Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 135 of the acts of 1988 is hereby amended by striking out section 1 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 1. There is hereby established the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District, a public body politic and corporate, hereinafter referred to as the district. Said district shall function as a regional solid waste management district and shall be subject to section forty-four I of chapter forty of the General Laws.
The district is created and shall exist for the purpose of providing solid waste management services for its member municipalities and the residents thereof through the district's removal, transportation, disposal, recovery, or any combination thereof, of solid wastes generated within the district. The district shall have the ability to regulate said removal, transportation, disposal, recovery, recycling, or any combination thereof, of solid wastes generated within the district and under the control of the member municipalities. The district may enact and enforce any and all necessary or desirable regulations for conducting and carrying out the purposes of the district. The district may also contract with other municipalities outside of said district for removal, transportation, disposal, recovery, recycling, or any combination thereof, of solid wastes generated within such municipalities.
The district is composed of and includes all of the lands and residents within the towns of Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, Lanesborough, New Ashford, Savoy, Windsor, Williamstown and the city of North Adams which, by vote at an annual or special town meeting, or by vote of the city council in the case of North Adams, accept this act and hereby agree to participate in its creation and such other municipalities as are subsequently admitted to the district pursuant to the provisions of this act. The municipalities composing the district shall constitute its membership and are herein designated as member municipalities. 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. This provision of this act must be accepted within ninety days of its adoption. Municipalities which do not accept this act within the initial ninety day period must apply for membership as provided in section five.
Except as otherwise provided or limited herein, the district shall have the following powers:
(a) to operate, cause to be operated, or contract for the operation of any and all facilities for the transportation, resource recovery, recycling 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;
(c) to hire and fix the compensation of employees;
(d) to acquire, construct, reconstruct, remodel, equip, rehabilitate or make extraordinary repairs or additions to any and all facilities and equipment for the transportation, resource recovery, recycling and disposal of solid wastes including but not limited to one or more "refuse disposal facilities" as defined in section forty-four B of chapter forty of the General Laws;
(e) to adopt and alter a corporate seal;
(f) to sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon the same conditions that a city or town may be sued;
(g) to make contracts of any term or duration for any district purpose, including but not limited to contracts with architects, engineers, financial and legal consultants and other experts for services to the district and contracts with individuals, corporations, associations, authorities, agencies and member and non-member municipalities for services to or by the district;
(h) to contract to pay for refuse disposal facilities and solid waste disposal services on the basis of guaranteed amounts of solid waste with payments based on such guaranteed amounts, whether actually disposed of or not, which payments may be variable and may be determined by formulas expressed in such contracts; provided, however, that said contracts shall be authorized by two-thirds vote of the board of commissioners and two-thirds vote of the member municipalities, each vote as defined in section two; and provided, further, that if written notice of any such contract containing a statement of the estimated payments required thereby and stating the district's desire to exempt such payments from the limits imposed by sections twenty A, twenty B and twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws is at any time given to the city council or board of selectmen of each member municipality and disapproval of such exemption is not expressed within thirty days after delivery of such notice by at least one-third of the member municipalities, acting in each case by a majority vote as defined in section one of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, said payments may be assessed to and paid by member municipalities without regard to the limits imposed by said sections twenty A, twenty B and twenty-one C;
(i) to contract with the commonwealth or the United States, or any agency, department or subdivision thereof for services;
(j) to contract with any member municipality for the services of any property, officers or employees of that municipality useful to it;
(k) to promote cooperative arrangements and coordinated action among its member municipalities;
(l) to make recommendations for review and action to its member municipalities;
(m) 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;
(n) to exercise the power of eminent domain pursuant to chapter seventy-nine of the General Laws, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, any land, property, rights-of-way or easements, public or private in said district, necessary for accomplishing any of the purposes of this act.
