A 42
97-H 6573
Effective Without the Governor's Signature
Jul. 8, 1997

A N   A C T


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. An act passed at the January Session, A.D. 1883,entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Union Fire District ofSouth Kingstown", as amended by chapter 1417 of the PublicLaws of 1906, by chapter 650 of the Public Laws of the AugustSession 1910, by other acts passed at the January Session 1938,the January Session 1944, the January Session 1946, the JanuarySession 1948, the January Session 1950, the January Session 1954,the January Session 1958, the January Session 1964, the JanuarySession 1974, the January Session 1976, the January Session 1977,the January Session 1980, the January Session 1982, and the JanuarySession 1994 is hereby further amended to read as follows:

{ADD Sec. 1. Jurisdiction. Commencing at the southeasterly cornerof said district at the point of intersection of the South Kingstown-Narragansetttown line with the mean high water line of the Atlantic Ocean;thence running in a general westerly direction, following themean high water line of the Atlantic Ocean until it intersectsthe South Kingstown-Charlestown town line; thence running in ageneral northerly direction, following said South Kingstown-Charlestowntown line to the center of the Pawcatuck or Charles River; thencerunning in a general northwesterly direction, following the SouthKingstown-Charlestown town line along the center of said Pawcatuckor Charles River to its confluence with the Queen's River; thencerunning in a general northeasterly and northerly direction followingthe South Kingstown-Richmond town line along the center of saidQueen's River to the village of Usquepaug; thence continuing ina general northerly direction, following the South Kingstown-Richmondtown line until it intersects the South Kingstown-Exeter townline; thence running in a general easterly direction, followingsaid South Kingstown-Exeter town line to the intersection of OldNorth Road and Wolf Rocks Road; thence running in a general southwesterlydirection to a point on the center line of Plains Road five hundred(500) feet northeasterly from the intersection of the center lineof Plains Road with the center line of Kingstown Road; thencerunning in a general southwesterly direction, following the centerline of Plains Road, to the center line of Kingstown Road; thencerunning in a general southerly direction, following the centerline of Ministerial Road, a distance of two thousand (2,000) feet;thence running due east (true) three thousand (3,000) feet, moreor less, to a point on the existing Kingston Fire District boundary,said point being two thousand two hundred (2,200) feet, more orless, south of the center line of Kingstown Road; thence runningdue south (true) to a point five hundred (500) feet south of asoutherly boundary of a Narragansett Electric Company power lineeasement; thence running in a general direction, parallel to andfive hundred (500) feet southerly from the southerly boundaryof said power line easement, to a point one thousand (1,000) feetsouthwesterly from the center line of Kingstown Road; thence runningdue north (true) five hundred (500) feet to the southerly boundaryof said power line easement; thence running in a general easterlydirection along the southerly boundary of said power line easementapproximately eight hundred (800) feet to the center line of KingstownRoad; thence running in a general northwesterly direction alongthe center line of said Kingstown Road approximately seven hundred(700) feet to a point on the westerly extension of the southerlyboundary of the University of Rhode Island "East Farm";thence running in a general easterly direction along the southerlyboundary of said "East Farm" to a point one thousand(1,000) feet northeasterly from Kingstown Road; thence runningin a general northeasterly direction to the intersection of Mitchell'sBrook with the center line of Mooresfield Road; thence runningin a general northwesterly direction to the intersection of NorthRoad and Wolf Rocks Road at the South Kingstown-Exeter town line;thence running in a general easterly direction, following theSouth Kingstown-North Kingstown town line to its intersectionwith the South Kingstown-Narragansett town line in the centerof the Pettaquamscutt River; thence running in a general southerly,southwesterly and southerly direction, following the South Kingstown-Narragansetttown line to the first mentioned point or place of beginning. ADD}

{ADD Excepting herefrom that area known as the Indian Lake FireDistrict, bounded and described as follows: ADD}

