State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title37 > Chapter13

CHAPTER 13 - Local Improvement Districts

 

37-13-101. Short title.

 

Thisact shall be known and cited as the "Wyoming Underground Conversion ofUtilities Law".

 

37-13-102. Legislative purpose.

 

Thelegislature finds that in many areas of the state, landowners, cities, towns,counties and public utilities desire to convert existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to underground locations by means of improvementdistrict proceedings. The legislature hereby declares that a public purposewill be served by providing a procedure to accomplish such conversion and thatit is in the public interest to provide for such conversion by proceedingstaken pursuant to this chapter whether such areas be within the limits of acity or town or within a county.

 

37-13-103. Definitions.

 

 

(a) As used in this chapter the followingwords and phrases and any variations thereof shall have the following meaning:

 

(i) "Communication service" means the transmission ofintelligence by electrical means, including, but not limited to telephone,telegraph, messenger-call, clock, police, fire alarm and traffic controlcircuits or the transmission of standard television or radio signals;

 

(ii) "Electric service" means the distribution ofelectricity for heat, light or power;

 

(iii) "Convert" or "conversion" means theremoval of all or any part of any existing overhead electric or communicationsfacilities and the replacement thereof with underground electric orcommunication facilities constructed at the same or different locations;

 

(iv) "Electric or communication facilities" means anyworks or improvements used or useful in providing electric or communicationservice, including, but not limited to, poles, supports, tunnels, manholes,vaults, conduits, pipes, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, crossarms,braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, capacitors, protectivedevices, meters, communication circuits, appliances, attachments, andappurtenances. "Electric facilities" shall not include any facilitiesused or intended to be used for the transmission of electric energy at nominal voltagesin excess of twenty-three thousand (23,000) volts. "Communicationfacilities" shall not include facilities used for the transmission ofintelligence by microwave or radio, apparatus cabinets or outdoor publictelephones;

 

(v) "Overhead electric or communication facilities"means electric or communication facilities located, in whole or in part, abovethe surface of the ground;

 

(vi) "Underground electric or communicationfacilities" means electric or communication facilities located, in wholeor in part, beneath the surface of the ground or facilities within the confinesof a power substation. "Communication facilities" shall not includefacilities used or intended to be used for the transmission of intelligence bymicrowave or radio or outdoor public telephones. "Undergroundfacilities" shall include certain facilities which remain above thesurface in accordance with standard underground practices, such astransformers, pull boxes, service terminals, meters, pedestal terminals, spliceclosures, apparatus cabinets and similar facilities;

 

(vii) "Public utility" means any one (1) or more publicor private persons or corporations that provide electric or communicationservice to the public by means of electric or communication facilities andincludes any city, county, special district, or public corporation thatprovides electric or communication service to the public by means of electricor communication facilities; and as used herein this definition shall includelegal entities that are not otherwise classified as public utilities and theinclusion of such other entities herein shall not affect their status under anyother law or laws;

 

(viii) "Governing body" means the board of commissionersor city council or board of trustees as may be appropriate depending on whetherthe improvement district is located in a county or within a city or town;

 

(ix) "Resolution" shall be construed to mean ordinancewhere the governing body properly acts by ordinance, and resolution where thegoverning body properly acts by resolution.

 

37-13-104. Powers conferred.

 

Thegoverning body is authorized and empowered to create local improvementdistricts within its territorial limits to provide for the conversion ofexisting overhead electric and communication facilities to undergroundlocations and the construction, reconstruction or relocation of any otherelectric or communication facilities which may be incidental thereto, pursuantto the provisions of this chapter.

 

37-13-105. Basis of assessments.

 

(a) Whenever any improvement authorized tobe made by any governing body by the terms of this chapter is ordered, thegoverning body shall apportion the cost and expenses thereof as in theirjudgment is fair and equitable in consideration of the benefits accruing to thelots and land included within the improvement district. Each lot or parcel ofland shall be separately assessed for the cost and expenses in proportion tothe number of square feet of such lot or parcel compared to the total number ofsquare feet included in the improvement district, or assessed upon a frontage,zone or other equitable basis in accordance with the benefits accruing to theproperty by the improvements, as the same may be determined by the governingbody. The entire cost of the improvement shall be assessed against thebenefited property. If money for paying part of the costs is available from anyother source, in which [that] event the money so available may be applied toreduce the assessment.

 

(b) The cost and expenses to be assessed shall include:

 

(i) The conversion costs as determined by W.S. 37-13-129 or asestimated by the public utility, whichever is less;

 

(ii) Engineering services;

 

(iii) Clerical services;

 

(iv) Advertising expenses;

 

(v) Costs of inspection;

 

(vi) Costs of collecting assessments;

 

(vii) Interest upon bonds if issued;

 

(viii) Costs for legal services for preparing proceedings andadvising in regard thereto; and

 

(ix) For any other necessary or reasonable expense related tothe intent of this act and determined by the governing body to be appropriatefor the favorable execution of the improvement district.

 

(c) Fee lands of public entities, such as the federalgovernment, state of Wyoming, or any county, city or town, shall not be subjectto assessment for the payment of any of the cost or expense of the improvementunless the public entity owning lands within the boundaries of the improvementdistrict files its consent in writing with the governing body before thegoverning body adopts a resolution declaring its intent to create a localimprovement district.

 

37-13-106. Resolution for cost and feasibility study.

 

(a) Any governing body may upon a petitionsigned by at least sixty percent (60%) of the resident owners of propertysubject to assessment owning at least sixty percent (60%) of the assessableland of any proposed district, adopt a resolution at any regular or specialmeeting declaring that it finds that the improvement district is in the publicinterest. It must be determined that the formation of the local improvementdistrict will promote the public convenience, necessity, and welfare. Theresolution must state that the costs and expenses will be levied and assessedupon the property benefited and request that each public utility serving theproposed district by overhead electric or communication facilities shall,within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution, make astudy of the cost of conversion of its facilities in the area to undergroundservice. The results of the study shall be provided to the governing body andmade available in its office to all owners of land within the proposeddistrict. The resolution of the governing body shall require that the publicutilities be provided with the name and address of the owner of each parcel orlot within the proposed district, if known, and if not known the description ofthe property and other matters as may be required by the public utility inorder to perform the work involved in the cost study. Each public utilityserving the proposed district by overhead electric or communication facilitiesshall, within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution,make a study of the costs of conversion of its facilities in the district tounderground service, and shall together provide the governing body and makeavailable at its office a joint report as to the results of the study.

 

(b) At any time prior to the hearing provided for in W.S.37-13-111 of the statutes, if requested by the governing body or publicutility, a bond shall be filed, with security approved by the governing body orcash deposit made sufficient to pay all expenses of the governing bodyconnected with the proceedings and of the public utilities for actual time andexpenses incurred in regard to the cost and feasibility study in case theorganization of the district is not effected. If at any time during theorganization proceedings the governing body shall be satisfied that the bondfirst executed or the amount of cash deposited is insufficient in amount, it onits own initiative or at the request of a public utility may require theexecution of an additional bond or the deposit of additional cash within a timeto be fixed, not less than ten (10) days distant, and upon failure of thepetitioners to file or deposit the same, the petition shall be dismissed.

 

37-13-107. Costs and feasibility report.

 

Thepublic utility or utilities report shall set forth an estimate of the totalunderground conversion costs for the district and shall also indicate the costof underground conversion of facilities of the public utility located withinthe boundaries of the various parcels or lots within the district. The reportshall also contain the public utility's recommendations concerning theengineering feasibility of the project for the district proposed insofar as thephysical characteristics of the district are concerned. The report shall makerecommendations by the public utility concerning inclusion or exclusion ofareas within the district or immediately adjacent to the district. Thegoverning body shall consider the public utility's recommendations concerningfeasibility and may amend the boundaries of the proposed improvement districtprovided the costs and feasibility report of the public utilities contains acost figure on the district as amended, or it may request a new costs andfeasibility report from the public utilities concerned on the basis of theamended district. The cost estimate contained in the report shall not beconsidered binding on the public utility if construction is not commencedwithin six (6) months of the submission of the estimate for reasons not withinthe control of the public utility. Should such a delay result in a significantincrease in the conversion cost, new hearings shall be held on the creation ofthe district. In the event that a ten percent (10%) or less increase results,only the hearing on the assessments need be held again.

 

37-13-108. Resolution declaring intention to create district.

 

 

(a) On the filing with the clerk of anygoverning body of the cost and feasibility report by the public utility, andafter considering the same, the governing body may, at any regular or specialmeeting, pass a resolution declaring its intention to create a localimprovement district. The resolution shall state:

 

(i) That the costs and expenses of the proposed district willbe levied and assessed upon the abutting, adjoining, and adjacent lots and landalong or upon which improvements are to be made, and upon lots and landbenefited by the improvements and included in the improvement district created;

 

(ii) The contribution of the governing body, if any;

 

(iii) That it is the intention of the governing body to make theimprovement which will promote public convenience, necessity and welfare;

 

(iv) The area and boundaries of the proposed improvementdistrict;

 

(v) The character of the proposed improvement;

 

(vi) The estimated total cost of the improvement; and

 

(vii) That the governing body will hold a hearing on the proposedimprovements at which time it will consider protests filed with the governingbody against the proposed improvements.

 

37-13-109. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; contents.

 

(a) The governing body shall cause notice of a public hearingon the proposed improvement to be given in the manner provided in W.S.37-13-110. Such notice shall:

 

(i) Declare that the governing body has passed a resolution ofintention to create an improvement district;

 

(ii) Describe the boundaries or area of the district withsufficient particularity to permit each owner of real property therein toascertain that his property lies in the district;

 

(iii) Describe in a general way the proposed improvement,specifying the streets or property along which it will be made and the natureof the benefits to the property within the district;

 

(iv) State the estimated cost to the property owners, governingbody and public utility;

 

(v) State that it is proposed to assess the real property inthe district to pay as provided in W.S. 37-13-129 the cost of the improvementaccording to the proportionate square footage, front footage, or otherequitable basis, as specified, based upon the benefits to be derived by eachtract, lot or parcel of land within the district;

 

(vi) State the time and place at which the governing body willhear and pass upon all protests that may be made against the making of theimprovement, the creation of the district, or the benefits to be derived by thereal property in the district;

 

(vii) State that all interested persons will be heard and thatany property owner will be heard on the question of whether his property willbe benefited by the proposed improvement.

 

37-13-110. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; manner ofgiving.

 

Thenotice shall be published in full one (1) time in a newspaper of generalcirculation in the county, city, or town in which the proposed district islocated and by posting in not less than three (3) public places in thedistrict. A copy of the notice shall be mailed to each owner of land within theproposed district whose property will be assessed for the cost of theimprovement, at the address last appearing on the real property assessmentrolls of the county wherein the property is located. In addition, a copy of thenotice shall be addressed to "owner" and mailed to the street numberof each piece of property to be affected by the assessment. Mailed notices andthe published notice shall state where a copy of the resolution creating thedistrict is available for inspection.

 

37-13-111. Public hearing; changes in proposed improvements or in areaof improvement district.

 

(a) At the time and place specified in thenotice, the governing body shall meet and proceed to hear and pass upon allobjections and protests to the creation of the proposed district, the making ofthe proposed improvements, and the benefits accruing to any tract, lot orparcel of land therein. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time to afixed future time and place. If at any time during the hearings, it appears tothe governing body that changes in the proposed improvements or the proposeddistrict should be made, which, after consultation with the public utilitiesconcerned, appear to affect either the cost or feasibility of the improvements,the hearing shall be adjourned to a fixed future time and place and a new costand feasibility report prepared on the basis of the contemplated changes.

 

(b) If at any time during the public hearing the governing bodyis presented with a petition signed by more than fifty percent (50%) of theproperty owners of the proposed district protesting the proposed improvementand the petition is still outstanding at the close of the public hearing thedistrict and project shall be abandoned.

 

(c) After the hearing has been concluded and after all protestsand objections have been considered, the governing body may make changes in theproposed improvements or in the area to be included in the district as it mayconsider necessary or desirable, provided the changes are not substantial.Notice and an opportunity to protest shall be given if substantial changes aredesired by the governing body. The governing body shall either abandon thedistrict and project or adopt a resolution establishing the district andauthorizing the project, either as described in the notice or with changes madeas above authorized. The resolution shall be published in the manner providedin W.S. 37-13-110 but need not be mailed.

