The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: INCORPORATION AND GRANT OF POWERS
§ 101. Corporate existence retained
The inhabitants of the Town of Hardwick as presently constituted are incorporated and declared to be a body corporate and politic under the name of the Town of Hardwick and under that name may sue and be sued, prosecute, and defend in any court; may have a common seal and alter it at pleasure; may borrow money on the credit of the Town in the mode and under the restrictions provided in this charter and as provided by the general law of this State; and generally shall have, exercise, and enjoy all rights, immunities, powers, and privileges as are conferred upon, or are incident to, towns in this State; and shall be subject to like duties, liabilities, and obligations, except as otherwise provided in this charter. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 102. General law, application
Except when changed, enlarged, or modified by the provisions of this charter, all provisions of the statutes of the State of Vermont relating to municipalities shall apply to the Town of Hardwick.
§ 103. Powers of the Town
(a) The Town of Hardwick shall have all the powers granted to towns, town school districts, and municipal corporations by the Constitution and laws of this State and this charter, together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution all the powers granted. The Town of Hardwick may enact ordinances not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the State of Vermont or with this charter and impose penalties for violation thereof.
(b) The Town may acquire real and personal property within or without its corporate limits necessary or convenient for any lawful purpose, in fee simple or any lesser interest or estate, by purchase, gift, devise, lease or condemnation, consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State of Vermont, and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold, manage, and control such property as its interest may require consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State.
(c) 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, unless this charter otherwise provides.
(d) The Seal of the Town of Hardwick, heretofore adopted, is declared to be the Official Seal of the Town, to be used as required by law and custom.
(e) The Town may purchase, hold, and convey any real estate, and erect and keep in repair any buildings necessary or convenient for its purposes: and may acquire, construct, and maintain such water wells, springs, aqueducts, reservoirs, sewage disposal facilities as it may deem necessary for the benefit of the Town.
§ 104. Additional powers
The general grant of authority in section 103 of this charter shall include the following powers, and the enumeration thereof shall not be deemed to be in derogation of the authority conferred by this charter.
(1) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to the installation, maintenance, repair, and replacement of water lines, sewer lines, and equipment necessary for their operation. The installation of such improvements in a particular manner specified may be imposed as a condition precedent to the issuing of a building, occupancy, or use permit under any Town ordinance. The apportionment of part or all the cost of such improvements against property owners or rate payers benefiting thereby may be required. Such assessments shall constitute a lien on the property against which the assessment is made in the same manner and to the same extent as taxes assessed on the grand list of the Town, and all procedures and remedies for the collection of taxes shall apply to special assessments.
(2) To adopt and enforce police ordinances regulating or prohibiting the use, but not the possession of, firearms, air rifles, and devices having the capacity to inflict personal injury; and the parking, operation, and speed of vehicles of any kind upon Town and State aid streets and highways, private and public property; and to regulate or prohibit any activities constituting a hazard to the safety, health, or welfare of the public.
(3) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to the prevention of pollution of air; land; streams, ponds, and other waterways; public and private supplies; waste water; and reservoirs within the Town.
(4) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to the cleaning or repair of any premises that, in the judgment of the Selectboard, is dangerous to the health, welfare, or safety of the public.
(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; regulations of the removal, and disposal of such materials; licensing for revenue and regulation or prohibition of the collection, removal and disposal of such materials by contract or by a Town officer or department now existing or created for that purpose. Service rates to be paid the Town for such service may be established.
(6) To adopt and enforce ordinances prohibiting willful injuries to trees planted for shade, ornament, convenience, or use, public and private, and to prevent and punish trespassing or willful injuries to or upon public or private buildings, property, or lands.
(7) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to codes for building construction, including also wiring and plumbing.
(8) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to fire prevention and control.
(9) To adopt and enforce ordinances relating to the use, protection, care, and management of all public recreation and natural resource facilities of the Town.
(10) To adopt, amend, repeal, and enforce ordinances relating to public assemblages and the prevention of riots, noises, concerts, nuisances, disturbances, and disorderly assembly.
(11) To adopt and enforce ordinances establishing regulations for signs and billboards as provided by the general law of this State.
(12) To exercise the right of eminent domain in the taking of property by condemnation for public parks, sewage collection and treatment, water storage and distribution.
(13) To adopt and amend ordinances relating to public bidding procedures and conflicts of interest involving elected and appointed officers and employees.
§ 105. Reservation of powers to the Town
Nothing in this charter shall be construed to in any way limit the powers and functions conferred on the Town of Hardwick, its Selectboard, or its elected and appointed officials by general or special enactments of State statutes or regulations in force or effect or enacted after adoption of this charter, and the powers and functions conferred by this charter shall by this charter be cumulative and in addition to the provisions of general enactments unless this charter otherwise provides. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 106. Ordinances: penalties for breach thereof
(a) A Town ordinance may provide:
(1) for a fine in an amount no greater than $1,000.00; and
(2) that each week a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(b) A violation of a Town ordinance shall be classified as misdemeanor or a rule violation in the same manner as it would be classified by statute now or hereafter enacted and prosecuted accordingly. The Town may maintain an action to enjoin the violation of any ordinance or rule, but the election of the Town to proceed with an application for an injunction or to seek any other remedy or redress permitted by law shall not prevent a criminal prosecution for the violation of such ordinance or rule.
