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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 7: Cities and towns; purposes for borrowing money within debt limit

Section 7. Cities and towns may incur debt, by a two-thirds vote, within the limit of indebtedness prescribed in section 10, for the following purposes and payable within the periods hereinafter specified not to exceed 30 years or, except for clauses (2), (3), (6) and (7), within the period determined by the director to be the maximum useful life of the public work, improvement or asset being financed under any guideline issued under section 38:

(1) For the acquisition of interests in land or the acquisition of assets, or for the following projects: the landscaping, alteration, remediation, rehabilitation or improvement of public land, the dredging, improvement, restoration, preservation or remediation of public waterways, lakes or ponds, the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, demolition, removal or extraordinary repair of public buildings, facilities, assets, works or infrastructure, including: (i) the cost of original equipment and furnishings of the buildings, facilities, assets, works or infrastructure; (ii) damages under chapter 79 resulting from any such acquisition or project; and (iii) the cost of engineering, architectural or other services for feasibility studies, plans or specifications as part of any acquisition or project; provided that the interest in land, asset acquired or project shall have a useful life of at least 5 years; and provided further, that the period of such borrowing shall not exceed the useful life of the interest in land, asset acquired or project.

(2) For a revolving loan fund established under section 53E3/4; to assist in the development of renewable energy and energy conservation projects on privately-held buildings, property or facilities within the city or town, 20 years.

(3) For the payment of final judgments, 1 year or for a longer period of time approved by a majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board after taking into consideration the ability of the city, town or district to provide other essential public services and pay, when due, the principal and interest on its debts and such other factors as the board may deem necessary or advisable.

(4) In Boston, for the original construction, or the extension or widening, with permanent pavement of lasting character conforming to specifications approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation established under chapter 6C and under the direction of the board of park commissioners of the city of Boston, of ways, other than public ways, within or bounding on or connecting with any public park in said city, including land damages and the cost of pavement and sidewalks laid at the time of said construction, or for the construction of such ways with stone, block, brick, cement concrete, bituminous concrete, bituminous macadam or other permanent pavement of similar lasting character under specifications approved by said department of highways, 10 years.

(5) For the cost of repairs to private ways open to the public under section 6N of chapter 40, 5 years.

(6) For the payment of charges incurred under contracts authorized by section 4D of chapter 40, but only for those contracts for purposes comparable to the purposes for which loans may be authorized under this section. Each authorized issue shall constitute a separate loan, and the loans shall be subject to the conditions of the applicable clauses of this section.

(7) For the cost of feasibility studies or engineering or architectural services for plans and specifications for any proposed project for which a city, town or district is authorized to borrow, 5 years if issued before any other debt relating to the project is authorized, otherwise the period for the debt relating to the project.

(8) For energy audits as defined in section 3 of chapter 25A, if authorized separately from debt for energy conservation or alternative energy projects; 5 years.

(9) For the development, design, purchase and installation of computer hardware or software and computer-assisted integrated financial management and accounting systems; 10 years.

(10) For the cost of cleaning up or preventing pollution caused by existing or closed municipal facilities not referenced in clause (20) of section 8, including cleanup or prevention activities taken pursuant to chapter 21E or chapter 21H, 10 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to and approved by the department of environmental protection.

(11) For any other public work, improvement or asset with a maximum useful life of at least 5 years and not otherwise specified in this section, 5 years.