 

(d) If a resolution is adopted establishing the district, theresolution shall conclusively establish the regular organization of thedistrict against all persons, unless an action contesting the validity of theorganization is commenced in a court of competent jurisdiction within thirty(30) days after the adoption of the resolution. Thereafter, any action is barredand the organization of the district shall not be directly or collaterallyquestioned in any suit, action or proceeding.

 

37-13-112. Waiver of objections.

 

Anyperson who has real property within the boundaries of the proposed district whofails to appear before the governing body at the hearing and make any objectionhe may have to the creation of the district, the making of the improvements andthe inclusion of his real property in the district, shall be deemed to havewaived every objection. However, the waiver shall not preclude his right toobject to the amount of the assessment at the hearing provided for thatpurpose.

 

37-13-113. Proposed assessment list.

 

Afterthe resolution creating the district is adopted, the governing body shall causean assessment list to be prepared detailing the total cost to be assessed, thespecific properties assessed, and the amount of assessment on each piece ofproperty. The total cost of the improvement shall include the cost ofconstruction as determined from the costs and feasibility report, legal andfiscal fees and costs, the cost of publication of notices and all other costsproperly incident to the construction of the improvement and the financingthereof.

 

37-13-114. Proposed assessment resolution.

 

Afterthe preparation of the proposed assessment list, the governing body shall causeto be prepared for adoption at the assessment hearing a resolutionincorporating the proposed assessment list and declaring what share, if any, ofthe total cost is payable from voluntary contributions or governmental sourcesother than the imposition of assessments.

 

37-13-115. Board of equalization and review.

 

Beforethe governing body shall propose to levy any tax under any provision of thischapter, it shall sit as a board of equalization and review for the purpose ofmaking corrections in the proposed assessments. After concluding the assessmenthearings the governing body shall prepare a report of any changes orcorrections made by it in the assessment list together with its finding thateach piece of property within the improvement district will be benefited inamounts not less than the assessment to be levied against the property.

 

37-13-116. Notice of public hearing on proposed assessments.

 

Noticeof a public hearing on the proposed assessment resolution shall be given. Atleast twenty (20) days before the date fixed for the hearing, the notice shallbe published one (1) time in a newspaper in which the first notice of hearingwas published. Notice shall also be mailed to each owner of real property whoseproperty will be assessed for part of the cost of the improvement at the lastknown address of the owner as shown on the last completed real propertyassessment rolls of the county wherein the affected property is located. Inaddition, a copy of the notice shall be addressed and mailed to"owner" at the street number of each piece of property affected bythe assessment. Each notice shall state that at the specified time and placethe governing body will hold a hearing upon the proposed assessments and thatthe owner of any property to be assessed pursuant to the resolution will beheard on the question of whether his property will be benefited by the proposedimprovement to the amount of the proposed assessment against his property andwhether the amount assessed against his property constitutes more than hisproper proportional share of the total cost of the improvement. The noticeshall further state that the owner or owners of any property assessed must filea written objection pursuant to section 37-303 [ 37-13-131] of the statutes ifthe owner or owners wish to do the trenching and backfilling on their ownproperty outside of utility easements and thereby not be obligated to pay thepublic utility therefor, if such is permitted by the district and publicutility tariff. The notice shall further state where a copy of the proposedresolution levying the assessments against all real property in the district ison file for public inspection, and that subject to such changes and correctionsas may be made by the governing body, it is proposed to adopt the resolution atthe conclusion of the hearing. The published notice shall describe theboundaries or area of the district with sufficient particularity to permit eachowner of real property therein to ascertain that his property lies in thedistrict. The mailed notice may refer to the district by name and date ofcreation and shall state the amount of the assessment proposed to be leviedagainst the real property of the person to whom the notice is mailed. In theabsence of fraud, the failure to mail any notice does not invalidate anyassessment or any proceeding under this chapter.

 

37-13-117. Public hearing on proposed assessment resolution;corrections.

 

 

(a) At the time and place specified in theassessment hearing notice, the governing body shall hear all arguments relatingto the benefits accruing to any tract, lot or parcel of land therein and theamounts proposed to be assessed against any tract, lot or parcel. The hearingmay be adjourned from time to time to a fixed future time and place. After thehearing has been concluded and all persons desiring to be heard have beenheard, the governing body shall consider the arguments presented and shall makethe corrections in the assessment list as may be considered just and equitable.The corrections may eliminate, increase, or decrease the amount of theassessment proposed to be levied against any piece of property. However, noincrease of any proposed assessment shall be valid unless the owner of theproperty is given notice and an opportunity to be heard.

 

(b) After the corrections have been made, the governing bodyshall make a specific finding that no proposed assessment on the correctedassessment list exceeds the benefit to be derived from the improvement by thepiece of property to be assessed and that no piece of property listed will bearmore than its proper proportionate share of the cost of the improvement.

 

37-13-118. Adoption of the assessment resolution; civil action; statuteof limitations.

 

Afterthe public hearing has been concluded and all corrections made to theassessment list, the governing body shall proceed to adopt the assessmentresolution. The resolution and supporting findings shall be conclusive againstall persons unless an action contesting the validity of this law or the actscontemplated by this law shall be commenced in a court of competentjurisdiction within thirty (30) days after the adoption of the assessmentordinance. Thereafter, any such action shall be barred and the organization ofthe district, the assessment levied pursuant thereto, or any other actauthorized by this statute shall not be directly or collaterally questioned inany suit, action, or proceeding. The statute of limitations provided hereinshall be an additional limitation to and supplement any requirements of theWyoming Administrative Procedure Act or any rules issued thereunder. If thecontest is unsuccessful, the court may order the plaintiff to pay the coststhereof, and, in its discretion, may require a bond in a sufficient amount tocover the costs at the commencement of the action. The burden of proof to showthat the special assessment or part thereof is invalid, inequitable or unjustshall rest upon the party who brings the suit.

 

37-13-119. Payment of assessment.

 

Theamount of the assessment is due and collectible without demand within thirty(30) days after the final publication of the assessment resolution and if it isnot paid within such time it shall commence to bear interest at a rate fixed bythe governing body. The published resolution shall specify the date wheninterest will commence, the rate of interest, and the period of years overwhich installment payments may be made. If not paid within the thirty (30) daysallowed, it will be conclusively presumed that the owner exercises the right topay the amount due in equal annual installments bearing interest at the ratespecified in the resolution and extending over the period of years not exceedingten (10) specified in the resolution. The first installment shall become dueone (1) year from the date when interest commenced and one (1) installmentshall become due on the same day of the same month annually thereafter.

 

37-13-120. Failure to pay installments; sale of property; return ofsale; certificate of sale.

 

(a) The failure to pay any installmentincluding interest when due shall cause all other installments and the interestthereon to become due and payable and the governing body shall, within thirty(30) days from the date of default, by general ordinance providing for the saleof the property, proceed against the property for the collection of the totalamount due including interest plus five percent (5%) additional on unpaidprincipal and interest as penalties and costs of collection.

 

(b) The governing body shall cause notice of sales fordelinquent assessments and make the sales thereof in the same manner as isprovided for sales of property by a treasurer of a city or town for delinquentassessments as provided in W.S. 15-6-410.

 

(c) The governing body shall make a return of sale in the samemanner as is provided in W.S. 15-6-411.

 

(d) The governing body shall make out such a certificate anddeliver the same as provided in W.S. 15-6-412 and said certificate and the lienthereof shall have the same validity and effect as provided therein.

 

(e) The governing body shall be custodian of such certificates,may sell and transfer any such certificate and generally may act with the samepowers and authority as provided in W.S. 15-6-412(b).

 

37-13-121. Redemption of property sold for assessment; deed.

 

Any property sold for an assessment asprovided in W.S. 37-13-120 shall be subject to redemption from the governingbody and a redemption deed shall be executed after two (2) years from the dateof the sale in the same manner as is provided for redemption in W.S. 15-6-418.

 

37-13-122. Assessment lien.

 

Specialassessments levied hereunder are equal with taxes levied against the propertyby the state, the county and all other taxing districts, and are superior toany other lien or encumbrance created before or after. No sale of property forthe nonpayment of taxes or other special assessments shall extinguish any lienother than the taxes or special assessments for the nonpayment of which sale ishad.

 

37-13-123. Proceeds of sale.

 

Theproceeds of the sale of any property for nonpayment of special assessmentsshall be applied in the discharge of the assessments, the interest, costs andpenalties thereon. If there are outstanding any special improvement bondsissued pursuant to the improvement in question, proceeds of the sale shall,after the payment therefrom of the costs of collection, be applied to the costof redemption prior to maturity of as many of the outstanding specialimprovement bonds as can be retired with the amount available.

 

37-13-124. Property bid in by city, town or county to be held in trust;trust discharged by payment of assessment.

 

Whenany property is bid in by or stricken off to any city, town or county theproperty shall be held in trust by the city, town or county for the fund of theimprovement district for which the assessment was levied to the extent of theunpaid assessment for which the property was sold, with penalty, and allaccrued interest and interest owed in the future. However, the city, town orcounty may after receiving a deed pay the fund the amount of the delinquentassessment for which the property was sold, any penalties owed, and all accruedinterest and interest to the time of the next call for bonds issued against theassessment fund at the rate provided, and thereupon take and hold the propertydischarged of the trust.

 

37-13-125. Sale of property held in trust; notice.

 

 

(a) After the period of redemption hasexpired and a deed has been issued to a city, town or county, it may sell theproperty at public auction to the highest bidder for cash. No bid may beaccepted for less than the amount set forth in the deed plus accrued interestto date of sale computed on the assessment for which the property was sold fromthe date of the execution of the deed and all delinquent assessments and taxesagainst the property with accrued interest, penalties, costs and other charges.The city, town or county shall pay into the fund for which the property washeld in trust an amount necessary to fully discharge the assessment for whichthe property was sold, together with all interest and penalties.

 

(b) Any sale shall be conducted only after notice has beengiven, describing the property and stating that the treasurer will on the dayspecified sell the property at the front door of the building in which thegoverning body holds its sessions, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00p.m. The notice shall be published at least five (5) times in a daily newspaperpublished within the district or if there is none, at least twice in anewspaper of general circulation in the district. The sale cannot be less thanfifteen (15) days after the date of the last publication of the notice.

 

37-13-126. Advance payment of assessment installations.

 

Thegoverning body, in the resolution levying the assessments, may provide that allunpaid installment assessments levied against any property may be paid, butonly in their entirety, prior to the dates on which they become due if theperson paying the installments pays all interest which would accrue thereon tothe next succeeding date on which interest is payable on the bonds issued inanticipation of the collection of the assessments. In addition, the person mustpay the additional amount of interest as in the opinion of the governing body isnecessary to assure the availability of money fully sufficient to pay intereston the bonds as interest becomes due, and any redemption premiums which maybecome payable on the bonds in order to retire, in advance of maturity, bondsin a sufficient amount to utilize the assessments thus paid in advance. If nobonds have been issued then all unpaid installments of assessments leviedagainst any piece of property may be paid in their entirety prior to the dateupon which they become due by paying the principal amount due and the interestaccrued thereon to the date of payment.

 

37-13-127. Issuance of bonds.

 

Afterthe expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the adoption of theresolution levying the assessments, the governing body may issue negotiableinterest-bearing bonds in a principal amount not exceeding the unpaid balanceof the assessments levied. The bonds shall bear interest payable semiannuallyor annually and shall mature serially over a period not exceeding twenty (20)years, but in no event shall the bonds extend over a longer period of time thanthe period of time over which the installments of special assessments are due andpayable and ninety (90) days thereafter. The bonds shall be of a form anddenomination and shall be payable in principal and interest at times and placesand shall be sold, authorized and issued in a manner, as the governing body maydetermine. The bonds shall be dated no earlier than the date on which thespecial assessment shall begin to bear interest and shall be secured by andpayable from the irrevocable pledge of the funds derived from the levy andcollection of the special assessments in anticipation of the collection ofwhich they are issued. Any premium received on the sale of the bonds shall beplaced in the fund for the payment of principal and interest on the bonds. Thebonds shall be callable for redemption from the proceeds of the sale of propertysold for the nonpayment of special assessments but not otherwise unless thebonds on the face thereof provide for redemption prior to maturity. Thegoverning body may provide that the bonds shall be redeemable on interestpayment date or dates prior to maturity pursuant to notice and at premiums asit deems advisable. The bonds shall be signed by a member of the governing bodydesignated by the governing body and shall be countersigned by the cityrecorder or the clerk of the board of the town trustees or the clerk of theboard of the county commissioners, whichever is applicable, and one (1) of thesignatures may be a facsimile signature. Interest may be evidenced by interestcoupons attached to the bonds and signed by a facsimile signature of one (1) ofthe individuals who signed the bond.