§ 107. Ordinances; adoption by the Selectboard
(a) If the Selectboard desires to adopt an ordinance, the Selectboard shall record it in the official record kept of the Selectboard proceedings, and the Selectboard shall adopt it subject to final approval after the public hearing as set forth in this section. The ordinance shall then be posted in three public places within the Town and published by title and summary setting forth the subject matter, effective date, and penalty for violation of the ordinance in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town, together with a notice of the time and place of a public hearing to consider the ordinance for final passage, the publication and posting to be on a day at least one week and not more than two weeks prior to the hearing.
(b) At the public hearing or at any time and place to which the hearing may be adjourned, the ordinance shall be read in full, unless the Selectboard elects to read the ordinance by title. After such a reading, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
(c) After the public hearing, the Selectboard may finally adopt the ordinance, with or without amendment. If the Selectboard amends the ordinance prior to passage, the Selectboard shall cause the amended ordinance to be entered in the official record of its proceedings and shall also cause notice of the amended and passed ordinance to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town on a day not more than 14 days after adoption.
(d) Every ordinance shall become effective 60 days after adoption, unless the Selectboard specifies a longer period or if the ordinance is conditioned on approval by voters of the Town, then upon such voter approval. If within 30 days of the adoption a petition for reconsideration and repeal is filed, the ordinance shall not become effective until after the question of reconsideration and repeal is voted.
(e) The Town Clerk shall prepare and keep in the Town Clerk’s office and the Town Manager’s office a book of ordinances, which shall contain each Town ordinance, together with a complete index of the ordinances according to subject matter. Failure to comply with this provision shall not invalidate any Town ordinance lawfully passed or heretofore adopted. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 108. Referendum
(a) All Town ordinances, except as specified in section 110 of this charter, may be repealed by vote of the Town as follows: A petition signed by not less than 15 percent of the registered voters shall be filed with the Town Clerk requesting a vote on the question of repealing the ordinance. The Selectboard shall call a special Town Meeting to be held within 60 days of the date of the filing of the petition, to vote on whether the ordinance shall be repealed.
(b) Within 30 days after passage of an ordinance, 15 percent of the registered voters shall constitute sufficient signatures for referendum petition, and any other procedures of section 108(a) of this charter apply.
§ 109. Ordinances; adoption on petition
Any lawful ordinance may be enacted by vote of the Town as follows: A petition signed by not less than 15 percent of the registered voters shall be filed with the Town Clerk requesting enactment of the ordinance and accompanied by the text thereof. The Selectboard shall call a special Town meeting to be held within 60 days of the date the petition is filed unless, prior to such meeting, the Selectboard shall have enacted the ordinance. The warning for the meeting shall include a summary of the text of the proposed ordinance, its effective date and penalty provision for violation thereof, and shall be posted and published as the law of this State requires for special meeting generally. The warning shall provide for a “yes” and “no” vote by ballot as to its enactment. Copies of the proposed ordinance shall be posted in its entirety in at least five locations in Town for at least 30 consecutive days to the date of said special Town meeting. In the discretion of the Selectboard, the enactment of such ordinance may be proposed as an article in the warning for the next ensuing annual Town meeting, providing that such annual meeting shall be held within 120 days of the filing of such petition for enactment.
§ 110. Non-applicability of zoning and subdivision
The provisions of sections 107, 108, and 109 of this charter shall not apply to the enactment, amendment, or repeal of any zoning ordinance or bylaw, any land subdivision ordinance or land subdivision bylaw, nor to the enactment, amendment, or repeal of any municipal plan, or comprehensive regional plan, the enactment, amendment, or repeal of zoning ordinances, bylaws, and plans being specifically controlled by 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, or by other statute regulating zoning, subdivision, and municipal and regional plans as may be enacted from time to time. The adoption, amendment, or repeal of all other ordinances shall be in conformity with sections 107, 108, and 109 of this charter. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 111. Applicability of referendum and initiative
The right of referendum and initiative contained in sections 108 and 109 of this charter shall apply to the amendment or repeal of an ordinance as well as to its enactment.
