2023 -- H 5718

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LC001352

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     STATE OF RHODE ISLAND

IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2023

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A N   A C T

RELATING TO THE KINGSTON FIRE DISTRICT IN THE TOWN OF SOUTH

KINGSTOWN

     

     Introduced By: Representatives Fogarty, Tanzi, Spears, McEntee, Cardillo, Cotter,
Azzinaro, Kennedy, Casey, and Hull

     Date Introduced: February 17, 2023

     Referred To: House Municipal Government & Housing

     It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

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     SECTION 1. Sections 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18 and 19 of Chapter 544 of the 1923

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Public Laws entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Kingston Fire District in the Town of South

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Kingstown" as amended, are hereby amended to read as follows:

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     Sec. 2. The electors, who shall consist of electors of said district qualified to vote in town

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affairs on propositions to impose taxes or for the expenditure of moneys the residents of said district

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qualified to vote in elections of the Town of South Kingstown, shall be entitled to vote and act in

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all meetings of the corporation.

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     Sec. 4. Said electors at each annual meeting, and at any other meeting when vacancies

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occur, may elect officers to serve for one year or until the next annual meeting, and until others be

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elected in their stead, which officers shall consist of a moderator, clerk. Treasurer, treasurer, three

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assessors, auditors, and a collector of taxes, whose duties and powers within said district shall be

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such as like officers of towns in this state have within their respective towns. They may also elect

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fire wardens, a president of fire wardens and such other officers and committees as they may deem

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necessary.

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     Sec. 5. Said electors at any of their legal meetings shall have power to order such taxes,

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and provide for assessing and collecting the same, on the taxable inhabitants and property in said

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district as they shall deem necessary for purchasing and procuring real estate, buildings and

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implements, apparatus, other equipment and a supply of water for the extinguishment of fire, for

 

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constructing cisterns and reservoirs, laying water pipes and purchasing rights to lay the same, for

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the purpose of lighting the street in said district with electricity or otherwise, for the payment of the

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current expenses of said district, the payment of such police force as they may deem necessary for

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the protection of the inhabitants of said district from fires and for the preservation of the public

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peace therein and for the payment of obligations that have been or may be incurred, by said district

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in the exercise of the powers granted to said district, and also for the payment of any indebtedness

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that has been or may be incurred by said district. Such taxes so ordered shall be assessed by the

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assessors of said district on the taxable inhabitants and property therein according to the last

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valuation made by the assessors of the town next previous to said assessment, adding, however,

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any taxable property which may have been omitted by said town assessors or which may have been

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since acquired; and in all cases where the town assessors have included property within said district

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and propc1ty without said district in one valuation, the assessors of said district shall make an

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equitable valuation of that portion of the same lying within said district; and in the assessing and

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collecting of said taxes such proceedings shall be had by the officers of said district, as near as may

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be, as are required to be had by the corresponding officers to towns in this state in assessing and

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collecting town taxes assessed for said district have the same powers and authorities as are now by

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law conferred upon collectors of taxes for towns in this state. Said district may provide for such

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deduction from the tax assessed against any person if paid by an appointed time, or for such penalty

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by way of percentage on the tax if not paid at an appointed time as they shall deem necessary to

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insure punctual payment, which penalty shall not exceed that provided by law to be charged by the

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cities and towns of the state on prope1ty taxes assessed by them.

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     Sec. 7. Said electors shall have power to enact by¬≠laws prescribing the duties of fire

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wardens and the several officers and committees of said district, and of the inhabitants of said

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district in time of conflagration, and to enforce obedience to the commands of the fire wardens for

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suppressing disorder and tumult, guarding or removing property or rendering other services in time

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of fire, and also for the protection of the water pipes, hose, hydrants or other apparatus or property

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of said district and for the preservation of order and the public peace in said district; and said

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electors may provide for the breach of any such by-law a penalty consisting of a fine not exceeding

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twenty dollars five hundred dollars, to be recovered for the use of said district, or imprisonment for

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a term not exceeding thirty days, or both, which penalty may be enforced by prosecution on

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complaint and warrant in the district court of the fourth judicial district.

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     Sec. 9. The fire wardens elected by said district shall publicly within four days next

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preceding the day of holding and regular meeting of said fire district, make a corrected list of the

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names of all persons entitled to vote in such meeting, and certify and deliver the same to the

 

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moderator before the time shall arrive for the calling of the meeting to order. In making such list

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the fire wardens shall take from the last corrected voting list of the town of South Kingstown the

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names of all persons residing within the limits of said district who continue qualified to vote in

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elections of the Town of South Kingstown on a proposition to impose a tax, or for the expenditure

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of money in said town and place said names upon the list to be made up by them, and shall add

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thereto the names of all persons residing within said district who shall be so qualified and whose

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names shall not be upon said voting list and shall cause printed notices of the time and place named

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by them to make such list to be posted in five public places within said district, not more than ten

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nor less than five days before the time appointed for such district meeting, and the list so made and

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certified shall be used in determining any question before such meeting when demanded by ten of

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the voters present; and thereupon the moderator shall receive the votes of all persons whose names

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arc upon such list, and shall reject the votes of all persons claiming to vote whose names are not

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thereon.

