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Title 24 Appendix: Municipal Charters


  • § 285-1. Incorporation of Village and boundaries

    The ratable and all other estate included within the limits of School District Number One in Newbury, in the County of Orange, is hereby incorporated, and shall hereafter be known by the name of the Village of Wells River; and the inhabitants of the Village are constituted a body politic and corporate, with all the usual powers incident to public corporations to be known by the name of the Village of Wells River. (Added 1937, No. 301 § 1.)

  • § 285-2. Alteration of boundaries

    The inhabitants of the Village may alter the bounds of the Village with the written consent of the persons whose residence or property will be included or excluded thereby, such written consent and alteration being first recorded in the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Newbury, and with the approval of the Town of Newbury as evidenced by the majority vote of the Town in Town meeting duly warned. If the Town of Newbury votes such approval, the consent, alteration, and the vote of the Town of Newbury shall be recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Village, and upon such recording, the alterations in the bounds of the Village so made shall become effective. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 2.)

  • § 285-3. General powers conferred

    The Village shall have and is granted the authority to exercise all powers relating to municipal affairs and no enumeration of powers in this charter shall be deemed to limit or restrict the general grant of authority conferred but this grant of authority shall not be deemed to limit the authority of the Legislature to alter, amend, or repeal this charter; or to limit the right to hereafter pass general laws applicable alike to this and all other municipal corporations of the State; nor shall this grant of authority be deemed to limit the patronage or control of the State with respect to the Village. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 3.)

  • § 285-4. Specific powers conferred

    (a) Without limitation of the generality of section 3 of this charter and the grant of the powers therein made, but as a more specific designation of some of the powers conferred upon the Village, the Village of Wells River has authority:

    (1) To levy, assess, and collect taxes in order to carry out its powers; to appropriate and to borrow money, within the limits prescribed by the general laws; and to levy and collect special assessments for benefits conferred.

    (2) To purchase, hold, and convey real estate and to purchase, erect, and keep in repair buildings and other structures for Village purposes; to furnish all local public services; to purchase, hire, construct, own, maintain, and operate or lease local public utilities, including aqueducts, reservoirs, and a water supply system; to acquire, by condemnation or otherwise, within or without the corporate limits, property necessary for any such public utility and other Village purposes, subject to restrictions imposed by the general law for the protection of other franchises and regulate the exercise thereof.

    (3) To make local public improvements and to acquire, by condemnation or otherwise, property within its corporate limits necessary for such improvements; and also to acquire an excess over that needed for any such improvement, and to sell or lease such excess property with restrictions, in order to protect and preserve the improvement.

    (4) To issue and sell bonds as permitted by the laws of this State with or without specific security thereof.

    (5) To purchase or lease lands within or without the corporate limits of the Village, to lay out or widen streets, highways, lanes, commons, alleys, and walks; to provide places of healthy recreation in summer or in winter such as a skating rink, a swimming pool, a playing field, a public park; to provide for tourist camp, aviation landing fields, and a municipal forest reserve; and for any municipal purposes whatever.

    (6) To adopt and enforce within its limits building, police, sanitary, village planning, and other similar regulations and ordinances, bylaws, and other similar regulations not in conflict with the general laws.

    (7) Subject always to the laws of this State and the limitations of section 3 of this charter, to enact and adopt ordinances, bylaws, and other regulations respecting the following matters within the Village limits:

    (A) The sale and measurement of milk and dairy products, meats, fruits, provisions, vegetables, hay, grain, petroleum products of all kinds, wood, coal, fuels, and all other articles of public necessity.

