TITLE III
TOWNS, CITIES, VILLAGE DISTRICTS, AND UNINCORPORATED PLACES

Chapter 31
POWERS AND DUTIES OF TOWNS

Corporate Entities

Section 31:1

    31:1 Public Corporations. – Every town is a body corporate and politic, and by its corporate name may sue and be sued, prosecute and defend, in any court or elsewhere.

Source. RS 31:1. CS 32:1. GS 34:1. GL 37:1. PS 40:1. PL 42:1. RL 51:1.

Section 31:2

    31:2 Parishes. – All places incorporated by the name of parishes with town privileges are towns, and are entitled to the privileges, vested with all the powers, and subject to all the liabilities, of towns.

Source. RS 31:2. CS 32:2. GS 34:2. GL 37:2. PS 40:2. PL 42:2. RL 51:2.

Powers

Section 31:3

    31:3 In General. – Towns may purchase and hold real and personal estate for the public uses of the inhabitants, and may sell and convey the same; may recognize unions of employees and make and enter into collective bargaining contracts with such unions; and may make any contracts which may be necessary and convenient for the transaction of the public business of the town.

Source. RS 31:3. CS 32:3. GS 34:3. GL 37:3. PS 40:3. PL 42:3. RL 51:3. RSA 31:3. 1955, 255:1, eff. July 14, 1955.

Section 31:3-a

    31:3-a Suits Involving State-Mandated Programs. – If legal proceedings have been commenced by a town against the state over whether a state program or responsibility violates the provisions of Part I, Article 28-a of the New Hampshire constitution relative to mandated programs, all penalties or liens which the state may impose on the town for failure to comply with the state program or mandate shall be stayed until the court proceedings are completed. For the purposes of this section, the term "town" shall mean every political subdivision of the state, which shall include any village district, school district, city, county, unincorporated town, or unorganized place.

Source. 1993, 299:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1994.

Section 31:4

    31:4 Appropriations. – Towns may at any legal meeting grant and vote such sums of money as they judge necessary for any purpose for which a municipality may act if such appropriation is not prohibited by the laws or by the constitution of this state.

Source. 1849, 861:1. RS 31:4. CS 32:4. 1862, 2580:3. GS 34:4. 1868, 1:6; 26:1. 1872, 40:1. 1875, 39:1. 1876, 2:1. GL 37:4, 9; 49:10; 50:1. 1883, 69:3. 1889, 7:1; 82:1. PS 40:4. 1891, 1:1. 1895, 29:1. 1897, 23:1. 1899, 13:1, 2; 34:1. 1901, 8:1; 17:1; 54:1. 1905, 18:1. 1909, 73:1. 1911, 81:1; 146:1. 1913, 58:1. 1915, 58:1; 64:1. 1917, 225:1. 1919, 17:1; 41:1. 1923, 27:1, 2. 1925, 11:1. PL 42:4. 1929, 172:1. 1931, 90:1. 1937, 119:2; 133:101. 1939, 20:1; 51:1; 90:1. 1941, 65:1; 74:1. RL 51:4. 1943, 34:1. 1945, 54:1, 2; 106:1. 1947, 130:1. 1949, 42:1; 59:1; 133:3; 161:1. RSA 31:4. 1957, 85:1; 186:1; 287:1. 1961, 81:1; 168:1. 1963, 90:1. 1965, 8:1; 224:1. 1969, 49:1; 125:1; 247:1; 445:1, 2. 1971, 159:1; 310:1, 336:1. 1973, 582:2. 1974, 15:3, 5. 1975, 2:1; 273:1. 1977, 14:1; 263:1. 1979, 156:1. 1983, 187:1, eff. Aug. 10, 1983.

Section 31:4-a

    31:4-a Deficit Reduction. – Towns may vote, at any annual meeting, to raise such sums of money as the voters judge necessary for the purpose of reducing an accumulated general fund deficit.

Source. 1994, 147:1, eff. July 22, 1994.

Section 31:5

    31:5 At Special Meetings. –
I. (a) No money shall be raised or appropriated or shall any appropriation previously made be reduced or rescinded at any special town meeting except by vote by ballot, nor unless the ballots cast at such meeting shall be equal in number to at least 1/2 of the number of legal voters borne on the checklist of the town entitled to vote at the annual or biennial election next preceding such special meeting; and such checklist, corrected according to law, shall be used at any meeting upon the request of 10 legal voters of the town. This section shall not apply to money to be raised for the public defense or any military purpose in time of war or to money to be raised for the purpose of financing broadband infrastructure bonds under RSA 33:3-g. In case an emergency arises requiring an immediate expenditure of money, the selectmen may petition the superior court for permission to hold a special town meeting which, if granted, shall give said meeting the same authority as an annual town meeting.
(b) "Emergency" for the purposes of this section shall mean a sudden or unexpected situation or occurrence, or combination of occurrences, of a serious and urgent nature, that demands prompt, or immediate action, including an immediate expenditure of money. This definition, however, does not establish a requirement that an emergency involves a crisis in every set of circumstances.
(c) To verify that an emergency exists, a petitioner shall present, and the court shall consider, a number of factors including:
(1) The severity of the harm to be avoided.
(2) The urgency of the petitioner's need.
(3) Whether the claimed emergency was foreseeable or avoidable.
(4) Whether the appropriation could have been made at the annual meeting.
(5) Whether there are alternative remedies not requiring an appropriation.
II. On or before the date of filing the petition with the superior court, the selectmen shall forward a copy of the petition and the warrant article or articles, by certified mail, to the commissioner of the department of revenue administration. The petition to the superior court shall include a certification that the commissioner of the department of revenue administration has been notified pursuant to this paragraph.
III. In the event that the legislative body at an annual meeting amends or rejects the cost items or fact finder's reports as submitted pursuant to RSA 273-A, notwithstanding paragraphs I and II, the selectmen may call one special meeting for the sole purpose of addressing all negotiated cost items without petitioning the superior court for authorization. Such special meeting may be authorized only by a contingent warrant article inserted on the warrant or official ballot either by petition or by the governing body. The wording of the question shall be as follows: "Shall (the local political subdivision), if article __________ is defeated, authorize the governing body to call one special meeting, at its option, to address article __________ cost items only?" The refusal of the legislative body to authorize a special meeting as provided in this paragraph shall not affect any other provision of law. Any special meeting held under this paragraph shall be combined with the revised operating budget meeting under RSA 40:13, XI, if any, and shall not be counted toward the number of special meetings which may be held in a given calendar or fiscal year.
IV. When the selectmen vote to petition the superior court for permission to hold a special town meeting, the selectmen shall post notice of such vote within 24 hours after taking the vote and a minimum of 10 days prior to filing the petition with the court. The selectmen shall post notice of the court date for an evidentiary hearing on the petition within 24 hours after receiving notice of the court date from the court. Such notices shall be posted at the office of the selectmen and at 2 or more other conspicuous places in the town, and in the next available edition of a local newspaper with a wide circulation in the town.

Source. 1876, 2:1. 1881, 69:2. PS 40:4. 1917, 161:1. PL 42:5. 1927, 56:1. RL 51:5. 1943, 37:1. RSA 31:5. 1989, 172:1. 1991, 166:1, eff. July 26, 1991. 1997, 317:1, eff. Aug. 20, 1997; 318:1, eff. Aug. 22, 1997. 1998, 55:1, eff. July 4, 1998. 2022, 183:1, eff. June 15, 2022.

Section 31:5-a

    31:5-a Appropriations of Disaster Funds. – Notwithstanding RSA 31:5, the selectmen may call a special town meeting to authorize the expenditure of federal funds allocated to the town as a result of a major disaster as declared by the governor and to appropriate the local matching share for such funds. The authorization to expend federal funds and the appropriation of matching funds shall be the only action taken at such meeting. Any special meeting called under this section shall have the same authority as that of an annual town meeting.

Source. 1975, 318:1, eff. Aug. 6, 1975.

Section 31:5-b

    31:5-b Legalization of Meetings. –
I. In the past, irregularities and procedural defects in actions of municipal legislative bodies have been cured by actions of the general court. The procedure in this section is an alternative approach which enables municipalities to effect legalization by local action.
II. Whenever the legislative body of a municipality has voted by the requisite majority, by written ballot or in any other manner legally authorized, to take any legal actions and the vote is subsequently discovered to be procedurally defective, such defects may be cured and legalized by a vote at a special meeting called for the purpose of ratifying the procedurally defective action. Procedurally defective actions shall mean minor procedural irregularities such as failure to comply with statutory requirements regarding time or place of notice, vote, hearing, or wording, or with any procedural act not contrary to the spirit or intent of the law. The ratification of the procedurally defective action shall be subject to the following requirements:
(a) The municipality may, on the authority of the governing body, call a special town meeting for the exclusive purpose of curing such defect.
(b) The special town meeting called for that purpose may not take place less than 21 calendar days after the original vote.
(c) Not less than 7 calendar days prior to the special town meeting, not counting the day of the special town meeting, the governing body shall conduct a public hearing at which the reasons for the special town meeting shall be explained.
(d) The municipality shall comply with all statutory notice and procedural requirements for holding special town meetings.
(e) The necessary majority required to cure the defects shall be the same as the majority as required for passage of the original article.
III. When any procedural defect has been cured under this section, actions of the voters shall be valid as if all statutorily required proceedings had been complied with.

Source. 1988, 284:1. 1989, 287:1, eff. July 28, 1989.

Section 31:6

    31:6 For Holidays. – City councils may, at any legal meeting, grant and vote money, not exceeding $2,000, for providing municipal Christmas trees or for public patriotic exercises for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day or other holidays.

Source. 1909, 77:1. 1921, 42:1. PL 42:6. RL 51:6. RSA 31:6. 1969, 445:3, eff. July 3, 1969.

Section 31:7

    31:7 Contract with Hospital. – The treasurer of any town or city which provides a free hospital bed shall make a contract with the hospital concerning the admission of patients, and the rates, rules and regulations governing such admission shall be approved by the selectmen of towns or the city council of cities before the payment of any money to the hospital.

Source. 1899, 13:3. PL 42:7. RL 51:7.

Section 31:8

    31:8 Town Officers' Associations. – For the encouragement of equitable taxation and the education of public officials in tax problems and other matters pertaining to the proper and efficient discharge of the duties of their respective offices, each town and city shall pay annually to the New Hampshire Association of Assessing Officials, the New Hampshire City and Town Clerks' Association and the New Hampshire Tax Collectors' Association, such amounts as shall be due for annual membership for its officials therein, providing that the amount paid for any one annual membership hereunder shall not exceed $20. Members of these several organizations in addition to the annual membership fee, shall be entitled to receive their actual expenses incurred in attending the annual convention of their respective associations, the same to be audited by the selectmen of towns and the finance committee of cities and paid out of city and town funds.

Source. 1921, 51:1. PL 42:8. RL 51:8. 1949, 137:1. RSA 31:8. 1963 60:1. 1971, 372:1. 1973, 122:1. 1977, 31:1, eff. May 28, 1977.

Section 31:8-a

    31:8-a Authorization to Pay Dues. – The board of selectmen may vote to pay, from amounts appropriated by the town for town officers' expenses, such amounts as shall be payable for annual membership in the New Hampshire Municipal Association and expenses incurred in attending regular meetings of the said association, provided that the appropriation of such dues has not previously been rejected by a vote at the annual town meeting and provided further that the association shall not record association positions before the general court or committees thereof on matters which do not directly affect New Hampshire towns and cities, nor engage in partisan political activity by endorsing, or otherwise supporting, any political party or candidate.

Source. 1961, 81:2, eff. June 13, 1961.

Section 31:9

    31:9 Legislative Counsel. – Towns may at any legal meeting authorize the employment by the selectmen of counsel in legislative matters in which the town is directly or indirectly interested, or may ratify the previous employment by the selectmen of such counsel and may grant and vote money therefor.

Source. 1901, 62:1. PL 42:9. RL 51:9.

Section 31:9-a

    31:9-a Sponsoring Certain Benefits. – A town may at any legal meeting vote to sponsor a group life, accident, medical, surgical and hospitalization insurance benefit or any combination of such benefits for regular employees of the town and their dependents under which plan said employees agree to pay the premiums. In such case the town treasurer is authorized to withhold from the compensation of such employees who agree to such plan the amount of the premiums and pay over the same to the company furnishing such benefits.

Source. 1963, 90:3, eff. July 23, 1963.

Section 31:9-b

    31:9-b Time for Payment. – All elected and appointed officials of a municipal corporation shall be paid monies due them for services rendered as approved by a vote of the municipality from the time of election, or appointment, to the expiration of the term of office for which they are elected or appointed. Said monies shall be paid after the services have been rendered either weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or semi-annually as agreed upon between the governing board and the officials involved. As used in this section the words "municipal corporation" shall mean a town, a village district or a school district, but shall not include a city or county.

Source. 1971, 512:7. 1975, 137:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1976.

Section 31:9-c

    31:9-c Lockups. – The selectmen of any town, upon petition of 30 or more legal voters of the town, shall provide a suitable lockup for the temporary detention of offenders.

Source. 1874, 53:1. GL 269:25. 1883, 60:1. PS 264:23. PL 378:27. RL 440:26. RSA 570:29. 1973, 532:4, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:9-d

    31:9-d Climate Emergency Municipality Unification. –
I. As a result of sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding from extreme precipitation events, or in anticipation of such events as projected by the Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission final report, "Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation," and subsequent science and technical advisory panel reports under RSA 483-B:22, the legislative body of a municipality may declare a climate emergency and engage in planning for municipal cooperation and for municipal boundary adjustment or unification with one or more other municipalities. Municipal boundary adjustment or unification may include (a) the alteration of existing municipal boundaries or (b) the creation of a new municipality incorporating the existing boundaries of such municipalities and the creation of new, unified legislative and governing bodies. During this process a municipality may discontinue public roads pursuant to RSA 231:43 or RSA 231:45.
II. A proposal for municipal boundary adjustment or unification shall be presented in a bill to the general court after approval by a majority vote of each of the governing bodies of the municipalities affected. Approval of the boundary adjustment or unification by the general court and the respective municipalities shall follow the process for alteration of town lines under RSA 51:9. A legislative enactment authorizing the unification of 2 or more municipalities shall establish the form of government for the resulting municipality and a process for electing or appointing all necessary municipal officers if the unification is approved as provided in RSA 51:9.

Source. 2019, 318:2, eff. Oct. 2, 2019.

Emergency Borrowing

Section 31:10

    31:10 When Allowed. – Towns may incur indebtedness and issue notes for temporary loans, other than loans in anticipation of taxes, in any case where moneys belonging to them are lost or rendered unavailable through any default, suspension of payment or other casualty. They may proceed in like manner where moneys received for the use of a school or village district, but not yet paid over thereto, are so lost or rendered unavailable.

Source. 1925, 1:1. PL 42:10. RL 51:10.

