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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3294        FILED ON: 1/12/2009

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3701

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Denis E. Guyer

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the passage of the accompanying bill:

An Act ESTABLISHING THE CENTER POND RESTORATION AND PROTECTION DISTRICT IN THE TO WN OF BECKET.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Denis E. Guyer

2nd Berkshire

Benjamin B. Downing

Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand and Nine

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An Act ESTABLISHING THE CENTER POND RESTORATION AND PROTECTION DISTRICT IN THE TOWN OF BECKET.


 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

WHEREAS, There exists within the town of Becket a lake known as Center Pond; hereinafter shall be referred to as Center Pond; and

              WHEREAS, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation a nd Recreation issued a Certificate of Non-Compliance and Dam Safety Order dated February 22, 2008, requiring that the dam located on the northeastern shoreline of Center Pond which creates Center Pond (herein the “Center Pond Dam”) be repaired and brought into compliance with Dam Safety Regulations or breached and removed no later than November   3 0 , 2009; and

              WHEREAS, The Town of Becket has property abutting Center Pond used by the public; and

              WHEREAS, The assessed value of private property abutting Cente r Pond will be significantly reduced if the Center Pond Dam is breached and the resulting loss of tax revenue will adversely affect the Town of Becket and its residents; and

              WHEREAS, Center Pond has in common with many other lakes in the Commonwealth, und ergone in recent years substantial eutrophic deterioration, due in part to natural and unnatural inflows of nutrients and organic matter, which have contributed to the deterioration of the lake for recreational use; and

              WHEREAS, There have come to exist v arious technological means that may be employed to stabilize the eutrophic deterioration of lakes and thereby restore, preserve and enhance the recreational use of lakes by both private owners and the general public; and

              WHEREAS, Both Federal Government a nd the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have recognized the substantial public benefit to be derived from the preservation and enhancement of the recreational and general environmental quality of such lakes and have developed funded programs to assist in the study, development and application of methods and means of protecting and rehabilitating same, and

              WHEREAS, In addition to the substantial public benefit to be derived from such efforts to preserve and enhance the recreational and environmental quality of Center Pond and also from the related development of increased public access for both bathing and boating there also exists substantial benefits to the owner/proprietors of land along and near the shoreline of Center Pond where such efforts not only provi de direct recreational benefit to such proprietors but also assist in the preservation and enhancement of their proprietary interest; and

              WHEREAS, It is anticipated that such proprietors would, by the formation of a self-governing district entity contribu te equitably toward and assist in bringing the dam which creates Center Pond into compliance with Dam Safety Regulations and otherwise repair and maintain the said dam and also contribute equitably toward and assist in the development and implementation of studies, projects and programs designed to preserve and enhance the recreational and general environmental quality of Center Pond including assistance in funding the operation and management thereof, acting at all times in concert with other local, state and federal governmental units representing the interests of the general public.

              NOW THEREFORE,

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.   There is hereby authorized to be created and established a district within the Town of Becket, known as the Center Pond Restoration and Protection District which, upon establishment in the manner hereinafter set forth shall constitute a body politic and corporate. Said District shall be generally bounded and comprised as follows:

              (1)  The land embraced by those parcels of land assessed for real estate taxes by the Board of Assessors for the Town of Becket which (a)   abut directly on the shoreline of the C enter Pond or (b)   has improved property (defined herein as having a dwelling on such property) that does not abut directly on the shoreline and has a deeded access to Center Pond (herein collectively referred to as the “District Property”) excluding, howev er, land owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its political bodies.

              SECTION 2.   Owners of such District Property (herein referred to as the “Proprietors”) in the District shall consist of the persons and entities owning or having an interest in land described in Section   1 above.  For the purposes of this act, persons and entities shall be deemed to not include the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or its political subdivisions.