§ 112. Authority of police officers
Police officers of the Town shall have those powers conferred upon them by 24 V.S.A. chapter 55 and by all other laws applicable to municipal police officers. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 113. Open meetings
Meetings of all Town boards, commissions, and formal committees shall conform with the provisions of 1 V.S.A. §§ 310–314 of Vermont’s Open Meeting Law. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 114. Form of government
The municipal government provided by this charter shall be known as the council manager form of government. Pursuant to its provisions and subject only to the limitations imposed by the Vermont Constitution and by this charter, all powers of the Town shall be vested in an elective Council, which shall be known as the Selectboard, which shall enact ordinances, codes, and regulations; propose budgets; determine policies; and appoint the Town Manager, who shall execute the laws and administer the government of the Town. All powers of the Town shall be exercised in the manners prescribed by this charter or prescribed by ordinance. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 115. Change of form of government
Upon petition of a number of legal voters equal to at least 15 percent of the total registered voters of the Town may, at any annual meeting or special meeting duly warned and held for that purpose, vote to change the council-manager form of government to any other legal form. A majority of the legal votes cast shall be needed to effect a change of government.
§ 116. Intergovernmental relations
The Town, through its Selectboard, may enter into any agreement with the United States of America or the State of Vermont, or both, or with any subdivision, department, agency, or activity of the United States of America or the State of Vermont, or both, to make public improvements within the Town, or upon property or rights of the Town outside its corporate limits, whether owned by the Town as sole owner or owned by the Town in common with another municipality or other municipalities, and may make appropriations consistent with this charter to accomplish this purpose. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 118. Special service district
(a) By ordinance, enacted as herein provided, the Town of Hardwick may designate, establish, enlarge, and modify the boundaries of certain special service districts, in which are provided municipal services not available elsewhere in the Town. For the cost of providing such municipal services, including the cost of financing capital improvements relating to such services, the Town may assess, levy, and collect annually a special benefit tax upon all property within such special service district.
(b) No such special service district may be designated, established, enlarged, or modified without the approval of the residents in said district as existing or proposed, expressed by the affirmative vote of a majority of those residents within said district present and voting at a special meeting thereof.
(c) Regular water and sewer charges, fees, and rates shall not be considered a special benefit tax within the meaning of this section, and shall be assessed and collected as provided by general law.
- Subchapter 003: OFFICERS
§ 301. Generally
The officers of the Town of Hardwick 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.
§ 302. Elective officers
(a) The officers elected and their compensation fixed by the Town at its annual meeting shall be:
(1) five Selectboard members;
(2) Town Meeting Moderator;
(5) Town Clerk and Treasurer;
(8) cemetery trustees;
(9) library trustees;
(10) Fire Department officers;
(11) a First Constable, and a Second Constable, if needed;
(13) a Tree Warden;
(15) one or more grand jurors.
(b) All elected officers shall be chosen from the legally qualified voters of the Town and shall hold office for the terms hereafter specified and until their successors are elected and qualified.
(c) All Selectboard members shall be elected by Australian ballot.
(d) When an elected officer specified in subsection (a) of this charter resigns, makes another Town his or her residence, dies, or becomes incapacitated, the office shall become vacant and the Selectboard shall appoint an eligible person to fill the vacancy until the next annual meeting. The person elected shall at the annual meeting serve until the predecessor’s term expires. Incapacity shall include the failure of a Selectboard member to attend 50 percent of the meetings of the Board in any calendar year. (Amended 2019, No. 84 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 303. Terms of office; Selectboard members
(a) Three Selectboard members shall be elected for a three-year term and two Selectboard members for a one-year term.
(b) All Selectboard members shall be elected at large. The persons with the largest number of votes for office of equal terms shall be elected to those offices. If there are Selectboard offices with different terms, each candidate shall specify the term for which he or she seeks election. No person shall seek election to concurrent terms for the office of Selectboard member.
§ 304. Other elective offices
(b) The Town Meeting Moderator shall be elected and shall perform those duties prescribed by the general law of this State.
(c) The Town Clerk and Treasurer shall be elected for a three-year term and shall carry out the duties of the town clerk and treasurer as specified by statute and by this charter and shall:
(1) promptly deposit funds in the depositories as may be designated by the Selectboard;
(2) invest Town funds in the manner designated by statute;
(3) keep books and accounts as may be required by the Selectboard or the Town Manager in addition to those required by law;
(4) make reports to the Selectboard or the Town Manager monthly or at other times as they may require showing the condition of the Town’s finances; and
(5) perform other duties with respect to the Town’s finances as the Selectboard may request. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 306. Appointed officers
(a) The Selectboard may appoint any officers required by the Town’s personnel regulations or this charter.
(b) The Town Manager shall function as the personnel officer of the Town.
(1) The Zoning Administrator shall be appointed in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 4448. Upon appointment, the Zoning Administrator shall be under the direction of the Town Manager for faithful performance of the Zoning Administrator duties as prescribed in the Vermont statutes and this charter.
(2) A Civil Defense Director whose powers and duties shall be established by law.
(3) A Town Service Officer whose powers and duties shall be as established by law.
(4) A Town Recreation Committee.
(5) Planning commissioners/Zoning Development Review Board whose powers and duties shall be those established by law.
