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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 8: Cities and towns; purposes for borrowing money outside debt limit

Section 8. Cities and towns may incur debt, by a two-thirds vote, outside the limit of indebtedness prescribed in section 10, for the following purposes and payable within the periods hereinafter specified or, except with respect to clauses (1), (2), (3A), (9) and (18), within such longer period not to exceed 30 years determined by the director to be the maximum useful life of the public work, improvement or asset being financed under any guidelines issued under section 38:

(1) For temporary loans under sections 4, 6, 6A and 17, the periods authorized by those sections.

(2) For maintaining, distributing and providing food, other common necessaries of life and temporary shelter for their inhabitants upon the occasions and in the manner set forth in section 19 of chapter 40, 2 years.

(3) For establishing or purchasing a system for supplying a city, town, or district and its inhabitants with water, for taking or purchasing water sources, either from public land or private sources, or water or flowage rights, for the purpose of a public water supply, or for taking or purchasing land for the protection of a water system, 30 years.

(3A) For conducting groundwater inventory and analysis of the community water supply, including pump tests and quality tests relating to the development of using said groundwater as an additional source or a new source of water supply for any city, town or district, 10 years.

(4) For the construction or enlargement of reservoirs, the construction of filter beds, the construction or reconstruction or making extraordinary repairs to standpipes, buildings for pumping stations including original pumping station equipment, and buildings for water treatment, including original equipment therefor, and the acquisition of land or any interest in land necessary in connection with any of the foregoing, 30 years.

(4A) For remodeling, reconstructing or making extraordinary repairs to reservoirs and filter beds, 30 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to the department of environmental protection, and the approval of said department has been granted therefor.

(5) For constructing or reconstructing, laying or relaying aqueducts or water mains or for the extension of water mains, or for lining or relining such mains, and for the development or construction of additional well fields and for wells, 40 years.

(6) For the purchase and installation of water meters, 10 years.

(7) For the payment of the city, town or district share of the cost to increase the storage capacity of any reservoir, including land acquisition, constructed by the water resources commission for flood prevention or water resources utilization, 20 years.

(7A) For the purchase, replacement or rehabilitation of water departmental equipment, 10 years.

(8) For establishing, purchasing, extending, or enlarging a municipally owned gas or electric lighting plant, community antenna television system, or telecommunications system, 20 years.

(8A) For remodeling, reconstructing, or making extraordinary repairs to a municipally owned gas or electric lighting plant, community antenna television system, or telecommunications system, when approved by a majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board, for the number of years not exceeding 10, as said board shall fix. Each city or town seeking approval by the board of a loan under this clause shall submit to said board all plans and other information considered by the board to be necessary for a determination of the probable extended use of such plant, community television antenna system or telecommunications system likely to result from the remodeling, reconstruction, or repair, and in considering approval under this clause of a requested loan and the terms thereof, special consideration shall be given to that determination.

(9) For emergency appropriations that are approved by the director, not more than 2 years or such longer period not to exceed 10 years as determined by the director 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, the amount of federal and state payments likely to be received for the purpose of the appropriations and such other factors as the director may deem necessary or advisable; provided, however, that for the purposes of this clause, ''emergency'' shall mean a sudden, unavoidable event or series of events which could not reasonably have been foreseen or anticipated at the time of submission of the annual budget for approval; provided, further, that emergency shall not include the funding of collective bargaining agreements or items that were previously disapproved by the appropriating authority for the fiscal year in which the borrowing is sought; and provided, further, that for the purposes of this clause, debt may be authorized by the treasurer of the city, town or district, with the approval of the chief executive officer in a city or town, or the prudential committee, if any, or by the commissioners in a district.

(9A) For emergency appropriations approved by a majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board, up to the period fixed by law for the debt as determined by the board; provided, however, that this clause shall apply only to appropriations for capital purposes including, but not limited to, the acquisition, construction, reconstruction or repair of any public building, work, improvement or asset, and upon a demonstration by the city, town or district that the process for authorizing debt in the manner otherwise provided by law imposes an undue hardship in its ability to respond to the emergency; provided further, that for purposes of this clause, ''emergency'' shall mean a sudden, unavoidable event or series of events which could not reasonably have been foreseen or anticipated at the time of submission of the annual budget for approval; and provided, further, that for the purposes of this clause, debt may be authorized by the treasurer of the city, town or district, with the approval of the chief executive officer in a city or town, or the prudential committee, if any, or by the commissioners in a district.

