Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The inhabitants of the town of West Stockbridge, liable to taxation in said town and residing within the territory bounded and described as follows:-
Beginning at a point located at the northwest corner of the town of West Stockbridge and the Southwest corner of the Town of Richmond; said point being on the westerly line of the State of Massachusetts and the easterly line of the State of New York; thence south 16 - 33' - 09.5" west along said line of Massachusetts and New York, 1,140 feet more or less, to a point; said point being station 0+00 of the Massachusetts turnpike main baseline; thence the following directions and distances along said main baseline of the Massachusetts Turnpike; thence south 41 - 58' - 20.5" east, 2,031 feet to station 20+31.0; thence south 75 - 53' - 50.5" east, 3,170 feet to station 52+01.785 (back) = 55+53.861 (ahead); thence south 59 - 57' - 49" east, 4,469.25 feet to station 100+23.110 (back) = station 100+22.890 (ahead); thence along a curve to the right having a radius of 6,400 feet, a distance of 2,550.66 feet to PUT. Station 115+76.03; thence south 33 - 19' - 12" east, 2,085.68 feet to P.C. Station 176+61.71; thence along a curve to the right having a radius of 3,000 feet, a distance of 1,277.21 to Station 189+38.92; said point located on the easterly town line of West Stockbridge and the westerly line of Stockbridge; thence north 84 - 40' - 36" east along said town line of West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, 1,400 feet, more or less to another corner of said West Stockbridge and Stockbridge; thence north 5 - 17' - 33.1" east along said town line of West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, 7,065 feet, more or less, to another corner of said West Stockbridge and Stockbridge; thence north 31 - 00' - 33.1" east along said town line of West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, 5,211 feet, more or less, to the corner of the towns of West Stockbridge, Stockbridge and Richmond; thence north 88 - 47' - 26.9" west along the town line of said West Stockbridge and Richmond, 18,895 feet, more or less, to the place of beginning; shall constitute a water district and are hereby made a body politic and corporate by the name the Queeensboro Water District, for the purpose of supplying themselves with water for domestic and other purposes, with the power to lay water mains, to establish wells, fountains and hydrants and to relocate and discontinue the same, to regulate the use of such water and to fix and collect rates to be paid therefor, and for the purposes of assessing and raising taxes as provided herein for the payment of such services, and for the defraying of the necessary expenses of carrying on the business of the district, with all the power and privileges and subject to the limitations provided for in the General Laws now or hereafter in force relating to such districts, except as otherwise provided herein. The district shall also have for its purpose the construction of, operation and financing of such water supply and treatment works and facilities as may be necessary to obtain and deliver pure and healthful drinking water. For this purpose the district shall seek, obtain and accept any available capital and operating funds from the commonwealth or from the federal government or any authority or entity created by either of said governments. The district shall have the power to prosecute and defend all actions relating to its property and affairs and shall be deemed a public employer for the purposes of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws.
SECTION 2. For the aforesaid purposes the district, acting by and through its board of water commissioners hereinafter provided for may:-
(a) contract with any municipality, acting through its water department, or with any water company, or with any water district for the purchase or sale of whatever water may be required, authority to furnish the same being hereby granted, and may enter into contracts as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act;
(b) supply water to persons outside of the district with the permission of any water department or water district existing outside of district or in the absence of any such water department or district, with permission of the board of selectmen of such town; provided, however, that a district meeting shall authorize each extension of waterworks outside the district;
(c) in addition to the powers granted to it by section ten, take by eminent domain under the provisions of chapter seventy-nine or eighty A of the General Laws, or acquire by lease, purchase, or otherwise, and hold, the waters, or any portion thereof, of any pond, spring or stream, or any ground sources of water supply by means of driven, artesian or other wells, within the territorial limits of the town of West Stockbridge and the water and flowage rights connected with any such water sources; may take aforesaid, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, and hold all lands, rights of way and other easements necessary for collecting, storing, holding, purifying and preserving the purity of the water and for conveying the same to any part of the district and for carrying out the purposes of said district; provided, however, that no source of water supply or lands necessary for preserving the quality of such water shall be taken or used without first obtaining the advice and approval of the department of environmental protection; and, provided further, that the location and arrangement of all dams, reservoirs, springs, wells, pumping, purification and filtration plants and such other waterworks as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this act shall be subject to the approval of said department;
(d) construct and maintain on the lands acquired and held under this act proper dams, wells, springs, reservoirs, standpipes, tanks, pumping plants, buildings, fixtures and other structures, including the establishment and maintenance of filter beds and purification works or systems, and may make excavations, procure and operate machinery and provide such other means and appliances, and do such other things as may be necessary for the establishment and maintenance of complete and effective water works; and for that purpose may construct pipe lines, wells and reservoirs, may establish pumping works, and may construct, lay, acquire and maintain aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works under or over any land, water courses, railroads, railways and public or other ways and along such ways, in said town, in such manner as not unnecessarily to obstruct the same;
(e) for the purpose of constructing, laying, maintaining, operating, and repairing such aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works, and for the purposes of this act, dig up or raise and embank any such lands, highways, or other ways in such a manner as to cause the least hindrance to public travel on such way; provided, however, that the manner in which all things are done upon any such way shall be subject to the direction of the board of selectmen and any other permitting authority of the town in which such lands, highways, or other ways are located;
(f) enter upon any lands for the purpose of making surveys, test wells or pits and borings, or any of them, and may take or otherwise acquire the right to occupy temporarily any lands necessary for the construction of any work or for any purpose authorized by this act;
(g) from time to time sell such real property of the district as shall, in the opinion of its board of water commissioners as hereinafter provided for, be no longer useful in the conduct of the affairs of the district; provided, however, that the district meeting shall authorize each such sale;
(h) employ personnel and may engage architectural, engineering, accounting, management, legal, financial and environmental consulting and other professional services;
(i) bill customers of the district and collect amounts owing under such bills directly;
(j) do all things necessary, convenient or desirable for carrying out the purposes of this act or the powers expressly granted or necessarily implied by this act including, but not limited to enacting regulations reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act.
