fiscal year;
(2) an itemized statement of appropriations recommended for current expenses, and for capital improvements other than those included in multi-year, voter approved capital plans, voter approved financing agreements, voter approved debt, or impact fees adopted in accordance with 24 V.S.A. chapter 131, during the next fiscal year with comparative statements of appropriations and estimated expenditures for the current fiscal year and actual appropriations and expenditures for the immediate preceding fiscal year;
(3) an itemized statement of estimated revenues from all sources, other than taxation, for the next fiscal year and comparative figures of tax and other sources of revenue for the current and immediate preceding fiscal years;
(4) for capital to be funded through revenues other than those included in multi-year, voter approved capital plans, voter approved financing agreements, voter approved debt, or impact fees adopted in accordance with 24 V.S.A. chapter 131, a capital budget for the next five fiscal years, showing anticipated capital expenditures, financing, and source of funding.
(b) The annual budget should be presented as follows:
(1) The Town Manager shall formally present the Town Manager’s budget to the Selectboard at a public meeting and provide such other information as may be requested by the Selectboard.
(2) The Selectboard shall have 35 days to review and approve the recommended budget with or without change.
(3) Not later than 45 days prior to the annual Town meeting, the Selectboard shall hold at least one public hearing to present and explain its proposed budget.
(4) Not less than 15 days prior to the annual Town meeting, the Town Manager shall print and distribute the Selectboard’s recommended budget and the final warning of the pending Town meeting.
(5) Not less than 15 days prior to the annual Town meeting, the Town Manager shall also file the proposed capital budget with the Town Clerk and Secretary of the Planning Commission pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4443(a). (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 603. Town meeting and budget
The budget shall be approved or rejected by the legal voters by Australian ballot at the annual Town meeting or a special Town meeting. In the event of rejection of the budget by the legal voters, within 30 days of a vote rejecting the budget, the Selectboard shall set the time and place of the next special Town meeting on the budget. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 604. Appropriation
The effective date of the budget shall be July 1 of each year. The budgeted accounts and their corresponding dollar amounts shall be those approved by the legal voters under section 603 of this charter.
§ 605. Amount to be raised by taxation
Upon passage of the budget by the annual Town meeting, the amounts stated therein as the amount to be raised by property taxes shall constitute a determination of the amount of the levy for the purposes of the Town in the corresponding tax year and the Selectboard shall levy such taxes on the grand list furnished by the listers for the corresponding tax year.
§ 606. Departmental budget
The budget for a department shall include all proposed expenditures as provided in the overall budget adopted at Town meeting. Town department heads shall not exceed expenditures as approved by voters, or as altered by the Selectboard or Town Manager, as permitted through this charter or as permitted by Vermont law. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 607. Transfers of appropriation
The Town Manager may at any time transfer an unencumbered appropriation balance or portion thereof between general classification of expenditures with an office, agency, or department. The Selectboard shall be notified in writing of all such interdepartmental transfers. The Selectboard may transfer an unencumbered appropriation balance or a portion thereof between departments. All transfers shall be documented and signed, and distributed to the Town Clerk and Treasurer. Account transfers as noted in this section must be managed within the total budget, with its constraint as required by section 304 of this charter. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015; 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 608. Capital budgeting for voter approved funding
Capital budgets funded through voter approved multi-year capital plans, voter approved agreements, voter approved debt, or impact fees adopted in accordance with 24 V.S.A. chapter 131 shall follow the process for approval outlined in 24 V.S.A. § 4443. (Added 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
- Subchapter 007: TAXATION
§ 701. Taxes on real and personal property
Taxes on real and personal property shall be paid in three equal payments, one-third due and payable on or before August 15, one-third due and payable on or before November 15, and one-third due and payable on or before March 15 of each fiscal year.
§ 702. Penalty; interest; Treasurer’s powers
(a) Penalty. Any installment not paid by the due dates established in section 701 of this charter shall be delinquent and there shall immediately be added to the amount due a penalty charge for late payment equivalent to five percent of the delinquent installment. If, after the expiration of 30 days from the due date of each installment the installment remains unpaid, an additional three percent penalty shall be added to the amount due. All such charges, fees, interest, and other additional amounts shall be cumulative and accrue at the times and in the manner herein specified.
(b) Interest. An additional interest charge in the amount of one percent of the unpaid tax per month or fraction thereof shall be added to any tax not paid on or before the dates specified in section 701 of this charter for the first three months and thereafter one and one-half percent per month or fraction thereof, from the due date of such tax. Until such time as said tax is paid in full, such interest shall be imposed on a fraction of a month as if it were an entire month.
