§ 24-2-8.4. Acceptance and upgrading of access into highway system in town of Burrillville.
(a) The town of Burrillville shall be permitted to utilize the below listed procedure to provide for the acceptance and upgrading of highways not yet accepted into the town's highway system:
(1) Owners of land fronting on an existing means of ingress and egress to their property which has not been accepted into the town highway system may make application to the town council for acceptance by the town of the access into the town's highway system.
(2) The application must be signed by sixty-six and two thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the owners of land with frontage on the access presented for acceptance.
(3) The access presented for acceptance must be connectable to an accepted town highway or a highway maintained by the state. For good cause shown this provision may be waived by the town council.
(4)(i) Whenever the council shall determine to consider the acceptance and upgrading of highways into the town's highway and defray the cost and expense thereof, or any part thereof by special assessment, the council may cause the town manager or his or her designee to make an investigation of the proposed public improvement and report his or her findings to the council. The report shall include an analysis of the following:
(A) The estimated cost of the proposed public improvement; and
(B) Plans and specifications for the public improvement.
(ii) There shall also be included recommendations as to the following:
(A) The portion of the cost to be borne by a special assessment and the portion, if any, to be borne by the town at large;
(B) The extent of the improvement and boundaries of the highways to be accepted into the town's highway system;
(C) The number of installments in which assessments may be paid; and
(D) Any other facts or recommendations which will aid the council in determining whether the improvements shall be made and how the same shall be financed.
(5) No expenditure, except for the necessary procedures of the council and for the preparing of necessary profiles, plans, specifications and estimates of cost, shall be made for any public improvements, the cost of which is to be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefitted thereby, until the council has passed a resolution determining to proceed with the public improvement.
(6) Upon receipt of the report of the town manager, if the council shall determine to proceed with the improvement, it shall, by resolution, order the report prepared by the town manager filed with the town clerk. In addition, by the resolution, the council shall tentatively determine to proceed with the public improvement, tentatively determine the necessity thereof and set forth the nature thereof, tentatively designate the limits of the special assessment to be affected and describe the lands to be assessed, tentatively determine the part or proportion of the cost of the public improvement to be paid by the lands specially benefitted thereby and the part or proportion, if any to be paid by the town at large for benefit to the town at large, and shall direct the assessor to make a special assessment roll of the part or proportion of the cost to be borne by the lands specially benefitted according to the benefits received and to report the same to the council. The assessment shall be made on all land abutting the road constructed at a uniform rate for each front foot of the land upon the road or any other method or combination of methods which the town council shall determine to be equitable and fair; provided, however, that no parcel of land shall be assessed for an amount in excess of the benefit conferred thereon as determined by the town council.
(7) When the special assessment roll shall have been reported to the council, it shall order the roll filed in the office of the town clerk for public examination along with the report of the town manager required to be made pursuant to subsection (a)(4), and shall fix a date, time and place when the council shall meet to finally determine the necessity of the improvement, limits of the special assessment district and to review the roll and to hear complaints. The town manager's report and the assessment roll shall be open to public inspection for a period of seven (7) days before the hearing required by this section. The town clerk shall give notice of the hearing by the council to determine the necessity for the improvement, composition of the district and review of the special assessment roll, and to hear objections by publication at least once in a newspaper printed and circulated in the town at least ten (10) days prior to the time of the meetings, and shall further cause notice of the meeting to be mailed by first-class mail to each property owner in the special assessment district as shown by the current assessment rolls on file with the tax assessor.
(8) The council shall meet and hear objections to the public improvement to the special assessment district, and the special assessment roll therefor at the time and place appointed or at an adjourned meeting thereof and shall consider any objections thereto. The council may revise, correct or amend the plans, estimates of cost, special assessment district and special assessment roll. If any changes shall be made which result in additions to the special assessment district or increases in the special assessment roll, then a second hearing shall be held with respect to the changes and notice of the hearing shall be given in the same manner as required for the first hearing. After the hearing, or second hearing if required, the council may, by resolution, determine to proceed with the public improvement, determine the necessity thereof and set forth the nature thereof, designate the limits of the special assessment district to be affected and describe the lands to be assessed, finally determine the part or proportion of the cost of the public improvement to be paid by the lands specially benefitted thereby and the part or portion, if any, to be paid by the town at large for benefit to the town at large. The council may also confirm the special assessment roll with the corrections as it may have made, if any, or may refer it back to the assessor for revision, or may annul it or any proceedings in connection therewith. The assessor shall endorse the date of confirmation upon each special assessment roll.
(9) Upon completion of the construction of the road, the town shall accept the road into the town's highway system and maintain it in the same manner as other town accepted roads.
(10) If during or prior to the hearing by the council, the owners of more than one-half ( 1 / 2 ) of the property to be assessed shall object in writing to the improvement, the assessment shall not be made and the improvement shall not take place.
