Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The city known as the town of Methuen is hereby authorized to establish, by ordinance, the Methuen sewer and water commission which shall have all the rights, powers and duties of sewer commissions and water commissions under the General Laws and any special acts, insofar as these do not conflict with the provisions of this act.
Said commission shall be an administrative agency, as provided in the charter of said city and shall be under the supervision and control of the town manager.
SECTION 2. Said ordinance shall provide but not be limited to the following:-
(1) The general administration of the management and fiscal and prudential affairs of the sewer and water systems of the city known as the town of Methuen, shall except as otherwise provided herein be vested in the Methuen sewer and water commission consisting of five persons who shall be appointed by the town manager subject to the approval of the town council in accordance with the provisions of section 3-2(b) of Article 3 of the charter of said city for terms of three years beginning on the first secular day of January or until their successors are qualified.
Members of said commission shall be residents of said city and upon ceasing to be such residents shall be removed from the commission by operation of law. Persons shall be appointed to said commission so that each district shall have at least one member.
The town manager shall annually designate one member as chairman, who shall coordinate the administrative affairs of the commission. Said commission shall provide for a vice-chairman, treasurer and secretary.
Three members shall constitute a quorum and except as otherwise provided by law or charter, a motion may be passed by the affirmative vote of a majority of those present.
The commission shall from time to time adopt rules for its proceedings. Such rules shall provide for the holding of regular and special meetings.
(2) The sewer and water systems shall remain a division of the department of public works and shall be operated on a day to day basis under the direction of the director of said department.
The commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) No expenditure exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars shall be made without prior approval of the commission.
(b) No contract exceeding one hundred thousand dollars shall be executed without prior approval of the commission.
(c) May establish regulations, policies and procedures for the administration of the water and sewer division regarding personnel and operations.
(d) Shall have control over the use of all water and sewer facilities and properties and be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all such property, subject to the provisions of section 3-2(g) of this charter. Said commission shall keep a full and complete inventory of all real and personal property of the systems.
(e) May require any town officer to appear before it and give such information as it may require in relation to functions of the water and sewer division.
(f) May perform such other acts as required by the town manager or town council.
(3) The commission shall submit its annual budget to the town manager. For the purposes of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, the commission shall be considered a department of said city. Said budget shall be published and a hearing held in accordance with the provisions of the charter.
The city is hereby authorized to establish an "Enterprise Fund" under the provisions of section thirty-nine K of chapter forty of the General Laws for the operation of the sewer and water commissions.
(4) The commission may establish such fees, charges and costs, provided, however, that no fee, charge or cost may be implemented until a joint public hearing shall be held by the commission and town council. Said hearing shall be held within forty-five days of the commission's vote to establish such fee, charge or cost. Said public hearing shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in said city at least seven days prior to the hearing. The council may within thirty days of the hearing vote to rescind or modify such fee, charge or cost.
SECTION 3. Except as otherwise prohibited by law or the charter, and, upon recommendation of the commission, the town council may, by ordinance, reorganize, consolidate or abolish any existing division of the sewer and water commission, in whole or in part, or establish any new division; provided, however, that no such reorganization, consolidation, abolishment or creation shall occur unless and until the manager shall so approve such change.
Every person holding a position in the department, authority, board or commission which has been abolished or merged shall be transferred to the sewer and water commission without reduction in compensation or impairment of civil service rights, if any, or retirement pension rights, seniority, vacation or sick leave benefits.
All books, papers, documents, equipment, lands, interests in buildings, building facilities and other property, both personal and real, which are in the custody of any agency, board or commission or which relate to their functions, powers and duties, in whole or in part, which are transferred to the sewer and water commission shall be transferred to such commission as of the effective date of this act, or date established by ordinance.
All petitions, hearings and other proceedings duly brought before and all prosecutions and legal and other proceedings duly begun by any agency, board or commission which arise from or relate to the exercise of the powers or duties of said agency, board or commission and which are pending immediately prior to the effective date of this act, or date established by ordinance, shall continue unabated and remain in force notwithstanding the passage of this act and shall be continued by the sewer and water commission.
SECTION 4. The town council may, by ordinance establish an annual stipend for commission members and may provide for reimbursement of their actual expenses incurred in carrying out their duties.
SECTION 5. All provisions, powers and duties vested hereunder shall become effective upon that date as established in an ordinance creating the sewer and water commission for the city known as the town of Methuen; and all appointments to the commission shall be so initially made so as to insure that as nearly one-third of their number shall be appointed annually; each to hold office for three years thereafter until his successor is duly appointed.
The first members appointed to the commission shall be appointed as follows: two members to serve until the first secular day of the following year; two members to serve until the first secular day of the following second year; and one member to serve until the first secular day of the following third year.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon its passage.