 

37-13-128. Errors or irregularities not to void assessment; civilaction to adjudicate grievance; action to test validity of resolutionauthorizing bond issue.

 

Nospecial assessment shall be declared void or set aside in consequence of anyerror or irregularity permitted or appearing in any of the proceedings underthis chapter, but any party feeling aggrieved by any special assessment orproceeding may bring a civil action to adjudicate the grievance if the actionis commenced prior to the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption of theassessment ordinance. Every person whose property is subject to the specialassessment and who fails to appear during the public hearings on assessments toraise his objection to the tax shall be deemed to have waived all objection tothe assessment except the objection that the governing body lacks jurisdictionto levy the tax, which objection must be raised within thirty (30) days afteradoption of the assessment ordinance. Whenever any enactment authorizing theissuance of any bonds pursuant to the improvement contemplated is adopted, theresolution shall be published once in a newspaper in which the original noticeof hearing was published. For twenty (20) days thereafter, any person whoseproperty has been assessed and any taxpayer in the district may institutelitigation for the purpose of questioning or attacking the legality of suchbonds. After the expiration of twenty (20) days, all proceedings by thegoverning body, the bonds to be issued pursuant thereto, and the specialassessments from which the bonds are to be paid, shall be final and no suitchallenging the legality thereof may be instituted in this state, and no courtshall have the authority to inquire into such matters.

 

37-13-129. Conversion costs.

 

 

(a) In determining the conversion costsincluded in the costs and feasibility report, the public utility shall beentitled to amounts sufficient to repay the following, as computed andreflected by the uniform system of accounts approved by the Wyoming publicservice commission, federal power commission or federal communicationscommission, or in the event the public utility is not subject to regulation byany of the above governmental agencies, by the public utility's system ofaccounts then in use and in accordance with standard accounting procedures ofthe public utility:

 

(i) The recorded original costs less depreciation taken as ofthe date of the assessment resolution of the existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to be removed;

 

(ii) The estimated costs of removing the overhead electric andcommunication facilities, less the salvage value of the facilities removed;

 

(iii) If the estimated cost of constructing undergroundfacilities exceeds the recorded original cost of constructing aerialfacilities, then the cost difference between the two; and

 

(iv) The cost of obtaining new easements, including all reasonableacquisition costs, when technical considerations make it reasonably necessaryto utilize easements for the underground facilities different from those usedfor the aboveground facilities, or where the preexisting easements areinsufficient for underground facilities.

 

(b) If provision for payment of all or a portion of conversioncost by the affected public utility are included in tariffs, rules orregulations filed with or promulgated by the Wyoming public service commission,such conversion costs shall be the costs included in the costs and feasibilityreport and the rates and conditions of such tariff, rule or regulation shallalso be applicable and binding on customers in the district.

 

37-13-130. Construction of and title to converted facilities.

 

Thepublic utility concerned is responsible for all construction work involving itsfacilities and may contract out such of this construction work as it deemsdesirable. There shall be no competitive bidding as to the construction of theconverted facilities since existing facilities are owned and operated by thepublic utility and the continuity of service of the public utility isessential. Title to the converted facilities is solely in the public utilityinvolved. The public is only purchasing the intangible benefits which come fromremoval of the overhead facilities and replacement by underground facilities.

 

37-13-131. Conversion costs and service connections.

 

 

(a) The public utility performing theconversion shall, at the expense of the property owner, convert to undergroundall electric and communication service facilities located upon any lot orparcel of land within the improvement district and not within the easement fordistribution, sometimes referred to as "service drops" or "dropwires." This shall include the digging and backfilling of a trench uponthe lot or parcel unless the owner executes and files a written objection withthe clerk of the governing body not later than the date set for hearingobjections to the improvement district assessment as provided by law. Failureto file the written objection shall be taken as a consent and grant of easementto the utility and shall be construed as express authority to the publicutility and their respective officers, agents and employees to enter upon thelot or parcel for such purpose, and through failure to object, any right ofprotest or objection in respect of the doing of such work shall be waived. Ifan owner does file the written objection, he shall be responsible for providinga trench in accordance with applicable rules, regulations or tariffs from theowner's service entrance to a point designated by the public utility and forbackfilling the trench following installation of the underground service by thepublic utility involved.

 

(b) If conversion costs for the service facilities located uponany lot or parcel of land and not within the easement for distribution areincluded in tariffs, rules or regulations filed with or promulgated by thepublic service commission, the conversion costs shall be the costs included inthe costs and feasibility report, and the property owner shall be obligated forthat amount.

 

(c) In any event the cost of any work done by the publicutility shall be included in the assessment to be levied upon the lot orparcel. If a written objection is filed as above provided, the owner involvedis obligated for and the public utility involved is entitled to payment for theactual cost for the work accomplished upon the owner's property by the publicutility.

 

(d) The owner shall, at his expense, make all necessary changesin the service entrance equipment to accept underground service.

 

37-13-132. Notice of disconnection.

 

Ifthe owner of any lot or parcel of land fails to make necessary changes in theservice entrance equipment or fails to provide the trench in a timely manner,at the time the converted facilities are ready for connection to his property,the electric or communication service may be disconnected and removed and alloverhead electric or communication facilities providing service to anybuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel may bedisconnected. Written notice of disconnection shall be given at least ten (10)days prior to disconnection by leaving a copy of the notice at the principalbuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel.

 

37-13-133. Payment of public utility.

 

Uponcompletion of the conversion the public utility corporation shall present thegoverning body with its verified bill for conversion costs as computed pursuantto W.S. 37-13-129 or 37-13-131 of the statutes, but based upon the actual costof constructing the underground facility rather than the estimated cost of thefacility. In no event shall the bill for conversion cost presented by thepublic utility corporation exceed the amount of estimated conversion costs bythe public utility corporation. If the conversion costs are less than theestimated conversion costs, each owner within the improvement district shallreceive the benefit, prorated in such form and at such time or times as thegoverning body may determine to be fair and equitable. The bill of the publicutility corporation shall be paid within thirty (30) days by the governing bodyfrom the improvement district funds or such other source as is properlydesignated by the governing body. In determining the actual cost ofconstructing the underground facility the public utility shall use its standardaccounting procedures, such as the uniform system of accounts as defined by thefederal communications commission, federal power commission or Wyoming publicservice commission in use at the time of the conversion.

 

37-13-134. Reinstallation of overhead facilities not permitted.

 

Onceremoved, no overhead electric or communication facilities shall be installed ina local improvement district for conversion of overhead electric andcommunication facilities.

 

37-13-135. No limitation of public service commission's jurisdiction.

 

Nothingcontained in this chapter shall vest any jurisdiction over public utilities inthe governing bodies. The public service commission of Wyoming shall retain alljurisdiction now or hereafter conferred upon it by law and no new jurisdictionshall be conferred upon this commission by virtue of this law.

 

37-13-136. Nonseverability.

 

Ifany provision of this chapter is held invalid, such invalidity shall invalidatethis chapter in its entirety, and to this end the provisions of this chapterare declared to be nonseverable.

 

37-13-137. Commencement of conversion.

 

Ifan improvement district is established pursuant to this chapter, the publicutility corporations involved shall not be required to commence conversionuntil the ordinance, the assessment roll and issuance of bonds have becomefinal and no civil action has been filed or if civil action has been filed,until the decision of the court upon the action has become final and is notsubject to further appeal.

 

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title37 > Chapter13

CHAPTER 13 - Local Improvement Districts

 

37-13-101. Short title.

 

Thisact shall be known and cited as the "Wyoming Underground Conversion ofUtilities Law".

 

37-13-102. Legislative purpose.

 

Thelegislature finds that in many areas of the state, landowners, cities, towns,counties and public utilities desire to convert existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to underground locations by means of improvementdistrict proceedings. The legislature hereby declares that a public purposewill be served by providing a procedure to accomplish such conversion and thatit is in the public interest to provide for such conversion by proceedingstaken pursuant to this chapter whether such areas be within the limits of acity or town or within a county.

 

37-13-103. Definitions.

 

 

(a) As used in this chapter the followingwords and phrases and any variations thereof shall have the following meaning:

 

(i) "Communication service" means the transmission ofintelligence by electrical means, including, but not limited to telephone,telegraph, messenger-call, clock, police, fire alarm and traffic controlcircuits or the transmission of standard television or radio signals;

 

(ii) "Electric service" means the distribution ofelectricity for heat, light or power;

 

(iii) "Convert" or "conversion" means theremoval of all or any part of any existing overhead electric or communicationsfacilities and the replacement thereof with underground electric orcommunication facilities constructed at the same or different locations;

 

(iv) "Electric or communication facilities" means anyworks or improvements used or useful in providing electric or communicationservice, including, but not limited to, poles, supports, tunnels, manholes,vaults, conduits, pipes, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, crossarms,braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, capacitors, protectivedevices, meters, communication circuits, appliances, attachments, andappurtenances. "Electric facilities" shall not include any facilitiesused or intended to be used for the transmission of electric energy at nominal voltagesin excess of twenty-three thousand (23,000) volts. "Communicationfacilities" shall not include facilities used for the transmission ofintelligence by microwave or radio, apparatus cabinets or outdoor publictelephones;

 

(v) "Overhead electric or communication facilities"means electric or communication facilities located, in whole or in part, abovethe surface of the ground;

 

(vi) "Underground electric or communicationfacilities" means electric or communication facilities located, in wholeor in part, beneath the surface of the ground or facilities within the confinesof a power substation. "Communication facilities" shall not includefacilities used or intended to be used for the transmission of intelligence bymicrowave or radio or outdoor public telephones. "Undergroundfacilities" shall include certain facilities which remain above thesurface in accordance with standard underground practices, such astransformers, pull boxes, service terminals, meters, pedestal terminals, spliceclosures, apparatus cabinets and similar facilities;

 

(vii) "Public utility" means any one (1) or more publicor private persons or corporations that provide electric or communicationservice to the public by means of electric or communication facilities andincludes any city, county, special district, or public corporation thatprovides electric or communication service to the public by means of electricor communication facilities; and as used herein this definition shall includelegal entities that are not otherwise classified as public utilities and theinclusion of such other entities herein shall not affect their status under anyother law or laws;

 

(viii) "Governing body" means the board of commissionersor city council or board of trustees as may be appropriate depending on whetherthe improvement district is located in a county or within a city or town;

 

(ix) "Resolution" shall be construed to mean ordinancewhere the governing body properly acts by ordinance, and resolution where thegoverning body properly acts by resolution.

 

37-13-104. Powers conferred.

 

Thegoverning body is authorized and empowered to create local improvementdistricts within its territorial limits to provide for the conversion ofexisting overhead electric and communication facilities to undergroundlocations and the construction, reconstruction or relocation of any otherelectric or communication facilities which may be incidental thereto, pursuantto the provisions of this chapter.

 

37-13-105. Basis of assessments.

 

(a) Whenever any improvement authorized tobe made by any governing body by the terms of this chapter is ordered, thegoverning body shall apportion the cost and expenses thereof as in theirjudgment is fair and equitable in consideration of the benefits accruing to thelots and land included within the improvement district. Each lot or parcel ofland shall be separately assessed for the cost and expenses in proportion tothe number of square feet of such lot or parcel compared to the total number ofsquare feet included in the improvement district, or assessed upon a frontage,zone or other equitable basis in accordance with the benefits accruing to theproperty by the improvements, as the same may be determined by the governingbody. The entire cost of the improvement shall be assessed against thebenefited property. If money for paying part of the costs is available from anyother source, in which [that] event the money so available may be applied toreduce the assessment.

