Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
November 30, 1993
Representative Edward C. Krawiecki, Jr.
House Minority Leader
House of Representatives
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Representative Krawiecki:
In your letter of August 12, 1993, you relate that by a Resolve of May, 1824, a Borough of Newtown was created. Subsequently the General Assembly passed 1931 Special Act No. 290 and 1953 Special Act No. 106 also relating to the formation of this borough. You ask three questions relating to this borough. First you ask whether the borough may be dissolved. Secondly you ask the procedure in accomplishing this dissolution. Thirdly you ask what legal requirements are imposed upon the officials of the borough to assist residents in bringing about dissolution.1
In answer to your first question, a borough may be dissolved by special act. The provisions of Art. X of the Connecticut Constitution2 specifically permit special acts regarding the dissolution of political subdivisions. Therefore, by virtue of this constitutional provision, the General Assembly may enact legislation to dissolve a borough.
As you point out, the general statutes are silent as to the means to dissolve the borough, as opposed to consolidation of the borough with the town. The legislature, however, is not prohibited from passing a special act relating solely to dissolution. Article X of the Connecticut Constitution itself supplies authority to the General Assembly to enact a special act regarding dissolution of the borough. See also Moran v. Bens, 144 Conn. 27, 30-31 (1956).
The answer to your second question is that the procedure to be followed in dissolution would be set forth in any special act which the legislature enacted. Thus, the procedure to be followed is within the purview of the legislature. However, we note that this special act should address under what circumstances, and by whom, the duties of the borough should be assumed on the dissolution of the borough.3 The special act might also provide, if the legislature so wished, for hearings and a referendum procedure to approve the dissolution.
In regard to your third question, there are no state legal obligations imposed on borough officials by the Connecticut Constitution or general statutes to initiate or supervise the process of dissolution of a borough. Any duties of the borough officials regarding the request for dissolution would be local in nature and should be determined by the borough attorney. The borough attorney on review of the Resolve and the existing Special Acts will be in a position to advise the residents further.
We trust that we have been of assistance in this matter.
Very truly yours,
Henry S. Cohn
Assistant Attorney General
1 We are also in receipt of correspondence from Andrew and Ann Zitnay and Joan Crick, Warden of the Borough, regarding the general issue of dissolution. This correspondence does not bear on the legal issues you raised.
2 This provision provides in part: After July 1, 1969, the general assembly shall enact no special legislation relative to the powers, organization, terms of elective offices or form of government of any single town, city or borough, except as to (a) borrowing power, (b) validating acts, and (c) formation, consolidation or dissolution of any town, city or borough .... (emphasis added)
3 It is noted that Conn.Gen.Stat. § 7-198, which applies when a borough is consolidated with a town, contains certain analogous provisions to be addressed in a proposed special act dissolving a borough.