Town Meeting-Related Changes from the 2014 Legislative Session

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 Annual town meeting warnings must be posted on a town’s website

Beginning next year, annual town meeting warnings must be posted on a town’s website. 17 V.S.A. § 2641(b). The law, however, does not specify when the warning must be posted. While this requirement can be found in the same section of the law requiring the warning to be published in a newspaper of general circulation at least five days before the annual meeting, we suggest posting to the website within the same timeframe as the other postings around town (i.e., “not less than 30 nor more than 40 days before the meeting.”)

 

 Elimination of the elected position of elected Collector of Current Taxes

Effective July 1, 2014, municipalities are no longer required to vote for a collector of current taxes. A town may vote to have either the municipal treasurer or the town manager (if there is one) assume the duties of collector of current taxes. 32 V.S.A. § 4791; 24 V.S.A. § 1236(10).  If a town fails to vote either the treasurer or town manager as the collector of current taxes, then the constable automatically becomes the collector of taxes pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1529.  Those persons that were duly elected to serve as collector of current taxes prior to this statutory change will continue to serve their term until the next annual town meeting. 

 

 Treasurer may be appointed to collect delinquent taxes

A municipality may now vote to authorize the legislative body to appoint a collector of delinquent taxes who may be the municipal treasurer. 17 VSA § 2651d. This amendment does not change the municipal authority to have delinquent taxes collected by the town manager, if there is one. 24 VSA § 1236(10). As with current taxes, the constable automatically becomes the collector of delinquent taxes in the event that no other election or appointment is made. 24 VSA § 1529.

 

 Elimination of the elected position of Animal Control Officer

Municipalities have always had a choice of whether to designate someone to be the local Animal Control Officer. Until now, municipalities could either elect or appoint an individual to fill that position. Effective July 1, 2014, with the amendments of 13 VSA § 351(4) and 20 VSA § 3621, there is no longer an option of electing for this position. After July 1, municipalities may still appoint an ACO, whose duties are performed subject to the direction of the selectboard.

 

 Cemetery commissioner may not also be Auditor or Treasurer

The legislature added to the list of incompatible offices found in 17 V.S.A. § 2647(a) such that an individual serving as a cemetery commissioner may not also serve as auditor or treasurer.