 

(b) The cost and expenses to be assessed shall include:

 

(i) The conversion costs as determined by W.S. 37-13-129 or asestimated by the public utility, whichever is less;

 

(ii) Engineering services;

 

(iii) Clerical services;

 

(iv) Advertising expenses;

 

(v) Costs of inspection;

 

(vi) Costs of collecting assessments;

 

(vii) Interest upon bonds if issued;

 

(viii) Costs for legal services for preparing proceedings andadvising in regard thereto; and

 

(ix) For any other necessary or reasonable expense related tothe intent of this act and determined by the governing body to be appropriatefor the favorable execution of the improvement district.

 

(c) Fee lands of public entities, such as the federalgovernment, state of Wyoming, or any county, city or town, shall not be subjectto assessment for the payment of any of the cost or expense of the improvementunless the public entity owning lands within the boundaries of the improvementdistrict files its consent in writing with the governing body before thegoverning body adopts a resolution declaring its intent to create a localimprovement district.

 

37-13-106. Resolution for cost and feasibility study.

 

(a) Any governing body may upon a petitionsigned by at least sixty percent (60%) of the resident owners of propertysubject to assessment owning at least sixty percent (60%) of the assessableland of any proposed district, adopt a resolution at any regular or specialmeeting declaring that it finds that the improvement district is in the publicinterest. It must be determined that the formation of the local improvementdistrict will promote the public convenience, necessity, and welfare. Theresolution must state that the costs and expenses will be levied and assessedupon the property benefited and request that each public utility serving theproposed district by overhead electric or communication facilities shall,within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution, make astudy of the cost of conversion of its facilities in the area to undergroundservice. The results of the study shall be provided to the governing body andmade available in its office to all owners of land within the proposeddistrict. The resolution of the governing body shall require that the publicutilities be provided with the name and address of the owner of each parcel orlot within the proposed district, if known, and if not known the description ofthe property and other matters as may be required by the public utility inorder to perform the work involved in the cost study. Each public utilityserving the proposed district by overhead electric or communication facilitiesshall, within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution,make a study of the costs of conversion of its facilities in the district tounderground service, and shall together provide the governing body and makeavailable at its office a joint report as to the results of the study.

 

(b) At any time prior to the hearing provided for in W.S.37-13-111 of the statutes, if requested by the governing body or publicutility, a bond shall be filed, with security approved by the governing body orcash deposit made sufficient to pay all expenses of the governing bodyconnected with the proceedings and of the public utilities for actual time andexpenses incurred in regard to the cost and feasibility study in case theorganization of the district is not effected. If at any time during theorganization proceedings the governing body shall be satisfied that the bondfirst executed or the amount of cash deposited is insufficient in amount, it onits own initiative or at the request of a public utility may require theexecution of an additional bond or the deposit of additional cash within a timeto be fixed, not less than ten (10) days distant, and upon failure of thepetitioners to file or deposit the same, the petition shall be dismissed.

 

37-13-107. Costs and feasibility report.

 

Thepublic utility or utilities report shall set forth an estimate of the totalunderground conversion costs for the district and shall also indicate the costof underground conversion of facilities of the public utility located withinthe boundaries of the various parcels or lots within the district. The reportshall also contain the public utility's recommendations concerning theengineering feasibility of the project for the district proposed insofar as thephysical characteristics of the district are concerned. The report shall makerecommendations by the public utility concerning inclusion or exclusion ofareas within the district or immediately adjacent to the district. Thegoverning body shall consider the public utility's recommendations concerningfeasibility and may amend the boundaries of the proposed improvement districtprovided the costs and feasibility report of the public utilities contains acost figure on the district as amended, or it may request a new costs andfeasibility report from the public utilities concerned on the basis of theamended district. The cost estimate contained in the report shall not beconsidered binding on the public utility if construction is not commencedwithin six (6) months of the submission of the estimate for reasons not withinthe control of the public utility. Should such a delay result in a significantincrease in the conversion cost, new hearings shall be held on the creation ofthe district. In the event that a ten percent (10%) or less increase results,only the hearing on the assessments need be held again.

 

37-13-108. Resolution declaring intention to create district.

 

 

(a) On the filing with the clerk of anygoverning body of the cost and feasibility report by the public utility, andafter considering the same, the governing body may, at any regular or specialmeeting, pass a resolution declaring its intention to create a localimprovement district. The resolution shall state:

 

(i) That the costs and expenses of the proposed district willbe levied and assessed upon the abutting, adjoining, and adjacent lots and landalong or upon which improvements are to be made, and upon lots and landbenefited by the improvements and included in the improvement district created;

 

(ii) The contribution of the governing body, if any;

 

(iii) That it is the intention of the governing body to make theimprovement which will promote public convenience, necessity and welfare;

 

(iv) The area and boundaries of the proposed improvementdistrict;

 

(v) The character of the proposed improvement;

 

(vi) The estimated total cost of the improvement; and

 

(vii) That the governing body will hold a hearing on the proposedimprovements at which time it will consider protests filed with the governingbody against the proposed improvements.

 

37-13-109. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; contents.

 

(a) The governing body shall cause notice of a public hearingon the proposed improvement to be given in the manner provided in W.S.37-13-110. Such notice shall:

 

(i) Declare that the governing body has passed a resolution ofintention to create an improvement district;

 

(ii) Describe the boundaries or area of the district withsufficient particularity to permit each owner of real property therein toascertain that his property lies in the district;

 

(iii) Describe in a general way the proposed improvement,specifying the streets or property along which it will be made and the natureof the benefits to the property within the district;

 

(iv) State the estimated cost to the property owners, governingbody and public utility;

 

(v) State that it is proposed to assess the real property inthe district to pay as provided in W.S. 37-13-129 the cost of the improvementaccording to the proportionate square footage, front footage, or otherequitable basis, as specified, based upon the benefits to be derived by eachtract, lot or parcel of land within the district;

 

(vi) State the time and place at which the governing body willhear and pass upon all protests that may be made against the making of theimprovement, the creation of the district, or the benefits to be derived by thereal property in the district;

 

(vii) State that all interested persons will be heard and thatany property owner will be heard on the question of whether his property willbe benefited by the proposed improvement.

 

37-13-110. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; manner ofgiving.

 

Thenotice shall be published in full one (1) time in a newspaper of generalcirculation in the county, city, or town in which the proposed district islocated and by posting in not less than three (3) public places in thedistrict. A copy of the notice shall be mailed to each owner of land within theproposed district whose property will be assessed for the cost of theimprovement, at the address last appearing on the real property assessmentrolls of the county wherein the property is located. In addition, a copy of thenotice shall be addressed to "owner" and mailed to the street numberof each piece of property to be affected by the assessment. Mailed notices andthe published notice shall state where a copy of the resolution creating thedistrict is available for inspection.

 

37-13-111. Public hearing; changes in proposed improvements or in areaof improvement district.

 

(a) At the time and place specified in thenotice, the governing body shall meet and proceed to hear and pass upon allobjections and protests to the creation of the proposed district, the making ofthe proposed improvements, and the benefits accruing to any tract, lot orparcel of land therein. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time to afixed future time and place. If at any time during the hearings, it appears tothe governing body that changes in the proposed improvements or the proposeddistrict should be made, which, after consultation with the public utilitiesconcerned, appear to affect either the cost or feasibility of the improvements,the hearing shall be adjourned to a fixed future time and place and a new costand feasibility report prepared on the basis of the contemplated changes.

 

(b) If at any time during the public hearing the governing bodyis presented with a petition signed by more than fifty percent (50%) of theproperty owners of the proposed district protesting the proposed improvementand the petition is still outstanding at the close of the public hearing thedistrict and project shall be abandoned.

 

(c) After the hearing has been concluded and after all protestsand objections have been considered, the governing body may make changes in theproposed improvements or in the area to be included in the district as it mayconsider necessary or desirable, provided the changes are not substantial.Notice and an opportunity to protest shall be given if substantial changes aredesired by the governing body. The governing body shall either abandon thedistrict and project or adopt a resolution establishing the district andauthorizing the project, either as described in the notice or with changes madeas above authorized. The resolution shall be published in the manner providedin W.S. 37-13-110 but need not be mailed.

 

(d) If a resolution is adopted establishing the district, theresolution shall conclusively establish the regular organization of thedistrict against all persons, unless an action contesting the validity of theorganization is commenced in a court of competent jurisdiction within thirty(30) days after the adoption of the resolution. Thereafter, any action is barredand the organization of the district shall not be directly or collaterallyquestioned in any suit, action or proceeding.

 

37-13-112. Waiver of objections.

 

Anyperson who has real property within the boundaries of the proposed district whofails to appear before the governing body at the hearing and make any objectionhe may have to the creation of the district, the making of the improvements andthe inclusion of his real property in the district, shall be deemed to havewaived every objection. However, the waiver shall not preclude his right toobject to the amount of the assessment at the hearing provided for thatpurpose.

 

37-13-113. Proposed assessment list.

 

Afterthe resolution creating the district is adopted, the governing body shall causean assessment list to be prepared detailing the total cost to be assessed, thespecific properties assessed, and the amount of assessment on each piece ofproperty. The total cost of the improvement shall include the cost ofconstruction as determined from the costs and feasibility report, legal andfiscal fees and costs, the cost of publication of notices and all other costsproperly incident to the construction of the improvement and the financingthereof.

 

37-13-114. Proposed assessment resolution.

 

Afterthe preparation of the proposed assessment list, the governing body shall causeto be prepared for adoption at the assessment hearing a resolutionincorporating the proposed assessment list and declaring what share, if any, ofthe total cost is payable from voluntary contributions or governmental sourcesother than the imposition of assessments.

 

37-13-115. Board of equalization and review.

 

Beforethe governing body shall propose to levy any tax under any provision of thischapter, it shall sit as a board of equalization and review for the purpose ofmaking corrections in the proposed assessments. After concluding the assessmenthearings the governing body shall prepare a report of any changes orcorrections made by it in the assessment list together with its finding thateach piece of property within the improvement district will be benefited inamounts not less than the assessment to be levied against the property.

 

37-13-116. Notice of public hearing on proposed assessments.

 

Noticeof a public hearing on the proposed assessment resolution shall be given. Atleast twenty (20) days before the date fixed for the hearing, the notice shallbe published one (1) time in a newspaper in which the first notice of hearingwas published. Notice shall also be mailed to each owner of real property whoseproperty will be assessed for part of the cost of the improvement at the lastknown address of the owner as shown on the last completed real propertyassessment rolls of the county wherein the affected property is located. Inaddition, a copy of the notice shall be addressed and mailed to"owner" at the street number of each piece of property affected bythe assessment. Each notice shall state that at the specified time and placethe governing body will hold a hearing upon the proposed assessments and thatthe owner of any property to be assessed pursuant to the resolution will beheard on the question of whether his property will be benefited by the proposedimprovement to the amount of the proposed assessment against his property andwhether the amount assessed against his property constitutes more than hisproper proportional share of the total cost of the improvement. The noticeshall further state that the owner or owners of any property assessed must filea written objection pursuant to section 37-303 [ 37-13-131] of the statutes ifthe owner or owners wish to do the trenching and backfilling on their ownproperty outside of utility easements and thereby not be obligated to pay thepublic utility therefor, if such is permitted by the district and publicutility tariff. The notice shall further state where a copy of the proposedresolution levying the assessments against all real property in the district ison file for public inspection, and that subject to such changes and correctionsas may be made by the governing body, it is proposed to adopt the resolution atthe conclusion of the hearing. The published notice shall describe theboundaries or area of the district with sufficient particularity to permit eachowner of real property therein to ascertain that his property lies in thedistrict. The mailed notice may refer to the district by name and date ofcreation and shall state the amount of the assessment proposed to be leviedagainst the real property of the person to whom the notice is mailed. In theabsence of fraud, the failure to mail any notice does not invalidate anyassessment or any proceeding under this chapter.

 

37-13-117. Public hearing on proposed assessment resolution;corrections.

