2009 -- H 6325 AS AMENDED

Enacted 11/13/09



A N  A C T




     Introduced By: Representative Timothy A. Williamson

     Date Introduced: June 25, 2009




It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Article 2, Section 5 of the Special Acts of the Town of West Warwick Code

of Ordinances of 1986, as amended, entitled "Special Assessments" is hereby further amended to

read as follows:

     Sec. 5. Special Assessments.

     The town council of the town of West Warwick shall, to the extent described below,

assess the cost of any project or projects for the construction, completion, extension, enlargement

or improvement of the sewage disposal system upon the owners of the estates in the town 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. Such assessments may be made separately for each project or for several projects taken

together. The cost to be assessed 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 may be

based upon frontage or area within a specified reasonable distance from the street or highway or

on assessed valuations or on any other factor affording a reasonable measure of benefits or upon

any combination of the foregoing. The town council shall not make any particular assessment in

excess of the benefit conferred and may make reasonable adjustments 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. Such assessments shall name the owners

assessed, describe their estates and state the amounts of the assessments but no error [of]

omission in the name or description shall invalidate the assessment as long as either the owner or

the estate is substantially identified. A copy of such assessments shall be recorded with the town

clerk as a public record. From the date of delivery to the town clerk 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.

     Prior to or forthwith after the delivery to the town clerk of a copy of such assessment, the

collector of taxes shall cause notice to be sent to the owner of each estate assessed. The notice

shall substantially identify the estate assessed, state the amount of the assessment and refer to the

remedy available under this section. The notice shall be mailed postpaid and directed to the last

known address of the addressee. If there are owners whose addresses are unknown, a similar

notice covering the assessments against their estates shall be published in a newspaper of general

circulation in the town and such published notice may be a single collective notice for all such

owners. No irregularity in the notice required by this section shall excuse the non-payment of the

assessment or affect its validity or any proceedings for the collection thereof as long as there is

substantial compliance with the provisions hereof. No efficiency in the notice to the owner of an

estate assessed shall excuse the non-payment by others of the assessments against their estates or

affect the validity thereof or any proceedings for the collection thereof. Any person aggrieved by

such assessment may within 90 days after the mailing or publication of notice to him file a

petition for relief against the town as respondent in the superior court, and the clerk shall

thereupon issue a citation to summon the town, and said petition and citation shall be subject to

the provisions of section 44-5-29 of the general laws [G.L. 1956, section 45-5-29]. If the court

finds such assessment invalid in whole or in part, it shall give judgment reducing the amount

thereof or for a refund accordingly. The filing of such a petition shall not relieve the estate

involved from the lien hereinabove provided for or prevent the assessment becoming due as

provided in this section, but the final judgment of the court reducing such assessment in whole or

in part shall reduce such lien and the amount due accordingly. The remedy provided in this

paragraph shall be exclusive, and no action or proceeding questioning the validity of such

assessment shall be begun after the expiration of said ninety day period.

     In the event an assessment is partially or wholly invalid, the town council may make a

corrected assessment to replace the invalid assessment or portion. The corrected assessment shall

be made in the same manner as an original assessment. The first installment of a corrected

assessment shall be sufficient to compensate without interest for all installments which would

have become due then or theretofore if the corrected assessment had been made at the time of the

original assessment. The corrected assessment shall bear interest from the date notice of the

corrected assessment was delivered to the town clerk.

     Each assessment under this act shall be payable beginning in 2010 based on the

December 31, 2009 assessment in equal annual quarterly installments in the months of July 2010,

October 2010, January 2011 and April 2011 and in each succeeding year thereafter over not less

than twenty nor more than thirty years, as determined by the town council, upon a date fixed by

the town council and shall bear interest from the date notice of the assessment was delivered to

the own clerk until paid at a rate to be fixed at or prior to the assessment by the town council,

provided that the whole assessment against any owner or estate may be paid without interest at

any time prior to the due date of the first installment thereof, and provided further that the whole

unpaid balance of any such assessment together with the interest accrued thereon to the date or

payment may be paid at any time.

     Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the town council may provide for increasing

the tentative amount of any assessment by a reasonable amount in lieu of interest upon the

assumption that the assessment will be paid in annual installments when required and make the

assessment in the aggregate amount of the tentative assessment plus such interest charge, which

assessment shall be payable in equal annual installments upon a date fixed by the town council

without further interest, provided that if any such assessment is paid in full before the expiration

of the full term there shall be an equitable adjustment of the interest charge so that interest will be

paid on the unpaid balance of the tentative assessment for the period up to such payment in full.

     In the event of the subdivision of any estate subject to any such assessment by the

conveyance of any part of parts thereof to a difference owner, the town council may apportion the

assessment or the unpaid part thereof among the new estates so created upon any basis which

might then be used under this section for a new assessment and such basis need not be the same

as that used for the assessment being apportioned. The apportioned assessment shall be payable at

the same times and in the same amounts pro rata as the original assessment or unpaid part thereof.

In all other respects the apportioned assessment shall be governed by the provisions of this

section which would then apply to a new assessment. Upon the recording of the apportioned

assessments, the original assessment shall be discharged.

     All lands in the town of West Warwick held by religious corporations, and on which are

located buildings which are used solely for the purposes of holding religious services therein, and

all lands in said town held by cemetery corporations and used solely for cemetery purposes, shall

be exempt from the payment of any and all assessments for the construction of sewers made in

pursuance of the provisions of this act, so long as such lands shall be held and uses solely for such

purposes: Provided, that all assessments made on such lands for the construction and acquisition

of sewers, under the provisions of this act, shall be and remain for thirty years a lien on said

lands, without interest, and the town may enforce the collection of such assessments, whenever

such lands or any portion thereof shall be abandoned for said purposes, in the manner as other

sewer assessments are collected or enforced.

     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.