TOWNS, CITIES, VILLAGE DISTRICTS, AND UNINCORPORATED PLACES
I. Upon the petition of 10 or more voters, persons domiciled in any village situated in one or more towns, the selectmen of the town or towns shall fix, by suitable boundaries, a district including such parts of the town or towns as may seem convenient, for any of the following purposes:
(a) The extinguishment of fires;
(b) The lighting or sprinkling of streets;
(c) The planting and care for shade and ornamental trees;
(d) The supply of water for domestic and fire purposes, which may include the protection of sources of supply;
(e) The construction and maintenance of sidewalks and main drains or common sewers;
(f) The construction, operation, and maintenance of sewage and waste treatment plants;
(g) The construction, maintenance, and care of parks or commons;
(h) The maintenance of activities for recreational promotion;
(i) The construction or purchase and maintenance of a municipal lighting plant;
(j) The control of pollen, insects, and pests;
(k) The impoundment of water;
(l) The appointing and employment of watchmen and police officers;
(m) The layout, acceptance, construction, and maintenance of roads; and
(n) The maintenance of ambulance services.
II. The voters who are domiciled in any village shall cause a record of the petition, pursuant to paragraph I, and their proceedings thereon to be recorded in the records of the towns in which the district is situate.
Source. 1849, 852:1. CS 116:1. GS 97:1. GL 107:1. 1889, 82:1. PS 53:1. 1909, 27:1. 1911, 5:1. PL 57:1. 1939, 108:1. RL 70:1. RSA 52:1. 1957, 179:1. 1961, 120:3. 1975, 13:1; 455:1. 1977, 154:1. 1981, 375:1. 2003, 289:14, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
52:1-a Flood Control Projects.
Any village district organized under the provisions of this chapter may at a regular or special village district meeting vote to cooperate or act jointly with other village districts or with towns to defray expenses and take other appropriate action necessary to protect its interest in connection with federal or interstate flood control projects. Such village district may enter into agreements with other districts or towns for the purposes hereof and in such case the agreement shall be governed by the conditions set.
Source. 1957, 287:3, eff. Oct. 1, 1957.
52:2 Meeting to Consider.
Such selectmen shall also forthwith call a meeting of the voters domiciled in the district to see if they will vote to establish the district, and if so to choose necessary officers therefor. They shall call the meeting and give notice thereof as town meetings are called and warned, excepting that the warrant shall be posted at 2 or more public places in the district.
Source. 1849, 852:2, 3, 4. CS 116:2, 3, 4. GS 97:2. GL 107:2. PS 53:2. PL 57:2. RL 70:2. 2003, 289:15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
52:2-a Budgetary Official Ballot.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any village district may vote to raise and appropriate money for the support of the district by official ballot as provided for in RSA 49-D:3, II-a, by following the procedures set forth in RSA 49-B. The village district may also include within its charter a plan for voting by official ballot, pursuant to RSA 49-B and RSA 49-D, on such other warrant articles as the village district may determine. For the purposes of this section, all references in RSA 49-B and RSA 49-D to "municipal," "municipality," "city," and "town" shall mean and include "village district," and all references to "elected body" and "governing body" shall mean and include "district commissioners."
Source. 1995, 53:5. 1997, 319:8, eff. Aug. 22, 1997.
52:3 Procedure and Powers.
I. At such meeting the legal voters may by vote establish the district, give to it a name, and choose necessary officers therefor to hold office until the first annual meeting of the district.
II. The district shall thereupon be a body corporate and politic, and shall have all the powers in relation to the objects for which it was established that towns have or may have in relation to like objects, and all that are necessary for the accomplishment of its purposes.
III. The district may at an annual meeting vote to raise such sums of money as the voters judge necessary for the purpose of reducing an accumulated general fund deficit.
Source. 1849, 852:2-4, 7. CS 116:2-4, 7. GS 97:2, 4. 1874, 11:1. GL 107:2, 4. 1887, 42:1. 1889, 11:1. PS 53:3. PL 57:3. RL 70:3. RSA 52:3. 1994, 147:3, eff. July 22, 1994.
