Print Print
  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE VII CITIES, TOWNS AND DISTRICTS
  • CHAPTER 44 MUNICIPAL FINANCE
  • Section 8 Cities and towns; purposes for borrowing money outside debt limit

Section 8. Cities and towns may incur debt, outside the limit of indebtedness prescribed in section ten, for the following purposes and payable within the periods hereinafter specified or except with respect to clauses (1), (2), (3A), (5), (6), (7), (9) and (19), within such longer period not to exceed 30 years based upon the maximum useful life of the public work, improvement or asset being financed, as determined in accordance with guidelines established by the division of local services within the department of revenue:

(1) For temporary loans under sections four, six, six A, seventeen and seventeen A, 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 nineteen of chapter forty, two 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, thirty 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, ten years.

(4) For the construction or enlargement of reservoirs, and the construction of filter beds, 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, thirty years.

(4A) For remodeling, reconstructing or making extraordinary repairs to reservoirs and filter beds, thirty 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 the laying and relaying of water mains of not less than six inches but less than sixteen inches in diameter, and for lining and relining such mains with linings of not less than one-sixteenth of an inch, for the development of additional well fields, for wells and for pumping station equipment, forty years.

(6) For constructing and reconstructing and laying and relaying aqueducts and water mains of sixteen inches or more in diameter, and for lining such mains with linings of not less than one-sixteenth of an inch, forty years.

(7) For the extension of water mains, forty years.

(7A) For the purchase and installation of water meters, ten years.

(7B) For the payment of the town’s 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, twenty years.

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

(8) For establishing, purchasing, extending, or enlarging a gas or electric lighting plant, a community antenna television system, whether or not operated by a gas or electric lighting plant, or a telecommunications system operated by a municipal lighting plant, 20 years; but the outstanding indebtedness so incurred shall not exceed in a town 5 per cent and in a city 2.5 per cent of the equalized valuation of such town or city; provided, however, that the majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board, may authorize a city to incur indebtedness under this clause in excess of 2.5 per cent but not in excess of 5 per cent of the equalized valuation of such city, and may authorize a town to incur indebtedness under this clause in excess of 5 per cent but not in excess of 10 per cent of the equalized valuation of such town.

(8A) For remodeling, reconstructing, or making extraordinary repairs to a gas or electric lighting plant, a community antenna television system, or a telecommunications system operated by a municipal lighting plant, when approved by the majority of the members of the municipal finance oversight board, for such number of years not exceeding ten, as said board shall fix; provided, however, that the indebtedness incurred under this clause shall be included in the limit of indebtedness for gas and electric lighting plants, community antenna television systems or telecommunications systems that are operated by municipal lighting plants, as set forth in clause (8). Each city or town seeking approval by said board of a loan under this clause shall submit to it 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 such 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 such 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 such 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, twenty years; but the indebtedness so incurred shall not exceed one half of one per cent of the equalized valuation of the city or town.

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 thirty 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 thirty days prior to such hearing, to all veterans’ organizations of such town or city.

[There is no clause (11).]

(12) For acquiring street railway property under sections one hundred and forty-three to one hundred and fifty-eight, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and sixty-one, operating the same, or contributing toward the sums expended or to be expended by a transportation area for capital purposes, ten years; but the indebtedness so incurred shall not exceed two per cent of the equalized valuation of the city or town.

(13) For the acquisition, construction, establishment, enlargement, improvement or protection of public airports, including the acquisition of land, ten years; but the outstanding indebtedness so incurred shall not exceed one per cent of the equalized valuation of the city or town. 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 two or more municipalities.

(14) 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 the provisions of chapter one hundred and thirty-two, five years.

(15) 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 or 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.

(16) For the construction of municipal golf courses, including the acquisition of land, the construction of buildings, and the cost of original equipment and furnishings, twenty years.

(17) For the payment of charges incurred under contracts authorized by section four D of chapter forty, but only for such contracts as are for purposes comparable to the purposes for which loans may be authorized under the provisions of this section. Each authorized issue shall constitute a separate loan, and such loans shall be subject to the conditions of the applicable clauses of this section.

(18) For the construction of a regional incinerator for the purpose of disposing solid waste, refuse and garbage by two or more communities, twenty years, but the indebtedness so incurred shall not exceed three per cent of the last preceding equalized valuation of the city or town.

(19) 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. For the purpose of this clause the city or town may borrow outside its debt limit to an amount not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars or two and one half per cent of its equalized valuation, whichever is the lesser.

(20) For the purposes of implementing project financed in whole or in part by the Farmers Home Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture, pursuant to the provisions of 7 USC 1921, et seq., up to forty years. Regional school districts established pursuant to the provisions of any general or special law shall be authorized to incur debt for the purposes and within the limitations described in this clause.

(21) 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 twenty-one E or chapter twenty-one H, thirty 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 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, twenty-five 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 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, for such maximum term not exceeding 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.

(24) For the purpose of closing out a landfill area, opening a new landfill area, or making improvements to an existing landfill area, twenty-five 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.

(25) 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 such dam and any appurtenant real property is not at the time of such acquisition owned or held in trust by the commonwealth.

Debts, except for temporary loans, may be authorized under this section only by a two thirds vote.

Debts for purposes mentioned in clauses (3), (4), (4A), (5), (6), (7), (7A) and (7B) of this section shall not be authorized to an amount exceeding ten per cent of the equalized valuation of the city or town.