Chapter 324

Chapter 324

2003 -- H 5121 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 07/17/03







     Introduced By: Representatives Long, Callahan, and Shavers

     Date Introduced: January 21, 2003



It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     Legislative Findings

     The General Assembly hereby recognizes and declares:

     (1) That portions of the town of Middletown are supplied with water from a public water

supply facility owned and operated by the city of Newport, but that many citizens of the town of

Middletown rely on individual drinking water wells and water sources for their supply of potable


     (2) That such water sources are susceptible to contamination and often fail to provide

water of the quantity or quality available from public water supply facilities;

     (3) That construction of facilities to connect existing developed areas of Middletown to

the city of Newport water supply system would further the goal of provision of adequate safe

drinking water to Rhode Island residents;

     (4) That the town of Middletown desires to provide such connections to areas in which

the water from individual drinking water wells and water sources is deemed unsuitable;

     (5) That in order to provide such facilities the town is in need of a funding mechanism to

help defray the cost of installation of same;

     (6) That it is the policy of the state of Rhode Island to empower and assist the local

municipalities to meet the needs of residents and further the availability of good quality, potable

water to residents.

     SECTION 1. Subject to approval by the city of Newport, and where required by other

provisions of law or regulation, the water resources board and/or the department of health as

appropriate, the town of Middletown is authorized and empowered to design, plan, permit, layout

and construct additional necessary water mains, connections and works for the water distribution

system within the territory of said town of Middletown, and owned and maintained by the city of

Newport, in order to provide water service along existing, accepted streets and for such purposes

to take by eminent domain or otherwise acquire any lands, rights of way, or easements, public or

private in said town necessary for accomplishing the purposes set forth in this chapter. Such

mains, connections and works shall include, but not be limited to, water mains, curb stops, service

connections, pumps, hydrants and other works essential to the provision of potable water and fire

protection in said town.

     The design, permitting, layout and construction of said water lines and works shall be

vested in the town council, subject to approval of the city of Newport. The members of the town

council and their duly authorized agents may enter upon property within the town to examine,

inspect and survey same whenever necessary for the performance of their duties hereunder.

     SECTION 2. The town of Middletown, by ordinance, is authorized to impose and collect

a special assessment to defray the cost of construction of said water lines and works. The town

council shall prescribe a just and equitable annual assessment to all owners of land abutting on

that portion of any street, highway or right of way in which a water line is installed at the expense

of the town of Middletown. Said assessment shall be adopted by ordinance of the town council

after public hearing thereon, shall be imposed only after said lines, mains, connections and works

have been installed and shall be formulated to repay to the town the actual costs of construction

of said water line and works, including design, permitting, debt service and costs on any issuance

of bonds or notes issued to finance same, or such portion thereof as the town shall deem

appropriate, over a period not to exceed twenty (20) years, (or the repayment term of any bonds

or notes utilized to finance same, whichever may be greater). Said assessment to owners of

abutting land shall be at a uniform rate for each foot of frontage of land abutting on said street

highway or right of way, provided however that a minimum rate may be established for any lot

having foot frontage of less than fifty (50) feet which rate may be equal to that charged for a lot

with foot frontage of fifty (50) feet, provided that a higher rate per foot frontage may be assessed

to a lot of land upon which a dwelling or other structure is located than an unimproved lot of land.

And further provided that whenever any lot is located at the intersection of two (2) streets,

highways or rights of way in which water lines have been constructed at the expense of the town

of Middletown hereunder the assessment on such lot shall be made only for the water line on one

(1) street, highway or right of way, that being the street, highway or right of way having the

greatest linear foot frontage.

     SECTION 3. Subject to approval of the city of Newport and appropriate regulatory

authorities, the town of Middletown is authorized by ordinance to impose and collect an initial,

one time, connection fee in addition to any fee charged by the city of Newport to any user

connecting to a water main installed at the expense of the town of Middletown. Said fee shall be

payable to the order of the town prior to any permit being granted for connection to any water

main installed at the expense of the town of Middletown.

     SECTION 4. Said ordinance shall provide that the amount of said special assessment

shall be payable to the town in equal annual installments for a period not exceeding twenty (20)

years, (or the repayment term of any bonds or notes utilized to finance same, whichever may be

greater), with interest thereon, if any, at a rate to be determined by the town council not exceeding

six percent (6%) per annum or the interest rate payable on any bonds or notes issued to finance

same, payable at such time as each installment becomes due. Any property owner shall have the

right to prepay unpaid installments with interest to time of prepayment.

     The town council shall annually, prior to the first day of July, certify to the finance

director all assessments made by it under the authority of this section. Each such assessment

made by the town council pursuant to this section shall be a lien upon the lands, buildings and

improvements upon which it is made in the same way and manner in which taxes assessed on real

estate and if not paid as required shall be collected in the same manner that taxes assessed on real

estate are by law collected. Such assessment shall be due and payable at the time the next regular

town taxes are first due and payable next after receipt by the finance director of the certification

of assessments from the town council, except that payment may be made in quarterly installments

and installment payments shall be due beginning at such time, and the finance director shall

forthwith certify to the tax collector for collection, and the tax collector shall proceed to collect

such assessment in the same manner and at the same time the regular taxes of the town are first

due and payable, with provision for installments as provided in this section. Interest at the rate per

annum for nonpayment of town taxes shall be charged and collected upon all overdue

assessments and installments from the date they are payable until paid.

     SECTION 5. The town council may, by ordinance, exempt from the payment of any and

all assessments for the construction of water lines and works hereunder, the land of any religious

corporation on which are located buildings used solely for holding of religious services therein

and all land in the town held by cemetery corporations and used solely for cemetery purposes.

     SECTION 6. Nothing herein shall be construed to require the town of Middletown to

install any water lines, mains or works in any existing street and installation of such mains shall

be in the discretion of the town council.

     SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon passage and the assessment authorized herein

shall be imposed on any lots possessing frontage on those portions of streets in which water

mains, lines or works are installed at the initial expense of the town of Middletown during or after

the 2002-2003 municipal fiscal year.     


LC00653/SUB A