(c) Treasurer’s powers. The Treasurer shall have all the powers that treasurers of towns have under the general law of the State, including the power to bring actions of law, conduct tax sales, and bring petitions for foreclosure of tax liens. Such acts shall be done in the name of the Town of Colchester and in the manner provided in general law, except as modified by any provision of this charter. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 703. Local sales, rooms, and meals and alcohol beverages tax
(a) Upon resolution of the Selectboard, or upon receipt of a petition submitted by five percent of the registered voters of the Town, at an annual or special meeting warned for the purpose by a majority of those present and voting, the voters of the Town may vote to assess any or all of the following:
(1) a one percent sales tax;
(2) a one percent rooms tax; and
(3) a one percent meals and alcoholic beverage tax.
(b) A tax imposed under the authority of this section shall be collected and administered and may be rescinded as provided by the general laws of the State.
(c) Revenues received through the imposition of a tax imposed under this section shall be used for expenses or financing of voter-approved capital projects within the Town and voter-approved intermunicipal financial support related thereto. (Added 2015, No. M-10, § 2, eff. May 26, 2015.)
- Subchapter 008: PERSONNEL
§ 801. Appointment and removal
(a) All Town employees, including the Zoning Administrator, not elected by the voters shall be appointed, supervised, and removed by the Town Manager unless otherwise specified in this charter. There shall be no discrimination in employment on account of race, religion, or political opinions. Appointments, layoffs, suspensions, promotions, demotions, and removals shall be made solely on the basis of training, experience, fitness, and performance of duties of the individual in such manner as to ensure that the responsible administrative officer may secure efficient service.
(b) Each employee shall have a three to 12 month period of probation, as specified in the personnel rules and regulations as established under section 802 of this charter, during which time he or she may be freely discharged. After this period(s), he or she must be notified in writing of his or her suspension, demotion, layoff, or removal and of the reason for such action. Within 10 days of such notice(s), he or she may request a public or executive hearing before the Selectboard that must hold such hearing not less than 10 days or more than 20 days after such request. The Selectboard may support the action of the Town Manager or may modify it. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 802. Personnel rules and regulations
(a) The Town Manager or the Town Manager’s appointee shall be the Personnel Director. The Town Manager shall prepare personnel rules and regulations protecting the interest of the Town and of the employees. These rules and regulations must be approved by the Selectboard and shall include the procedure for amending them and for placing them into practice. Each employee shall receive a copy of these rules and regulations upon being hired.
(b) The rules and regulations may deal with the following subjects or with other similar matters of personnel administration: job classification, jobs to be filled, tenure, retirement, pensions, leaves of absence, vacation, holidays, hours and days of work, group insurance, salary plans, rules governing hiring, temporary appointment, layoff, reinstatement, promotion, transfer, demotion, settlement of disputes, dismissal, suspension, probationary periods, permanent or continuing status, in-service training, injury, employee records, and further regulation concerning the hearing of appeals. (Amended 2015, No. M-1, § 2, eff. Jan. 27, 2015.)
§ 803. Prohibitions
No person in the service of the Town may either directly or indirectly give, render, pay, or receive any service or other valuable thing for or on account of or in connection with any appointment, proposed appointment, promotion, or proposed promotion.
- Subchapter 009: ETHICAL CONDUCT AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
§ 901. Ethical conduct
Every officer, elected official, employee, or appointee in the service of the Town shall abide by standards of ethical conduct established by the Town and shall not hold investments or render services that conflict with or impair the proper discharge of that person’s duties or voting authority that cannot be remedied by recusal. A person shall not receive any gift or remuneration on account of or in connection with proceedings before any municipal agency in which the person has jurisdiction, nor disclose confidential information acquired by that person in the course of official duties. (Amended 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 902. Conflict of interest policy
The Selectboard shall adopt a policy regarding ethics and conflict of interest and the means to adjudicate any potential or reported conflicts. This policy shall be published on the Town’s website and provided to and signed by every officer, elected official, employee, and appointee to boards or commissions. This policy shall be reviewed, updated by the Selectboard, and signed by those affected at five-year intervals or upon appointment. (Added 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
- Subchapter 010: AMENDMENT OF CHARTER
§ 1001. Amendment of charter
This charter shall be reviewed at a maximum five-year interval by a committee appointed by the Selectboard and may be amended in accordance with State law. (Amended 2017, No. M-5, § 2, eff. May 17, 2017.)
§ 1002. Existing ordinances and contracts
The passage of the charter herein enacted shall not affect any act or contract executed or liability incurred prior to its effective date or affect any suit or prosecution pending or to be instituted, to enforce any right, rule, regulation, or ordinance, or to punish any offense against any such ordinance enacted prior to the passage of this charter. All ordinances, resolutions, regulations, and rules made under any act of the General Assembly shall continue in effect as if such ordinance, resolution, regulation, or rule had been enacted under the provisions of this charter.
§ 1003. Continuation of existing officers’ terms
Officers and members of the board and commissions of the Town in office at the time of the taking effect of this charter shall continue in office until expiration of their term of office or until a vacancy occurs.