MFD Charter

The Misquamicut Fire District Charter is available for download.


(Passed at January Session of R.I. General Assembly A.D. 1993
Voted and Approved by the District Residents at the Annual Meeting held on July 13,1993)

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 10, 11, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6,12.7, 12.8, 12.9, 12.10.and 12.11 of An Act to Incorporate the Pleasant View Beach Fire District, as passed at the January session, 1915 as amended, Including An act passed at the January session 1929 changing the name to "Misquamicut Fire District" are hereby amended to read as follows:

SECTION 1. General-Powers-Boundaries

All of the following described part of the town of Westerly is hereby incorporated into a district to be called Misquamicut Fire District.

Beginning at a point on the northerly shoreline of the Winnapaug Pond located 50 feet westerly of the southwesterly corner of the Winnapaug Golf Course, so-called, and running generally easterly and southerly bounded by the northerly and easterly shoreline of the Winnapaug Pond and the Weekapaug Breachway, so-called, to the mean high water line of the Atlantic Ocean; thence westerly bounded southerly by said Ocean to the southeasterly corner of land constituting the Watch Hill Fire District; thence northerly bound westerly by said Watch Hill Fire District to a point located 200 feet east of the centerline of Ocean View Highway, so-called; thence continuing in a general northerly direction parallel with and 200 feet distant easterly of said Ocean View Highway and crossing the Shore Road, so-called, thence continuing generally northerly bounded westerly by the easterly line of Shore Road to the southeasterly intersection of said Shore Road with Misquamicut Hills Road, so-called, at a point 500 feet northerly of the northerly line of Shore Road; thence easterly, parallel with and 500 feet distant northerly of the northerly line of said Shore Road to the westerly line of Tom Harvey Road, so-called, thence southerly along said westerly line of Tom Harvey Road and crossing said Shore Road at a point approximately 90 feet easterly of the easterly line of said Via Roma Road; thence continuing southerly 50 feet distant westerly and parallel with the westerly line of said Winnapaug Golf Course property to the northerly shoreline of Winnapaug Pond and the point and place of beginning.

Bounded westerly by the Watch Hill Fire District, northerly by the Westerly Fire District, easterly , northerly and easterly, again, by the Dunns Corners Fire District, easterly in part by the Weekapaug Fire District, and southerly by the Atlantic Ocean, or however otherwise the same may be bounded and described.

Said district may have a common seal, sue and be sued, and enjoy all the other powers generally incident to corporations including, but not limited to, those powers and authorities delineated herein and as conferred by chapter 129 of the Public Laws of Rhode Island. 1957.

SECTION 2. Qualifications for Electors

Every citizen who is of the age of majority and who owns taxable real property in said district shall be eligible to vote as a qualified elector of said district in any annual or special meeting and for such other purposes as provided herein; and, notwithstanding the foregoing, any inhabitant of the town of Westerly who is qualified and registered to vote in said town's affairs and is a legal or permanent resident within the Misquamicut Fire District shall be so qualified as an elector regardless of whether such inhabitant owns such taxable real property.

SECTION 3. Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of said district for the election of officers and the transaction of any other business shall be held on the second Saturday in June at 10:00 a.m. at a place, within said district, as prescribed in the call as issued by a vote of the district officers. In the event there is more than one candidate for an elected position, the meeting, after the conclusion of ail legal business, shall be recessed until the following Saturday, whereupon an election for the contested position(s) shall be held. In such contested elections, voting will be by paper ballot and will be held at the Misquamicut Fire Station. The time of the voting will be as prescribed in the district by-laws. Upon completion of voting, the ballots will be counted and the result will be announced by the district clerk. Said newly elected officers shall then assume their office and the annual meeting will stand adjourned.

SECTION 4. District Officers

Said qualified voters, at each annual meeting and any other meeting, when vacancies occur, may elect officers to serve for one (1) year or until the next annual meeting and until others be chosen in their stead: which officers shall consist of: one 0) moderator, one (1) clerk, one (1) treasurer, one (1) tax collector, one (1) tax assessor, two (2) members-at-large, whose duties and powers in said district shall be such as like officers of towns in this state have in their respective towns or as prescribed in the district by-laws.

