The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: INCORPORATION, GENERAL LAW, MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
§ 149-1. Incorporation
The inhabitants of the Town of Springfield shall continue to be a body politic and corporate under the name of "Town of Springfield" and as such shall enjoy all rights, immunities, powers, and privileges and be subject to all the duties and liabilities now appertaining to or incumbent upon them as a municipal corporation. All existing property of the Town shall remain vested in it, and all its existing debts and obligations shall remain obligatory upon it under this charter.
§ 149-2. Application of general law; proposed charter
(a) Purpose. This document is drafted to supersede and replace the existing charter.
(b) Application of general laws.
(1) Except when modified by the provisions of this charter, or by any regulation or ordinance of the Town, all statutes of the State of Vermont relating to municipalities shall apply to the Town of Springfield.
(2) In the event of any conflict or contradiction, either direct or implied, between the powers conferred herein and State statute, this charter shall prevail.
§ 149-3. Powers of the Town
(a) The Town of Springfield shall have all the powers and functions conferred upon towns and villages by the Constitution and general laws of the State and shall also have all implied powers necessary to implement such powers and functions. All powers and functions conferred or implied by the charter shall be in addition to the powers and functions conferred upon the Town by laws now in force or hereinafter enacted.
(b) Nothing in this charter shall be construed as a limitation of such powers and functions incident to public and municipal corporations.
§ 149-4. Intergovernmental relations
The Town may exercise any of its powers, or perform any of its functions, and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with any other towns, cities, and school systems, or one or more states or civil division or agencies thereof, or the United States or any agency thereof.
§ 149-5. Ordinances
(a) Town legislation. Town legislation shall be by ordinance. Ordinances and rules promulgated pursuant thereto shall have the full force of law embodied in this charter.
(b) Legislative body.
(1) The Selectboard shall constitute the legislative body of the Town with the power, between Town meetings, to adopt, amend, repeal, or enforce ordinances.
(2) Town meeting, as constituted herein, in addition to its other functions, shall also serve as a legislative body and may adopt, amend, or repeal an ordinance.
(A) Ordinances to be so considered by Town meeting can only be placed on the warning in such manner as authorized by this charter.
(B) The entire text of ordinances subject to Town meeting action must be published in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation, as may be directed or designated by the Selectboard, at least 30 days before the meeting.
(C) Any ordinance to be considered by Town meeting shall be reviewed by the Town Attorney prior to official warning. Said Attorney shall be charged with the duty to correct such ordinance to avoid repetition, illegal or unconstitutional provisions, and to ensure accuracy in the text and reference, along with clear and precise phraseology. The ordinance shall not be changed in its meaning and effect.
(D) The effect of Town meeting action on an ordinance shall take place upon passage unless otherwise provided therein.
(E) Ordinances acted upon by Town meeting shall not apply to any appointments of officers, members of boards and commissions to be made by the Selectboard, or to the appointment or designation of the Selectboard members, or their rules of order.
(F) Ordinances passed by Town meeting may not alter or limit any provision of this charter.
(G) Any ordinance to be passed by either Town meeting or the Selectboard must be set forth in a uniform format as follows:
(i) Ordinances shall be numbered consecutively.
(ii) If the action is an amendment, it shall be referenced and incorporated into the amended ordinance.
(iii) Ordinances shall be short titled and contain a statement of purpose.
(iv) Outline format shall match that used in the existing codification.
(c) Ordinance adoption procedure.
(1) The Selectboard shall designate the category into which action an ordinance shall fall.
(2) There shall be five categories of action as follows:
(A) new legislation adoption or rejection;
(B) repeal in total of existing legislation;
(C) major amendment- changing the nature and substance of the original ordinance;
(D) minor amendment- minor adjustment in meaning, procedure, or definition;
(E) emergency ordinance as defined herein in subsection (f) of this section;
(F) changes in the Town's zoning and subdivision bylaws.
(d) Procedure for drafting, adoption, rejection, major amendment, or repeal of ordinances.
(1) Drafting. Ordinances, or actions related thereto, shall be drafted by or submitted in draft form to an ordinance subcommittee consisting of no more than two Selectboard members.
(2) Reporting out.
(A) The ordinance subcommittee shall review the ordinance for form and report it out to the Selectboard for first review.
(B) Ordinances reported out for first review must be reviewed beforehand by the Town Attorney or other counsel, and signed by him or her signifying proper legal form and constitutionality.
(C) Copies of ordinances providing for criminal offenses should be transmitted to the State's Attorney for review.
(3) Introduction and first review.
(A) The proposed ordinance or action shall be introduced at a Selectboard meeting by the ordinance subcommittee.
(B) During first review, the proposed ordinance or action may be amended.
(C) A final draft must be accepted or rejected at the completion of first review.
(D) Upon completion of first review, a date for second review and public hearing shall be fixed within no less than 14, but not more than 28, days from first review.
(4) Second review and public hearing.
(A) Notice of the date of second review must be published no later than seven days before the date of second review itself.
(B) The notice shall contain either the text of the ordinance or an explanation of the nature and purpose of the ordinance along with information as to where a citizen may obtain a copy of the full ordinance text.
(C) At the time and place specified in the notice, a public hearing shall be held.
(5) Amendment during second review. Should the Selectboard decide after the public hearing to amend the text of the proposed ordinance, the process and timetable shall revert back to second review with the new public hearing to be held in no less than 14, but no more than 28, days and all notice requirements to be met in subdivision (4) of this subsection.
(6) Final action.
(A) Upon completion of the second review, the Selectboard shall act to adopt or reject the ordinance.
(B) Failure to act in 14 days shall constitute a rejection.
(7) Repeal. The repeal of any existing ordinance shall follow the procedure prescribed herein for passage of an ordinance.
(e) Minor amendments. An action classed by Selectboard vote as a minor amendment, pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, may be adopted after the completion of first review.
(f) Emergency ordinances.
(1) To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property, or the public peace, the Selectboard may adopt one or more emergency ordinances.
(2) Emergency ordinances may not levy taxes; grant, renew, or extend a franchise; regulate the rate charged by any public utility for its services; or authorize the borrowing of money.
(3) An emergency ordinance shall be exempt from the adoption procedures required for ordinances generally. However, it must be submitted in writing at a public meeting of the Selectboard in a form consistent with other ordinances.
(4) An emergency ordinance must be clearly titled as such, contain a clear declaration of the emergency, describing it in specific terms.
(5) An emergency ordinance may be adopted or rejected, with or without amendment, at the meeting at which it is introduced, but an affirmative vote of four Selectboard members is required for adoption.
(6) Emergency ordinances shall be effective upon adoption unless the ordinance specifies otherwise.
(7) Any emergency ordinance shall automatically stand repealed on the 61st day following adoption; this shall not prevent reenactment of the ordinance if the emergency still exists.
(8) In order for actions taken under an emergency ordinance to be binding beyond the time period of the emergency as determined by the Selectboard, the ordinance must be ratified in a manner similar to other ordinances.
(9) An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by the adoption of a repealing ordinance in the manner specified in this section for emergency ordinance.
(g) Changes in zoning and subdivision bylaws. Changes in zoning and subdivision bylaws shall be in accordance with Vermont statutes.
(h) Standard codes of technical regulations.
(1) The Selectboard may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by references thereto in an adopting ordinance.
(2) The procedure and requirements governing such an adopting ordinance shall be the same as prescribed for ordinances generally, except that the requirements of this charter for distribution and filing of copies of the ordinance shall include the adoption ordinance itself, but shall not include the entire set of technical regulations, and a copy of each adopted code of technical regulations shall be authenticated and recorded by the Town Clerk for distribution or for purchase at a reasonable price.
(i) Authentication and recording; codification; printing.
(1) Authentication and recording. The Town Clerk shall authenticate, by signature and recording, in full, all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the Selectboard.
(2) Printing of ordinances and resolutions.
(A) The Selectboard shall cause each ordinance and resolution having the force and effect of law to be printed.
(B) Printed ordinances, resolutions, charters, and charter amendments shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices set by the Selectboard.
(C) All printed ordinances, codes, resolutions, and charter amendments should follow a uniform format or style established by the initial codification following this charter adoption.
(A) Within one year after the adoption of this charter, and at least every five years thereafter, the Selectboard shall provide for the uniform codification of all ordinances and resolutions having the force of law.
(B) When completed, the updated codification will be adopted by the Selectboard by ordinance, shall be published in a form convenient for general use, and shall be incorporated into the Town code.
(1) The Selectboard may provide for and authorize within an ordinance penalties for the breach of any ordinance that the general law or this charter authorized.
(2) The Town may take actions necessary to prosecute any person who violates ordinances passed under this charter. Said prosecution may be through the courts or the Town Grand Juror as may be established under this charter.