Section 31:11

    31:11 Method. – The power may be exercised in cities by a 2/3 vote of the city councils. It may be exercised by the selectmen of towns and the governing boards of districts without vote of the voters in town or district meeting. Provided, that no sum in excess of $100,000 shall be so borrowed without vote of the city, town, or district.

Source. 1925, 1:1. PL 42:11. RL 51:11. 2003, 289:3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Section 31:12

    31:12 Amount; Debt Limit. – Loans so effected shall not exceed the amount of the funds so lost or unavailable; and the proceeds thereof shall be held in lieu of such funds and applied to the same uses. The loans shall not be included in determining the authorized borrowing capacity of the municipality.

Source. 1925, 1:1. PL 42:12. RL 51:12.

Section 31:13

    31:13 Due Date; Refunding. – The notes originally issued for such loans shall be payable not later than the tenth day of December following the next annual tax assessment after their issue; but by vote of the city councils, or at a legal town or district meeting, such notes may be renewed from time to time in whole or in part pending determination of the amount recoverable on account of the funds, or may be refunded in whole or in part by the issue of bonds of the municipality subject in all other respects to the provisions of RSA 33.

Source. 1925, 1:1. PL 42:13. RL 51:13. RSA 31:13. 1963, 151:3, eff. Aug. 18, 1963.

Section 31:14

    31:14 Recovered Funds. – Whenever such municipality recovers any portion of the funds, the net sum so recovered shall be applied to the payment of any balance remaining unpaid on such notes or bonds.

Source. 1925, 1:1. PL 42:14. RL 51:14.

Forestry

Section 31:15 to 31:17

    31:15 to 31:17 Repealed by 1975, 254:2, eff. Aug. 5, 1975. –

Public Water Supplies

Section 31:17-a

    31:17-a Referendum. – Upon the written application of 10 percent of the registered voters in a town, presented to the selectmen or one of them at least 15 days before the day prescribed for an annual town meeting, the selectmen shall insert in their warrant for such meeting an article relative to the use of fluoride in the public water system for said town. If the town has an official ballot, the town clerk shall insert on such ballot the following question: "Shall fluoride be used in the public water system?" Beside this question shall be printed the word "yes" and the word "no" with the proper boxes for the voter to indicate his or her choice. If a majority of those voting in a water system that serves one municipality does not approve the use of fluoride in the public water system, no fluoride shall be introduced into the public water system for said town; or if fluoride has prior to said vote, been introduced, such use shall be discontinued until such time as the majority of those voting in the town approve the use of fluoride. After such popular referendum, the selectmen shall not insert an article relative to the use of fluoride in the public water system in the warrant nor shall such question be inserted on the official ballot for a minimum period of 3 years from the date of the last popular referendum and only upon written application at that time of not less than 10 percent of the registered voters of said town. The procedure for a referendum on the use of fluoride in a town that is part of public water system serving more than one municipality shall be the procedure in RSA 485:14-a.

Source. 1959, 273:1. 1979, 335:1, eff. Aug. 21, 1979. 2004, 225:3, eff. July 1, 2004. 2008, 230:6, eff. Aug. 19, 2008.

Rehabilitation of Property

Section 31:18

    31:18 Isolated Dwellings; Abandoned or Wasting Real Estate. – Whenever a town may find that real estate in said town is in an isolated location and is uneconomic for farm or home use or has been abandoned or allowed to go to waste, said town may at any legal meeting grant and vote such sums as it may judge necessary to purchase or rent said property and for the repair and improvement of any buildings thereon for the purpose of getting said land and buildings back into productive use and shall by vote authorize the selectmen to make such purchase or such improvements and repairs and to use or dispose of said property. The property acquired under the provisions hereof may be used or disposed of for such recreational, forestry or other purposes as the town may deem to be in the public interest, or may be sold at public auction or private sale by the selectmen or their authorized agents when in the opinion of the selectmen such sale would result in increasing the taxable valuation of the town, or be for the public interest.

Source. 1941, 66:1. RL 51:18. 1947, 223:1, eff. June 25, 1947.

Trust Funds

Section 31:19

    31:19 In General. –
I. Towns may take and hold in trust gifts, legacies, and devises made to them for the establishment, maintenance, and care of libraries, reading-rooms, schools, and other educational facilities, parks, cemeteries, and burial lots, the planting and care of shade and ornamental trees upon their highways and other public places, and for any other public purpose that is not foreign to their institution or incompatible with the objects of their organization.
II. Towns may authorize the board of selectmen, or town council if there is one, to accept such trusts without further action by the town.
III. Such authority to accept shall continue in effect for one year from the date of town meeting or action by the town council. The authority to accept trusts may be granted for an indefinite period, in which case the warrant article or vote granting such authority shall use the words, "indefinitely" or "until rescinded" or similar language.

Source. GL 49:7; 50:3. PS 40:5. 1901, 83:1. 1907, 70:1. PL 42:18. 1941, 43:1. RL 51:19. RSA 31:19. 1995, 137:1, eff. May 24, 1995.

Section 31:19-a

    31:19-a Trust Funds Created by Towns. –
I. A town may at any annual or special meeting grant and vote such sums of money as it deems necessary to create trust funds for the maintenance and operation of the town; and any other public purpose that is not foreign to the town's institution or incompatible with the objects of its organization. The town may appoint agents to expend any funds in the trust for the purposes of the trust. An annual accounting and report of the activities of the trust shall be presented to the selectmen and published in the annual report.
II. Trust funds created pursuant to this section shall be revocable by majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at any annual meeting, unless the vote creating the trust expressly provides that the trust shall be irrevocable, and upon revocation the trustees of trust funds holding the account for said trust shall pay all the moneys in such fund to the town treasurer.
III. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any trust fund created under this section shall be subject to the same provisions concerning custody, investment, expenditure, change of purpose, and audit as are reserve funds established under RSA 34:1, 34:1-a, 35:1 or 35:1-c. The legal validity of such a fund properly established shall not be affected by its designation as a "trust," "reserve," "capital reserve," or any other designation.
IV. The local legislative body may authorize the acceptance of privately donated gifts, legacies, and devises to be utilized for the same purposes as a trust fund created under this section; provided, however, that such gifts, legacies, or devises shall be invested and accounted for separately from, and not commingled with, amounts appropriated under paragraph I, and shall be subject to the custody and investment provisions applicable to trust funds accepted under RSA 31:19.
V. A trust fund created under the provisions of this section that is established for the purpose of maintaining health insurance funds for the benefit of employees and retired employees of any town shall be exempt from the provisions of RSA 35:8 or 34:4, and, when so established, the town may name its own trustees who may expend any funds in the trust for the payment of health claims or health insurance premiums for the benefit of any employees or retired employees of the town. An annual accounting and report of the activities of the trust shall be presented to the selectmen and published in the annual report.

Source. 1983, 264:2. 1991, 231:1. 1993, 176:1, 2. 1995, 20:2, 3, eff. June 11, 1995. 1998, 44:1, eff. July 4, 1998.

Section 31:19-b

    31:19-b Deferred Compensation Plan Trusts. –
I. In this section, "eligible employer" means a governing body of a political subdivision, and any instrumentality whose income is exempt from federal taxation under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code.
II. All eligible employers are authorized to adopt resolutions establishing deferred compensation plans for their employees under section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code; and, further, establishing trusts, custodial accounts, or annuity contracts described in section 401(f) of the Internal Revenue Code to receive all assets and income of deferred compensation plans for the exclusive benefit of employee and retiree participants and their beneficiaries as required by section 457(g) of the Internal Revenue Code.
III. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, all Internal Revenue Code section 457(b) deferred compensation plans adopted and all Internal Revenue Code section 457(g) trusts, accounts, or contracts created by any eligible employer after August 20, 1996, which meet the requirements of this section, are hereby deemed to be qualifying deferred compensation plans under this section.
IV. The eligible employer which establishes a deferred compensation plan trust under section 457(g) of the Internal Revenue Code is hereby authorized to serve as a trustee of such trust and is further authorized to appoint an administrator to administer the deferred compensation plan trust and receive all plan assets and income for such purposes. An administrator may be within or outside the state so long as it administers a deferred compensation plan trust which qualifies as an Internal Revenue Code section 457(b) deferred compensation plan and an Internal Revenue Code section 457(g) trust account or contract. Any appointments made after August 20, 1996 of administrators and investments of plan assets in trusts created by those administrators that meet the requirements of this section are hereby ratified.
V. All amounts deferred under an Internal Revenue Code section 457(b) plan, after a trust has been established, shall be transferred to the trust within a period that is not longer than is reasonably necessary for the proper administration of the accounts of participants. All assets and income held in any deferred compensation plan trust established under this section shall be held, managed, and invested for the exclusive benefit of employee and retiree participants and their beneficiaries and shall not be diverted to any other purpose including any debt or obligation of the eligible employer under state or federal law.

Source. 1998, 371:1, eff. June 26, 1998.

Section 31:19-c

    31:19-c Authorization for Municipalities to Establish OPEB Trusts. –
I. The legislative body of a municipality that created, on or before January 1, 2012, an actuarial liability to pay other post-employment benefits (OPEB) to employees or officers after their termination of service may establish an irrevocable trust to pay those benefits. In this section, the term " other post-employment benefits " means employee benefits other than pensions that are received after employment ends, and may include such medical, disability, or other health benefits, as are covered by Statement No. 45 of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The term " trust " means a trust qualified under GASB Statement No. 43.
II. Deposits to any fund under such a trust and any earnings on those deposits shall be irrevocable and shall be held in trust for the exclusive benefit of retirees and their beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the plans or programs providing other post-employment benefits, except that funds governed by the trust may be withdrawn for other purposes only when an employer's liability owed to former officers or employees for other post-employment benefits has been satisfied or otherwise eliminated pursuant to subparagraph V(b). The assets of any trust created pursuant to this section or in which a municipality participates pursuant to this section shall be exempt from taxation and execution, attachment, garnishment, or any other process. No public officer, employee, or agency shall divert, use, or authorize the use of such funds for any purpose other than as provided in law for other post-employment benefits covered by the trust and administrative expenses.
III. The trustees of any trust created pursuant to this section shall have the full power to invest, reinvest, and manage the assets of the trust. The trustees shall invest the assets of the trust with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims. The trustees shall also diversify such investments so as to minimize the risk of large losses unless under the circumstances it is clearly prudent not to do so. The board of trustees may engage a trust administrator, investment consultants, or other qualified professionals to assist with management and investment of the funds of the trust and may pay for these services out of the funds of the trust.
IV. Trusts created by a municipality pursuant to this section shall by administered by the board of trustees established by the municipality pursuant to RSA 31:22. The accounts of the trustees shall be subject to the auditing and reporting requirements of RSA 31:33. Other provisions of RSA 31:19 through 31:38-a governing trusts shall also apply unless they are contrary to this section.
V. The municipality may withdraw money from the funds of a trust created pursuant to this section only:
(a) As needed to pay other post-employment benefits owed to former officers and employees; or
(b) When all other post-employment benefits liability owed to former officers or employees of the employing entity has been satisfied or otherwise defeased.

Source. 2012, 219:1, eff. July 1, 2012.

Section 31:20

    31:20 For Cemeteries. – Towns shall take and hold in trust gifts, legacies and devises made to them for the care of cemeteries and burial lots when the terms of the gift, legacy or devise do not impose any liability upon the town beyond the amount of the gift, legacy or devise and the income thereof.

Source. GL 49:7; 50:3. PS 40:5. 1901, 83:1. 1907, 70:1. PL 42:19. RL 51:20.

Section 31:21

    31:21 Funds of Cemetery Associations, Etc. – Towns may receive from cemetery associations or individuals funds for the care of cemeteries or any lot therein, and the income thereof shall be expended by the town in accordance with the terms of the trust or contract under which the funds were received.

Source. GL 49:7; 50:3. PS 40:5. 1901, 83:1. 1907, 70:1. PL 42:20. RL 51:21.

Section 31:22

    31:22 Trustees. – All such trusts shall be administered by a board of 3 trustees, unless a town at an annual or special town meeting votes that such trusts shall be administered by a board of 5 trustees. In towns with a board of 3 trustees, one trustee shall be elected by a ballot at each annual town meeting for a term of 3 years. In towns with a board of 5 trustees the 2 additional trustees shall be appointed initially by the selectmen, one for one year and one for 2 years. Thereafter all trustees shall be elected by ballot at the annual town meeting to replace those whose terms expire. The term of each trustee shall be 3 years. Vacancies shall be filled by the selectmen for the remainder of the term. The board may recommend to the appointing authority the names of no more than 2 persons who may serve as alternate members on the board. The alternate members shall be appointed to one-year terms. In cities said trustees shall be chosen and hold their office for such term as shall be provided for by city ordinance. Trustees shall organize by electing one of their number bookkeeper, who shall keep the records and books for the trustees, and shall require a voucher before making any disbursement of funds from said trusts.

Source. 1915, 162:2. PL 42:21. RL 51:22. 1943, 70:1. 1945, 68:1. 1953, 21:1. RSA 31:22. 1979, 141:1, eff. June 5, 1979. 2014, 70:1, eff. July 26, 2014.

Section 31:22-a

    31:22-a Cy Pres, Cemetery Trust Funds. –
Upon petition of a majority of the board of trustees and upon a finding that it is in the public interest, the superior court or the probate court may direct the application of only accumulated excess trust income for the general care, capital improvements to or expansion of the cemetery relative to which the particular trust applies. The court shall determine from the terms of the particular trust whether the excess income accumulation of the particular burial lot trust fund will not be required for the care of the burial lot in the foreseeable future. In determining this requirement the court shall consider:
I. The financial status of the trust account.
II. A projection of future interest rates.
III. A projection of future labor costs necessary to maintain the lot.

Source. 1977, 128:2. 1992, 284:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 31:23

    31:23 Single Trustee. – A town wherein the total book value of trust funds is less than $15,000, acting under an appropriate article in the warrant for any annual town meeting, may vote that the board shall consist of one trustee only, in which case said trustee shall be chosen by ballot at the same and each succeeding annual town meeting; and such vote may be rescinded in like manner. All the duties and obligations imposed by law upon a board of trustees shall devolve upon the trustee so chosen; vacancies shall be filled by the selectmen for the remainder of the year; and said trustee shall receive from the town treasury such compensation as the town meeting may determine.

Source. 1945, 85:1. RSA 31:23. 1983, 264:1, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Section 31:24

    31:24 Trustees; Expenses. – The expenses of trustees or the trustee provided for in RSA 31:23 shall be charged as incidental town charges.

Source. 1915, 162:5. PL 42:27. 1941, 43:3. RL 51:29. 1945, 85:3. RSA 31:24. 1973, 544:8. 1979, 376:17, eff. Aug. 22, 1979.