    (B) The construction, location, and use, and the licensing of hay scales; markets dealing with meat, fish, and food stuffs; slaughter houses; groceries; restaurants and eating establishments; manufacturing establishments, inns, and hotels; junk businesses; advertising billboards; overhanging signs; awnings; lunch carts; billiard and pool rooms; all places where beverages of any kind are sold or disposed of, either at wholesale or retail; public halls, theatres; dance halls; bowling alleys; moving picture houses; all places where tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes are sold or disposed of; blacksmith shops; trucking depots, stands, and other trucking establishments; public garages; repair shops; brick yards; stone sheds; cattle pens; hog pens; hen coops; coal sheds; dairies; laundries; dyeing establishments; garbage plants; gas works; livery stables, oil and gasoline tanks; gasoline filling stations; private sewers and cesspools; skating rinks; stables; privies; wells; and public dumps.

    (C) Processions, parades, traveling showmen and their shows, clairvoyants, mendicants, fortune-tellers, spiritualists, mediums, itinerant street-vendors, pawnbrokers, transient retail businesses, and professional and amateur sports.

    (D) Vehicles used in the conveyance for hire of persons or goods; milk and cream businesses and routes; pedestrian and vehicular traffic; the parking, operation, and speed of vehicles; guide posts, street signs, and street safety devices.

    (E) Cruelty to animals; fast driving; the going at large of animals, and the keeping of bees.

    (F) The erection of poles, and the placing of wires, cables, and pipes; the laying of sewers; the excavating of streets; the disposal of garbage, filth, refuse, and animal carcasses; throwing or dumping of ashes, wastepaper, hand bills, circulars, or rubbish of any sort; the planting, preservation, or destruction of shade trees.

    (G) The clearing, repairing, and improvement of streets, highways, commons, or walks, and the protection of the same from injury; the lighting of streets, highways, commons, or walks; keeping a watch; the restraining of cattle, horses, sheep, swine, geese, and other creatures from running at large; the planting and preservation of shade and other trees, including a municipal forest; the laying out, grading, fencing, and improving of public parks and commons.

    (H) The suppression of nuisances, bawdy-houses, gaming houses; racing pools; gambling instruments of all kinds; noisome and offensive places and occupations, loafing, obscenity, and ribaldry upon the Village streets; vagrancy; riots and all breaches of the peace; pollutions of the Village water supply. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 4.)

  • § 285-5. Annual and special Village meetings

    The annual meeting of the Village shall be held on the third Tuesday in March, at such hour as the notice hereinafter mentioned shall state, in the Village Hall in the Village or at such other hour and place as the corporation shall hereafter appoint, notice of which shall be posted in four public places in the Village at least ten days previous to the meeting, which notice shall be signed by the Clerk of the corporation, and in case of the Clerk's failure, by the trustees, and for want of such trustees, by a majority of the justices of the peace residing in the Village; and whenever five legal voters of the Village shall so request by petition in writing, the trustees shall call a special meeting of the corporation, giving like notice of the same and specifying in the notice the object of the meeting; and at all Village meetings, none but the inhabitants thereof qualified by law to vote in town meetings and who have resided for one year within the limits of the Village shall be entitled to vote. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 5.)

  • § 285-6. Village officers

    The elective officers of the Village shall be a President, a Clerk, a Treasurer, a Collector of Taxes, three auditors, three trustees, and a Chief Engineer of the Fire Department, together with such other officers as the public interest may require and the laws of this State may permit. All the officers shall be elected at the annual meeting for a term of one year, except that in the case of the trustees, the term of office shall be three years, one trustee to be elected at each annual meeting. All the Village officers shall hold office until their successors are chosen and qualified. The Village, at a special meeting, may fill a vacancy in any Village office for the unexpired term. When a vacancy occurs in any office, the trustees forthwith, by appointment in writing, shall fill such vacancy until an election is had. Such appointment shall be filed by them in the office of the Village Clerk and duly recorded by the Village Clerk in the book of Village records. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 6.)

  • § 285-7. Village President

    The President shall preside at all Village meetings and shall be invested with the powers of a moderator in town meeting. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 7.)

