Substitute House Bill No. 6708

Special Act No. 99-12

An Act Amending the Charter of the Metropolitan District in Hartford County, Making Technical Changes to the Charter of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority and Amending the Charter of the Lord's Point Association.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 8 of number 511 of the special acts of 1929, as amended by section 3 of special act 83-31, is amended to read as follows:

Said board, either directly or under committees consisting of one or more members of said board, shall organize bureaus for the convenient carrying into effect of the several functions herein committed to said board and may define the powers and duties of such bureaus and delegate to them such powers and duties by ordinance, by-law or otherwise as may, in the judgment of the board, be necessary for the convenient operation of the same. No member of the board shall receive any pay for his services as such member or as a member of a sub-committee of the board except that a reasonable sum may annually be appropriated for the actual expenses of said board. The board may, by ordinance, by-law or otherwise, fix the salaries and define the duties of all officers and employees or may delegate the fixing of salaries of employees and assignment of duties of employees to sub-committees or bureau managers. The chairman and vice-chairman of said district and of all sub-committees, bureaus, boards and commissions appointed by the district board shall, unless otherwise provided in the appointment or herein, hold office until the end of the fiscal year of their appointment and thereafter shall be appointed for terms of [one year] two years and until their successors shall be appointed and shall have qualified. The members of all sub-committees, bureaus, boards and commissions appointed by the district board shall, unless otherwise provided in the appointment or herein, hold such membership until the end of the fiscal year of their appointment and thereafter shall hold membership for terms of two years and until their successors shall be appointed and shall have qualified. The managers of the water bureau and of the bureau of public works and such others of the officers as by the district board shall be especially so designated shall hold office during good behavior and shall be removed only for cause. All other officers and employees may be removed at any time by the district board at pleasure. All vacancies may be filled by the district board. Said district board shall have power to fill any vacancy occurring in its number for the unexpired portion of the term and, except as otherwise expressly provided, shall act in all cases by a majority of those present at any regular or special meeting, duly warned. A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum and the time, place and manner of calling meetings and the holding thereof, including the manner of dissolving tie votes, shall be prescribed by said board by by-law or otherwise. The district board shall be the final judge of the election returns and validity of elections and qualifications of its members and shall decide all tie votes in elections. Except as hereinafter provided, the district board shall have power to authorize the sale, transfer and conveyance of real and personal estate belonging to the district, and shall provide by by-law or otherwise for the form and manner of execution of the documents and instruments convenient therefor. The district board shall make provision for the proper auditing of the district accounts and may cause any officer to execute bonds to the district with surety to the acceptance of the district board for the faithful performance of duties.

Sec. 2. Section 9 of number 511 of the special acts of 1929, as amended by section 5 of special act 83-31, is amended to read as follows:

There shall be in said metropolitan district a board of finance, consisting of [three] four members of the district board and [four] five taxpayers and electors of said district appointed by the district board who shall hold office each for the term of two years from his appointment and shall not be removed by the district board. Five members shall constitute a quorum. All vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term by said district board. The chairman of said metropolitan district shall be an ex-officio member with voting rights on the board of finance.

Sec. 3. Number 172 of the special acts of 1939 is amended to read as follows:

The Metropolitan District is authorized to purchase and receive the physical assets or any of them of any private water company operating within The Metropolitan District or in any town supplied by The Metropolitan District, or in which The Metropolitan District holds and maintains water works or pipe lines, provided any such purchase [involving more than one hundred thousand dollars shall be made subject to the approval required by] involving more than five million dollars shall be made subject to the approval of the district board and the electors of the district required by subsection (b) of section [fourteen of the charter of said district] 5 of special act 90-27.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 1 of special act 75-73, as amended by section 1 of special act 83-18, section 1 of special act 84-75 and section 16 of public act 93-380, is amended to read as follows:

(b) On and after July 1, 1993, said district board shall be composed of twenty-nine electors of said district, seventeen to be appointed by the member municipalities, from among their respective electors, eight to be appointed by the Governor, one to be appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one to be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, one to be appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, and one to be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, all such appointments being subject to the provisions of section 2 of special act 75-73, as amended by section 2 of special act 83-18, [and] section 2 of special act 84-75 and section 17 of [this act. Appointments by the member municipalities shall give consideration, insofar as possible, to the two major political parties to assure adequate minority party representation.] public act 93-380. The provisions of section 9-167a of the general statutes shall apply only to appointments made under this section by municipalities having three or more members and only with respect to members appointed by any such municipality. For the commissioners appointed by the member municipalities and the Governor, membership of the district board shall be apportioned among the member municipalities as follows: Nine commissioners from the city of Hartford, four commissioners from the city of East Hartford, one commissioner from the town of Rocky Hill, two commissioners from the town of Wethersfield, two commissioners from the town of Newington, one commissioner from the town of Bloomfield, two commissioners from the town of Windsor and four commissioners from the town of West Hartford.