              SECTION 3.   The District, upon establishment in the manner hereinafter set forth, shall have the following powers:

A.  To inspect, investigate, repair, maintain, protect, improve, reconstruct and construct the Center Pond Dam subject to the obtaining of necessary approvals from and, where required, under the supervision of a ppropriate local, state and federal governmental agencies i ncluding the Town of Becket , Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Office of Dam Safety, Environmental Protection , Fisheries, Wildlife and Recreational Vehicles (or divisions, boards and s uccessors thereof).

B.  To initiate and coordinate research and surveys for the purpose of gathering data on the lake, related shore lands, watershed and the drainage basin and other matters directly pertaining to the reclamation, protection and maintenanc e of the lake for general recreation use.

C.  .  To manage, control and supervise Center Pond Dam, equipment and facilities necessary or appropriate in the accomplishment of the purposes of this Act, including but not limited to weed control and water leve l control, provided always the level of Center Pond shall be maintained at an adequate level between June   1 and October   15, unless dangerous to do so, and further provided the District shall have no authority or right to limit the recreational use of Cente r Pond or land within the District or construct, maintain or repair any roads or other facilities except those necessary or advisable for the maintenance, repair, protection and improvement of the Center Pond Dam.

              D.  To make and enter into all manner of contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the exercise of any power permitted to the District by this Act.

              E.  To adopt an annual budget and to raise, appropriate and expend funds in such amount to carry out the purposes for which the District i s formed.

F.  To acquire, by gift, purchase or lease, dispose of, lease and encumber real and personal property for the purposes of the District.

G.  To construct, acquire by lease or purchase, improve, maintain and operate such equipment and facilities an d such other equipment, materials, supplies, facilities and services as such be required to accomplish the purposes of this Act, to the same extent and subject to the same limitations as shall apply to towns in the Commonwealth from time to time under the General Laws.

H.  To apply for, accept and expend financial assistance from the Federal Government, the Commonwealth, and the Town of Becket either directly or jointly with and through said town.

I.  To apply for, receive and expend funds from the charitab le foundations or other private entities and individuals in the form of grants, gifts, loans and advances for or in aid of the purposes of this District.

J.  To employ such persons including consultant experts as may be deemed necessary in its judgment and to fix their compensation.

K.  To adopt by-laws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business, which by-laws shall be consistent with the powers conferred by this Act and with other applicable provisions of the General Laws.

L.  To bor row at the first or any subsequent meeting of the District for the purpose of meeting preliminary or current expenses such sums as may be necessary and to issue therefore general obligation temporary notes for a period of not more than two (2) years, provi ded that such notes shall be issued only in anticipation of assessments and other revenues of the District of the fiscal year in which such notes are issued or in anticipation of money to be received from the sale of longer term bonds or notes for such pur poses as are otherwise hereafter permitted in this Act.

M.  To sue and be sued in its own name and to plead and be impleaded; provided, however, that neither the District nor any officer or employee thereof shall be liable in tort except pursuant to the pr ovisions of Chapter 258 of the General Laws; and provided further, that the District may indemnify its officers and employees to the extent provided in said Chapter 258.

N.  To invest any funds not required for the immediate use of the District in such man ner and to the extent permitted under the General Laws for the investment of such funds by the Treasurer of the town.

O.  To procure insurance against any loss or liability which may be sustained or incurred in the carrying out of the purposes of this Act in such amount as the District shall deem necessary and appropriate and with one or more insurer who shall be licensed to furnish such insurance in the Commonwealth.

P.  To acquire by eminent domain the fee or such other interest in real estate as the Dist rict shall elect for the purpose of inspecting, investigating, repairing, maintaining, protecting, improving, reconstructing and constructing the Center Pond Dam and for providing access to and from the Center Pond Dam.

Q.  To perform generally all acts wh ich are necessary or convenient to implement the powers which are expressly or by necessary implication conferred upon the District by this Act and which are not otherwise prohibited under any provision of the General Laws.