§ 149-6. Open meetings; freedom of information
(a) Meetings, workshops, minutes, and records.
(1) A meeting as defined by this charter shall mean any occasion when a public body, created pursuant to this charter, convenes a quorum for the purpose of voting and doing business, either in person or by telecommunication or video communication. If a meeting is by telecommunication or video communication, all provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 312 shall be met.
(2) A workshop shall be defined as the convening of any number of the voting members of a public body for free discussion of predetermined subjects, upon which no action shall be taken, but upon which a nonbinding consensus may be reached.
(3) Only actions taken at meetings shall be official and binding.
(4) Minutes shall be kept of all meetings, recording results of all votes and major subjects discussed, with a special effort to record comments by voting members.
(5) No minutes shall be required at a workshop, but a public record of the workshop must be kept for two years.
(b) Executive sessions.
(1) Any public body, as herein constituted, may only convene an executive session at a meeting publicly warned by a vote of two-thirds of the members.
(2) A motion taken to go into executive session shall state the reason, in accordance with this section, but need not state the specific subject matter.
(3) A body constituted under this charter may hold an executive session for one of the following reasons:
(A) For the discussion or consideration of contracts, labor relations agreements with employees, arbitration, grievances, civil actions at law, or prosecutions by the State, where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the State, municipality, other public body, or person involved at a substantial disadvantage.
(B) The negotiating or securing of real estate purchase options.
(C) The appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee.
(D) A disciplinary or dismissal action against a public officer or employee, but nothing in this charter shall be construed to impair the right of such officer or employee to a public hearing if formal charges are brought.
(E) A clear and imminent peril to the public safety.
(F) Discussion or consideration of records or documents excepted from the access to public records provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 317(b). Discussion or consideration of the excepted record or document shall not itself permit an extension of the executive session to the general subject to which the record or document pertains.
(G) Deliberations of a public body of the State or of any State agency or authority, or of political subdivisions thereof when considering a case that it is required by law, after hearing and evidence, to decide with finding of fact and conclusions of law.
(4) The only binding action that may be taken in executive session shall be the securing of real estate or property purchase options.
(5) The public body may admit persons to executive sessions whose presence it judges to be critical to deliberations.
(c) Meetings; warning; agenda.
(1) The regular meeting schedule of a public body shall be posted in the Town Clerk's office.
(2) Workshops must be publicly announced.
(3) Special meetings may be called upon 24 hours’ prior notice to the media.
(4) Emergency meetings may be called without special notice, provided efforts to notify the media and all members, verbally or in writing, are documented.
(5) All regular meetings, special meetings, and workshops shall have a printed agenda specifying subjects to be covered, subject to amendment in accordance with the bylaws or rules of the body.
(d) Access to public records.
(1) All public records, as defined by statute, shall be made available for public inspection during working hours, within a reasonable period. Efforts to produce records that require research or special efforts to pull from dead files shall be required on a timetable with due consideration to the work load of the department, with the person making the request so notified.
(2) The Selectboard shall fix a fee for costs of recovering and reproduction of public records in consideration of their availability and effort involved in production and reproduction.
§ 149-7. Potential or actual conflict of interest; personal financial interest
(a) At a meeting, no elective or appointive officer, acting in an official capacity, or employee of the Town, while engaged in his or her duties, shall raise the issue of, place on the agenda, participate in a discussion of, or take part in a discussion concerning any business of the Town relating to his or her business or personal financial interests or those of a spouse, be they direct or indirect, to the degree that said interests exceed those of taxpayers generally.
(b) Personal and business interests shall include direct or indirect ownership of land, stock, property, materials, supplies, or services.
(c) Discussions of salary and benefits shall be exempt from this prohibition.
(d) Any officer or employee having such an interest shall immediately make said interest known publicly.
(e) Any officer who willfully conceals such an interest, or willfully violates any requirement of this section, shall forfeit said office or position, as provided under subdivision 23(b)(8)(B) of this charter.
(f) Any contract, sale, or action taken in violation of this section shall be voidable by the Selectboard.
(g) Officers of the Town may buy; sell goods and services from; to the Town subject to the restrictions above, provided said procurement is done competitively in accordance with the procurement ordinance.
(h) The Selectboard may require public disclosure of assets or financial interest, in a form they may prescribe, of any elected or appointed official as part of an investigation into matters of conflict of interest or for the purposes of general investigation. Failure to disclose or incomplete or falsified disclosure may be cause for removal as provided under subdivision 23(b)(8)(B) of this charter.
(i) No officer shall devote any Town property or labor to private use, except as may be provided by law or ordinance.
§ 149-8. Licenses; fees; charges; user fees; fees for service
(a) The Selectboard shall have the sole authority for the setting of all fees, charges, user fees, or fees for services, related to Town government, except those prescribed by State statute relating to the Office of the Town Clerk. All fees and charges set by the Selectboard shall be reasonably related to actual costs.
(b) The Selectboard shall have the authority to license or issue permits for any function or activity taking place or occurring within the boundaries of the Town over which jurisdiction is established by statute, ordinance, or this charter.
(c) All licenses required by the Town shall be authorized by passage and/r amendment of a license ordinance.
(d) All fees, charges, user fees, or fees for service shall be implemented by passage of a comprehensive fee ordinance, which shall be placed on the Selectboard agenda for review and/or update every three years from its date of passage.
(e) No officer of the Town shall collect fees or prerequisites for his or her own use, and all fees or charges shall be accrued to the General Fund.
§ 149-9. Acquisition and disposition of town property
(a) The Selectboard shall pass an ordinance governing the acquisition or disposition of Town property, which shall outline procedures for the handling of such matters.
(b) The Selectboard may acquire or dispose of real property in accordance with such ordinance.
§ 149-10. Emergency powers
(a) Declaration of public emergency. The Selectboard may, upon majority vote, declare a state of public emergency that threatens life, property, or the public health or welfare.
(b) Condemnation; eminent domain. In the event of a declared public emergency that threatens life, property, the public health or welfare, duly declared by unanimous Selectboard action at a duly warned meeting, the Selectboard may exercise powers of eminent domain and condemnation and take real property or personal property, after notice to the owner and the fixing of fair compensation. An aggrieved party may appeal to Superior Court.
(c) Civil preparedness. The Town Manager shall be the designated civil preparedness Chair and shall be duty bound to exercise the powers afforded by statute and any powers and functions outlined by the Selectboard in a declared emergency.
§ 149-11. Procedures for charter revision and amendment
(a) The procedures and process for charter amendment herein may be initiated either by a unanimous vote of the Selectboard or by a citizen initiative (petition) equal to five percent of the voters.
(b) The procedure for charter revision shall be as follows:
(1) The Selectboard shall appoint a Charter Review Committee of not less than ten (10) members, which shall include representatives from the Selectboard, the administration, and the community at large, with the majority from the community at large.
(2) Within one year after appointment, the Charter Review Committee shall report out any amendments, revisions, or changes.
(3) The Selectboard shall determine if the proposed amendments are a comprehensive revision and shall determine the format of the article.
(4) Any changes in the charter must be effected by a Town meeting vote with at least 25 of voters participating.
(c) In addition to the procedure set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the charter may be revised or amended by the submission of a citizen initiative (petition) signed by 10 percent of the voters. The petition and subsequent action shall conform to the requirements of State statutes relating to charter amendment procedures, shall be subject to the determination of the Selectboard as to whether or not they are comprehensive in nature, and shall be approved by a Town meeting vote with at least 25 percent of voters participating.
(d) Any changes in the Town charter shall become effective immediately upon passage by the voters and approval by the Legislature as prescribed by statute.
(e) Charter amendment revote shall be subject to the limits prescribed in subdivision 22(b)(7) of this charter.
§ 149-12. [Transitional procedures]
§ 149-13. Use of streets by public utilities and private interests
Every public utility and private interest that desires to dig up a public street or alley for the purpose of laying pipes or wires shall first obtain from the Selectboard a written permit stating the place where and the time when digging may be done. Upon receipt of a permit, the digging up and replacing of the street or alley shall be done under the supervision of the Selectboard; they may complete the work at the expense of the utility or private interest and recover that expense in an action of tort under 19 V.S.A. § 1525, in the name of the Town, with costs.
§ 149-14. Separability
The sections of this charter and the parts thereof are separable. If any portion of this charter, or application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid, the remainder thereof or the application of such invalid portions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
- Subchapter 002: ELECTIONS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS
§ 149-21. Form of government
All governmental authority of the Town of Springfield rests ultimately with the citizens and voters of the Town, who shall exercise their power by Australian ballot at the annual Town meeting in determining:
(1) the election of officers of the Town;
(2) the approval of the Town budgets;
(3) all authorizations for major bonding or borrowing;
(4) all special appropriations;
(5) any articles placed on the warning that involve the expenditure of tax dollars or in the provision of direction in the exercise of the power vested in elected or appointed officials.