Sec. 5. Section 1 of special act 77-98 is amended to read as follows:

It is found and declared as a matter of legislative determination that the creation of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority for the primary purpose of providing and assuring the provision of an adequate supply of pure water at reasonable cost within the South Central Connecticut Regional Water District and such other areas as may be served pursuant to cooperative agreements and acquisitions authorized by section 11 of special act 77-98, as amended by section 5 of special act 78-24 and section 3 of special act 84-46 and, to the degree consistent with the foregoing, of advancing the conservation and compatible recreational use of land held by the authority, and the carrying out of its powers, purposes, and duties under sections 1 to 33, inclusive, of [this act] special act 77-98, as amended by special act 78-24, special act 84-46 and sections 5 to 7, inclusive, of this act, are for the benefit of the people residing in the South Central Connecticut Regional Water District and the State of Connecticut, and for the improvement of their health, safety and welfare, that said purposes are public purposes, and that the authority will be performing an essential governmental function in the exercise of its powers under sections 1 to 33, inclusive, of [this act] special act 77-98, as amended by special act 78-24, special act 84-46 and sections 5 to 7, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 6. Section 14 of special act 77-98, as amended by section 6 of special act 78-24, is amended to read as follows:

With the approval of the representative policy board, the authority shall establish just and equitable rates or charges for the use of the water supply system authorized herein, to be paid by any customer, any may change such rates or charges from time to time. Such rates or charges shall be established so as to provide funds sufficient in each year, with other revenues, if any, (a) to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the water supply system and each and every portion thereof, to the extent that adequate provision for the payment of such cost has not otherwise been made, (b) to pay the principal of and the interest on outstanding bonds of the authority as the same shall become due and payable, (c) to meet any requirements of any resolution authorizing, or trust agreement securing, such bonds of the authority, (d) to make payments in lieu of taxes as provided in section 21 of special act 77-98, as amended by section 8 of [this act] special act 78-24, as the same become due and payable, upon the properties of the authority or of a subsidiary corporation to the municipalities in which such properties are situated, (e) to provide for the maintenance, conservation and appropriate recreational use of the land of the authority and (f) to pay all other reasonable and necessary expenses of the authority and of the representative policy board. No such rate or charge shall be established until it has been approved by the representative policy board, after said board has held a public hearing at which all the users of the waterworks system, the owners of property served or to be served and others interested have had an opportunity to be heard concerning such proposed rate or charge. The representative policy board shall approve such rates and charges unless it finds that such rates and charges will provide funds in excess of the amounts required for the purposes described previously in this section, or unless it finds that such rates and charges will provide funds insufficient for such purposes. The rates or charges so established for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional premises thereafter served which are within the same class, without the necessity of a hearing thereon. Any change in such rates or charges shall be made in the same manner in which they were established. The rates or charges levied upon any customer of any water supply system acquired pursuant to subsection (d) of section 11 of special act 77-98, as amended by section 5 of special act 78-24 and section 3 of special act 84-46 or served pursuant to a cooperative agreement pursuant to subsection (m) of said section 11 shall not be required to be equalized with the authority's existing rates, but may be set on a separate basis, provided such rates are just, equitable and nondiscriminatory. Such rates or charges, if not paid when due, shall constitute a lien upon the premises served and a charge against the owners thereof, which lien and charge shall bear interest at the same rate as would unpaid taxes. Such lien shall take precedence over all other liens or encumbrances except taxes and may be foreclosed against the lot or building served in the same manner as a lien for taxes, provided all such liens shall continue until such time as they shall be discharged or foreclosed by the authority without the necessity of filing certificates of continuation, but in no event for longer than ten years. The amount of any such rate or charge which remains due and unpaid for thirty days may, with interest thereon at the same rate as unpaid taxes and with reasonable attorneys' fees, be recovered by the authority in a civil action in the name of the authority against such owners. Any municipality shall be subject to the same rate or charges under the same conditions as other users of such water supply system.

Sec. 7. Section 15 of special act 77-98 is amended to read as follows:

(a) The representative policy board shall establish an office of consumer affairs to act as the advocate for consumer interests in all matters which may affect consumers, [in the district,] including without limitation matters of rates, water quality and supply. The costs of such office of consumer affairs, unless otherwise provided by the state, shall be paid by the authority.

