Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 736 of the acts of 1985 is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of "Land bank commission" the following definition:-
"Legal representative", with respect to any person, shall mean any other person acting pursuant to a written power-of-attorney executed by such person; provided, however, that any affidavit attesting to the true and complete purchase price of real property, submitted to the land bank commission pursuant to section ten, may also be signed on behalf of such person by an attorney admitted to practice in the commonwealth.
SECTION 2. The definition of "Real property interest" in section 1 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by inserting after the word "partnership", in line 11, the words:- unless any real property interest has been transferred to such corporation or partnership for the purpose of evading the fee imposed by section ten.
SECTION 3. The first paragraph of section 2 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The land bank is hereby constituted a body politic and corporate and a public instrumentality and the exercise of the powers herein conferred upon the land bank shall be deemed to be the performance of an essential governmental function.
SECTION 4. The first sentence of section 3 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 2, the words ", a public body corporate,".
SECTION 5. Said section 3 of said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by striking out the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth sentences and inserting in place thereof the following five sentences:- The land bank commission shall elect a chairman and a vice chairman from among its regular members; shall elect a secretary and a treasurer who may be the same person, but who need not be members of the land bank commission; and shall adopt, after holding a public hearing and after requesting recommendations from the town advisory board of each of the six member towns that comprise the commission, rules and regulations for conducting its internal affairs and procedural guidelines for carrying out its responsibilities under this act. The land bank commission shall also adopt a management plan for managing each of its land holdings in a manner consistent with section five. In preparing a management plan for any parcel of land, the land bank commission shall use, as guidelines, the open space and master plans, if any, of the town or towns in which such parcel is located and shall request the recommendations of the town advisory board of such town or towns; and the adoption or change of any such management plan shall be subject to the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the town advisory board of each such town or towns. Decisions of the land bank commission shall be by majority vote of those present and voting at a meeting, and no business shall be transacted at any meeting unless a majority of the town representative members is present; provided that decisions to acquire interests in land and to request state approval of any proposed disposition of an interest in any parcel of land or of any change in its use shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the town representative members of the land bank commission. The land bank commission shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall file an annual report which shall be distributed with the annual report of each member town.
SECTION 6. Section 4 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 14, the word "four" and inserting in place thereof the words:- a majority.
SECTION 7. Said section 4 of said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 28 to 31, inclusive, the words "; or of the county of Dukes County, but only after having been authorized to do so in each instance by a two-thirds majority town meeting vote of each town in the county of Dukes County".
SECTION 8. Said section 4 of said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 39, the word "and",- and by inserting after the word "five", in line 41, the following:- ; and (j) adopt such regulations and procedures as it deems necessary or appropriate, subject to the provisions of this act, regarding the use and investment of its funds and the keeping of records and accounts.
SECTION 9. Said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 4 the following seven sections:-
Section 4A. Each member town is hereby authorized to appropriate money to be deposited in the fund as provided in section eight or to provide funds to repay notes of such member town issued pursuant to section four C and, when authorized by a two-thirds vote as defined in section one of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, to incur debt of such member town for such purposes in accordance with the provisions of clause (3) of section seven of said chapter forty-four.
Section 4B. The land bank is hereby empowered to issue its bonds and notes, including notes in anticipation of bonds, for the purpose of acquiring land and interests in land as provided in section four. The proceeds of such bonds or notes may be used to pay, in whole or in part, acquisition costs; to provide reserves for debt service and other expenses; to pay consulting, appraisal, advisory and legal fees and costs incidental to the issuance and sale of such bonds or notes; to purchase, refund or renew bonds or notes previously issued; and to pay any other costs and expenses of the land bank necessary for the accomplishment of its purposes. Bonds or notes issued under this act shall be authorized by the land bank commission which shall have full power and authority to determine the amount, form, terms, conditions, provisions for the payment of interest and all other details thereof and to provide for their sale and issuance at such price and in such manner as the land bank commission shall determine, subject only to any limitations set forth in this act. Unless each member town shall have authorized by a two-thirds vote of a town meeting the pledging of the full faith and credit of such towns to secure an issue of bonds or notes of the land bank, all bonds or notes issued hereunder shall be payable solely from the fees and other revenues of the land bank pledged to their payment and shall not be deemed a pledge of the full faith and credit of any town in the county of Dukes County. Bonds and notes issued hereunder shall not be deemed a pledge of the full faith and credit of the county of Dukes County, the commonwealth or, except as provided in the preceding sentence in the case of the member towns, any political subdivision thereof or therein.