  • § 285-8. Village Clerk; recording of rules and ordinances

    (a) The Clerk shall keep a record of all called Village meetings of the Village trustees; shall perform the usual duties of a clerk; shall have the same power and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed by law for town clerks; shall have exclusive custody of the Village records and papers, which shall not be taken from the Clerk's office unless upon the order or process of a court of competent jurisdiction; and the Clerk's records, copies, and certificates shall be as legally authoritative as those of Town Clerks, and shall have the power to certify the same.

    (b) The bylaws, rules, and ordinances of the Village shall be recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Village, and the Clerk's certificate that such bylaws, rules, and ordinances were adopted at an annual meeting of the Village, or at a special meeting thereof, called for that purpose, shall be prima facie evidence of such fact in any court in this State and certified copies of the bylaws, rules, ordinances, and Clerk's certificates shall also be received as evidence in all the courts in this State. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 8.)

  • § 285-9. Village Treasurer

    The Village Treasurer shall discharge the usual duties of such office and shall have the same power and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed by law for town treasurers. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 9.)

  • § 285-10. Collector of Village Taxes

    The Collector of Village Taxes shall discharge the usual duties of such office, and shall have the same power and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed by law for collectors of town taxes. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 10.)

  • § 285-11. Bonds for Village Treasurer and Collector of Taxes

    The Treasurer and Collector of Taxes shall give bonds for the faithful performance of their duties in such sums as the trustees shall direct. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 11.)

  • § 285-12. Village auditors

    The auditors shall settle the accounts of the Treasurer, trustees, and Collector of Taxes, and shall make an annual report in writing, and no account shall be allowed by such auditors without the production of proper vouchers therefor. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 12.)

  • § 285-13. Village trustees

    The trustees shall be the governing board of the Village and shall have power to make, establish, amend, or repeal ordinances and impose regulations not repugnant to the Constitution and laws of Vermont, or of the United States, or of the municipal charter and bylaws of the Village, and to provide for the enforcement of the same by fine, penalty, injunction, restraining order, forfeiture, or any proper remedy, and shall have such other powers as stated in this charter. The trustees shall have the general care of the affairs of the Village; shall assess all taxes required by law or by vote of the Village, and shall direct the expenditure of all moneys belonging to the Village, and shall draw orders upon the Treasurer for all moneys disbursed by them, and generally shall perform all duties legally enjoined upon them by the Village. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 13.)

  • § 285-14. Village trustees; fiscal oversight

    The trustees shall audit, and in their discretion allow, the claim of any person against the Village for money paid or services performed, and for any debt contracted or obligation incurred by the trustees for and in behalf of the Village for any matter within the proper scope of their duties; and shall draw orders therefor in favor of the person entitled, upon the Treasurer of the Village. The trustees shall keep a full and true record of all orders drawn and expenditures made by them, and no money shall be paid out of the treasury except upon their order. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 14.)

  • § 285-15. Chief Engineer and Fire Department

    (a) The Chief Engineer of the Fire Department and the Chief's assistants shall be ex officio fire wardens of the Village and the duties of the Engineer shall be such as may be prescribed by the bylaws and ordinances of the Village.

    (b)  The Chief Engineer, and in the absence of the Chief Engineer the acting Chief designated by the trustees, shall have charge of all machines and apparatus within the Village for the prevention and extinguishment of fires. On the occasion of any fire in the Village, the Chief Engineer shall control as well as the regular Fire Department all volunteer fire companies, and may demand the assistance of any person present in order to extinguish such fire; and shall have the power to cause to be pulled down, or blown up, or removed, any building which the Chief Engineer may deem necessary for the suppression, or to prevent the extension, of such fire, and neither the Chief Engineer, nor anyone obeying the Chief Engineer's orders, shall be liable personally for any property damage done thereby. The engineers may work in conjunction with the Building Inspector, as the trustees may direct, and may have the authority of the Building Inspector in the discretion of the trustees.

    (c)  The engineers when on duty shall wear conspicuously on their person a badge of office, with their respective rank inscribed thereon, without which no person shall be bound to obey their directions. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 15.)

