It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 175 of the public laws of 1970 entitled "An act to create a sewer authority for the town of Coventry and to authorize said town to plan, construct, finance, operate and maintain sewage works", chapter 6 of the public laws of 1976 entitled "An act concerning the Conventry sewer authority and chapter 177 of the public laws of 1976 entitled "An act amending and providing for the effective date of chapter 6 of the public laws of 1976 entitled 'An act concerning the Coventry sewer authority' or which act as amended hereby amends chapter 175 of the public laws of 1970 entitled 'An act to create a sewer authority for the town of Coventry and to authorize said town to plan, construct, finance, operate and maintain sewage works'" and chapter 40 of the general laws of 1978 entitled "An Act To Create a Sewer Authority for the Town of Coventry and to Authorize Said Town to Plan, Construct, Finance, Operate and Maintain Sewage Works" are hereby further amended to read as follows:
Sec. 1. The Town of Coventry is authorized and empowered in accordance with the provisions of this act, to plan, lay out, construct, finance, operate and maintain sewage works for a part or the whole of its territory and for such purposes to take by eminent domain or otherwise any lands, water rights, rights-of-way, or easements, public or private, in said town necessary for accomplishing any purpose mentioned in this act. Such sewage works may include sewers and sewer service connections, pumping stations, sewage treatment works, sewage disposal works, and other works essential to the proper collection and disposal of the sewage of said town.
As used in this act, unless the context otherwise requires:
"Preliminary plans" shall mean engineering reports which shall conform to all applicable state and federal guidelines and shall include detailed scope and area to be considered with recommendations, preliminary and feasibility investigation, environmental assessment, cost studies, economic comparisons of alternatives and all application and pre-application work and other work necessary or desirable before undertaking working plans.
"Working plans" shall mean final design plans of facilities, detailed construction drawings, specifications, detailed estimate of cost of construction, and shall include all other engineering work which may be required or advisable for actual construction of sewage works.
"Town" means the Town of Coventry.
"Council" means the town council of the Town of Coventry.
"Highways" means any state or other highway and any public street, alley, park, parkway, driveway, bridge or public place.
"Sewage works" means all constructions for collection, transportation, pumping, treatment and final disposal of sewage.
"Common sewer" means a sewer in which all abutters have equal rights of entrance and use.
"Force main" means a sewer wherein sewage is moved by pressure.
"Sewer service connection" means a pipe to convey sewage and wastes from a building to a common sewer.
"Sewage" shall mean wastewater, water-carried wastes, or a combination of them, discharged into and conveyed by sewers or intended or customarily so discharged and conveyed. Sewage may be further classified as follows:
"Sanitary sewage" shall mean the common wastewater and water-carried wastes from human dwellings and from toilet and lavatory fixtures, kitchens, laundries, and similar facilities of business and industrial buildings. In general, sanitary sewage shall not include storm water from roofs, yards, streets or open spaces, water from land surfaces or brooks, clean waste overflows from springs, wells, or subsoil drainage, large volumes of clean water from air conditioning or other cooling or condensing facilities, clean wastewater from hydraulically operated contrivances and those wastes included within the definition of "industrial wastes" next following.
"Industrial wastes" shall include the liquid or water-carried wastes of any industrial process not clearly included within the definitions of sanitary sewage, storm water, cooling water or subsoil drainage herein. In general, wastewaters carrying any quantity of oils, grease, fats, abrasives, chemicals, residues of manufacturing processes, wastes from commercial food preserving or canning, from slaughterhouses or meat processing plants, and similar substances, whether dissolved, in suspension, or mechanically carried by water, shall be considered as industrial wastes.
"Storm water" shall include the runoff or discharge of rain and melted snow or other clean water from roofs, surfaces of public or private lands or elsewhere. For most purposes within the scope of this act, storm water shall not include the flow of any natural brook, rivulet or stream even if the source of such water is storm runoff from land or other property once that runoff has entered the channel of such brook or natural watercourse. In general, storm water shall include only water which is sufficiently clean and unpolluted to admit of being discharged, without treatment or purification, into any natural open stream or watercourse without offense.