{ADD Commencing at a point in the westerly line of Tower Hill Roadat the southeasterly corner of "Section No. 2 Indian LakeShores"; thence running in a general westerly direction tothe easterly line of land formerly of Elisha R.P. Chappell atthe southwesterly corner of "Section No. 1 Indian Lake Shores";thence running in a general northerly direction, bounded westerlyby land formerly of Elisha R.P. Chappell, to the shore line ofIndian Lake; thence running in a general northeasterly and northerlydirection, following the shore line of Indian Lake, to the northwesterlycorner of "Section No. 4 Indian Lake Shores"; thencerunning in a general easterly direction, following the northerlyline of "Section No. 4 Indian Lake Shores"; to the westerlyline of Tower Hill Road; thence running in a general southerlydirection, following the westerly line of Tower Hill Road to thepoint of beginning. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 2. Rights and Qualifications for Voters. Every citizenof the United States of the age of eighteen (18) years who residesin the district and is eligible to vote in a general or specialelection in the town of South Kingstown shall have the right tovote at any annual or special meeting of said district, or anyadjournment thereof. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 3. Canvassing Voters and Preparation of Voters' List. There shall be a board of canvassers consisting of the three(3) tax assessors and the collector of taxes said district. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 4. Board of Canvassers -- Meeting. The tax assessorsshall also serve in the capacity as the board of canvassers. The board of canvassers shall meet and canvass the voting listof said district on the first Monday in April of each year andshall make out a correct alphabetic list of the qualified votersof the district, indicating those, if any, who are disqualified,and shall certify the correctness thereof and file it with thedistrict clerk. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 5. Government and Conduct of District Meetings. No lessthan twenty-five (25) qualified voters shall constitute a quorumfor the transaction of business at any annual or special meetingof the district. If at any annual or special meeting less thana quorum shall be present, a majority of the voters present atthe meeting or any adjournment thereof may vote to adjourn themeeting, but may take no other action. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 6. Moderator. The moderator shall preside at all meetingsof the district at which he shall be present and in case of hisabsence the clerk shall preside or in the absence of the clerk,a moderator and clerk pro tempore shall be chosen. In the absenceof both, the moderator and the clerk, the treasurer shall presideuntil such moderator and clerk pro tempore be chosen. Every moderatorshall have power to manage and regulate the business of each meetingconforming to law and to preserve peace and good order therein;and shall upon motion, made and seconded, relative to any businessregularly before such meeting, after hearing all voters entitledto vote thereon who desire to be heard, cause the vote of thevoters present entitled to vote to be taken by acclamation, byhand ballot, by rising, by division, or by written ballot andshall announce the result; provided, however, that whenever atany district meeting action shall have been taken authorizingthe expenditure of money, the incurring of any liability, or thedisposition of property, not less than one-fifth (1/5) of thevoters present may be their affirmative votes require reconsiderationof the question at an adjourned meeting of which special noticehas been given by posting printed notices in seven (7) or moreconspicuous public places therein, for five (5) days in advanceof the meeting and when time shall permit by publishing such noticein some newspaper distributed in said district, stating the hourand place thereof and the action taken which is to be considered. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 7. Evidence. A stenographic copy of the record of theproceedings of any district meeting, duly certified by the clerk,shall be evidence of any act or vote of the district in districtmeeting assembled recited in such copy, and the certificationof the district clerk that no district meeting has been held toconsider any subject in such certification mentioned, or thatno vote of the district has been taken on such subject, shallbe evidence of the fact therein stated. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 8. Election of district officers. The voters in thedistrict at each annual meeting choose and elect a moderator toserve for one (1) year. There shall be five (5) district wardensand they shall be elected by the voters in the district. Currentdistrict wardens shall continue until their terms expire and thereafterwardens shall be elected to serve for three (3) year terms. Thevoters in the district shall also elect three (3) tax assessors. Current tax assessors shall continue until their terms expire,and the voters shall elect annually thereafter one (1) assessorof taxes for three (3) years. A district clerk and a districttreasurer shall be appointed by the wardens and shall serve forone (1) year terms. The wardens in their discretion may combinethe duties of the district clerk and treasurer and appoint one(1) person to serve in both capacities. All of the foregoingofficers shall be qualified voters living within the district. No district warden shall be an active member of any districtfire company; provided, however, that any person having attaineda designation of life member or honorary member of a districtfire company shall not be precluded from holding the office ofwarden. All of the foregoing officers shall hold their officesuntil the expiration of their terms, and until their successorshave been elected and/or appointed and qualified, subject to theprovisions of sections 10, 17 and 23. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 9. Appointment of tax collector. The board of wardensshall appoint a collector of taxes and said appointment shallbe made within forty-five (45) days after the annual meeting. The appointment shall be made for a period of three (3) years. In case of death, resignation or removal of any collector oftaxes, the person appointed to fill the unexpired term shall havethe same powers as the original appointee. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 10. Vacancies. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in anyoffice by death, removal out of the district, resignation, orby neglect or refusal to qualify, or for any other cause, theboard of wardens shall appoint a qualified voter living withinthe district to fill the vacancy until the next annual meeting. The appointee shall exercise all the powers of the office untilthe next annual meeting. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 11. Call and warning of district meetings. The annualmeeting of said fire district shall be held on the first Mondayof May in each year at 7:00 p.m. daylight savings time, for theelection of district officers and the transaction of all otherbusiness that may legally come before said meeting, and specialmeetings shall be called by the clerk upon request of the wardensof the written request of at least twenty-five (25) of the legallyqualified voters of the district. The clerk shall notify thequalified voters of the district, of the time and place of holdingall meetings thereof, by posting printed notices in seven (7)or more conspicuous public places therein, for seven (7) daysin advance of the meeting, and when the time shall permit by publishingsuch notices in some newspaper distributed in said district. The notice for all meetings shall state the purpose for whichthe same are to be held, and at special meetings no other businessshall be transacted, than is set forth in the request for andnotice calling the same, unless approved by unanimous vote. Notax shall be ordered at any meeting, nor any agreement or contractinvolving the expenditure of money entered into unless mentionthereof be made in the notice thereof. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 11A. Fiscal year. The fiscal year for said districtshall be for the period of July 1st to June 30th. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 12. The district treasurer. The district treasurer,before the shall proceed to discharge the duties of his office,shall give bond to the district in such sum and with such suretyas the wardens may determine, conditioned for the faithful dischargeof the duties of said office. Said bond shall be deposited withthe district clerk. The treasurer shall pay out no moneys otherthan those moneys authorized to be expended by vote of the district. The treasurer shall, at the annual meeting, make a report containinga balance sheet showing the financial standing of the districtat the close of the fiscal year. The district treasurer shallretain all his vouchers or receipts for the payments charged inhis accounts, to be kept on file for a minimum period of ten (10)years with the other papers of his office. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 13. Bond of tax collector and other duties. The collectorof taxes, before he shall proceed to discharge the duties of hisoffice, shall give bond to the district in such sum and with suchsurety as the wardens may determine, conditioned for the faithfuldischarge of his duties and shall deposit same with the districtclerk. He shall also perform the duties of clerk for the boardof tax assessors. The collector of taxes shall pay over and deliverto the district treasurer on the first day of each month the totaltaxes collected by him during the previous month, and at the endof each fiscal year and on the first day of February of each yeardeliver to the district treasurer a statement continuing the namesof delinquent taxpayers and the amount of tax unpaid. All realestate and tangible personal property in the district shall betaxed to the owners thereof whether individuals, co-partnerships,or corporations, according to the last valuation made by the assessorsof taxes of the town of South Kingstown, next previous to theassessment, adding however, any taxable real estate or tangiblepersonal property which may have been omitted by said assessorsof taxes of the town of South Kingstown or afterwards acquired;and in the assessing and collecting of said taxes such proceedingsshall be had by the officers of the district as near as may be,as are required to be had by the corresponding officers of townsin assessing and collecting town taxes; and the collector of taxesfor the said district shall for the purpose of collecting taxesassessed by said district, have the same powers and authorityas are now by law conferred on collectors of taxes for towns inthis state. Said district may provide a penalty by way of a percentageon the tax, consistent with the penalties assessed by the collectorof taxes for the town of South Kingstown, if not paid at the appointedtime. The district shall employ the same tax credits and exemptionsas are employed by the assessor taxes for the town of South Kingstown. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 14. Audit. The accounts of the district treasurer andof the collector of taxes shall be audited each year prior tothe annual meeting by an independent certified public accountantappointed by the wardens, and said auditor shall submit his reportto the voters at the annual district meeting. Said report shallconsist of an annual financial statement balance sheet and othersuch reports as deemed necessary by the wardens and/or the auditorto ensure the financial integrity of the district's finances. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 15. Wardens. The wardens elected by said district shallhave complete and exclusive control of the expenditures of allmoneys appropriated by the district, the acquisition and disposalof district property, all within the limits, however, of votesand resolutions of the voters present at district meetings. Thewardens shall purchase all supplies and repairs for the maintenanceof the apparatus, buildings, and all property of said district,and shall investigate all bills and claims presented to them againstthe district and if found correct, approve them to the treasurerfor payment. The wardens shall have the care management and controlof all property and equipment owned by the district and shallmake rules and regulations governing the use of same. It shallbe the duty of the wardens to (a) supervise and coordinate theactivities of all the officers, commissions and committees ofthe district; (b) to prepare, or have prepared, ordinances relativeto the district and its activities, and present same to eitherthe annual or special meeting of the district for action thereon;(c) to develop for, and present to, the annual or special meeting,plans for the development and improvement of the district; (d)to prepare a budget for the consideration and approval of thevoters at each annual district meeting; and (e) to abate suchtaxes as may be recommended therefor by the board of assessors. The wardens shall prepare contracts or agreements with a watercompany for the rental or use of fire hydrants in the district,the same to be included in the annual budget that is presentedto the voters for approval at the annual district meeting eachyear. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 16. Demolition of buildings. The wardens may orderin time of fire such buildings to be pulled down or demolishedas they shall judge necessary to stop the progress of such fire;and if it shall happen that the pulling down or demolishing ofany such building by directions, aforesaid, shall be the occasionof stopping the progress of such fire, or if the fire stops beforeit comes to the same, the owner shall be reasonably paid thereforeby a tax upon said district, the amount of which payment shallbe adjudged by the superior court for the county of Washington,which court is hereby authorized and empowered on applicationto it, made in behalf of such owners, with or without a jury trial,as such owner may request, to adjudge as to the amount necessaryand cause the same to be certified to the district, and such taxshall be assessed and collected as other taxes are herein requiredto be assessed and collected in said district; provided, however,no building in which any fire shall first break out or begin,shall be paid for under this provision. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 17. Appointments. The wardens shall appoint a firechief and as many deputy chiefs or other officials as they shalldeem appropriate for the operation of the district. All appointmentsshall serve at the pleasure of the board of wardens, and shallbe made at the June meeting of the wardens, said terms to be effectiveJuly 1st and shall end no later than the following June 30th. The chief and deputy chiefs, under the supervision of the wardens,shall have command of and supervise the handling of all fire andrescue apparatus. The wardens may appoint all necessary officersfor the execution of the ordinances, bylaws and regulations ofthe district and may define their duties and fix their compensation,and may relieve any such officers at pleasure. Whenever a vacancyshall occur in any appointment by death, removal out of the district,resignation, or by neglect or refusal to qualify, or for any othercause, the board of wardens shall appoint a qualified voter livingwithin the district to fill the vacancy until the expiration oftheir current term. The wardens shall have the power to removeor suspend from office the fire chief or any or all deputy chiefsor any appointments for just cause, for any misuse of the propertybelonging to said district or conduct unbecoming an officer andthe wardens shall forbid such person from using any property belongingto said district. The wardens shall also have the power to forbidfor just cause, any member of any fire company or any citizenfrom using any property belonging to the district. For the purposeof disciplinary action hereinbefore described, a majority voteof the five (5) elected wardens shall be necessary for any disciplinaryaction to be taken. Any person aggrieved by a disciplinary actiontaken pursuant to this section may request a hearing before thefull board of wardens wherein all five (5) members are present. Said hearing shall be conducted in executive session pursuantto RIGL section 46-6-5, except that the grievant may request thatsaid hearing be conducted at a regularly scheduled meeting inopen session. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 18. Wardens meetings. The wardens shall meet at leastonce a month in public meeting at some predetermined place andtime and shall keep an accurate record of all their transactionsand meetings. The clerk of the district shall act as the clerkof the wardens. All meetings of the wardens shall conform tothe requirements of the Rhode Island "Open Meetings"act, RIGL section 42-46-1 et seq. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 19. Real and personal estate. The district may take, purchaseand hold real estate and personal estate and alienate and conveythe same and subject to limitation herein contained may borrowmoney and incur indebtedness. All real and personal estate heldby the district and not used for commercial purposes shall beexempt from all taxation. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 20. Taxes. Upon the acceptance of an annual budget, thewardens shall direct the treasurer to prepare and introduce thenecessary tax resolutions to be presented to the voters at theannual meeting. As part of said tax resolutions the voters ateach annual meeting, may set a minimum tax on each property tobe assessed. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 21. Appropriations. The district may at any legal meetinggrant and vote such sums of money as it shall judge necessary. ADD}