52:3-a Commissioners Duties; Acceptance by Municipalities of Roads.
I. In addition to the general powers provided in RSA 52:3, the commissioners of a village district formed for the purposes of RSA 52:1, I(m), shall have the same powers, duties and responsibilities of selectmen of towns which are granted or required pursuant to RSA Title XX; and, where appropriate, selectmen of towns shall be construed to mean commissioners of village districts.
I-a. The commissioners shall publish in the next annual report, or post at the annual meeting, the general fund balance sheet from the most recently completed audited financial statements or from the financial report filed pursuant to RSA 21-J:34, V.
I-b. In the case of an accumulated general fund deficit, the commissioners shall insert an article in the warrant recommending such action as they deem appropriate, which may include, but is not limited to, raising a sum of money for the purpose of reducing that deficit.
II. No town or city shall be required to accept, lay out or maintain any road solely because the road was established or maintained by a village district. Dissolution of a village district under RSA 52:21 shall not affect the powers, duties and responsibilities of a city or town to accept, lay out, maintain or otherwise assume responsibility for any road established by that village district.
III. No town or city shall levy any fee or collect any tax for the use by any utility of roads maintained by a village district under RSA 52:1, I(m), except on the vote of the village district commissioners for remittance to the village district.
Source. 1975, 455:2. 1979, 72:1. 1994, 147:4, eff. July 22, 1994. 2015, 83:1, eff. Aug. 4, 2015.
I. No village district shall raise or appropriate money, or reduce or rescind any appropriation of money previously authorized, at any special meeting of the voters thereof except by vote by ballot, nor unless the ballots cast at such meeting shall be equal in number to at least 1/2 of the number of voters of such district at the regular meeting next preceding such special meeting; and if a checklist was used at the last preceding regular meeting the same shall be used to ascertain the number of voters in the district; and such checklist, corrected according to law, shall be used at such special meeting upon request of 10 voters. In case of an emergency arising in a district for which immediate expenditure of money is necessary, the district through its commissioners may appeal to the superior court for permission to hold a special district meeting which, if granted, shall give said meeting the same authority as the annual district meeting.
II. Ten days prior to petitioning the superior court, the district commissioners shall notify, by certified mail, the commissioner of the department of revenue administration that an emergency exists by providing the commissioner with a copy of the explanation of the emergency, the warrant article or articles and the petition to be submitted to the superior court. The petition to the superior court shall include a certification that the commissioner of the department of revenue administration has been notified pursuant to this paragraph.
Source. 1907, 121:1. PL 57:4. 1931, 103:1. RL 70:4. 1943, 88:1. RSA 52:4. 1989, 172:2. 2003, 289:16, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
52:4-a Contingency Fund.
Every village district annually by an article in the warrant may establish a contingency fund to meet the cost of unanticipated expenses that may arise during the year. Such fund shall not exceed one percent of the amount appropriated exclusive of capital expenditures and amortization of debt by such village district during the preceding year. A detailed report of all expenditures from the contingency fund shall be made annually by the commissioners and published with their report.
Source. 1965, 123:3, eff. July 27, 1965.
52:5 Changing Boundaries.
I. The selectmen of towns in which any such district has been established upon petition, after notice to parties interested and a hearing, may change the boundaries thereof; and the district shall cause the petition and the return of the selectmen's proceedings and decision thereon to be recorded in the records of the district, and of the towns in which it is situated, within 60 days after the decision.
II. In the case of any district formed for the purpose of impoundment of water, any such change of boundaries shall be ratified before taking effect by the voters domiciled in the district and in any area proposed to be added to the district in the same manner as is required for the initial establishment of the district.
III. In the case of any district formed for the purpose of the supply of water for domestic and fire purposes, which may include the protection of sources of supply, any such change of boundaries shall be ratified before taking effect by the voters domiciled in the district and in any area proposed to be added to the district in the same manner as is required for the initial establishment of the district.