SECTION 3. Any person sustaining damages in his property by any taking under this act or any other thing done under authority thereof may recover such damages from the district under the provisions of chapter seventy-nine or chapter eighty A of the General Laws; but the nonexclusive taking of water, water right or water source, or injury thereto, shall not vest until water is actually withdrawn or diverted under authority of this act.
SECTION 4. The district for the purposes of paying the costs of, and expenses incurred in connection with, the taking or acquisition of the properties of the West Stockbridge Water Company as hereinafter provided, and for putting such properties in a satisfactory operating condition as may be in the district's opinion needed and as approved by the department of environmental protection, may, from time to time borrow such sums as may be necessary, and may issue bonds or notes therefor, which shall be payable in not less than thirty years from their dates and shall bear on their face the words West Stockbridge Water Loan Act of 1993. Any bonds issued pursuant to the preceding sentence shall not be included in the amount of debt which is subject to limit prescribed by sections eight, nine and ten of chapter forty-four of the General Laws. The district for the purpose of paying the necessary expenses and liabilities incurred under this act may, from time to time, borrow such additional sums as may be necessary, not exceeding in the aggregate, the amounts permitted by law to be borrowed by water districts, and may issue bonds or notes therefor which shall bear on their face the words West Stockbridge Water District Water Loan and such other distinguishing designation as may be determined by the board of water commissioners. The district may borrow from time to time such sums as may be necessary for the purposes of this act in anticipation of revenue. Indebtedness incurred under this act shall be authorized by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of said board of water commissioners, and shall be upon full faith and credit of the district. All notes or bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall be obligatory upon the district and its members and the property within the district according to the tenor and purport thereof.
SECTION 5. The district, after a two-thirds majority vote at a district meeting and acting by and through said board of water commissioners, may establish and operate a separate account classified as Water Supply Materials "Enterprise Fund" for the purchase, storage and sale of water supply pumps, piping appurtenances and other materials. Such account shall be maintained by the treasurer, and all receipts, revenues and funds from any source derived, from all sales and rental of the water supply materials and equipment shall be deposited in such separate account. The treasurer may invest the funds in such separate account in the manner authorized by section fifty-five A of chapter forty-four of the General Laws. Any interest earned thereon shall be credited to and become part of such account. The books and records for the account shall be maintained in accordance with the generally accepted accounting principals and in accordance with the requirements of section thirty-eight of chapter forty.
SECTION 6. The district, acting by and through said board of water commissioners, shall, subject to the provisions of law, fix just and equitable fees, prices, and rates for the use of water and the extension or expansion of its water works and shall prescribe the time and manner of payment. Notwithstanding the foregoing, such prices and rates shall be fixed and adjusted so as to provide funds at least sufficient for each fiscal year, together with other revenues and funds of the district, if any, available therefor, to pay the full cost of operation of the district for such fiscal year, including all current expenses; all costs of maintenance, repair and replacement, including the establishment of reasonable sinking funds, stabilization funds, replacement reserves and other similar funds in accordance with the generally accepted accounting principles, as determined by the board of water commissioners to be necessary or desirable to be funded as current expenses; and all other amounts which the district may be obligated to pay or provide for by law or contract. Such prices and rates shall be reviewed at least annually and, as necessary, shall be revised. In the event that the water system operated by the district shall have been taken by eminent domain, or otherwise acquired, from the West Stockbridge Water Company, the water district acting through said board of water commissioners shall immediately after such taking or acquisition fix the rates to be paid by the customers within said portion of the town of West Stockbridge serviced by the district and by any customers in other towns. If in any fiscal year a tax has been levied upon the inhabitants of the district under the provisions of section seven, the board of water commissioners shall fix such prices and rates for the use of water as to raise within the shortest practical period as determined by the board of water commissioners the amount of such tax. If there should be a net surplus remaining at the end of any fiscal year after the payment of all costs of operation, such net surplus may be applied to pay the costs of operation for the district for the succeeding fiscal year. The fiscal year of the district shall commence on July first and end on June thirtieth, or as otherwise provided in the by-laws of the district.
