CHAPTER 97
MUNICIPALITIES: GENERAL PROVISIONS

Table of Contents

Sec. 7-110. Official publications of towns, cities and boroughs to be filed in State Library. Intangible publications.
Sec. 7-129a. Park and recreation capital and nonrecurring expense fund.
Sec. 7-131e. Decisions of commissioner re grants. Administrative expenses. Review board. Report. Account.
Sec. 7-131g. Amount of grant. Valuation of land. Issuance of bonds.
Sec. 7-131q. Agricultural land preservation fund.

      Sec. 7-110. Official publications of towns, cities and boroughs to be filed in State Library. Intangible publications. (a) Official publications of the towns, cities and boroughs of the state shall be kept in the State Library for reference. The clerk of each such town, city or borough shall send to the State Library two copies of each such tangible publication as soon as the publications are published, and copies of such previous issues of such publications as can be spared by such municipality if the publications are needed by the State Library.

      (b) The clerk of each town, city or borough shall, upon publication, supply the State Library with, or notify the State Library of the existence, availability, and location of, any intangible publications of the town, city or borough.

      (1949 Rev., S. 694; P.A. 07-227, S. 17.)

      History: P.A. 07-227 made technical changes, limited existing provisions to tangible publications, designated such provisions as Subsec. (a) and added Subsec. (b) re intangible publications, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 7-129a. Park and recreation capital and nonrecurring expense fund. (a) As used in this section, "municipality" means any city, town, borough, district or association with municipal powers which has within its jurisdiction and subject to its authority, holds or acquires any land or facilities for park or recreational use; "recreation authority" means the committee or commission within the government of a municipality responsible for the administration or supervision of parks or recreation, the legislative body of any municipality which has no such committee or commission, or the board of selectmen of any town which has no such committee or commission and the legislative body of which is the town meeting or representative town meeting.

      (b) Any municipality, by vote of its legislative body, may establish a special fund, which shall be known as the park and recreation capital and nonrecurring expense fund. There shall be deposited in said fund (1) all moneys received by the municipality, from whatever source and by whatever means, as gifts for park or recreation purposes; (2) all moneys received by the municipality, from whatever source and by whatever means, as governmental grants or loans for park or recreational purposes; (3) all moneys received by the municipality from the sale or voluntary or involuntary conveyance of land used for park or recreational purposes, and (4) all moneys appropriated to said fund by the municipality.

      (c) Said fund shall be in the custody of the treasurer or other officer in charge of funds of the municipality. All or any part of the moneys in said fund may, from time to time, be invested in any securities in which public funds may lawfully be invested. All income derived from such investments shall be paid into the fund and become a part thereof. The moneys so invested shall at all times be subject to withdrawal from such investment for use as provided in subsection (e) of this section.

      (d) Annually, the treasurer or other officer having custody of said fund shall submit to the recreation authority and to the legislative body of the municipality a complete and detailed report of the condition of said fund, which report shall be made a part of the annual municipal report.

      (e) Upon authorization of the body in such municipality having the power of appropriation, the moneys in said fund may be used for capital and nonrecurring expenditures incurred in any of the following: (1) Acquisition, development, improvement, maintenance and expansion of park and recreation lands; (2) acquisition, erection, installation, maintenance, improvement, repair and replacement of park or recreation facilities and equipment; (3) development, establishment and improvement of park or recreation programs; (4) any other capital or nonrecurring expenditure incurred for park or recreational purposes.

      (f) No budget proposed or approved or appropriation made for park or recreational purposes in any municipality shall be reduced, ratably or otherwise, in consideration of any moneys in said fund.

      (1967, P.A. 438, S. 1-7; P.A. 07-217, S. 14.)

      History: P.A. 07-217 made a technical change in Subsec. (c), effective July 12, 2007.