(6) Representative to the Regional Planning Commission whose powers and duties shall be as those established by law.
(7) Town Energy Coordinator.
(8) Dog Warden.
(10) Health Officer. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 307. Vacancies and appointments
(a) When the term of any member of the Development Review Board, the Planning Commission, or any other Town board, commission, or formal committee expires, or when the term of any officer appointed by the Selectboard or the Town Manager expires, or when there is a vacancy in any board, commission, committee, or office, the Town Manager may cause to be published, in a newspaper or digital news forum of general local circulation or availability, and on the Town website, a notice of the vacancy or the expiration of the term.
(b) Any qualified voter of the Town, within 10 days of the publication, may submit their own name to the Town Manager as an applicant for the vacant or expired office. At the expiration or 10 days from the date of publication, the names of all persons being considered shall be entered in the Selectboard minutes. The Selectboard shall not fill the vacancy or expired term until after at least seven days from the date the names of the applicants are entered in the minutes. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 308. Bonding of officers
All officers of the Town required to be bonded by State law shall be so bonded.
§ 309. Oath of office
All elective officials and all municipal police officers of the Town shall, before assuming office, take, subscribe, and file with the Town Clerk and Treasurer the following oath:
“I, ______ , solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of ______ of the Town of Hardwick to the best of my judgment and abilities, according to law, so help me God (or I so affirm).” (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 310. Town Clerk and Treasurer
The Clerk, auditors, and Treasurer of the Town shall perform those duties imposed upon them by the general law of this State.
§ 311. Recall of elected officials
(a) Any elected Town officer may be removed from office as follows: A petition signed by not less than 25 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 date of signing by each voter shall be indicated in the petition and such date shall not be earlier than 30 days prior to the filing of the petition. The Selectboard shall call a special Town meeting, to be held within 45 days of receiving the petition, to vote on whether the elected town officer shall be removed. The officer 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 the number of votes is cast for removal. Notwithstanding any other provision of law or of this charter to the contrary, any vote on a recall petition shall be by the Australian ballot system.
(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. The office shall remain vacant until the next annual Town meeting if such special meeting would fall within 75 days prior to the annual Town meeting.
- Subchapter 005: SELECTBOARD
§ 501. Powers and duties
(a) The members of the Selectboard shall constitute the legislative body of the Town of Hardwick for all purposes required by law and except as otherwise herein specifically provided and shall have all powers and authority given to and perform all duties required of town legislative bodies or selectboards under the Constitution and laws of the State of Vermont.
(b) Within the limitations of the foregoing, the Selectboard shall have the power to:
(1) Appoint and remove the Town Manager and supervise, create, change, and abolish offices, commissions, or departments other than the offices, commissions, or departments established by this charter or by law. The Selectboard may prescribe the duties of all offices, commissions, or departments created by them.
(2) Assign additional duties to officers, 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 or by law.
(3) Appoint members of all boards, commissions, committees, or similar bodies unless specifically provided otherwise by this charter or law.
(4) Make, amend, and repeal ordinances in compliance with sections 107 and 108 of this charter.
(5) Inquire into the conduct of any officer, employee, commission, or department and investigate any and all municipal affairs when deemed necessary for the proper and orderly conduct of Town government.
(6) Submit an annual budget to the voters, to be voted on at Town meeting, in accordance with the provision of subchapter 15 of this charter dealing with the budget.
(7) Exercise each and every power not specifically set forth in this section, which is granted to the Selectboard by the laws of this State. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 502. Organization
(a) After the election and qualification of the Selectboard, the Selectboard shall organize and elect a Chair and Vice Chair by a majority vote of the entire Board.
(b) The Selectboard shall conduct its business in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order. The Chair shall be entitled to participate as a full voting member.
(c) Three Selectboard members shall constitute a quorum. No action of the Selectboard shall be valid or binding unless adopted by the affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum present. In cases where statute requires a greater fraction of the authorized Board for an affirmative vote than as specified above, the statute’s provisions of law shall control.
(d) All meetings of the Selectboard shall be open to the public in accordance with the provisions of the Vermont Open Meeting Law.
(g) [Repealed.] (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 504. Jurisdiction over offices and employees
Neither the Selectboard nor any of its members shall direct or request the appointment, by any officer or employee of the Town, of any person to office or employment, or their 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 position of the service of the Town for which the Manager is responsible solely through the Town Manager and neither the Selectboard or any of its members shall give any orders or request any action by a subordinate in office. This shall not be construed to prohibit the Selectboard from recommending to the Town Manager a prospective employee for consideration and making general complaints to the Town Manager.
- Subchapter 007: TOWN MANAGER
§ 701. Appointed by Selectboard
The Selectboard shall appoint a Town Manager upon such conditions as they may determine.
§ 702. Manager nonpartisan
(a) The Manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of his or her executive, administrative, and professional qualifications.