"Cooling water" shall include the clean wastewater from air conditioning, industrial cooling, condensing and similar apparatus and from hydraulically powered equipment. In general, cooling water will include only water which is sufficiently clean and unpolluted to admit of being discharged, without treatment or purification, into any natural open stream or watercourse without offense.
"Seepage" or "subsoil drainage" shall include water from the soil percolating into subsoil drains and through foundation walls, basement floors, or underground pipes or from similar sources.
"Lateral sewer" means a sewer which does not receive the sewage from any other common sewer.
"Submain sewer" means a sewer into which the sewage from two (2) or more lateral sewers is discharged.
"Main sewer" means a sewer into which the sewage from two (2) or more submain sewers is discharged.
"Land" means and includes any land, including building and other improvements thereon, estate, riparial or other right, easement, interest or waterway.
The Town of Coventry may provide for the construction of sewers and for other sewage works for said town and may raise funds therefor by borrowing or otherwise, and for that purpose may issue bonds or notes of the town in accordance with the provisions hereinafter stated or under other authority.
The town council shall provide that annual charges shall be made upon the owners of the lands using the sewage works and that sewer assessments shall be made upon the owners of lands for which the use of sewage works is available. The receipts from annual charges and sewer assessments shall be appropriated for and applied to the payment of the charges and expenses incident to the planning, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the sewage works, and to the payment of principal costs for any bonds or notes issued for sewage works, and any deficiency of said receipts in any year for said purposes shall be met by appropriation by the town council and assessment in the regular town tax. The receipts from annual charges shall, however, be held in a separate account and said receipts shall be used solely for the maintenance and operations of the treatment plant.
Sec. 2. The Town Council of the Town of Coventry 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. 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.
Sec. 3. Without in any way limiting the authority of said town to provide sewers anywhere within the territorial limits of the town, the town council at its discretion may authorize the construction, maintenance, and operation of sewage works from time to time in different areas or sections of the town. The council shall proceed to prepare construction plans, specifications and cost estimates of sewage works for the town or any portion thereof, showing the streets and highways in which the sewers will be placed and the location of other sewage works to be placed outside of the street and highway limits. The council shall also prepare, or have prepared, a report describing the proposed sewage works and a complete estimate of costs therefor.
When such plans, specifications, reports and estimates are completed, they shall cause to be held a public hearing. Notice of the hearing shall be published in a public newspaper having circulation in the Town of Coventry at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.
The council shall appropriate a sum sufficient to pay the cost of preparing the plans, specifications, reports and estimates provided for in this section to be expended by the council, and to be paid by the town treasurer upon vouchers approved by a majority of the council.
In the preparation of plans, specifications, reports and estimates provided in this section, the council may from time to time employ and fix the compensation of such consulting engineers, legal advisers, and other professional experts, and such other engineers, surveyors, draftsmen, clerks, and other employees as it may find necessary and may discontinue the employment of any or all such employees.
Sec. 4. Upon the completion of a public hearing of the plans, specifications, reports and estimates as provided in section 3 hereof, the council shall proceed as soon as may be practicable to carry out construction work contemplated by the plans aforesaid. The council shall be vested with full authority to construct sewage works for said town, and to make for and in behalf of the town all necessary contrats for construction and for the purchase of property, supplies and equipment. All work, supplies, materials and equipment required by the council in connection with the construction of the sewage works shall be procured by contract made pursuant to and in manner required by the provisions hereof. In all contracts involving more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), except in the case of legal services, the services of consulting engineers and other professional services, said council shall advertise for bids based upon proper specifications to be prepared by said council, and shall let such bidder or bidders who will give security, satisfactory to said council for the performance of their contract, after considering the relative competency and responsibility of the bidders and the amount of their respective bids. The operation, maintenance and reparation of said sewage works shall be vested in the council.
The council may from time to time employ and fix the compensation of such professional engineers, legal advisors, surveyors, draftsmen, clerks, and other employees as it may find necessary for the construction, operation, maintenance and repair of said sewage works, and may at any time discontinue the employment of any or all such employees. The council shall cause to be kept a record of all its accounts and proceedings and an accurate account of all its transactions, and shall annually, and at such other times as directed by the council, report to the town council its doings and make a report in detail of its financial accounts. The council shall keep minutes of all its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question or if such member be absent or fails to vote indicating such fact; and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be filed and shall be a public record.