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      Sec. 7-131e. Decisions of commissioner re grants. Administrative expenses. Review board. Report. Account. (a) Grant award decisions under the protected open space and watershed land acquisition grant program established under section 7-131d or under the Charter Oak open space grant program established under section 7-131t shall be made by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection at least semiannually. All complete and eligible grant applications shall be acted upon by the commissioner as soon as practicable. A single project may receive a grant in more than one grant cycle, subject to future availability of funds and subject to the limitations set forth in this section and sections 23-78, 12-498 and 7-131d. Up to five per cent of the grant funds may be used for administrative expenses including, but not limited to: (1) Contractors to assist the Department of Environmental Protection in the review and evaluation of grant proposals and baseline data collection for conservation easements; (2) appraisals or appraisal reviews; and (3) preparation of legal and other documents. Administrative expenses may not be used for staff salaries. Not later than September 1, 1998, for the protected open space and watershed land acquisition grant program established under section 7-131d, and not later than September 1, 2000, for the Charter Oak open space grant program account established under section 7-131t, the commissioner shall develop written guidelines and a ranking system for consistency and equity in the distribution of grant awards under the protected open space and watershed land acquisition grant program established under section 7-131d or under the Charter Oak open space grant program account established under section 7-131t based on the criteria listed in subsections (b) and (c) of section 7-131d. Consistent with such criteria, additional consideration shall be given to: (A) Protection of lands adjacent to and complementary to adjacent protected open space land or class I or class II water company lands; (B) equitable geographic distribution of the grants; (C) proximity of a property to urban areas with growth and development pressures or to areas with open space deficiencies and underserved populations; (D) protection of land particularly vulnerable to development incompatible with its natural resource values including the protection of a public water supply source; (E) consistency with the state's plan of conservation and development; (F) multiple protection elements, such as water quality and supply protection, scenic preservation and farmland preservation; (G) the extent to which the presence of already constructed buildings or other manmade improvements diminish or overshadow the natural resource value of a proposed acquisition, or its value relative to its cost; and (H) preservation of forest lands and bodies of water which naturally absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

      (b) There is established a Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board to assist and advise the commissioner in carrying out the provisions of sections 7-131d to 7-131g, inclusive, and sections 23-73 to 23-79, inclusive. Upon establishment of the review board and selection of a chairman under this section, the review board (1) shall provide comments on selection criteria, policies and procedures; (2) shall promote public participation; (3) shall provide guidance and conduct review of strategies for land protection, including strategies under section 23-8; (4) shall review and evaluate grant award policies and procedures; and (5) may provide comments on any application for funds not later than forty-five days after such application is submitted to the chairman. Upon establishment of the board, the commissioner shall take such comments into consideration in making any decisions regarding such grants.

      (c) The review board shall consist of twenty-one members as follows: (1) The chairpersons and ranking members of the bonding subcommittee of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to finance, revenue and bonding; (2) one member of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, and one member of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to planning and development, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, each of whom shall be ex-officio members of the board; (3) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or his designee; (4) a representative of the business community and a person experienced in issues relating to access to public facilities by persons with disabilities, appointed by the Governor; (5) one representative from an investor-owned water utility, appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; (6) one representative from a municipal water utility, appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives; (7) one representative from a regional water utility, appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; (8) one representative who is a realtor or attorney with a minimum of five years experience in real estate transfers, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; one representative with a minimum of five years experience in the construction industry or land development, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; (9) two representatives of interest groups primarily concerned with the conservation of river watershed regions, appointed one each by the majority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate; (10) three representatives from nonprofit organizations primarily concerned with environmental protection or natural resource conservation with a minimum of five years experience in land conservation and acquisition, appointed one each by the Governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate; and (11) one chief elected official of a town with a population less than twenty thousand and one chief elected official of a town with a population greater than twenty thousand, appointed by the Governor. The members, other than the members described in subdivisions (1), (2) and (3) of this subsection, shall serve terms of three years provided the terms of the members described in subdivisions (4) to (8), inclusive, of this subsection who are appointed in the year after July 1, 1998, shall expire on October 1, 1999, and further provided the terms of the members described in subdivisions (9) to (11), inclusive, of this subsection shall expire on October 1, 2000. The board shall elect a chairman from among its members and shall make such election on or before October 1, 1998. Members of the board shall serve until reappointed or replaced.

      (d) Annually, on or before February fifteenth, the board shall submit a report regarding grant awards made in the previous calendar year and any findings and recommendations regarding the open space and watershed land acquisition program and the recreation and natural heritage trust program established under section 23-73 to the General Assembly.

      (e) There is established an open space and watershed land acquisition account within the General Fund which shall consist of any funds required or allowed by law to be deposited into the account including, but not limited to, gifts or donations received for the purposes of section 7-131d. Investment earnings credited to the assets of the account shall become part of the assets of the account. Any balance remaining in the account at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward in the account for the fiscal year next succeeding. Payments from the account shall be made upon authorization by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Neither the proceeds of any general obligation bonds of the state nor the investment earnings of any such proceeds shall be deposited in the account. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection may use funds in the account for purposes of section 7-131d.

      (1963, P.A. 649, S. 5; 1969, P.A. 628, S. 16; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 405; P.A. 98-157, S. 4, 15; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1, S. 103; P.A. 99-58; P.A. 00-203, S. 4, 11; P.A. 01-195, S. 107, 181; P.A. 07-131, S. 1.)