(b) The Manager shall not take part in the organization or direction of a political party, serve as member of a party committee, nor be a candidate for election to any public office.
(c) The Manager shall be a resident of the Town of Hardwick once appointed in office. The Selectboard may grant permission for the Manager to live outside the Town should there be sufficient reason.
§ 703. Oath and bond
Before entering office, the Manager shall be sworn to the faithful performance of his or her duties by the Town Clerk and shall give a bond to the Town in such amount and with such sureties as the Selectboard may require.
§ 704. Duties of the manager
(a) The Manager shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Town and shall carry out the policies established by the Selectboard, to whom the Manager shall be responsible.
(b) The Manager shall attend all meetings of the Selectboard, except when compensation or removal of the Town Manager is being considered or the Selectboard allows such absence. The Manager shall keep the Selectboard informed of the financial condition and further needs of the Town and shall make such other reports as may be required by law, requested by the Selectboard, or deemed by the Town Manager to be advisable.
(c) The Manager has the right to attend all meetings of standing committees, boards, and agencies appointed by the Selectboard.
(d) The Manager shall be an ex-officio member of all standing committees, but may not vote.
(e) The Manager shall perform all other duties prescribed by this charter or required by laws of this State, or resolution of the Selectboard.
(f) The Manager shall prepare an annual budget, submit it to the Selectboard, and be responsible for its administration after adoption by the voters of the Town.
(g) The 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.
(h) The Manager shall furnish a quarterly financial statement to the Selectboard, with the assistance and cooperation of the Town Clerk and Treasurer and the Business Manager, who shall furnish whatever financial data are necessary to enable the Town Manager to fulfill their budgetary and financial responsibilities.
(i) The Manager shall be responsible for the operation of all departments as designated by the Selectboard.
(j) The Manager shall be the general purchasing agent for the Town and its departments, agencies, and commissions.
(k) The Manager shall be responsible for the administration of a system of accounts.
(l) The Manager shall have the authority to appoint; fix the salary of, within the salary ranges established by the Selectboard; suspend; and remove all employees of the Town appointed by him or her, subject to the provisions of the charter and any Personnel Regulations as approved by the Selectboard.
(m) The Manager may, when advisable or proper, and with the approval of the Selectboard, delegate to subordinate officers and employees of the Town any duties conferred upon him or her.
(n) The Manager, with the department heads, shall prepare annually for the Selectboard a three-year Capital Improvement Plan.
(o) The Manager shall serve as Collector of Delinquent Taxes unless otherwise provided for by the Town at an annual or special meeting. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 705. Compensation
The Manager shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the Selectboard.
§ 706. Absence
In the event of a temporary absence or disability, the Town Manager may, with the consent of the Selectboard, designate by letter filed with the Town Clerk a qualified person to perform the Manager’s duties. If the Manager fails to make the designation, the Selectboard may appoint a person to perform the duties of the Manager until the Town Manager shall return or the Town Manager’s disability shall cease. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
- Subchapter 009: COMMISSIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
§ 901. Appointments
The Selectboard may appoint commissions or committees as needed, and delegate incidental powers necessary for the proper functioning thereof, as established by law.
§ 902. Water supply; duties of Selectboard members
It shall be the responsibility of the Selectboard, acting as water commissioners, to furnish a clean and sufficient supply of potable water to those parts of the Town served by an existing Town-owned water storage, transmission, and distribution system. In order to implement the authority, the Selectboard shall have, in addition to those powers enumerated in the general laws of this State with respect to water works and supply, the following powers:
(1) The power to erect and keep in repair any buildings necessary or convenient for water supply purposes, and may construct and maintain such aqueducts and reservoirs as they judge best for furnishing the said Town a suitable water supply.
(2) The power to contract with any aqueduct or reservoir company from time to time for supplying said Town with water for fire purposes, for watering the streets, and for other public purposes, for such length of time and upon such terms as the Town at its annual meeting or any special meeting duly called for that purpose shall direct. All contracts made by said Town with said aqueduct or reservoir companies, as provided by this section, shall be legal and binding on said Town, and said Town may vote, levy, and collect taxes for fulfilling such contract or contracts.
(3) The power to lay water pipes, within the limits of said Town, and for that purpose may enter upon the lands of any landowner in said Town, and lay and maintain water pipes through such land, and repair the same when necessary, upon payment or tender of payment of such compensation as damages therefore as the said Selectboard shall award to such land owner, and to any tenant or occupant of such land to the amount that his or her interests are affected thereby.
(4) The power to take the water of any fountains, springs, ponds, or streams for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of said Town with water for fire, domestic, and other purposes, provided the owner or other person having any interest in the same shall not be deprived of such portion of such water as may be necessary for agricultural and domestic purposes.