Section 31:25

    31:25 Custody; Investment. – The trustees shall have the custody of all trust funds held by their town. Any person who directly or indirectly receives any such trust funds for deposit or for investment in securities of any kind shall, prior to acceptance of such funds, make available at the time of such deposit or investment an option to have such funds secured by collateral having value at least equal to the amount of such funds. Such collateral shall be segregated for the exclusive benefit of the town depositing or investing such funds. Only securities defined by the bank commissioner, as provided by rules adopted pursuant to RSA 383-B:3-301(e), shall be eligible to be pledged as collateral. The funds shall be invested only in deposits in federally insured banks authorized to accept deposits under RSA 6:8, I and I-a, or in deposits in any credit union in this state, or in state, county, town, city, school district, water and sewer district bonds and the notes of towns or cities in this state; and such stocks and bonds as are legal for investment by any bank chartered by this state to engage in a banking business; and in participation units in the public deposit investment pool established pursuant to RSA 383:22; or in obligations with principal and interest fully guaranteed by the United States government. The obligations may be held directly or in the form of securities of or other interests in any open-end or closed-end management-type investment company or investment trust registered under 15 U.S.C. section 80a-1 et seq., if the portfolio of the investment company or investment trust is limited to such obligations and repurchase agreements fully collateralized by such obligations. Deposits in a federally insured bank or credit union shall be made in the name of the town which holds the same as a trust, and it shall appear upon the books thereof as a trust fund. Shares of mutual funds are also permitted if they are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, qualified for sale in the state of New Hampshire in accordance with the New Hampshire uniform securities act of the New Hampshire secretary of state's office, and which have in their prospectus a stated investment policy which is consistent with the investment policy adopted by the trustees of trust funds in accordance with this chapter, and when so invested, the trustees shall not be liable for the loss thereof. The trustees may retain investments as received from donors, until the maturity thereof. The trustees shall formally adopt an investment policy for all investments made by them or by their agents for any trust funds in their custody in conformance with the provisions of applicable statutes. Such investment policy shall be reviewed and confirmed at least annually. A copy of the investment policy shall be filed with the attorney general.

Source. 1915, 162:3. 1917, 75:1; 171:1. PL 42:22. 1929, 100:1. 1933, 46:1. 1939, 72:11. 1941, 21:1. RL 51:23. RSA 31:25. 1969, 447:1. 1992, 24:2, II, eff. April 3, 1992. 1996, 209:4, eff. Aug. 9, 1996. 1997, 181:1, eff. Aug. 16, 1997. 2001, 54:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2007, 164:1, eff. Aug. 17, 2007. 2015, 272:39, eff. Oct. 1, 2015. 2021, 65:7, eff. Aug. 3, 2021.

Section 31:25-a

    31:25-a Retention of Nonlegal Securities. – Any security which at the time of its purchase under RSA 31:25 constituted a legal investment for any bank chartered by this state to engage in a banking business or for trustees of trust funds under the laws and conditions then existing may be retained notwithstanding the fact that, because of changes in the law relating to legal investments or because of conditions arising subsequent to the purchase of such security, its purchase might not then be legal; provided, however, that no such security that is not a prudent investment under the circumstances existing at the time of its retention and thereafter may be retained by the trustees; and provided further, that the aggregate total of the market value of all securities retained under this section shall not exceed 20 percent of the total market value of all the investments held by the trustees.

Source. 1983, 118:1, eff. May 25, 1983. 1997, 181:2, eff. Aug. 16, 1997. 2001, 54:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2021, 65:8, eff. Aug. 3, 2021.

Section 31:25-b

    31:25-b Prudent Investment Defined. – For purposes of RSA 31:25-a, a prudent investment is one which a prudent man would purchase for his own investment having primarily in view the preservation of the principal and the amount and regularity of the income to be derived therefrom.

Source. 1983, 118:1, eff. May 25, 1983.

Section 31:25-c

    31:25-c Report to the Attorney General. – The trustees shall report annually to the attorney general any securities retained under the provisions of RSA 31:25-a, which shall appear as an addendum to the annual report required to be filed under RSA 31:38.

Source. 1983, 118:1, eff. May 25, 1983.

Section 31:25-d

    31:25-d Application of Prudent Investor Rule. –
The trustees of trust funds may manage and invest such funds in accordance with the prudent investor rule under RSA 564-B:9-901-RSA 564-B:9-906 without regard to the investment limitations of RSA 31:25 and RSA 31:25-a, provided, however, the trustees of trust funds:
I. Notify the attorney general in writing of their decision to invest according to the prudent investor rule; and
II. Hire or employ the trust department of a bank or a brokerage firm to provide investment advice and assistance under RSA 31:38-a, III.

Source. 2008, 264:1, eff. Aug. 25, 2008.

Section 31:26

    31:26 Investments by Single Trustee. – In towns which have chosen a single trustee of trust funds such funds shall be invested only by deposit in any federally insured bank authorized to accept deposits under RSA 6:8, I and I-a, or in state, county, town, city, school district, water and sewer district bonds and the notes of towns or cities in this state and when so invested the trustee shall not be liable for the loss thereof; and in any common trust fund established by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation in accordance with RSA 292:23; or in obligations fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States government. The obligations may be held directly or in the form of securities of or other interests in any open-end or closed-end management-type investment company or investment trust registered under 15 U.S.C. section 80a-1 et seq., if the portfolio of the investment company or investment trust is limited to such obligations and repurchase agreements fully collateralized by such obligations. Deposits in a federally insured bank shall be made in the name of the town which holds the same as a trust, and it shall appear upon the books thereof as a trust fund. Any person who directly or indirectly receives any such trust funds for deposit or for investment in securities of any kind shall, prior to acceptance of such funds, make available at the time of such deposit or investment an option to have such funds secured by collateral having value at least equal to the amount of such funds. Such collateral shall be segregated for the exclusive benefit of the town depositing or investing such funds. Only securities defined by the bank commissioner as provided by rules adopted pursuant to RSA 383-B:3-301(e) shall be eligible to be pledged as collateral. The trustee may retain investments as received from donors until the maturity thereof.

Source. 1945, 85:2. RSA 31:26. 1969, 447:2. 1992, 24:2, III, eff. April 3, 1992. 2001, 54:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2007, 347:2, eff. Sept. 14, 2007. 2015, 272:40, eff. Oct. 1, 2015. 2021, 65:9, eff. Aug. 3, 2021.

Section 31:27

    31:27 Collective Investments. – Notwithstanding any statute or rule of law to the contrary, town and city trustees of trust funds may establish, maintain and operate one or more common trust funds, in which may be combined money and property belonging to the various trusts in their care, for the purpose of facilitating investments, providing diversification and obtaining reasonable income; provided however, that said common trust funds shall be limited to the investments authorized in RSA 31:25; provided further, that not more than $10,000, or more than 10 percent of the fund whichever is greater, of any town or city common trust funds shall be invested under RSA 31:25 in the obligations of any one corporation or organization, excepting deposits in any federally insured bank authorized to accept deposits under RSA 6:8, I and I-a, in credit unions in this state, or in obligations of the United States and of the state of New Hampshire and its subdivisions; or in participation units in the public deposit investment pool established pursuant to RSA 383:22, or in shares of open ended mutual funds selected by the trustees for investment under RSA 31:25, and provided further, that the participating contributory interests of said trusts are properly evidenced by appropriate bookkeeping entries showing on an annual basis the capital contribution of and the profits and income allocable to each trust.

Source. 1951, 227:1, par. 31-a. RSA 31:27. 1959, 253:1. 1969, 447:3. 1992, 24:2, IV, eff. April 3, 1992. 1997, 181:3, eff. Aug. 16, 1997. 2001, 54:4, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2021, 65:10, eff. Aug. 3, 2021.

Section 31:28

    31:28 Exception. – The provisions of RSA 31:27 shall not apply where the instrument creating the particular trust specifically prohibits collective investments or where such investment shall violate any specific court order made in any particular trust.

Source. 1951, 227:1, par. 31-c, eff. Aug. 29, 1951.

Section 31:29

    31:29 Contributions and Withdrawals. – Contribution to any common trust fund shall be made on the basis of its market value at the time such contribution is recorded in the books of the trustees. The withdrawal of a particular trust fund from any common trust fund shall be made proportionately on the basis of the market value of said common trust fund at the time such withdrawal is recorded in the books of the trustees.

Source. 1951, 227:1, par. 31-b, eff. Aug. 29, 1951.

Section 31:30

    31:30 Liberal Construction of Provisions. – The provisions of RSA 31:25, 31:27-29, and 31:28 shall be construed liberally to effectuate the purposes stated in RSA 31:27.

Source. 1951, 227:1, par. 31-e, eff. Aug. 29, 1951.

Section 31:31

    31:31 Trust Funds for Districts. – Except where otherwise specifically provided in the charter of a city or by special act of the legislature whenever a gift, legacy or devise shall be made in trust to a school district, village district or any subdivision of a town and accepted by it, the same shall be held in custody and administered by the trustees of trust funds of such town or in case of districts embracing 2 or more towns by the trustees of trust funds of that town which the voters of said district may elect. The governing body of any such district or subdivision shall expend such district or subdivision trust funds, or the income thereof to be expended, consistently with the terms of the trust. The provisions of RSA 31:32 shall not apply to expenditures of district or subdivision trust funds.

Source. 1941, 43:2. RL 51:24.

Section 31:32

    31:32 Expenditures. – Trust funds, or the income thereof, to be expended, shall be paid to trustees or agents of the town established to carry out the objects designated by such trusts, and, if there be no such trustees or agents, then such expenditures shall be made by the full board of town trustees.

Source. 1915, 162:3. 1919, 96:1. PL 42:23. RL 51:25.

Section 31:33

    31:33 Audit and Publication of Reports of Trustees. –
I. The accounts of the trustees shall be audited annually by the auditor of the town, the securities shall be exhibited to the auditor, and he shall certify the facts found by his audit and the list of all securities held. The trustees shall submit to the auditor a detailed statement of the securities held by them and the particular trust to which they belong, and exhibit to him a statement of all receipts and expenditures with proper vouchers.
II. The legislative body of a town may authorize the printing of the reports of the trustees and of the auditor in summary form rather than in full detail in the annual town report.
III. In a year in which a town accepts gifts, legacies and devises for any trust created, the trustees and auditor shall print the names of the donors and the value of such gifts, legacies and devises at the time of donation in the annual town report.

Source. 1915, 162:3. PL 42:24. RL 51:26. RSA 31:33. 1975, 78:1. 1977, 45:1, eff. June 11, 1977.

Section 31:34

    31:34 Records. – The trustees shall keep a record of all trusts in a record book or maintained in electronic format, which shall be open to the inspection of all persons in their town.

Source. 1915, 162:3. PL 42:25. RL 51:27. 2014, 32:1, eff. July 26, 2014.

Section 31:35

    31:35 Compensation of Bookkeeper. – The bookkeeper of the trustees shall receive such compensation as the town meeting may determine.

Source. 1915, 162:4. PL 42:26. RL 51:28. 1948, 70:2. 1953, 21:2. RSA 31:35. 1983, 264:3, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Section 31:36

    31:36 Deposits. – Deposits in any federally insured bank authorized to accept deposits under RSA 6:8, I and I-a or any credit union shall be made in the name of the town which holds the same in trust, and it shall appear upon the book thereof that the same is a trust fund.

Source. 1915, 162:7. PL 42:28. RL 51:30. 2001, 54:5, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2021, 65:11, eff. Aug. 3, 2021.

Section 31:37

    31:37 Payment by Towns. – Each town shall pay over to the trustees the full amount of its trust funds.

Source. 1915, 162:6. PL 42:29. RL 51:31.

Section 31:38

    31:38 Reports. – A copy of the reports required of the town and city trustees and of the auditor thereof shall be filed annually with the attorney general, the department of revenue administration, and with the governing body of the town or city.

Source. 1951, 227:1, par. 31-d, eff. Aug. 29, 1951. 2014, 32:2, eff. July 26, 2014.

Section 31:38-a

    31:38-a Professional Banking and Brokerage Assistance. –
I. The provisions of RSA 31:19 through 31:38 as amended shall remain in full force and effect. This section is intended only to provide help to trustees covered by this subdivision by enabling them to have professional banking and brokerage assistance in the performance of their duties as trustees.
II. "Bank" as used in this section means a savings bank, national bank or trust company in this state, any building and loan association or cooperative bank, incorporated and doing business under the laws of this state or any federal savings and loan association located and doing business in this state.
II-a. "Brokerage firm" in this section means a firm registered under the securities law effecting transactions in securities for the accounts of others.
II-b. "Portfolio management department" in this section means the department of a brokerage firm responsible for investment management of client accounts.
II-c. "Investment advisor" in this section means a qualified investment advisory firm registered with the appropriate regulatory authorities. Such firm may or may not be associated with a brokerage firm as defined in paragraph II-a.
III. Any trustee or trustees of trust funds authorized by this chapter may hire or employ the trust department or departments of a bank or banks or a brokerage firm to assist in the management and investment of trust fund resources or to provide bookkeeping services in connection therewith or to do both. They may also place securities in the nominee name of a trust department or departments or a brokerage firm to facilitate transfers for such securities. Trust fund records maintained by any bank or brokerage firm must be available at all times for examination by local auditors, by independent accountants or auditors retained by a municipality, or by the auditors of the department of revenue administration; and such records shall be municipal records and property. In employing such trust departments, portfolio management departments, or investment advisors, the trustees may enter into contracts or agreements delegating the management of such trust funds to those departments subject to investment guidelines adopted by the trustees under applicable statutes and subject to at least quarterly review and approval of such management by the trustees.
IV. Any expenses incurred pursuant to paragraph III of this section by a trustee or trustees of trust funds authorized by this chapter shall be charges against the trust funds involved and shall be identified and reported in the annual report of the trustee or trustees as expenditures out of trust funds made pursuant to RSA 31:38-a, III.

Source. 1977, 214:1. 1983, 107:1, eff. July 23, 1983; 264:4, eff. Aug. 17, 1983. 1996, 209:5-7, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Power to Make Bylaws

Section 31:39

    31:39 Purpose and Penalties. –
I. Towns may make bylaws for:
(a) The care, protection, preservation and use of the public cemeteries, parks, commons, libraries and other public institutions of the town;
(b) The prevention of the going at large of horses and other domestic animals in any public place in the town;
(c) The observance of Memorial Day, whereby interference with and disturbance of the exercises for such observance, by processions, sports, games or other holiday exercises, may be prohibited;
(d) Regulation of the use of mufflers upon boats and vessels propelled by gasoline, oil or naphtha and operating upon the waters within the town limits;
(e) The kindling, guarding and safekeeping of fires, and for removing all combustible materials from any building or place, as the safety of property in the town may require;
(f) The collection, removal and destruction of garbage, snow and other waste materials;
(g) Regulating the operation of vehicles, except railroads as common carriers, upon their streets;
(h) Regulating the conduct of public dances;
(i) Regulating the conduct of roller skating rinks;
(j) Regulating the sanitary conditions of restaurants within town limits in accordance with the provisions of RSA 147:1;
(k) Issuing a license for the operation of a restaurant and other food serving establishments within the town limits and charging a reasonable fee for same;
(l) Making and ordering their prudential affairs;
(m) Issuing permits for tattooing facilities and charging a fee for the permit; and
(n) Regulating noise.
(o) Requiring the reporting of contributions to, and expenditures by, any candidate or political committee made for the purpose of influencing the election of any candidate for local elective office, or any person or committee for the purpose of influencing the vote on any local ballot or referendum question.
(p) Regulating the retail display and accessibility of martial arts weapons including throwing stars, throwing darts, nunchaku, blow guns, or any other objects designed for use in the martial arts that are capable of being used as lethal or dangerous weapons.
II. Towns may appoint all such officers as may be necessary to carry the bylaws into effect.
III. Towns may enforce the observance of the bylaws by suitable penalties not exceeding $1,000 for each offense to enure to such uses as the town may direct.