Sec. 5. For the purpose of paying the cost of all land acquired by the town under the authority of this act and of all services, stations, sewage treatment work(s) and sewage disposal works, labor, materials and supplies for the construction of pumping and for constructing and laying force mains, main sewers, submain sewers and lateral sewers, and for connecting any such sewers to the boundary lines of abutting estates, and for reconstructing, resurfacing, and repairing highways through which sewers are laid, for all other necessary expenses and liabilities under this act, other than expenses of maintenance and operation of sewage works after the completion thereof, and for the purpose of reimbursing the town treasury for sums advanced therefrom as herein provided, and for the purpose of funding any temporary notes or renewals thereof issued pursuant to section 6 hereof, or for any one (1) or more of said purposes, the Town of Coventry is hereby authorized, in addition to authority previously granted, to issue bonds to an amount not exceeding seven million dollars ($7,000,000) from time to time under its corporate name and seal or a facsimile of such seal. The principal of the bonds and interest thereon shall be payable in any coin or currency of the United States of America which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts. The bonds of each issue shall mature 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. No installment of principal of any issue shall exceed any prior installment by more than six percent (6%) of the total principal amount of the issue, except for a prior installment earlier than herein required. The bonds shall be signed by the town treasurer and by the manual or facsimile signature of the president of the town council and shall be issued and sold at not less than par accrued interest in such amounts as the town council may determine. The manner of sale, denominations, maturities, interest rates and other terms, conditions and details of any bonds or notes issued under this act may be fixed by the resolution 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.
The town treasurer upon receipt of a requisition signed by a majority of the council shall raise such sums as may be deemed necessary by the issue and sale of bonds and notes issued under the provisions of section 5 or section 6 of this act. Such sums are to be appropriated to carry out the purposes of this act, which sums shall be paid out from time to time by the town treasurer upon receipt of vouchers approved by a majority of the town council.
The town council may authorize the town treasurer to advance from the town treasury such sums not otherwise appropriated as may be required for the purposes of this act pending the borrowing of money as provided by this act and the sums so advanced shall be repaid to the treasury by the town treasurer from the proceeds of any borrowing hereunder next after such advance.
Sec. 6. The town council of the Town of Coventry may authorize the issue from time to time of interest bearing or discounted notes in anticipation of the authorization or issue of bonds under section 5 of this act or in anticipation of the receipt of federal 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 aid may not exceed the amount of available federal aid as estimated by the town treasurer. Temporary notes issued hereunder shall be signed by the town treasurer and by the president of the town council and shall be payable within three (3) 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 three (3) years.
Sec. 7. Serial bonds or notes issued under authority of and in compliance with section 5 of this act shall be valid and general obligations of the Town of Coventry in accordance with the terms thereof and payable as to both principal and interest from ad valorem taxes which may be levied without limit as to rate or amount upon all the taxable property within the territorial limits of the town and taxable by it, except as the tax rate on intangible personal property may from time to time be limited by general law. Notwithstanding chapter 204 of the Public Laws of 1963, all real and tangible personal property may be assessed for the portion of the tax, if any assessed by the Town of Coventry for the purpose of paying the indebtedness authorized hereunder and the interest thereon.
Notes issued under authority of and in compliance with section 6 of this act, shall be valid and general obligations of the Town of Coventry in accordance with the terms thereof. All obligations of the town which are incurred under the authority of this act shall be excepted from the operation of section 45-12-2 of the General Laws, 1956, and acts in addition thereto and in amendment thereof and such obligations shall not at any time be included in ascertaining the borrowing capacity of the town.
The validity of any bonds or notes issued under this act shall not be affected by any provisions of this act other than section 5 through 7.
Any bonds or notes issued under the provisions of this act and coupons of any bonds, if properly executed by officers of the town and 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. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this act, no bonds shall be issued in excess of amounts approved from time to time by vote of a majority of the electors present and voting on the question at an annual or special financial town meeting. A vote not to approve an amount of bonds hereunder shall not preclude any later vote to approve the same of a different amount.