(5) The power to construct and complete an aqueduct with all necessary reservoirs and appurtenances, to conduct said water to distribute the same through said Town, and for this purpose may enter upon and use any land over or through which it may be necessary or desirable for said aqueduct to pass, and may thereon lay and construct such pipes, reservoirs, and appurtenances as may be necessary for the complete construction and repairing of the same, and it may also, for the purposes aforesaid, dig up or occupy any common, highway, street, or bridge for the purpose of laying, constructing, or repairing such aqueduct and the appurtenances thereof.
(6) In any case where damages or compensation to owners of, and other persons interested in, the water so taken, or land as may be used for laying, extending, constructing, and maintaining the aqueduct, and for the reservoirs and appurtenances, is not adjusted by agreement, or if the owners thereof be a minor, or a person who lacks capacity to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability, or out of the State, or otherwise incapacitated to sell or convey, the same shall be fixed by the Selectboard after hearing all parties interested, the hearing to be had upon written notice of the time and place thereof, given at least six days before the hearing, file their award in the Town Clerk’s office in the town or towns where the property in question is situated, and cause the same to be recorded in the land records of the town or towns.
(7) When any person shall be dissatisfied with the award of the Selectboard so made, in any of the cases mentioned in section 901 of this charter, such person may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for a reassessment and award of damages, and such proceedings shall be had in said court on said petition as are provided by law for the assessment of damages for land taken for highway. Said petition shall be served on the Clerk of said Town within 60 days next after said award shall be filed in the Town Clerk’s office as aforesaid, but nothing in such proceedings shall prevent the Selectboard from entering on such land, and laying and constructing said aqueduct, reservoirs, and appurtenances, and using said water after their award shall have been made and the amount thereof tendered by them.
(8) The Selectboard, as aforesaid, may make and adopt such bylaws and regulations concerning the management and use of such aqueduct, reservoirs, and appurtenances not inconsistent with law, as it may deem expedient, including the fixing and collecting of water rates, and the said water rates so fixed shall, until paid, be and remain a lien upon the premises of the parties so furnished with water in like manner as real estate is by said law held for other taxes.
(9) The charges and rates for water service shall be a lien upon real estate, wherever located, furnished with such service in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien upon real estate under 32 V.S.A. § 5061. The owner of such property furnished with water service, wherever located, shall be liable for such charges and rates. (Amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 166; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 162; 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 903. Sewage collection and disposal; duties of Selectboard
It shall be the responsibility of the Selectboard, acting as sewer commissioners, to provide adequate collection and disposal for domestic and industrial sewage within those parts of the Town served by a Town-owned sewage collection and distribution system. In order to implement the authority, the Selectboard shall have, in addition to those powers enumerated in the general laws of this State with respect to sewage disposal, the following powers:
(1) Whenever the public health or convenience shall require the construction of a common sewer or sewers in the Town, the Selectboard is authorized and empowered to construct sewers and to replace the same from time to time when necessary, and may take the land of individuals and corporations on making compensation for the lands so taken for construction or replacement of a common sewer or sewers, and the Selectboard shall proceed in the same manner as is prescribed by law for selectboards in taking for public highways and in awarding damages for the taking of land, and the Selectboard shall make a return of their doings to the office of the Town Clerk and Treasurer who shall record the same in the Town records and the Town may also lay pipes along and across the streets, alleys, lanes, and highways in Hardwick.
(2) The Selectboard shall have the power by ordinance and regulations to require any building owner to connect to and use any sewer drain or line installed and maintained along and across the streets, alleys, lanes, and highways of the Town that abut or adjoin that building.
(3) The Selectboard, in making, installing, maintaining, or repairing sewers and drains, shall have the power, on giving 12 days’ notice to the parties interested of the time and the place of hearing, to assess the owner or owners of land or lands benefited by access to sewers and drains, so much of the expense of making altering or repairing the same as the Selectboard shall judge those lands to be benefited by access to sewers and drains.
(4) When the Selectboard enters upon lands under the authority and for the purpose stated in subdivision (3) of this section, the Selectboard shall give 12 days’ notice to all persons owning or interested in those lands when the Selectboard will hear and consider the question of assessments for benefits, or both. And in all cases when either assessments are made or damages are allowed, the Selectboard shall make a report of the Selectboard’s doings, which report the Board shall cause to be filed in the office of the Town Clerk and Treasurer, who shall record the same in the Town records.
(5) When any person shall be dissatisfied with the decision of the Selectboard in the award of damages for laying, making, altering, or repairing any sewer and drain, or in any assessment for benefits of the same, those persons may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for a reassessment of related damages or benefits. The petition shall be served on the Town Clerk and Treasurer within 60 days after said award of damages or assessment for benefit shall be filed in the Town Clerk and Treasurer’s office, and the petition shall not delay the making or repairing of the sewer or drain, or sidewalk or culvert, or laying the water pipe.
(6) The Selectboard, as aforesaid, may make and adopt such bylaws and regulations concerning the management and use of such sewers and drains and appurtenances not inconsistent with law as it may deem expedient, including the fixing and collecting of sewer use and benefit rates, and assessments and said sewer use and benefit rates so fixed shall, until paid, be and remain a lien upon the premises of the parties so furnished with sewer service in like manner as real estate is by law held for other taxes.