§ 149-22. Town meeting; elections
(a) Applicability of general laws. Except as otherwise herein limited, provisions of the general laws of the State related to voter qualifications, warnings, methods of voting, duties of Town officers at Town meeting and elections, counting of votes, recount of votes, certification of results, and nominations of candidates, so far as they may be applicable, shall govern all municipal elections and all annual and special Town meetings.
(b) Meetings and Elections.
(1) Annual Town meeting.
(A) On the Monday preceding the first Tuesday in March, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at a place designated by the Selectboard, the Town shall start its annual meeting and may transact at that time any business not involving Australian ballot. At this meeting, public discussion of ballot issues and all other issues appearing on the warning, other than the election of candidates, shall be permitted.
(B) A meeting so started shall be adjourned until the following day, the first Tuesday in March, at which time business involving Australian ballot will be transacted.
(C) The date of the annual Town meeting may be changed by a vote of the citizens at a Town meeting duly warned for that purpose.
(2) Special Town meetings.
(A) Special Town meetings may be called at any time for reasons as prescribed by charter, by a majority vote of the Selectboard, or by the decree of the Town Clerk upon receipt of a petition signed by no less than five percent of the voters registered at the time the petition is submitted.
(B) A special Town meeting, called in accordance with subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection, shall be held within 60 days from the date of the official call to meeting.
(A) Timetable and notice. Public notice of every annual or special Town meeting, or Town election, shall be given by a warning posted in at least five public places in the Town, at least 30 but no more than 40 days prior to the meeting, and published in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the municipality as may be directed or designated by the Selectboard.
(B) Contents. The warning shall contain:
(i) the date, time, and location of the meeting;
(ii) specific indications of separate articles that reflect the business to be voted, in the language to be voted;
(iii) the signatures of a majority of the Selectboard.
(C) Placing of articles on a warning for the annual Town meeting.
(i) articles may be placed on the warning by:
(I) a majority vote of the Selectboard;
(II) a petition of at least five percent of the voters registered at the time the petition is submitted.
(ii) Articles submitted by petition must be filed with the Town Clerk not less than 40 days before the date of the meeting.
(4) Power of Selectboard on Australian ballot decree.
(A) The Selectboard may cause any question not covered in subdivision 21(1) of this charter to be voted by Australian ballot at any annual or special Town meeting called on their action, or by petition, provided that the warning for such meeting specifies the question to be voted.
(B) Any article to be voted by Australian ballot shall be preceded by a public hearing. The warning of the vote shall include notice of the time and place of said public hearing.
(5) Presiding officials at Town meeting and elections.
(A) The Moderator shall preside at all Town meetings. In the Moderator's absence, the Town Clerk shall call the meeting to order and the first order of business shall be the election of a Moderator Pro Tempore to preside for the duration of the meeting.
(B) Town meetings shall be conducted in accordance with State law, this charter, and Robert's Rules of Order, Revised.
(C) It shall be the duty of the Moderator to take such actions deemed necessary to preserve order in the conduct of business and to preserve the principles of free speech, openness, and fairness in government.
(D) The Town Clerk shall be the presiding official at all Australian ballot elections and, in cooperation with the Board of Civil Authority, shall assure that all laws related to elections are faithfully observed.
(E) While the polls are open, the Town Clerk shall rule on all questions covering the conduct of elections, except the resolution of questions concerning the checklist that shall be made by the majority of the Board of Civil Authority members present.
(F) In the absence or disability of the Town Clerk, should it occur before an election, the Board of Civil Authority shall designate an acting Clerk for the duration of the election. Should such absence or disability occur on election day, the Board of Civil Authority shall designate an on-site temporary officer to preside for the duration of the election.
(6) Postponing or continuing of Town meetings.
(A) The Selectboard may postpone the vote on any question to be voted at a special meeting to the later annual meeting if the date of the special meeting would fall 75 days prior to the annual meeting.
(B) If a special Town meeting falls within 45 days of a later special Town meeting called by petition, the Selectboard may warn the questions to be voted at such Town meeting for the later Town meeting and may by resolution rescind the call of the earlier meeting.
(7) Citizen initiatives; revote; recision of articles other than election of officers.
(A) Any question voted at an annual or special Town meeting, except charter revision or amendment, may be submitted for revote or recision at a subsequent annual or special Town meeting, subject to the limits contained herein.
(B) Requests for revote or recision must be by resolution of at least four members of the Selectboard or by a petition signed by at least five percent of the voters registered on the date of the action.
(C) Any action for revote or recision must be taken or filed within 30 days of the date the action was first considered.
(D) The Town Clerk shall warn a special Town meeting to be held within 60 days of the date of the call for revote or recision.
(E) The Town budget shall be subject to a revote only if voted in the negative or if voted in the affirmative at an election having a turnout of less than 15 percent of the registered voters at the time of the Town meeting.
(F) The phrasing and presentation of a revote on any question shall be identical to that used on initial consideration.
(G) Any question voted on or considered shall be subject to revote or recision only once in the 12 months following the initial vote, except for the Town budget, which shall be voted until passed.
(H) A proposed amendment or revision of this charter may be voted only once in three years.
(8) Tie votes.
(A) A tie vote at any Town meeting shall be subject to immediate recount; the article or election shall be subject to immediate revote at a special meeting within the timetable prescribed by charter.
(B) Recount other than tie votes may be requested in accordance with State statute.
(9) Nonproductive elections. In the event that a legal election fails to produce a person to fill any elected Town office, the Selectboard shall, within 30 days of the election, appoint a qualified individual to serve in the position until the next annual Town meeting.
(10) Board of Civil Authority.
(A) The Board of Civil Authority shall consist of the justices of the peace residing within the Town who shall be elected in accordance with State statute, the Town Clerk, and the Selectboard.
(B) At the first meeting following the first day of February of odd numbered years, the Board of Civil Authority shall elect a Chair and a Vice Chair from among its members.
(C) The Town Clerk shall be the Clerk of the Board of Civil Authority.
(D) The Board shall perform all duties as required by this charter and all duties as required by statute to the extent that they are not in conflict with this charter.
§ 149-23. Local elected officials
(a) Local elective offices to be filled by the voters of the Town of Springfield shall be only those articulated by this charter and shall include:
(4) First Constable;
(5) cemetery commissioners;
(7) trustees of public funds.
(b) Provisions related generally to all elected local offices.
(A) Terms for elective offices shall begin officially at the point that the Town Clerk and Board of Civil Authority certify election returns as final.
(B) In the event of a recount, or unresolved irregularities in election returns, should emergency action be required, it shall be taken by the elective officials sitting at the time of the election.
(2) Oath of office.
(A) Before taking any official action, an elected official shall take the oath of office prescribed by statute.
(B) A signed copy of the oath must be filed with the Town Clerk within one week from its execution.
(A) The manner of compensation for the Selectboard members and the Moderator shall be fixed by the voters, and for all other elective offices, by the Selectboard.
(B) Expenses, actual and necessary to the performance of the duties of office, may be paid, provided they are submitted through the administration for processing and payment, except as may be provided by the voters.
(4) Recall of elected officials.
(A) Any elected official 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 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 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 the number of votes is cast 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. 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.
(5) Attendance. Any elected official shall be required to regularly attend all meetings.
(6) Holding of more than one office.
(A) Elective offices. Nothing herein shall be interpreted as limiting any person from holding a State or federal elective office at the same time he or she holds local office, provided such service does not interfere or conflict with the proper attendance at meetings and execution of the duties of the office.
(B) Local appointed boards and commissions. Elected officials shall not be prevented from serving on local appointed boards and commissions, provided said service does not conflict or interfere with the proper execution of the elective office.
(7) Qualification to run for and hold local office.
(A) No person shall be qualified to run for or be elected to hold an elective office unless he or she is a duly qualified voter in the Town of Springfield and a resident.
(B) Should an elected holder of local office establish residence in some place other than Springfield, the office shall be declared immediately vacant by the Selectboard and said vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of the charter.
(C) The requirements above dictate that a candidate or officeholder must actually dwell in the Town, and not merely maintain a residence therein.
(A) In addition to the requirement of subdivision (7) of this subsection, a vacancy shall be deemed to exist in any local office where an officer dies, resigns, is removed or recalled from office, is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving a breach of public trust, or is judicially declared to be mentally incompetent, or is no longer a resident.
(B) The declaration of a condition for forfeiture of office shall be made by the unanimous vote of the Selectboard, or in the case of a Selectboard member, by the other members of the Selectboard, and shall be according to procedures established in 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, as they pertain to contested cases, and may be appealed to the Superior Court as contested cases are appealed.
