Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
There shall be a department of finance, the head of which shall be the director of finance, who may be the mayor, or a person appointed by him to serve at his pleasure. Further organization of this department shall be as stated in this Charter and by ordinances enacted by the town council, to the end that the essential processes in the finances of the town, namely, control and accounts, purchasing, assessment of property, collection of taxes and other revenues, and payments may be properly administered.
The director of finance shall be the town treasurer, the tax collector and the town auditor and, subject to the provisions of this Charter and of ordinances enacted by the town council, he is hereby vested with and shall have and exercise all the powers and duties now and hereafter vested by law in town treasurers, in tax collectors and in town auditors, and he shall have and exercise all the powers and duties vested by this Charter in the office of director of finance and in the department of finance or that may be vested thereafter in said office of director of finance and said department of finance by resolution, ordinance or law and he shall have charge of the administration of the financial affairs of the town.
The director of finance shall have knowledge of municipal accounting and taxation and shall have had experience in budgeting and financial control.
The director of finance shall receive such compensation as may be set by ordinance passed by the town council, unless the duties of said office shall be performed by the mayor.
The director of finance shall:
(1) 
Cooperate with the mayor in compiling the expenditures and revenue estimates for the budget;
(2) 
Collect and receive all taxes and special assessments for the collection of which the town is responsible. He shall have all the powers, rights and duties prescribed under the general laws for tax collectors;
(3) 
Receive all license fees, rents, funds, money receivable by the town from the state and/or the federal government, and from the court and from any department, office and agency of the town, except as otherwise provided in this Charter;
(4) 
Have custody of all public funds belonging to or under the control of the town, or any department, office and agency of the town government including the school department and deposit all funds coming into his hands in such depositories as may be designated by resolution of the town council, or, if no such resolution be adopted by the town council, in such depositories as he may choose, subject to the requirements of law as to surety and the payment of interest on deposits, but all such interest shall be the property of the town and shall be accounted for and credited to the proper accounts;
(5) 
Have custody of all investments and invested funds of the town or in the possession of the town in a fiduciary capacity, and have the safekeeping of all bonds and notes of the town and the receipt and delivery of town bonds and notes for transfer, registration or exchange;
(6) 
Exercise control over all expenditures by preauditing all bills, invoices, payrolls or other evidences of claims or charges against the town, and see that budget appropriations are not exceeded by disbursements in any department, office or agency of the town including the school department;
(7) 
Pay out the funds by check such payments being made only after compliance with provisions of (6) above; and authorized by the town council;
(8) 
Prescribe and maintain an accounting system for the town government, and adopt and require standard accounting procedure for all departments, offices and agencies of the town, including the school department, which accounts shall include the amounts of all appropriations, and the amounts paid from each, and show in reasonable detail the persons to whom and the purposes for which the payments were made, the unpaid obligations against each and the unencumbered balances and require reports of receipts and disbursements from each receiving and spending agency of the town government including the school department, to be made monthly or at such more frequent intervals as the town council may ordain;
(9) 
Prescribe uniform forms of receipts, vouchers, bills and claims to be used by all departments, offices and agencies of the town, including the school department;
(10) 
Prepare a monthly statement of all receipts and disbursements in sufficient detail to show the financial condition of the town for submission to the mayor and the town council, it being the duty of the department of finance to make sufficient copies for all departments of the town government and file a copy with the town clerk which is made a public record;
(11) 
Prepare as soon as possible and as of the end of each fiscal year, a complete financial statement and report, in accordance with state law, for submission to the mayor, the town council and the taxpayers of the town, and also prepare a tax book for the town;
(12) 
Perform the work of buying for the town pursuant to rules and regulations established by ordinances according to which he, or an officer appointed or designated by him, shall purchase or contract for all supplies, materials and equipment required by any department, office or agency of the town; established and enforce specifications with respect to supplies, materials and equipment; supervise the inspection of deliveries of supplies, materials and equipment to determine their quality, quantity and conformance with specifications; cause to be made and kept current an inventory of all supplies, materials and equipment belonging to the town; store, if necessary, and distribute all supplies materials and equipment required by any department, office and agency; transfer to or between departments, offices and agencies surplus, obsolete and unused supplies, materials and equipment, and subject to the approval of the town council, dispose of any such, by sale if possible.
Whenever any department, office or agency of the town government shall purchase or contract for any supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services, independently and contrary to the provisions of this Charter or the rules and regulations made hereunder, such order or contract shall be voidable by the town council.
