Chapter 374

2007 -- H 6493

Enacted 07/05/07

 

A N A C T

AUTHORIZING THE TOWN OF PORTSMOUTH TO ISSUE BONDS AND NOTES TO AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $105,000,000 TO FINANCE THE CONSTRUCTION OF SEWERS AND SEWERAGE SYSTEMS IN THE TOWN INCLUDING THE ACQUISITION OF LAND THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE IMPOSITION OF SEWER ASSESSMENTS AND SERVICE FEES

          

     Introduced By: Representatives Amaral, and Rice

     Date Introduced: June 06, 2007

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Construction of sewer and sewerage systems and issuance of bonds. The

Town Council of the Town of Portsmouth shall be vested with the power and authority to plan,

acquire, construct, operate, maintain, extend and improve a sewage disposal system for the town

or any part or parts thereof and to finance operation and maintain such sewage disposal system.

The Town Council shall also have the power to employ a superintendent of sewers, to prescribe

his duties, and to employ such other assistants and advisors as may be necessary. The Town

Council from time to time shall fix the salaries of such employees. The town of Portsmouth is

hereby empowered and authorized, in addition to authority previously granted, to issue bonds to

an amount not exceeding one hundred five million dollars ($105,000,000) from time to time

under its corporate name and seal. The bonds of each issue may be issued in the form of serial

bonds or term bonds or a combination thereof and shall be payable either by maturity of principal

in the case of serial bonds or by mandatory serial redemption in the case of term bonds, in annual

installments of principal, the first installment to be not later than three (3) years and the last

installment not later than thirty (30) years after the date of the bonds. The bonds shall be signed

by the town director of finance and by the president of the town council and shall be issued and

sold in such amounts as the town council may authorize. The manner of sale, denominations,

maturities, principal amounts, interest rates and other terms, conditions and details of any bonds

or notes issued under this act may be fixed by proceedings of the town council authorizing the

issue or by separate resolution of the town council or, to the extent provisions for these matters

are not so made, they may be fixed by the officers authorized to sign the bonds or notes.

     SECTION 2. Proceeds of the bonds. -- The proceeds derived from the sale of the bonds

shall be delivered to the director of finance, and such proceeds, exclusive of premiums and

accrued interest, shall be expended:

     (a) for the construction of sewers and sewerage systems including but not limited to lift

stations and pumping stations and the acquisitions, by purchase or condemnation, of land and

interests therein necessary in connection with the construction thereof in the town of Portsmouth;

     (b) in payment of the principal or of interest on temporary notes issued under section 3;

or

     (c) in repayment of advances under section 4.

     The particular facilities to be provided in each portion of the town described above shall

be determined in accordance with priorities determined by the town council. No purchaser of any

bonds or notes under this act shall be in any way responsible for the proper application of the

proceeds derived from the sale thereof. The proceeds of bonds or notes issued under this act, any

applicable federal or state assistance and the other moneys referred to in section 6 shall be

deemed appropriated for the purposes of this act without further action than that required by this

act.

     SECTION 3. Temporary notes. -- The town council may by resolution authorize the

issuance from time to time of interest-bearing or discounted notes in anticipation of the issue of

bonds or in anticipation of the receipt of federal or state aid for the purposes of this act.

     The amount of original notes issued in anticipation of bonds may not exceed the amount

of bonds which may be issued under this act and the amount of original notes issued in

anticipation of federal or state aid as estimated by the director of finance. Temporary notes issued

hereunder shall be signed by the director of finance and by the president of the town council and

shall be payable within five (5) years from their respective dates, but the principal of and interest

on notes issued for a shorter period may be renewed or paid from time to time by the issue of

other notes hereunder; provided the period from the date of an original note to the maturity of any

note issued to renew or pay the same debt or the interest thereon shall not exceed five (5) years.

     SECTION 4. Advances from general fund. -- Pending any authorization or issue of

bonds hereunder or pending or in lieu of any authorization or issue of notes hereunder, the

director of finance, with the approval of the town council, may, to the extent that bonds or notes

may be issued hereunder, apply funds in the general fund of the town to the purposes specified in

section 2, such advances to be repaid with interest from the proceeds of bonds or notes

subsequently issued or from the proceeds of applicable federal or state assistance or from other

available funds.