  • § 285-16. Village trustees; power to appoint

    The trustees shall have authority to appoint annually and to prescribe the duties of a Chief of Police and police officers; the superintendents of the Village departments; a Building Inspector; and such other Village officials as they may judge necessary for the welfare of the Village; and the number of police officers and Village departments shall be within the discretion of the trustees. These officers shall be qualified by taking appropriate oaths of office, and their appointments and certificates of their oaths, written thereon, shall be recorded by the Village Clerk. These appointments may be revoked at the pleasure of the trustees, and the trustees shall make rules and regulations governing the activities of these officers. The Chief of Police, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give a bond to the Treasurer of the County, and the bond and a certificate showing the Chief's appointment shall be filed with and recorded by the County Clerk as in the bylaws provided. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 16.)

  • § 285-17. Police officers

    The police officers shall have the same power and authority as conservators of the peace within the Village as that of town constables. They may serve any criminal process for any offense against the laws of the State committed within the Village, and may serve subpoenas for witnesses in such cases; and for all such services they shall be entitled to receive the same fees as constables are entitled to receive. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 17.)

  • § 285-18. Superintendents of Village departments

    The superintendents of Village departments shall be immediately under the supervision of the trustees and shall perform the work customary to their offices. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 18.)

  • § 285-19. Village Building Inspector

    Within the Village limits, the Building Inspector shall have authority to oversee the location and construction of all buildings and all repairs on buildings already constructed, and shall oversee the construction and repairs of elevators, oil storage tanks, fire places, stoves, flues, and chimneys and all electrical wiring; and may order the occupants or owners of any building or premises to repair any elevator, oil storage tank, fireplace, stove, flue, chimney, electric wiring, or other apparatus which, in the opinion of the Inspector, is unsafe or dangerous, and may inspect the manner of manufacture and keeping of all explosives and combustibles. No building shall be located or constructed until the plans of the building have first been submitted to and approved by the Building Inspector, if the trustees by proper ordinance shall so order and require. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 19.)

  • § 285-20. Village trustee meetings

    The trustees shall meet regularly at suitable times to enact ordinances and to transact any and all other proper business, and at such meetings shall give audience to all complaints and protests, and shall cause a record of their proceedings to be kept by the Village Clerk. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 20.)

  • § 285-21. Village ordinances taking effect

    (a) No ordinance passed by the trustees shall be enforceable until notice thereof has been posted in four public places, within the bounds of the Village, for a period of two weeks, and published in a newspaper printed in the Village, or, if no such newspaper be printed, in a newspaper having a current circulation within the Village twice within the same period of two weeks as mentioned in this subsection.

    (b) If during such two weeks' period a petition signed by 10 or more qualified voters of the Village be presented to the trustees objecting to an ordinance so passed and published by the trustees, the question of the approval of the ordinance shall be submitted to an annual or special meeting of the Village; and when approved by a majority vote of the meeting, and not otherwise, the ordinance so approved shall become an ordinance of the Village.

    (c) If at any time subsequent to such period of two weeks for publication, a petition signed by 10 or more qualified voters of the Village be presented to the trustees requesting the repeal of any ordinance, the question of the repeal or approval of the ordinance shall be submitted to a meeting of the Village duly warned for that purpose; if at such meeting the ordinance be approved by a majority vote of the meeting, the ordinance so approved shall remain an ordinance of the Village; if the ordinance so voted upon shall fail of such approval, the ordinance shall be deemed to be repealed and shall thereupon be and become null and void and of no subsequent legal effect whatsoever, but fines and penalties imposed, judgments and decrees entered, prosecutions and legal proceedings instituted prior to the repeal of such ordinance shall not be vacated, set aside, or otherwise affected by such repeal. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 21.)