      History: 1969 act clarified provisions regarding preliminary approval, reports concerning and disposition of applications; 1971 act substituted commissioner of environmental protection for council on agriculture and natural resources; P.A. 98-157 deleted former section and added new provisions re timing of grant decisions, administrative expenses, a review board, a report and an account for donations, effective July 1, 1998; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1 made technical corrections in Subsec. (c); P.A. 99-58 amended Subsec. (d) to provide for recommendations from the board to the General Assembly regarding the recreation and natural heritage trust program; P.A. 00-203 amended Subsec. (a) by applying provisions to charter oak open space grant program, effective July 1, 2000; P.A. 01-195 made a technical change in Subsec. (b), effective July 11, 2001; P.A. 07-131 amended Subsec. (a) to increase the percentage of grant funds permitted to be used for administrative expenses from 2% to 5%, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 7-131g. Amount of grant. Valuation of land. Issuance of bonds. (a) Subject to the provisions of sections 7-131d to 7-131k, inclusive, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection may (1) where a federal grant is also made, approve grants to municipalities in an amount not to exceed one-half of the nonfederal share of open space land acquisition or development costs, (2) where a federal rehabilitation or innovation grant is made to a municipality under the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-625, 92 Stat. 3538), approve a grant to such municipality not to exceed fifteen per cent of the total project cost of such development or rehabilitation and (3) where a federal grant is not made, may approve grants to municipalities in accordance with the provisions of this section.

      (b) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection may make grants under the open space and watershed land acquisition program to: (1) Municipalities for acquisition of land for open space under subdivisions (1) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section 7-131d in an amount not to exceed sixty-five per cent of the fair market value of a parcel of land or interest in land proposed to be acquired; (2) municipalities for acquisition of land for class I and class II water supply protection under subdivision (5) of subsection (b) of said section 7-131d, in an amount not to exceed sixty-five per cent of such value; (3) nonprofit land conservation organizations for acquisition of land for open space or watershed protection under subdivisions (1) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (b) of said section 7-131d, in an amount not to exceed sixty-five per cent of such value; (4) water companies for acquisition of land under subdivision (7) of subsection (b) of said section 7-131d, in an amount not to exceed sixty-five per cent of such value provided if such a company proposes in a grant application that it intends to allow access to such land for recreational uses, such company shall seek approval of the Commissioner of Public Health for such access; and (5) distressed municipalities or targeted investment communities, as defined in section 32-9p, or, with the approval of the chief elected official or governing legislative body of such a municipality or community, to a nonprofit land conservation organization or water company, for acquisition of land within that municipality or community, for open space under subdivisions (1) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (b) of said section 7-131d, in an amount not to exceed seventy-five per cent of such value or for performance of work in the restoration, enhancement or protection of resources in an amount not to exceed fifty per cent of the cost of such work. Applicants for grants under the program shall provide a copy of the application to the chairperson of the review board established under section 7-131e. The board shall provide comments to the commissioner on pending applications as it deems necessary.

      (c) For purposes of this subsection, the fair market value of land or interest in land shall be determined by one or more appraisals satisfactory to the commissioner and shall not include incidental costs, including, but not limited to, surveying, development or closing costs. The commissioner may consider a portion of the fair market value of a donation of land by an entity receiving a grant as a portion of the matching funds required under this subsection. No other funds made available by the state may be used by a potential grantee as matching funds under the program.

      (d) To the extent there is a balance of bonds authorized but not allocated by the State Bond Commission on or after July 1, 1998, pursuant to any bond act for the purposes of (1) the recreation and natural heritage trust program established under sections 23-73 to 23-79, inclusive, and (2) the municipal open space grant program established under sections 7-131c to 7-131g, inclusive, the State Bond Commission shall authorize the issuance of such balance only for the purposes described in section 23-74 and sections 23-75 and 7-131d and in two substantially equal installments one in each half of the fiscal year commencing with the fiscal year ending June 30, 1999.

      (1963, P.A. 649, S. 3; 1967, P.A. 739, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 190, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 63, S. 1; 872, S. 407; 1972, P.A. 21, S. 1; P.A. 78-359, S. 2, 8; P.A. 79-607, S. 8; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 83-33, S. 14, 17; P.A. 92-206, S. 2; P.A. 98-157, S. 5, 15; P.A. 01-204, S. 9, 29; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9, S. 73, 131; P.A. 07-131, S. 2.)