The land bank commission may enter into any agreements, including without limitation a loan agreement and a trust agreement, necessary to effectuate and to secure any bonds or notes issued by the land bank. Such agreements may pledge or assign, in whole or in part, the revenues and other money held or to be received by the land bank. Such agreements may contain provisions for protecting and enforcing the rights, security and remedies of the holders of such bonds or notes, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, provisions defining defaults and providing for remedies in the event thereof which may include the acceleration of maturities and covenants setting forth the duties of, and limitations on, the land bank in relation to the custody, safeguarding, investment and application of money, the issuance of additional debt obligations, the use of any surplus proceeds of the borrowing, including any investment earnings thereon, and the establishment of special funds and reserves.
The pledge of any such agreement shall be valid and binding and shall be deemed continuously perfected for the purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code from the time when the pledge is made; the revenues, money, rights and proceeds so pledged and then held or thereafter acquired or received by the land bank shall immediately be subject to the lien of such pledge without any physical delivery or segregation thereof or further act; and the lien of any such pledge shall be valid and binding against all parties having claims of any kind in tort, contract or otherwise against any member town or the county of Dukes County, irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof. No document by which a pledge is created need be filed or recorded except in the records of the land bank and no filing need be made under the Uniform Commercial Code.
The trustee with respect to any such trust agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall be a trust company or a bank having the powers of a trust company within the commonwealth. Any such trust agreement may provide that any money received thereunder may be held, deposited or invested by the trustee, notwithstanding the provisions of section eight, pending the disbursement thereof, in any deposits or investments which are lawful for the funds of savings banks and shall provide that any officer with whom or any bank or trust company with which such money shall be deposited shall act as trustee of such money and shall hold and apply the same for the purposes hereof and thereof, subject to such regulation or limitation as this act or such trust agreement may provide.
It shall be lawful for any bank or trust company within the commonwealth to act as depository of the proceeds of bonds or notes, revenues or other money hereunder and to furnish such indemnifying bonds or to pledge such security, if any, as may be required by the land bank commission. Any trust agreement entered into pursuant to this section may set forth the rights and remedies of the holders of any bonds or notes and of the trustee and may restrict the individual right of action by any such holders. In addition to the foregoing, any such trust agreement may contain such other provisions as the land bank commission may deem reasonable and proper. All expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of such trust agreement may be (i) treated as part of the cost of operation of the land bank and (ii) paid from the revenues or other funds pledged or assigned to the payment of the principal of and the premium, if any, and interest on the bonds or notes or from any other funds available to the land bank. In addition to other security provided herein or otherwise by law, bonds or notes issued under this section may be secured, in whole or in part, by insurance or by letters or lines of credit or other credit facilities issued to the land bank by any bank, trust company or other financial institution, within or without the commonwealth, and the land bank may pledge or assign any of its revenues as security for the reimbursement by the land bank to the issuers of such letters or lines of credit, insurance or credit facilities of any payments made thereunder.