SECTION 4. Formation.  Upon ena ctment of this Act and within sixty (60) days thereafter, the selectmen of the Town of Becket shall call a meeting of the Proprietors of the lands to be included in the District as set forth under Section 2 above.  For the purposes of establishing an initi al list of owners, the selectmen shall consult with the Board of Assessors and such board shall furnish to the selectmen a listing of all property owners as of January first in the year of enactment who are owners of District Property or who within the rea sonable knowledge or belief of the assessors are owners of District Property.  The selectmen upon receiving such lists shall prepare and mail a notice to each such Proprietor signed by a selectmen and setting forth a time and place of a meeting to occur wi thin said sixty (60) day period, but not less than fourteen (14) days from the date of mailing and said notice.  The notice shall be in the form of a warrant specifying the matters upon which action is to be taken at the meeting and shall further clearly s tate that the purpose of the meeting is to consider the organization of the District.  The selectmen shall further not later than fourteen (14) days prior to the date of such meeting cause a copy of the notice to be posted in one or more public access loca tions within the town.  The meeting shall be held at a public access building in the Town of Becket unless some other location within the town shall be jointly agreed upon by the selectmen.

At the first meeting of the District, one selectman from the Town of Becket shall initially preside and shall call the meeting to order.  Said selectmen shall thereupon determine whether or not a majority of the Proprietors are present or represented by proxies duly executed and placed in the hands of the other Proprieto rs prior to said meeting.  Lacking such a majority, the meeting shall have no power to act, but the selectmen of the town may, in the manner above provided, call additional meetings for the same purpose within a further sixty day period.

Provided that a qu orum has been determined to be present in the manner above specified, the meeting shall then proceed to the following order of business:

A.  Election of a temporary clerk, who shall be sworn by one of the selectmen present, and a moderator who shall thereupon preside.

B.  The taking of a vote to determine whether or not the District authorized by this Act shall be established and organized, which vote shall require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Proprietors present and voting in person or by proxy.  If such vote shall be in the negative, the meeting shall thereupon adjourn.  If such vote shall be in the affirmative and upon the required majority, the meeting shall next proceed to consider the order of business set forth in sub-paragraphs C th rough F, inclusive.

C.  The adoption of District by-laws and form of District seal.

D.  The election by ballot of a District clerk and a District treasurer, who may be the same person, and who shall be a Proprietor as defined in Section 1 of this Act, to h old office until one year from the next succeeding annual meeting and at each annual meeting after the first a clerk and treasurer shall be elected by ballot for one year.  There shall also be elected by ballot three (3) members of the Prudential Committee , constituted in its entirety as hereafter set forth, said three (3) members to hold office, one for three (3) years, one for two (2) years, and one for one (1) year, from the next succeeding annual meeting.  At each annual meeting after the first, a membe r of the committee shall be elected by ballot for three (3) years.  The aforesaid officers of the District shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified.  Persons eligible for nomination and election to the Prudential Committee shall b e at least eighteen years of age and shall be persons entitled to vote as owners.

E.  The adoption of an initial budget for the remainder of the fiscal year and the appropriation of monies to be raised by assessment upon the real property within the Distri ct held by Proprietors.

F.  The consideration of such other business as shall be consistent with the power and authority conferred by this Act. 

The District clerk shall retain all proxy votes cast at the initial meeting, together with the minutes of the meeting and as part of the permanent record of the District.  The clerk shall further prepare a certificate of the vote taken to organize the District and shall affix the form of seal thereto as adopted by the initial District meeting and shall obtain the endorsement of the selectmen initially presiding at the meeting thereon.  Such certificate shall be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Commonwealth within thirty (30) days following the adjournment of the meeting and upon filing said certificate, the provisions of this Act shall take full effect.

SECTION 5.   Voting.  At the initial District meeting, at all subsequent annual and special District meetings, voting by Proprietors shall be governed by the requirements of this Section.  There shall be one vote available to be cast for each District Property parcel assessed for real estate taxes by the Board of Assessors of the Town of Becket as set forth in Section 1 of this Act irrespective of whether there be more than one owner for such parcels and exclu ding, however, land owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or its political bodies..  In the event of more than one owner, the Proprietors shall designate in writing to the clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting, the person authorized to vote o n behalf of the Proprietor at such meeting and such person shall be presumed as qualified and authorized to present signatories.  A Proprietor owning a parcel with his/her spouse shall not be required to furnish a written proxy from his/her spouse and eith er shall be presumed to be qualified to vote.

