Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. A water pollution abatement district, to be known as the Essex-Middlesex Sanitary District, hereinafter called the district, is hereby established upon acceptance by vote of the town meetings of the towns of Boxford, Topsfield, Hamilton, Middleton, North Reading, and Wenham and shall include the territory of each town so voting.
SECTION 2. The district shall be a body politic and corporate. There shall be a commission to be known as the district commission. An executive director and treasurer shall be appointed by the district commission.
The district commission upon formation shall consist of one member from each of the towns in the district and one additional member from the host town in which the facility is located, when established, said members to be residents of their respective towns and appointed for a term of three years by a vote of the board of selectmen; provided, however, that in a town where the members of the board of health are elected, such appointment shall be by joint vote of the board of selectmen and the board of health. The initial appointments shall be: two members for one year, two members for two years and two members for three years. The membership of the district commission may be expanded by a two-thirds vote of the members of the commission.
The district commission shall employ qualified persons to serve as executive director and treasurer and fix their salaries. Said director shall administer the affairs and direct the work of the district as approved by the commission. The powers and duties of the director shall be set forth in the by-laws of the district.
The executive director may, with the approval of the district commission, employ such other persons as he shall deem necessary and fix their salaries.
The commission shall, within thirty days of initial appointment of all members and thereafter annually in the month of June select a chairperson, a vice chairperson, and a secretary from among the membership who shall also act as an executive committee.
SECTION 3. The district commission:
(A) May act by a majority vote on all matters except that a two-thirds majority vote shall be required for the following four items:
(1) the undertaking of any capital outlay project costing more than twenty-five thousand dollars;
(2) the issuance of bonds or notes;
(3) the removal of the executive director;
(4) the exercise of the power of eminent domain.
(B) Shall adopt, and may amend or repeal, by-laws, regulations and rules for the conduct of its affairs.
(C) Shall adopt a corporate seal.
(D) May sue and be sued.
(E) May enter into contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers.
(F) May incur expenses in order to carry out the purpose of this act.
(G) May issue bonds and notes as hereinafter provided and to secure the payment thereof may pledge or assign, or provide for a lien upon or security interest in, any or all property of the district or any or all revenues, including without limitation assessments, grants or taxes or rates, fees or charges derived from the operation of any or all facilities or projects of the district.
(H) May acquire, dispose of, lease, as lessee or lessor, transfer, sell and encumber real and personal property, including intangible property, or interests therein, for the purposes of the district, as it deems appropriate in the exercise of its powers.
(I) May manage, control and supervise abatement facilities.
(J) May construct, acquire, transfer, sell, improve and maintain and operate abatement facilities.
(K) Shall provide revenues to carry out the purposes of the district, in accordance with clauses I and J.
(L) May apply for, accept and receive grants, loans or other financial assistance from the federal government, the commonwealth or any other public or private source.
(M) May invest available funds as provided by law.
(N) Shall adopt regulations and rules as to the quality and character of any sewage derived from septic systems and other wastes received by the district's facilities or projects.
For the purposes of this act abatement facilities shall include facilities for the purpose of treating, neutralizing or stabilizing sewage derived from septic systems and other wastes as are disposed of by means of the facilities, including treatment or disposal plants, the necessary intercepting, outfall and outlet pipelines, pumping stations and force mains integral to such facilities and pipelines, equipment and furnishings thereof and their appurtenances, and
(O) May provide for the insurance, including self-insurance, of any property or operations of the district, its members, commissioners, officers and employees, against any risk or hazard, and may indemnify its members, commissioners, officers and employees against any risk or hazard.
(P) May create and fund reserves for the purpose of planning, constructing, reconstructing, financing, acquiring, owning, managing, insuring, leasing, equipping, extending, improving, operating, maintaining, repairing and closing any of its facilities or projects.
(Q) May establish rates, fees and charges for the use of any of its facilities or projects.
(R) May request any member, for the purposes of the district, to exercise the power of eminent domain available to such member and reimburse such member for the cost of the acquisition and other expenses related to such exercise of eminent domain. Each and every member shall have the right to exercise the power of eminent domain, in accordance with the provisions of law governing such right, for the purposes of the district upon such a request from the district commission.
(S) May enforce whether through the courts or otherwise any of its duly adopted regulations or rules or the payment or collection of any assessments provided under section seven hereof or any amounts to be received pursuant to the provisions of section nine hereof. In cases determined appropriate by the district commission, the district commission may seek injunctive relief of any kind available through the courts.
(T) May exercise such other powers as are necessary or incidental to carrying out the purposes of this act.
SECTION 4. The district may apply to the appropriate state and federal authorities for grants, loans or other financial assistance for the purpose of assisting the district in developing a comprehensive water pollution abatement project for such district. In no case shall such financial assistance exceed the reasonable and necessary cost of such projects, after subtracting therefrom any federal grants, loans or other financial assistance made to such district for the same purposes.
SECTION 5. The district commission, or its agents, may enter upon any lands or waters for the purpose of making surveys, test pits and borings, and may take by eminent domain or acquire by purchase or otherwise, the right to temporarily occupy any lands necessary for the carrying out of the said purposes.
SECTION 6. No lands, rights-of-way, or other easements, property, structures, or rights acquired by the district, as herein provided, and located in a member community, shall be taxed or assessed by the municipality if yielding no rent, but the district may annually on July first pay to the municipality, an amount in lieu of taxes, said amount to be established by the district commission.