(c) Elected officers, duties, responsibilities, and conduct.
(A) Number and term. Unless altered by the procedures provided herein, the policy making body for the Town shall be a five member Selectboard, elected at large, on a nonpartisan basis, to rotating, three-year terms.
(B) Powers and duties. The Selectboard shall discharge all duties conferred, imposed, or implied by statute or prescribed by this charter for selectboards, except as herein limited, or specifically transferred to the Town Manager. Further, unless stated in this charter, the powers and duties of any elected or appointed office not created by this charter shall be conferred on the Selectboard. All committees of the Board, and all citizen boards and commissions, shall be advisory in nature unless a specific legal or policy making function is otherwise provided by State law or ordinance as limited by this charter. In this charter, the failure to mention a particular power shall not serve to exclude it or be restrictive of the scope of powers that the Selectboard would otherwise have.
(C) Organization of the Selectboard, Chair, Vice Chair.
(i) The Selectboard shall have a Chair who shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the five members.
(ii) The Board shall, in a similar manner, choose a Vice Chair to serve in the absence or disability of the Chair.
(D) Duties of the Chair.
(i) The Chair shall be the official head of the Town for all ceremonial purposes.
(ii) The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Selectboard and may participate in all proceedings as a regular member.
(iii) All duties of an administrative nature, except as otherwise provided by this charter, shall be exercised by the Town Manager as provided herein.
(i) Organizational meeting.
(I) Within seven days after the annual Town meeting, the Selectboard, duly certified, shall meet for the purpose of taking the oath of office, organizing, electing a Chair and Vice Chair, and the adoption of rules for the transaction of business.
(II) The Town Clerk shall preside at the organizational meeting of the Selectboard prior to the election of the Board Chair.
(III) The Board may transact any other business required at that meeting.
(ii) Regular meetings.
(I) The Board shall hold regular meetings at a regular time, twice a month, with allowances for one monthly meeting during the months of June, July, and August.
(II) The time and place of regular Selectboard meetings shall be publicly announced to the media.
(I) The Chair or Vice Chair shall, with the Town Manager, prepare a written agenda for each regular meeting of the Selectboard.
(II) Any Selectboard member, citizen in attendance, or the Manager may request at the start of the meeting that items be added to the agenda, provided all Selectboard members present so vote to add the item.
(iv) Quorums; votes.
(I) Three members shall constitute a quorum for any Board meeting except as provided otherwise by this charter.
(II) All voting shall be by individual roll call vote.
(III) No action of the Board shall be valid or binding unless acted upon by the affirmative vote of three or more members of the board unless otherwise provided for by this charter.
(v) Clerk; minutes.
(I) The Town Clerk shall be the official Clerk of the Board and shall be responsible for minutes in a form prescribed by the Board.
(II) The Selectboard may employ a stenographer to assist the Town Clerk in the discharge of duties related to minutes.
(vi) Special meetings and workshops.
(I) Special meetings may be called at any time by the Chair, or the Vice Chair in the absence of the Chair, or by written request, signed by three Board members.
(II) Notice of a special meeting shall be served, in a reasonable manner, on all members of the Selectboard.
(III) Notice of the special meeting shall be released to the local news media.
(IV) Whenever practical, an agenda shall be issued at a special meeting, with additions to be handled in the same manner as regular meetings.
(V) If an emergency meeting of the Selectboard is required, on very short notice, every possible effort shall be made to notify the media.
(vii) Public meetings; citizen input; executive session.
(I) All meetings of the Selectboard shall be open to the public and shall comply with all the pertinent provisions of this charter.
(II) Allowances should be made informally or on the agenda for citizen comment unless it interferes with regular business.
(III) The Board may, upon a vote of four (4) members, hold an executive session to discuss any action in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of this charter.
(viii) Correction of irregularities. Any irregularities or defects in the notice of or conduct of any meeting of the Selectboard may be cured at any subsequent regular meeting, provided that such resolution is included on the agenda of a regular or special meeting and is adopted by a majority of the Board.
(ix) Vacancies. A vacancy on the Selectboard shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining Board, said appointment to run until the next annual Town meeting at which an election can be warned to fill the unexpired term.
(A) There shall be two elected listers elected on a nonpartisan basis for three-year terms that shall not coincide.
(B) The Chief Assessor shall serve as a third lister.
(C) Duties and responsibilities of the listers shall be in accordance with State statute and herein limited.
(D) Vacancies on the Board of Listers shall be filled by a majority vote of the Selectboard, said appointment to run until the next annual Town meeting at which an election can be warned to fill the unexpired term.
(A) There shall be a Moderator elected on a nonpartisan basis for a one-year term, who shall perform all duties prescribed by this charter and State law.
(B) Should a vacancy occur in the office of Moderator, it shall be filled by a majority vote of the Selectboard for the unexpired term.
(4) Town Constable.
(A) There shall be elected a Town Constable, who shall serve a one-year term.
(B) The Constable shall be responsible for assisting the Town Clerk in the regulation and licensing of dogs.
(C) The Constable shall be in attendance at all Town meetings thereby serving as a Sergeant at Arms to assist the Moderator as necessary in the maintenance of order.
(D) The constables shall have powers of service equal to a deputy sheriff under Vermont Statutes.
(E) The Constable may exercise the law enforcement duties vested in the position only upon completion of certifiable training and being subject to the supervision of the Chief of Police.
(F) A vacancy in the Office of Constable shall be filled by a majority vote of the Selectboard.
(5) Cemetery commissioners.
(A) There shall be elected five cemetery commissioners for a term of five years on a rotating basis.
(B) The Town Clerk shall be a sixth cemetery commissioner but shall not vote.
(C) The Cemetery Commission shall advise the Selectboard regarding the condition, operation, and maintenance of cemeteries but shall in no way supervise administration of cemetery personnel.
(D) The Town Clerk shall, under the direction of the cemetery commissioners, ensure that cemetery lots are properly laid out and that sale of lots is properly conducted.
(E) The cemetery commissioners shall issue and update regulations regarding cemetery use, interment, and burial fees.
(F) Vacancies in the office of cemetery commissioner shall be filled by a majority vote of the Selectboard, said appointment to run until the next annual Town meeting at which an election can be warned to fill the unexpired term.
(6) Trustees of public funds.
(A) There shall be elected three trustees of public funds, each to serve a three-year term.
(B) The Town Treasurer shall serve the trustees of public funds in an advisory capacity in connection with fund management and shall attend all meetings.
(C) The trustees shall perform all duties as provided for by statute as limited or defined by charter.
(D) The trustees shall be charged with maximizing the return on all invested funds while maintaining their security. In service of this goal, they shall file with the Selectboard an annual plan outlining the program of investments for the year.
(E) All funds entrusted to the trustees shall be audited yearly as part of the Town's annual audit.
(F) Vacancies on the trustees of public funds shall be filled by a majority vote of the Selectboard, said appointment to run until the next annual Town meeting at which an election can be warned to fill the unexpired term. (Amended 2019, No. 84 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)
§ 149-24. Appointed nonadministrative officials
(a) General provisions applying to all appointed positions.
(1) The appointed positions herein shall all be appointed by a majority vote of the Selectboard.
(2) Terms of appointment shall begin immediately upon Selectboard action and run for a period as specified herein.
(3) All appointees shall be administered the oath of office in the form as provided for by statute.
(4) Appointees may be afforded compensation or reimbursement for expenses as determined by the Selectboard.
(5) For the purposes of the administrative code, within one year after the adoption of this charter, all appointees, positions, boards, and commissions shall be required to submit a proposed ordinance to the Selectboard outlining duties and responsibilities, which the Selectboard shall amend and adopt.
(6) To the highest degree possible, the Selectboard shall strive for a balance of opinion on all appointive positions, boards, and commissions.
(7) Although operating independently, all appointive boards and commissions shall be required to cooperate with the Selectboard in the exercise of their duties in the pursuit of the public good. They shall be required to file an annual report for inclusion in the Town report, and also to file any other reports requested by the Selectboard, and be in attendance at any meeting so requested by the Selectboard.
(8) If an appointed official misses three consecutive regular scheduled meetings of the appointed body for reasons other than health or personal emergency, that office may be declared immediately vacant by the Selectboard. The official shall be entitled to a hearing before the Board prior to a final determination.
(9) Elected officials shall serve in appointed positions, boards, and commissions if the specific membership of the board or commission calls for their service, subject to the limits outlined herein.
(10) Members of the administrative service may serve in appointive positions as limited by charter, but may not vote on any issue directly affecting their position or conditions of employment.
(b) Appointed positions.
