Section 14. In addition to such powers and duties as may otherwise be conferred or imposed by law, the commissioners may provide for erecting and repairing jails and other necessary public buildings within and for the use of their county, but no money shall be paid or liability incurred therefor in excess of the amount specifically authorized by the advisory boards on county expenditures, except for emergency repairs, and no bills for construction or enlargement of a jail, house of correction or reformatory shall be incurred or paid until the plans therefor have been approved by the commissioner of correction, except as otherwise provided. They shall have authority to represent their county, and to have the care of its property and the management of its business and affairs in cases where not otherwise expressly provided; to sell and convey any real estate of the county by deed, sealed with the county seal, signed and acknowledged by them, or to lease any real estate of the county; to adopt a county seal, which shall be in the custody of their clerk and affixed to all processes requiring it; provided, however, that the sale of any county owned real estate customarily used by the county or sheriff for the housing of prisoners, including any jail, house of correction, or other such facility shall be made at fair market value and the net proceeds of any such sale shall be used for the construction of new jails, jail additions or temporary jail facilities, to reimburse the commonwealth for expenditures for such purposes or to reimburse the commonwealth for loans made to a county for the purpose of maintaining and operating the county; and provided, further, that any real estate offered for sale or lease, by a county shall first be offered for sale or lease to the commonwealth and upon the non-acceptance by the commonwealth of any such offer, shall then be offered for sale or lease to the city or town where such land is located.
At least ninety days prior to contracting for the sale or lease of such real estate, the commissioners shall notify in writing the city council or board of selectmen of the city or town in which such real estate is located; the members of the general court representing said city or town; the advisory board on county expenditures of the county in which such real estate is located; and the regional planning agency of the region in which such real estate is located.
Such notification shall include information as to the real estate’s present use; the reason for its sale or lease; the new activity or purpose for which it will be used; and a copy of an independent appraisal done within the past fiscal year. Such appraisal shall be by a qualified appraiser approved by the executive committee of the advisory board on county expenditures of the county in which such real estate is located.
At least forty-five days but not more than sixty days prior to contracting for the sale or lease of said real estate, the commissioners shall cause a public hearing to be held in the town or city in which such real estate is located.
The commissioners shall publish on at least two occasions, in at least two newspapers serving the city or town in which such real estate is located, the time and place of said hearing. Such publication shall occur at least fourteen days prior to said hearing.
Any contract for the sale or lease or real estate executed in violation of this section shall be voidable; provided, however, that no action for violation of this section may be commenced subsequent to the date of the delivery of the deed conveying such real estate.