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The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 24 Appendix : Municipal Charters


Subchapter 001 : Incorporation, General Law, Miscellaneous Provisions

(Cite as: 24 App. V.S.A. ch. 149, § 5)
  • § 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen, 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 Board of Selectmen, or to the appointment or designation of the selectmen, 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 Board of Selectmen 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 selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen members.

    (2) Reporting out:

    (A) The ordinance subcommittee shall review the ordinance for form and report it out to the Board of Selectmen 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/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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen 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 subsection 4 above.

    (6) Final Action:

    (A) Upon completion of the second review, the Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen, 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 Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen.

    (2) Printing of ordinances and resolutions:

    (A) The Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen.

    (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.

    (3) Codification:

    (A) Within one year after the adoption of this charter, and at least every five years thereafter, the Board of Selectmen 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 Board of Selectmen by ordinance, shall be published in a form convenient for general use and shall be incorporated into the Town code.

    (j) Penalties:

    (1) The Selectmen may provide for and authorize within an ordinance, penalties for the breach of any ordinance which 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.