Source. 1853, 1421. GS 97:6. GL 107:6. 1887, 28:1. PS 53:4. PL 57:5. RL 70:5. RSA 52:5. 1975, 13:2. 2002, 174:2. 2003, 289:17, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
52:6 Added Powers.
A district established for any of the purposes mentioned in RSA 52:1 may from time to time by vote add thereto any other of said purposes; and from and after such vote it shall have all the powers and rights in relation to the new purposes that it previously had in relation to its original purposes.
Source. PS 53:5. PL 57:6. RL 70:6.
52:7 Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XIII, eff. July 1, 1979.
The moderator, clerk, treasurer and commissioners shall severally qualify and possess the same powers and perform the same duties in respect to the district's meetings and business affairs that the moderator, clerk, treasurer and selectmen of towns respectively possess and perform in respect to like matters in towns.
Source. 1849, 852:5, 6. CS 116:5, 6. GS 97:3. GL 107:3. PS 53:7. 1905, 99:1. PL 57:8. RL 70:8.
52:8-a Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XIV, eff. July 1, 1979.
52:9 Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XV, eff. July 1, 1979.
52:9-a Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XVI, eff. July 1, 1979.
52:10 Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XVII, eff. July 1, 1979.
52:11 Fire Department Engineers.
The commissioners shall appoint a chief engineer and assistant engineers to serve in the fire department for the ensuing year, and may remove them, for cause, after notice and hearing.
Source. 1849, 852:5, 6. CS 116:5, 6. GS 97:3. GL 107:3. PS 53:7. 1905, 99:1. PL 57:11. RL 70:11.
52:11-a Voting at District Meetings.
Votes at district meetings shall be conducted according to the procedures established for town meetings in RSA 40:4-a, 4-b, and 6.
Source. 1971, 524:4, eff. July 7, 1971.
52:11-b Public Body.
Every legislative body, governing body, board, commission, or committee of any village district established under this chapter shall be deemed a "public body" under RSA 91-A and shall be subject to all applicable provisions of that chapter.
Source. 2021, 118:1, eff. Sept. 7, 2021.
52:12 Annual Meetings.
The annual meeting of each district shall be held between January 1 and May 1 of each year. In the case of a district formed for the purpose of impoundment of water, the annual meeting shall be held at another time of the year if so voted at a previous meeting.
Source. 1849, 852:8. CS 116:8. GS 97:5. GL 107:5. PS 53:8. 1899, 49:1. PL 57:12. RL 70:12. RSA 52:12. 1975, 13:3. 1981, 375:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1981.
52:13 Warning of Meetings.
In case of a vacancy in the office of commissioners, or of their neglect or refusal to warn a meeting or insert an article in a warrant, or of failure to hold an annual meeting, a meeting of the district may be called and warned in the same manner as in like cases in towns.
Source. 1883, 6:1, 2. PS 53:9. PL 57:13. RL 70:13.
52:14 Special Meetings.
The commissioners when calling a special district meeting shall, within one week after posting the warrant therefor, cause a copy of said warrant to be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in said district.
Source. 1945, 39:2, eff. Mar. 6, 1945.
52:14-a Repealed by 1993, 176:18, eff. Aug. 8, 1993.
52:15 Repealed by 1979, 410:2, XVIII, eff. July 1, 1979.
52:16 Taxation, Procedure.
I. Whenever the district votes to raise money by taxation or otherwise for any of its purposes, the clerk shall, within 20 days thereafter, deliver a certified copy of such vote to the selectmen of each town which contains any part of the district and to the commissioner of revenue administration. Whether or not the district is situated wholly within one town, the selectmen of each town shall assess the tax on that part of the district lying within their own town and commit it to the collector of taxes from their own town. The collectors shall then collect the tax as required by law. The selectmen may make such assessments in the manner provided under RSA 76:4.