Sec. 8. The proceeds arising from the sale of any bonds or notes issued under authority of this act shall be delivered to the town treasurer and shall be kept by him in separate accounts and shall be expended only for the purposes and in the manner prescribed by this act, provided that the proceeds of the sale of any issue of serial bonds or notes shall first be applied to the payment of such temporary notes as may have been issued in anticipation of such issue, and provided further that any premium received over the par value of the serial bonds or notes of any issue, less the cost of preparing, issuing and marketing such serial bonds or notes shall be applied to the payment of the principal of the first bonds or notes of such issue first to mature.
Sec. 9. The council shall determine that proportion of the cost of constructing, operating and maintaining the sewage works, provided for in section 1 of this act, the town shall pay by general taxation and what portions shall be paid by assessments and annual charges against individual parcels of property, and shall pay at least one fourth and not more than two-thirds of the cost of constructing, operating and maintaining said sewage works. Costs not assessed by reason of section 12 or 13 shall be borne by the town in addition to the proportion determined above. The council shall prescribe just and equitable sewer assessment rates on account of the construction costs, to be levied against owners of property abutting on that portion of any highway in which a common sewer is laid under this act and also rates of annual charge, on account of operating and maintenance costs, to be levied against owners of property which is connected to a common sewer.
Sewer assessments shall be levied at a uniform rate based upon the estimated cost of constructing all sewers, sewer service connections and other sewage works belonging to the town. Annual charges shall be computed according to water consumption or other factors deemed equitable by the council. Such annual charges herein referred to shall be paid annually by every property owner or institution whose property is connected to the town sewage works.
The sewer assessments may be determined according to the number of units for residential dwellings and property valuation for non-residential buildings. The council may, from time to time, redetermine the rates fixed for sewer assessments, if construction costs warrant, and may redetermine rates for annual charges if costs so warrant.
The sewer assessments herein referred to shall be paid by every property owner or institution whose property is abutting on that portion of any highway in which a common sewer is laid under this act or is connected to the town's sewage works. Sewer assessments levied hereunder may be paid in as many as twenty (20) annual installments, upon application by the property owner and approval of the council. In the case of installment payments, interest at a rate not to exceed eight percent (8%) per annum, shall be charged annually on the unpaid balance of the total sewer assessment.
The council shall annually certify to the town treasurer all the annual charges and sewer assessments made by it under the authority of this act. Each charge or assessment made by said council pursuant to this act shall be a lien upon the lands, buildings and improvements upon which it is made in the same way and manner as taxes assessed on real estate, but such liens shall not expire until the charge or assessment with all interest, costs and penalties thereon is paid in full, and, if the charge or assessment is not paid as required, it shall be collected in the same manner that taxes assessed on real estate are by law collected. Such annual charges and sewer assessments shall be due and payable at the time the regular town taxes are first due and payable next after the date of receipt by the town treasurer of the aforesaid certificate of said annual charges and sewer assessments from the council. The town treasurer, after receiving a list of charges or assessments under this section, shall forthwith, at the expense of the town, send to each person assessed or charged notice of the amount of his or her assessment or charge. The notice shall substantially identify the person assessed, state the amount of the assessment or charge and refer to the remedy available under section 19 of this act. The notice shall be mailed postpaid and directed to the last known address of the person assessed. If there are persons whose addresses are unknown, a similar notice covering the assessments against such persons 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 persons. No irregularity in the notice required by this section shall excuse the nonpayment of the assessment or charge or affect its validity or any proceedings for the collection thereof as long as there is substantial compliance with the provisions hereof. No deficiency in the notice to the person assessed shall excuse the nonpayment by others of the assessment or charges assessed against them or affect the validity thereof or any proceedings for the collection thereof. The tax collector shall without further warrant collect such annual charges and assessments in the same manner and at the same time as the regular taxes of the town are first payable. Interest at the rate per annum fixed for nonpayment of town taxes shall be charged and collected upon all overdue charges and assessment from the date they become payable until paid.
The council may at any time cancel in whole or in part any charge or assessment to the extent the council determines such charge or assessment to have been improperly imposed.