Source. RS 31:6, 7. 1845, 242:1. CS 32:6, 7, 8. GS 34:5, 6, 7; 45:5. GL 37:5, 6, 7; 49:6. PS 40:7, 8. 1901, 5:1. 1909, 94:1. 1919, 86:3. 1925, 140:1. PL 42:30. 1937, 84:1. RL 51:32. 1949, 133:4. RSA 31:39. 1969, 68:1. 1971, 93:1; 512:8. 1981, 211:1. 1983, 166:1. 1985, 71:1. 1993, 306:1, eff. Aug. 22, 1993. 2007, 43:1, eff. July 20, 2007. 2010, 263:1, eff. July 6, 2010.

Section 31:39-a

    31:39-a Conflict of Interest Ordinances. – The legislative body of a town or city may adopt an ordinance defining and regulating conflicts of interest for local officers and employees, whether elected or appointed. Any such ordinance may include provisions requiring disclosure of financial interests for specified officers and employees, establishing incompatibility of office requirements stricter than those specified by state law or establishing conditions under which prohibited conflicts of interest shall require removal from office. Any such ordinance shall include provisions to exempt affected officers and employees who are in office or employed at the time the ordinance is adopted for a period not to exceed one year from the date of adoption. The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any removal proceedings instituted under an ordinance adopted under this section.

Source. 1981, 221:1, eff. Aug. 10, 1981.

Section 31:39-c

    31:39-c Administrative Enforcement of Ordinances. –
[There is no RSA 31:39-b.]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a town may use the following provisions in the enforcement of its ordinances and regulations:
I. Any town may establish, by ordinance adopted by the legislative body, a system for the administrative enforcement of violations of any municipal code, ordinance, bylaw, or regulation and for the collection of penalties, to be used prior to the service of a formal summons and complaint. Such a system may be administered by a police department or other municipal agency. The system may include opportunities for persons who do not wish to contest violations to pay such penalties by mail. The system may also provide for a schedule of enhanced penalties the longer such penalties remain unpaid; provided, however, that the penalty for any separate offense shall in no case exceed the maximum penalty for a violation as set forth in RSA 31:39, III.
II. A written notice of violation containing a description of the offense and any applicable schedule of penalties, delivered in person or by first-class mail to the last-known address of the offender, shall be deemed adequate service of process for purposes of any administrative enforcement system established under paragraph I.
III. If the administrative enforcement system established under paragraph I is unsuccessful at resolving alleged violations, or in the case of a town that has not established such a system, a summons may be issued as otherwise provided by law, including use of the procedure for plea by mail set forth in RSA 31:39-d.

Source. 2009, 270:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.

Section 31:39-d

    31:39-d Local Ordinance Citations; Pleas by Mail. –
In addition to any other enforcement procedure authorized by law, and regardless of whether a town has adopted an administrative enforcement procedure under RSA 31:39-c, a local official with authority to prosecute an offense under any municipal code, ordinance, bylaw, or regulation, if such offense is classified as a violation under applicable law, may issue and serve upon the defendant, in addition to a summons to appear in the district court, a local ordinance citation as set forth in this section. The defendant receiving such a citation may plead guilty or nolo contendere by mail by entering that plea as provided herein. If such a plea is accepted by the district court and the prescribed fine is paid with the plea by mail, the defendant shall not be required to appear personally or by counsel; otherwise the defendant shall appear as directed by the court. The following procedure shall be used:
I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a complaint and summons may be served upon the defendant by postpaid certified mail, return receipt requested. Return receipt showing that the defendant has received the complaint and summons shall constitute an essential part of the service. If service cannot be effected by certified mail, then the court may direct that service on the defendant be completed as in other violation complaints.
II. The local ordinance citation shall contain:
(a) The caption: "Local Ordinance Citation, Town (City) of __________".
(b) The name of the offender, and address if known to the prosecuting official.
(c) The code, ordinance, bylaw, or regulation the offender is charged with violating.
(d) The act or circumstances constituting the violation.
(e) The place of the violation.
(f) The date, if any, upon which the offender received written notice of the violation by the municipality.
(g) The time and date, if any, upon which any further violation or continuing violation was witnessed subsequent to such written notice.
(h) The amount of the penalty that is payable by the offender. If the offense is a continuing one for which a penalty is assessed for each day the offense continues, the amount of the penalty shall be based on the number of days the violation has continued since the time notice was given to the offender, up to a maximum of 10 days' violation charged in one citation.
(i) Instructions informing the defendant that the defendant may answer the citation by mail or may personally appear in court upon the date on the summons, and instructing the defendant how to enter a plea by mail, together with either the amount of the penalty specified in the citation, or a request for a trial.
(j) The address of the clerk of the district court where the plea by mail may be entered.
(k) A warning to the defendant that failure to respond to the citation on or before the date on the summons may result in the defendant's arrest as provided in paragraph V.
(l) The signature of the prosecuting official.
III. Defendants who are issued a summons and local ordinance citation and who wish to plead guilty or nolo contendere shall enter their plea on the summons and return it with payment of the civil penalty, as set forth in the citation, to the clerk of the court prior to the arraignment date, or shall appear in court on the date of arraignment.
IV. Civil penalties collected by the district court under this section shall be remitted to the municipality issuing the citation. Whenever a defendant (a) does not enter a plea by mail prior to the arraignment day and does not appear personally or by counsel on or before that date or move for a continuance; or (b) otherwise fails to appear for a scheduled court appearance in connection with a summons for any offense, the defendant shall be defaulted and the court shall determine what the civil penalty would be upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and shall impose an administrative processing fee in addition to the civil penalty. Such fee shall be the same as the administrative processing fee under RSA 502-A:19-b, and shall be retained by the court for the benefit of the state.
V. The court may, in its discretion, issue a bench warrant for the arrest of any defendant who:
(a) Is defaulted in accordance with the provisions of paragraph IV of this section;
(b) Fails to pay a fine or other penalty imposed in connection with a conviction for a violation of a local code, ordinance, bylaw, or regulation which a court has determined the defendant is able to pay, or issues a bad check in payment of a fine or other penalty; or
(c) Fails to comply with a similar order on any matter within the court's discretion.
VI. For cause, the court in its discretion may refuse to accept a plea by mail and may impose a fine or penalty other than that stated in the local ordinance citation. The court may order the defendant to appear personally in court for the disposition of the defendant's case.
VII. The prosecuting official may serve additional local ordinance citations, without giving additional written notice or appeal opportunity under paragraph I, if the facts or circumstances constituting the violation continue beyond the date or dates of any prior citation. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere to the prior citation shall not affect the rights of the defendant with respect to a subsequent citation.
VIII. Forms and rules for the local ordinance citation and summons shall be developed and adopted by the New Hampshire supreme court.
IX. This section is not intended in any way to abrogate other enforcement actions or remedies in the district or superior court, nor to require written notice as a prerequisite to other types of actions or remedies for violations of local codes, ordinances, bylaws, or regulations.
IX-a. For any offense that is subject to enforcement under RSA 676:17, a person who fails to respond to a citation under this section within the time stated in the citation shall be subject to the subsequent offense penalties of RSA 676:17.
X. This section shall not apply to violations of the New Hampshire building code as defined in RSA 155-A:1, IV, or to motor vehicle offenses under title XXI or any local law enacted thereunder.

Source. 2009, 270:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010. 2014, 77:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.

Section 31:39-e

    31:39-e Bylaws Affecting Forestry Activities. –
I. In this section, " forestry activities " means developing, caring for, or cultivating forests; timber harvesting; silviculture; and customary management and supporting activities.
II. Before enacting any ordinance, bylaw, rule, or other regulatory provision that is likely to affect forestry activities, a municipality shall consider the possible adverse effects on forestry activities and take any steps that are reasonably available to minimize such effects.
III. No municipality shall enact any ordinance, bylaw, rule, or other regulatory provision that applies only to forestry activities which adversely affects such activities. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit a municipality's authority to regulate forestry activities under duly adopted land use ordinances and regulations, subject to the protections of RSA 672:1, III-c, RSA 674:1, VI, and RSA 674:32-a through 674:32-d.

Source. 2018, 179:2, eff. June 8, 2018.

Section 31:40

    31:40 Taxicabs. – Towns within which any taxicab shall be operated shall have the power to make bylaws relating to the licensing of such vehicles therein, fixing reasonable license fees therefor, and requiring proof of reasonable insurance or bond for the protection of passengers riding therein, and failure to conform to such bylaws shall constitute a violation and any fines collected hereunder shall inure to such uses as said towns may direct. The word "taxicabs" as used in this section shall mean any rubber-tired motor vehicle, having a manufacturers rated capacity of not more than 7 passengers, used in the call and demand transportation of passengers for compensation to or from points chosen or designated by the passengers and not operated on a fixed schedule, between fixed termini, or any such vehicle leased or rented, or held for leasing or renting, with or without driver or operator.

Source. 1943, 146:1. RSA 31:40. 1973, 531:4, eff. Oct. 31, 1973 at 11:59 p.m.

Section 31:41

    31:41 Open-Air Motion Picture Theatres. – Towns shall have the power to make bylaws relating to the regulation and licensing of open-air motion picture theatres within the limits of the town, and may fix reasonable fees for the operation of said theatres, and failure to conform to such bylaws shall constitute a violation and any fines collected hereunder shall inure to such uses as said towns may direct.

Source. 1949, 252:1, par. 32-b. RSA 31:41. 1973, 531:5, eff. Oct. 31, 1973 at 11:59 p.m.

Section 31:41-a

    31:41-a Motor Vehicle Race Tracks. – Towns shall have the power to make bylaws relating to the regulation and licensing of motor vehicle race tracks within the limits of the town, and may fix fees not to exceed $100 annually for the operation of such race tracks, and failure to observe such bylaws shall constitute a violation and any fines collected hereunder shall inure to such uses as said towns may direct. For the purposes of this section, a motor vehicle shall be defined as any self-propelled vehicle, except tractors, activated by an internal combustion engine and not operated exclusively on stationary tracks.

Source. 1967, 149:1. 1973, 531:6, eff. Oct. 31, 1973 at 11:59 p.m.

Section 31:41-b

    31:41-b Hazardous Embankments. – Towns shall have the power to make bylaws regulating hazardous embankments, including the removal, stabilization, or fencing thereof, for the protection of the health and safety of the public. Whoever violates any such bylaw shall be guilty of a violation for each offense and the penalty therefor shall inure to such uses as the town may direct. Regulation of "excavation" as defined in RSA 155-E:1, II shall be in accordance with RSA 155-E, but any hazardous embankment resulting from excavation, whether undertaken prior to, on, or after August 4, 1989, may be subject to bylaws made under the authority of this section.

Source. 1971, 212:1. 1973, 531:7. 1989, 363:16. 1991, 310:2, eff. Aug. 23, 1991.

Section 31:41-c

    31:41-c Electioneering. – Towns shall have the power to make bylaws regulating the distribution of campaign materials or electioneering or any activity which affects the safety, welfare and rights of voters at any election held for any purpose in such town. Such power shall not extend to the display of printed or written matter attached to any legally parked motor vehicle, nor shall such power extend to activities conducted wholly on private property so as not to interfere with people approaching or entering a polling place. Failure to conform to bylaws adopted under this section shall constitute a violation. A copy of the bylaws adopted under this section shall be provided to the town clerk immediately following adoption so that they may be made available to candidates filing for office, and shall be posted at each polling place at least 72 hours in advance of any town election.

Source. 1981, 298:1. 1989, 272:1, eff. July 25, 1989. 1997, 243:1, eff. Aug. 18, 1997.

Section 31:41-d

    31:41-d Pinball Machines and Coin Operated Amusements. – Towns may adopt bylaws regulating and licensing the location and operation of coin operated amusement devices, including pinball machines. Bylaws may include, without limitation because of enumeration, provisions governing: hours of operation; use by persons under a specified age; numbers of devices allowed; reasonable license fees; and parking and building requirements. Any person who violates such a bylaw shall be guilty of a violation.

Source. 1981, 517:1, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 31:41-e

    31:41-e Drug-Free Zones; Public Housing Authorities. –
A town may adopt bylaws establishing as a drug-free zone any area inclusive of public housing authority property and within 1,000 feet of such public housing authority property. Any person violating such bylaw shall be guilty of a violation, in addition to any penalties imposed under RSA 318-B. If such drug-free zones are established, the town shall publish a map clearly indicating the boundaries of such drug-free zone, which shall be posted in a prominent place in the district or municipal court of jurisdiction, the local police department, and on the public housing authority property. The town shall also develop signs or markings for the drug-free zone which shall:
I. Be posted in one or more prominent places in or near the public housing authority property; and
II. Indicate that the posted area is a drug-free zone which extends to 1,000 feet surrounding such property; and
III. Warn that a person who violates RSA 318-B, the controlled drug act, within the drug-free zone, shall be subject to severe criminal penalties under RSA 318-B and a penalty of up to $1,000 under this section.

Source. 1991, 364:6, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Section 31:42

    31:42 Regulation by Selectmen. – Prior to adoption of bylaws by a town under RSA 31:41, 41-a or 41-d, the selectmen may regulate the operation of open-air motion picture theatres, motor vehicle race tracks or coin operated amusement devices within the limits of the town and fix reasonable fees for such operation. Such regulations made by the selectmen shall be effective only until the next annual town meeting. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit the town from adopting bylaws in accordance with RSA 31:41, 41-a, or 41-d, at any special town meeting, which shall supersede any regulations made by the selectmen.

Source. 1949, 252:1, par. 32-c. RSA 31:42. 1967, 149:2. 1981, 517:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 31:43

    31:43 When in Force. – Bylaws adopted by any town without limitation shall continue in force until altered or annulled by vote of the town or bylaw.

Source. RS 31:8. CS 32:9. GS 34:8. GL 37:8. PS 40:12. PL 42:31. RL 51:33.

Curfew Regulations

Section 31:43-a

    31:43-a Adoption of Curfew Law. – Any city by vote of its city council, and any town at any meeting, may adopt the provisions of this subdivision.