 

 

(a) At the time and place specified in theassessment hearing notice, the governing body shall hear all arguments relatingto the benefits accruing to any tract, lot or parcel of land therein and theamounts proposed to be assessed against any tract, lot or parcel. The hearingmay be adjourned from time to time to a fixed future time and place. After thehearing has been concluded and all persons desiring to be heard have beenheard, the governing body shall consider the arguments presented and shall makethe corrections in the assessment list as may be considered just and equitable.The corrections may eliminate, increase, or decrease the amount of theassessment proposed to be levied against any piece of property. However, noincrease of any proposed assessment shall be valid unless the owner of theproperty is given notice and an opportunity to be heard.

 

(b) After the corrections have been made, the governing bodyshall make a specific finding that no proposed assessment on the correctedassessment list exceeds the benefit to be derived from the improvement by thepiece of property to be assessed and that no piece of property listed will bearmore than its proper proportionate share of the cost of the improvement.

 

37-13-118. Adoption of the assessment resolution; civil action; statuteof limitations.

 

Afterthe public hearing has been concluded and all corrections made to theassessment list, the governing body shall proceed to adopt the assessmentresolution. The resolution and supporting findings shall be conclusive againstall persons unless an action contesting the validity of this law or the actscontemplated by this law shall be commenced in a court of competentjurisdiction within thirty (30) days after the adoption of the assessmentordinance. Thereafter, any such action shall be barred and the organization ofthe district, the assessment levied pursuant thereto, or any other actauthorized by this statute shall not be directly or collaterally questioned inany suit, action, or proceeding. The statute of limitations provided hereinshall be an additional limitation to and supplement any requirements of theWyoming Administrative Procedure Act or any rules issued thereunder. If thecontest is unsuccessful, the court may order the plaintiff to pay the coststhereof, and, in its discretion, may require a bond in a sufficient amount tocover the costs at the commencement of the action. The burden of proof to showthat the special assessment or part thereof is invalid, inequitable or unjustshall rest upon the party who brings the suit.

 

37-13-119. Payment of assessment.

 

Theamount of the assessment is due and collectible without demand within thirty(30) days after the final publication of the assessment resolution and if it isnot paid within such time it shall commence to bear interest at a rate fixed bythe governing body. The published resolution shall specify the date wheninterest will commence, the rate of interest, and the period of years overwhich installment payments may be made. If not paid within the thirty (30) daysallowed, it will be conclusively presumed that the owner exercises the right topay the amount due in equal annual installments bearing interest at the ratespecified in the resolution and extending over the period of years not exceedingten (10) specified in the resolution. The first installment shall become dueone (1) year from the date when interest commenced and one (1) installmentshall become due on the same day of the same month annually thereafter.

 

37-13-120. Failure to pay installments; sale of property; return ofsale; certificate of sale.

 

(a) The failure to pay any installmentincluding interest when due shall cause all other installments and the interestthereon to become due and payable and the governing body shall, within thirty(30) days from the date of default, by general ordinance providing for the saleof the property, proceed against the property for the collection of the totalamount due including interest plus five percent (5%) additional on unpaidprincipal and interest as penalties and costs of collection.

 

(b) The governing body shall cause notice of sales fordelinquent assessments and make the sales thereof in the same manner as isprovided for sales of property by a treasurer of a city or town for delinquentassessments as provided in W.S. 15-6-410.

 

(c) The governing body shall make a return of sale in the samemanner as is provided in W.S. 15-6-411.

 

(d) The governing body shall make out such a certificate anddeliver the same as provided in W.S. 15-6-412 and said certificate and the lienthereof shall have the same validity and effect as provided therein.

 

(e) The governing body shall be custodian of such certificates,may sell and transfer any such certificate and generally may act with the samepowers and authority as provided in W.S. 15-6-412(b).

 

37-13-121. Redemption of property sold for assessment; deed.

 

Any property sold for an assessment asprovided in W.S. 37-13-120 shall be subject to redemption from the governingbody and a redemption deed shall be executed after two (2) years from the dateof the sale in the same manner as is provided for redemption in W.S. 15-6-418.

 

37-13-122. Assessment lien.

 

Specialassessments levied hereunder are equal with taxes levied against the propertyby the state, the county and all other taxing districts, and are superior toany other lien or encumbrance created before or after. No sale of property forthe nonpayment of taxes or other special assessments shall extinguish any lienother than the taxes or special assessments for the nonpayment of which sale ishad.

 

37-13-123. Proceeds of sale.

 

Theproceeds of the sale of any property for nonpayment of special assessmentsshall be applied in the discharge of the assessments, the interest, costs andpenalties thereon. If there are outstanding any special improvement bondsissued pursuant to the improvement in question, proceeds of the sale shall,after the payment therefrom of the costs of collection, be applied to the costof redemption prior to maturity of as many of the outstanding specialimprovement bonds as can be retired with the amount available.

 

37-13-124. Property bid in by city, town or county to be held in trust;trust discharged by payment of assessment.

 

Whenany property is bid in by or stricken off to any city, town or county theproperty shall be held in trust by the city, town or county for the fund of theimprovement district for which the assessment was levied to the extent of theunpaid assessment for which the property was sold, with penalty, and allaccrued interest and interest owed in the future. However, the city, town orcounty may after receiving a deed pay the fund the amount of the delinquentassessment for which the property was sold, any penalties owed, and all accruedinterest and interest to the time of the next call for bonds issued against theassessment fund at the rate provided, and thereupon take and hold the propertydischarged of the trust.

 

37-13-125. Sale of property held in trust; notice.

 

 

(a) After the period of redemption hasexpired and a deed has been issued to a city, town or county, it may sell theproperty at public auction to the highest bidder for cash. No bid may beaccepted for less than the amount set forth in the deed plus accrued interestto date of sale computed on the assessment for which the property was sold fromthe date of the execution of the deed and all delinquent assessments and taxesagainst the property with accrued interest, penalties, costs and other charges.The city, town or county shall pay into the fund for which the property washeld in trust an amount necessary to fully discharge the assessment for whichthe property was sold, together with all interest and penalties.

 

(b) Any sale shall be conducted only after notice has beengiven, describing the property and stating that the treasurer will on the dayspecified sell the property at the front door of the building in which thegoverning body holds its sessions, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00p.m. The notice shall be published at least five (5) times in a daily newspaperpublished within the district or if there is none, at least twice in anewspaper of general circulation in the district. The sale cannot be less thanfifteen (15) days after the date of the last publication of the notice.

 

37-13-126. Advance payment of assessment installations.

 

Thegoverning body, in the resolution levying the assessments, may provide that allunpaid installment assessments levied against any property may be paid, butonly in their entirety, prior to the dates on which they become due if theperson paying the installments pays all interest which would accrue thereon tothe next succeeding date on which interest is payable on the bonds issued inanticipation of the collection of the assessments. In addition, the person mustpay the additional amount of interest as in the opinion of the governing body isnecessary to assure the availability of money fully sufficient to pay intereston the bonds as interest becomes due, and any redemption premiums which maybecome payable on the bonds in order to retire, in advance of maturity, bondsin a sufficient amount to utilize the assessments thus paid in advance. If nobonds have been issued then all unpaid installments of assessments leviedagainst any piece of property may be paid in their entirety prior to the dateupon which they become due by paying the principal amount due and the interestaccrued thereon to the date of payment.

 

37-13-127. Issuance of bonds.

 

Afterthe expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the adoption of theresolution levying the assessments, the governing body may issue negotiableinterest-bearing bonds in a principal amount not exceeding the unpaid balanceof the assessments levied. The bonds shall bear interest payable semiannuallyor annually and shall mature serially over a period not exceeding twenty (20)years, but in no event shall the bonds extend over a longer period of time thanthe period of time over which the installments of special assessments are due andpayable and ninety (90) days thereafter. The bonds shall be of a form anddenomination and shall be payable in principal and interest at times and placesand shall be sold, authorized and issued in a manner, as the governing body maydetermine. The bonds shall be dated no earlier than the date on which thespecial assessment shall begin to bear interest and shall be secured by andpayable from the irrevocable pledge of the funds derived from the levy andcollection of the special assessments in anticipation of the collection ofwhich they are issued. Any premium received on the sale of the bonds shall beplaced in the fund for the payment of principal and interest on the bonds. Thebonds shall be callable for redemption from the proceeds of the sale of propertysold for the nonpayment of special assessments but not otherwise unless thebonds on the face thereof provide for redemption prior to maturity. Thegoverning body may provide that the bonds shall be redeemable on interestpayment date or dates prior to maturity pursuant to notice and at premiums asit deems advisable. The bonds shall be signed by a member of the governing bodydesignated by the governing body and shall be countersigned by the cityrecorder or the clerk of the board of the town trustees or the clerk of theboard of the county commissioners, whichever is applicable, and one (1) of thesignatures may be a facsimile signature. Interest may be evidenced by interestcoupons attached to the bonds and signed by a facsimile signature of one (1) ofthe individuals who signed the bond.

 

37-13-128. Errors or irregularities not to void assessment; civilaction to adjudicate grievance; action to test validity of resolutionauthorizing bond issue.

 

Nospecial assessment shall be declared void or set aside in consequence of anyerror or irregularity permitted or appearing in any of the proceedings underthis chapter, but any party feeling aggrieved by any special assessment orproceeding may bring a civil action to adjudicate the grievance if the actionis commenced prior to the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption of theassessment ordinance. Every person whose property is subject to the specialassessment and who fails to appear during the public hearings on assessments toraise his objection to the tax shall be deemed to have waived all objection tothe assessment except the objection that the governing body lacks jurisdictionto levy the tax, which objection must be raised within thirty (30) days afteradoption of the assessment ordinance. Whenever any enactment authorizing theissuance of any bonds pursuant to the improvement contemplated is adopted, theresolution shall be published once in a newspaper in which the original noticeof hearing was published. For twenty (20) days thereafter, any person whoseproperty has been assessed and any taxpayer in the district may institutelitigation for the purpose of questioning or attacking the legality of suchbonds. After the expiration of twenty (20) days, all proceedings by thegoverning body, the bonds to be issued pursuant thereto, and the specialassessments from which the bonds are to be paid, shall be final and no suitchallenging the legality thereof may be instituted in this state, and no courtshall have the authority to inquire into such matters.

 

37-13-129. Conversion costs.

 

 

(a) In determining the conversion costsincluded in the costs and feasibility report, the public utility shall beentitled to amounts sufficient to repay the following, as computed andreflected by the uniform system of accounts approved by the Wyoming publicservice commission, federal power commission or federal communicationscommission, or in the event the public utility is not subject to regulation byany of the above governmental agencies, by the public utility's system ofaccounts then in use and in accordance with standard accounting procedures ofthe public utility:

 

(i) The recorded original costs less depreciation taken as ofthe date of the assessment resolution of the existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to be removed;

 

(ii) The estimated costs of removing the overhead electric andcommunication facilities, less the salvage value of the facilities removed;

 

(iii) If the estimated cost of constructing undergroundfacilities exceeds the recorded original cost of constructing aerialfacilities, then the cost difference between the two; and

 

(iv) The cost of obtaining new easements, including all reasonableacquisition costs, when technical considerations make it reasonably necessaryto utilize easements for the underground facilities different from those usedfor the aboveground facilities, or where the preexisting easements areinsufficient for underground facilities.

 

(b) If provision for payment of all or a portion of conversioncost by the affected public utility are included in tariffs, rules orregulations filed with or promulgated by the Wyoming public service commission,such conversion costs shall be the costs included in the costs and feasibilityreport and the rates and conditions of such tariff, rule or regulation shallalso be applicable and binding on customers in the district.

 

37-13-130. Construction of and title to converted facilities.

 

Thepublic utility concerned is responsible for all construction work involving itsfacilities and may contract out such of this construction work as it deemsdesirable. There shall be no competitive bidding as to the construction of theconverted facilities since existing facilities are owned and operated by thepublic utility and the continuity of service of the public utility isessential. Title to the converted facilities is solely in the public utilityinvolved. The public is only purchasing the intangible benefits which come fromremoval of the overhead facilities and replacement by underground facilities.

 

37-13-131. Conversion costs and service connections.