     SECTION 5. Investment of money. -- Any proceeds of bonds or notes issued hereunder

or of any applicable federal or state assistance, pending their expenditure, may be deposited or

invested by the director of finance in demand deposits, time deposits or savings deposits in banks

which are members of the federal deposit insurance corporation or in obligations issued or

guaranteed by the United States of America or by any agency or instrumentality thereof or as may

be provided in any other applicable law of the state of Rhode Island.

     SECTION 6. Expenditures. -- Any accrued interest received upon the sale of bonds or

notes hereunder shall be applied to the payment of the first interest due thereon. Any premiums

arising from the sale of bonds or notes hereunder shall, in the discretion of the director of finance,

be applied to the cost of preparing, issuing and marketing bonds or notes hereunder to the extent

not otherwise provided, to the payment of the principal of or interest on bonds or notes issued

hereunder or to any one (1) or more of the foregoing. The cost of preparing, issuing and

marketing bonds or notes hereunder may also, in the discretion of the director of finance, be met

from bond or note proceeds exclusive of premium and accrued interest or from other moneys

available therefor. Any balance of bond or note proceeds remaining after payment of the cost of

preparing, issuing and marketing bonds or notes hereunder shall be applied to the payment of the

principal of or interest on bonds or notes issued hereunder. To the extent permitted by applicable

federal laws, any earnings or net profit realized from the deposit or investment of funds hereunder

may, upon receipt, be added to and dealt with as part of the revenues of the town from property

taxes. In exercising any discretion under this section, the director of finance shall be governed by

any instructions adopted by resolution of the town council.

     SECTION 7. Security for bonds and notes. -- All bonds and notes issued under this act

and the debts evidenced thereby shall be obligatory on the town in the same manner and to the

same extent as other debts lawfully contracted by it and shall be excepted from the operation of

section 45-12-2 of the general laws. No such obligation shall at any time be included in the debt

of the town for the purpose of ascertaining its borrowing capacity. The town shall annually

appropriate a sum sufficient to pay the principal and interest coming due within the year on bonds

and notes issued hereunder to the extent that moneys therefor are not otherwise provided. If such

sum is not appropriated, it shall nevertheless be added to the annual tax levy. In order to provide

such sum in each year and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, all taxable

property in the town shall be subject to ad valorem taxation by the town without limitation as to

rate or amount.

     SECTION 8. Validity of bonds or notes. -- Any bonds or notes issued under the

provisions of this act, if properly executed by officers of the town in office on the date of

execution, shall be valid and binding according to their terms notwithstanding that before the

delivery thereof and payment therefor any or all of such officers shall for any reason have ceased

to hold office.

     SECTION 9. Federal or state advances or grant. -- The town, acting by resolution of its

town council, is authorized to apply for, contract for and expend any federal or state advances or

other grants of assistance which may be available for the purposes of this act, and any such

expenditures may be in addition to other moneys provided in this act. To the extent of any

inconsistency between any law of this state and any federal law or regulation, the latter shall

prevail. Federal and state advances, with interest where applicable, whether contracted for prior to

or after the effective date of this act, may be repaid as project costs under section 2.

     SECTION 10. Conditions precedent to issuance. -- Bonds and notes may be issued under

this act without obtaining approval of any governmental agency or the taking of any proceedings

or the happening of any conditions except as specifically required by this act for such issue. In

carrying out any project financed in whole or in part under this act, including where applicable

the condemnation of any land or interest in land, which shall be authorized hereby and carried out

in the manner described by chapter 1 of title 24 of the general laws as it may be amended from

time to time, and in the levy and collection of assessments or other charges permitted by law on

account of any such project, all action shall be taken which is necessary to meet constitutional

requirements whether or not such action is otherwise required by statute, but the validity of bonds

and notes issued hereunder shall in no way depend upon the validity or occurrence of such action.