Source. 1913, 172:1. PL 379:8. RL 441:8. RSA 571:8. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-b

    31:43-b City of Rochester. – The city of Rochester may, in like manner as this subdivision was adopted, rescind such adoption, or suspend the operation of the provisions of this subdivision in said city during such period of the year as it may designate.

Source. 1963, 182:1. RSA 571:8-a. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-c

    31:43-c Minors under 16. – In all such cities and towns it shall be unlawful for any minor under the age of 16 years to be upon any public street, or in any public place, after the hour of 9 o'clock in the evening, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other suitable person.

Source. 1913, 172:1. PL 379:9. RL 441:9. RSA 571:9. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-d

    31:43-d Curfew Signal. – Whistles which can be heard in every part of the city, town, or village shall be blown, or bells shall be rung at the appointed time, and shall be called the curfew signal, after which all children under 16 years of age shall be required to be off the street, except they are in company of a parent, guardian, or other suitable adult person.

Source. 1913, 172:3. PL 379:10. RL 441:10. RSA 571:10. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-e

    31:43-e Penalty, Custodian. – Any parent, guardian, or person having the control of any minor under the age of 16 years who shall permit any such minor to be upon any public street or in any public place in any such city or town, in violation of this subdivision, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1913, 172:2. PL 379:11. RL 441:11. RSA 571:11. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-f

    31:43-f Penalty, Minors. – For the first violation of this subdivision by any child it shall be taken to its home by the officers, and the parents or guardian shall be notified of the penalty for any subsequent violation.

Source. 1913, 172:4. PL 379:12. RL 441:12. RSA 571:12. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:43-g

    31:43-g Second Offense. – Upon any subsequent violation by any child said parents or guardians shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1913, 172:4. PL 379:13. RL 441:13. RSA 571:13. 1973, 532:7, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Public Playgrounds

Section 31:44 to 31:50-a

    31:44 to 31:50-a Repealed by 1979, 185:2, eff. Aug. 5, 1979. –

Powers as to Shade and Ornamental Trees

Section 31:51

    31:51 Regulations. – Towns may make regulations from time to time for the planting, protection and preservation of the shade and ornamental trees situated upon any lands within the limits of the town appropriated to public uses.

Source. 1861, 2502:1. GS 34:9. 1868, 1:6. GL 37:9. 1889, 82:1. PS 40:9. PL 42:39. RL 51:41.

Section 31:52

    31:52 Rights of Owners. – Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to deprive the owner of real estate of the right to plant, rear and protect any tree between the carriage path and sidewalk in any public street or highway on which his estate is situate, if it does not interfere with the public travel.

Source. 1861, 2502:3. GS 34:11. GL 37:11. PS 40:11. PL 42:40. RL 51:42.

Mobs or Riots

Section 31:53

    31:53 Repealed by 1994, 25:1, I, eff. June 21, 1994. –

Section 31:54

    31:54 Repealed by 1994, 25:1, II, eff. June 21, 1994. –

Section 31:55

    31:55 Repealed by 1994, 25:1, III, eff. June 21, 1994. –

Section 31:56

    31:56 Use of Militia. – The mayor of any city and the selectmen of any town are authorized, at the expense of the city or town, to call out sufficient military force to suppress or prevent a mob riot within its limits.

Source. 1854, 1519:3. GS 34:14. GL 37:14. PS 40:16. PL 42:44. RL 51:46.

Pensions

Section 31:57

    31:57 To Whom Payable; Maximum. – Towns may grant pensions to any fireman, police officer, or constable, who, by reason of permanent disability directly incurred in the performance of his official duty, is no longer able to perform services in such capacity, or who has served faithfully for not less than 25 years; provided that no pension shall be granted for more than one year at a time. The maximum amount of such pension shall be in the case of a permanent man 1/2 of the pay received by him at the time of his retirement or disability, and in case of a part-time man, call man or special man, $2,500.

Source. 1907, 85:1, 2. 1911, 107:1. PL 42:45. 1927, 17:1. RL 51:47. RSA 31:57. 1965, 144:1. 1973, 63:1, eff. June 1, 1973.

Section 31:58

    31:58 Adoption of Provisions. – The provisions of the foregoing section may be adopted by any town by a major vote of the legal voters thereof at any regular election duly warned and holden therein in the warrant for which due notice is given of the intention to act upon the matter. At such election the following question shall be submitted to the voters: "Are you in favor of adopting the law to provide a pension for firemen, police officers, and constables?" Said provisions may be adopted by any city by major vote of the city councils.

Source. 1907, 85:3. 1909, 115:1. PL 42:46. RL 51:48.

Section 31:59

    31:59 Administration. – When such provisions have been adopted the city councils of the city or the selectmen of the town shall thereafter, under such regulations and restrictions and subject to such provisions as they may by vote or ordinance prescribe, grant pensions as herein authorized.

Source. 1907, 85:4. PL 42:47. RL 51:49.

Town Central Purchasing Department

Section 31:59-a

    31:59-a Authority Granted. – Any town at an annual meeting, under an article in the warrant for said meeting, may vote to establish a central purchasing department for said town.

Source. 1959, 111:1, eff. July 19, 1959.

Section 31:59-b

    31:59-b Purchasing Agent. – If the town shall vote to establish such a department the selectmen shall appoint a purchasing agent for said town. Said agent shall be a resident of the town at the time of his appointment. He shall purchase all supplies for any agency of said town and may establish rules and regulations for competitive bidding for said purchases.

Source. 1959, 111:1, eff. July 19, 1959.

Section 31:59-c

    31:59-c Definitions. –
As used in this subdivision the following terms shall be construed as follows:
I. "Supplies" shall mean and include all materials, equipment, printing, furniture, furnishings of every name and nature.
II. "Purchase" shall mean and include all contracts for the purchase of supplies, as well as the act of purchasing.

Source. 1959, 111:1, eff. July 19, 1959.

Section 31:59-d

    31:59-d Application of Subdivision. – In any town which has voted to establish a purchasing department as provided in this subdivision the authority of any official or board to make purchases shall be suspended during the time said provisions are in effect. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as affecting in any way a school district, or the purchase of supplies therefor, located in a town which has voted to establish a purchasing department for the town.

Source. 1959, 111:1, eff. July 19, 1959.

Zoning Regulations

Section 31:60 to 31:89

    31:60 to 31:89 Repealed by 1983, 447:5, I, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Authority to Establish Historic Districts

Section 31:89-a to 31:89-l

    31:89-a to 31:89-l Repealed by 1983, 447:5, I, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Miscellaneous

Section 31:90

    31:90 Stock Voting. – The selectmen of any town holding stock in any railroad as trustee or otherwise are authorized to vote thereon at all meetings of such corporation, and may appoint, in writing, an agent for that purpose.

Source. 1864, 2890:5. GS 34:20. GL 37:17. PS 40:18. Const., Art. 5. PL 42:69. RL 51:88.

Section 31:91

    31:91 Soliciting Funds. – The right to grant permits for soliciting funds for charitable purposes and for the sale of tags, flowers or other objects for charitable purposes shall be vested in the mayor and aldermen of a city or the selectmen of towns.

Source. 1923, 121:1. PL 42:70. RL 51:89. RSA 31:91. 1955, 270:1, eff. July 22, 1955.

Section 31:92

    31:92 Taking of Land. – Whenever any town cannot obtain by contract, for a reasonable price, any land required for public use, such land may be taken, the damages assessed, and the same remedies and proceedings had as in case of laying out highways by selectmen.

Source. 1872, 38:1. PS 40:6. PL 42:71. RL 51:90.

Section 31:92-a

    31:92-a Water Pollution. – Any town which shall have received an order by the department of environmental services under the provisions of RSA 147, 485, or 485-A shall proceed forthwith to acquire whatever easements and lands as are necessary to comply with said order provided a majority of the voters vote in favor of said acquisition at any regular or special town meeting called for the purpose of taking action on such order, and may enter upon, for the purpose of survey leading to land description, any land within its limits. In so proceeding, the selectmen or other duly authorized agents shall institute any necessary land taking in accordance with the provisions of RSA 31:92 and, anything contained in RSA 231 or in the statutes generally notwithstanding, the decision of the selectmen of the town or towns in which such land or lands are situated shall not be vacated and any subsequent appeal or other action by the owner or owners shall be based solely on the amount of damages assessed, and the duly appointed agents of the town shall have full right of immediate entry for the purposes of detailed surveys, borings, or the conduct of any and all other actions necessary or desirable to aid the town in implementation of the order by the department of environmental services.

Source. 1969, 377:1. 1986, 202:6, I(a). 1989, 339:9, eff. Jan. 1, 1990. 1996, 228:108, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 31:93

    31:93 Town Seal. – Every town shall provide for the use of its town clerk an official seal, bearing the name of the town and the date of its incorporation, and of such general design as may be approved by the selectmen thereof. Papers issued from the office of the town clerk may be attested therewith.

Source. 1917, 149:1. PL 42:72. RL 51:91.

Section 31:94

    31:94 Fiscal Year. – The fiscal year of towns, village precincts and departments thereof excepting school districts shall end on December 31.

Source. 1869, 26:4. GL 40:10. PS 43:49. 1893, 24:1. 1915, 102:1. 1917, 129:9, 10. PL 42:73. RL 51:92. 1943, 142:1, eff. Dec. 31, 1944.

Section 31:94-a

    31:94-a Optional Fiscal Year. – Cities and towns and counties, may adopt a single 18 month accounting period running from January 1 of the calendar year following adoption and ending June 30 of the next following year. Thereafter, accounting periods for such towns, cities, and counties shall run from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

Source. 1969, 497:1. 1971, 454:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1971.

Section 31:94-b

    31:94-b Adoption. –
The provisions of RSA 31:94-a shall not take effect in any town, city or county unless adopted in the following manner:
I. In towns operating under the municipal budget law, by unanimous vote of the selectmen together with the approval of a 2/3 majority of the members of the budget committee, or by an article in the town warrant adopted by a majority of the legal voters of the town present and voting on such adoption;
II. In towns not operating under the municipal budget law, by an article in the town warrant, adopted by a majority of the legal voters of the town present and voting on such adoption;
III. In cities, by 2/3 vote of the city council;
IV. In counties, by majority vote of the members of the county convention present and voting.

Source. 1969, 497:1. 1973, 474:1. 1986, 208:4, eff. Aug. 5, 1986.

Section 31:94-c

    31:94-c Authorization to Use Accounting Period. – Any town, city or county which adopts the provisions of RSA 31:94-a may budget their receipts and expenditures, raise and appropriate revenues, and assess taxes on the basis of a single 18 month accounting period running from January 1 of the calendar year following adoption and ending June 30 of the next following year. Thereafter, they shall operate their fiscal affairs on the basis of a 12 month accounting period running from July 1 to June 30 of the next following year.

Source. 1969, 497:1, eff. Sept. 1, 1969.

Section 31:94-cc

    31:94-cc Proration of Property Tax Exemptions During Transition Period. – Any city or town which adopts the provisions of RSA 31:94-a and assesses taxes on the basis of the 18-month accounting period as permitted under RSA 31:94-c shall prorate any exemption or tax credit available under RSA 72:28, 29-a, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36-a, 37, 37-a, 39-b, 62, 66, and 70 to reflect that 18-month period.

Source. 1978, 7:1. 1991, 70:1, eff. April 1, 1992. 1996, 140:9, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Section 31:94-d

    31:94-d Debt During Transition Period. – Towns, cities, and counties which have adopted the provisions of RSA 31:94-a may incur debt under the provisions of RSA 33 in an amount not to exceed 1/3 of all taxes assessed on April 1 of the year following adoption of RSA 31:94-a, excluding payments upon outstanding debts, said debt to be discharged in not more than 20 years. For the purposes of this section, taxes assessed shall include all taxes reimbursed to the town, city or county in accordance with the provisions of RSA 31-A. Debt incurred pursuant to this section shall not be included in the debt limit of the town, city or county, and the funds borrowed pursuant to this section shall be used only to defray additional costs that result from the adoption of an 18 month transitional accounting period.

Source. 1969, 497:1. 1973, 239:1, eff. Aug. 18, 1973.

Section 31:94-e

    31:94-e Transition Period. – Where the provisions of RSA 31:94-a are adopted by a town, city or county, the selectmen, city treasurer or county treasurer, respectively, may borrow money in anticipation of taxes, for the transition period in the manner provided by RSA 33:7, I for cities and towns and RSA 29:8 for counties.

Source. 1973, 474:2, eff. Aug. 29, 1973.

Section 31:95

    31:95 Budget. – Immediately upon the close of the fiscal year the budget committee in towns where such committees exist, otherwise the selectmen, shall prepare a budget on blanks prescribed by the commissioner of revenue administration; provided, however, that any full-time employee of the town, village district, school district or other associated agencies shall be ineligible to serve on the budget committee. Such budget shall be posted with the town warrant and shall be printed in the town report at least one week before the date of the town meeting.

Source. 1917, 129:8. PL 42:74. RL 51:93. RSA 31:95. 1973, 544:8. 1981, 282:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

Section 31:95-a

    31:95-a Tax Maps. –
I. Every city and town shall, prior to January 1, 1980, have a tax map, so-called, drawn. Each tax map shall:
(a) Show the boundary lines of each parcel of land in the city or town and shall be properly indexed.
(b) Accurately represent the physical location of each parcel of land in the city or town.
(c) Show on each parcel of land the road or water frontage thereof.
II. (a) The scale on a tax map shall be meaningful and adequately represent the land contained on the map, taking into consideration the urban or rural character of the land. The scale shall be sufficient to allow the naming and numbering of, and the placement of dimensions within, if possible, the parcel represented in the individual plat.
(b) Nothing in this paragraph shall apply to any city or town which, prior to the imposition of such scale requirements, has drawn a tax map, appropriated funds or contracted with any person or firm to prepare a tax map or expended funds in the initial phase of preparing a tax map.
III. Each parcel shall be identified by a map and parcel number and shall be indexed alphabetically by owner's name and numerically by parcel number.
IV. Tax maps shall be updated at least annually to indicate ownership and parcel size changes.
V. Each tax map shall be open to public inspection in a city or town office during regular business hours.

Source. 1971, 426:1. 1975, 402:1, eff. Aug. 15, 1975. 2004, 203:10, eff. June 11, 2004.