(1) The following positions are created by this charter, their functions to be governed by the applicable State statute, as limited by charter or ordinance:
(A) Weigher of Coal;
(B) Fence viewers;
(C) Tree Warden;
(D) Surveyor of Wood and Lumber;
(E) Pound Keeper;
(F) Town Clerk;
(G) Town Attorney;
(H) Town Treasurer;
(I) Grand Juror;
(J) Delinquent Tax Collector.
(c) Appointed boards and commissions established by charter.
(1) Planning Commission.
(A) The Selectboard shall appoint the members of the Planning Commission in accordance with State statute.
(B) The duties and responsibilities of the Planning Commission shall be in accordance with State statute as limited herein.
(2) Zoning Board of Adjustment.
(A) The Selectboard shall appoint the members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in accordance with State statute.
(B) Duties and responsibilities of the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be in accordance with State statute as limited herein.
(3) Housing Authority.
(A) The Selectboard shall appoint members of the Housing Authority.
(B) The Housing Authority shall be the agency responsible for dealing with all publicly owned housing and subsidized housing issues in the Town of Springfield.
(C) The Housing Authority shall also advise the Selectboard on housing issues generally when so requested.
(4) Airport Commission.
(A) So long as there is an airport in Springfield, the Selectboard shall appoint an Airport Commission, the number of members to be decided by the Selectboard.
(B) The purpose of the Airport Commission shall be to advise the Selectboard on airport-related matters.
(C) The Airport Commission shall serve as the Airport Advisory Committee as prescribed by State statute.
(d) Boards, commissions, committees created by Selectboard action.
(1) The Selectboard may, at any time, in response to a perceived need, create, by ordinance or resolution, a board, commission, or committee.
(2) In doing so, the action must clearly state the reason for the creation of the body.
(3) Any body created under this section shall not have an effective life of more than three years. At the end of that period, the mandate creating the committee shall terminate and the Selectboard shall be required to review the reason for the body's existence and may act to reconstitute the body.
- Subchapter 003: THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE
§ 149-31. The Town Manager
(a) Appointment. The Selectboard shall appoint, with no fewer than four (4) affirmative votes, a Town Manager.
(b) Qualifications. The Town Manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of his or her executive and administrative skills, based on education, training, and experience relative to the duties of the Town Manager, and without reference to political belief or personal relationships.
(c) Term of appointment. The Manager may be appointed for an indefinite term.
(d) Residency. The person appointed as Town Manager need not be a resident of the Town or State at the time of appointment, but must assume residence within a period judged reasonable by the Selectboard, but not to exceed six months.
(e) Conditions of employment; compensation. The conditions of employment and compensation shall be a matter to be determined at the time of appointment, and annually thereafter by the Selectboard on the Manager's anniversary date, after negotiations in executive session between the Manager (candidate) and the Selectboard.
(f) Town Manager; evaluation. Before the Selectboard determines the subsequent annual compensation of the Manager, the Board and Manager shall be required to hold an evaluation session in executive session, at which the Manager shall present management goals for the coming year based on townwide goals articulated by the Selectboard, and shall be evaluated by the Selectboard regarding performance in relation to such goals set out for the previous year.
(g) Oath and bond. Before entering into the duties of office, the Town Manager shall be sworn to the impartial and faithful performance thereof, with a certificate to that effect to be filed with the Town Clerk. The Manager shall execute a bond in favor of the Town for the faithful performance of his or her duties in a sum determined by the Selectboard. The premium for said surety shall be paid by the Town.
(h) Town Manager removal. The Town Manager may be removed at the discretion of the Selectboard with no less than four affirmative votes, after the following procedure is followed:
(1) The Board shall draft, in executive session, a resolution stating its intent to remove the Manager. Said resolution must state the reasons for removal and must be served upon the Manager personally, not more than five days from the date of drafting.
(2) Within five working days from the date of service of the resolution, the Manager must file with the Selectboard a written request for a public hearing. Failure to file said notice shall constitute waiver of the right to a hearing.
(3) No less than 15 days but no more than 45 days from the deadline prescribed in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the Selectboard shall schedule a meeting or public hearing for the purpose of considering the resolution.
(4) Final action on the resolution shall be taken within five days of the hearing in subdivision (3) of this subsection.
(5) During the period in which the above proceedings transpire, the Manager shall be on administrative leave and accrue full salary until official date of action on the resolution.
(6) Action by the Selectboard in the removal of a Manager shall be final.
(7) In the event of the removal of a Manager for reasons other than poor performance or wrongful conduct, the Selectboard may negotiate severance pay to the maximum of six months.
(i) Acting Town Manager; vacancy in the office.
(1) In the event that the Town Manager shall be absent from the Town for a period exceeding two consecutive weeks, he or she shall designate an acting Manager who shall exercise the duties of Manager. The Manager may overrule the actions of the acting Manager.
(2) In the event that illness or injury renders a Manager unable to discharge his or her duties, or in the event that the Manager is suspended or placed on administrative leave, the Selectboard shall declare a vacancy in the office and appoint an acting Manager to serve until such time as the Manager is able to assume regular duties or a new Manager is selected.
(3) An acting Manager appointed to fill a declared vacancy in the office shall have all the powers and perform all duties of the Manager and shall be compensated at a rate of pay not inconsistent with the responsibilities of the position. An acting Manager shall not serve for more than 180 days.
(4) In no case shall a Selectboard member act as Town Manager.
(j) Responsibilities of the Town Manager and authority.
(1) In general. The Town Manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the Town. He or she shall be responsible to the Selectboard for the administration and general supervision of all business affairs and property placed in his or her charge pursuant to this charter, State statute, or otherwise.
(2) Limits to authority in general.
(A) The authority of the Manager shall in no way extend to:
(i) the calling or administration of elections;
(ii) the assessment of taxes or property valuation judgments;
(iii) judicial or legislative functions of the Selectboard or other legal bodies, boards, and commissions;
(iv) direct supervision of the Town Clerk or Town Treasurer in statutory duties except as otherwise provided by this charter.
(B) The Manager may, upon request, advise or counsel officials in the performance of the above duties.
(C) The Town Manager may not serve in any elective position in the Town of Springfield. He or she may, however, serve on appointed boards and commissions relevant to Town functions in an ex officio status, as may be determined by the Selectboard.
(3) Authority and duties in particular. The Manager shall be charged with full authority to, and be responsible for, the following:
(A) To organize, reorganize, continue, or discontinue such Town Departments as the Board may determine.
(B) To direct and supervise the administration of all departments, offices, and agencies of the Town except as otherwise provided by the charter or statute.
(C) To carry out the policies determined by the Selectboard and report to the Board on their disposition.
(D) To maintain an appropriate budget control system.
(E) To keep the Selectboard informed on the financial condition of the Town, including monthly and year end reports showing in detail all receipts and expenditures for Town functions.
(F) To keep the Selectboard informed as to the future needs of the Town and make proper administrative provisions for long-term planning, in all areas within the scope of the duties of the Manager.
(G) To make such reports as the Selectboard may require, or the Manager deems appropriate, or may be required by law or ordinance regarding any and all functions under his or her supervision.
(H) To keep full and complete records of the actions of the Manager's office.
(I) To be present at all regular Selectboard meetings unless excused by the Board and to have the right to attend and take part in all special meetings of the Selectboard and subcommittees thereof, except when the removal of the Manager is being discussed. Nothing herein shall deny the Manager any rights outlined in subsection (h) of this section, Town Manager removal.
(J) To appoint, upon merit and fitness alone, and, when the Manager deems necessary for the good of the service, suspend or remove any subordinate official, employee, or agent under the Manager's supervision as provided for in this charter. All such appointments may be without definite terms unless for provisional, temporary, or emergency service, in which case, terms shall not exceed the maximum periods prescribed by the personnel rules and regulations. The Manager may authorize the head of a department, or of an office responsible to the Manager, to appoint and remove subordinates in such office or department.
(K) To ensure the proper and equitable administration of the Town's personnel system.
(L) To fix the compensation of Town employees as provided in this charter.
(M) To remain ultimately responsible to the Selectboard for all administrative actions under his or her jurisdiction although he or she may hold subordinate employees, offices, or agents responsible for the faithful discharge of their duties.
(N) To draft an annual budget document and capital expenditure plan as provided in the financial section of this charter.
(O) To examine, or cause to be examined, with or without notice, the affairs of any department under his or her control, or the conduct of any officer or employee thereof. For this purpose, the Manager shall have access to all books, papers, files, reports, or records of all departments that may be necessary for the proper performance of his or her duties.
(P) To ensure the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety of persons and property and see to the enforcement of this charter, ordinances, and State and federal laws as applicable.
(Q) To be the general purchasing agent for the Town.
(R) To have charge and supervision of all Town buildings, properties, and facilities; all repairs thereon; and all construction by the Town unless otherwise voted.
(S) To supervise and expend all special appropriations of the Town as if they were a separate Town department, unless otherwise voted by the town or provided in this charter.
