Opinion 2002 - 8


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

WATER DISTRICTS -- Dissolution (when no improvement constructed and no debt outstanding)

TOWN LAW 195, 202-c: When a water district was established more than three years ago, no improvement has been constructed for the district or services provided by the district and no indebtedness is outstanding to accomplish the purposes of the district, the district may be dissolved, subject to public hearing requirements, if the town board determines it to be in the public interest. Certified copies of the board's determination must be recorded in the county clerk's office and filed with the State Comptroller within ten days of the board's determination.


You ask whether a water district, which was properly formed in 1982 but for which no improvements were constructed, no services provided and no indebtedness incurred, may be dissolved and, if so, pursuant to what procedures.

Town Law 202-c(2) contains pertinent provisions relative to the dissolution of town water districts. Section 202-c(2) provides that, whenever the town board of any town determines it to be in the public interest, the town board, on its own motion after public hearing, may dissolve and discontinue certain districts, including water districts, subject to three conditions: (1) three years must have elapsed since the date of establishment of the district; (2) no improvement may have been constructed or service provided for the district at any time since the establishment of the district; and (3) no indebtedness incurred for any district purpose may remain outstanding and unpaid.

The public hearing must be held pursuant to notice by order of the town board entered in the minutes of its proceedings, reciting in general terms the board's motion to dissolve, and specifying the purpose of the hearing, the name and boundaries of the district and the time when and place where the board will meet to consider the matter and hear all interested persons (Town Law 202-c[1]). The board must cause a copy of the order, certified by the clerk, to be published at least once in the town's official newspaper. The first publication must be not less
than ten nor more than twenty days before the day set for the hearing (id.). A copy of the notice also must be posted on the sign board of the town, maintained pursuant to Town Law 30(6), in that same time frame (id.; compare Garden Homes v Town of Dover, 95 NY2d 516, 720 NYS2d 79).

If the board determines to dissolve the district after the public hearing, then pursuant to Town Law 195, the town clerk must cause certified copies of the board's determination to be duly recorded in the office of the county clerk, and filed with the State Comptroller, within ten days after the determination (Town Law 195[1]). When so recorded in the office of the county clerk, the determination is presumptive evidence of the regularity of the proceedings to dissolve the district and all other actions taken by the board in relation thereto (id.). The filing with the State Comptroller is for informational purposes (2000 Opns St Comp No. 2000-3, p 7).

Accordingly, since the district in question was established more than three years ago, no improvement has been constructed for the district or services provided by the district and no indebtedness is outstanding to accomplish the purposes of the district, the district may be dissolved, subject to public hearing requirements, if the town board determines it to be in the public interest. Certified copies of the board's determination must be recorded in the county clerk's office and filed with the State Comptroller within ten days of the board's determination.

July 18, 2002

Ray R. Mallette, Supervisor
Town of Pamelia