  • § 285-22. Ordinances and bylaws; inconsistencies

    All regulations enacted and adopted by the inhabitants of the Village for the government thereof shall be known as "bylaws."  All regulations passed and published by the trustees of the Village for the government thereof shall be deemed to be and shall be known as "ordinances."  In the case of any inconsistency between the bylaws and the ordinances of the Village, the bylaws shall be deemed superior and shall control as to such inconsistency. The Village at any annual meeting of the inhabitants thereof, or any special meeting duly warned for that purpose, may make, establish, alter, amend, or repeal any bylaws of the Village. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 22.)

  • § 285-23. Village and Town residents; public office

    The inhabitants of the Village shall belong to and remain inhabitants of the Town of Newbury. No person being a resident or taxpayer of the Village shall be deemed thereby incompetent or disqualified to act as judge, justice, juror, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, or witness in any matter, cause, or proceeding brought under this act in which the Village shall be interested. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 23.)

  • § 285-24. Highway district

    All the territory embraced within the limits of the Village is hereby constituted a highway district of the Town of Newbury and all the highway taxes assessed upon the ratable estate thereof shall be paid in money, and the Selectboard of the Town of Newbury shall make out a tax bill thereof and deliver the same seasonably, as required by law, with a warrant for its collection to the Collector of the Village, who shall collect the same as other taxes of the Village are collected, and pay two-thirds of the same over to the Treasurer of the Village, which money shall be drawn from the treasury by the trustees and shall be expended by them in building, constructing, maintaining, repairing, sprinkling, and lighting streets, highways, walks, alleys, sewers, and lanes of the Village, and no highway surveyors shall be elected for the Village; and the remaining one-third of the highway taxes shall be paid over to the Treasurer of the Town of Newbury. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 24.)

  • § 285-25. Roads, walkways, and sewers

    (a) The trustees of the Village may lay out, grade, alter, maintain, and discontinue any street, road, lane, alley, sewer, or walk in the Village, and appraise and settle the damages thereof, causing their proceedings to be recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Town of Newbury, provided that any person or persons aggrieved by their appraisal shall have the like opportunity for applying to the County Court for the County of Orange to obtain redress, as is or may be allowed by law to those aggrieved with the proceedings of selectmen in similar cases.

    (b) The trustees in making, altering, or repairing sidewalks, culverts, sewers, or drains shall have power, subject to the bylaws and ordinances of the Village on giving 12 days' notice to the parties interested of the time and place of hearing to assess the owner or occupant of land or lands benefited thereby, so much of the expense of making, altering, or repairing the same as the trustees shall judge such land to be benefited thereby, not to exceed one half of such expense. When any person shall be dissatisfied with the decision of the trustees in the award of damages for laying, making, altering, or repairing any sewer, drain, sidewalk, or culvert, or in any assessment for benefits of the same, such person may petition the Orange County Court for a reassessment of such damages or benefits. The persons so aggrieved by the action of the trustees shall have the same right and opportunity for applying to the County Court to obtain redress in the premises as is now provided by law to persons aggrieved by the action of the selectmen in like matters and proceedings.

    (c) Each and every owner of a building in the Village of Wells River used for human habitation or for business purposes situated upon any street, alley, or lane through which a main sewer shall be constructed, and the mortgagees of such a building, shall be legally responsible for the construction and maintenance under the direction of the trustees of a sewer or drain from such building to such main sewer, which sewer or drain shall be constructed and connected with the main sewer and so maintained as to provide adequate drainage for all sewerage and liquid waste in and about the building and the premises upon which the same shall be located, and to discharge such sewerage and waste into the main sewer; and in case any person or persons owning such a building in the Village shall fail or neglect to construct and maintain a proper sewer or drain from the building to the main sewer, it shall be the duty of trustees to give the person or persons owning or having an interest in the building and premises reasonable notice to build and construct an adequate sewer or drain from the building and premises to the main sewer. In case such person or persons shall fail to construct an adequate drain and sewer within 30 days from the time of receiving the notice, it shall be the duty of the trustees to declare the building and the premises upon which the same may be situated a nuisance and the trustees are hereby authorized and empowered to enter upon the premises and to build and construct an adequate sewer or drain from the premises to the main sewer and the person or persons upon whose premises the sewer or drain shall be so constructed, as aforesaid, shall pay to the trustees for the benefit of the Village all of the expense incurred by the Village in constructing the sewer and drain; and in case such person or persons fail or neglect to pay the same upon demand, the trustees may bring an action against the persons so notified to recover such expense in the name of the Village, and the premises shall be holden for the payment of such expense in building the sewer or drain and no homestead or interest of any mortgagee shall be exempt from attachment and execution in a suit brought to recover such expense. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 25.)

