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DISTRICT CHARTERS

Colchester Fire District No. 1 was formally established on 29 August 1938 by unanimous act of the Select Board of the Town of Colchester. Two days earlier, the Board had received a written petition signed by forty ‘freeholders’ (voters), or twice the minimum number then required by State law to have a fire district. The Select Board, as enabled by State law, accepted the petition, set out the boundaries of the new fire district, and determined that its residents were “to exercise and enjoy all of the rights and privileges of a fire district under the provisions and authority of the laws of the State of Vermont and more particularly the rights and privileges authorized under Chapter 156 of the Public Laws of Vermont [1933] and the amendments thereof.” The Select Board ‘order’ establishing Fire District No. 1 constitutes its Town charter. The first meeting of the new fire district was called (or warned) by the Select Board and duly held on 5 September 1938 at Saint Michael’s College, at which the first Prudential Committee and district officers were elected.

The following year, on 14 April 1939, the Vermont General Assembly (legislature) passed a statute (no. 280 of that year) specifically enabling Fire District No. 1 to build and maintain a water works (or system), giving it the ability to acquire water supply and build transmission lines not only anywhere within the Town of Colchester but to contract with any municipality, corporation or individuals in Chittenden Country to obtain its water supply. The statute enabled the district, as a municipal corporation, to enter into inter-municipal agreements, to issue bonds and to do other things needed to meet its water needs. The District’s Prudential Committee was enabled to serve as the water commissioners. This 1939 statute constitutes the District’s State charter, adding to the powers and responsibilities it had as a fire district under chapter 156 of the Public Laws of Vermont those provided under chapter 157 for water works.

On 16 May 1961, following the deactivation of neighboring Fort Ethan Allen, a State statute (no. 310 of that year) confirmed the organization of all three Colchester fire districts and clarified their respective boundaries.

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