Balloting of Property Owners
All property owners in the proposed LHD or LHP have the opportunity to vote directly on its establishment. In order to proceed, the proposed LHD or LHP must be approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the property owners who vote.
LHDs or LHPs cannot be established without substantial support from property owners. The Study Committee may work with community leaders in advance of the vote in order to gauge the level of support and identify property owners or residents who may have questions about the proposed LHD or LHP. Once the report of the Study Committee is submitted, the balloting of property owners must take place.
The voting by property owners is conducted by written secret ballot and is administered by the municipal clerk. Within sixty-five days of the public hearing, the Study Committee will submit its final report, with revisions, to both the legislative body and the city or town clerk. Upon receipt of the final Study Committee Report, the clerk issues paper ballots to all property owners in the proposed district in accordance with the following rules:
1. Who May Vote
Any property owner within the proposed LHD or LHP shall be entitled to vote, provided that the property owner (a) is at least eighteen years of age, (b) is liable to the municipality for taxes on an assessment of at least $1,000 on the last completed grand list (or whose predecessors in title were so liable), and (c) is listed as the owner of record for the property at least thirty days before the date on which ballots must be returned.
Any property owner within the proposed LHD or LHP who is exempt from property taxes under CGS, Section 12-81, Subsection (7), (8), (10), (11), (13), (14), (15), (16), (17), (20), (21), (22), (23), (24), (25), (26), (29), or (49) shall be entitled to vote. The exemptions apply to certain non-profit or charitable organizations and to individuals with certain disabilities or benefits. (See list on side bar.)
Any tenant in common of any freehold interest in any land within the proposed LHD or LHP shall have a vote equal to the fraction of that tenant in common’s ownership in said interest.
Joint tenants of any freehold interest shall vote as if each joint tenant owned an equal fractional share of that land. [Can this be clarified? – DRM]
A corporation owning land within the proposed LHD or LHP shall have its vote cast by the chief executive officer or that person’s designee.
An owner of multiple properties within the proposed LHD or LHP district shall have a single vote, not one vote for each property.
No owner shall have more than one vote.
Tax Exempt Property Owners Who May Vote:
Property of the United States State Property and reservation land Municipal property Property held by trustees for public purposes Property of volunteer fire companies Property devoted to public use Property used for scientific, educational, literary, historical or charitable purposes College property Property belonging to agricultural or horticultural societies Property held for cemetery use Houses of religious worship Property of religious organizations used for certain purposes Houses used by officiating clergymen as dwellings Hospitals and sanatoriums Property of Blind persons Property of servicemen andveterans having disability ratings Disabled veteran with severedisability Surviving spouse or minor childor serviceman or veteran Serviceman’s surviving spousereceiving federal benefits Surviving spouse and minor child ofveteran receiving compensationfrom the Veteran’s Administration Surviving parent of deceasedserviceman or veteran Parents of veterans Property of the American Red Cross Non-profit camps or recreational facilities for charitable purposes
2. Content of Ballots
The ballot must be formatted in accordance with the model ballot developed by CCT as provided in CGS, Section 10-409c. Sample ballot forms are available from CCT.
The ballot will include the question of whether the owner approves or disapproves of the proposed creation of an LHD or LHP, a return envelope addressed to the municipalclerk’s office, and the following statement which the owner must sign and date to verifyownership of property in the proposed LHD or LHP and the consequent right to vote:
"I, the undersigned, do hereby state under the penalties of false statement that I am an owner of record of real property to be included in the proposed historic district and that I am, or my predecessors in title were, liable to the municipality for taxes on an assessment of not less than one thousand dollars on the last grand list of the municipality of real property within the district, or who would be or would have been so liable if not entitled to an exemption under subdivision (7), (8), (10), (11), (13), (14), (15), (16), (17), (20), (21), (22), (23), (24), (25), (26), (29) or (49) of section 12-81."
3. Mailing Ballots
Within sixty-five days of receipt of the final Study Committee Report, the municipal clerk shall mail the paper ballots to all property owners in the proposed LHD or LHP. The ballots must be mailed to property owners at least fifteen days prior to the return deadline set by the municipal clerk.
4. Legal Notice
Notice of balloting must be published in the form of a legal advertisement appearing in a local newspaper at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first notice appearing not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last notice appearing not less than two days, before the day on which the ballots must be returned.
5. Return of Ballots
Ballots must be received by the municipal clerk by the close of business on the day specified as the return deadline. It is the task of the municipal clerk to compare the ballots received against the list of property owners of record within the proposed LHD or LHP, tally the votes for and against the proposed LHD or LHP, and provide the results of the vote to the legislative body.