The authority of a person to cast a proxy vote on behalf of a Proprietor shall likewise be determined by the clerk.  Further, all proxies must be tendered in writing prior to the commencement of any District me eting and shall clearly set forth the name and address of the proprietor entering the proxy, the name and address of the person who is to exercise the proxy, the signature of the proprietor granting same and the date of execution.  The District may, if it so elects, adopt in its by-laws an approved form of proxy to satisfy the requirements of this Section.  The duration of a proxy shall be as established by District by-law.

SECTION 6.   Annual and Special Meetings; Quorum Requirements.  Annual meetings of t he District shall be held on the last Saturday in May in each year or at such other time as the District shall establish from time to time in its by-laws.  Annual or other special meetings of the District shall be called by warrant under the hands of the P rudential Committee, notice of which shall be given fourteen (14) days at least before such meeting.  The warrant shall be mailed first class, postage pre-paid to each Proprietor of record in the District and a copy of same shall be directed to a constable of the Town of Becket or to some other person who shall cause a copy of said notice to be posted in one or more public place within the town or by advertising in a newspaper published at least weekly within Berkshire County and having a general circulatio n within the town.  The warrant for all District meetings shall state the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be acted upon thereat.  The Prudential Committee shall insert in the warrant of the annual meeting all subjects, the insertion of wh ich shall be requested of them in writing by ten (10) or more owners and in the warrant for each special District meeting all subjects the insertion of which shall be requested of them in writing by twenty (20) or more owners.  The Prudential Committee sha ll call a special District meeting at its behest or upon request in writing of not less than twenty (20) owners.  Special meetings so requested shall be held not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt of such request.  No action taken at the annual or any special District meeting shall be valid unless the subject matter thereof shall have been set forth in the warrant for such meeting.  Two or more District meetings for District purposes may be called for by the same warrant.  At every District meeti ng a moderator shall be chosen by ballot and shall have the powers of the moderator of a town meeting.

District meetings shall be governed by Chapter 39 of the General Laws except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act.

The Board of Assessors of the T own of Becket shall, at least thirty (30) days prior to the annual District meeting, prepare and forward to the Prudential Committee a true and complete alphabetical listing with addresses of the owners reflected in their records as of January first of tha t year and from the records maintained by the assessors pursuant to Chapter 59 and other related provisions of the General Laws.  A copy of such list shall be maintained in a manner accessible to the owners and the general public at all reasonable times by the Prudential Committee and/or the District clerk and shall further be available for inspection at the annual meeting and any special meeting of the District.  The Board of Assessors shall likewise maintain a list of owners by separate list or special de signation on their list of all assessed parcels.

Quorum requirements for annual meetings and special meetings of the District shall be specified for the initial District meeting set forth above or otherwise as the District shall determine from time to time in its by-laws, provided always that the quorum requirements for any meeting at which there may be a vote to amend the District’s by-laws shall be no less than 50% of the eligible and qualified Proprietors in person or by proxy but a lesser number may adj ourn any meeting from time to time without further notice.

Any matter to be voted upon at an annual or special meeting of the District shall require only a majority of those owners present in person or by proxy and voting on the question, except for the fo llowing actions which shall require a two-thirds vote:

A.   A vote to petition for dissolution of the District.

B.   A vote to purchase, to take by eminent domain or otherwise acquire real property.

C.   A vote to finance any undertaking which is authorized by the Act to be financed in whole or in part by the issuance by the District of long term notes or bonds.

