The Easton Utilities Commission
Section 1. Appointment; term; vacancy.
The Easton Utilities Commission shall consist of three individuals, appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council. Two members of the Commission shall be residents of the Town; however, the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Council, may appoint one person to the Easton Utilities Commission who is a resident of the electric service area of the Easton Utilities Commission. All members of the Easton Utilities Commission shall serve for a term of six years and no member shall serve more than two terms. If a vacancy shall occur at any time by reason of death, resignation, removal from office or otherwise, the vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as originally provided herein.
(Res. No. 5217, passed 8/6/90, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 2. Same - Powers and duties.
In addition to such other powers and duties as this Charter or the Council may provide, the powers and duties of the Commission shall be as follows:
(a) The Commission shall operate, manage and maintain the municipal sewerage, water, electric, gas, cable and wireless communications systems, including a cable television system, and all or any other revenue producing utilities or related services which are now owned or may be hereafter constructed or acquired by the Town. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(b) The Commission shall have the full charge of the operation, management and maintenance of all revenue producing utilities or related services of the Town as aforesaid, including the power to make contracts in the name of the Town, to sue in the name of the Town for the collection of any and all indebtedness which may be due said Commission, or for the performance of contracts made with the Commission. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(c) The Commission shall have the power to purchase material, employ all such assistants, skilled and unskilled, and labor as may be necessary for the proper performance of its duties; and to fix the compensation of all such assistants employed by the Commission. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(d) The Commission shall make such rules and regulations for the management of the various utilities or related services under its charge and for their own government as it may deem proper. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(e) The Commission shall have power to make extensions, additions or improvements to the utility plants or systems; provided, the approval of the Council shall be first secured where the cost of such extension, addition or improvement shall exceed Two Million ($2,000,000) Dollars; and provided further, that where the aggregate cost of any extension, addition or improvement shall exceed Eight Hundred Thousand ($800,000.00) Dollars the Commission shall, where practicable, secure competitive bids for the purchase of all materials for these or any and all the plants or systems under its control, and the Commission shall have the right to accept or reject any and all bids based on the specifications upon which the respective bids are invited; and provided further, where the aggregate cost of any extension, addition or improvement is less than Eight Hundred Thousand ($800,000.00) Dollars, the Commission shall, where practicable, receive and review at least three comparative prices of said items before making said purchase. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(f) The Commission shall have power to sell the products and services including professional services of the several utilities, as well as any appliances relating thereto, which are under its control and to fix and revise rates therefor. Rates for electric, natural gas, water and wastewater services shall become effective upon approval by the Council and, when required, by the Maryland Public Service Commission or other jurisdictional regulatory agencies. Rates for basic cable television services shall become effective upon approval by the Council and, when required, by the Federal Communications Commission The Easton Utilities Commission shall give at least fifteen (15) days previous notice by publication in one or more newspapers published in the Town of the proposed revision of rates and grant such hearings, when practicable, as may be desired by the citizens of the Town. (1914 ch. 263, sec. 97EE. Res. No. 23, December 8, 1959; 1914, ch. 263, sec. 97GG. 1931, ch. 476. 1933, ch. 493. 1937, ch. 267. 1939, ch. 335. Res. No. 1, July 12, 1955; 1914, ch. 263, sec. 97II; 1914, ch. 263, sec. 97MM; 1916, ch. 302, sec. 97NN; Res. No. 33, 8/17/70. Res. No. 5615, 4/24/98, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
(g) The Commission shall have the power to enter into contracts and transactions, including contracts and transactions in the name of the Town, for the purposes of hedging commodity risks directly related to the Commission’s operations of the electric and gas utilities systems of the Town, provided that all such contracts and transactions shall be permitted under parameters for such contracts and transactions approved by the Council from time to time. (Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 3. Salary and Meetings
The salary of each Commissioner shall be of such sum and payable in such manner as determined by the Council; provided, that such salary shall be apportioned on the books and in the report of the various utility plants or systems in proportion to the gross income of the respective systems. The Commission shall meet for the transaction of business at least once a month and at such other times as it may be deemed necessary. (Res. No. 17, May 19, 1958, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 4. Council examination of records; removal of Commissioners; appeal.
The Council shall at all times have the right to examine, or have examined, the books and accounts of the Commission and have the power to remove any member of the Commission, against whom charges may be filed and proved, by formal resolution voted for by a majority of the whole Council and approved by the Mayor; provided, however, that should a contingency arise whereby such action is taken the member thus removed shall have the right within thirty days from the date of approval of said resolution to appeal to the Circuit Court for Talbot County, and in the event the said Court shall hold that such charges have not been properly proved and that sufficient cause has not been shown for the removal of said appealing member or members, the said Court shall by its order reinstate said appellant or appellants as member or members of said Commission and allow, in the discretion of the Court, reasonable counsel fees to be paid by the Town to the attorney or attorneys representing the reinstated member or members of said Commission. (1914, ch. 263, sec. 97JJ. 1931, ch. 476, sec. 227. 1931, ch. 476, sec. 1, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 5. Investment of reserve funds
The Commission, with the approval of the Council, shall have the power to invest or re-invest any funds accumulated as a reserve, for depreciation or replacement of any of its departments, in any of the following types of securities:
(a) bonds and other obligations of the United States;
(b) bonds of any corporation organized under an Act of Congress, if such corporation is an instrumentality of the United States, and provided further that such bonds are the direct obligation of the United States in payment of both principal and interest;
(c) bonds of the State of Maryland;
(d) bonds or other obligations of the Town of Easton, including bonds issued primarily for any one of the public utilities managed by said Commission; or (e) investments as provided in any investment policy adopted by the Town.
(1935, ch. 103, sec. 1, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 6. Sale of investments
The Commission, in its discretion, may sell any of the securities obtained by it. (1935, ch. 103, sec. 1, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)
Section 7. Street opening powers
The Commission shall have the right to open streets for water, sewer and gas mains, and for electric poles or conduits, or for other public utility purposes, without special permits, and the Commission is required to have the opening carefully guarded to avoid accident and to restore, and comply with the requirements of the Town as to restoring, the roadbed or sidewalk to a safe condition. (1914, ch. 263, sec. 97KK, Resolution No. 6005, November 20, 2012.)