Sec. 10. The receipts from the annual charges and sewer assessments provided for in section 9 of this act shall be kept by the town treasurer in separate funds and at the close of each fiscal year the town treasurer shall transfer from such funds to the treasury a sum sufficient to repay the sums appropriated and paid from the treasury during the fiscal year then closed on account of the principal of any borrowing for the purpose of this act and for the payment of charges and expenses incident to the operation, maintenance and repair of said sewage works or to the extension thereof. If the receipts from said charges and assessments amount in any year to more than will be required for the aforesaid purposes, the surplus shall be added to the receipts of the next succeeding year.
Sec. 11. Whenever a tenant by the entirety, or a joint tenant, or a tenant in common of any land subject to a sewer charge or assessment under this act shall pay the whole amount of such assessment, he or she may recover from the other joint tenant or tenant in common, as the case may be, such proportional part of such charge or assessment as the value of the latter's interest in the land bears to the aggregate value of such land, by proceedings in the superior court for the county of Kent. The same shall apply as between a tenant for life or years and the owner of the fee with respect to construction assessments. Whenever the owner of the fee shall pay an annual charge, he or she may recover the amount so paid from the tenant in a similar action to the extent that is attributable to the period of the tenancy. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to impair any other right of action which the party paying such charge or assessment may have at law or in equity to secure contribution from the other parties having an interest in the land subject to such charge or assessment.
Sec. 12. The owner of a lot of land irregular in shape or which is unduly above or below grade or which for any other reason is deemed to be inequitably assessed under this act, in the event such an assessment is made, may appeal to the sewer board of review as hereinafter provided in section 19 of this act. The council may notwithstanding an appeal, on its own initiative, adjust the sewer assessment on such a lot or exempt such a lot from assessment.
Sec. 13. All lands in said town held by religious corporations, and on which are located buildings 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 sewer assessments for the construction of sewage works made in pursuance of the provisions of this act, so long as such lands shall be held and used solely for such purposes; provided, that all such assessments made on such lands for the construction of sewage works under the provisions of this act shall be and remain for thirty (30) years a lien on said lands and the improvements thereon without interest, and the said town may enforce for collection of said assessments whenever said lands or any portion thereof shall be abandoned for said purposes, in the same manner as other sewer assessments under this act are collected or enforced; and provided, further, that any such assessment may be adjusted in the manner and for any of the reasons prescribed in section 8 of this act.
Sec. 14. The council in behalf of the town may acquire by agreement, purchase or condemnation such land or right or easement in land as may be necessary for the purposes of this act. Whenever the council desires to take any such land or right or easement in land by condemnation, it shall file with the town clerk a plat, description, and statement of such land or right or easement in land to be taken and a statement that such land or right or easement in land is taken pursuant to the provisions of this act.
Upon the recording of said plat, description and statement in the office of the town clerk, the land or easement in land defined in such plat, description and statement to the extent and according to the nature of the interest therein taken, shall vest in the town and shall be subject to the use of the council for the purposes of this act, and said council may thereupon enter upon and enjoy the rights, interests and easements taken as aforesaid; and after the filing of such plat, description and statement, notice of such taking shall be served upon the owners of and persons having an estate in and interested in such land by any police officer of the town of Coventry leaving a true and attested copy of such description and statement with each of such persons personally, or at their last and usual place of abode in this state with some person living therein, and, in case any of such persons are absent from this state and have no last and usual place of abode therein occupied by any person, such copy shall be left with the persons, if any, in charge of or having possession of such land of such absent persons, and another copy thereof shall be mailed to the address of such absent persons if the same is known to said officer; and after the filing of such description and statement, the town clerk of said town shall cause a copy of such description and statement to be published in some newspaper or newspapers published or circulated in said town at least twice a week for three (3) successive weeks; and if any party shall agree with said council for the price of the rights, interests or easements so taken, the same shall be paid to him or her forthwith by said council.
The council shall have general authority to represent the town and to make any agreements for said town under the authority of this section and to do any acts or things necessary or incidental to executing settlements and agreements, and shall have authority to agree with the owner for the price of land so taken and the same shall be paid by the town treasurer out of the proceeds of bonds or notes issued hereunder or other funds made available for the purpose, upon vouchers approved by the majority of the council and the town treasurer.