D.   A vote to amend the District by-laws.

SECTION 7.   Prudential Committee Composition and Duties.  The  Prudential Committee shall have and shall exercise, the foll owing powers and duties:

A.  The expenditure for the purposes permitted to the District, of the money raised and borrowed by the District.

B.  The annual preparation of a budget for the management and operation of the District and the submission of such bu dget to the annual District meeting for its approval.  Such budget shall include the committee’s estimate of those monies required to be raised and appropriated by means of assessment upon the District proprietors, by borrowing, or otherwise to be received .

C.  To apply in the name of the District for grants, loans, and other assistance from both governmental and non-governmental entities.

D.  Subject to prior appropriation therefore, to enter into agreements and contracts involving the purpose or lease of services, equipment and supplies consistent with the powers granted by this Act.

E.  Subject to prior appropriation therefore, to hire, supervise, suspend and discharge such employees as the Prudential Committee shall deem necessary or appropriate for the conduct of the work to be performed by the District including, but not limited to , a District superintendent who shall have charge on a day to day basis of all District employees and who shall be responsible on behalf of the Prudential Committee for the conduct and/or supervision of any and all work to be performed by or on behalf of t he District pursuant to this Act.  Compensation and benefits for the District superintendent and all other employees shall, subject to prior appropriation therefore, be as determined from time to time by vote of the Prudential Committee.

SECTION 8.   Meeti ngs.  That the Prudential Committee shall meet as necessary, but in no event less frequently than every six months.  A quorum of the Prudential Committee shall be required at all meetings for the conduct of any business thereat, and shall consist of its vo ting members.  The initial meeting of the Prudential Committee shall occur not later than thirty (30) days following the establishment of the District.  Thereafter the Prudential Committee shall schedule one meeting to occur in each year immediately follow ing the adjournment of the annual District meeting.  At such initial meeting and at all subsequent meetings following the annual District meeting, the Prudential Committee shall elect from its members a chairman who shall preside at all committee meetings and shall serve until his successor shall be elected at the meeting following the annual District meeting.  The Prudential Committee shall also elect a vice-chairman who shall be empowered to preside over committee meetings in the absence of the chairman a nd who shall serve for a like term.  The District may, subject to a prior appropriation therefore, provide appropriate compensation for District officers including members of the Prudential Committee and including the expense of travel, meals and lodging f or such officers and Prudential Committee members residing outside the District.

SECTION 9.   Prudential Committee; Miscellaneous.  Without limiting its power as set forth above in this act, the Prudential Committee will have charge of expenditures on acco unt of the District duly budgeted and appropriated pursuant to the powers granted to the District and shall exercise the authority conferred upon it by District by-law, except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act.

SECTION 10.   Treasurer.  The Distr ict treasurer shall receive and take charge of all money belonging to the District, and pay over and account for the same according to the order of the District or of its Prudential Committee.  No other persons shall pay any District bill; provided, howeve r, that this provision shall not prohibit the treasurer from paying such bill by the use of a bank treasurer’s or cashier’s check.  He shall further have the authority given to an auditor by Section 51 of Chapter 41 of the General Laws, and shall annually render a true account of his receipts and disbursements and report of his official acts to the District.  The treasurer shall give bond annually for the performance of his duties in a form approved by the Commissioner of Revenue and in such sum, not less t han the amount established by said Commission, as shall be fixed by the Prudential Committee, and if he fails to give such bond within ten (10) days after his election or appointment, or if within ten (10) days after the expiration of said bond or any rene wal of said bond, he fails to file a renewal thereof, the Prudential Committee shall declare the office vacant and the vacancies shall be filled by the Prudential Committee in the manner set forth in Section 12 of this Act.

SECTION 11.   Clerk.  The Distri ct clerk shall, in addition to the other duties specified herein, take all minutes at District meetings and at meetings of the Prudential Committee and maintain a record of such minutes in a manner provided for the maintenance of records of minutes of town meetings and of meetings by the Boards of Selectmen in the Commonwealth.  The clerk shall further be the official responsible for certifying copies of any and all votes taken at a District meeting or a meeting of the Prudential Committee.