(o) to incur debt and issue bonds and notes as provided in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of the eleventh paragraph of section three; provided, however, as to any such debt incurred under said subparagraph (b), that it shall be authorized by two-thirds vote of the board of commissioners and two-thirds vote of the member municipalities, each vote as defined in section two, that written notice of the amount of the debt and of the general purposes for which it was authorized shall be given to the city council or board of selectmen of each member municipality not later than seven days after the date on which said debt was authorized by the board of commissioners, that no debt may be incurred until the expiration of thirty days from the date said debt was authorized by the board of commissioners, that if, prior to the expiration of said period, one-third of the member municipalities, acting in each case by a majority vote as defined in section one of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, shall express disapproval of the amount authorized by the board of commissioners, said debt shall not be incurred and the board of commissioners shall prepare another proposal and authorization of debt therefor which may be the same as any prior proposal and authorization, and that, if one-third of the member municipalities shall not express disapproval as aforesaid, the debt so authorized and all assessments upon and payments by member municipalities with respect thereto shall be exempt from the limits imposed by sections twenty A, twenty B and twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws;
(p) to establish a budget and assess municipalities for the expense of the district subject to provisions of section twenty B of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws except as otherwise provided in clauses (h) and (o) and except that the reference to the preceding fiscal year, in clause (1) of the first paragraph of said section twenty B, shall be to the highest preceding fiscal year;
(q) to appropriate and expend monies and receive and disburse funds for any district purpose;
(r) to establish capital reserve funds for public improvements in furtherance of its purpose;
(s) to prevent the discharge into the disposal facilities of substances which may damage or interfere with its maintenance or operation. The district shall, for the proper and reasonable operations of its works, make regulations as to the quantity and character of any refuse or other solid wastes discharged into any disposal facility under its control. The district may prohibit discharge into any disposal facility under its control of certain unique industrial refuse and solid wastes if the board determines such refuse and wastes may interfere or damage the disposal facility or interfere with its maintenance or operation or not be in compliance with the environmental protection agency or the department of environmental protection. The responsibility for disposal of such unique waste or for their modification to allow disposal in district facilities shall rest with the producers thereof.
(t) to sell by negotiation to the participating members of the district any property, including land, acquired by it 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 it is located, and in the case of machinery, member municipalities shall have a priority of bid purchase at a reasonable price.
(u) to enter upon lands for the purpose of making surveys, borings, and may take by eminent domain under said chapter seventy-nine, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, the right to occupy any land in said district necessary for the carrying out of the said purposes.
(v) to enact and enforce any and all necessary or desirable regulations for the orderly conduct of the government and for carrying out purposes of the district;
(w) to accept and administer gifts, grants, and bequests in trust or otherwise for the purpose of the district;
(x) to exercise all powers incident to a public corporation.
SECTION 2. Section 2 of said chapter 135 is hereby amended by striking out the fourth and fifth paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following two paragraphs:-
Each member of the board shall be entitled to cast weighted votes equal to one vote for every one hundred residents as of the latest official federal census, rounded to the nearest one hundred, in the municipality represented by that member, and shall also be entitled to cast one member vote for that municipality.
For the purposes of transacting business, the presence of members whose weighted votes represent a majority of the total weighted votes and whose member votes represent a majority of the member municipalities shall constitute a quorum; provided, however, that a smaller number may adjourn to another date. Any action adopted by a majority of the weighted votes cast at a meeting of the board at which a quorum is present shall be the action of the board, except as otherwise required by this act. As used in this act, a two-thirds vote of the board means the vote of board members whose weighted votes represent at least two-thirds of the total weighted votes and a two-thirds vote of the member municipalities means the vote of board members whose member votes represent at least two-thirds of the member municipalities.
