Section 4: Infrastructure assessments
Section 4. (a) Consistent with the improvement plan, the assessing party may fix, revise, charge, collect and abate infrastructure assessments, for the cost, maintenance, operation and administration of the improvements imposed on the real estate, leaseholds or other interests therein, located in the development zone. All real estate within a development zone owned by the commonwealth or any political subdivision, political instrumentality, agency or public authority thereof shall be exempt from such charges unless the charges are specifically accepted by the commonwealth, political subdivision, political instrumentality, agency or public authority. In providing for the payment of the cost of the improvements or for the use of the improvements, the assessing party may avail itself of all other laws relative to the assessment, apportionment, division, fixing, reassessment, revision, abatement and collection of infrastructure assessments by cities and towns or the establishment of liens therefor and interest thereon and the procedures set forth in sections 5 and 5A of chapter 254 for the foreclosure of liens arising under section 6 of chapter 183A, as it shall deem necessary and appropriate for purposes of the assessment and collection of infrastructure assessments. The assessing party shall file copies of the improvement plan and any amendments thereof and all schedules of assessments with the appropriate registry of deeds and the municipality's assessors so that notice thereof shall be reported on a municipal lien certificate for any real estate parcel located in a development zone. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the assessing party may pay the entire cost of any improvements, including the acquisition thereof, during construction or after completion, or the debt service of notes or bonds used to fund such costs, from infrastructure assessments and may establish such infrastructure assessments before, during or within 1 year after completion of construction or acquisition of any improvements. The assessing party may establish a schedule for the payment of infrastructure assessments not to exceed 25 years. The assessing party shall hold at least 1 public hearing on its schedule of infrastructure assessments or any revision thereof prior to adoption by the assessing party, notice of which shall be delivered to the municipality and published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least 14 days in advance of the hearing. Not later than the date of the publication, the assessing party shall make available to the public and deliver to the municipality the proposed schedule of infrastructure assessments.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the assessing party may contract with the agency for any services required by the assessing party regarding the assessment, apportionment, division, fixing, reassessment, revision, collection and enforcement of infrastructure assessments under this chapter and the fees, costs and other expenses for these services may be included in the calculation of the infrastructure assessments levied by the assessing party under this chapter.
The infrastructure assessments established by the assessing party in accordance with this chapter shall be fixed in respect of the aggregate thereof so as to provide revenues at least sufficient to: (i) pay the administrative expenses of the assessing party and the agency; (ii) pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness of the agency under this chapter as the same becomes due and payable; (iii) create and maintain such reasonable reserves as may be reasonably required by any trust agreement or resolution securing bonds; (iv) provide funds for paying the cost of the operation and necessary maintenance, repairs, replacements and renewals of the improvements; and (v) pay or provide for any amounts that the agency, including reasonable administrative fees, may be obligated to pay or provide for by law or contract, including any resolution or contract with or for the benefit of the holders of its bonds and notes.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the agency shall not be precluded from carrying out its obligations under this chapter if it has previously provided technical, real estate, lending, financing or other assistance to: (i) an infrastructure development project including, but not limited to, a project in which the agency may have an economic interest; (ii) a development zone; or (iii) a municipality associated with, or that may benefit from, an infrastructure development project.
(b) As an alternative to levying infrastructure assessments under this chapter or any other law, the assessing party may levy special assessments on real estate, leaseholds or other interests therein within the development zone to finance the cost of the improvements and the maintenance, repair, replacement and renewal thereof, and the expense of administration thereof. In determining the basis for and amount of the special assessment, the cost of the improvements and the maintenance, repair, replacement and renewal thereof, and the expense of administration thereof, including the cost of the repayment of the debt issued or to be issued by the agency to finance the improvements, may be calculated and levied using any of the following methods that result in fairly allocating the costs of the improvements to the real estate in the development zone:
(i) equally per length of frontage or by lot, parcel or dwelling unit or by the square footage of a lot, parcel or dwelling unit;
(ii) according to the value of the property as determined by the municipality's board of assessors; or
(iii) in any other reasonable manner that results in fairly allocating the cost, administration and operation of the improvements according to the benefit conferred or use received, including, but not limited to, by classification of commercial or residential use or distance from the improvements.
The assessing party, consistent with the improvement plan, may also provide for the following:
(1) a maximum amount to be assessed with respect to any parcel;
(2) a tax year or other date after which no further special assessments under this section shall be levied or collected on a parcel;
(3) annual collection of the levy without subsequent approval of the assessing party;
(4) the circumstances under which the special assessments may be reduced or abated; and
(5) the prepayment of infrastructure assessments under this chapter under procedures that may be established by the assessing party.
(c) Infrastructure assessments levied under this chapter shall be collected and secured in the same manner as property taxes, betterments and assessments and fees owed to the municipality unless otherwise provided by the assessing party and shall be subject to the same penalties and the same procedures, sale and lien priority in case of delinquency as is provided for such property taxes, betterments, assessments and fees owed to the municipality. Any liens imposed by the municipality for the payment of property taxes and any betterments and assessments and fees within the development zone shall have priority in payment over any liens placed on real estate within the development zone.
(d) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the agency, the municipality or any other public facilities' owner may contract with owners of real estate within a development zone to acquire or undertake improvements within the development zone. Upon completion, such improvements shall be conveyed to the public facilities' owner; provided, however, that the consideration for the conveyance shall be limited to the cost thereof.