II. In the case of districts with annual budgets of less than $200,000, the town treasurer shall distribute the amount of taxes collected and held in trust by the town under paragraph I to the district treasurer no later than December 31 of each calendar year, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the town and district treasurers. In the case of districts with annual budgets of $200,000 or more, the town treasurer shall distribute the amount of taxes collected and held in trust by the town under paragraph I by distributing to the district treasurer all taxes collected in any given calendar month by the end of the next following month, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the town and district treasurers. The town treasurer, furthermore, shall turn over to the district treasurer all interest earned on district tax revenues held in trust by the town and all interest collected by the town on the account of any delinquent district taxpayers' district taxes in the same manner as the tax revenues are distributed.
Source. 1849, 852:7. CS 116:7. GS 97:4. 1874, 11:1. GL 107:4. PS 53:11. PL 57:15. RL 70:15. RSA 52:16. 1975, 138:1. 1977, 11:1. 1991, 90:1. 1992, 274:1. 2010, 262:8, eff. Sept. 4, 2010.
52:17 Abatement of Assessments.
The power to abate and correct the assessment of such taxes shall belong to the board authorized to assess them; and aggrieved parties shall have the same remedies for relief as in case of town taxes.
Source. 1849, 852:7. CS 116:7. GS 97:4. 1874, 11:1. GL 107:4. PS 53:11. PL 57:16. RL 70:16.
52:18 Taking Land.
If any such district cannot obtain for a reasonable price any land or easement in land required by it for its purposes it may, through its commissioners or other duly authorized agents, make and file in the town clerk's office of each town in which such land is situated a description thereof by reference to permanent bounds or other means of description, and may petition the selectmen of the town or towns in which the district is situated for the assessment of the owner's damages. All subsequent proceedings and rights of all parties in interest shall be the same as in taking land for highways located in one town, or 2 adjoining towns, as the case may be.
Source. GL 107:4. PS 53:12. PL 57:17. RL 70:17.
52:18-a Water Pollution.
Any district which shall have received an order by the department of environmental services under the provisions of RSA 147, 485, or 485-A shall proceed forthwith to acquire whatever easements and lands as are necessary to comply with said order provided that a majority of the voters vote in favor of said acquisition at any regular or special district meeting called for the purpose of taking action on such order and may enter upon, for the purpose of survey leading to land description, any land within the town or towns in which such district is situated. In so proceeding the district commissioners or other duly authorized agents shall institute any necessary land taking in accordance with the provisions of RSA 52:18 and, anything contained in RSA 231 or in the statutes generally notwithstanding, the decision of the commissioners of the town or towns in which such land or lands are situated shall not be vacated and any subsequent appeal or other action by the owner or owners shall be based solely on the amount of damages assessed, and the duly appointed agents of the district shall have full right of immediate entry for the purposes of detailed surveys, borings, or the conduct of any and all other actions necessary or desirable to aid the district in implementation of the order by the department of environmental services.
Source. 1969, 377:3. 1986, 202:6, I(a). 1989, 339:14. 1996, 228:108, eff. July 1, 1996.
52:19 Joint Board.
If a district, situated in 2 or more towns, adopts the provisions of RSA chapter 252 the selectmen of all the towns as a joint board shall have powers and perform the duties of selectmen in such case.
Source. PS 53:13. PL 57:18. RL 70:18.
52:20 Reporting Appointments.
The clerk of any district having firewards or engineers shall forthwith after their appointment from time to time report their names and post-office addresses to the town clerks of the town in which the district is situated; and if he fails to do so he shall be fined $20.
Source. 1889, 17:2, 3. PS 53:14. 1905, 99:2. PL 57:19. RL 70:19.
Any village district and any district now in existence having the rights and powers of a village district, may, at an annual meeting, by a 2/3 vote of its legal voters, terminate its existence and dispose of its corporate property. Upon the dissolution of any such district, the property, real and personal, which is contained within the former boundaries of the dissolved district shall continue to be subject to taxation and betterment assessments for the purpose of paying any unpaid bonds, notes, bills or other obligations incurred while the district was in existence, in the same manner as if the said district had not been dissolved. The selectmen of the town or towns in which the district was situated shall assess the taxes and betterment assessments in the same manner as if the district had not been dissolved and shall have the duty, authority, and power to pay such bonds, notes, bills or other obligations after the moneys received from such taxes and assessments. Provided, however, that in no case shall the total of any such taxes or assessment exceed the balance necessary to pay said bonds, notes, bills or other obligations after the net income derived from the property disposed of has been applied for the payment of the same.