(11) All special assessments contained in any special assessment roll, including any part thereof to be paid in installments, shall, from the date of confirmation of such roll, constitute a lien upon the respective lots or parcels of land assessed and until paid shall be a charge against the respective owners of the several lots and parcels of land and a debt to the town from the persons to whom they are assessed. The lien shall be of the same character and effect as the lien created by the statute for real property taxes, and shall include accrued interest and fees. No judgment or decree nor act of the council vacating a special assessment shall destroy or impair the lien of the town upon the premises assessed for such amount of the assessment as may be equitably charged against the same, or as by a regular mode of proceeding might be lawfully assessed thereon. All special assessments shall become due upon confirmation of the special assessment roll or in annual installments, not to exceed fifteen (15) in number, as the council may determine at the time of confirmation, and, if annual installments, the council may determine the first installment to be due upon confirmation or upon any other date the council may prescribe, and the subsequent installments annually thereafter. Deferred installments shall bear interest at such rate as the council may prescribe which shall not exceed seven percent (7%) per annum.
(12) Whenever any special assessment roll shall be confirmed and be payable, the council shall direct the roll to the tax collector for collection. The tax collector shall mail statements of the several assessments to the respective owners of the several lots and parcels of land assessed, as indicated by the records of the assessor, stating the amount of the assessment and the manner in which it may be paid, provided, however, that failure to mail any statement shall not invalidate the assessment or entitle the owner to an extension of time during which to pay the assessment.
(13) The whole or any part of any such assessment may be paid in full at any time after the date of confirmation of the special assessment roll until the time as the council shall prescribe without interest or penalty.
(14) Each special assessment shall be collected by the tax collector with the same rights and remedies as provided by law for the collection of taxes, except as otherwise provided herein.
(15) After the expiration of the period set forth in subsection (a)(13) for payment without interest or fees, any installment may be discharged by paying the face amount thereof, together with fees and interest thereon from the date of confirmation to the date of payment.
(16) Upon completion of the improvement, the financing and the payment of the cost thereof, the treasurer shall certify to the council the total cost of the improvement together with the amount of the original roll for the improvement.
(17) Should the assessments on any special assessment roll, including the amount assessed to the town at large, prove insufficient for which they were made, then the council may make additional pro rata assessments to supply the deficiency against the town and the several lots and parcels of land in the same ratio as the original assessments, but the total amount assessed against any lot or parcel of land shall not exceed the value of the benefits received from the improvement.
(18) Should the special assessment or the proceeds of sale of any special assessment bonds prove larger than necessary to meet the costs of the improvement or to meet the principal and interest requirements of any special assessment bonds and expenses incidental thereof, the excess shall be placed in the town treasury. If more than five percent (5%), the excess shall be returned pro rata according to assessments; except as otherwise provided in this section. No refunds may be made which contravene the provisions of any evidence of indebtedness secured in whole or in part by such special assessment.
(19) Should any lots or lands be divided after a special assessment thereon has been confirmed and divided into installments, the assessor shall apportion the uncollected amounts upon the several lots and lands so divided, and shall enter the several amounts as amendments upon the special assessment roll. The tax collector, shall, within ten (10) days after such apportionment, send notice of such action to all interested persons at their last known address by first-class mail. The apportionment shall be final and conclusive on all parties unless protest in writing is received by the tax collector within twenty (20) days of the mailing of the notice.
(20) Whenever the council deems any special assessment invalid or defective, or whenever a court adjudges an assessment to be illegal in whole or in part, the council may cause a new assessment to be levied for the same purpose, whether or not the improvement or any part thereof has been completed, or any part of the special assessment collected. All proceedings on the reassessment and for the collection thereof shall be conducted in the same manner as provided for in the original assessment. If any portion of the original special assessment is collected and not refunded, it shall be applied upon the reassessment, and the reassessment shall, to that extent, be deemed satisfied. If more than the amount reassessed is collected, the balance shall be refunded to the person making such payment.
(21) If, in any action, it shall appear that by reason of any irregularities or informalities, the assessment has not been properly made against the person assessed or upon the lot or premises sought to be charged, the court may, nevertheless, upon satisfactory proof that expense has been incurred by the town which is a proper charge against the person assessed or the lot or premises in question, render judgment for the amount properly chargeable against such person or upon such lot or premises.
(22) In any case where the provisions of this section may prove to be insufficient to carry into full effect the making of any improvement or the special assessment therefor, the council shall provide any additional steps or procedure required to effect the improvement by special assessment in the resolution declaring the determination of the council to make such improvement in the first instance.
(b) This section shall not be construed to limit the town from exercising any of its rights under law and is intended only to provide a mechanism to provide landowners with a means of upgrading access to their property and repaying the town over an agreed period of time at an agreed interest rate.
(P.L. 1992, ch. 474, § 1.)