(10) For acquiring land or constructing buildings or other structures, including the cost of original equipment, as memorials to members of the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, or air force, 20 years.

The designation of any such memorial shall not be changed except after a public hearing by the board of selectmen or by the city council of the municipality wherein said memorial is located, notice of the time and place of which shall be given, at the expense of the proponents, by the town or city clerk as the case may be, by publication not less than 30 days prior thereto in a newspaper, if any, published in such town or city; otherwise, in the county in which such town or city lies; and notice of which shall also have been given by the proponents, by registered mail, not less than 30 days prior to such hearing, to all veterans' organizations of such town or city.

(11) For acquiring street railway or other transportation property under sections 143 to 158, inclusive, of chapter 161, operating the same, or contributing toward the sums expended or to be expended by a transportation area for capital purposes, 10 years.

(12) For the acquisition, construction, establishment, enlargement, improvement or protection of public airports, including the acquisition of land, 10 years. The proceeds of indebtedness incurred hereunder may be expended for the acquisition, construction, establishment, enlargement, improvement or protection of such an airport, including the acquisition of land, jointly by 2 or more municipalities.

(13) For the financing of a program of eradication of Dutch elm disease, including all disbursements on account of which reimbursement is authorized or may be authorized by the commonwealth, county, any city or town, or by any manner of assessment or charges, pursuant to and consistent with chapter 132, 5 years.

(14) For the construction of sewers, sewerage systems and sewage treatment and disposal facilities, or for the lump sum payment of the cost of tie-in to such services in a contiguous city or town, for a period not exceeding 30 years; provided, however, that either: (i) the city or town has an enterprise or special revenue fund for sewer services, and that the accountant, auditor or other officer having similar duties in the city or town shall have certified to the treasurer that rates and charges have been set at a sufficient level to cover the estimated operating expenses and debt service related to the fund; or (ii) the issuance of the debt is approved by a majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board.

(15) For the construction and rehabilitation of municipal golf courses, including the acquisition and reconstruction of land, installation and replacement of irrigation systems, the construction and rehabilitation of buildings, and the cost of equipment and furnishings, 20 years.

(16) 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.

(17) For the construction of a regional incinerator for the purpose of disposing solid waste, refuse and garbage by 2 or more communities, 20 years.

(18) For the lending or granting of money to industrial development financing authorities and economic development and industrial corporations, with the approval of the Massachusetts office of business development and the director of housing and community development, 20 years.

(19) For the purposes of implementing a project financed in whole or in part by the Farmers Home Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture, pursuant to Chapter 50 of Title 7 of the United States Code, up to 40 years. Regional school districts established under any general or special law shall be authorized to incur debt for the purposes and within the limitations described in this clause.

(20) For the cost of cleaning up or preventing pollution caused by existing or closed landfills or other solid waste disposal facilities, including clean up or prevention activities taken pursuant to chapter 21E or chapter 21H, 30 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to the department of environmental protection and the approval of said department has been granted therefor.

(21) For the construction of incinerators, refuse transfer facilities, recycling facilities, composting facilities, resource recovery facilities or other solid waste disposal facilities, other than landfills, for the purpose of disposing of waste, refuse and garbage, 25 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to the department of environmental protection and the approval of said department has been granted therefor.

(22) For remodeling, reconstructing or making extraordinary repairs to incinerators, refuse transfer facilities, recycling facilities, resource recovery facilities or other solid waste disposal facilities, other than landfills, owned by the city, town or district, and used for the purpose of disposing of waste, refuse and garbage, 10 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to the department of environmental protection and the approval of said department has been granted therefor.

(23) For the purpose of closing out a landfill area, opening a new landfill area, or making improvements to an existing landfill area, 25 years; provided, however, that no indebtedness shall be incurred hereunder until plans relating to the project shall have been submitted to the department of environmental protection and the approval of said department has been granted therefor.

(24) For the acquisition of a dam or the removal, repair, reconstruction and improvements to a dam owned by a municipality, as may be necessary to maintain, repair or improve such dam, 40 years; provided, however, that this clause shall include dams as defined in section 44 of chapter 253 acquired by gift, purchase, eminent domain under chapter 79 or otherwise and located within a municipality, including any real property appurtenant thereto, if the dam and any appurtenant real property is not at the time of such acquisition owned or held in trust by the commonwealth.