Any owner of or person entitled to any estate in or interested in any part of the land in which such fee, rights, interests or easements are so taken who cannot agree with said town for the price such fee, rights, interests or easements so as taken in which he or she is interested as aforesaid, may, within one (1) year from the filing of the plat, description and statement referred to in this section of this act, apply by petition to the superior court in and for the county of Kent, setting forth the taking of such fee, rights, interests or easements in his or her land and praying for an assessment of damages by a jury. Upon the filing of said petition the court shall cause twenty (20) days' notice of the pendency thereof to be given to said town by serving the town treasurer of said town with a certified copy thereof, and may proceed after such notice to the trial thereof, and such trial shall determine all questions of fact relating to the value of such fee, rights, interests or easements and the amount thereof, and judgment shall be entered upon the verdict of such jury and execution shall be issued therefor.
In case any owner of or person having an estate in or interested in such land, shall fail to receive personal notice of the taking as aforesaid, and shall fail to file the petition as provided in this section, said court in its discretion may permit the filing of such petition subsequent to said period of one (1) year from the filing of such description and statement; provided, such person shall have no actual knowledge of the taking of such fee, right, interest or easement in season to file such petition.
If any lands, or any fee, rights, interests or easements therein, in which any infant or other person not capable in law to act in his or her own behalf is interested, are taken by said council under the provisions of this act, said superior court, upon the filing thereof any such petition by or in behalf of such infant or other person, may appoint a guardian ad litem for such infant or other person, and such guardian may appear and be heard in behalf of such infant or other person; and such guardian may also with the advice and consent of said superior court may prescribe, release to said town or council all claims for damages for the fee, rights, interests or easements in the lands of such infant or other person. Any lawfully appointed, qualified and acting guardian of the estate of such infant or other person with the approval of the court of probate within this state having jurisdiction to authorize the sale of lands within this state of any such infant or person, may, before the filing of any such petition, agree with said council upon the amount of damages suffered by such infant or other person by any such taking and may, upon receiving such amount, release to said town or council all claims of damages of such infant or other person for such taking.
Any damages assessed as the result of petition to the superior court shall be paid by the town treasurer provided, however, that nothing in this act shall authorize the council to condemn any portion of the land or right-of-way of any railroad, street railway or other public service company, except for the purpose of crossing the same below grade and of building and maintaining necessary manholes at such crossing in such manner as not to render unsafe, or to impair the usefulness of such land or right-of-way for railroad or street railway purposes or the purposes of such other public service company. If said council and such railroad, street railway or other public service company are unable to agree as to the method of the construction and maintenance of such sewer and manholes at any such crossing, either party may apply to the division of public utilities for a determination thereof, and, after hearing, such sewer and manholes shall be constructed and maintained in such method and manner as may be ordered by said division. Either party aggrieved by such order of said division may appeal to the supreme court.
Prior to any taking hereunder, the council shall provide specific funds for payment of compensation, the use of such funds for such purpose shall be fixed obligation of the town, and, notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the full faith and credit of the town shall be deemed pledged to pay such compensation.
Sec. 15. The town, acting by its town council, is further authorized to contract with any other city or town in this state or with the state of Rhode Island, and any other city or town in this state and the state of Rhode Island is authorized to contract with the town of Coventry, on such terms as may be mutually agreed upon between them with reference to the construction, maintenance, operation and the utilization of sewage works belonging to the town or any other city or town in this state and the state of Rhode Island; and the town may likewise contract with any other city or town or the state of Rhode Island with regard to the disposition of sewage from sewage works belonging to any of said cities or towns or the state of Rhode Island.
Sec. 16. The council, after notice and a public hearing, is authorized from time to time to prescribe rules and regulations relative to the regulation of, construction of, use of, discharge of substances into and connections to the sewage works. These rules and regulations shall cover the restriction of storm waters, wastes which may or may not be discharged into the sewer system, the requirement for the property owner or sewer user to provide protective devices prior to discharge, sampling wells to determine strength of wastes, flow measuring devices, pretreatment facilities and any other requirement to provide proper protection and control of the use of the sewage system and sewage treatment facilities. Such rules or regulations adopted after a public hearing shall be filed with the town clerk. Any person violating any rule or regulation prescribed by the council under the authority of this act shall be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each violation, and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each additional day that any such violation shall continue, as may be prescribed by the council, and shall also be liable in an action of the case for all damages caused to the town or to any person by any such violation.
