Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. (a) There is hereby established the Southern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District, a public body politic and corporate, hereinafter referred to as the district, said entity to function as a refuse disposal district in accordance with the General Laws including but not limited to sections forty-four A to forty-four K inclusive, of chapter forty and section twenty B of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws.
(b) The district is created for the purpose of providing solid waste disposal services for its member municipalities and the residents thereof and for others with whom the district may want to contract in accordance with any agreements reached by member municipalities.
In addition, since there are generated within the district or within municipalities contracting with the district wastes such as municipal and industrial sludges which, when combined properly with certain solid wastes, may be processed in such a manner that enhances the ability to recover both as a usable product known as compost, the district shall have as a purpose to design, establish and operate a facility, or contract for such a facility and service, and offer at an appropriate fee, such disposal service for municipal and industrial sludges.
(c) The district shall be composed of and shall include all of the lands and residents within the towns of Alford, Becket, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Otis, Sandisfield, Sheffield, Stockbridge, and West Stockbridge which, by vote at an annual or special town meeting accept this act and hereby agree to participate in its creation and such other municipalities as are subsequently admitted to the district, except for those municipalities which may withdraw as provided in the agreement. The municipalities composing the district shall constitute its membership and are herein designated as member communities. Acceptance of the provisions of this act shall be in accordance with the terms of the agreement reached among the individual municipalities at the time of formation of the district.
(d) A regional planning board, consisting of the selectmen of the towns named in paragraph (c) or their designated representatives shall draw up a proposed agreement. The said agreement shall contain provisions describing the sharing of construction and operation costs, the number, method of selection, and the terms of office of the members of the district board of commissioners, the method of filling a vacancy on the board, the dates, frequency and procedure for calling organizational, regular and special meetings of the board, voting procedures including vote-weighting, and quorum, the general area in which the refuse disposal facility will be constructed, the terms by which another municipality may be admitted to the district or any member town may withdraw therefrom, the method by which the agreement may be amended, the procedure for the preparation and adoption of the annual budget, and any other matters not incompatible with the law which said board may deem advisable. Included shall be the method by which the district may be dissolved.
(e) The regional planning board shall report its findings and recommendations to the board of selectmen in each town comprising the board. If the board recommends that a regional solid waste management district be established, a copy of the proposed agreement shall accompany the report to each town.
(f) This act may be submitted for approval at any annual or special town meeting of the towns eligible for membership as provided in this section. The question placed on the warrant of such meeting shall be: "Shall the town of accept the provisions of 'An Act Establishing the Southern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District.' in accordance with the provisions of an agreement entitled and placed before the voters of the town concurrently "
If a majority of the members of the town meetings of at least two of said towns shall vote in the affirmative, the Southern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District shall be deemed to be established. The remainder of said towns may by such affirmative vote join as members within ninety days of the establishment of the district. The initial meeting of the board of commissioners shall take place within one hundred and twenty days after the establishment of the district. If the board does not meet and organize itself within one hundred and twenty days from the establishment of the district, the action of any town meeting accepting the provisions of this act is null and void.
SECTION 2. Except as otherwise provided or limited herein, the district shall have the following powers:
(a) Operate, cause to be operated, and contract for the operation of any and all facilities for the transportation, recycling, recovery, and disposal of solid wastes and to determine and make proper charges for such services.
(b) To purchase, sell, lease, own, acquire, convey, mortgage, improve, and use real and personal property in connection with the purposes of the district, and accept land by gift.
(c) To sue and be sued.
(d) To enter into contracts for any term up to thirty years.
(e) To contract with architects, engineers, financial and legal consultants, and other experts for services.
(f) To contract with individuals, corporations, associations, authorities, and municipalities for services.
(g) To contract to pay for solid waste with payment based on guaranteed amounts of solid waste whether actually disposed of or not, which payments may be variable and may be determined by formulae expressed in such contracts, provided, however that said contract shall be approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the board of commissioners and by a majority vote of two-thirds of the member communities, as defined in section one of chapter forty-four of the General Laws.
(h) To contract with the commonwealth or the United States, or any agency, department, or subdivision thereof for services.