SECTION 3. The ninth paragraph of section 3 of said chapter 135 is hereby amended by striking out subparagraphs (b) and (c) and inserting in place thereof the following two subparagraphs:-
(b) Annually prior to March thirty-first, the board of commissioners shall, by two-thirds vote of the board and two-thirds vote of the member municipalities as defined above, adopt a budget to appropriate the sums which it deems necessary to operate the district and carry out its functions for the ensuing fiscal year, assess each member municipality for its proportionate share of the sum appropriated and adopt a schedule designating when such assessments are due and payable by the member municipalities; provided, however, that in case of any failure of the board to take timely action under this sentence, amounts necessary to provide for costs of debt service or of payments exempted from sections twenty A, twenty B and twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws pursuant to clause (h) or clause (o) of the fourth paragraph of section one shall be deemed to have been assessed and apportioned and be payable in the manner most recently voted under this sentence or, absent a prior vote, to have been assessed upon and apportioned among member municipalities on the basis of their relative populations as of the last official federal census and to be payable quarterly on the first days of September, December, March and June. The total amounts so apportioned for each member municipality shall, prior to March thirty-first in each year, be certified by the district treasurer to the treasurers of the member municipalities. The obligation of each member municipality to pay apportionments pursuant to this act and the district by-laws shall be included in the amounts to be assessed annually in such member municipality under section twenty-three of said chapter fifty-nine without appropriation and the treasurer of each member municipality shall pay to the district the amounts so apportioned at the times specified in the district by-laws. The amounts apportioned or to be apportioned pursuant to this act shall not be included in the statutory limit of indebtedness of any member municipality. A member municipality may raise all or a portion of the amounts apportioned or to be apportioned pursuant to this act through equitable and proportional charges against the inhabitants and other users of the services provided by the district in such member municipality.
(c) Assessments shall be apportioned according to the by-laws adopted by the board of commissioners.
SECTION 4. Said section 3 of said chapter 135 is hereby further amended by striking out the tenth and eleventh paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following two paragraphs:-
Annually on or before the first day of August, the treasurer of the district shall issue and present a warrant to each member municipality requiring that the amount of such assessment be paid to him in accordance with the schedule for payments adopted by the board. If any member municipality shall fail to pay when due any assessment assessed against it by the district, it shall incur a penalty of interest for late payment at one point five percent per month. Such penalty and interest, together with the amount due, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees of the district, may be recovered by the district in a civil action under this section.
Action or resolution of the board for the annual appropriations in any year shall not cease to be operative at the end of the fiscal year for which they were adopted except as otherwise provided by the district by-laws. Appropriations made by the board shall be expended only for such estimates, but by majority vote of the board the budget may be amended from time to time to transfer funds between or among such estimates, except as otherwise limited herein. Any balance left or unexpended in any such estimate shall be returned at the end of the fiscal year to the general fund of the district. The amount of any deficit at the end of the fiscal year shall be included in and paid out of the operating budget and appropriations in the next fiscal year.
(a) The board may borrow money for the purpose of paying current expenses of the district through the issuance and refunding of notes of the district in anticipation of assessments made upon member municipalities, or in anticipation of such assessments to be made, to an amount not exceeding the amount of such assessments made in the preceding fiscal year, or in anticipation of any revenues of the district other than such assessments, to an amount not exceeding the greater of revenues contracted for and revenues of the preceding fiscal year. Any such notes shall be issued subject to the applicable provisions of sections sixteen to twenty-eight, inclusive, of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, except that said notes shall be countersigned by the chairman of the district instead of by a majority of the commissioners, and the period from the date of issue of the original loan to the date of maturity of the original or any refunding loan shall not exceed one year.
(b) The district may incur debt for the purposes of clauses (d) and (n) of the fourth paragraph of section one and any purposes incidental thereto for a term not exceeding twenty years, and may issue bonds and notes therefor in the name and upon the full faith and credit of said district subject to the applicable provisions of sections sixteen to twenty-eight, inclusive, of chapter forty-four of the General Laws, except that said bonds and notes shall be countersigned by the chairman of the district instead of by a majority of the commissioners, and except that the maturities of bonds or notes issued by said district either shall be arranged so that for each issue the annual combined payments of principal and interest payable in each year shall be as nearly equal as practicable 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.