It shall be the responsibility of all officials and employees of the town who are involved in the procurement of any supplies, equipment, or services with town funds, to insure that the best quality at the lowest possible price is obtained. The following requirements and procedures shall govern purchase or procurement:
(1) 
Except in the case of contracts for consultants retained to perform services not able to be performed by any town employee, all purchases of, or contracts for supplies, materials, equipment or work to be performed in excess of the minimum dollar amount set pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, shall be made only after the preparation of written specifications and solicitation of competitive bids following public notice, under such rules and regulation as the council may prescribe by ordinance. Said minimum dollar amount shall be set at the beginning of each town fiscal year to equal one one hundredth of one percent (.01%) of the total amount appropriated by the council for that ensuing fiscal year.
(2) 
All purchases in excess of four hundred dollars but which shall not exceed the minimum dollar amount set pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, shall be made only after telephone bids have been solicited. A memorandum shall be prepared and kept on file for public inspection in the office of the finance director in the case of each purchase, listing the vendors contracted, the bids received, the award made, and the reasons for said award.
(3) 
Purchases made, or contracts awarded, pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall be to the lowest responsible bidder, except that the purchasing authority may be directed by the council to reject any or all bids, and re-solicit bids pursuant to subsection (1) of this section in the appropriate manner as prescribed above. The finance director shall cause quarterly reports to be prepared and submitted to the council and to the mayor, listing all purchases made in the amount of four hundred dollars or less together with all purchases made pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, and showing the total monies expended or obligated during the quarter for all such purchases, and the department or agency responsible for each purchase.
(4) 
A performance bond shall be required of successful bidders in such amount, with surety and in such cases or classes of cases as the council shall specify. No transaction which is essentially a unit shall be divided into a series of orders for the purpose of circumventing the requirements of this section for competitive bidding. Bids, specifications and all other factors being equal, preference shall be given to the bidder whose residence or whose place of business is in the Town of Johnston.
(5) 
In the event of an emergency, where the adherence to the requirements and procedures prescribed in this section would cause substantial damage or might result in irreparable damage, purchases may be made without complying therewith. The head of any department, or agency may make any emergency purchases deemed necessary, but only after obtaining the approval of the mayor if available, and if the mayor shall not be available, then first obtaining the approval of the finance director. A record shall be kept of all such emergency purchases which shall be available for public inspection in the office of the finance director. (Res. #72, 9-13-1982; G.E. 11-2-1982)
The mayor may at any time authorize the transfer of any unencumbered appropriation balance or portion thereof from one classification of expenditure to another within the same department, office of agency or board or commission; provided, that the existence of the balance proposed to be transferred is certified in writing by the director of finance. At the request of the mayor but only within the last three months of the fiscal year the town council may by ordinance transfer any portion of an unencumbered appropriation balance certified in writing by the director of finance from one department, office or agency or board or commission to another except that no such transfer shall be made from the appropriation of the school department.
(1) 
Organization. There shall be within the department of finance the office of tax assessor. The tax assessor shall be appointed by the mayor for a term of two years concurrent with that of the town council. The tax assessor shall be a qualified elector of the town and shall hold no other paid public office or employment in the service of the town of Johnston or of the state or federal government, except that of notary public, justice of the peace, auctioneer, call or volunteer fireman or member of the national guard or armed forces reserve. If the tax assessor ceases to have said qualifications or neglect to perform the duties of his office properly, he may be removed by the mayor with the approval of the town council and another person shall then be selected to fill out the unexpired term.
(2) 
Powers and duties. The tax assessor shall have power and shall be required:
(a) 
To supervise and to be responsible for the fixing of an assessed valuation for purposes of taxation upon all real estate and all taxable personal property.
(b) 
To apply to or apportion upon the assessed valuation of real estate and personal property the amount of tax ordered to be levied or imposed thereon.
(c) 
To make and prepare all regular and special assessment rolls and tax roll for the town in the manner provided by law.
(d) 
To establish a uniform and equitable system for assessing all classes and kinds of property.
(e) 
To prepare tax maps and land value maps.
(f) 
To give such notices of assessment and taxes and to perform such other duties as may be required by law and ordinance.
(g) 
Subject to the approval of the director of finance, to employ from time to time within the limits of available appropriations such clerical assistants and such technical consultants as may be necessary.
(h) 
To cooperate with the board of canvassers and registration in the preparation of the lists of electors.