     SECTION 11. Assessments. The town council shall determine what portion of the cost

of constructing, operating and maintaining the sewer system shall be paid from general taxation

(not to exceed 25%) and what portion shall be paid by assessments and annual charges as set

forth herein. The town council shall assess the costs (including financing costs and debt service

on bonds or notes issued hereunder) of any project or projects financed under this act which it has

determined will be paid from assessments, upon the owners of the estates which abut that portion

of any street or highway in or along which any sewer constituting any portion of such project or

projects may be located or which otherwise specially benefit from such project or projects. Any

such property owned by the state of Rhode Island shall be subject to assessments and charges

under this act in the same manner and to the same extent as any other such property. Such

assessment may be made separately for each project separately identified by the town council or

for several projects taken together as the department may deem equitable, with the approval of the

town council. The total actual cost to be assessed, including administrative and engineering costs,

shall be that which is determined by the town council to provide particular rather than general

benefit.

     Such assessments shall be just and equitable and shall be based upon frontage area within

a specified reasonable distance from the street or highway or other equitable method or

combination of methods as may be determined by the town council. The town council shall not

make any particular assessment in excess of the benefit conferred and may make reasonable

adjustments or deferments of such assessments against estates having a frontage upon more than

one street or against estates which for any reason are unable to derive the normal benefits from

the system. The town council may adopt ordinances governing the making of such assessments

and the collection thereof.

     A copy of such assessments shall be recorded with the collector of taxes as a public

record. From the date of delivery to the collector of taxes the assessments and interest accruing

thereon shall constitute a lien upon the respective estates on a parity with the lien for town taxes

until paid in full. The collector of taxes of the town shall have the same rights to enforce such

liens against the estates and to collect such assessments and interest from the owners as he has in

the case of town taxes.

     SECTION 12. Sewer service charges. -- The town council may fix and revise from time

to time a schedule of sewer service charges for the use of sewer facilities and services furnished

under this act for the purpose of paying the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating such

facilities, and any other expenses not otherwise provided for which may arise under this act, to

the extent that monies for the foregoing purposes are not otherwise provided.

     Such charges shall be just and equitable and may be based upon the quantity of water

used or units assessed or the number and size of sewer connections made or the number and kind

of plumbing fixtures installed on the estate or upon the number or average number of persons

residing or working in or otherwise connected therewith or upon any other factor affecting the use

of or the value of the facilities and services furnished or upon any combination of such factors.

The town may provide by ordinance for the making and collection of such sewer service charges.

     Delinquent service charges together with any interest and charges accruing thereon shall

constitute a lien upon real estate on a parity with the lien for town taxes. The collector of taxes

shall have the same rights to enforce such liens and to collect the service charges and interest

thereon as he has in the case of town taxes.

     SECTION 13. Appropriation of charges and assessments. -- The receipts from sewer

service charges and assessments, including any net earning and profits realized from the deposit

or investment thereof, shall be deemed appropriated for the purposes set forth in this act. Except

as provided in this act the assessment and collection of sewer service charges and assessments

shall be governed by ordinances adopted by the town council and applicable to all such charges

and assessments in the town.

     SECTION 14. Other instruments, documents and agreements. -- The town director of

finance and the president of the town council, on behalf of the town, are hereby authorized to

execute such instruments, documents or other papers as either of them deem necessary or

desirable to carry out the intent of this act and are also authorized to take all actions and execute

all documents or agreements necessary to comply with federal tax and securities laws, which

documents or agreements may have a term coextensive with the maturity of the bonds authorized

hereby.

     SECTION 15. The question of the approval of this act shall be submitted to the electors

of the town at a general or special election which is not a primary on such date as the town

council shall designate. The question shall be submitted in substantially the following form:

"Shall an act, passed at the 2007 session of the general assembly, entitled 'An act authorizing the

town of Portsmouth to issue bonds and notes to an amount not exceeding $105,000,000 to finance

the construction of sewers and sewage systems in the town including the acquisition of land

therefor and authorizing the imposition of sewer assessments and user fees' be approved?" and the

warning for the election shall contain the question to be submitted. From the time the election is

warned and until it is held, it shall be the duty of the town clerk to keep a copy of the act available

at his or her office for public inspection, but the validity of the election shall not be affected by

this requirement.

     SECTION 16. This section and the foregoing section shall take effect upon the passage

of this act. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon the approval of this act by a majority

of those voting on the question at the election prescribed by the foregoing section.

     

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LC03234

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