Source. GL 107:8. PS 53:15. PL 57:20. RSA 52:21. 1967, 169:1, eff. June 9, 1967.
52:21-a Village Districts in Lisbon.
Notwithstanding the provisions of 1961, 360:7, the provisions of RSA 52:21 shall be applicable to the village district existing in the town of Lisbon at the time of the passage of this act, and to any other village district which may hereafter be established in said town.
Source. 1963, 436:4, eff. Aug. 30, 1963.
52:22 Adoption of Provisions.
Village districts and precincts established under the laws heretofore in force may adopt the provisions of this chapter, and thereupon shall have the rights conferred thereby and be governed by the same except as hereinafter provided. Unless they do so, the laws under which they were organized shall continue in force as to them, notwithstanding their repeal in general terms. In any case where a village district or precinct heretofore established by special act is authorized to hold its annual meeting any designated time, the time for such annual meeting so designated in such special act shall govern the holding of such annual meeting unless said village district or precinct shall otherwise vote in adopting the provisions of this chapter.
Source. GS 97:7. GL 107:7. PS 53:16. PL 57:21. RL 70:21. 1943, 88:2, eff. Mar. 25, 1943.
52:23 Public Water.
Upon the written application of 10 percent of the registered voters in any village water district, presented to the commissioners or one of them at least 15 days before the day prescribed for an annual meeting of the district, the commissioners shall insert in their warrant for such meeting an article relative to the use of fluoride in the water system for said district, and the district clerk shall prepare a ballot for said meeting with the following question: "Shall fluoride be used in the district water system?" Beside the question shall be printed the word "yes" and the word "no" with the proper boxes for the voter to indicate his or her choice. If a majority of those voting in a water system that serves only one municipality does not approve the use of fluoride in the district water system, no fluoride shall be introduced into the district water system; or if fluoride has, prior to said vote, been so introduced, such use shall be discontinued until such time as the majority of those voting in the town approve of the use of fluoride. After such popular referendum, the commissioners shall not insert an article relative to the use of fluoride in the district water system in the warrant nor shall the district clerk prepare such a ballot for a minimum period of 3 years from the date of the last popular referendum of the district and only upon written application at that time of not less than 10 percent of the registered voters of said district. The procedure for a referendum on the use of fluoride in a village district that is part of a water system serving more than one municipality shall be the procedure in RSA 485:14-a.
Source. 1959, 273:3. 1979, 335:3. 2004, 225:5. 2008, 230:8, eff. Aug. 19, 2008.
52:24 Filing With Secretary of State.
The selectmen of every town, and the councilors or aldermen of every city, which have a village district established under the provisions of this chapter lying in whole or in part within said town or city, shall file with the secretary of state the following information concerning the village district or districts within their respective municipalities.
I. Within one year of the enactment of this section there shall be filed:
(a) The name of the village district;
(b) The powers granted to said district; and
(c) The territorial boundaries of the district.
II. Thereafter, within one year of any change in the above, there shall be filed:
(a) Any change in the name, powers or territorial limits of the district; and
(b) Any notice of dissolution of the district.
Source. 1969, 25:1, eff. May 3, 1969.
52:25 Repealed by 2010, 22:2, eff. July 6, 2010.
52:26 Contracts With the Department of Environmental Services.
Any contract between a district formed for the purpose of impoundment of water, organized pursuant to this chapter, and the department of environmental services for the construction, operation, and maintenance of any dam located within the district's boundaries that is in effect on the effective date of this act shall continue in effect for the remaining term of the contract or until terminated in accordance with the terms of the contract. If the district terminates the contract, any obligations and liabilities outstanding at the time of such termination shall be outstanding obligations and liabilities of the district and, if the district is terminated, such obligations shall be treated in the same manner as under RSA 52:21.
Source. 2010, 22:1, eff. July 6, 2010.