(3) 
Compensation. The tax assessor shall receive such compensation as may be fixed from time to time by the town council by ordinance.
(1) 
There shall be a board of assessment review which shall consist of three members appointed by the town council. The members first appointed shall serve for terms of two, four and six years respectively, and thereafter one member shall be appointed in each second year for a term of six years. The town council shall make its appointments to the board each time within one month after the members of the town council assume office and shall fill vacancies that may occur on said board with delay.
(2) 
The town council shall provide by ordinance for the organization and procedure of the board of assessment review and for the manner of receiving, considering, and disposing of appeals; provided, that the procedure before the board shall be informal and of a nature calculated to effect justice in as simple a manner as possible, and provided that the requirements stated in (3) following, are observed.
(3) 
The board of assessment review shall hear and consider the appeals of any property owner concerning the amount of his assessed valuation as determined by the tax assessor. The assessor shall attend all hearings of the board in order to explain his valuation, but shall have no vote. The board shall keep an accurate record of its proceedings which shall be available for public inspection. The Board shall meet on the first business day after the expiration of twenty (20) days subsequent to the date on which taxes become due and payable, and at such times thereafter as may be necessary to hear appeals. No appeal shall be considered unless it is made in writing and is received by the Board not later than three months from the date the tax becomes due and payable. No appeal shall be considered by the Board unless the tax levied on the valuation appealed or such portion of the tax as is due and payable, has been paid under protest. If it shall appear that the valuation of any property has been incorrectly or inequitably assessed, the Board shall have power to change the assessment, and shall determine the correct valuation of such property. It shall be the duty of the Director of Finance to make payment of any refund that may be due to the property owner.
(4) 
The taking of an appeal to the Board of Assessment Review, or any action thereon shall not be construed to limit or restrict the right of any taxpayer to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for relief from any assessed valuation or tax originally determined by the tax assessor or subsequently by the Board of Assessment Review.
Whatever action, if any, by the town government, may be necessary and appropriate to give effect to the authorization by the general assembly to the Town of Johnston to borrow money shall conform with the following stipulations:
(1) 
Emergency notes. In the absence of unappropriated available revenues to meet emergency appropriations, the town council may by ordinance authorize the issuance of notes, each of which shall be designated "emergency note" and may be renewed.
(2) 
Tax anticipation notes. In any fiscal year in anticipation of the collection of the property tax for such year, the town council may by ordinances authorize the borrowing of money by the issuance of negotiable notes of the town, each of which shall be designated "tax anticipation note for the year ending (fiscal date)." The amount of the tax anticipation notes issued in any fiscal year shall not exceed eighty per centum of the amount of the anticipated property tax to be collected during the corresponding fiscal year for the town purposes. All tax anticipation notes issued by the town shall mature and be paid prior to the end of the fiscal year in which they were issued.
(3) 
Special revenue notes. In any fiscal year, in anticipation of the collection or receipt of revenues other than the property tax of that fiscal year, the town council may by ordinance authorize the borrowing of money by the issuance of negotiable notes of the town, each of which shall be designated "special revenue note for the year ending (fiscal date)." Such notes may be renewed, but all such notes, together with the renewals shall mature and be paid not later than sixty days after receipt of such special revenues for which the original notes shall have been issued.
(4) 
Bond anticipation notes. In anticipation of the issuance of bonds approved pursuant to this article hereinafter, the town council may by ordinance authorize the issuance of negotiable notes. Each such note shall be designated "bond anticipation note" and may be renewed; providing however, that all notes issued shall be paid not later than sixty days after the issuance of all bonds to be issued.
(5) 
Demand notes prohibited. No notes shall be made payable on demand, but any note may be made subject to redemption prior to maturity on such notice and at such time as may be stated in the note.
(6) 
Notes to be sold at not less than par. All notes issued pursuant to this article may be sold at not less than par and accrued interest.
(7) 
Borrowing by issuance of bonds. The borrowing by issuance of bonds shall be as provided by state law.
(8) 
Obligation of the town. The power and obligation of the town to pay any and all notes hereafter issued by it pursuant to this Charter shall be unlimited and the town shall levy ad valorem taxes subject to statute upon all the taxable property within the town for the payment of such notes and interest thereon. The faith and credit of the town is hereby pledged for the payment of the principal of and the interest on all notes of the town hereafter issued pursuant to this Charter, whether or not such pledge be stated in the notes.