{ADD (A) for the renewal, replacement, purchasing and procuringof implements and apparatus for the extinguishment of fire; ADD}

{ADD (B) for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of said districtwith water for fire purposes; ADD}

{ADD (C) for the purpose of improving the property of said districtand purchasing additional property; ADD}

{ADD (D) for the improvement in any manner it may deem fit of anyproperty belonging to the district; ADD}

{ADD (E) for the purpose of creating a reserve fund for the extinguishmentof debts or for the future replacement of apparatus and property; ADD}

{ADD (F) for the education and training of district personnel andfor the maintenance and repair of district apparatus, equipmentand property; and ADD}

{ADD (G) for all necessary charges and expenses whatsoever arisingwithin the district, incidental or not to the above. Districtvoters at any of their legal meetings may authorize and empowerthe treasurer of said district to borrow money for the operationand transaction of district business, to give the note or notesof said district for the money so borrowed, and to give renewalsthereof; provided, however, that at no time shall the note ornotes and renewal of notes outstanding in pursuance of such authorityexceed in the aggregate sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000).Once the voters have voted to place funds in the reserve for capitalexpenditures, thereafter said funds shall not be removed for thepurpose of reducing the amount to be raised by taxes for any succeedingbudget. Provided, however, that funding of the account entitled"Reserve for Capital Expenditures" in any budget thatis to be submitted for voter approval at an annual or specialmeeting of said district shall not exceed two hundred fifty thousanddollars ($250,000) or twenty-five percent (25%) of the total budgetof the district, whichever amount is greater, in any one fiscalyear. No bond or note shall be issued by the district in an amountexceeding five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) unless thequestion of the approval of the Act by the general assembly authorizingthe issuance of said bonds or notes be submitted to the votersof the district at an annual or special meeting of the district,at an all-day referendum to be held at a date not later than seventy(70) days following the passage of any such act. The questionthat is submitted shall include the amount of the bonds or notesto be issued and the purpose(s) for which the bonds or notes areto be issued. The warning for said referendum shall contain thequestion to be submitted and once warned, a copy of the act shallbe made available for inspection at the district offices by theclerk, however, the failure of the clerk to comply with this provisionshall not affect the validity of the outcome. Voting at any suchspecial referendum shall comply with the following provisions: ADD}

{ADD The question shall be warned a minimum of twenty-one (21) daysprior to the date of the referendum and shall be publicized byadvertisement in a newspaper of general circulation that is distributedwithin the district at least one (1) day per week for the three(3) consecutive weeks prior to the referendum. In addition, thewarning shall be publicly posted at the district offices, theSouth Kingstown Town Hall, all district fire stations and at leastthree (3) other conspicuous public locations. ADD}

{ADD Voting shall take place at the district offices and shall beheld on a weekday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. ADD}

{ADD The only persons who will be eligible to vote at any specialreferendum are those qualified voters of the town of South Kingstownwho reside within the district, having been qualified at leastthirty (30) days prior to the date of the referendum. Any voterwho has registered to vote in the town of South Kingstown duringthe ninety (90) days prior to the date of the referendum mustobtain a certified letter from the South Kingstown Clerk's Officeverifying that they are a qualified voter and must present suchletter at the referendum in order to be eligible to vote. ADD}

{ADD Voters of the district, having been qualified by a districttax assessor, shall be provided a ballot containing the questionto be approved and a provision for indicating either "approve"or "reject". Approve shall mean that the question passesand reject shall mean that the question fails. ADD}

{ADD The district tax assessors shall certify to the wardens thetotal number of voters registering and receiving ballots, thenumber of ballots marked "approve", the number of ballotsmarked "reject" and the number of ballots not markedor missing. In the event that the total number of ballots collectedexceeds the total number of voters registered, the referendumshall be declared void and a second vote taken. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 22 Powers of and suits by and against said district. Thedistrict may have common seal, in its corporate name, may sueand be sued, prosecuted and defend, in any court and elsewhere,and enjoy all the other powers generally incident to corporations.Every suit whether in law or in equity, brought by the districtshall be brought in the name of the district unless otherwisedirected specially by law. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 23. Ordinances. The district may from time to time makeand ordain ordinances, bylaws and regulations for the district that shall not be in conflict with or in violation of other provisionsof this act and not repugnant to law. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 24. Penalties. The district may impose penalties for theviolation of such ordinances, bylaws, and regulations, not exceedingthe amount of fifty dollars ($50.00), or imprisonment not exceedingten (10) days in the adult correctional institution for any offense,unless other penalties thereof, or penalties within other limits,are especially prescribed by the statutes of the state of RhodeIsland, to be prosecuted before the district court, of the fourthjudicial district by some officer appointed for that purpose,and such moneys to be received to the use of the district. ADD}

{ADD Sec. 25. Words importing the masculine gender shall includethe feminine gender. ADD}

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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