-----Original Message-----

From: Jim Barlow [mailto:jbarlow@vlct.org]

Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 4:36 PM

To: Steven Jeffrey; shurd

Subject: RE: Another Update -- Not the final word





I've spent some time reviewing the statues, case law and charters.  I've

also talked to a few managers and treasurers in town/village communities.

Unfortunately, nothing has provided any great insight on the issue you face.

Every charter is a little different and every town and village does it



Though I lack a solid legal anchor for my opinion, I agree with Steve.

Absent a charter provision to the contrary, village residents are still

obligated to pay town highway taxes.  This would be the case even if there

is a village highway department and a village highway tax.


While nothing is stated expressly (or very clearly), there are sections of

the North Bennington village charter and the Bennington town charter that,

when read together, would imply that North Bennington village residents are

not subject to payment of Bennington town highway taxes.  First, the North

Bennington "street commissioner" has charge of the "building and repairing

of all the highways, streets, lanes, and sidewalks in the village."  Section

601.  The village is authorized to set its own highway tax rate, section

602, and the village trustees are authorized to abate highway taxes assessed

against village taxpayers.  Section 303.  On the town side of the equation,

section 404(h) of the town charter provides, "The [Town] Manager shall

perform all duties now conferred by law on the road commissioner in all

areas of the Town, except within such villages as may vote not to surrender

their charters..."


While standing alone, none of these provisions would exempt village

residents from town highway taxes, taken together they probably indicate an

intention that village residents be exempt from payment of town highway

taxes. Perhaps you might have records of votes or discussions that might

shed more light on the question.


I know this isn't much, but I hope it helps.


Jim Barlow

Staff Attorney

Vermont League of Cities and Towns

89 Main Street, Suite 4

Montpelier, VT 05602


(802) 229-9111

(800) 649-7915

(802) 229-2211 (fax)


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