SENATE DOCKET, NO. FILED ON: 10/21/2011
SENATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. 2037
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
In the Year Two Thousand Eleven
An Act relative to regional 911 emergency communication districts.
Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to maximize effective emergency and 911 dispatch services as well as regional interoperability for the citizens of the commonwealth, therefore, it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, therefore, it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public safety.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 6A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 18L the following new sections:-.
Section 18M. Regional emergency communication center defined
A regional emergency communication center is defined as stated in chapter 6A, section 18A of the General Laws.
Section 18N. Regional public safety answering point defined
Section 18N. A regional public safety answering point is defined as stated in chapter 6A, section 18A of the General Laws.
Section 18O. Regional 911 emergency communication district planning committee
Section 18O. A city or town, by vote of the council in the case of a city or by vote of the board of selectmen or town council in the case of a town, may create a special unpaid committee to be known as a regional 911 emergency communication district planning committee consisting of three persons to be appointed by the chairman of the board of selectmen or town council in a town and by the mayor in a city.
Section 18P. Regional 911 emergency communication district planning board; study of creation of district; expenses of board; regional 911 emergency communication district defined
Section 18P. Regional 911 emergency communication district planning committees from any two or more cities or towns may join together to form a regional 911 emergency communication district planning board. Such 911 regional emergency communication district planning board shall study the advisability and feasibility of establishing a regional 911 emergency communication district, its organization, operation and control, and of selecting, constructing, maintaining and operating a regional 911 emergency communication center to serve the needs of the district, and shall estimate construction and operating costs and study methods of financing such district. Each city or town comprising such board may appropriate a sum not in excess of one dollar per capita for the purpose of meeting the expenses of the board. Such board may expend any such sums so appropriated and may employ such expert assistance as it deems necessary. Such board may apply for, accept and expend, without appropriation, grants or gifts of funds from the federal or state government or any other source. As used in this section and in sections eighteen M through eighteen Y, inclusive, the term “regional 911 emergency communication center” shall mean a facility housing or otherwise supporting a regional emergency communication center or regional public safety answering point as approved by the state 911 department.
Section 18Q. Regional 911 emergency communication district planning board; agreement for establishment of district
Section 18Q. The regional 911 emergency communication district planning board, consisting only of the regional 911 emergency communication district planning committees , shall draw up a proposed written agreement for the purpose of establishing, constructing, equipping, operating, and maintaining a regional 911 emergency communication center.
The said agreement shall contain provisions describing and providing for the financial terms and conditions of membership, sharing of construction and operating costs, the number, method of selection and terms of office of the members of the regional 911 emergency communication district committee, the general area in which the regional 911 emergency communication center shall be constructed or located, the terms by which another city or town may be admitted to the district, the terms by which a city or town may withdraw from the district, the method by which the agreement may be amended, the methods of termination of the district, the procedure for the preparation and adoption of the annual budget and any other matters, not incompatible with law, which said board may deem advisable; provided, however, that the regional emergency communication center or the regional public safety answering point shall be subject to the approval of the state 911 department.
Section 18R. Report of board
Section 18R. The regional 911 emergency communication district planning board shall report its findings and recommendations to city council and the board of selectmen or town council, as the case may be, of each city or town comprising the board. If the board recommends that a regional 911 emergency communication district be established, a copy of the proposed agreement shall accompany the report to each such city or town.
Section 18S. Acceptance of recommendation; election; establishment of district
Section 18S. The city councils of the several cities or the boards of selectmen or town councils of the several towns, upon receipt of a recommendation that a regional 911 emergency communication district be established, shall vote on the question of accepting such plan within forty-five days after receipt of the recommendation. In the case of either a town or a city, the question to be voted on shall be:—“Shall the city (town) accept the provisions of sections 18M to 18Z, inclusive, of chapter 6A of the General Laws providing for the establishment of a regional 911 emergency communication district, together with the towns of ____________________ and the cities of ____________________, and the construction, maintenance and operation of a regional 911 emergency communication center by said district in accordance with the provisions of a proposed agreement filed with the board of selectmen, town council or the city council?”
If a majority of the members of each city council, board of selectmen or town council voting on the question shall vote in the affirmative, the proposed regional 911 emergency communication district shall be deemed to be established forthwith in accordance with the terms of the proposed agreement.
Section 18T. General powers of district
Section 18T. A regional 911 emergency communication district, established under the provisions of section eighteen S, shall be deemed to be a public employer and shall be a body politic and corporate with the following powers and duties:—
(a) To adopt a name and a corporate seal, and the engraved or printed facsimile of such seal appearing on a bond or note of the district shall have the same legal effect as such seal would have if it were impressed thereon.
(b) To sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon the same conditions that a city or town may be sued.
(c) To purchase, lease, or take by eminent domain under chapter seventy-nine land within the cities and towns which have accepted the provisions of sections sixty A to sixty L, inclusive, for the purposes of the district, to enter into contracts for the purchase of equipment, buildings, supplies, materials, and services and to construct, equip, and maintain a regional 911 emergency communication center for the benefit of the members of the district, and to make any necessary contracts in relation thereto.