Section 31:95-b

    31:95-b Appropriation for Funds Made Available During Year. –
I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any town or village district at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing, indefinitely until specific rescission of such authority, the board of selectmen or board of commissioners to apply for, accept and expend, without further action by the town or village district meeting, unanticipated money from the state, federal or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year. The following shall apply:
(a) Such warrant article to be voted on shall read: "Shall the town (or village district) accept the provisions of RSA 31:95-b providing that any town (or village district) at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing indefinitely, until specific rescission of such authority, the selectmen (or commissioners) to apply for, accept and expend, without further action by the town (or village district) meeting, unanticipated money from a state, federal, or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year?"
(b) If a majority of voters voting on the question vote in the affirmative, the proposed warrant article shall be in effect in accordance with the terms of the article until such time as the town or village district meeting votes to rescind its vote.
II. Such money shall be used only for legal purposes for which a town or village district may appropriate money.
III. (a) For unanticipated moneys in the amount of $10,000 or more, the selectmen or board of commissioners shall hold a prior public hearing on the action to be taken. Notice of the time, place, and subject of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the relevant municipality at least 7 days before the hearing is held.
(b) The board of selectmen may establish the amount of unanticipated funds required for notice under this subparagraph, provided such amount is less than $10,000. For unanticipated moneys in an amount less than such amount, the board of selectmen shall post notice of the funds in the agenda and shall include notice in the minutes of the board of selectmen meeting in which such moneys are discussed. The acceptance of unanticipated moneys under this subparagraph shall be made in public session of any regular board of selectmen meeting.
IV. Action to be taken under this section shall:
(a) Not require the expenditure of other town or village district funds except those funds lawfully appropriated for the same purpose; and
(b) Be exempt from all provisions of RSA 32 relative to limitation and expenditure of town or village district moneys.

Source. 1979, 42:1. 1991, 25:1. 1993, 176:3, eff. Aug. 8, 1993. 1997, 105:1, eff. Aug. 8, 1997. 2005, 188:2, eff. Aug. 29, 2005. 2014, 237:1, eff. Sept. 19, 2014.

Section 31:95-c

    31:95-c Special Revenue Funds. –
I. Towns may, pursuant to RSA 31:95-d, vote to restrict revenues, or any portion of revenues, from a specific source to expenditures for specific purposes. Such revenues and expenditures shall be accounted for in a special revenue fund separate from the general fund.
II. Notwithstanding paragraph IV, towns may establish, pursuant to RSA 31:95-d, special revenue funds to:
(a) Provide special highway funds from appropriate revenues, such as revenues from block grants from the state highway fund, motor vehicle permit fees collected under RSA 261:165, parking meter fees and fines in accordance with RSA 231:131, and any other highway related revenues not otherwise designated by law. Appropriations from the special highway fund shall be used for highway expenditures.
(b) Provide special capital improvement plan funds from appropriate revenues, which include any portion of town revenues otherwise allotted to the general fund except property taxes, provided that the town has adopted and has in place an up-to-date capital improvement plan as prescribed and developed in accordance with the provisions of RSA 674:5 through 674:8. Any funds from sources includable in subparagraph (a) included in the capital improvement plan shall be used solely for highway purposes. Appropriations from the special capital improvement plan fund shall be used to fund those individual capital projects identified in an up-to-date duly adopted town capital improvement plan.
III. Any surplus in any fund created under paragraph I or II shall not be deemed part of the general fund accumulated surplus nor shall any surplus be expended for any purpose or transferred to any appropriation until such time as the legislative body shall have voted to appropriate a specific amount from said fund for a specific purpose related to the purpose or source of the revenue.
IV. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the establishment of capital reserve funds pursuant to RSA 35:1 or town created trust funds pursuant to RSA 31:19-a. The provisions of this section shall be limited to those town activities funded primarily through user fees including, but not limited to, municipal airports and solid waste facilities.

Source. 1989, 279:1. 1993, 184:1, eff. Aug. 8, 1993. 1996, 148:1, 2, eff. May 24, 1996.

Section 31:95-d

    31:95-d Procedure for Adoption; Rescission or Change of Purpose. –
I. Any town may adopt the provisions of RSA 31:95-c to restrict revenues, or any portion of such revenues, from a specific source to expenditures for specific purposes in the following manner:
(a) In a town, the question shall be placed on the warrant of a special or annual town meeting under the procedures set out in RSA 39:3, and shall be voted on by ballot. The question shall not be placed on the official ballot.
(b) The selectmen shall hold a public hearing on the question at least 15 days but not more than 30 days before the question is to be voted on. Notice of the hearing shall be posted in at least 2 public places in the municipality and published in a newspaper of general circulation at least 7 days before the hearing.
(c) The wording of the question shall be: "Shall we adopt the provisions of RSA 31:95-c to restrict (here insert portion as a fractional or dollar amount) of revenues from (here insert source) to expenditures for the purpose of (here insert purpose)? Such revenues and expenditures shall be accounted for in a special revenue fund to be known as the ( ...) fund, separate from the general fund. Any surplus in said fund shall not be deemed part of the general fund accumulated surplus and shall be expended only after a vote by the legislative body to appropriate a specific amount from said fund for a specific purpose related to the purpose of the fund or source of the revenue."
II. If a majority of those voting on the question vote "Yes", RSA 31:95-c shall apply within the town on a date set by the selectmen.
III. If the question is not approved, the question may later be voted upon according to the provisions of RSA 31:95-d, I.
IV. (a) Any town which has adopted RSA 31:95-c may consider rescinding its action in the manner described in RSA 31:95-d, I(a) and (b). The wording of the question shall be the same as set out in RSA 31:95-d, I(c), except the word "adopt" shall be changed to "rescind."
(b) If a majority of those voting on the question vote "Yes", RSA 31:95-c shall not apply within the town, and any remaining amounts in the rescinded fund shall become part of the general fund accumulated surplus.
V. No change shall be made to a special revenue fund adopted under RSA 31:95-c unless the town has voted to consider changing the source or fractional portion of revenues or specific purpose of expenditures of the fund in the manner described in subparagraphs I(a) and (b) and authorized such change by a vote of 2/3 of all the voters present and voting at an annual town or district meeting.

Source. 1989, 279:1, eff. July 28, 1989. 1996, 148:3, 4, eff. May 24, 1996. 2012, 181:2, eff. Aug. 10, 2012.

Section 31:95-e

    31:95-e Acceptance of Personal Property Donated to Towns and Village Districts. –
I. Any town or village district at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing the board of selectmen or board of commissioners to accept gifts of personal property, other than money, which may be offered to the town or village district for any public purpose, and such authorization shall remain in effect until rescinded by a vote of town or village district meeting.
II. Prior to the acceptance of any such gift with a value of $5,000 or more, the selectmen or board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the proposed acceptance. For gifts with a value of less than $5,000, a public hearing on the proposed acceptance shall be at the discretion of the selectmen or board of commissioners. If no public hearing is held, the board of selectmen or board of commissioners shall post notice of the gift in the agenda and shall include notice in the minutes of the board of selectmen or board of commissioners meeting at which such gift is discussed. The acceptance of gifts under this paragraph shall be made in public session of any regular board of selectmen or board of commissioners meeting.
III. No acceptance of any personal property under the authority of this section shall be deemed to bind the town or village district to raise, appropriate or expend any public funds for the operation, maintenance, repair, or replacement of such personal property.

Source. 1991, 25:2, eff. June 18, 1991. 1997, 105:2, eff. Aug. 8, 1997. 1998, 196:1, eff. Aug. 17, 1998. 2008, 24:1, eff. July 11, 2008.

Section 31:95-f

    31:95-f Geographic Information Systems. – Any town may establish computer-based geographic information systems and control the distribution of that information, subject to RSA 91-A. The town may finance the completion and perpetuation of the system through establishing a special revenue fund under RSA 31:95-c and 31:95-d or through nonprofit corporations. The town may charge fees for the use of the system.

Source. 1994, 76:2, eff. July 5, 1994.

Section 31:95-g


[RSA 31:95-g effective until January 1, 2023; see also RSA 31:95-g set out below.]
    31:95-g Option to Assign Appraisal Responsibility. – The legislative body of any municipality may vote to authorize the elected officials to delegate the assessing functions imposed on them under RSA 75:1, 75:11, and 79-A:5 to a person certified by the department of revenue administration under RSA 21-J:14-f.

[RSA 31:95-g effective January 1, 2023; see also RSA 31:95-g above.]


31:95-g Option to Assign Appraisal Responsibility. –
The legislative body of any municipality may vote to authorize the elected officials to delegate the assessing functions imposed on them under RSA 75:1, 75:11, and 79-A:5 to a person certified by the assessing certification board under RSA 310-C.

Source. 2001, 297:6, eff. Sept. 15, 2001. 2022, 267:5, eff. Jan. 1, 2023.

Section 31:95-h

    31:95-h Revolving Funds. –
I. A town may, by vote of the legislative body, establish a revolving fund. Each revolving fund shall be limited to one of the following purposes:
(a) Facilitating, maintaining, or encouraging recycling as defined in RSA 149-M:4;
(b) Providing ambulance services, or fire services, or both;
(c) Providing public safety services by municipal employees or volunteers outside of the ordinary detail of such persons, including but not limited to public safety services in connection with special events, highway construction, and other construction projects, or for any other public safety purpose deemed appropriate by the municipality;
(d) Creating affordable housing and facilitating transactions relative thereto;
(e) Providing cable access for public, educational, or governmental use;
(f) Financing of energy conservation and efficiency and clean energy improvements by participating property owners in an energy efficiency and clean energy district established pursuant to RSA 53-F; or
(g) Facilitating transactions relative to municipal group net metering.
II. If a town establishes a revolving fund for any of the purposes listed in paragraph I, it may deposit into the fund all or any part of the revenues from fees, charges, or other income derived from the activities or services supported by the fund, and any other revenues approved by the legislative body for deposit into the fund. The money in the fund shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, and shall not be considered part of the town's general surplus. The town treasurer shall have custody of all moneys in the fund, and shall pay out the same only upon order of the governing body, or other board or body designated by the local legislative body at the time the fund is created; provided, that no further approval of the legislative body, if different from the governing body, shall be required. Such funds may be expended only for the purposes for which the fund was created.
III. The legislative body may, at the time it establishes a revolving fund or at any time thereafter, place limitations on expenditures from the fund including, but not limited to, restrictions on the types of items or services that may be purchased from the fund, limitations on the amount of any single expenditure, and limitations on the total amount of expenditures to be made in a year. No amount may be expended from a revolving fund established hereunder for any item or service for which an appropriation has been specifically rejected by the legislative body during the same year.
IV. The provisions of this section shall not preclude the establishment of a revolving fund for any other purpose authorized by law.

Source. 2005, 79:1, eff. Aug. 6, 2005. 2008, 68:1, eff. July 20, 2008; 391:1, eff. Sept. 15, 2008. 2010, 215:3, eff. Aug. 27, 2010. 2013, 9:1, eff. July 6, 2013. 2017, 95:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2017. 2018, 30:1, eff. July 14, 2018; 58:1, eff. July 24, 2018.

Section 31:96

    31:96 Interlocal Cooperation on Federal or Interstate Flood Control Projects. –
Powers granted to a town by paragraph XXXV of RSA 31:4 may be exercised jointly with other towns similarly affected, and any 2 or more such towns may enter into agreements with one another for joint or cooperative action pursuant to the following provisions:
I. Such agreement shall be approved by a vote of the majority of those present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the town.
II. Any such agreement shall specify the following:
(a) Its duration;
(b) The precise organization, composition, and nature of any joint or cooperative agency, or of any separate legal or administrative entity, if one is created thereby, together with the powers delegated thereto;
(c) Its purposes;
(d) The manner of financing the joint or cooperative undertaking and of establishing and maintaining a budget therefor;
(e) The manner of acquiring, holding, and disposing of real and personal property used in the joint or cooperative undertaking;
(f) The permissible method or methods to be employed in accomplishing the partial or complete termination of the agreement and for disposing of property upon such partial or complete termination;
(g) Any other necessary and proper matters.
III. The attorney general shall approve any agreement submitted to him hereunder unless he finds that it does not meet the conditions set forth herein and shall detail in writing addressed to the selectmen of the towns concerned the specific respects in which the proposed agreement fails to meet the requirements of law. Failure to disapprove an agreement submitted hereunder within 30 days of its submission shall constitute approval thereof.
IV. Financing of joint projects by agreement shall be as provided by law.
V. Prior to its entry in force, an agreement made pursuant to this section shall be filed with the town clerk of each signatory town and with the secretary of state.
VI. No agreement made pursuant to this section shall relieve any town of any obligation or responsibility imposed upon it by law, except that to the extent of actual or timely performances by a joint board or other agency or entity created by an agreement made hereunder, said performance may be offered in satisfaction of the obligation or responsibility.
VII. This section shall not apply to cooperative efforts undertaken by towns pursuant to other special or general statutes.
VIII. Any town entering into an agreement pursuant to this section may appropriate funds and may sell, lease, give or otherwise supply the joint board or agency or legal entity created hereunder by providing such personnel or services therefor as may be within its legal power to furnish.

Source. 1957, 287:2, eff. Oct. 1, 1957.

Section 31:97

    31:97 State Guarantee. – In view of the general public benefits resulting from flood control in the state, the governor and council are authorized in the name of the state of New Hampshire to guarantee unconditionally, but at no time in excess of the total aggregate sum for the entire state of $500,000, the payment of all or any portion, as they may find to be in the public interest, of the principal of and interest on any bonds or notes issued by any municipality, town, city, county or district for purposes authorized by RSA 31:96 and RSA 52:1-a and the full faith and credit of the state are pledged for any such guarantee. The state's guarantee shall be endorsed on such bonds or notes by the state treasurer; and all notes or bonds issued with state guarantee shall be sold (1) at public sealed bidding, (2) after publication of advertisement for bids, (3) to the highest bidder. Any and all such bids may be rejected and a sale may be negotiated with the highest bidder. In the event of default in payment of any such notes or bonds, the state may recover any losses suffered by it by action against the town as provided in RSA 530.

Source. 1957, 287:4, eff. Oct. 1, 1957.

Section 31:98

    31:98 Repealed by 1969, 125:2, eff. July 8, 1969. –

Section 31:98-a

    31:98-a Contingency Fund. – Every town annually by an article separate from the budget and all other articles in the warrant may establish a contingency fund to meet the cost of unanticipated expenses that may arise during the year. Such fund shall not exceed one per cent of the amount appropriated by the town for town purposes during the preceding year excluding capital expenditures and the amortization of debt. A detailed report of all expenditures from the contingency fund shall be made annually by the selectmen and published with their report.

Source. 2013, 115:2, eff. Aug. 24, 2013. 2014, 190:5, eff. Sept. 9, 2014.

Section 31:99

    31:99 License to Occupy Portion of Street. – The selectmen of a town may grant a license in writing to any person to occupy a portion of any street, designated by distinct limits, for the purpose of laying thereon lumber and other materials for building purposes, but not for retail sale except as provided in RSA 31:100, for a time not exceeding 4 months, whenever they shall deem it necessary or proper, subject to such terms and conditions, to be expressed in the license, as the public convenience and safety may require.

Source. 1844, 144:1. CS 119:8. GS 252:8. GL 269:8. PS 264:9. PL 378:9. RL 440:8. RSA 570:8. 1973, 532:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973; 558:8, eff. Nov. 2, 1973.