(i) To contract with any member municipality for the services of any property, officers, or employees of that municipality that are useful to the district.
(j) To promote cooperative arrangements and coordinated actions among its members.
(k) To make recommendations for review and action to its member municipalities and the other public agencies that perform functions within the region in which its member municipalities are located.
(l) To exercise any other powers which are exercised or are capable of exercise by any of its member municipalities and which are necessary or desirable for dealing with solid waste problems of mutual concern.
(m) To borrow money and issue evidence of indebtedness as provided herein in accordance with section forty-four K of chapter forty of the General Laws; provided, however, that said issuance of debt shall be approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the board of commissioners and by a majority vote of two-thirds of the member communities, as defined in section one of chapter forty-four of the General Laws.
(1) Short term borrowing. The board may borrow money through the issuance of notes of the district in accordance with the General Laws. Such notes, however, must mature within the fiscal year in which they were issued. The board may also borrow money in anticipation of revenues for each such year and may issue notes of the district which must mature within the fiscal year in which they were issued.
(2) Long term indebtedness and long term borrowings. Indebtedness incurred by the district for regional disposal facilities shall be subject to the applicable provisions of chapter forty-four of the General Laws; provided, however, that the maturities of bonds or notes issued by said district either shall be arranged so that for each issue of the annual combined payments the principal and interest payable in each year shall be as nearly equal as practical in the opinion of the board of commissioners, or shall be arranged in accordance with a schedule providing for a more rapid amortization of principal; provided, however, that such annual payments need not commence earlier than one year after the date of commencing regular use of the facilities, as projected or determined by the board of commissioners. Project costs to be financed by the issuance of bonds or notes may include interest on such borrowing including interest on notes in anticipation of federal or state aid for a period of up to six months after the date so projected or determined for commencement of regular use of the facilities financed by the bonds or notes.
(n) To adopt a budget and to assess and require payment by the member municipalities for the expense of the district, as provided in section forty-four H of chapter forty of the General Laws.
(o) To appropriate and expend monies.
(p) To establish capital reserve funds for public improvements in furtherance of its purposes.
(q) To regulate the transportation, recycling, resource recovery, and disposal of solid wastes within the district and to require that acceptable wastes generated within the district and any member municipality therein shall be disposed of only in and upon facilities operated by and on behalf of the district and to prevent the discharge into disposal facilities of substances which may damage or interfere with its maintenance or operation. The district may for the proper and reasonable operation of its works, make regulations as to the quality or character of any refuse or other solid waste discharge into any disposal facility under its control. The district may prohibit discharge into facilities in its control of any waste if the commission determines that such waste may interfere with or damage the disposal facility or interfere with its maintenance or operation or not be in compliance with the department of environmental quality engineering and the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States regulations. The responsibility for disposal of such wastes or their modification to allow disposal in district facilities shall rest with the producer thereof.
(r) To sell to the participating members of the district any property, including land, acquired by the district hereunder which, in its opinion is no longer needed in the performance of the powers and duties conferred and imposed on it by this act; provided, however, that any land is first made available to the town in which the land is located and, in the case of machinery, member municipalities shall have a priority of bid purchase at a reasonable price.
(s) To enter upon lands for the purpose of making surveys, borings, and to acquire by purchase or otherwise the right to occupy any land necessary for carrying out of said purpose. Nothing in this act shall be construed as granting the district the power of eminent domain. A municipality may, however, enter into a contract with the district in which it does exercise its power of eminent domain for the purpose of the district.
(t) To enact and enforce any and all necessary or desirable regulations for carrying out the purposes of the district.
(u) To accept and administer gifts, grants, and bequests in trust or otherwise for the purposes of the district.
(v) To exercise all powers incident to a public corporation.
SECTION 3. The legislative power and authority of the Southern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District and the administration and general supervision of all fiscal, prudential, and governmental affairs thereof shall be vested in a governing body known as the board of commissioners, except as specifically provided otherwise in the agreement under paragraph (d) of section one.
SECTION 4. The board of commissioners shall be accountable to the participating municipalities through maintenance of adequate records, documents, and other exhibits. The board of commissioners shall make a report each year to the participating municipalities.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its passage.