SECTION 12.   Va cancies.  Any vacancy occurring in the office of clerk, treasurer or member of the Prudential Committee elected by the District may be filled by the District for the remainder of the unexpired term at any special meeting called for that purpose, or in the case of a vacancy in the office of clerk or treasurer or disability effecting either of said officers, the Prudential Committee may appoint a person to fill said vacancy until an election can be held or the disability is removed.  Such temporary appointee shall be sworn and shall perform the duties of the office to which he is appointed during his tenure thereof.  A temporary treasurer appointed to fill a vacancy, as above provided, shall give bond in the same manner as the treasurer.

SECTION 13.   District Assessments.  At its initial meeting, and at the annual meeting each and every year thereafter, the District shall adopt by two-thirds vote as above set forth, a method to be employed during the fiscal year to which the meeting relates for financing the s hare of its annual budget which is anticipated to be required to be funded by the District.  The District may vote to adopt any of the following methods of financing, or combination thereof:

A. The District may raise by assessments upon the real estate sit uated within the District the sum required to meet the District budget.

B. The District may incur debt by a temporary loan in anticipation of the collection of assessments during the fiscal year in which said debt is incurred or during the next succeeding fiscal year.

C. The District may incur debt to the amount advisable for District improvements or major equipment purchases and may issue therefore notes or bonds, and may, if the District further so approves, issue notes or bonds on the condition that the first payment on account of the principal shall be deferred for a period of not more than five (5) years from the date of issue of such notes or bonds and that the whole amount of such debt shall be payable within a period of not more than twenty-five (25) years after such notes or bonds are issued.  No such issue shall be for a term longer than the reasonably estimated useful life of the improvements, facilities and equipment to be so funded.

Indebtedness incurred by the District under the provision of thi s subsection shall be subject to Chapter 44 and to other provisions of the General Laws applicable to notes and bonds of Districts except as otherwise provided in this Act.  If the District issues notes or bonds and thereafter it shall receive an appropria tion from another governmental entity to cover such part, if any, of the expenses of such improvements, the District, in its discretion, unless otherwise mandated by the terms and conditions of the grant from such governmental unit, shall make all or any p art of such appropriation available to redeem notes or bonds of the District and shall hold the balance, if any, to the credit of the District to be used for the payment of the expense of such improvements, facilities and for equipment.  Bonds or notes iss ued under this Section shall be the general obligations of the District.

That portion, if any, of the budgeted expense for the initial fiscal year and for each subsequent fiscal year which shall be required by the District for the payment of principal and interest on bonds and notes issued or to be issued by the District and which will be due during the ensuing fiscal year together with those amounts necessary to be raised by the District to maintain and operate the District during said fiscal year for capi tal outlay items, the costs of which is not otherwise funded, and all other budgeted expenses for which the District is authorized to raise money, the costs of which items the District shall have voted to raise by assessment upon land and improvements of t he proprietors within the District shall be subject of a separate vote at the initial District meeting.  If the District so votes, the schedule of assessed valuations of land and improvements established by the Boards of Assessors in the Town of Becket for the same fiscal year under the provisions of Chapter 59 of the General Laws, as from time to time amended, shall be relied upon as the basis for determination of the pro-rata share of the District budget voted to be raised and appropriated to be paid by t he proprietors upon their lands and improvements lying within the district.

Following the adjournment of the initial District meeting and each annual District meeting thereafter, the clerk of the District shall certify to the assessors of the Town of Becke t all sums of money voted to be raised by District assessment and the method and means of assessment voted upon at such meeting, which votes will have been adopted by two-thirds majority as provided above in this Act, together with the amount to be paid by each proprietor according to the determination made by such votes.  The assessors of the Town of Becket shall without further vote, assess such amounts upon the lands of the proprietors within the District and commit to the collector of taxes of the town who thereupon shall have and exercise the same powers and duties in relation to the collection of town taxes.  The collector shall remit weekly to the District treasurer all sums collected by him on account of such assessments.  An assessment made hereunde r shall be a lien upon the land assessed therefore, in the same manner as a lien for real estate taxes assessed by the town under the provisions of Section 37 of Chapter 60, and other related provisions of the General Laws, as from time to time amended.