Section 31:100

    31:100 Street Fairs. – The selectmen of a town or governing body of a city may grant a license in writing to any person or persons to use and occupy a portion of any street or sidewalk, as may be designated in general or in specific terms, for the purpose of conducting thereon street fairs or other community events, including but not limited to the sale of merchandise by commercial retailers, or by community associations conducting street fairs or other promotions. Such licenses may include the right to encumber the designated area with boxes, shelves, stands and other devices useful in conducting such sales and shall be issued for not in excess of 3 consecutive business days. Licenses may also be subject to such other terms and conditions, to be expressed in the license, as the public convenience and safety may require.

Source. 1971, 278:1. RSA 570:8-a. 1973, 532:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:101

    31:101 Effect of License. – A person so licensed, who shall first cause the license to be recorded at length by the town clerk, and who shall comply with the terms expressed therein, shall be exempt from the penalties imposed by this chapter for any act authorized by the license.

Source. 1844, 144:2. CS 119:9. GS 252:9. GL 269:9. PS 264:10. PL 378:10. RL 440:9. RSA 570:9. 1973, 532:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:102

    31:102 Obstructing Access to Highways. – No person shall obstruct the highway by parking an automobile, other vehicle or object in or in front of a driveway to any dwelling, store, shop or other place of business, factory, field or forest so as to obstruct the passage of vehicles from the highway into such driveway or from such driveway into the highway. Any officer with police power or selectman is hereby authorized, if in his opinion the same is necessary, to employ a wrecker or other apparatus to remove such obstruction at the expense of the owner or operator of said obstructing vehicle or object and the owner or operator of the wrecker or apparatus used in said removal shall have a lien upon the vehicle or object so removed for his fee or charge for said removal.

Source. 1941, 58:1. RL 440:10. RSA 570:10. 1973, 532:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 31:102-a

    31:102-a Hawkers, Peddlers and Vendors. –
The governing board of a city, town or village district may adopt, by ordinance or regulation, provisions for the licensure and regulation of itinerant vendors, hawkers, peddlers, traders, farmers, merchants, or other persons who sell, offer to sell, or take orders for merchandise from temporary or transient sales locations within a town or who go from town to town or place to place within a town for such purposes. Any person who violates any provision of such ordinance or regulation shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and each continuing day of violation after notice shall constitute a separate offense. A city, town, or village district shall be specifically prohibited, however, from licensing or regulating a candidate for public office in the process of obtaining signatures on nomination papers, who seeks to have the candidate's name placed on the ballot for the state general election by submitting nomination papers under RSA 655:40. Persons who are under the age of 14 who are selling soft drinks on family owned or leased property shall be exempt from city, town, or village district licensing requirements. Provisions adopted under this section shall be in addition to any requirements imposed by the state under either RSA 320 or RSA 321 and may include, but shall not be limited to:
I. Classification of licensees consistent with constitutional requirements of equal protection;
II. Imposition of reasonable requirements, including fees, for the issuance of a license;
III. Restrictions as to the areas of the municipality open to licensees and the hours and days of their operation; and
IV. Other reasonable conditions and terms deemed necessary for public convenience and safety as the governing board determines.

Source. 1973, 558:9. 1981, 515:1. 1993, 164:1, eff. July 23, 1993. 2001, 274:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2010, 298:1, eff. Sept. 11, 2010. 2021, 166:1, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 31:102-b

    31:102-b Background Checks for Certain Vendors. –
I. Any municipality may require persons who go from door to door, place to place within a town, or town to town, who sell, offer to sell, or take orders for merchandise or offer to perform personal services for household repairs or improvements, to submit to a state records check only, or both a federal and state records check. Municipalities that require a public criminal history record information check shall have such person submit to the municipality a public criminal history record information authorization form, as provided by the division of state police, which authorizes the release of the person's public criminal history record information, if any. To obtain a federal records check, such person shall submit to the municipality a criminal history record authorization form, as provided by the division of state police, which authorizes the release of the person's criminal history record information, if any, and a complete set of fingerprints.
II. For a state and federal criminal records check, the municipality shall request that such person submit with the release form a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency or an authorized employee of the department of safety. The municipality shall submit the criminal history records release form and inked fingerprint card to the division of state police which shall conduct a criminal records check through its records and through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fingerprints taken digitally by Live Scan or similar device shall be transmitted directly to the New Hampshire division of state police. In the event that the first set of fingerprints is invalid due to insufficient pattern, the municipality may, in lieu of the criminal history records check, accept police clearances from every city, town, or county where the person has lived during the past 10 years. Upon completion of the records check, the division of state police shall release copies of the criminal history records to the local law enforcement agency of the municipality which shall maintain the confidentiality of all criminal history records information received pursuant to this section. The municipality may charge a fee to recover the costs of such investigation.
III. To obtain a state records check only, the municipality shall submit a state criminal history records release form, completed by such person, to the division of state police.
IV. Such person shall also include the location of all municipalities in which such person seeks to transact business. Such municipalities, in accordance with their licensing requirements, shall have access to the results of the criminal history records check and the New Hampshire division of state police shall release copies of the criminal history records to such municipalities. Such person shall be responsible for any additional fees for any administrative costs incurred by the New Hampshire division of state police under this section.

Source. 2010, 298:2, eff. Sept. 11, 2010. 2018, 318:4, eff. Aug. 24, 2018. 2019, 297:3, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 31:103

    31:103 Repealed by 1983, 447:5, II, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Section 31:103-a

    31:103-a Contributions to County or State. – A town may, by vote of the legislative body, voluntarily contribute funds, services, property, or other resources toward any county or state project, program, or plan. Any contribution involving the expenditure of funds under this section shall be subject to the requirements of RSA 32.

Source. 2016, 79:2, eff. July 18, 2016.

Section 31:103-b

    31:103-b Cybersecurity. – The governing body, or chief administrative officer or designee of any political subdivision, who knows of or suspects a cybersecurity incident within the political subdivision's information systems, or within any vendor acting as an agent of the political subdivision, shall immediately report such incident, upon discovery, and shall disclose all known information and interactions to the New Hampshire cyber integration center of the department of information technology. For purposes of this section, " cybersecurity incident " means an occurrence that actually or potentially jeopardizes the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system or the information processes, stores, or transmits, or that constitutes a violation or imminent threat of violation of security policies, security procedures, or acceptable use policies.

Source. 2022, 190:1, eff. Aug. 16, 2022.

Liability for Damages Limited, Indemnification, Insurance

Section 31:104

    31:104 Liability of Municipal Executives. – Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, no member of the governing board of any municipal corporation or political subdivision, no member of any other board, commission, or bureau of any municipal corporation or political subdivision created or existing pursuant to a statute or charter, and no chief executive officer of such municipal corporation or political subdivision, including but not limited to city councilors and aldermen, selectmen, county convention members, members of boards of adjustment, members of planning boards, school board members, mayors, city managers, town managers, county commissioners, regional planning commissioners, town and city health officers, overseers of public welfare, and school superintendents shall be held liable for civil damages for any vote, resolution, or decision made by said person acting in his or her official capacity in good faith and within the scope of his or her authority.

Source. 1973, 595:1. 1991, 72:1, eff. July 12, 1991. 2008, 96:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2009. 2010, 214:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.

Section 31:105

    31:105 Indemnification for Damages. – A city, town, county, village district or precinct, school district, chartered public school, school administrative unit, or any other municipal corporation or political subdivision may by a vote of the governing body indemnify and save harmless for loss or damage occurring after said vote any person employed by it and any member or officer of its governing board, administrative staff or agencies including but not limited to selectmen, school board members, chartered public school trustees, city councilors and aldermen, town and city managers, regional planning commissioners, town and city health officers, overseers of public welfare, and superintendents of schools from personal financial loss and expense including reasonable legal fees and costs, if any, arising out of any claim, demand, suit, or judgment by reason of negligence or other act resulting in accidental injury to a person or accidental damage to or destruction of property if the indemnified person at the time of the accident resulting in the injury, damage, or destruction was acting in the scope of employment or office.

Source. 1973, 595:1. 1991, 72:2. 1995, 260:2, eff. July 1, 1995. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008. 2010, 214:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.

Section 31:106

    31:106 Indemnification; Civil Rights Suits. – All cities, towns, counties, village districts and precincts, school districts, chartered public schools, school administrative units, and other municipal corporations and political subdivisions shall indemnify and save harmless any person employed by it and any member or officer of its governing board, administrative staff, or agencies including but not limited to selectmen, school board members, chartered public school trustees, city councilors and aldermen, town and city managers, regional planning commissioners, town and city health officials, overseers of public welfare, and superintendents of schools from personal financial loss and expense including reasonable legal fees and costs, if any, arising out of any claim, demand, suit, or judgment by reason of any act or omission constituting a violation of the civil rights of an employee, teacher or student, or any other person under any federal law if such act or omission was not committed with malice, and if the indemnified person at the time of such act or omission was acting within the scope of employment or office.

Source. 1973, 595:1. 1991, 72:3. 1995, 260:3, eff. July 1, 1995. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008. 2010, 214:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.

Section 31:107

    31:107 Purchase of Insurance. – A political entity permitted or required to indemnify its officers and employees under RSA 31:105 and 106 may purchase a comprehensive general liability insurance policy necessary to protect itself and its officers and employees against such liability. The insurance policy may be issued by any insurance company organized or authorized to do business in this state.

Source. 1973, 595:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.

Section 31:108

    31:108 Attachment, Trustee Process Prohibited. – No attachment or trustee process shall be available or allowed where immunity has been granted pursuant to RSA 31:104 or where indemnification has been voted pursuant to RSA 31:105 or where indemnification is required pursuant to RSA 31:106.

Source. 1973, 595:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.

Oil Refinery Siting

Section 31:109

    31:109 Local Option for Oil Refinery Siting in Towns. – Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, an oil refinery shall not be located in any town without a vote of approval of a majority of the voters present and voting on the question at an annual meeting or a special town meeting called for such purpose. All votes on the question shall be taken by written ballot. The following question shall be placed on the ballot "Shall an oil refinery be permitted within the town of ( )?" Said question shall be printed in the form prescribed by RSA 59:12-a. If a majority of those voting on the question shall vote in the affirmative, approval of the location of the oil refinery in the town shall be deemed granted. If a majority of those voting on the question shall vote in the negative, such approval shall be deemed not granted and no oil refinery may be located in such town unless approval is subsequently granted in accord with this section. Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing, modifying or affecting in any way the provisions of RSA 31 and RSA 36 relating to zoning regulations.

Source. 1974, 36:1, eff. April 5, 1974.

Town and City Forests

Section 31:110

    31:110 Establishment. – The legislative body of any city or town may vote to establish by purchase, lease, grant, tax collector's deed, transfer, bequest or other devise, a city or town forest.

Source. 1975, 254:1, eff. Aug. 5, 1975.

Section 31:111

    31:111 Purpose. – The main purpose of such city or town forest shall be to encourage the proper management of timber, firewood and other natural resources through planting, timber stand improvement, thinning, harvesting, reforestation, and other multiple use programs consistent with the forest management program, any deed restrictions and any pertinent local ordinances or regulations.

Source. 1975, 254:1, eff. Aug. 5, 1975.

Section 31:112

    31:112 Management. –
I. A city or town forest established under RSA 31:110 shall be managed by a forestry committee consisting of not less than 3 nor more than 5 members. In cities the members shall be appointed by the mayor and aldermen and in towns they shall be appointed by the selectmen. When a forestry committee is first established, terms of the members shall be for one, 2 or 3 years, and so arranged that the terms of approximately 1/3 of the members shall expire each year, and their successors shall be appointed for terms of 3 years each. The committee shall include the city or town tree warden, if there is one. The committee shall choose its chairman, shall serve without compensation and shall make an annual report to the city or town and shall send a copy to the director of the division of forests and lands, department of natural and cultural resources. Vacancies for the unexpired terms shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.
II. If a city or town has adopted RSA 36-A, a city or town forest may be managed by the city or town conservation commission, with the tree warden, if any, as an ex-officio member, as determined by the legislative body.

Source. 1975, 254:1, eff. Aug. 5, 1975. 2017, 156:14, I, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 31:113

    31:113 Appropriations Authorized. – For the purposes of establishing or maintaining a city or town forest, a city or town may raise and appropriate such funds as it deems necessary. The proceeds from said forest shall be placed in a special forest maintenance fund and shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, unless otherwise voted by the legislative body of such city or town.

Source. 1975, 254:1, eff. Aug. 5, 1975.

Section 31:114

    31:114 Repealed by 1995, 299:19, I, eff. Jan. 1, 1996. –

Community Development

Section 31:115

    31:115 Eligibility for Federal Funds. – For the purpose of determining eligibility for federal funds which are or may be available under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-383), any city or town may perform any eligible activity as defined by that act or by any regulation duly adopted thereunder.

Source. 1975, 433:1, eff. Aug. 17, 1975.

Manufactured Housing Foundations

Section 31:116

    31:116 Manufactured Housing Foundations. – No town shall impose requirements that manufactured housing, as defined by RSA 674:31, which is located in parks be placed on other than the structural carriers designed for that purpose.

Source. 1977, 481:1. 1983, 230:3, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Woodstoves

Section 31:117

    31:117 Woodstoves. – Towns may make bylaws providing for the adoption of the model code, promulgated by the state fire marshal pursuant to RSA 153:14, IV, relative to the installation and operation of solid fuel heating appliances and, further, to provide for the inspection of such appliances. A reasonable fee may be charged for such inspection to the owner of the property where such appliance is installed.

Source. 1979, 449:4, eff. Aug. 24, 1979.

Manufactured Housing

Section 31:118, 31:119

    31:118, 31:119 Repealed by 1983, 447:5, III, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Central Business Service Districts

Section 31:120

    31:120 Purpose. – The declared purpose of this subdivision is to enable municipalities to establish central business service districts in high density areas of predominantly commercial uses to provide property services at a more intensive level than is provided in the balance of the municipality; to provide funds for capital expenditures of not more than $20,000 per project; and to authorize the establishment of charges to owners of property within such central business service districts in an amount not to exceed the costs to the municipality of providing such services at levels over and above those provided in the balance of the municipality.

Source. 1983, 109:1, eff. July 23, 1983. 2009, 81:1, eff. Aug. 8, 2009.

Section 31:121

    31:121 Authority Granted. – For the purposes of this subdivision, the legislative body of any city or town shall have the authority to establish one or more central business service districts.

Source. 1983, 109:1. 1994, 85:1, eff. July 5, 1994.