SECTION 5. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be convened which, as well as the annual meeting, in such manner as the district by-laws shall prescribe, with notice in such manner and it shall be the duty of the district clerk to call. Special meetings may be called (1) at the request of the moderator, (2) on the vote of a majority of the district officers or (3) upon receipt of a petition signed by four hundred (400) qualified taxpayers as are entitled to vote.

SECTION 6. Powers and Purposes for Taxing

Said district may raise money by tax on the real and tangible personal property within said district for the purchasing and procuring of implements and apparatus for the extinguishing of fire, for the purpose of supplying water to the inhabitants of said district for fire and district purposes, for the payment of such police force as it may deem necessary for the protection of the property and inhabitants of said district from fire, for the purpose of providing for the collection and disposal of garbage for the purpose of improving property of said district and purchasing additional property, for the purpose of sites for, and for the erection and repair of, district buildings, for making and repair of sidewalks, for the purpose of carrying on such operations as may be necessary to abate and prevent the erosion of the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean within the district, for all necessary charges and expenses, whatsoever, arising within the district, incidental or not to the above.

SECTION 7 Tax Assessor

Taxes shall be assessed by the assessors of taxes of said district on the taxable inhabitants and property therein, according to the last valuation made by the assessors(s) of the town of Westerly next previous to the assessment adding, however, any taxable property which may have been acquired: and in ail cases where the town assessors have included property within the district and property within the district in one (1) valuation, the assessors of the district shall make an equitable valuation of that portion of the same lying within the district and in assessing and collection of such taxes such proceedings shall be had by the officers of said district, as near as may be as are required to be had by the corresponding officers of towns in assessing and collection of such taxes such proceedings shall be had by the officers of said district, as near as may be, as are required to be had by the corresponding officers of towns in assessing and collecting town taxes.

SECTION 8 By-Laws, Regulations

Said district at any legal meeting shall have power to make by-laws prescribing the duties of firewards, and other officers, and the inhabitants of said district, min times of conflagration, and for the purpose of enforcing obedience to the commands of the firewards for suppressing disorder and tumult, guarding and removing property, or rendering other service in the time of fire; and also for the protection of the water pipes, hydrants, safety valves, water gates, hose, electric light wires, poles or other apparatus or property of the district, and also such other rules and regulations as it may prescribe for the use of its drains and sewers by any person to prevent any person disrobing in any motor vehicle within the district on public and private property; for the care and management of parks and grounds belonging to the district; and, generally, all other ordinances, regulations and by-laws for the well ordering, managing and direction of the prudential affairs of the district; and, generally, all other ordinances, regulations and by-laws for the well-governing, managing and directing of the affairs of the district not repugnant to the laws of the state or the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, and not over any matter over which the town of Westerly shall pass ordinance; and the district may impose penalties for the violation of any such ordinances, by-laws and regulations, not exceeding in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100), to be received to the use of the district, or imprisonment no exceeding ten (10) days and to be prosecuted before the town of Westerly municipal court by same officer appointed for that purpose, or any state or town officer, and in all such prosecutions the officer bringing the same shall be exempt from furnishing recognizance or surety for costs.

SECTION 9. Water from Outside District

Said fire district is hereby authorized to receive water from the town of Westerly or the Westerly Fire District upon such terms as may be agreed upon between them, or to construct and maintain its own water works, mains, and other necessary apparatus for supplying water within its limits for fire, domestic, commercial and manufacturing purposes.

SECTION 10. Police Power

If any person shall maliciously destroy or injure any drain pipe, aqueduct, conduit, machinery, wires, poles, lights, or other property belonging to said district and used for any of the purposes provided for in this act, such person or persons shall each forfeit to said district twice the amount of damages which shall appear to have been sustained thereby; to be recovered in an appropriate civil action and to make such recovery as the appropriate court shall lawfully dictate.

SECTION 11. Authority to Borrow

The district may, without special statutory authority therefore, incur any debt not in excess of three percent of the taxable property of the district, but the giving of a new note or bond for pre-existing debt or for money borrowed and applied to the payment of such pre-existing debt is excepted from the provisions of this section, and the amount of any sinking fund shall be deducted in computing such indebtedness.

