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Appointed Offices

FENCE VIEWER:
 
Upon request of the selectboard, the fence viewers shall examine fences within the town and must determine who is responsible for maintaining the fence dividing two parcels. 24 V.S.A. § 3810. When the land is being pastured without a division fence by both adjoining property owners then the fence viewer can be asked to decide how many animals each can put on the land. 24 V.S.A. § 3804. The fence viewer can also determine where a fence should be placed if the fence cannot be placed along the property line because of water or other impediments, and the owners can not agree on where it should be built. The fence viewer may not decide a boundary line or decide on ownership of land. 24 V.S.A. § 3802. See Camp v. Camp, 59 Vt. 667 (1887); Shaw v. Gilfillan, 22 Vt. 565 (1850).

Fence viewer cannot require landowner or occupant to pay for fence if he/she keeps no livestock. In 1989 the Vermont Supreme Court found 24 V.S.A. § 3802 unconstitutional. Section 3802 requires abutting landowners to pay a portion of the costs to maintain a fence that separates his or her property from the neighboring parcel. Choquette v. Perrault, 153 Vt. 45 (1989). The court reasoned that the change in land use patterns in Vermont means that the fence law more and more often applies to landowners without livestock. The court concluded that in such situations the fence law is burdensome, arbitrary and confiscatory, and is thus, unconstitutional. For this reason, the fence viewer can only require the landowner or occupant who owns livestock to pay the cost of maintaining the fence.

Appeals from decisions of fence viewers must be made within two hours of the decision. It is a little know fact that the shortest period for bringing appeal is from decisions of the fence viewer. Vermont law permits fence viewer decisions to be appealed to the district or superior court – but only if the appeal is taken within two hours of the rendition of the decision. 24 V.S.A. § 3810.

WEIGHER OF THE COAL: 
The weigher of coal is appointed by the selectboard (24 V.S.A. § 871) to serve as a referee in determining the weights of contested loads of coal (24 V.S.A. § 1032). For this service, he or she is entitled to a fee of ten cents for the first ton and four cents for each additional ton, to be paid by the person who requests to have the coal weighed. 32 V.S.A. § 1677.
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