Section 31:122

    31:122 Services Advisory Committee; Cost. –
I. (a) The services which may be provided by a municipality in a central business service district under the provisions of this subdivision may include property-related services performed in the public right-of-way, including sidewalk snow removal, landscaping, street and sidewalk cleaning, refuse collection, and other business development services and activities related to the maintenance of an attractive, useful, and economically viable business environment. These services and activities may be either those of a routine nature provided for all properties, or may be particular to those in the central business service district.
(b) After a duly noticed public hearing, capital expenditures of not more than $20,000 per project that have been approved by a 2/3 vote of the advisory board shall be subject to approval by a 2/3 vote of the governing body.
II. The legislative body of each municipality electing to establish a central business service district shall appoint an advisory board of 7 members, not less than 5 of whom shall be owners or tenants of property within the proposed district. Upon consultation with the advisory board, the legislative body of each municipality shall define the central business service district, select specific services and levels of services to be provided in the district, and, subject to RSA 31:123, authorize which specific department, agency, or other party is to undertake the work.
III. The costs of providing special services in the central business service district shall be those accruing to the municipality which result exclusively from the provision of services in the district which exceed those being provided in the balance of the municipality. The costs of services provided throughout the municipality or available to all properties and the costs of services or levels of services regularly and routinely provided within the central business service district prior to July 23, 1983, may not be included as costs for the purpose of this subdivision.

Source. 1983, 109:1. 1991, 334:1, eff. Aug. 27, 1991. 2009, 81:2, 3, eff. Aug. 8, 2009.

Section 31:123

    31:123 Method of Appropriation. – Each municipality shall adopt a budget for capital expenditures or services to be performed in a central business service district as part of its budget process. At the end of the fiscal year, a full accounting of expenditures shall be made. Balances or deficits of the central business service district account shall be reflected in the subsequent year's account budget to offset appropriation requirements.

Source. 1983, 109:1, eff. July 23, 1983. 2009, 81:4, eff. Aug. 8, 2009.

Section 31:124

    31:124 Assessments. – Upon local adoption of the budget, the municipality may levy assessments in an amount not greater than the net appropriation to a central business service district account. The assessments shall be made against the owners of commercial and industrial properties and such other types of property as may be determined by the municipality abutting any public right-of-way in the central business service district and shall be based upon the relative linear foot frontage of the owner's property as a percentage of the total linear foot frontage of the applicable property in the district or another formula determined by the municipality to be in relative proportion to benefits received by each property owner in the central business service district. Assessments shall be billed and collected as specified by ordinance. Interest and other collection procedures shall be made by the tax collector or other official responsible for property tax collection. Enforcement powers for nonpayment shall be the same as those provided under RSA 80 relative to property tax collection.

Source. 1983, 109:1. 1993, 169:1, eff. July 23, 1993. 1996, 264:1, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 31:125

    31:125 Limit on Liability. – The provisions of RSA 507-B relative to bodily injury actions against governmental units shall apply to all municipal activities performed in connection with a central business service district.

Source. 1983, 109:1, eff. July 23, 1983.

Validity of Municipal Legislation

Section 31:126

    31:126 Presumption of Procedural Validity. – Municipal legislation, after 5 years following its enactment, shall, without further curative act of the legislature, be entitled to a conclusive presumption of compliance with statutory enactment procedure. Any claim that municipal legislation is invalid for failure to follow statutory enactment procedure, whether that claim is asserted as part of a cause of action or as a defense to any action, may be asserted within 5 years of the enactment of the legislation and not afterward.

Source. 1988, 33:1, eff. May 23, 1988.

Section 31:127

    31:127 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Enactment procedure" includes any required notice, copying, filing, service, reporting, publication, posting, public hearing, voting procedure, vote count, ballots, or the form or timing of any of these.
II. "Municipal legislation" means any charter, ordinance, code, bylaw, vote, resolution or regulation enacted by, or any condition or requirement imposed by, a properly authorized official, board, governing body or legislative body of any city, town or village district. It shall not include an "election" as defined in RSA 652:1.

Source. 1988, 33:1, eff. May 23, 1988.

Section 31:128

    31:128 Certified Copy of Legislation Prima Facie Evidence of Enactment. – A certified copy of the municipal legislation, or a certified code, codification or compilation which includes the legislation, shall constitute prima facie evidence that the legislation was enacted on or prior to the date of certification. Certification shall be by the town or city clerk, or by the official enacting the legislation, or by the chairman, secretary or clerk of the board or body enacting the municipal legislation. The copy or code shall specify, by name or title, which officer, board or body of the municipality enacted the legislation. This method of proving municipal legislation shall not be exclusive.

Source. 1988, 33:1, eff. May 23, 1988.

Section 31:129

    31:129 Limitation. – This subdivision shall not affect any claim of invalidity which is founded upon the substance of the municipal legislation, or upon the lack of authority of the municipality or its officials, under the federal and state constitutions and laws, to enact such legislation.

Source. 1988, 33:1, eff. May 23, 1988.

Section 31:130

    31:130 Conformity with Enabling Statute. – The forms of questions prescribed by municipal enabling statutes shall be deemed advisory only, and municipal legislation shall not be declared invalid for failure to conform to the precise wording of any question prescribed for submission to voters, so long as the action taken is within the scope of, and consistent with the intent of, the enabling statute or statutes.

Source. 1991, 113:2, eff. July 13, 1991.

Section 31:131

    31:131 Origin of Warrant Articles. – Any question which an enabling statute authorizes to be placed in the warrant for a town meeting by petition may also be inserted by the selectmen, even in the absence of any petition. So long as the subject matter of an action taken at a town meeting was distinctly stated in the warrant, no defect in the process by which such subject matter came to appear in the warrant shall affect the validity of such action.

Source. 1991, 113:2, eff. July 13, 1991.

Records Storage and Management

Section 31:132

    31:132 Records Storage. – A municipality may offer storage space for paper records or other storage media formats, such as electronic records, and associated records management services to any agency of the United States government, political subdivisions of the state, and qualified non-profit organizations operating under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c). A municipality, by written agreement, shall establish a rate for service that is no higher than the actual expense of operation and associated capital costs.

Source. 2004, 62:1, eff. May 3, 2004. 2015, 6:1, eff. July 4, 2015.

Section 31:133

    31:133 Liability Limitation. – A municipality shall employ the highest standards in record management practices. However, a municipality's liability for loss, damage, delay, improper delivery, or non-delivery shall be limited to the actual value of the storage container and the value of the paper contained within the storage container.

Source. 2004, 62:1, eff. May 3, 2004.

Water and/or Sewer Utility Districts

Section 31:134

    31:134 Statement of Purpose. – The establishment of water and/or sewer utility districts will enable municipalities to provide property services at a more intensive level than is provided in the balance of the municipality; provide funds for capital expenditures towards constructing and maintaining those utilities; provide funds for the operation and maintenance of those utilities; and authorize the establishment of charges to owners and users of property within such water and/or sewer utility districts in an amount not to exceed the costs to the municipality of providing such utility services at levels over and above those provided in the balance of the municipality.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:135

    31:135 Definition. – In this subdivision, " water and/or sewer utility " means an entity established for the acquisition, operation, and management of water and sewer infrastructure.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:136

    31:136 Water and/or Sewer Utility Authorized; Intermunicipal Agreement. –
I. For the purposes of this subdivision, the legislative body of any city or town shall have the authority by a majority vote to establish one or more water and/or sewer utility districts and designate a water and/or sewer utility commission to be the governing body to manage the activities of the district.
II. In the case where a utility district encompasses land within more than one municipality, the district may be authorized by majority vote of the legislative bodies within each affected jurisdiction in accordance with the terms of an intermunicipal agreement under RSA 53-A:3. Such agreement shall be contingent upon approval of the legislative bodies of each of the parties to the agreement, and shall, in addition to the requirements of RSA 53-A:3, II, specify the following:
(a) The source of the water.
(b) The disposition of sewage.
III. For a water and/or sewer utility that encompasses more than one municipality, the intermunicipal agreement shall create the water and/or sewer utility commission and representation on such commission shall be proportional to the number of the owners or users, or both, of properties in the water and/or sewer utility district as defined by the intermunicipal agreement.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:137

    31:137 Commissioners. – For the convenient management of any water and/or sewer utility district, a municipality shall vest the construction, management, control, and direction of such district in a board of commissioners to consist of 3, 5, or 7 citizens of each municipality, the commissioners to have such powers and duties as the municipality may prescribe. Their term of office shall be for 3 years and until their successors are elected and qualified. The first board of commissioners may be chosen for terms of one, 2, and 3 years, respectively.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:138

    31:138 Election or Appointment. –
I. The board of commissioners may be elected by the legal voters of the municipality at any meeting or election at which the provisions of this subdivision are accepted, or at any special meeting or election thereafter called for that purpose, and their successors shall be elected at each annual meeting or election thereafter in the manner or form as the municipality may determine.
II. The board of commissioners may be appointed by the mayor and board of aldermen or city council or by the selectmen of the town in the manner or form as the municipality may determine.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:139

    31:139 Services Provided; Cost. –
I. The services provided by a water and/or sewer utility district under this subdivision may include property-related services, including but not limited to providing public drinking water and water for domestic uses; water for fire suppression; and wastewater management; related construction, operation, and maintenance of capital facilities needed in the performance of these services; and other business development services and activities related to the maintenance of an attractive, useful, and economically viable business environment within the district. These services and activities may be either those of a routine nature provided for all properties, or may be particular to those in the water and/or sewer utility district.
II. The legislative body of each municipality shall define the water and/or sewer utility district, select specific services and levels of services to be provided, and, subject to RSA 31:137, authorize the department, agency, or other party that is to undertake the work.
III. The costs of providing services in the water and/or sewer utility district shall be those accruing to the municipality, which result exclusively from the provision of services in the district, and which exceed those being provided in the balance of the municipality.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:140

    31:140 Method of Appropriation. – Each municipality shall adopt a budgetary appropriation for capital and operating expenditures including replacement and upgrades, or services to be performed in a water and/or sewer utility district as part of its budget process. The expense of constructing and maintaining the facilities needed to perform the authorized services to the district, or paying off any capital debt or interest incurred in constructing or maintaining the district on an annual basis shall be included in the budgetary appropriation. At the end of each fiscal year, a full accounting of expenditures shall be made.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:141

    31:141 Assessments and Fees. – Upon adoption of the budgetary appropriation, the municipality may levy assessments or fees, or both, in an amount not greater than the net appropriation to a water and/or sewer utility district fund. The assessments and fees shall be made against the owners or users, or both, of properties in the water and/or sewer utility district and shall be based upon a formula determined by the municipality to be in relative proportion to benefits received by each property owner or user, or both, in the water and/or sewer utility district. Assessments and fees shall be billed and collected as specified by ordinance adopted by majority vote of the governing body of the municipality after a public hearing or in accordance with the terms of the intermunicipal agreement. Government property and non-profit organizations within the district shall be subject to the assessment and fees. Interest and other collection procedures shall be made by the tax collector or other official responsible for property tax collection. Enforcement powers for nonpayment shall be the same as those provided under RSA 80 relative to property tax collection.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:142

    31:142 Limit on Liability. – The provisions of RSA 507-B relative to bodily injury actions against governmental units shall apply to all municipal activities performed in connection with a water and/or sewer utility district.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:143

    31:143 Authority to Incur Capital Debt. – The commission shall have the authority to issue bonds under RSA 33 or RSA 33-B, as approved by the governing body of the municipality or, if intermunicipal, in accordance with the terms of the intermunicipal agreement.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:144

    31:144 Assessment Funds. –
I. The funds received from the collection of water and/or sewer assessments and fees shall be kept as separate and distinct funds to be known as the water assessment fund and the sewer assessment fund respectively. Such funds shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, shall not be commingled with municipal tax revenues, and shall not be deemed part of the municipality's general fund accumulated surplus. Such funds shall be expended only for the purposes of this subdivision as it relates to public drinking water and domestic supplies or the previous expansion or replacement of water lines or water treatment facilities; or for wastewater or the previous expansion or replacement of sewage lines or sewage treatment facilities.
II. Except when a capital reserve fund is established pursuant to paragraph III, all assessment funds shall be held in the custody of the municipal treasurer. Estimates of anticipated assessments or fees and anticipated expenditures from the assessment funds shall be submitted to the governing body under RSA 32:6 if applicable, and shall be included as part of the municipal budget submitted to the legislative body for approval. Notwithstanding RSA 41:29 or RSA 48:16, the treasurer shall pay out amounts from the assessment funds only upon order of the governing body of the district. Expenditures shall be within amounts appropriated by the legislative body.
III. At the option of the governing body of the district, all or part of any surplus in the assessment funds may be placed in one or more capital reserve funds under RSA 35:7 and placed in the custody of the trustees of trust funds. If such a reserve fund is created, then the governing body of the district may expend such funds pursuant to RSA 35:15 without prior approval or appropriation by the local legislative body, but all such expenditures shall be reported to the municipality pursuant to RSA 31:148. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the establishment of other capital reserve funds for any lawful purpose relating to municipal water.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:145

    31:145 District Utility Fund. – Notwithstanding RSA 31:144, the local legislative body upon establishing a utility district may vote to establish a separate and distinct fund to be known as the district utility fund to serve as a collective operating fund for the district, or to administer funds common to the district that are not directly attributable to water or wastewater services. Such fund shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, shall not be commingled with town or city tax revenues, and shall not be deemed part of the municipality's general fund accumulated surplus. Such fund shall function as a collective water and sewer fund and shall be authorized to be managed in the same ways as water or sewer funds are used under RSA 31:144.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:146

    31:146 Abatement and Appeal of Assessments and Fees. –
I. Any person aggrieved by an assessment or fee made under this subdivision may, within 2 months of the notice of assessment, apply in writing to the governing body of the district for an abatement of such assessment or fee.
II. Upon receipt of an application under paragraph I, the governing body of the district shall review the application and shall, in writing, grant or deny the application in whole or in part to correct any error in the assessment or fee within 6 months after the notice of assessment or imposition of the fee.
III. If the governing body of the district neglects or refuses to abate the assessment or fee, any person aggrieved may petition the superior court in the county where the property is located within 8 months of the notice of assessment or imposition of the fee.
IV. For purposes of this section, " notice of assessment " means the date shown on the assessment bill.
V. Each assessment bill or fee shall require a separate request and appeal.
VI. For good cause shown, the governing body of the district may abate any such assessment or fee made by them or by their predecessors.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:147

    31:147 Liens and Collection of Assessments. – In the collection of assessments and fees under RSA 31:141, municipalities shall have the same liens and use the same collection procedures as authorized by RSA 38:22. Interest on overdue charges shall be assessed in accordance with RSA 76:13.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:148

    31:148 Reports. – In municipalities adopting this subdivision, the governing body of the district shall annually, at the time other municipal officers report, make a report to the municipality of the condition of the plant financially and otherwise, showing the funds of the district, the expenses and income thereof, and all other material facts. This report shall be published in the annual report of the municipality.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.

Section 31:149

    31:149 Local Option. –
Any city or town may adopt this subdivision and shall thereafter have all the authority, powers, duties, and responsibilities set forth in this subdivision.
I. A city may adopt this subdivision by majority vote of the legislative body of the city after notice and hearing.
II. A town may adopt this subdivision by majority vote of the voters present and voting at any legal town meeting under a proper article after notice and hearing.

Source. 2013, 214:1, eff. Sept. 8, 2013.