SECTION 5. Section 4 of said chapter 135 is hereby amended by striking out section 4 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. A member municipality may by vote of its legislative body withdraw from the district if five years have passed since it became a body politic and corporate, and if the district has not voted to bond for construction and improvements or to authorize a long-term contract pursuant to this agreement. If a majority of the voters of a member municipality's legislative body present and voting at a meeting of such municipality duly warned, or of the city council, for such purpose shall vote to withdraw from the district, the vote shall be certified to the district by the city or town clerk. Thereafter, the board shall give notice to the remaining member municipalities of the vote to withdraw and shall hold a meeting to discuss the withdrawal and to determine if it is in the best interests of the district to continue to exit. Representatives of the member municipalities shall be given an opportunity to be heard at such meeting together with any other interested persons. The membership of the withdrawing municipality shall terminate as of one year following the vote to withdraw or as soon after such one year period as the financial obligations of said withdrawing municipality have been paid to the district. A vote of withdrawal taken after the district has voted to bond itself for construction and improvements or to authorize a long-term contract shall be null and void.
The board may authorize the inclusion of additional member municipalities in the district upon such terms and conditions as it in its sole discretion shall deem to be fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the district. The legislative body of any nonmember municipality which desires to be admitted to the district shall make application for admission to the board of the district. The board shall determine the effects and impacts which are likely to occur if such municipality is admitted and shall thereafter either grant or deny authority for admission of the petitioning municipality. If the board grants such authority, it shall also specify any terms and conditions, including but not limited to financial obligations upon which such admission is predicated. If a majority of the voters of the petitioning municipality present and voting at a meeting of such municipality duly warned for such purpose shall vote to approve the agreement and the terms and conditions for admission, the vote shall be certified by the clerk of that municipality to the board. Thereafter upon satisfactory performance of the terms and conditions for admission, said municipality shall by resolution of the board become and thereafter be a member municipality of the district.
(A) If the board by resolution approved by two-thirds vote of the board and two-thirds vote of the member municipalities as defined above determines that it is in the best interests of the public, the member municipalities and the district, that the district be dissolved, and if the district then has no outstanding debt or obligations under long-term contracts, or will have no such debt or obligations upon completion of the plan of dissolution, it shall prepare a plan of dissolution and thereafter adopt a resolution direction that the question of such dissolution and the plan of dissolution be submitted to the voters of the member municipalities. If the member municipalities representing two-thirds of the votes of the district vote to approve the plan of dissolution, the district shall cease to conduct its affairs except insofar as may be necessary for the winding up thereof. The board shall immediately cause a notice of the proposed dissolution to be mailed to each known creditor of the district and shall proceed to collect the assets of the district and apply and distribute them in accordance with the plan of dissolution.
(B) The plan of dissolution shall:
(1) identify and value all unencumbered assets of the district;
(2) identify and value all encumbered assets of the district;
(3) identify all creditors of the district and the nature or amount of all liabilities and obligations of the district;
(4) identify all obligations under long-term contracts;
(5) specify the means by which assets of the district shall be liquidated and all liabilities and obligations of the district shall be paid and discharged, or adequate provision shall be made for the satisfaction thereof;
(6) specify the amount of monies due from each member municipality, if necessary, to extinguish the liabilities of the district;
(7) specify the nature and amount of any liabilities of obligations to be assumed and paid by the member municipalities;
(8) specify the means by which any assets remaining after discharge of all liabilities shall be liquidated if necessary;
(9) specify that any assets remaining after payment of all liabilities shall be apportioned and distributed among the member municipalities according to the same basic formula used in apportioning the annual assessments of the district.
(C) When the plan of dissolution has been implemented, the board shall adopt a resolution certifying that fact to the member municipalities whereupon this agreement and the district created hereby shall be terminated.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon its passage.