 

 

(a) The public utility performing theconversion shall, at the expense of the property owner, convert to undergroundall electric and communication service facilities located upon any lot orparcel of land within the improvement district and not within the easement fordistribution, sometimes referred to as "service drops" or "dropwires." This shall include the digging and backfilling of a trench uponthe lot or parcel unless the owner executes and files a written objection withthe clerk of the governing body not later than the date set for hearingobjections to the improvement district assessment as provided by law. Failureto file the written objection shall be taken as a consent and grant of easementto the utility and shall be construed as express authority to the publicutility and their respective officers, agents and employees to enter upon thelot or parcel for such purpose, and through failure to object, any right ofprotest or objection in respect of the doing of such work shall be waived. Ifan owner does file the written objection, he shall be responsible for providinga trench in accordance with applicable rules, regulations or tariffs from theowner's service entrance to a point designated by the public utility and forbackfilling the trench following installation of the underground service by thepublic utility involved.

 

(b) If conversion costs for the service facilities located uponany lot or parcel of land and not within the easement for distribution areincluded in tariffs, rules or regulations filed with or promulgated by thepublic service commission, the conversion costs shall be the costs included inthe costs and feasibility report, and the property owner shall be obligated forthat amount.

 

(c) In any event the cost of any work done by the publicutility shall be included in the assessment to be levied upon the lot orparcel. If a written objection is filed as above provided, the owner involvedis obligated for and the public utility involved is entitled to payment for theactual cost for the work accomplished upon the owner's property by the publicutility.

 

(d) The owner shall, at his expense, make all necessary changesin the service entrance equipment to accept underground service.

 

37-13-132. Notice of disconnection.

 

Ifthe owner of any lot or parcel of land fails to make necessary changes in theservice entrance equipment or fails to provide the trench in a timely manner,at the time the converted facilities are ready for connection to his property,the electric or communication service may be disconnected and removed and alloverhead electric or communication facilities providing service to anybuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel may bedisconnected. Written notice of disconnection shall be given at least ten (10)days prior to disconnection by leaving a copy of the notice at the principalbuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel.

 

37-13-133. Payment of public utility.

 

Uponcompletion of the conversion the public utility corporation shall present thegoverning body with its verified bill for conversion costs as computed pursuantto W.S. 37-13-129 or 37-13-131 of the statutes, but based upon the actual costof constructing the underground facility rather than the estimated cost of thefacility. In no event shall the bill for conversion cost presented by thepublic utility corporation exceed the amount of estimated conversion costs bythe public utility corporation. If the conversion costs are less than theestimated conversion costs, each owner within the improvement district shallreceive the benefit, prorated in such form and at such time or times as thegoverning body may determine to be fair and equitable. The bill of the publicutility corporation shall be paid within thirty (30) days by the governing bodyfrom the improvement district funds or such other source as is properlydesignated by the governing body. In determining the actual cost ofconstructing the underground facility the public utility shall use its standardaccounting procedures, such as the uniform system of accounts as defined by thefederal communications commission, federal power commission or Wyoming publicservice commission in use at the time of the conversion.

 

37-13-134. Reinstallation of overhead facilities not permitted.

 

Onceremoved, no overhead electric or communication facilities shall be installed ina local improvement district for conversion of overhead electric andcommunication facilities.

 

37-13-135. No limitation of public service commission's jurisdiction.

 

Nothingcontained in this chapter shall vest any jurisdiction over public utilities inthe governing bodies. The public service commission of Wyoming shall retain alljurisdiction now or hereafter conferred upon it by law and no new jurisdictionshall be conferred upon this commission by virtue of this law.

 

37-13-136. Nonseverability.

 

Ifany provision of this chapter is held invalid, such invalidity shall invalidatethis chapter in its entirety, and to this end the provisions of this chapterare declared to be nonseverable.

 

37-13-137. Commencement of conversion.

 

Ifan improvement district is established pursuant to this chapter, the publicutility corporations involved shall not be required to commence conversionuntil the ordinance, the assessment roll and issuance of bonds have becomefinal and no civil action has been filed or if civil action has been filed,until the decision of the court upon the action has become final and is notsubject to further appeal.

 


State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title37 > Chapter13

CHAPTER 13 - Local Improvement Districts

 

37-13-101. Short title.

 

Thisact shall be known and cited as the "Wyoming Underground Conversion ofUtilities Law".

 

37-13-102. Legislative purpose.

 

Thelegislature finds that in many areas of the state, landowners, cities, towns,counties and public utilities desire to convert existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to underground locations by means of improvementdistrict proceedings. The legislature hereby declares that a public purposewill be served by providing a procedure to accomplish such conversion and thatit is in the public interest to provide for such conversion by proceedingstaken pursuant to this chapter whether such areas be within the limits of acity or town or within a county.

 

37-13-103. Definitions.

 

 

(a) As used in this chapter the followingwords and phrases and any variations thereof shall have the following meaning:

 

(i) "Communication service" means the transmission ofintelligence by electrical means, including, but not limited to telephone,telegraph, messenger-call, clock, police, fire alarm and traffic controlcircuits or the transmission of standard television or radio signals;

 

(ii) "Electric service" means the distribution ofelectricity for heat, light or power;

 

(iii) "Convert" or "conversion" means theremoval of all or any part of any existing overhead electric or communicationsfacilities and the replacement thereof with underground electric orcommunication facilities constructed at the same or different locations;

 

(iv) "Electric or communication facilities" means anyworks or improvements used or useful in providing electric or communicationservice, including, but not limited to, poles, supports, tunnels, manholes,vaults, conduits, pipes, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, crossarms,braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, capacitors, protectivedevices, meters, communication circuits, appliances, attachments, andappurtenances. "Electric facilities" shall not include any facilitiesused or intended to be used for the transmission of electric energy at nominal voltagesin excess of twenty-three thousand (23,000) volts. "Communicationfacilities" shall not include facilities used for the transmission ofintelligence by microwave or radio, apparatus cabinets or outdoor publictelephones;

 

(v) "Overhead electric or communication facilities"means electric or communication facilities located, in whole or in part, abovethe surface of the ground;

 

(vi) "Underground electric or communicationfacilities" means electric or communication facilities located, in wholeor in part, beneath the surface of the ground or facilities within the confinesof a power substation. "Communication facilities" shall not includefacilities used or intended to be used for the transmission of intelligence bymicrowave or radio or outdoor public telephones. "Undergroundfacilities" shall include certain facilities which remain above thesurface in accordance with standard underground practices, such astransformers, pull boxes, service terminals, meters, pedestal terminals, spliceclosures, apparatus cabinets and similar facilities;

 

(vii) "Public utility" means any one (1) or more publicor private persons or corporations that provide electric or communicationservice to the public by means of electric or communication facilities andincludes any city, county, special district, or public corporation thatprovides electric or communication service to the public by means of electricor communication facilities; and as used herein this definition shall includelegal entities that are not otherwise classified as public utilities and theinclusion of such other entities herein shall not affect their status under anyother law or laws;

 

(viii) "Governing body" means the board of commissionersor city council or board of trustees as may be appropriate depending on whetherthe improvement district is located in a county or within a city or town;

 

(ix) "Resolution" shall be construed to mean ordinancewhere the governing body properly acts by ordinance, and resolution where thegoverning body properly acts by resolution.

 

37-13-104. Powers conferred.

 

Thegoverning body is authorized and empowered to create local improvementdistricts within its territorial limits to provide for the conversion ofexisting overhead electric and communication facilities to undergroundlocations and the construction, reconstruction or relocation of any otherelectric or communication facilities which may be incidental thereto, pursuantto the provisions of this chapter.

 

37-13-105. Basis of assessments.

 

(a) Whenever any improvement authorized tobe made by any governing body by the terms of this chapter is ordered, thegoverning body shall apportion the cost and expenses thereof as in theirjudgment is fair and equitable in consideration of the benefits accruing to thelots and land included within the improvement district. Each lot or parcel ofland shall be separately assessed for the cost and expenses in proportion tothe number of square feet of such lot or parcel compared to the total number ofsquare feet included in the improvement district, or assessed upon a frontage,zone or other equitable basis in accordance with the benefits accruing to theproperty by the improvements, as the same may be determined by the governingbody. The entire cost of the improvement shall be assessed against thebenefited property. If money for paying part of the costs is available from anyother source, in which [that] event the money so available may be applied toreduce the assessment.

 

(b) The cost and expenses to be assessed shall include:

 

(i) The conversion costs as determined by W.S. 37-13-129 or asestimated by the public utility, whichever is less;

 

(ii) Engineering services;

 

(iii) Clerical services;

 

(iv) Advertising expenses;

 

(v) Costs of inspection;

 

(vi) Costs of collecting assessments;

 

(vii) Interest upon bonds if issued;

 

(viii) Costs for legal services for preparing proceedings andadvising in regard thereto; and

 

(ix) For any other necessary or reasonable expense related tothe intent of this act and determined by the governing body to be appropriatefor the favorable execution of the improvement district.

 

(c) Fee lands of public entities, such as the federalgovernment, state of Wyoming, or any county, city or town, shall not be subjectto assessment for the payment of any of the cost or expense of the improvementunless the public entity owning lands within the boundaries of the improvementdistrict files its consent in writing with the governing body before thegoverning body adopts a resolution declaring its intent to create a localimprovement district.

 

37-13-106. Resolution for cost and feasibility study.

 

(a) Any governing body may upon a petitionsigned by at least sixty percent (60%) of the resident owners of propertysubject to assessment owning at least sixty percent (60%) of the assessableland of any proposed district, adopt a resolution at any regular or specialmeeting declaring that it finds that the improvement district is in the publicinterest. It must be determined that the formation of the local improvementdistrict will promote the public convenience, necessity, and welfare. Theresolution must state that the costs and expenses will be levied and assessedupon the property benefited and request that each public utility serving theproposed district by overhead electric or communication facilities shall,within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution, make astudy of the cost of conversion of its facilities in the area to undergroundservice. The results of the study shall be provided to the governing body andmade available in its office to all owners of land within the proposeddistrict. The resolution of the governing body shall require that the publicutilities be provided with the name and address of the owner of each parcel orlot within the proposed district, if known, and if not known the description ofthe property and other matters as may be required by the public utility inorder to perform the work involved in the cost study. Each public utilityserving the proposed district by overhead electric or communication facilitiesshall, within one hundred twenty (120) days after receipt of the resolution,make a study of the costs of conversion of its facilities in the district tounderground service, and shall together provide the governing body and makeavailable at its office a joint report as to the results of the study.

 

(b) At any time prior to the hearing provided for in W.S.37-13-111 of the statutes, if requested by the governing body or publicutility, a bond shall be filed, with security approved by the governing body orcash deposit made sufficient to pay all expenses of the governing bodyconnected with the proceedings and of the public utilities for actual time andexpenses incurred in regard to the cost and feasibility study in case theorganization of the district is not effected. If at any time during theorganization proceedings the governing body shall be satisfied that the bondfirst executed or the amount of cash deposited is insufficient in amount, it onits own initiative or at the request of a public utility may require theexecution of an additional bond or the deposit of additional cash within a timeto be fixed, not less than ten (10) days distant, and upon failure of thepetitioners to file or deposit the same, the petition shall be dismissed.

 

37-13-107. Costs and feasibility report.

 

Thepublic utility or utilities report shall set forth an estimate of the totalunderground conversion costs for the district and shall also indicate the costof underground conversion of facilities of the public utility located withinthe boundaries of the various parcels or lots within the district. The reportshall also contain the public utility's recommendations concerning theengineering feasibility of the project for the district proposed insofar as thephysical characteristics of the district are concerned. The report shall makerecommendations by the public utility concerning inclusion or exclusion ofareas within the district or immediately adjacent to the district. Thegoverning body shall consider the public utility's recommendations concerningfeasibility and may amend the boundaries of the proposed improvement districtprovided the costs and feasibility report of the public utilities contains acost figure on the district as amended, or it may request a new costs andfeasibility report from the public utilities concerned on the basis of theamended district. The cost estimate contained in the report shall not beconsidered binding on the public utility if construction is not commencedwithin six (6) months of the submission of the estimate for reasons not withinthe control of the public utility. Should such a delay result in a significantincrease in the conversion cost, new hearings shall be held on the creation ofthe district. In the event that a ten percent (10%) or less increase results,only the hearing on the assessments need be held again.