Section 4C. If at any time any principal or interest is due or about to come due on any bonds or notes of the land bank to secure which the full faith and credit of the member towns shall have been pledged and funds to pay the same are not available, the land bank commission shall certify to each town treasurer and the selectmen of each member town the amount required to meet such obligations and the town treasurers shall thereupon pay over to the land bank the amount so certified from any funds in the treasury. The amount certified to and payable by each member town shall be determined by applying to the aggregate amount so certified a fraction the numerator of which shall be the amount of revenue derived by the land bank from the fee imposed by section ten upon the transfer of real property interests in such town during the period from the commencement of operations of the land bank to and including the last day of the month preceding the month in which such certification is made, and the denominator of which shall be the total amount of revenue derived from such fee upon the transfer of real property interests during such period in all the member towns whose full faith and credit has been pledged to secure such obligations. For the purpose of providing or restoring to the treasury the sums so paid over to the land bank, each town treasurer, with the approval of the selectmen, is authorized to incur debt outside the town's debt limit and issue notes therefor for a period not exceeding two years and to renew or refund the same from time to time until the town shall have received from the land bank sufficient funds to repay such notes and the interest thereon in full. Whenever the towns shall have been required to pay over any sums of money to the land bank under this section, the land bank shall be precluded from acquiring any additional property, or issuing any of its bonds or notes for purposes other than repaying the towns, until the land bank shall have repaid the towns in full for all sums paid to the land bank hereunder, including interest on any notes issued for such purpose, unless the towns shall have appropriated sufficient funds for such purpose at a town meeting or meetings.
Section 4D. Bonds and notes issued under the provisions of this act are hereby made securities in which all public officers and public bodies of the commonwealth and its political subdivisions, all insurance companies, trust companies in their commercial departments, savings banks, cooperative banks, banking associations, investment companies, executors, administrators, trustees and other fiduciaries may properly and legally invest funds, including capital in their control or belonging to them. Such bonds and notes are hereby made securities which may properly and legally be deposited with and received by any state or municipal officer or any agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds or obligations of the commonwealth is now or may hereafter be authorized by law.
Section 4E. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this act or any recitals in any bonds or notes issued under this act, all such bonds and notes shall be deemed to be investment securities under the Uniform Commercial Code.
Section 4F. Bonds and notes may be issued under this act without obtaining the consent of any department, division, commission, board, bureau or agency of any member town or of the county of Dukes County, except that the full faith and credit of any member town shall not be pledged for the payment of such bonds or notes unless such pledge shall have been authorized by the appropriate two-thirds vote or votes as provided in section four, and without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required therefor by this act. The validity of and security for any bonds and notes issued by the land bank shall not be affected by the existence or non-existence of any such consent or other proceedings, conditions or things.
Section 4G. The land bank and all its revenues, income and real and personal property used solely by the land bank in furtherance of its public purposes shall be exempt from taxation and from betterments and special assessments and the land bank shall not be required to pay any tax, excise or assessment to or for the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions. Bonds and notes issued by the land bank, their transfer and the income therefrom, including any profit made on the sale thereof, shall at all times be exempt from taxation within the commonwealth. The provisions of section twenty-seven C of chapter twenty-nine of the General Laws shall not apply to this section or any other provision of this chapter.
SECTION 10. Section 6 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by inserting after the first sentence the following sentence:- Notwithstanding the foregoing, the land bank commission may make improvements to any land held for passive recreational use that are not inconsistent with such use.
SECTION 11. Section 8 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by inserting after the second sentence the following sentence:- Grants or gifts of money or other assets to the land bank shall be expended only for the purposes of the grant or gift and subject to any restrictions or limitations imposed thereon by the grantor or donor thereof.
SECTION 12. Said section 8 of said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The county treasurer of said county shall prudently invest available assets of the fund in accordance with the regulations and procedures adopted by the land bank commission pursuant to clause (j) of section four, and all income thereon shall accrue to the fund.
SECTION 13. Section 8A of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Money in the individual town account of each member town may be expended by the land bank commission, subject to the approval of at least a majority of the members of the town advisory board of such town, for the purchase of land or interests in land permitted by this act, within or outside the borders of such town, or for any other purpose permitted by this act, including the payment of debt service on bonds or notes issued by the land bank hereunder. With the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the town advisory board of any member town, an agreement entered into under section four B may pledge or assign in whole or in part, the revenues held in, or to be received for the account of, the individual town account of such town to secure any bonds or notes issued by the land bank for a purpose so approved by the town advisory board.