SECTION 12. Authority to Borrow Sidewalks

  1. The Misquamicut Fire District is hereby authorized and empowered from time to time to hire a sum not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars, and to issue its notes or bonds, or either, therefore, and to renew any such notes from time to time as they shall become due and payable. All moneys received by said fire district by authority hereof shall be exclusively used and expended for the construction of sidewalks within said fire district.
  2. The treasurer of said fire district shall cause any bonds or notes issued by authority hereof to be issued for such times, and conditions as shall be authorized by the fire district, except that upon notes maturing not more than one year from their date, the time and the discount or interest rate my be fixed by the treasurer of the fire district. The fire district shall annually appropriate the sum necessary to pay the interest on such bonds or notes so issued, and a further sum sufficient for the redemption or payment of one-tenth of the principal of the said bonds or notes hereby authorized when and as the same may become due and payable.
  3. The notes or bonds, or either, hereby authorized shall be signed by the treasurer of the fire district and countersigned by the moderator and clerk of the fire district.

That act passed at the January session, 1915, entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Pleasant View Beach Fire District", as amended, Including an Act passed at the January session 1929 changing the name to "Misquamicut Fire District" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

SECTION 13. Improvement Committee/Sidewalks

The qualified electors of the district shall at the annual meeting elect an improvement committee consisting of not more than five (5) members to serve until the next annual meeting, and until others be chosen in their stead. It shall be the duty of said improvement committee:

  1. To construct, improve, alter and repair the sidewalks of said district, and to select the type of material to be used in said sidewalks; to determine the width and elevation thereof and to determine the time when such construction, improvement, alteration and repair shall be undertaken in accordance with the requirements and needs of the inhabitants of said fire district, and to inspect or cause to be inspected from time to time the sidewalks kept and maintained by said fire district for the purpose of maintaining and keeping the same in good repair and safe for travel.
  2. To make a report to the annual meeting each year showing the work performed during the year preceding the cost of the same, and containing such recommendation as the improvement committee may deem advisable in regard to the extension and improvement of the sidewalks in said fire district.

Whenever the said improvement committee shall determine by its vote that a sidewalk shall be made and laid in and upon any street or highway in said fire district, it may order the same to be made and laid upon five (5) days notice to the abutting land owner, or if any of the land owners reside without the state, upon three (3) weeks notice by registered letter to the last known place of residence. At the time and place named in said notice the said improvement committee shall proceed TO hear ail such parties and to make and pass such order in references to the making and laying of such sidewalks as they may think proper.

Whenever any sidewalk in an upon any street or highway shall be ordered made and laid as hereinbefore provided, the owners of the land abutting on such sideways shall pay one-half (1/2) of the cost thereof, to be set against their respective lands as hereinafter specified, the balance of the cost to be taken from the regular appropriation for sidewalks as hereinafter provided or any special appropriation for said purposes.

Such cost shall be ascertained and approved by the improvement committee for said fire district, and thereafter the said improvement committee shall demand one-half (1/2) of said costs from such abutting land owner, and if such land owner shall neglect and refuse to the same, the said improvement committee shall certify the costs so ascertained and approved to the assessors of taxes for said fire district, and the said assessors shall include the owners' portion of the cost of such making and Saying said sidewalk, which sum shall be included in the next assessment of taxes for such fire district against such land owner thereof.

Whenever any abutting landowner shall deem himself aggrieved by the ascertainment of costs for the making and laying of any sidewalk as hereinbefore provided, he may appeal therefrom according to provisions of law, with reference to appeals from town councils.

If the person appealing from any ascertainment of costs for the making and laying of any sidewalk shall fail to have such amount reduced on appeal he shall be adjudged to pay the cost of suit and the collector of taxes shall collect from him only so much of said tax as shall have been found on appeal to be due from said appellant.

If heretofore a sidewalk shall have been made and laid in and upon any street or highway in said fire district by an abutting (and owner, the improvement committee may, if such sidewalk shall be approved by said improvement committee, reimburse such abutting land owner for one-half (1/2) the cost of the making and laying of such sidewalk, out of funds appropriated for sidewalks; provided, however, that said improvement committee shall not pay to said abutting property owner a sum which shall be in excess of one-half (1/2) of the then prevailing contract price for the contract price for the making and laying of such sidewalk.