Sec. 17. The council in the interest of public health and safety is authorized to order any abutting owner or occupant of land upon any street in which there is a sewer or in which a sewer may hereafter be constructed, to connect the sewage of such premises with such sewer, and to order any owner or occupant to fill up and destroy any cesspool, privy vault, drain or other arrangement on such land for the reception of sewage. Upon the service of any such order, or copy thereof, upon any such owner or occupant, to connect the sewage as aforesaid, or to fill up or destroy any cesspool, privy vault, drain or other arrangement for the reception of sewage, such owner or occupant shall comply therewith within thirty (30) days from the time of service of such order. In case the owner or occupant to whom any such order is directed shall neglect or refuse to comply therewith within thirty (30) days after the service thereof upon him or her, he or she shall be fined not less than five dollars ($5.00) nor more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each subsequent twenty-four (24) hours during which he or she shall neglect or refuse to comply therewith and in case such neglect or refusal shall continue for sixty (60) days after the service of such an order, the council may cause such cesspool, privy vault, drain on other arrangement for the reception of sewage which is the subject of such order to be filled up and destroyed and the sewage from such land to be connected with a common sewer. The pendency of any appeal from any such order shall not affect the power of the council after the expiration of said period of sixty (60) days, to cause such cesspool, privy vault or other arrangement for the reception of sewage to be forthwith filled up and destroyed.
Whenever the council shall cause any cesspool, privy vault, or other arrangement for the reception of sewage to be filled up and destroyed or the sewage of any land to be connected with a common sewer, it shall keep careful account of the cost of such work and of any expense caused the town by reason of the neglect or refusal of the owner or occupant of such land to comply with the order of the council issued as aforesaid, and upon the completion of such work the council shall file statement of such cost and expense with the town treasurer and thereupon the amount of such cost and expense shall be a lien upon the land, including improvements thereon, for which such cost and expense was incurred and the same shall be collected in the same manner as other assessments and charges are collected under this act.
Sec. 18. Whenever a common sewer is constructed under the provisions of this act, the council shall cause a plat of the layout of the same and of the estates abutting upon that portion of the highway in which the sewer is laid to be filed in the office of the town clerk, which said plats are hereby declared to be public records for the determination of the description of the estate assessed for construction of sewage works.
Sec. 19. There shall be a sewer board of review which shall consist of three (3) members appointed by the council. The members first appointed shall serve for term of one (1), two (2) and three (3) years respectively and thereafter one (1) member shall be appointed in each year for a term of three (3) years.
Within sixty (60) days after mailing of notice of an assessment or charges under section 9 or within thirty (30) days after giving or mailing of notice of an order under section 17, any person aggrieved by such assessment, charge or order may appeal to the sewer board of review.
The sewer board of review shall keep an accurate record of its proceedings which shall be available for public inspection.
If the board determines that such assessment charge or order is unwarranted in whole or in part, it shall annul or modify the same and make such order as justice may require. Otherwise it shall affirm the same. Within thirty (30) days after the decision of the sewer board of review, any party aggrieved, which may include the council, may appeal to the superior court which shall have the same powers to annul, modify, enter further orders or affirm as the sewer board of review.
The council shall provide by ordinance for the organization of procedure of the sewer board of review and for the manner of receiving, considering and disposing of appeals.
Sec. 20. The council of said town by the vote of a majority of its members may vote to accept and use in connection with the construction of the sewage works authorized by this act any funds from the United States of America or aid in any form under any and all acts and joint resolutions of Congress already enacted or which may be enacted and upon such terms and conditions as may be required by the proper federal authorities.
Sec. 21. Connect capable charges may be levied upon every property owner or institution whose property is abutting on that portion of any highway in which a common sewer is laid while said property is not connected to said sewerage system, but is capable of doing so. The charge will be established at a level determined by the council to recover an equitable portion of bonds and notes issued for sewage works.
Sec. 22. If any part, clause, division or section of this act shall be declared unconstitutional, the validity of its remaining provisions shall not be affected thereby.
Sec. 23. This act shall not affect any other power which the town may have under any other provisions of law to incur indebtedness.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.