SECTION 7. It is the intent of the district to be self-supporting; provided, however, that the district commission may assess any and all costs of operation of the district among the members using a formula based on the estimated or actual gallonage of sewage derived from septic systems contributed to the system by each member. Said assessments shall annually, no later than sixty calendar days prior to the earliest annual town meeting of any member, be filed with the board of selectmen of each member who shall incorporate the amount in the warrant for approval at the next annual town meeting. Approval by a two-thirds vote of the member communities shall be binding on the entire membership.
SECTION 8. The district, by vote of the commissioners, is authorized to issue, from time to time, general obligation or revenue bonds or notes of the district to pay for the costs of operating and maintaining the facilities and projects of the district and the costs of capital outlay required in connection with the facility or facilities or the project or projects contained in an approved plan, in such amount or amounts as the district commissioners may determine and may refund any such bonds or notes with general obligation or revenue bonds. Such bonds or notes may be callable with or without premium, shall contain such terms and conditions, bear such rate or rates of interest, including variable rates and rates established by reference to an index or formula, be sold in such manner, at public or private sale, at such time or times and at such price or prices, be secured by such pledges, assignments, liens, security interests, reserves, guarantees, letters of credit, insurance and similar documents, and mature at such times and in such amounts as the district commission shall determine; provided, however, that any bonds or notes issued under this section that are not temporary shall be payable not later than thirty years from their date.
If the district votes to issue bonds or notes, the district commission may authorize the issuance, in the name of the district, of general obligation or revenue temporary notes for a period of not more than two years in anticipation of the money to be received from the sale of such bonds or notes; but the time within which such bonds or notes shall become payable shall not be extended by reason of the issuance of such temporary notes beyond the time fixed in the vote authorizing such bonds or notes.
The district, by vote of the commissioners, is authorized to issue, from time to time, general obligation or revenue temporary notes of the district in anticipation of assessments and other revenues of the district of the year in which such notes are issued. Temporary notes in anticipation of assessments or other revenues shall be payable not more than one year from their dates. If at any time any principal or interest is due or about to become due on any bond or note issued by a district and funds to pay the same are not available, the district may temporarily borrow money and issue temporary general obligation notes of the district, payable not more than one year from their dates, to pay such principal and interest.
Temporary notes issued under this section for a shorter period than the maximum permitted may be renewed by the issuance of other temporary notes maturing within the required period; provided, that the period from the date of issue of the original temporary note to the date of maturity of the renewal note shall not exceed the maximum period for which the original temporary note may have been issued. Such temporary notes or renewal notes may be sold at discount or with interest payable at or at and before maturity.
Bonds and notes of the district shall be signed by the treasurer and countersigned by the executive director of the district and shall have the district seal affixed. Sections sixteen B and sixteen C of chapter forty-four of the General Laws shall be applicable to such bonds and notes.
The term "costs of operating and maintaining" as used herein shall include any or all costs or expenses incurred or to be incurred in connection with the operation or maintenance of any of the district's facilities or projects, including without limitation the cost of maintaining, repairing or servicing any facilities or projects of the district, the cost of acquiring, maintaining or repairing offices owned or leased by the district or acquiring, maintaining, servicing or repairing equipment or furnishings owned or leased by the district, any salaries or expenses of any commissioner, officer or employee of the district while acting in the performance of their duties on behalf of the district, insurance, utilities, any fees and charges of any independent consultants for engineering, financial or legal services and any similar cost or expense necessary or incidental to the district in carrying out its purposes hereunder.
The term "capital outlay" as used herein shall mean the cost of construction, acquisition, extension or improvement of facilities included in the project or projects contained in an approved plan, the cost of acquisition of all the land or interest therein of any nature or description, for such construction, extension, acquisition or improvement, and any legal appraisal or surveys, fees or services with relation thereto, the cost of demolition or the removal of any buildings or structures on land so acquired, the cost of furnishings and equipment, financing charges, costs of issuance of bonds and notes, including any premium on any insurance obtained in connection therewith or the cost of any guarantees, letters of credit or similar documents purchased in connection therewith, insurance during construction, cost of architectural, engineering, legal or other expenses, plans, specifications, estimates and costs and such other expenses, acquisition or improvement of such facilities, and the placing of such facilities in operation.
The term "improvement" as used in this section shall include the cost of acquiring more equipment, the cost of converting the existing facility into a new condition of completeness or efficiency from a worn, damaged or deteriorated condition whenever the plans for such improvement have been approved.
Any bonds or notes issued under this section shall not be included in computing the limit of indebtedness of any city or town any portion of which is included in the district.
SECTION 9. The district commission shall annually determine the amounts required for the payment of principal and interest and premium, if any, on such bonds and notes issued or to be issued by the district which will be due during the ensuing calendar year and may apportion the amounts so determined among the municipalities in the district in accordance with the provisions of section seven. The district commission shall also annually determine the amounts necessary to be raised to maintain and operate the district during said year, for capital outlay items the cost of which is not to be funded, and for all other matters for which the district is required to raise money, and shall apportion among the municipalities the amounts so determined, in accordance with the provisions of said section seven, reduced by the amounts of revenues of funds which are available or are to be received by the district during said year and are applicable to costs of maintenance and operations. All amounts apportioned hereunder shall be subject to the provisions of section seven, including the approval procedures therein. Amounts apportioned or assessed under this act shall be subject to the provisions of section twenty B of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws.