It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. There is hereby incorporated a district to be known as the East Tiverton Water and Fire District. The district shall consist of the following: Those real properties currently located on a water line owned or leased by the Tiverton Water Authority at the time of passage of this act.
The district boundaries may be expanded, pursuant to section 1A of this act to include other areas of the town of Tiverton with the exception of that part of the town and those customers presently served by the North Tiverton and Stone Bridge Fire District.
SECTION 1A. Expansion of district boundaries. -- If the administrative board shall vote to expand the water district, said expanded area shall become part of the water district upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the electors in the proposed expanded area.
The inhabitants of the proposed expanded area qualified to vote for town officers shall be the electors for the purpose of voting to expand the district.
Said vote on the issue of expansion of the district shall be taken at a special meeting called by the clerk upon order of the administrative board.
Taxes shall be assessed throughout the district as expanded by this section for the fiscal year subsequent to said expansion.
SECTION 2. The inhabitants of the district qualified to vote for town officers shall be electors of the district and as such shall be eligible to vote in all elections of officers of the district.
SECTION 3. A special meeting of said district shall be held two (2) weeks after the certification of the election by the town council. At that meeting the officers named in section 4 hereof shall be elected. There shall also be a semi-annual meeting on the first Tuesday in June in the year of 1998 and thereafter there shall be an annual meeting on the first Tuesday in June every year.
Special meetings of said district shall be called by the clerk upon order of the administrative board or upon written application of at least twenty-five (25) electors. It shall be the duty of the clerk to fix a suitable place for the holding of all meetings, and to give notice of each meeting both annual and special, by posting such notice in at least three (3) public places within said district at least ten (10) days before the meeting and such notice shall contain a statement of the time and place when and where a meeting will be held for the purpose of correcting and canvassing the voting list to be used at any such annual or special meeting, and it shall be the duty of the assessors of taxes of said district, to canvass and correct said voting list in the same manner, as near as may be, as is provided by law for boards of canvassers: Provided, however, that it shall be the duty of the board of canvassers of the town of Tiverton to fix a suitable place for the holding of the first annual meeting, to choose a moderator and clerk therefor, and to canvass and correct the voting list to be used thereat, and it shall be the duty of the town clerk of Tiverton to give notice of such annual meeting in the same manner as is provided in this section for notice by the clerk of said district, and said town clerk shall also provide for use at such annual meeting a ballot box, and certified copies of the voting list to be used thereat. No vote, except upon an adjournment, or in the annual election of officers, shall be taken at any meeting of the district unless at least twenty (20) electors are present at such meeting.
SECTION 4. The electors of said district shall at each annual meeting elect officers to serve until the first Tuesday in June next succeeding, and until their successors be elected and qualified, and such officers shall consist of a moderator, clerk, treasurer, three (3) assessors, and a collector of taxes, whose duties and powers shall be within said district, such as like officers of towns in this state have in their respective towns, proper for such district. Such officers shall constitute the administrative board, and the duties of such board shall be such as are prescribed in this act, and are defined by the by-laws of said district. Any vacancy that may occur in any of the aforenamed officers between annual meetings shall be filled by the qualified candidate for said office with the next highest vote total from the last election. If the next highest qualified candidate is unavailable, the next available qualified candidate is chosen until the list is exhausted. In the event of a tie, the administrative board shall select. If no qualified candidate is available from the list, the administrative board shall appoint a qualified elector to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. The new member shall be sworn in at the next regular meeting of the administrative board. The electors of said district may at any meeting adopt and ordain such by-laws and from time to time rescind or amend the same, as they shall deem necessary and proper for the purpose of this act and not repugnant thereto, and not inconsistent with any other law, provided that no greater penalty shall be inflicted thereby than is prescribed in section 10, and may appoint such committees as they may deem necessary, and may fix the compensation of all agents and employees of the district.
SECTION 5. The district is hereby authorized to obtain and maintain for the district a supply of water for the extinguishing of fire, and the distribution to the inhabitants of the district, for domestic use and for other purposes, and may obtain such water by the establishment of its own works, or by contracting thereof as provided below, or in such other manner as to the district may seem necessary and proper, and is not inconsistent with law. The district may also furnish water to the inhabitants of the town of Tiverton outside of the boundaries of the district. If the district shall undertake to distribute the water so obtained, it shall have the exclusive right thereto, and may maintain an action against any person for using the same without the consent of the district and may regulate the distribution and use of said water within and without said district, and from time to time fix water rates and charges for the water and water facilities furnished by the district, which may be based upon the quantity of water used 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 or cost of the water and water facilities furnished or upon any combination of such factors, and the owner of any house, building, tenement or estate shall be liable for the payment of the water rates and charges fixed by the district; and such water rates and charges shall be a lien upon such house, building, tenement, and estate in the same way and manner as taxes assessed on real estate are liens, and if not paid as required by the district, shall be collected by said district in the same manner that taxes assessed on real estate are by law collected. Nothing in this section or any other section of this act, shall be construed as giving to the district an exclusive franchise to furnish water outside of the boundaries of the district.
Without limiting the generality of the foregoing provisions as to water rates and charges, any contract for the sale of water to inhabitants of the town of Tiverton outside of the boundaries of the district may be recorded in the same manner as a deed of land and, upon such recording, the obligation of the owner of the real property involved shall be a lien on such property and such lien shall be enforceable in the same manner as taxes assessed on real estate are by law collected.
The district is authorized to contract for periods not exceeding forty (40) years with the state, any other municipal or quasi-municipal corporation or with the owner of any privately owned water system for the purchase or sale of water or for the use of water facilities and the state, such other municipal or quasi-municipal corporations and the owners of privately owned water systems are authorized to enter into such contracts with the district.
The district may establish such public hydrants in such public places as it may see fit and prescribe for what purposes the same shall be used, all of which it may change in its discretion. Hydrant rentals shall be charged to the Town of Tiverton for each year at such rates as the district may establish.
The town shall also be subject to the water rates for other water consumed by the town.
For the purposes of this act the district shall have and enjoy all the authority and power conferred upon the electors or town council of any town, by the provisions of chapter 39-15 of the general laws, entitled "Water supply", and of all acts in amendment thereof and in addition thereto, and when exercising such power and authority shall be subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed by said chapter and acts upon towns and town councils.
SECTION 6. Said district may within and without said district, and within the limits of said town of Tiverton and with the consent of said town, drive, lay, make construct and maintain pipes, aqueducts, conduits, machinery or other equipment or appliance or authorize the same to be done, and regulate the use thereof. And for the purposes aforesaid, may carry any works to be constructed, or authorized to be constructed by it, over or under any highway, turnpike, railroad or street, in such manner as not to permanently obstruct or impede travel thereon; and may enter upon and dig up any highway, turnpike, road or street for the purpose of laying down pipes or building aqueducts, or upon or beneath the surface thereof, or for the purpose of repairing the same, and if in the course of such making, constructing, or repairing any pipe, conduit or other structure lawfully located in such highway, turnpike, road or street is damaged, or if the location of such pipe, conduit or other structure is changed, said district shall reimburse the owner of such pipe, conduit or other structure for such damage, or for the expense of such change of location. Said district shall restore any such highway, turnpike, road or street, so dug up, in accordance with the requirements of the town code of the town of Tiverton. All pipes conduits, aqueducts, machinery, implements, equipment, appliances and all other property of the district used by said district for the purposes provided for by this act, shall be exempt from all taxes for state, town or district purposes.
SECTION 7. The qualified voters of the district at their annual meeting of the district shall have power to order such taxes and provide for assessing and collecting the same on the taxable inhabitants and property of said districts, as they shall deem necessary for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining a supply of water and distributing the same throughout the town of Tiverton for the extinguishing fire, power, domestic and other uses; and for establishing and maintaining and constructing water works, driving wells, and operating the same and purchasing and leasing real estate and other property and property rights necessary for a water supply, and laying and maintaining pipes, conduits, aqueducts and other structures connected therewith and purchasing implements, machinery and other appliances; and for the payment of the current expenses of the district,; the payment of such employees and other agents as they are authorized to elect, appoint or otherwise choose under this act; also for the payment of any indebtedness that has been or may be incurred by the district; and such taxes so ordered shall be assessed by the assessors of the district on the taxable inhabitants and the property therein according to the last valuation made by the assessors of the town next previous to said assessment, adding however any taxable property which may have been omitted by said town assessors or afterwards acquired, and in all cases where the town assessors have included property without the district in one valuation, the assessors of the district shall make an equitable valuation of that portion of said property lying within the district; and in the assessing and collecting of said taxes such proceedings shall be had by the officers of the district as near as may be as are required to be head by the corresponding officers of towns in assessing and collecting town taxes; and the collection of taxes for the said district shall, for the purpose of collecting taxes assessed by said district, have the same powers and authority as are now by law conferred on collectors of taxes for towns in this state. Said district may provide for such deduction from the tax assessed against any person if paid by an appointed time, or for such penalty by way or percentage on the tax if not paid at the appointed time, as they shall deem necessary to insure punctual payment. No such tax shall be assessed unless the proposition to impose the same shall have been approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon. Provided, however, that the tax assessed and payable in any one year under the provisions of this section shall not exceed 5 mills on each dollar of said valuation.
SECTION 8. For the purpose of raising money to carry out any of the provisions of this act, the district is hereby authorized and empowered to issue interest bearing bonds under its corporate name and seal or a facsimile of such seal. The bonds of such issue shall mature in annual installments of principal, the first installment to be not later than four (4) years and the last installment not later than forty (40) years after the date of the bonds. No installment of principal of any issued shall exceed the next prior installment by more than eight percent (8%), except that any installment of principal may be increased so as to equal a multiple of five thousand dollars ($5,000), and except that this limitation shall not apply to an installment payable in less than five (5) years from the date of the bonds. Bonds shall be sold at not less than par and accrued interest.
No purchaser of any bonds or note issued hereunder shall be in any way responsible for the proper application of the proceeds derived from the sale thereof.
Bonds and notes may be issued hereunder without obtaining the consent of any commission, board or agency of the sate and without any other proceedings, or the happening of any other condition or thing than those proceedings, conditions and things which are specifically required by this act.
Bonds may be issued hereunder for the purpose of refunding any bonds heretofore and hereafter issued by the district either at maturity or upon redemption prior to maturity, with or without premium. Such bonds may be issued not more than five (5) years prior to the applicable maturity or redemption date as may be determined by the administrative board to be in the best interests of the district.
The bonds shall be obligatory upon the district in the same manner and to the same extent as other debts lawfully contracted by the district. Subject to the limitation contained in section 7, the district shall annually levy taxes in sufficient amount to meet all expenses of the district, including, without limiting this or any other provisions of the district charter, principal and interest on its bonds and notes to the extent that funds therefor are not otherwise provided.
The district may also authorize its treasurer to raise money by the issue of interest bearing or discounted notes. Such notes may be issued in anticipation of the authorization or issue of bonds, or in anticipation of the receipt of federal aid, for the purposes of this act or to meet current expenses, including installments of principal and interest on bonds. The amounts of notes issued in anticipation of federal aid for any purpose shall not exceed the amount of the available federal aid as estimated by the board. The amount of notes issued in any fiscal year to meet current expenses shall not exceed such current expenses as estimated by the board.
Notes issued hereunder in anticipation of bonds or federal aid shall be payable within three (3) years from their dates and notes issued hereunder to meet current expenses shall be payable within one (1) year from their 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 the applicable period prescribed above.
Notes may be secured by resolution, indenture or trust agreement as provided below in the case of bonds, and references in the following paragraph to bonds and bondholders shall be deemed to include notes and noteholders. A resolution, indenture or trust agreement securing bonds or notes of the district need not be filed or recorded except in the records of the district which are hereby declared to be public records. In addition to the matters mentioned in the following paragraph to any such resolution, indenture or trust agreement may contain such provisions for protection and enforcing the rights, security and remedies of the bondholders or noteholders as may be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law.
To secure the payment of such bonds the administrative board may, either by resolution or by an indenture or trust agreement authorized by resolution, with or without a bank as trustee for the benefit of the holders of such bonds, make such provisions as the administrative board may determine, which shall constitute a part of the contract between the district and the bondholders, as to (a) the pledge, application, custody, deposit, use and disposition of the gross revenues from the district's water system as it may at any time exist or be extended or improved, including a definition of the net revenues thereof and the method of computing the same, the proceeds of the bonds, tax revenues and any and all moneys or property at any time representing a part of such revenue or taxes, and including the establishment and maintenance of reserves from the bond proceeds or otherwise for the payment of interest during and after construction and for other purposes, (b) the water rates and other charges for the services and facilities furnished by the district's water system and the collection thereof, (c) the construction of extensions and improvements on the district's water system and the operation, insurance, maintenance and repair of such systems, (d) bonds to be subsequently authorized and issued in connection with such system and the terms, provisions and limitations applicable thereto, (e) the payment and redemption at or prior to maturity of the bonds authorized by this act, (f) the manner of disbursement of the funds of the district, the bonding of its officers and employees, and the auditing of its accounts, (g) the rights, powers and duties of the district, the trustee (if any) and the bondholders and (h) subsequent amendments of such provisions. The administrative board shall have the power and the duty on behalf of the district to perform the obligations imposed on the district by such resolutions, indenture or trust agreement, including the establishment of water rates and charges as provided therein. Any pledge made pursuant to this act shall be effective from the time the pledge is made, and any money or property pledged pursuant to this act shall be subject to such pledge immediately without physical delivery or appropriation or separation thereof from other money or property. No subsequent legislation shall impair the rights or remedies of the bondholders or the power of the district to acquire the means for the payment of the bonds or to perform all its contracts, covenants and other obligations entered into pursuant to this act.
SECTION 9. The district is authorized to apply for, contract for and expend any federal survey or planning advances or other grants or assistance which may be available for the purposes of this act. To the extent of any inconsistency between this act or any other law of this state and any applicable federal law or regulation, the latter shall prevail. Federal survey or planning advances, with interest where applicable, may be repaid from the proceeds of bonds or notes or otherwise as a cost of the project or projects involved.
SECTION 10. Said district at any meeting shall have the power to enact bylaws for the protection of water pipes, hydrants, safety valves, water gates or other apparatus or property of or in said district and used for the purposes provided in this act, and for any breach of such bylaw may provide for a penalty to be assessed by the district not exceeding a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) or in lieu thereof, an amount equal to the actual cost of repair, replacement and/or inspection resulting from such breach, plus an additional one and one-half times the actual cost to cover the overhead and other related expenses of said district, to be recovered for the use of said district. The district may further provide that, if the penalty or charge is not paid by the appointed time, the penalty or charge be increased by way of percentage on the penalty or charge as it shall deem necessary to the district to insure punctual payment, which penalty or charge and interest may be enforced by prosecuting the person(s) in breach of said bylaw(s), on a civil complaint of any member of the Administrative Board of said district before any court of competent jurisdiction.
SECTION 11. If any person shall maliciously or wantonly destroy or injure any hydrant, pipe, aqueduct, conduit, machinery, equipment, appliance or other property or in said district used for the purpose provided in this act, such person and his aiders and abettors, shall each forfeit to said district to be recovered by an action of trespass on the case, treble amount of damages which shall appear to have been sustained thereby, and shall also be liable to indictment therefor, and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisoned not more than one (1) year, or shall suffer both such fine and imprisonment.
SECTION 12. This act shall be submitted to the voters of that portion of the town of Tiverton described in section 1 hereof, who possess the qualification set forth in section 2 hereof, at an election to be held in said town within ninety (90) days of passage of this act. The polls at said election shall be open from 8:00 o'clock a.m. until 9:00 o'clock p.m. The board of canvassers of the town of Tiverton shall fix a time not later than three (3) days before said election when they shall meet to canvass and correct the voting list to be used at said election. The town clerk shall also provide for use at said election a special ballot box, certified copies of the voting list corrected by the board of canvassers as aforesaid, and a sufficient number of ballots. Upon said ballots there shall be printed the question "Shall the charter of the East Tiverton Water and Fire District be accepted?" and at the right of said question there shall be a square in which shall be printed the word "Yes" and under such square there shall be another square in which shall be printed the word "No", and at the right of each of said words there shall be a sufficient space in which the elector may indicate his approval by a cross (X) mark at the right of the word "Yes" or his disapproval by a like mark at the right of the word "No". The votes cast at said election after being counted in open meeting at the close of polls shall be forthwith sealed up and delivered to the town clerk of Tiverton and the board of canvassers of said town shall meet on the day following said election to count and declare the votes cast thereat. If the town council shall find that a majority of all the qualified voters voting on said question shall vote "Yes", this act shall be accepted, and if a majority thereof shall vote "No", it shall be rejected. The count of such vote shall be certified by the town clerk to the Secretary of State.
SECTION 13. Chapter 116 of the Public Laws of 1975, entitled "An Act Providing for a Public Water Works System in the Town of Tiverton, and Authorizing the Town of Tiverton to Issue Not Exceeding One Million Dollars in Bonds for Water Purposes" is hereby repealed.
SECTION 14. The assets of the Tiverton Water Authority shall pass to the town of Tiverton and the town shall assume the liabilities, contracts and obligations of the Tiverton Water Authority.
SECTION 15. This section and section 12 shall take effect upon passage. 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 section 12.