(d) To incur debt for the purpose of acquiring land, buildings, and equipment and constructing, equipping, and maintaining a regional 911 emergency communication center for a term not exceeding twenty-five years; and provided, further, that written notice of the amount of the debt and of the general purposes for which it was authorized shall be given to the city council of each city, and to the board of selectmen or town council of each town, comprising the district not later than seven days after the date on which said debt was authorized by the district committee; and no debt may be incurred until the expiration of thirty days from the date said debt was authorized by the district committee. If, prior to the expiration of said period, the city council of any member city or the board of selectmen or town council of any member town expresses disapproval of the amount authorized by the district committee, the said debt shall not be incurred and the regional 911 emergency communication district planning committee shall thereupon prepare another proposal which may be the same as any prior proposal and an authorization to incur debt therefor.
(e) To issue bonds and notes in the name and upon the full faith and credit of said district; said bonds or notes shall be signed by the chairman and the treasurer of the district committee, except that said chairman by a writing bearing his written signature and filed in the office of said treasurer, which writing shall be open to public inspection, may authorize said treasurer to cause to be engraved or printed on said bonds or notes a facsimile of said chairman’s signature, and such facsimile signature so engraved or printed shall have the same validity and effect as said chairman’s written signature, and each issue of bonds or notes shall be a separate loan.
(f) To receive and disburse funds for any district purpose.
(g) To incur short term debt in anticipation of revenue to be received from members.
(h) To assess member cities and towns for any expenses of the district.
(i) To apply for and receive any grants or gifts for the purposes of the district.
(j) To engage legal counsel.
(k) To submit an annual report to each of the member cities and towns, containing a detailed financial statement, and a statement showing the method by which the annual charges assessed against each city and town were computed.
(l) To employ an executive director and such other employees as it deems necessary to operate such district and to establish the duties, compensation, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment of personnel.
(m) To adopt an annual operating budget.
(n) To enter into contracts for 911 emergency communication center services with non-member cities and towns and governmental bodies as well as other bodies politic, the United States of America and other persons.
Section 18U. Exercise of powers; officers of committee
Section 18U. The powers, duties and liabilities of a regional 911 emergency communication district shall be vested in and exercised by a regional 911 emergency communication district committee organized in accordance with the agreement. The committee shall choose a chairman by ballot from its membership. It shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer, who may be the same person, but who need not be members of said committee. The treasurer shall receive and take charge of all money belonging to the district and shall pay any bill of the district which shall have been approved by the committee. The treasurer may, by vote of said committee, be compensated for his services. The treasurer of said district shall be subject to the provisions of sections thirty-five, fifty-two and one hundred and nine A of chapter forty-one, to the extent applicable.
Section 18V. Maintenance and operating expenses; debts; determination and apportionment
Section 18V. The regional 911 emergency communication district committee shall annually determine the amounts necessary to be raised to maintain and operate the district during the ensuing fiscal year, and the amounts required for payment of debt and interest incurred by the district which will be due in the said year, and shall apportion the amount so determined among the several member cities and towns in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The amounts so apportioned for each city or town shall, prior to March thirty-first in each year, be certified by the regional district treasurer to the treasurers of the several cities and towns. The obligation of each member city or town to pay apportionments pursuant to the agreement shall be included in the amounts to be assessed annually in such city or town under section twenty-three of chapter fifty-nine without appropriation and the city or town treasurer shall pay to the district the amounts so apportioned at the times specified in the agreement. The amounts apportioned or to be apportioned pursuant to the agreement shall not be included in the statutory limit of indebtedness of any city or town.
Section 18W. Audits and reports
Section 18W. The regional 911 emergency communication district shall maintain accurate and comprehensive records of services performed, costs incurred, and reimbursements and contributions received; shall issue annual and quarterly financial statements to all members; and shall perform regular audits of the accounts of the records of the district. Upon the completion of each audit, a report thereon shall be made to the chairman of said district committee, and a copy thereof shall be sent to the mayor and to the chairman of the board of selectmen or town council, respectively, of each city and town which is a member of said district.
Section 18X. Sale, lease or license of lands or facilities to regional 911 emergency communication districts
Section 18X. The agreement made under section eighteen Q, or any amendment to such an agreement, may contain provisions authorizing any member city or town to sell, lease or license to the regional 911 emergency communication district any emergency communication center facility, building, and any land appurtenant thereto or used in connection therewith or any other property useful for the purposes of the district, and any such city or town may authorize such sale, lease or license accordingly, notwithstanding the provisions of section three of chapter forty or any other provisions of law to the contrary. In case of a sale, the price and time or times of payment and the method by which the cities and towns other than the selling city or town shall be assessed for such payment shall be set forth in the agreement or amendment; but in no case shall payments be made which shall extend over a period in excess of twenty-five years. In the case of a lease or license, the rental or license fee and terms of payment and assessment shall be set forth in the agreement or amendment. The lease or license may be for a term not in excess of twenty-five years, and may contain provisions for the extension of the lease or license for an additional term not in excess of twenty-five years at the option of the regional 911 emergency communication district committee.
Section 18Y. Bonds and notes; limit of indebtedness
Section 18Y. The provisions of sections sixteen to twenty-eight, inclusive, of chapter forty-four shall, so far as apt, apply to regional 911 emergency communication districts, but the provisions of section sixteen relating to the countersigning of bonds and notes and the provisions of section twenty-four relating to the countersigning and approval of notes and the certificates of the clerk relating thereto shall not apply to such districts. Any debt incurred by a regional 911 emergency communication district shall not be subject to the limit of indebtedness prescribed in section ten of chapter sixty.
SECTION 2. This Act shall take effect upon its passage.