SECTION 14. Section 10 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following two sentences:- There is hereby imposed a fee equal to two per cent of the purchase price upon the transfer of any real property interest in any real property situated in a member town or towns. The fee percentage may be reduced by a two-thirds vote in favor of such reduction at the annual town meetings of a majority of the member towns in a single calendar year; provided, however, that no reduction in the fee percentage shall take effect until all bonds and notes of the land bank issued prior thereto pursuant to section four B shall have been paid in full.
SECTION 15. Section 12 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out clause (m) and inserting in place thereof the following:-
(m) the first one hundred thousand dollars of the purchase price of a transfer made to a natural person who, or whose spouse, at the time of such transfer has at no time owned or possessed any real property interest as defined in section one either within or without any member town, provided that such person makes the real property interest which is the subject of the transfer his or her actual domicile within two years of the time of transfer; provided, further, that in the event of a subsequent transfer within five years of the transfer exempted from the fee under this subsection, other than the transfer of a mortgage to an institutional lender, the fee exempted shall become due, together with accumulated interest and penalties, and in addition to any fee otherwise due as a result of the subsequent transfer. The purchaser shall certify as to the foregoing, and the land bank commission shall attach to the deed a certificate which shall recite the fact that there is running with the land a lien equal to the amount of the fee exempted plus accumulated interest and penalties until such time as all conditions of this subsection have been met. The land bank commission shall have the power, at any time and from time to time, to require any purchaser claiming the exemption provided by this subsection to furnish such evidence of compliance with the requirements of this subsection as the land bank commission shall deem necessary or appropriate. If any requirement or condition of this subsection is not met within the time specified, the amount of the fee exempted plus accumulated interest and penalties shall automatically become due and payable.
SECTION 16. Said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 14 the following section:-
Section 14A. This act, being necessary for the welfare of the member towns and the county of Dukes County and their inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effect the purposes hereof.
SECTION 17. Section 15 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
Any town that is a member of the land bank may withdraw therefrom by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voters at any regular or special town election; provided, however, that any real property interest held by the land bank and situated in a town that withdraws from the land bank shall continue to be held by the land bank until such time as the land bank is dissolved in accordance with this act; provided, further, that no town may withdraw from the land bank until payment in full of all bonds and notes issued by the land bank prior to receipt by the land bank commission of written notice that an election has been called by such town to vote upon the question of such withdrawal. Any town that withdraws from the land bank shall not be liable for debts and obligations incurred by the land bank subsequent to receipt of such notice by the land bank commission. A town that has so withdrawn may renew its membership by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voters at any regular or special town election at which the question of acceptance has been placed on the ballot. Upon the withdrawal of a town from the land bank, all funds then held in the account established for such town pursuant to section eight A, after payment or provision for payment has been made in full on all bonds and notes issued by the land bank prior to receipt by the land bank commission of written notice that an election has been called by such town to vote upon the question of such withdrawal, shall be transferred to the fund established by section eight.
SECTION 18. The second paragraph of said section 15 of said chapter 736 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- If the member towns in the land bank are reduced to a number less than three the land bank shall be dissolved; provided, however, that the fee imposed by section ten shall continue to be imposed in each member town until all bonds and notes of the land bank issued while such town was a member have been paid in full, and the land bank shall continue in existence during such time for the sole purpose of administering and collecting such fee.
SECTION 19. Said second paragraph of said section 15 of said chapter 736 is hereby further amended by striking out the fifth sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Funds held by the land bank shall be transferred to the towns of the county of Dukes County as hereinafter provided, to be held in trust for the purpose of holding and managing the land transferred to the towns pursuant to this paragraph and other land held under the control and management of the local conservation commissions of the towns.
SECTION 20. This act shall take effect upon its passage, or upon its approval by two-thirds of the member towns by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voters of such towns at any annual or special town meeting, whichever is the last to occur; provided that such approval may take place either before or after the passage of this act.