 

37-13-108. Resolution declaring intention to create district.

 

 

(a) On the filing with the clerk of anygoverning body of the cost and feasibility report by the public utility, andafter considering the same, the governing body may, at any regular or specialmeeting, pass a resolution declaring its intention to create a localimprovement district. The resolution shall state:

 

(i) That the costs and expenses of the proposed district willbe levied and assessed upon the abutting, adjoining, and adjacent lots and landalong or upon which improvements are to be made, and upon lots and landbenefited by the improvements and included in the improvement district created;

 

(ii) The contribution of the governing body, if any;

 

(iii) That it is the intention of the governing body to make theimprovement which will promote public convenience, necessity and welfare;

 

(iv) The area and boundaries of the proposed improvementdistrict;

 

(v) The character of the proposed improvement;

 

(vi) The estimated total cost of the improvement; and

 

(vii) That the governing body will hold a hearing on the proposedimprovements at which time it will consider protests filed with the governingbody against the proposed improvements.

 

37-13-109. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; contents.

 

(a) The governing body shall cause notice of a public hearingon the proposed improvement to be given in the manner provided in W.S.37-13-110. Such notice shall:

 

(i) Declare that the governing body has passed a resolution ofintention to create an improvement district;

 

(ii) Describe the boundaries or area of the district withsufficient particularity to permit each owner of real property therein toascertain that his property lies in the district;

 

(iii) Describe in a general way the proposed improvement,specifying the streets or property along which it will be made and the natureof the benefits to the property within the district;

 

(iv) State the estimated cost to the property owners, governingbody and public utility;

 

(v) State that it is proposed to assess the real property inthe district to pay as provided in W.S. 37-13-129 the cost of the improvementaccording to the proportionate square footage, front footage, or otherequitable basis, as specified, based upon the benefits to be derived by eachtract, lot or parcel of land within the district;

 

(vi) State the time and place at which the governing body willhear and pass upon all protests that may be made against the making of theimprovement, the creation of the district, or the benefits to be derived by thereal property in the district;

 

(vii) State that all interested persons will be heard and thatany property owner will be heard on the question of whether his property willbe benefited by the proposed improvement.

 

37-13-110. Notice of public hearing on proposed improvement; manner ofgiving.

 

Thenotice shall be published in full one (1) time in a newspaper of generalcirculation in the county, city, or town in which the proposed district islocated and by posting in not less than three (3) public places in thedistrict. A copy of the notice shall be mailed to each owner of land within theproposed district whose property will be assessed for the cost of theimprovement, at the address last appearing on the real property assessmentrolls of the county wherein the property is located. In addition, a copy of thenotice shall be addressed to "owner" and mailed to the street numberof each piece of property to be affected by the assessment. Mailed notices andthe published notice shall state where a copy of the resolution creating thedistrict is available for inspection.

 

37-13-111. Public hearing; changes in proposed improvements or in areaof improvement district.

 

(a) At the time and place specified in thenotice, the governing body shall meet and proceed to hear and pass upon allobjections and protests to the creation of the proposed district, the making ofthe proposed improvements, and the benefits accruing to any tract, lot orparcel of land therein. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time to afixed future time and place. If at any time during the hearings, it appears tothe governing body that changes in the proposed improvements or the proposeddistrict should be made, which, after consultation with the public utilitiesconcerned, appear to affect either the cost or feasibility of the improvements,the hearing shall be adjourned to a fixed future time and place and a new costand feasibility report prepared on the basis of the contemplated changes.

 

(b) If at any time during the public hearing the governing bodyis presented with a petition signed by more than fifty percent (50%) of theproperty owners of the proposed district protesting the proposed improvementand the petition is still outstanding at the close of the public hearing thedistrict and project shall be abandoned.

 

(c) After the hearing has been concluded and after all protestsand objections have been considered, the governing body may make changes in theproposed improvements or in the area to be included in the district as it mayconsider necessary or desirable, provided the changes are not substantial.Notice and an opportunity to protest shall be given if substantial changes aredesired by the governing body. The governing body shall either abandon thedistrict and project or adopt a resolution establishing the district andauthorizing the project, either as described in the notice or with changes madeas above authorized. The resolution shall be published in the manner providedin W.S. 37-13-110 but need not be mailed.

 

(d) If a resolution is adopted establishing the district, theresolution shall conclusively establish the regular organization of thedistrict against all persons, unless an action contesting the validity of theorganization is commenced in a court of competent jurisdiction within thirty(30) days after the adoption of the resolution. Thereafter, any action is barredand the organization of the district shall not be directly or collaterallyquestioned in any suit, action or proceeding.

 

37-13-112. Waiver of objections.

 

Anyperson who has real property within the boundaries of the proposed district whofails to appear before the governing body at the hearing and make any objectionhe may have to the creation of the district, the making of the improvements andthe inclusion of his real property in the district, shall be deemed to havewaived every objection. However, the waiver shall not preclude his right toobject to the amount of the assessment at the hearing provided for thatpurpose.

 

37-13-113. Proposed assessment list.

 

Afterthe resolution creating the district is adopted, the governing body shall causean assessment list to be prepared detailing the total cost to be assessed, thespecific properties assessed, and the amount of assessment on each piece ofproperty. The total cost of the improvement shall include the cost ofconstruction as determined from the costs and feasibility report, legal andfiscal fees and costs, the cost of publication of notices and all other costsproperly incident to the construction of the improvement and the financingthereof.

 

37-13-114. Proposed assessment resolution.

 

Afterthe preparation of the proposed assessment list, the governing body shall causeto be prepared for adoption at the assessment hearing a resolutionincorporating the proposed assessment list and declaring what share, if any, ofthe total cost is payable from voluntary contributions or governmental sourcesother than the imposition of assessments.

 

37-13-115. Board of equalization and review.

 

Beforethe governing body shall propose to levy any tax under any provision of thischapter, it shall sit as a board of equalization and review for the purpose ofmaking corrections in the proposed assessments. After concluding the assessmenthearings the governing body shall prepare a report of any changes orcorrections made by it in the assessment list together with its finding thateach piece of property within the improvement district will be benefited inamounts not less than the assessment to be levied against the property.

 

37-13-116. Notice of public hearing on proposed assessments.

 

Noticeof a public hearing on the proposed assessment resolution shall be given. Atleast twenty (20) days before the date fixed for the hearing, the notice shallbe published one (1) time in a newspaper in which the first notice of hearingwas published. Notice shall also be mailed to each owner of real property whoseproperty will be assessed for part of the cost of the improvement at the lastknown address of the owner as shown on the last completed real propertyassessment rolls of the county wherein the affected property is located. Inaddition, a copy of the notice shall be addressed and mailed to"owner" at the street number of each piece of property affected bythe assessment. Each notice shall state that at the specified time and placethe governing body will hold a hearing upon the proposed assessments and thatthe owner of any property to be assessed pursuant to the resolution will beheard on the question of whether his property will be benefited by the proposedimprovement to the amount of the proposed assessment against his property andwhether the amount assessed against his property constitutes more than hisproper proportional share of the total cost of the improvement. The noticeshall further state that the owner or owners of any property assessed must filea written objection pursuant to section 37-303 [ 37-13-131] of the statutes ifthe owner or owners wish to do the trenching and backfilling on their ownproperty outside of utility easements and thereby not be obligated to pay thepublic utility therefor, if such is permitted by the district and publicutility tariff. The notice shall further state where a copy of the proposedresolution levying the assessments against all real property in the district ison file for public inspection, and that subject to such changes and correctionsas may be made by the governing body, it is proposed to adopt the resolution atthe conclusion of the hearing. The published notice shall describe theboundaries or area of the district with sufficient particularity to permit eachowner of real property therein to ascertain that his property lies in thedistrict. The mailed notice may refer to the district by name and date ofcreation and shall state the amount of the assessment proposed to be leviedagainst the real property of the person to whom the notice is mailed. In theabsence of fraud, the failure to mail any notice does not invalidate anyassessment or any proceeding under this chapter.

 

37-13-117. Public hearing on proposed assessment resolution;corrections.

 

 

(a) At the time and place specified in theassessment hearing notice, the governing body shall hear all arguments relatingto the benefits accruing to any tract, lot or parcel of land therein and theamounts proposed to be assessed against any tract, lot or parcel. The hearingmay be adjourned from time to time to a fixed future time and place. After thehearing has been concluded and all persons desiring to be heard have beenheard, the governing body shall consider the arguments presented and shall makethe corrections in the assessment list as may be considered just and equitable.The corrections may eliminate, increase, or decrease the amount of theassessment proposed to be levied against any piece of property. However, noincrease of any proposed assessment shall be valid unless the owner of theproperty is given notice and an opportunity to be heard.

 

(b) After the corrections have been made, the governing bodyshall make a specific finding that no proposed assessment on the correctedassessment list exceeds the benefit to be derived from the improvement by thepiece of property to be assessed and that no piece of property listed will bearmore than its proper proportionate share of the cost of the improvement.

 

37-13-118. Adoption of the assessment resolution; civil action; statuteof limitations.

 

Afterthe public hearing has been concluded and all corrections made to theassessment list, the governing body shall proceed to adopt the assessmentresolution. The resolution and supporting findings shall be conclusive againstall persons unless an action contesting the validity of this law or the actscontemplated by this law shall be commenced in a court of competentjurisdiction within thirty (30) days after the adoption of the assessmentordinance. Thereafter, any such action shall be barred and the organization ofthe district, the assessment levied pursuant thereto, or any other actauthorized by this statute shall not be directly or collaterally questioned inany suit, action, or proceeding. The statute of limitations provided hereinshall be an additional limitation to and supplement any requirements of theWyoming Administrative Procedure Act or any rules issued thereunder. If thecontest is unsuccessful, the court may order the plaintiff to pay the coststhereof, and, in its discretion, may require a bond in a sufficient amount tocover the costs at the commencement of the action. The burden of proof to showthat the special assessment or part thereof is invalid, inequitable or unjustshall rest upon the party who brings the suit.

 

37-13-119. Payment of assessment.

 

Theamount of the assessment is due and collectible without demand within thirty(30) days after the final publication of the assessment resolution and if it isnot paid within such time it shall commence to bear interest at a rate fixed bythe governing body. The published resolution shall specify the date wheninterest will commence, the rate of interest, and the period of years overwhich installment payments may be made. If not paid within the thirty (30) daysallowed, it will be conclusively presumed that the owner exercises the right topay the amount due in equal annual installments bearing interest at the ratespecified in the resolution and extending over the period of years not exceedingten (10) specified in the resolution. The first installment shall become dueone (1) year from the date when interest commenced and one (1) installmentshall become due on the same day of the same month annually thereafter.

 

37-13-120. Failure to pay installments; sale of property; return ofsale; certificate of sale.

 

(a) The failure to pay any installmentincluding interest when due shall cause all other installments and the interestthereon to become due and payable and the governing body shall, within thirty(30) days from the date of default, by general ordinance providing for the saleof the property, proceed against the property for the collection of the totalamount due including interest plus five percent (5%) additional on unpaidprincipal and interest as penalties and costs of collection.

 

(b) The governing body shall cause notice of sales fordelinquent assessments and make the sales thereof in the same manner as isprovided for sales of property by a treasurer of a city or town for delinquentassessments as provided in W.S. 15-6-410.

 

(c) The governing body shall make a return of sale in the samemanner as is provided in W.S. 15-6-411.

 

(d) The governing body shall make out such a certificate anddeliver the same as provided in W.S. 15-6-412 and said certificate and the lienthereof shall have the same validity and effect as provided therein.

 

(e) The governing body shall be custodian of such certificates,may sell and transfer any such certificate and generally may act with the samepowers and authority as provided in W.S. 15-6-412(b).

 

37-13-121. Redemption of property sold for assessment; deed.

 

Any property sold for an assessment asprovided in W.S. 37-13-120 shall be subject to redemption from the governingbody and a redemption deed shall be executed after two (2) years from the dateof the sale in the same manner as is provided for redemption in W.S. 15-6-418.

 

37-13-122. Assessment lien.