      History: 1967 act amended Subsec. (a) to differentiate between cases where federal grants made and where not made and required that land cost be determined by state-obtained appraisals in Subsec. (b); 1969 act added Subsec. (c) re applications prior to January 1, 1968; 1971 acts amended Subsec. (b) to allow state to make appraisals and substituted commissioner of environmental protection for council on agriculture and natural resources; 1972 act amended Subsec. (b) by specifying "one or more" appraisals; P.A. 78-359 changed "shall" to "may" in Subsec. (a), included grants for development costs, added provision re information required for determining development cost grant in Subsec. (b) and in Subsec. (c) changed applicable date to January 1, 1968, and replaced reference to council with commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 79-607 added provision concerning grants under Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Act in Subsec. (a); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 83-33 amended Subsec. (b) to include language regarding determination of the treatment of gifts to municipalities; P.A. 92-206 amended Subsec. (a) to change the specification re the amount of certain grants authorized under this section; P.A. 98-157 replaced former Subsecs. (b) and (c) with new Subsecs. (b) to (d), inclusive, re amount of grants, valuation of land and issuance of bonds, effective July 1, 1998 (Revisor's note: In 1999 a reference to Sec. 7-131c was changed editorially by the Revisors to Sec. 7-131d, since Sec. 7-131c was repealed by P.A. 98-157); P.A. 01-204 amended Subsec. (b) to allow the commissioner to make grants under the program to a nonprofit land conservation organization for the acquisition of land within a distressed municipality or targeted investment community with the approval of the chief elected official or governing legislative body of such municipality or community, effective July 11, 2001; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9 revised effective date of P.A. 01-204 but without affecting this section; P.A. 07-131 amended Subsec. (b) to increase the percentages of the fair market value permitted to be paid in grants and added "water company" to the list of entities permitted to receive a grant in Subdiv. (5), effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 7-131q. Agricultural land preservation fund. (a) As used in this section, "municipality" means any city, town, borough, district or association with municipal powers; "agricultural land" means any land in the state suitable by reference to soil types, existing and past use of such land for agricultural purposes and other relevant factors for the cultivation of plants for production of human food and fiber or production of other useful and valuable plant products and for the production of animals, livestock and poultry useful to man and the environment, and land capable of providing economically profitable farm units, and may include adjacent pastures, wooded land, natural drainage areas and other adjacent open areas; "development rights" means the rights of the fee simple owner of agricultural land to develop, construct on, sell, lease or otherwise improve the agricultural land for uses that result in rendering such land no longer agricultural land, but shall not be construed to include: (1) The uses defined in subsection (q) of section 1-1, (2) the rights of the fee owner of agricultural land to develop, construct on, sell the property in its entirety, lease or otherwise improve the agricultural land to preserve, maintain, operate or continue such land as agricultural land, including, but not limited to, construction thereon of residences for persons directly incidental to farm operation and buildings for animals, roadside stands and farm markets for sale to the consumer of food products and ornamental plants, facilities for the storing of equipment and products or processing thereof or such other improvements, activities and uses thereon as may be directly or incidentally related to the operation of the agricultural enterprise, as long as the acreage and productivity of arable land for crops is not materially decreased and due consideration is given to the impact of any decrease in acreage or productivity of such arable land upon the total farm operation, except that new construction or modification of an existing farm building necessary to the operation of a farm on prime farmland, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, of which the state has purchased development rights shall be limited to not more than five per cent of the total of such prime farmland, (3) the rights of the fee owner to provide for the extraction of gravel or like natural elements for purposes directly or incidentally related to the operation of the agricultural enterprise or (4) the existing water and mineral rights, exclusive of gravel, of the fee owner.

      (b) Any municipality, by vote of its legislative body, may establish a special fund, which shall be known as the agricultural land preservation fund. There shall be deposited in said fund (1) all moneys received by the municipality, from whatever source and by whatever means, as gifts for agricultural land preservation purposes; (2) all moneys received by the municipality, from whatever source and by whatever means, as grants or loans for agricultural land preservation purposes, and (3) all moneys appropriated to said fund by the municipality.

      (c) Said fund shall be in the custody of the treasurer or other officer in charge of funds of the municipality. All or any part of the moneys in said fund may, from time to time, be invested in any securities in which public funds may lawfully be invested. All income derived from such investments shall be paid into the fund and become a part of the fund. The moneys so invested shall at all times be subject to withdrawal from such investment for use as provided in subsection (e) of this section.

      (d) Annually, the treasurer or other officer having custody of said fund shall submit to the legislative body of the municipality a complete and detailed report of the condition of said fund, which report shall be made a part of the annual municipal report.

      (e) Upon authorization of the body in such municipality having the power of appropriation, the moneys in said fund may be used by the municipality for the acquisition in its name of the development rights of agricultural land and for any expenditure incurred for the preservation of agricultural land, provided (1) the development rights have been voluntarily offered for sale to the municipality by the owner and (2) the land has been designated for preservation purposes by the municipality in an open space plan, municipal plan of conservation and development or farmland preservation plan.

      (P.A. 84-184; P.A. 86-135, S. 2; P.A. 95-335, S. 12, 26; P.A. 07-217, S. 15.)

      History: P.A. 86-135 amended Subsec. (e) by adding provisos specifying that development rights must be offered voluntarily and that land has been formally designated for preservation purposes; P.A. 95-335 amended Subsec. (e) to change "plan of development" to "plan of conservation and development", effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 07-217 made technical changes in Subsec. (c), effective July 12, 2007.

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