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     Sec. 10. Said electors at any of their legal meeting shall have power to choose and appoint

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so many men persons as they may think needful to be formed into a fire company or companies,

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and also a hook and ladder company, and to make all such laws and regulations for organizing and

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establishing the same as they shall see fit, and the members of such companies shall be entitled to

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the exemptions, privileges and remedies provided by the general laws of the state for members of

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the fire departments of cities and towns.

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     Sec. 11. Said electors may hold special meetings which, as well as the annual meetings,

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shall be notified in such manner as they shall prescribe; and it shall be the duty of the clerk board

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of wardens to call a special meeting upon written application signed by twelve or more of such

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electors, and whenever the subject of ordering a tax or borrowing money is to be acted on, the same

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shall be mentioned in the notice unless it be an annual meeting.

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     Sec. 15 13. The District may have a common seal, and in its corporate name may sue and

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be sued, prosecute and defend, in any court and elsewhere and enjoy all the other powers generally

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incident to corporations. Every suit whether in law or equity, brought against the district shall be

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brought in the County of Washington unless otherwise directed by law.

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     Sec. 17 14. The District may from time to time make and ordain all ordinances, by-laws

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and regulations for the District that shall not be in conflict with or in violation of other provisions

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of this act and not repugnant to law.

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     Sec. 18 15. All property held by the said district, except land, pursuant to the authority

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granted by this chapter as amended and located within said district is and shall he exempt from

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taxation. Such exemption shall also apply to any taxes which, but for the passage of this act, might

 

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be assessable with respect to property, except land, held by said district on December 31, 1962.

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     Sec. 19 16. This act shall take effect upon its passage, and all acts and parts of acts

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inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

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     SECTION 2. Sections 13, 14, and 16 of Chapter 544 of the 1923 Public Laws entitled "An

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Act to Incorporate the Kingston Fire District in the town of South Kingstown" are hereby repealed

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in their entirety:

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     Sec. 13. In addition to the foregoing, said district shall have the power for the purpose of

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supplying water within said district for fire protection and for domestic, manufacturing and other

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purposes and for the transaction of any other business connected therewith, to acquire, by purchase

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or otherwise, own, operate, subdivide, construct. improve, repair, develop, manage, lease,

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mortgage, pledge, sell, exchange, assign or otherwise deal in real estate, interests in real estate,

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riparian rights, water, rights of water and of way, any and all kinds of buildings, and any and all

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personal and other property of any and all kinds incidental thereto. Said district may acquire and

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hold the capital stock of any water company authorized to do business within said district.

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     Sec. 14. Said district may construct driven and bored artesian or other wells and may erect

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on land acquired by it such dams, buildings, reservoirs, filtering galleries, filters, standpipes,

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fixtures and other structures, apparatus or equipment as may be convenient for the establishment

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and maintenance of a complete and effective system of water works and may do all other acts

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reasonably necessary to carry out the powers granted in Section 13 hereof. Said district may make

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excavations, procure and operate machinery, lay and maintain aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other

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works under or over any land, water courses, and along or over any highway or other way, in such

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manner us not unnecessarily to obstruct the same; and for the purpose of constructing, laying,

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maintaining and repairing such aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works and for all other

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purposes of this act, said corporation may dig up, raise and embank any such land, highways or

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other ways, in such manner as to cause the least hindrance to public travel under the protection and

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with the assent of the town council of the town as to highways or other ways within its control, and

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of the department of public warks (sic) as to highways or other ways within its control.

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     Sec. 16. Said district may sell and distribute water throughout said district, or authorize the

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same to be done, and may regulate its use and fix the price and rates to be paid therefor, subject to

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and with the benefit of the provisions of chapters 122 and 449 of the general laws, as amended.

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Said district shall have the exclusive right to the water acquired or distributed by it, and may

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maintain an action against any person for using the same without its consent.

 

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     SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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EXPLANATION

BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

OF

A N   A C T

RELATING TO THE KINGSTON FIRE DISTRICT IN THE TOWN OF SOUTH

KINGSTOWN

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     This act would clarify that qualification to vote in elections of the Kingston Fire District

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extends to those residents of the District qualified to vote in the town of South Kingstown elections.

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It also would remove all those sections addressing the use of water for district fire protection.

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     This act would take effect upon passage.

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