Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 37. Annulment of Town Charters
6/28/2022

Chapter 37. Annulment of Town Charters.

§ 15.2-3700. Towns may annul charters.

A town may annul its charter in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.28; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3701. Agreement required.

Before initiating proceedings pursuant to this chapter, a town council shall enter into an agreement with the board of supervisors of the county or counties within which the town is located. The agreement shall provide for the transfer to the county or counties of all of the revenues the town receives, the services it performs, its facilities, including real and personal property, and other assets, including all debts due to the town, and for the assumption by the county or counties of all of the town's indebtedness, bonded and otherwise.

The agreement required by this section may be an agreement between the governing body of the town and the governing bodies of two or more counties or cities, in one or more of which the town is located, which are parties to a consolidation agreement under Chapter 35 (§ 15.2-3500 et seq.) of this title and may provide that the agreement shall be binding on the consolidated jurisdiction upon the effective date of consolidation.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.29; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3702. Ordinance required.

After the agreement required by § 15.2-3701 has been reached, the town council may, by ordinance passed by a recorded majority vote of all the members thereof, petition the circuit court for the county or counties in which the town is located for an order requiring a referendum on the question of whether the town charter shall be annulled and repealed.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.30; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3703. Notice of motion; service and publication; docketing.

Upon adoption of the ordinance required by § 15.2-3702, the town shall serve notice on the attorney for the Commonwealth, or on the county attorney, if there is one, and on the chairman of the governing body of the county or counties in which the town is located that it will, on a given day, not less than thirty days thereafter, move the circuit court for an order as provided by § 15.2-3702. A copy of the notice and ordinance, or a descriptive summary of the notice and ordinance and a reference to the place within the town where copies of the notice and ordinance may be examined, shall be published at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the town. The proof of service or certificate of service of the notice and ordinance shall be returned after service to the clerk of the circuit court. When the publication of the notice and ordinance is completed, the case shall be docketed for entry of the referendum order. Certification of the owner, editor or manager of the newspaper publishing the notice and ordinance shall be proof of publication.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.31; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3704. Order for election; conduct of election.

When publication of the notice and ordinance is completed, the circuit court shall by order issued in accordance with § 24.2-684 require the regular election officers of the county or counties in which the town is located to open the polls on the day fixed in the order and take the sense of the qualified voters of the town on the question submitted as provided in this section. The regular election officers, at the time designated in the order, shall open the polls at the various voting places in the town and conduct the election in the manner provided by general law for other elections. The ballots used shall be printed and shall contain the following:

"Shall the charter for the Town of ____________________ be annulled and repealed?

[ ] Yes

[ ] No."

1992, c. 453, §§ 15.1-965.32, 15.1-965.33; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3705. Results of election.

The ballots shall be counted and returns made and canvassed as in other elections and the results certified by the secretary of the electoral board to the judge of the circuit court. If the report of the secretary of the electoral board shows that a majority of the qualified voters of the town voting on the question submitted are in favor of the annulment, the judge shall enter such fact of record and shall notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the annulment shall be effective on January 1 of the year following the year in which the order entering such fact of record is issued or, in the discretion of the court, on the second January 1 following the year in which issued. However, the court, upon joint petition of the governing bodies of the town and county or counties in which the town is located, may order the annulment effective on any other date or dates.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.34; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3706. Annulment of surrendered charter.

Upon the effective date of the annulment, the town charter which is surrendered by the ordinance shall be annulled. The terms and conditions of the contract with the county or counties in which the town is located required by § 15.2-3701 shall be a binding and irrevocable contract in favor of the public, compliance with which in all its parts may be enforced, and violation of which may be prevented, by mandamus or injunction from the Supreme Court or from any circuit court at the suit or relation of any citizen or taxpayer.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.35; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3707. General effect of annulment.

Upon the effective date of annulment, the town shall terminate, as shall the terms of office and the rights, powers, duties and compensation of the officers, agents and employees of the town.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.36; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3708. Transfer of property and indebtedness.

Upon the effective date of annulment, the title to all property, real and personal, tangible and intangible, of the former town shall be vested in, and the indebtedness become a debt of, the county or counties in which the town was located without any further act or deed.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.37; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3709. Special debt district.

If so provided in the agreement required by § 15.2-3701, the territory constituting the former town may be a special debt district for the purpose of repaying all or part of the existing indebtedness chargeable to the town before annulment. A special tax on real property within the special debt district shall be levied for a period not exceeding twenty years. The special tax may be different from and in addition to the general tax rate throughout the entire county or counties in which the town was located.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.38; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3710. Records and documents.

All records and documents of the former town shall pass to and be held by the county or counties in which the town was located which shall be responsible for the preservation, maintenance and custody of these records and documents.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.39; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3711. Effect on pending suits.

If at the time of annulment there are any pending actions or proceedings by or against the town, or if after the effective date of annulment an action or proceeding out of a cause of action which arose prior to the time of annulment, which but for the annulment would have been by or against the town, is instituted, the county or counties in which the town was located shall be substituted in place thereof and the proceeding may be perfected to judgment. The agreement required by § 15.2-3701 may provide that if judgment against the county or counties results from the proceeding, the liability shall be paid by the special debt district as provided in § 15.2-3709.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.40; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3712. Repeal of charter.

After a town charter has been annulled in accordance with this chapter, the local governing body of the county or counties in which the town was located shall make a request to a state legislator representing that county that the General Assembly repeal the town charter at the next legislative session.

1992, c. 453, § 15.1-965.41; 1997, c. 587.