  • § 285-26. Property tax

    The Village may, at any annual meeting, or special meeting called for that purpose, as hereinbefore provided, lay a tax on the ratable estate within the same, whether of residents or nonresidents, for any of the purposes hereinbefore mentioned, and the trustees shall make out a rate bill accordingly and deliver the same to the Collector, who shall have the same power to collect such tax as the collector of town taxes, and may in like manner sell property to satisfy the same, and for want thereof, commit to jail any person against whom the Collector has such a delinquent tax. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 26.)

  • § 285-27. Village water supply

    All water rents and charges due the Village for the use of the Village water supply or the Village aqueduct system in case of nonpayment thereof shall be and remain a lien in the nature of a tax upon the real estate so supplied with water, whether such rents or charges be charged in the first instance against the owner or occupant thereof. Such lien shall be enforceable in the same manner and to the same effect as the lien for taxes under the laws of this State. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 27.)

  • § 285-28. Eminent domain

    The Village may exercise the right of eminent domain for any municipal purpose or use upon compliance with the provisions of the State statutes applicable to eminent domain proceedings. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 28.)

  • § 285-29. Grand list

    The grand list of the ratable estate within the Village, as made out by the listers of the Town of Newbury, shall be the grand list of the Village, and the Trustees shall cause a copy of the list to be made and filed in the office of the Clerk of the Village, within 10 days after the same shall be completed and filed by the listers in the Town Clerk's office. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 29.)

  • § 285-30. Village bylaw and ordinance fines, penalties, and forfeitures

    (a) Fines, penalties, and forfeitures up to and including $200.00, for each breach of an ordinance or bylaw, may be established by the trustees or by a properly warned Village meeting.

    (b) These fines, penalties, and forfeitures may be recovered in an action of tort brought in the name of the Village, and in any such action a general complaint relying on the ordinance or the bylaw shall be sufficient.

    (c) The process may issue either against the body or the property of the defendant, and if the defendant is found guilty, and if it is found by the court that the cause of action arose from the defendant's willful or malicious act or neglect, it shall so adjudge, and shall further adjudge that the defendant be confined in close jail, and may issue execution against the defendant's body with a certificate of such findings endorsed thereon; and such execution with such certificate, thereon shall have the same effect as an execution issued on a judgment founded upon tort having a like certificate endorsed thereon.

    (d) Any person refusing to comply with any Village ordinance or bylaw relating to the person's business may be enjoined by a proper action in chancery brought in the name of the Village from continuing such business in violation of such ordinance or bylaw, and in any such action a bill relying on the ordinance or bylaw shall be sufficient.

    (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Village from having and exercising such other powers as may be proper to enforce obedience to its ordinances and bylaws and to punish violations thereof. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 30.)

  • § 285-31. Village ordinance and bylaw violations

    All violations of the Village ordinances and bylaws may be prosecuted in behalf of the Village by its attorneys or police officers, or by any other duly authorized prosecuting officer, before any justice of the peace of the County of Orange, or any municipal court which may hereafter be established in the County of Orange having jurisdiction in the Town of Newbury. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 31.)

  • § 285-32. Village Manager

    The Village may at any properly warned Village meeting vote to accept a Village Manager, who shall have the same power and be subject to the same liabilities as town managers as provided by the statutes of the State. (Added 1937, No. 301, § 32.)

  • §§ 285-33-37. [Transitional provisions omitted].