(7) The charges and rates for sewage service shall be a lien upon real estate, wherever located, furnished with such service in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien upon real estate under 32 V.S.A. § 5061. The owner of such property furnished with sewage service, wherever located, shall be liable for such charges and rates. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 904. Electric Department commissioners
(a) The Town of Hardwick may own and operate municipal electric plants as provided in 30 V.S.A. chapter 79, the management, operation, and administration of which shall be vested in a Board of Electric Utility Commissioners consisting of five persons to be appointed by the Selectboard whose initial terms shall be established by resolution of the Selectboard so as to provide that no more than two of such commissioners shall be appointed annually. Each appointment shall take effect on July 1 of each year, and no commissioner may be removed from office except for cause. Notwithstanding any provision of this charter or the general law, the Selectboard may appoint no more than two electric utility commissioners who are not residents of the Town; provided, however, that such commissioners reside within and are full time residents of the area served by the Town’s municipal electric plant.
(b) The provisions of 24 V.S.A. chapter 53 and 30 V.S.A. chapter 79, as amended, or similar general enactments, shall control the financing, improvements, expansion, and disposition of the Town municipal electric plant.
(c) The charges and rates for electric service shall be a lien upon real estate, wherever located, furnished with such service in the same manner and to the same effect as taxes are a lien upon real estate under 32 V.S.A. § 5061. The owner of such property furnished with electric service, wherever located, shall be liable for such charges and rates.
§ 905. Fire Department; appointments
(a) A slate of Fire Department officers, including the Fire Chief, shall be provided to the Town Manager by the Town Fire Department prior to Town Meeting as a recommendation for election by the voting residents of the Town.
(b) The Fire Chief and the Assistant Fire Chief shall be elected at large at Town Meeting.
(c) Members of the Fire Department shall be residents of the Town, unless otherwise determined by the Selectboard. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 906. Police Department; appointments
Whenever the Town of Hardwick shall maintain a police department, the Police Chief shall be appointed by the Town Manager. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 907. Fire and Police Departments; general provisions
(a) Members and officers of the Town Fire and Police Departments shall satisfactorily complete such courses of instruction and training as shall be required generally of fire department members and police officers by the laws of this State.
(b) The Selectboard shall determine and establish the conditions under which Fire Department members and police officers may exercise the functions of their respective offices beyond the limits of the Town to the extent authorized by law.
§ 908. Cemetery Commission
Responsibilities and powers shall be as established by law.
§ 909. Board of Health
The Selectboard shall act as and constitute the Town Board of Health, the responsibilities and powers of which shall be as established by law.
- Subchapter 011: TOWN MEETING
§ 1101. Application of general laws
Provisions of the laws of this State relating to voter qualification; warnings; methods of voting; the duties of Town officers at Town meetings and elections; and all other particulars relating to preparation for, conduct, and management of Town meetings and elections shall, so far as they may be applicable, govern all municipal elections and all annual and special Town meetings, except as otherwise provided in the charter.
§ 1102. Eligible voters
A method for the identification and designation of the eligible voters in Town meeting shall be established and enforced by the Board of Civil Authority.
§ 1103. Polling places
The Board of Civil Authority shall establish a polling place or places as it shall determine appropriate whenever any annual or special Town meeting is being held for the purpose of the election of officers or the voting on questions to be decided by Australian ballot. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 1104. Postponement and combining of Town meeting
(a) If an application for a special Town meeting is made not more than 60 days and not less than 40 days before annual Town meeting day, the Selectboard may postpone voting on any one or more of the articles requested in the petition until annual Town meeting day.
(b) If, within five days after application is made for a special Town meeting, a petition for another Town meeting is filed, the Selectboard may postpone voting on any one or more of the articles requested in the first petition until the Town meeting called upon the second petition, provided that the meeting on the second petition is warned for a day falling not more than 60 days after the filing date of the first petition.
§ 1105. Voting question by Australian ballot
Voting on any public question or the election of any Town officer by Australian ballot shall be as provided by the general law of the State.
§ 1106. Annual meeting; date and time
The annual meeting of the Town for the consideration of all matters to be voted upon by ballot shall be held on the first Tuesday in March, commencing at 10 o’clock in the forenoon.
- Subchapter 013: ZONING AND PLANNING
§ 1301. Applicability of State law to zoning and planning
The Zoning Administrator shall be nominated by the Planning Commission and appointed by the Selectboard for a term of three years promptly after the adoption of the first bylaws or when a vacancy exists. The appointment shall be in accord with 24 V.S.A. § 4448. All other matters pertaining to zoning land subdivision, municipal, and regional plans shall be exclusively controlled by the general law of the State of Vermont, except as specifically provided in this charter. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 1303. Minutes
(a) Copies of the minutes of the Development Review Board or the Hardwick Planning Commission, or portions of the minutes, shall be made available to any member of the public upon request to the Town Manager and at cost.