(T) To cause to be collected by the Town Treasurer, or to collect, all taxes due the Town, except as otherwise provided by statute.
(U) To cause duties of municipalities not committed to the care of any particular officer to be duly performed and executed.
(V) To perform such other duties consistent with his or her office as may be required by a vote of the Selectboard, by law, ordinance, or mandate not inconsistent with this charter.
(4) Accountability, noninterference, and appointive power. The Town Manager shall be responsible to the Selectboard for the proper and efficient administration of the departments under his or her charge as outlined above in this charter. Neither the Selectboard, any individual member of the Board, nor any of its committees or committee members shall dictate the appointment or discharge of any Town employee by the Town Manager or in any manner interfere with his or her exercising of judgment in the appointment and discharge of employees in the administration.
(5) Noninterference with administrative discretion and supervision. Except for the purposes of formal inquiries or investigations made under this charter, the Selectboard and its members shall deal with the administration, Town officers, and employees, who are subject to the Manager's direction and supervision, solely through the Town Manager. Neither the Selectboard or any of its members shall give orders to, or request any action publicly or privately of, any Town employee. Communications for the purposes of information and background shall be considered proper when approved by the Manager.
§ 149-32. Administrative departments
(a) Plan of administrative organization. Within one year after the adoption of this charter, the Town Manager shall submit to the Selectboard a plan of organization for the administration, dividing the administrative service into departments and divisions and defining the functions of each. Said plan shall be reviewed and acted on within 30 days from submission.
(b) Department heads. Each Town department shall have a designated department head appointed by the Manager who shall supervise and control the department and employees therein. The Manager may, at any time, assume the duties of a department head.
(c) Departmental rules and regulations. Whenever judged necessary by the Town Manager, department heads shall draft rules and regulations to be approved by the Town Manager, which shall govern and regulate the affairs of a department consistent with this charter and general law.
(d) Creation, reorganization, consolidation, or abolition of administrative departments. Departments within the administrative service can only be created, reorganized, consolidated, or abolished by formal action of the Selectboard.
§ 149-33. Administrative code
(a) Submission and adoption. On a timetable prescribed by the Selectboard, but not to exceed two years in length, the Town Manager shall assemble an administrative code for review and approval by the Selectboard, which shall consist of the following:
(1) a copy of the Town charter;
(2) a properly indexed and codified volume of all Town ordinances;
(3) a copy of the Town's personnel rules and regulations, classification, and pay plan;
(4) a copy of the Town's financial purchasing and procurement regulations;
(5) any and all collective bargaining agreements and departmental rules and regulations;
(6) enabling legislation, ordinances, and resolutions for all Town boards, commissions, and committees, accompanying an updated list of all elected and appointed officers;
(7) a copy of the plan of administrative organization.
(b) Distribution and availability.
(1) Copies of the administrative code shall be considered an official document to which a person may refer for up-to-date information on the Town.
(2) The document shall be placed in the Town Hall and Library for free public access and sufficient copies made for sale to citizens at a cost of production fixed by the Selectboard.
(c) Administrative Code update. The Town Clerk shall be responsible for the accurate maintenance and update of the administrative code.
§ 149-34. Administrative and policy functions prescribed by charter
(a) Department of Assessment.
(1) There shall be a Department of Assessment to consist of a Chief Assessor, the elected listers, as prescribed by charter and State statute, and such assistants and support staff as may be recommended by the Town Manager and approved by the Selectboard.
(2) The Chief Assessor shall be appointed or removed by the Town Manager with the advice and consent of the Selectboard.
(3) The Town Manager shall not participate in the process of property valuation and assessment.
(4) The Department of Assessment shall have the same powers, discharge the same duties, proceed in the discharge thereof, and in the same manner be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed for assessors, listers, or boards of listers under the laws of the State of Vermont, except as herein provided.
(5) The Department of Assessment on January 1 of each year shall proceed to take up such inventories and make such personal examination of the property, both real and personal, that they are required to appraise as will enable them to appraise it at its fair market value.
(6) The Department shall review, or cause to be reviewed, their appraisals of all real property in the Town that is subject to taxation in accordance with the standards of appraising established by the laws of the State of Vermont, except as herein provided.
(7) All employees in the Department of Assessment shall be governed by applicable rules and regulations promulgated under this charter.
(b) Town Clerk; Grand Juror; Town Treasurer; Town Attorney.
(1) The Selectboard shall appoint and remove, on the basis of qualifications and performance alone, a Town Clerk, Grand Juror, Town Treasurer, and Town Attorney.
(2) The duties of the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer shall be as prescribed by statute, except as provided herein.
(3) The Town Attorney shall, except as otherwise provided herein, represent the Town in all legal matters.
(4) The term of the Grand Juror shall not exceed three years. He or she shall be responsible for the prosecution of violations of local ordinances. The salary of the Grand Juror shall be fixed by the Selectboard and he or she shall be responsible to the Board in the performance of his or her duties. The Grand Juror shall be duty bound to work in cooperation with the Town Manager and administrative service. The Grand Juror may recommend to the Selectboard the appointment of staff who shall be part of the administrative service.
(5) Appointments of the Town Clerk, Grand Juror, Treasurer, and Town Attorney shall be validated by the voters at the next annual town meeting following the appointment. Until validation, all appointments shall be temporary.
(6) Removal of a Town Clerk, Grand Juror, Town Treasurer, and Town Attorney shall be by a process identical to removal of the Town Manager as outlined in subsection 31(h) of this charter.
(7) Compensation for the Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, and Town Attorney shall be recommended by the Manager and approved by the Selectboard. Any and all fees collected by the Town Treasurer and Town Clerk, pursuant to statutory duties, shall accrue as General Fund revenues to the Town.
(8) Support personnel, supplies, material, and equipment for the Town Clerk and Town Treasurer shall be provided by the Selectboard upon recommendation by the Town Manager.
(9) The Selectboard or the Town Manager may seek legal services outside the offices of the Town Attorney whenever judged in the best interests of the Town.
(10) All staff provided to the Town Clerk, Grand Juror, and Town Treasurer shall be part of the administrative service and be subject to all rules and regulations promulgated under this charter.
(11) The Town Clerk may designate an Assistant Town Clerk or clerks.
(12) In the absence or disability of the Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, or Town Attorney, the Selectboard shall ensure that the functions are continued and shall have the power to appoint temporary substitutes.
(c) Personnel system.
(1) Merit principle outlined. All employment actions relating to Town officers and employees shall be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness.
(2) Personnel Director.
(A) There shall be a Personnel Director who shall be responsible for the ongoing administration of the Town's personnel system. The Personnel Director shall be the Town Manager or his or her designated agent, but must be a member of the administrative service.
(B) The authority of the Personnel Director in relation to all Town department heads shall be prescribed by the Town Manager.
(3) Personnel merit system ordinance.
(A) There shall be adopted, within six months of the passage of this charter, a new personnel and merit system ordinance that shall carry the full force of law embodied in this charter.
(B) The personnel ordinance shall enable the enactment of rules and regulations, which shall include the following provisions:
(i) a classification and pay plan for all Town employees with uniform procedures for reclassification;
(ii) a system of evaluation for fitness or merit for appointment and promotion;
(iii) a system of discipline and removal for cause or unfitness for duty;
(iv) a system for the reduction in the work force, layoff, and recall;
(v) a system dictating hours of work and attendance policies;
(vi) allowances for provisional and part-time appointments;
(vii) a program for in-service training and employee development;
(viii) a system for the hearing, processing, and resolution of employee grievances;
(ix) provisions for relations with employee organizations and/or unions;
(x) a uniform system regulating benefits, sick time, and vacations;
(xi) opportunities for employee input related to safety, the quality of the work environment, and increased productivity;
(xii) other practices, procedures, and issues as may be necessary to the ongoing administration of the personnel system.
(4) Personnel rules and regulations employee handbook.
(A) The Personnel Director shall issue and maintain in updated status a set of comprehensive rules and regulations governing the ongoing administration of the Town personnel system.
(B) The personnel rules shall be adopted and amended by a procedure established by the Selectboard and shall carry the full force of law of this charter.
(C) Copies of the personnel rules shall be provided to each Town employee.
(5) Town charter and collective bargaining agreements.
(A) The Selectboard may not commit the Town to any collective bargaining agreement that shall contradict, violate, or circumvent any provision of this charter or ordinances passed pursuant to this charter.
(B) Selectboard may commit the Town to bargaining agreements that shall act as a substitute for rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this charter.
(6) Service of Town employees in elective or appointive office.
(A) A Town employee may not, other than membership in the General Assembly, hold a local, State, or federal elective office that makes policy that shall directly or indirectly affect his or her department or any Town functions while employed by the Town of Springfield.
