Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The town of Brewster is hereby authorized to provide financial assistance to its property owners through a program promoting compliance with the town's requirements to repair and/or upgrade private septic systems. When an existing septic disposal system constitutes a present or potential threat to human health, safety, welfare or the environment, said town is authorized to use public monies to assist property owners to fund improvements or upgrades of their existing system.
SECTION 2. Said town is hereby authorized to borrow and incur debt for the purposes of cleanup, abatement, repair, and septic system upgrade pursuant to this section. Said town may enter into an agreement with a property owner to furnish financial assistance under the provisions of this act and such agreement shall be recorded as a betterment pursuant to section two of chapter eighty of the General Laws, and the amount assessed shall be a lien on the property pursuant to section five of said chapter eighty and may be apportioned and reapportioned pursuant to section thirteen of said chapter eighty; provided, however, that such assessment shall bear interest at a rate determined by the board of health by agreement with the property owner, but, in no event, shall such interest be less than the rate of interest chargeable to the town for the financing of such cleanup, abatement, repair, and upgrade. Any such borrowing shall not be included for the purpose of computation of the levy or borrowing limits otherwise imposed upon the town by chapter forty of the General Laws.
The board of health is hereby authorized to establish regulations governing the operation of this program after an advertised public hearing. Said board of health shall establish guidelines on eligibility and evaluate all applications with reference to said guidelines.
The applicant who must be the property owner or owners for funding must submit a signed petition and a deed or a certificate of title to the board of health by October fifteenth of each year. The petition shall include the septic system plans and specifications, designed by a licensed civil or sanitary engineer or a registered sanitarian. Said plans shall meet the minimum requirements for subsurface disposal of household wastewater as established by the State Environmental Code, 310 CMR 15.00, commonly known as Title 5, or where stricter, the regulations adopted by the Brewster board of health. In addition, the application shall include a disposal works construction permit, issued by the Brewster board of health.
An agreement between an owner and the board of health pursuant to this section shall not be considered a breach of a limitation or prohibition contained in a note, mortgage or contract on the transfer of an interest in property.
The board of health shall obtain construction estimates according to the scope of work outlined in the plans and specifications submitted by the petitioner. The board of health shall hold a public hearing on the application after due notice to the petitioner. The board of health shall provide an estimate of all costs to be levied against said petitioner, including engineering, legal, construction, administrative, interest plus two percent and other related expenses. Upon receipt of the approval of the estimated costs by the property owner, the board of health will seek funding by an annual town meeting. Upon funding approval, the board of health shall obtain bids in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty B of the General Laws. Within six months after the construction has been completed, the total costs for installation and maintenance shall be assigned to the petitioner, and the time for payment, not to exceed fifteen years, shall be specified. Monies repaid to the town for septic betterments shall be deposited into a separate receipts reserved account.
The total cost of the project shall not exceed the estimate, and the town shall not be responsible for any additional costs related to upkeep or maintenance; if, through any eventuality, the cost of the project should exceed the estimate, the excess shall be the responsibility of the property owner. Upon the approval of the betterment application and following notice thereof, the property owner may, within thirty days, pay the total cost of the project. Should the property owner not elect such a payment, the tax collector shall bill the property owner for ten percent of the total cost. With the next real estate tax bill, the tax collector shall bill the property owner the apportioned amount of the balance of the total cost, and this balance may be apportioned over a period not exceeding fifteen years. At any time during the remainder of the payment period, the property owner may elect to pay in full the balance still remaining. The town shall have a lien to secure payment in the same manner as it acquires a lien for a betterment assessment under chapter eighty of the General Laws.