(b) The office of consumer affairs is authorized to appear and participate in any regulatory or judicial proceedings, federal or state, in which the interests of such consumers may be involved. The office of consumer affairs shall have access to the authority's records, shall be entitled to call upon the assistance of the authority's experts and shall have the benefit of all other facilities or information of the authority in carrying out the duties of the office, except for such internal documents, information or data as are not available to parties to the authority's proceedings.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any party interested in any proceeding or action of the authority from appearing in person or from being represented by counsel therein. As used in this section, "consumer" means any person, company, corporation, association, city, borough or town that receives service from the authority or a subsidiary corporation whether or not such person, company, corporation, association, city, borough or town is financially responsible for such service.

Sec. 8. As used in sections 8 to 14, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Amendments" means Number 447 of the Special Acts of 1921, Number 202 of the Special Acts of 1923, Number 355 of the Special Acts of 1927, Number 116 of the Special Acts of 1933, Number 218 of the Special Acts of 1941, Number 335 of the Special Acts of 1943 and Special Act 74-40;

(2) "District Commission" means the combined body of the Fire District and the Water Commission;

(3) "Fire District" means the Watertown Fire District established by original act;

(4) "Original act" means Number 212 of the Special Acts of 1913 and its amendments;

(5) "Water Commission" means the Watertown Fire District Board of Water Commissioners, its members and its territories by the original act, and

(6) "Zoning authority" means the rights, powers and obligations with respect to zoning granted to cities, towns and boroughs pursuant to chapter 124 of the general statutes.

Sec. 9. Notwithstanding the provisions of the original act, on and after the effective date of this act, the Fire District and the Water Commission shall be one body politic and corporate and known as the Watertown District Commission. The District Commission shall be a person in law capable of suing and being sued in all courts and may purchase, hold or convey any estate, real or personal, have a common seal and change such seal.

Sec. 10. On or before the Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999, the District Commission shall be governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of six members who are the members of the Fire District and the members of the Water Commission serving on the effective date of this act. The terms of members of the Fire District and the Water Commission on the effective date of this act shall continue until their completion in accordance with the provisions of the original act. All subsequent members of the Board of Commissioners shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of sections 11 and 12 of this act and the original act.

Sec. 11. (a) On or before the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000, the District Commission shall be governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of six members who are members of the District Commission on the effective date of this act and any new members elected at the annual Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999. Said commissioners shall serve until the completion of their terms pursuant to the original act.

(b) Three alternate members shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners after the annual Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999, and shall serve until the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000.

(c) If the effective date of this act is on or after the annual Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999, the District Commission shall be governed by a Board of Commissioners composed of members of the Fire District and members of the Water Commission serving on the effective date of this act and any member of the Fire District and the Water Commission elected at the annual Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999. The terms of members of the Fire District and the Water Commission, serving on the effective date of this act, shall continue until completion in accordance with the original act and the amendments.

(d) If the effective date of this act is on or after the annual Fire District election scheduled for May, 1999, the Board of Commissioners shall appoint three alternate members to the District Commission who shall serve until the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000.

Sec. 12. (a) On and after the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000, the District Commission shall be governed by a five member Board of Commissioners composed of the members of the District Commission, including each commissioner elected at the May, 1999, annual Fire District election and each commissioner elected by the members of the Fire District at the year 2000 election. The terms of the members of the Board of Commissioners shall be in accordance with the original act.

(b) On and after the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000, there shall be three alternate commissioners appointed to the District Commission by the existing commissioners of the District Commission, including each commissioner elected at the annual Fire District election scheduled for the year 2000. The terms of office of each alternate commissioner shall be three years except that for the term beginning in May, 2000, one alternate shall serve a term of three years, one shall serve a term of two years and one shall serve a term of one year.

Sec. 13. All the rights, powers and obligations with respect to zoning conferred to the Fire District pursuant to the original act are conferred upon and transferred to the District Commission. The members of the District Commission shall be the zoning authority for the territory defined in the original act and any area and territory annexed by the Fire District.

Sec. 14. In the event of any conflict between the provisions of sections 8 to 14, inclusive, of this act and any provisions of the original act, sections 8 to 14, inclusive, of this act shall take precedence.

Sec. 15. Section 4 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

Each member of said association of the age of [twenty-one] eighteen years or over shall be entitled to vote at any meeting of said association and shall be eligible to any office therein.