(B) A Town employee may be appointed to a board or commission, provided that the appointment does not make policy that directly affects the employee's conditions of employment or compensation.
(C) A Town employee may not be disciplined in any way for failing to electioneer on behalf of any candidate for any local Town elective office, contribute financially to a local candidate's campaign, or take or advocate a position on referendum questions.
(D) Nothing herein shall limit the right of an employee to express his or her opinion, belong to a political party, or exercise his or her right to vote, except as limited in subsection (c) above.
(E) Nothing herein shall limit the right of employees to participate in the elective process for State and federal offices.
(7) Surety bonds. Any Town officer and employee, as required by the Selectboard, shall annually give surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Selectboard for the faithful discharge of his or her duties. In the event any officer or employee neglects to give a bond as herein specified, after 10 days' notice from the Board that he or she is required to do so, his or her office shall thereupon become vacant and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in this charter. Each bond must be approved by the Town Attorney. All official bonds shall be corporate surety bonds, and the premiums thereon shall be paid by the Town. Such bonds shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
- Subchapter 004: BUDGETS AND FINANCE
§ 149-41. Fiscal year Town government
The fiscal year for Town government shall be fixed by the Selectboard, in a manner to maximize efficiency in Town financial matters.
§ 149-42. Operating budget timetable and preparation
(a) Submission of timetable. At least five months before the scheduled date of Town meeting, the Manager shall prepare and present to the Selectboard a proposed timetable that shall project the progress of events leading to the adoption of the Town budget.
(b) Statement by the Selectboard regarding budget policy. Upon receipt of the timetable, the Selectboard shall issue an annual budget policy statement, outlining the direction the Manager shall take in the drafting or assembly of the budget document.
(c) Departmental submissions. In following the timetable submitted to the Selectboard, all department heads and elected or appointed officials with budget responsibility shall submit operating budget requests to the Manager in a uniform format to be established by the Manager.
(d) Drafting of administration's proposed budget.
(1) Unified administrative request. The Manager shall, upon consultation with department heads, draft a unified, proposed operating budget for submission to the Selectboard, reflecting a single request from the administration for each department.
(2) Manager's budget message. The Manager's administration's proposed budget shall be preceded by a budget message that shall explain the budget in both fiscal terms and in terms of work programs. It shall outline the proposed financial policies of the Town for the coming year, describe important features of the budget, indicate any major changes from the current year in terms of financial policies, revenues, and expenditures, indicating the reasons for the change. The message shall summarize the Town's debt position, include a profile of the capital expenditure program for the year, and also include any other material that the Manager deems appropriate.
(3) Budget- contents, format.
(A) The proposed budget shall provide a complete financial plan for all Town funded activities for the ensuing fiscal year, and except as required by law or charter, shall be in a form the Town Manager deems appropriate or the Selectboard may require.
(B) In organizing the budget, the Manager shall utilize the most feasible combination of expenditure classifications by fund, organizational units, work program, purposes, action, and objects.
(C) The budget shall begin with a clear, general summary of its contents and shall show, in detail, all proposed revenues, income, and all proposed expenditures.
(D) The budget should be arranged so as to show comparative figures for actual and estimated revenues, income, and expenditures for the preceding year and for the year covered by the proposed budget.
(E) The budget shall include in separate sections:
(i) proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by offices, departments, and agencies, detailed in terms of respective work programs, and the method of financing such expenditures;
(ii) amount required to meet the interest on maturing bonds, notes, or other outstanding indebtedness;
(iii) proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year detailed, wherever practical, by office, department, or agency, along with the method of financing;
(iv) proposed estimated monies to be raised from all sources to be collected, levied, or raised by taxation to defray the expenses of the Town.
(e) Subsidiary budgets for utilities.
(1) For each utility or enterprise owned and operated by the Town, a subsidiary budget shall be drafted in accordance with these guidelines, with the process of review and approval to be dictated by the Selectboard.
(2) Cross subsidy in areas other than fund management between Town government operations and utility operations shall be limited to legitimate services and support provided as approved by the Selectboard.
§ 149-43. Capital expenditure program
(a) Preparation and submission. The Manager, after consultation with department heads, shall submit a proposed five-year capital expenditure program to the Selectboard at least three months prior to Town meeting.
(1) The capital expenditure program shall include:
(A) a clear narrative summary of needs;
(B) a list of all capital expenditures to be proposed for the next five years with appropriate supporting data;
(C) actual cost estimates, proposed methods of financing, and necessary time schedules for each improvement;
(D) estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining the facilities to be constructed or acquired.
(c) Revision and update. The above program shall be revised and extended each year to reflect progress or projects still pending.
(d) Inclusion in annual budget. A summary of the capital expenditure program shall be included in the annual budget with special emphasis on the expenditures for the particular year.
§ 149-44. Capital reserve funds and equipment funds
The Selectboard may raise and appropriate money for the establishment of capital reserve or equipment reserve funds for the financing of all or part of:
(1) the construction, reconstruction, or acquisition of a specific capital improvement, or the acquisition of a specific item of equipment;
(2) the construction, reconstruction, or acquisition of a type of capital improvement or acquisition of a type of equipment;
(3) the size and regulation of capital reserve funds shall be determined by Selectboard action.
§ 149-45. Selectboard action on the budget
(1) The Selectboard shall schedule public meetings, as it deems appropriate, for the review and discussion of the administration's budget proposal.
(2) Upon completion of its review, the Selectboard shall act to finalize its budget proposal.
(3) The Board shall then schedule a public hearing prior to Town meeting, warned as such.
(4) Following the public hearing, the Selectboard shall act to officially fix the budget to be finalized or proposed at Town meeting.
(5) The Selectboard, in fixing the budget, shall place it on the warning as a gross appropriation.
§ 149-46. Special appropriations
In response to a request, or upon its own initiative, should the Selectboard so judge, the appropriation relative to a special element of Town business may be placed on the warning as a special appropriation by a majority vote of the Board. In taking action, the Selectboard shall maintain the right to reject, alter, or reduce a request.
§ 149-47. Citizen input; citizen participation in the budget process
Citizen participation plan; public notice.
(1) Timetable. Before the sixth month of a fiscal year, the Selectboard shall draft and adopt a citizen participation plan, which shall provide for a committee of not more than 18 citizens, for the upcoming budget cycle.
(A) The citizen participation plan shall outline, in specific terms, the manner by which the Selectboard intends to provide for citizen input and public notice of the budget and its contents.
(B) The citizen participation plan must provide for, but shall not be limited to, formal budget workshops before Town meeting along with the publication of a budget summary in the Town report indicating budgeted and actual expenditures for the current year and proposed expenditures for the coming year.
(C) The citizen participation plan shall make proper allowances for review of all special appropriations.
§ 149-48. Appropriation- Town budget
(a) Gross appropriation fixed and levy.
(1) The vote of Town meeting or other action finalizing the Town budget shall make a gross appropriation for the coming fiscal year. The Town meeting may not make any budget appropriation not recommended by the Selectboard, unless such action was duly warned.
(2) As of the effective date of the budget, all amounts stated therein are appropriated (for the specified agency's or department's purpose). Adoption of the budget shall constitute appropriations of the amounts specified therein from the funds indicated. This shall constitute an authorization to raise all monies required.
(3) Nothing herein shall limit the authorizing of payments or making of capital expenditures to be financed, wholly or partly, by the issuance of bonds except as provided in section 52 of this charter.
(4) Any officer may, upon approval of the Selectboard, make a contract or lease for payments beyond the end of the fiscal year.
(5) Every appropriation, except an appropriation for a capital expenditure, shall lapse at the close of the fiscal year to the extent that it has not been expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a capital expenditure shall continue in force until the purpose for which it has been made has been accomplished or abandoned.
(6) The money raised by taxation, and other lawful sources, shall constitute the entire sum from which appropriations and payments are to be made by or under the authority of the Selectboard.
(b) Overruns on gross appropriations; emergency appropriations.
(1) The gross appropriation may not be exceeded, except by consent of the Selectboard, as herein limited.
(2) In the event of an emergency situation officially declared by the Selectboard, an amount not exceeding five percent of the gross appropriation may be expended.
(3) Any amount in excess of five percent shall be warned and voted by special or regular Town meeting.
(c) Under expenditures; excess revenues.
(1) Under expenditures. If during the fiscal year, the Board, upon recommendation and certification of the Town Manager, determines that there are funds available due to under expenditure of the funds proposed in the budget, the Board may make supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year up to the amount of such excess, not to exceed five percent of the gross appropriation.
(2) Excess revenues unexpected. If unexpected revenues or underexpenditures equal over five percent of the gross appropriation respectively, such overage shall be carried over as surplus.