 

Specialassessments levied hereunder are equal with taxes levied against the propertyby the state, the county and all other taxing districts, and are superior toany other lien or encumbrance created before or after. No sale of property forthe nonpayment of taxes or other special assessments shall extinguish any lienother than the taxes or special assessments for the nonpayment of which sale ishad.

 

37-13-123. Proceeds of sale.

 

Theproceeds of the sale of any property for nonpayment of special assessmentsshall be applied in the discharge of the assessments, the interest, costs andpenalties thereon. If there are outstanding any special improvement bondsissued pursuant to the improvement in question, proceeds of the sale shall,after the payment therefrom of the costs of collection, be applied to the costof redemption prior to maturity of as many of the outstanding specialimprovement bonds as can be retired with the amount available.

 

37-13-124. Property bid in by city, town or county to be held in trust;trust discharged by payment of assessment.

 

Whenany property is bid in by or stricken off to any city, town or county theproperty shall be held in trust by the city, town or county for the fund of theimprovement district for which the assessment was levied to the extent of theunpaid assessment for which the property was sold, with penalty, and allaccrued interest and interest owed in the future. However, the city, town orcounty may after receiving a deed pay the fund the amount of the delinquentassessment for which the property was sold, any penalties owed, and all accruedinterest and interest to the time of the next call for bonds issued against theassessment fund at the rate provided, and thereupon take and hold the propertydischarged of the trust.

 

37-13-125. Sale of property held in trust; notice.

 

 

(a) After the period of redemption hasexpired and a deed has been issued to a city, town or county, it may sell theproperty at public auction to the highest bidder for cash. No bid may beaccepted for less than the amount set forth in the deed plus accrued interestto date of sale computed on the assessment for which the property was sold fromthe date of the execution of the deed and all delinquent assessments and taxesagainst the property with accrued interest, penalties, costs and other charges.The city, town or county shall pay into the fund for which the property washeld in trust an amount necessary to fully discharge the assessment for whichthe property was sold, together with all interest and penalties.

 

(b) Any sale shall be conducted only after notice has beengiven, describing the property and stating that the treasurer will on the dayspecified sell the property at the front door of the building in which thegoverning body holds its sessions, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00p.m. The notice shall be published at least five (5) times in a daily newspaperpublished within the district or if there is none, at least twice in anewspaper of general circulation in the district. The sale cannot be less thanfifteen (15) days after the date of the last publication of the notice.

 

37-13-126. Advance payment of assessment installations.

 

Thegoverning body, in the resolution levying the assessments, may provide that allunpaid installment assessments levied against any property may be paid, butonly in their entirety, prior to the dates on which they become due if theperson paying the installments pays all interest which would accrue thereon tothe next succeeding date on which interest is payable on the bonds issued inanticipation of the collection of the assessments. In addition, the person mustpay the additional amount of interest as in the opinion of the governing body isnecessary to assure the availability of money fully sufficient to pay intereston the bonds as interest becomes due, and any redemption premiums which maybecome payable on the bonds in order to retire, in advance of maturity, bondsin a sufficient amount to utilize the assessments thus paid in advance. If nobonds have been issued then all unpaid installments of assessments leviedagainst any piece of property may be paid in their entirety prior to the dateupon which they become due by paying the principal amount due and the interestaccrued thereon to the date of payment.

 

37-13-127. Issuance of bonds.

 

Afterthe expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the adoption of theresolution levying the assessments, the governing body may issue negotiableinterest-bearing bonds in a principal amount not exceeding the unpaid balanceof the assessments levied. The bonds shall bear interest payable semiannuallyor annually and shall mature serially over a period not exceeding twenty (20)years, but in no event shall the bonds extend over a longer period of time thanthe period of time over which the installments of special assessments are due andpayable and ninety (90) days thereafter. The bonds shall be of a form anddenomination and shall be payable in principal and interest at times and placesand shall be sold, authorized and issued in a manner, as the governing body maydetermine. The bonds shall be dated no earlier than the date on which thespecial assessment shall begin to bear interest and shall be secured by andpayable from the irrevocable pledge of the funds derived from the levy andcollection of the special assessments in anticipation of the collection ofwhich they are issued. Any premium received on the sale of the bonds shall beplaced in the fund for the payment of principal and interest on the bonds. Thebonds shall be callable for redemption from the proceeds of the sale of propertysold for the nonpayment of special assessments but not otherwise unless thebonds on the face thereof provide for redemption prior to maturity. Thegoverning body may provide that the bonds shall be redeemable on interestpayment date or dates prior to maturity pursuant to notice and at premiums asit deems advisable. The bonds shall be signed by a member of the governing bodydesignated by the governing body and shall be countersigned by the cityrecorder or the clerk of the board of the town trustees or the clerk of theboard of the county commissioners, whichever is applicable, and one (1) of thesignatures may be a facsimile signature. Interest may be evidenced by interestcoupons attached to the bonds and signed by a facsimile signature of one (1) ofthe individuals who signed the bond.

 

37-13-128. Errors or irregularities not to void assessment; civilaction to adjudicate grievance; action to test validity of resolutionauthorizing bond issue.

 

Nospecial assessment shall be declared void or set aside in consequence of anyerror or irregularity permitted or appearing in any of the proceedings underthis chapter, but any party feeling aggrieved by any special assessment orproceeding may bring a civil action to adjudicate the grievance if the actionis commenced prior to the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption of theassessment ordinance. Every person whose property is subject to the specialassessment and who fails to appear during the public hearings on assessments toraise his objection to the tax shall be deemed to have waived all objection tothe assessment except the objection that the governing body lacks jurisdictionto levy the tax, which objection must be raised within thirty (30) days afteradoption of the assessment ordinance. Whenever any enactment authorizing theissuance of any bonds pursuant to the improvement contemplated is adopted, theresolution shall be published once in a newspaper in which the original noticeof hearing was published. For twenty (20) days thereafter, any person whoseproperty has been assessed and any taxpayer in the district may institutelitigation for the purpose of questioning or attacking the legality of suchbonds. After the expiration of twenty (20) days, all proceedings by thegoverning body, the bonds to be issued pursuant thereto, and the specialassessments from which the bonds are to be paid, shall be final and no suitchallenging the legality thereof may be instituted in this state, and no courtshall have the authority to inquire into such matters.

 

37-13-129. Conversion costs.

 

 

(a) In determining the conversion costsincluded in the costs and feasibility report, the public utility shall beentitled to amounts sufficient to repay the following, as computed andreflected by the uniform system of accounts approved by the Wyoming publicservice commission, federal power commission or federal communicationscommission, or in the event the public utility is not subject to regulation byany of the above governmental agencies, by the public utility's system ofaccounts then in use and in accordance with standard accounting procedures ofthe public utility:

 

(i) The recorded original costs less depreciation taken as ofthe date of the assessment resolution of the existing overhead electric andcommunication facilities to be removed;

 

(ii) The estimated costs of removing the overhead electric andcommunication facilities, less the salvage value of the facilities removed;

 

(iii) If the estimated cost of constructing undergroundfacilities exceeds the recorded original cost of constructing aerialfacilities, then the cost difference between the two; and

 

(iv) The cost of obtaining new easements, including all reasonableacquisition costs, when technical considerations make it reasonably necessaryto utilize easements for the underground facilities different from those usedfor the aboveground facilities, or where the preexisting easements areinsufficient for underground facilities.

 

(b) If provision for payment of all or a portion of conversioncost by the affected public utility are included in tariffs, rules orregulations filed with or promulgated by the Wyoming public service commission,such conversion costs shall be the costs included in the costs and feasibilityreport and the rates and conditions of such tariff, rule or regulation shallalso be applicable and binding on customers in the district.

 

37-13-130. Construction of and title to converted facilities.

 

Thepublic utility concerned is responsible for all construction work involving itsfacilities and may contract out such of this construction work as it deemsdesirable. There shall be no competitive bidding as to the construction of theconverted facilities since existing facilities are owned and operated by thepublic utility and the continuity of service of the public utility isessential. Title to the converted facilities is solely in the public utilityinvolved. The public is only purchasing the intangible benefits which come fromremoval of the overhead facilities and replacement by underground facilities.

 

37-13-131. Conversion costs and service connections.

 

 

(a) The public utility performing theconversion shall, at the expense of the property owner, convert to undergroundall electric and communication service facilities located upon any lot orparcel of land within the improvement district and not within the easement fordistribution, sometimes referred to as "service drops" or "dropwires." This shall include the digging and backfilling of a trench uponthe lot or parcel unless the owner executes and files a written objection withthe clerk of the governing body not later than the date set for hearingobjections to the improvement district assessment as provided by law. Failureto file the written objection shall be taken as a consent and grant of easementto the utility and shall be construed as express authority to the publicutility and their respective officers, agents and employees to enter upon thelot or parcel for such purpose, and through failure to object, any right ofprotest or objection in respect of the doing of such work shall be waived. Ifan owner does file the written objection, he shall be responsible for providinga trench in accordance with applicable rules, regulations or tariffs from theowner's service entrance to a point designated by the public utility and forbackfilling the trench following installation of the underground service by thepublic utility involved.

 

(b) If conversion costs for the service facilities located uponany lot or parcel of land and not within the easement for distribution areincluded in tariffs, rules or regulations filed with or promulgated by thepublic service commission, the conversion costs shall be the costs included inthe costs and feasibility report, and the property owner shall be obligated forthat amount.

 

(c) In any event the cost of any work done by the publicutility shall be included in the assessment to be levied upon the lot orparcel. If a written objection is filed as above provided, the owner involvedis obligated for and the public utility involved is entitled to payment for theactual cost for the work accomplished upon the owner's property by the publicutility.

 

(d) The owner shall, at his expense, make all necessary changesin the service entrance equipment to accept underground service.

 

37-13-132. Notice of disconnection.

 

Ifthe owner of any lot or parcel of land fails to make necessary changes in theservice entrance equipment or fails to provide the trench in a timely manner,at the time the converted facilities are ready for connection to his property,the electric or communication service may be disconnected and removed and alloverhead electric or communication facilities providing service to anybuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel may bedisconnected. Written notice of disconnection shall be given at least ten (10)days prior to disconnection by leaving a copy of the notice at the principalbuilding, structure or improvement located upon the lot or parcel.

 

37-13-133. Payment of public utility.

 

Uponcompletion of the conversion the public utility corporation shall present thegoverning body with its verified bill for conversion costs as computed pursuantto W.S. 37-13-129 or 37-13-131 of the statutes, but based upon the actual costof constructing the underground facility rather than the estimated cost of thefacility. In no event shall the bill for conversion cost presented by thepublic utility corporation exceed the amount of estimated conversion costs bythe public utility corporation. If the conversion costs are less than theestimated conversion costs, each owner within the improvement district shallreceive the benefit, prorated in such form and at such time or times as thegoverning body may determine to be fair and equitable. The bill of the publicutility corporation shall be paid within thirty (30) days by the governing bodyfrom the improvement district funds or such other source as is properlydesignated by the governing body. In determining the actual cost ofconstructing the underground facility the public utility shall use its standardaccounting procedures, such as the uniform system of accounts as defined by thefederal communications commission, federal power commission or Wyoming publicservice commission in use at the time of the conversion.

 

37-13-134. Reinstallation of overhead facilities not permitted.

 

Onceremoved, no overhead electric or communication facilities shall be installed ina local improvement district for conversion of overhead electric andcommunication facilities.

 

37-13-135. No limitation of public service commission's jurisdiction.

 

Nothingcontained in this chapter shall vest any jurisdiction over public utilities inthe governing bodies. The public service commission of Wyoming shall retain alljurisdiction now or hereafter conferred upon it by law and no new jurisdictionshall be conferred upon this commission by virtue of this law.

 

37-13-136. Nonseverability.

 

Ifany provision of this chapter is held invalid, such invalidity shall invalidatethis chapter in its entirety, and to this end the provisions of this chapterare declared to be nonseverable.

 

37-13-137. Commencement of conversion.

 

Ifan improvement district is established pursuant to this chapter, the publicutility corporations involved shall not be required to commence conversionuntil the ordinance, the assessment roll and issuance of bonds have becomefinal and no civil action has been filed or if civil action has been filed,until the decision of the court upon the action has become final and is notsubject to further appeal.

 

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