Sec. 16. Section 5 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

Said association may sue and be sued and plead and be impleaded in all courts. It may own real estate and have a common seal and may, by a majority vote, provide, through by-laws, ordinance or otherwise, for the extinguishment of fires; oiling, sprinkling, care, repair and lighting of streets; planting of trees; laying of sidewalks and crosswalks; erection and maintenance of docks, breakwaters, retaining walls and bridges; dredging of harbors and creeks; care of beaches and waterfronts; maintenance of corporate property; regulation of peddling as provided for towns under section 422 of the general statutes; regulation of entertainments, concerts and celebrations; collection and disposal of garbage, ashes, refuse and night soil; the abatement and prevention of every kind of nuisance and public annoyance; the prevention and regulation of the carrying on within the limits of said association of any business prejudicial to public health or dangerous to or constituting an unreasonable annoyance to those living or owning property in the vicinity thereof; the establishment of building lines and the regulation of the construction of buildings, and may also prescribe fines and penalties for a violation of any such by-laws, ordinances or regulations, not [exceeding] less than ten dollars for any one offense, and the penalties may be recovered in any action brought for the purpose in the name of Lord's Point Association, Incorporated, before any court having jurisdiction, for the use and benefit of said association, and any violation of any such by-law or ordinance may be prosecuted by any grand juror or prosecuting attorney of the town of Stonington.

Sec. 17. Section 8 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

The first annual meeting of said association shall be held two weeks after the date of the adoption of this act, as hereinafter provided. [, and thereafter on the last secular day prior to the fourth of July] The annual meeting will be held on the last Saturday in May at 8:00 p.m. in each year, at which time the officers shall be elected, reports presented, by-laws adopted and such other business transacted as may be contained in the call.

Sec. 18. Section 13 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

The clerk of said association or clerk's designee, on or before June [fourteenth] first of each year, shall prepare an assessment list of all the real estate in said district, including therein the value of the houses, buildings and improvements thereon, placing in the name of each member of the association such land, buildings and improvements as are assessed to each member on the last assessment list of the town of Stonington, at the value at which they stand on such assessment list. When any piece of land so assessed in the list of the town of Stonington shall be partly within and partly without said district, such clerk shall assess the part within said district in the proportion which the part within the district bears to the whole tract so assessed, using his best judgment as to such value. Such clerk shall, on or before the [fifteenth] second day of June, report such list to the executive committee, which shall revise such list, and, if said committee shall find that in any particular it does not correspond with the last assessment list of the town of Stonington, or, if said committee shall find that there are any errors in the proportional valuation of such parts of any piece of property as are partly within and partly without the territory of said association, said committee shall correct the same, and said list, when so revised and if necessary corrected, shall be adopted by said executive committee, and shall then be and constitute the assessment list for said association. Such list shall be revised and completed and recorded by the clerk in the books of the association on or before the [third] first day of July next succeeding, and such assessment list shall be open to inspection by any member of the association.

Sec. 19. Section 15 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

Said association, at its annual meeting or at any special meeting called for that purpose between [July third] the last Saturday in May and September first in any year, may, by a majority vote, lay a tax for the purpose of carrying out its objects as herein specified, not exceeding seven mills on the dollar of the total value of the property as shown by its assessment list hereinbefore provided for, which tax shall be collected by the treasurer or by any collector specially appointed by the executive committee for that purpose. Each assessment so made, with interest thereon, shall be a debt due to said association from the owner or owners of land upon which it was made, as such ownership appears from the land or probate records of the town and district of Stonington on the first day of June before such assessment was made.

Sec. 20. Section 16 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

Written notice of the rate of such tax, and the amount apportioned to each member of the association, shall be sent by the treasurer or [collector] the treasurer's designee to each member of the association within ten days [from the laying of such tax] of the first day of the fiscal year and such tax shall be due and payable within thirty days from the sending of such notice, and, if such tax shall not be paid when due, it shall bear interest at the rate of [nine] eighteen percentum per annum from the date it was payable. The treasurer, or [other collector] the treasurer's designee, shall have all the powers of collectors of town taxes, and shall be accountable to the executive committee in the same manner as town collectors are accountable to selectmen. Each such tax shall be a lien upon the property upon which it shall be laid, for one year from the first day of June before such assessment was made, and may be collected by suit in the name of the association or by foreclosure of such lien. Such lien may be continued by certificate which shall be recorded in the land records of the town of Stonington, pursuant to the provisions of the general statutes relating to the continuance of tax liens.

Sec. 21. Section 17 of number 485 of the special acts of 1925 is amended to read as follows:

No contract which shall involve an expenditure of [two hundred dollars] five per cent or more of the budget of the current fiscal year in any year shall be made by the president and directors, unless the same shall be specially authorized by a vote of the association. The president and directors shall not, within any year, make contracts or incur obligations which shall, in the aggregate, amount to more than the sum of [five hundred dollars] five per cent of the budget of the current fiscal year, unless the same shall be authorized by a vote of the association, and the president and directors shall not borrow money without authority of the association.

Approved June 23, 1999

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