S ECTION 14.   Fiscal Year.  The fiscal year of the District shall be the same fiscal year as established by the General Laws for cities and towns in the Commonwealth.

SECTION 15.   Votes.  Unless otherwise specified in this Act, or otherwise required by Gene ral Law, all actions permitted to be taken at annual or special District meetings shall require a majority vote of those Proprietors present in person or by proxy at said meeting and entitled to vote thereat, who shall constitute a quorum in accordance wit h this Act or otherwise by by-law of the District.  Likewise, all actions permitted to be taken by the Prudential Committee shall require a majority vote of the committee members present at said meeting who shall constitute a quorum in accordance with this Act.

SECTION 16.   Town Officers Compensation.  The District shall include in its initial and in all subsequent annual appropriations, compensation for the Board of Assessors and the Tax Collector of the Town of Becket , as the District shall annually esta blish.

SECTION 17.   Liability of Towns and of the Commonwealth.  Notwithstanding their membership on the Prudential Committee, neither the Town of Becket nor any agency or department of the Commonwealth shall be obligated for any debts of the District, no t shall they by virtue of this act be required to pay for any liability, obligation or expense made, suffered or incurred by the District.  In like manner, the Proprietors of the District shall not be individually liable or obligated with respect to debts or other obligations made, suffered or incurred by the District except with respect to the payment as assessments upon their land as provided for in this Act.

SECTION 18.   Jurisdictions; Other Governmental Entities.   No provision of this Act shall be deemed to modify or amend any power, authority or jurisdiction now or hereafter vested in any agency, department or unit of state, local or federal government as it relates to the use, operation or enjoyment of Center Po nd available for use by the general public not only for recreational use but for other purposes now or hereafter permitted or required by federal, state or local law, regulation and local by-law.

SECTION 19.   Overlay Account.  The District shall establish in its initial budget in all subsequent fiscal year budgets an overlay account and a reserve fund as provided for towns under the provisions of Section 25 of Chapter 59 and Section 5C of Chapter 40 of the General Laws.  The District is further authorized to establish and maintain a stabilization fund under the provisions of Section 5B of Chapter 40 of the General Laws.  The District shall further be subject to an audit of its accounts in the manner provided in Section 40 of Chapter 44 of the General Laws.

SECTION 20.   District Boundaries; Additions and Exclusions.  Immediately upon the formation of the District, the District clerk shall, in addition to the other duties to be performed by such District officer, cause a review to be made at that time and fro m time to time thereafter of the records required to be maintained by the Board of Assessors for the Town of Becket including copies of deeds furnished to said boards by the Registry of Deeds, and shall otherwise take such actions as shall be reasonably ne cessary to establish the real estate within the District and the owners thereof.  The clerk shall further cause to be prepared one or more maps based in whole or in part upon the maps required to be maintained by the assessors of said towns on which shall be shown the location of all real estate within the District.  Thereafter, at any special meeting called for that purpose and not later than the next annual meeting, the District clerk shall furnish the Prudential Committee with a list of owners and such m aps depicting the approximate location and boundaries of such parcels as well as the existing parcels within the District.

SECTION 21.   Dissolution.  Once established pursuant to this act, the District shall not dissolve without specific authorization by the general court, which shall not be given until provision has been made for the payment of the obligations of said District.  Such dissolution may be initiated by the general court or by two-thirds vote at a regular or special District meeting and shall provide for all assets to be transferred to either the Town of Becket or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as shall be provided in the dissolution vote.

SECTION 22.   This act shall take effect upon its passage; provided, however, that if the initial meeti ng of the District shall not occur and the certified vote evidencing the establishment of the District shall not be filed with the Attorney General of the Commonwealth within one (1) year after its passage, this act shall cease to be operative.

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