(d) Surplus. Any surplus created, subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, shall be carried over to the next budget and counted as a fixed receipt on the calculation of the ensuing tax rate, or, by action of the Selectboard, may be placed in a capital reserve fund as provided for in this charter.
(e) Transfers- alterations in the work program.
(1) The Town Manager may transfer, at any time, with a public report to the Selectboard, an unencumbered appropriation balance, or portion, between general classifications of expenditures within an office, department, or agency.
(2) The Selectboard may transfer, by formal vote, any unencumbered portion or balance of an appropriation from one department or agency to another.
(3) In no case shall a transfer violate the gross appropriation as limited by subsection (a) of this section.
(f) Ongoing appropriation; budget revote.
(1) In the event that the budget is not adopted before the beginning of the fiscal year, the amount appropriated for the prior year shall be deemed adopted.
(2) Expenditures during budget revote shall be limited on a monthly basis to an allotment based on the prior year's appropriation until such time as the budget is adopted.
§ 149-49. Financial administration Town budget
(a) Financial officer.
(1) The Town Manager may appoint, on the basis of education, training, experience, and performance, an officer who shall serve as financial officer.
(2) The financial officer shall be a member of the administrative service and subject to all rules and regulations therein and may be the Town Treasurer or other administrative officer.
(3) The financial officer shall perform such duties as the job description submitted by the Manager and approved by the Selectboard shall indicate.
(b) Depository of Town funds; cash and fund management.
(1) The Selectboard shall designate the depository of Town funds and shall ensure the appropriate cash management by the Town Treasurer and administration.
(2) The Selectboard may provide for such security to Town deposits as it may deem necessary, except that personal surety bonds shall not be deemed proper security.
(3) The officer responsible for fund management shall issue a regular report of investments and yields to the manager and the Selectboard.
(c) Independent audit; Town Auditor.
(1) The Selectboard shall provide for an independent audit of all Town accounts and may require for any special audit it deems necessary.
(2) Such audits shall be made by the Town Auditor who shall be a CPA or firm of such accountants who have no personal interest, direct or indirect, with Town government, its fiscal affairs, or its officers.
(3) The Board shall appoint such accountant or firm annually at a time proper to the scheduling of the audit itself.
(4) Should the State of Vermont make such an audit at the request of the Board, it shall meet the requirements of this section.
(d) Authorization for expenditure of Town funds.
(1) Money shall not be paid out of the Town Treasury unless it is authorized by a payroll or payment authorization signed by at least three members of the Selectboard.
(2) No payment of money on account of any department of which the Town Manager has supervision shall be made except upon vouchers approved by the Manager or his or her designated agent.
(3) In the event of the absence, disability, or suspension of the Manager, the Selectboard may approve such vouchers or authorize their approval by some other person.
(4) The Town Manager may provide for periodic or quarterly allotments of the appropriations to departments, funds, or agencies under such rules as he or she may prescribe.
(e) Budget reports; books; records.
(1) Regular reporting. The Manager shall submit, on a schedule prescribed by the Selectboard, but no less often than quarterly, a budget report indicating the relationship between actual and estimated receipts and expenditures to date.
(2) All books of account in relation to the receipt, holding, or disbursement of money of the Town kept by any official of the Town shall be paid for by the Town, shall remain the property of the Town, and shall be turned over to the Town Clerk whenever the keeper of the books of account retires from office. All books pertaining to Town affairs kept by the Town Manager, Town Clerk, or other elective or appointive officer of the Town shall be kept in the Town buildings in their proper places and shall not be removed therefrom without an order of a court or a vote of the Selectboard.
(f) Purchasing and procurement.
(1) All purchasing and procurement for the Town shall be the responsibility of the Town Manager, who may delegate purchasing authority to the limits allowed by charter.
(2) All purchasing and procurement shall be by competitive bid or quote wherever practical.
(3) The Town Manager shall establish purchasing and procurement guidelines as part of the Town code.
§ 149-50. Trust funds
(a) Trust funds of the Town of Springfield shall continue to be kept separate and apart from other Town funds.
(b) Trust funds shall be in the hands of the trustees of public funds in accordance with this charter and State law.
§ 149-51. Taxation and collection
(a) Authority for taxation.
(1) The Town shall retain rights of taxation as afforded by State statute related to real estate and personal property.
(2) The Selectboard shall be the tax authority for all Town and school functions and shall fix all rates of taxation as limited by charter and statute.
(b) Responsibility for taxation and collection.
(1) The Town Treasurer shall be responsible for tax collection.
(2) The Selectboard shall designate the Collector of Delinquent Taxes.
(3) The Collector of Taxes or Delinquent Taxes may charge and collect such fees as may be fixed by the Selectboard and shall deposit them in the General Fund. Fees established shall not exceed those provided by statute.
(c) Manner of collection.
(1) The timetable of tax collection in terms of due dates and installments shall be fixed by the Town Treasurer.
(2) Delinquent taxes shall be administered in accordance with State statute.
(d) Tax abatement. Tax abatement shall be administered in accordance with State statute.
(e) Tax stabilization.
(1) Authority to negotiate and grant tax stabilization agreements shall be granted and revoked by the voters.
(2) The Selectboard shall negotiate all stabilization agreements.
(3) Under this section, the Selectboard shall draft uniform guidelines outlining the scope and nature of tax stabilization agreements.
(4) The Selectboard shall confer with the School Board on stabilization related matters but shall retain final authority on stabilization agreements.
(f) Special assessments.
(1) The Selectboard shall have the authority to negotiate or impose by ordinance reasonable special assessments or special use charges.
(2) The procedures for each special assessment must be outlined and authorized by an ordinance explaining the reason for the assessment, the amounts and basis for the amounts, the collection of the assessments, and all other matters related to the assessment.
(g) Tax classification; special nonresidential property tax; repeal of inventory tax.
(1) For purposes of this section:
(A) All real and personal property, other than inventory, that is not classified in the grand list as residential property, a farm, or vacant land shall be classified as commercial, industrial, utilities (electric), utilities (other), or equipment, and shall be collectively classified as "special nonresidential property." Special nonresidential property does not include property used for dwelling or farm purposes or accessory property that is subordinate to or customarily incidental to the main residential or farm use, such as garages and out buildings.
(B) "1996 minimum grand list value" means the aggregate grand list value of special nonresidential property and inventory on January 1, 1996.
(C) "Special tax" means the additional tax on special nonresidential property and inventory authorized by this section.
(2) Beginning with the January 1, 1997 grand list, the inventory tax shall be phased-out over a period of five years and real and personal property shall be taxed as provided in this section.
(3) For purposes of calculating the property tax rate, the aggregate grand list value of special nonresidential property and inventory shall be the aggregate grand list value of such property and inventory as calculated below or the 1996 minimum grand list value, whichever is greater.
(4) Beginning with the January 1, 1997 grand list, special nonresidential property and inventory shall be subject to a special tax. The special tax shall be imposed in any tax year in which the aggregate grand list value of special nonresidential property and inventory is less than the 1996 minimum grand list value. The special tax shall be in addition to taxes imposed on real and personal property generally. The special tax rate shall be sufficient to generate the tax revenues necessary to fully offset the decrease in tax revenues that would result from basing the property tax rate on the 1996 minimum grand list value rather than the actual aggregate grand list value of special nonresidential property and inventory.
(5) Inventory shall be valued on the grand list as follows:
(A) 80% percent of fair market value as of January 1, 1997.
(B) 60% percent of fair market value as of January 1, 1998.
(C) 40% percent of the fair market value as of January 1, 1999.
(D) 20% percent of the fair market value as of January 1, 2000.
(E) Zero percent of the fair market value for the year 2001 and thereafter.
(6) Properties upon which payments are made in lieu of taxes pursuant to a contractual agreement with the Town shall be classified according to their grand list classification and assessed for the purposes of such payments.
(7) If a property is used for both residential and nonresidential purposes for both farm and nonfarm purposes, the value of the property shall be apportioned according to such uses and classified and assessed as in this section.
§ 149-52. Debt; bonded debt for Town and school improvements
(a) Authorization for any long-term bonded debt shall be granted by the voters at an annual or special Town meeting duly authorized for that purpose.
(b) An article requesting authorization to incur long-term debt can only be placed on the warning by a vote of four Selectboard members, which indicates that the cost of the improvement will be too great to be paid out of the annual income or revenues of the Town.
(c) Any vote authorizing long-term debt shall only be valid if voted at a Town meeting at which the total number of votes casting ballots exceeds 10 percent of the total number of names on the checklist on the date of the last annual Town meeting.
(d) Articles requesting authorization for long-term debt shall be warned in accordance with subdivision 22(b)(3) of this charter related to Town warnings generally.
(e) The Town Treasurer shall be authorized, subject to the approval of the Selectboard, to incur short-term debt in anticipation of taxes for Town and school funding.