97-S 987
Effective Without the Governor's Signature
Jul. 8, 1997


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Whenever the city council of the city of Woonsocket shall have voted, at a city council meeting called for that purpose, to provide or to supplement, enlarge, modernize and/or maintain a water supply for the inhabitants of the city, or for some part thereof; or whenever the city shall enter or shall have entered into any contract with any person or corporation to furnish the city with a water supply (a contract which the city of Woonsocket is hereby authorized to make), then the city, or the person or corporation bound to fulfill the contract, as the case may be, may take, condemn, hold, use, and permanently appropriate any land, water, rights of water and of way, within the city limits, necessary and proper to be used in furnishing, supplementing, enlarging, modernizing and/or maintaining any such water supply, including sites and materials for dams, reservoirs, pumping stations, and for coal houses, whether existing or to be constructed with a right-of-way thereto, and a right-of-way for water pipes along and across public highways, and through private lands, and including also lands covered or to be flowed by water, or to be in any other way used in furnishing, supplementing, enlarging, modernizing and/or maintaining any water supply. And if any change in any highway shall be required for the accommodation of such water supply, then the city, person, or corporation may alter the grade of the highway or construct a bridge therein, under the direction of the city council, and as far as may be needful, first giving bond with surety satisfactory to a justice of the superior court, if requested, conditioned to reimburse the city for every expense and damage occasioned by a change of grade or other change in the highway.

SECTION 2. Whenever any property or estate or rights of property shall be taken under the provisions of section 1, the owner thereof, including all persons having property rights therein, shall be paid therefor according to their respective interests, by the city, person or corporation, taking the property or estate or rights of property.

SECTION 3. If any land covered by tidewater be taken under this act, then damages to the rights of every riparian owner and of every lessee of the land, if any, shall be awarded under the provisions hereof the same as for any other right of property.

SECTION 4. Whenever any property or estate or rights of property shall be taken under the provisions of this act for either of the purposes hereinbefore named, and the person or corporation shall then, or at any time thereafter, be required by the owner of the property, estate, or right taken, to give bond with surety for the payment therefor, the person or corporation shall, without delay, give bond to the owner, with surety satisfactory to a justice of the superior court, conditioned to pay to the owner all damages which may be awarded him or her for the estate so taken.

SECTION 5. The city, person or corporation taking any property, estate, or right of property under the provisions of this act, shall first cause a plat with a description thereof to be made, which, with a certificate of the taking of the property estate or right of property, shall contain a list of the owners thereof and of the persons interested therein, so far as the owners or persons interested therein may be known to the city, person, or corporation taking the property estate or right of property, and which shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the superior court for the county where the property or estate is located.

SECTION 6. Upon the filing of any certificate, the clerk shall forthwith issue a notice to the several persons named therein which shall contain the substance of the certificate, and also a notice of a time and place when the persons may appear in the court and be heard in reference to the necessity for the taking and the appointment of commissioners to appraise the damages accruing to them by virtue of the taking of their property, estate, or rights of property; and the clerk shall, for four (4) successive weeks thereafter, cause to be advertised in each issue of some newspaper published in the county of Providence a copy of the notice, requiring all persons interested in the premises to appear at the time and place, if they see fit, to be heard in the premises. The personal notice upon known parties shall be served as soon as may be, and at least twenty (20) days, before the time of the hearing, by some officer authorized to serve process or by some disinterested person.

SECTION 7. At the time mentioned in the notice given under the authority of section 6, or at such adjournment from the time as the court shall order, the court, after hearing the parties in interest therein who may desire to be heard, shall first adjudge whether the taking of the property, estate, or rights in question is a public necessity, and, if that be adjudged affirmatively, the property and rights of property shall from that time be deemed to have been taken, and the court shall then appoint three (3) suitable persons to be commissioners to appraise the damages sustained by any person whose property, estate, or rights of property shall have been taken for either or any of the purposes hereinbefore authorized. The commissioners, after being duly sworn to the faithful discharge of their trust and giving due notice to the parties in interest, shall proceed to hear the parties with their allegations and proofs, and to examine the premises, and shall make up and return their award in the premises to the clerk of the superior court from which they received their appointment, with their fees marked thereon, which fees, being first allowed by the court, shall be forthwith paid by the city, person, or corporation taking the property, estate, or rights of property embraced in the award.

SECTION 8. Upon the payment of the fees provided in section 7, the clerk of the superior court shall open the report of the commissioners, and the report may be examined by any person interested therein. Any person or party aggrieved by any award of damages by the commissioners may claim a jury trial upon any item of damages thereby awarded, and may file his or her claim for the trial at any time within three (3) months from the opening of the report. The claim shall stand for trial by jury upon a proper issue based upon the claim, as other cases upon the docket of the court, and shall be tried therein in every respect as other cases are there tried, including the right to object to rulings and to move for new trials for cause; and execution may be awarded thereon as in other cases; but if the party claiming the jury trial shall not therein obtain an award for damages more favorable to him or her than that given by the commissioners, he or she shall pay costs to the adverse party.

SECTION 9. Whenever the report of the commissioners shall be received by the court and no right of trial by jury shall be claimed thereon, the court shall enter judgment in favor of the several claimants for the damages awarded to them respectively; and so shall enter judgment upon the verdict of the jury, subject to the right to apply for new trials for cause, upon the rendition of the verdict; and the court shall forthwith grant execution upon all such judgments.

SECTION 10. Any proceeding in taking any property or estate or rights of property, or in claiming damages therefor, or other proceeding under the provisions of this act, may at any stage of the proceeding, with the leave of the court, be amended upon such terms and conditions as to the court may appear to be just and proper.

SECTION 11. The city council may grant to any person or corporation the right to lay water pipes in any of the public highways of the city for supplying the inhabitants of the town or city with water, and may consent to the erection, construction, and the right to maintain a reservoir or reservoirs within the town or city, for such time and upon such terms and conditions as they may deem proper, including therein, the power and authority to exempt the pipes and reservoirs and the land and works connected therewith from taxation.

SECTION 12. The owner of any house, building, tenement, or estate shall be liable for the payment of the price or rent or rates fixed by the city or water district for the use of water furnished by such city, or water district to the owner or occupant of the house, building, tenement, or estate; and the price, rent, or rates shall be a lien upon the 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 city, or water district, shall be collected in the same manner that taxes assessed on real estate are by law collected that provided, however, that the city of Woonsocket or any agency thereof may charge interest on delinquent payments at a rate of not more than eighteen percent (18%) per annum.

SECTION 13. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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