(b) Copies of the minutes of the Development Review Board and the Planning Commission shall be filed and kept in the Town Clerk’s office in separate books provided for that purpose. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
- Subchapter 015: BUDGET AND TAXATION
§ 1501. Fiscal year
The fiscal year shall commence on the first day of July and end with the last day of June.
§ 1502. Preparation and submission of budget
(a) The Town Manager, at least 90 days before the date of the regular annual Town meeting, shall submit to the Selectboard a budget that, except as required by law or this charter, shall be in such form as the Manager deems desirable or the Selectboard may require. The budget shall contain:
(1) an estimate of the financial condition of the Town as of the end of the fiscal year and as of the date of the submission of the budget;
(2) an itemized statement of appropriations recommended for current expenses and for capital improvements, during the next fiscal year with comparative statements in parallel columns of appropriations and estimated expenditures for the year and actual appropriations and expenditures for the next preceding fiscal year;
(3) an itemized statement of estimated revenues from all sources, other than taxation, for the next fiscal year; a statement of taxes required for the next fiscal year; and comparative figures of tax and other sources of revenue for the current and last preceding fiscal year;
(4) such other information as may be required by the Selectboard.
(b) At least 10 days before the annual meeting of the Town, the Selectboard shall publish in a newspaper of general local circulation and post on its website a notice containing the amount that the Town anticipates must be raised by Town taxes and to be voted at its annual meeting.
(c) The Selectboard’s budget in its final form and the warning of the meeting shall be made available to the legal voters of the Town at least 10 days prior to the annual meeting. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 1503. Saving clause
Failure to perform any of the duties specified in section 1502 of this charter, or failure to perform any of such duties within the time limits above specified, shall not invalidate any action taken at a duly warned annual meeting.
§ 1504. Appropriations
The Town at the annual meeting shall adopt a budget that shall include the proposed expenditure of each department for the coming fiscal year, and adoption of a budget at the annual meeting shall be deemed an appropriation to each department of the sum allotted in the budget for such department. A department’s expenditures may not exceed the amount appropriated to it, except by consent of the Selectboard and subject to the provisions of sections 1506 and 1507 of this charter. The amounts stated in the budget, and as approved by the Town, shall become appropriated to the several agencies, departments, and purposes therein named.
§ 1505. 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.
§ 1506. Budget limitations—borrowing
(a) The incurring of bonded indebtedness, the issuing of bonds, the making of temporary loans in anticipation of bond sales, and all other matters pertaining to bonded indebtedness shall be controlled by such statutes as are applicable.
(b) The Town, through its Selectboard, may borrow money in anticipation of taxes.
(c) The Town, by vote at the annual or a special meeting, may borrow money under terms and conditions and for lawful municipal purposes as the Town shall vote.
(d) In cases of emergency, the Selectboard may appropriate funds or borrow money in the name of the Town.
(e) The Selectboard, in the name of the Town, may borrow funds in anticipation of federal and State funds that have been approved and committed, until those funds are available, but in no event for a term of longer than one year.
(f) Any appropriation beyond the amount in the Town budget, except as specified in subsection (d) of this section, and all borrowing, except as specified in subsections (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section, shall be by vote of the Town and upon such terms and conditions as the Town shall vote. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 1507. Transfers of appropriations
At any time during the fiscal year, the Manager may transfer part or all of any unused appropriation balance among the programs within a department, office, or agency. Upon written request by the Manager, the Selectboard may by resolution transfer part or all of any unused appropriation balance from one department, office, or agency to another. Notwithstanding the above, no unexpended balance in any appropriation not included in the budget of the Selectboard shall be transferred or used for any other purpose.
§ 1508. Taxation
(a) Taxes on real and personal property shall be paid as voted at annual Town meeting.
(b) Taxes may be paid with discount if approved at annual Town meeting.
(c) Taxes shall be collected as established by law.
(d) Delinquent property taxes shall accrue penalty, interest, fees, and costs to the maximum extent permitted by law, and all such penalty, interest, fees, and costs shall be paid over to the Town Treasurer for inclusion in the General Fund of the Town.
§ 1509. Repealed. 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.NotesHistoryFormer § 1509.
Former § 1509, related to fees and fines.
- Subchapter 017: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 1701. Separability
If any provision of this charter is held invalid, the other provisions of this charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the application of the charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
§ 1705. Amendment of charter
This charter may be amended as set forth by the general law of the State of Vermont, 17 V.S.A. § 2645. (Amended 2021, No. M-17 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 7, 2022.)
§ 1706. Reference to statute
If any matter mentioned in this charter is said to be controlled by a special statute, the reference to such statute shall include the statute as amended or renumbered, or any statute substituted therefore and having a similar subject matter.