SECTION 7. If for any reason the revenues and available funds of the district, including revenues from prices and rates for the use of water as provided in section six, shall be determined by the board of water commissioners not to be sufficient to pay the full cost of operation of the district, said board of water commissioners shall levy a tax upon the property of the district, and promptly thereafter the clerk of the district shall apportion the amount of said tax among the property subject to tax under this act in the town of West Stockbridge in proportion to the assessor's valuation of said property in the town and shall furnish a certified copy of the vote imposing said tax together with said apportionment of the tax, to the assessors of said town, who shall assess said tax on the property within the district in the same manner in all respects in which taxes are required by law to be assessed.
No estate shall be subject to any tax on account of the system of water supply under this act if, in the judgment of the board of water commissioners, after a hearing, due notice whereof shall be given, such estate is so situated that the buildings thereon are not supplied with water from said system in any manner, but all the other estates in the district shall be deemed to be benefited and shall be subject to such tax. A certified list of the estates exempt from taxation under the provisions of this section shall be sent by said board of water commissioners to said assessors, at the same time at which the clerk shall send a certified copy of the vote as aforesaid.
The assessments shall be committed to the district collector, hereinafter provided for, who shall collect said tax in the manner provided by law for the collection of town taxes, and shall deposit the proceeds thereof with the district treasurer for the use and benefit of the district. The district may collect interest on overdue taxes in the manner in which interest is authorized to be collected on town taxes; provided, however that the board of water commissioners at the time of voting to levy the tax shall so determine and shall so fix a time when said tax shall be due.
SECTION 8. The management and control of all property acquired by, and the exercise of all the powers, privileges, and duties conferred upon, the district pursuant to any provisions of this act shall be vested in and exercised by a board of water commissioners which shall be constituted as provided in section nine except where a power or duty is expressly reserved to the district voters by this act.
SECTION 9. The district shall, after the acceptance of this act, elect by ballot, either at the same meeting at which this act shall have been accepted or thereafter, at an annual district meeting or at a special meeting called for said purpose, three persons to hold office, one until the expiration of one year, one until the expiration of two years, and one until the expiration of three years from the day of the next succeeding annual district meeting to constitute a board of water commissioners; and at every annual district meeting following such next succeeding annual district meeting one such commissioner shall be elected by ballot for a term of three years. The date of the next annual meeting shall be fixed by by law or by vote of the board of water commissioners; provided, however, that in no event shall it be later than fifteen months subsequent to the date on which the water commissioners were first elected. The first district meeting shall be called by the board of selectmen of the town of West Stockbridge within two months after the acceptance hereof by a town meeting of said town of West Stockbridge. The clerk shall cause notice of the time and place of the first district meeting to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in said town for two consecutive weeks, the second notice of which shall appear not fewer than seven days before the meeting.
The district meeting shall annually appropriate funds for the district's purposes and may appropriate funds for purposes specified for the district in this act, and for any purpose permitted to water districts by the General Laws. All of the authority granted to said district by this act, except section four, and not otherwise specifically reserved to the district meeting, shall be vested in said board of water commissioners, who shall be subject, however, to such instructions, rules and regulations as the district may by vote impose.
At the meeting at which said water commissioners are first elected and at each annual district meeting held thereafter, the district shall elect by ballot, each for such terms as it may determine, a clerk and a treasurer of the district. The treasurer shall give bond to the district in such an amount as may be approved by said board with a surety company authorized to do business in the commonwealth as a surety.
A majority of said board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the board of water commissioners from any cause may be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by the district at a legal meeting called for that purpose. No money shall be drawn from the treasury of the district on account of its water works except upon written notice of said board, or a majority of them, to the district treasurer.
SECTION 10. The district, upon acceptance of this act as hereinafter provided for, is hereby authorized and empowered to purchase all the rights, franchises, privileges, and properties, tangible and intangible, real and personal including furniture and equipment, inventories and material supplies of the West Stockbridge Water Company, at a price and upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon between the district and said corporation. In the event that the district shall elect to purchase such rights and properties, said district shall give said corporation written notice of such intention, addressed to such corporation at its principle place of business, mailed by registered mail, postage prepaid. If at the expiration of sixty days after the date of the mailing of such notice, the district and said corporation shall have been unable to agree upon the price for such rights and properties, the district may take the same by eminent domain or by purchase pursuant to the rights below.
In addition to the right of the district to take or otherwise acquire the rights, franchises and properties of the West Stockbridge Water Company as above provided, the district shall have the right, with the consent of said corporation and its stockholders, to purchase at a price agreed upon between the district and said corporation or its stockholders all the outstanding capital stock of said corporation for the sole purpose of dissolving and liquidating said corporation and immediately acquiring by transfer all its franchises, properties, rights, powers and privileges. Such purchase may, but need not necessarily be, conditioned upon the stockholders paying any excess of the current liabilities over the current assets, discharging its tax liability and assuming all other liabilities, fixed or contingent.
The district shall not acquire the assets or capital stock of the West Stockbridge Water Company pursuant to an agreed purchase price until said price shall have been approved by a majority vote at a district meeting.
SECTION 11. Whoever contaminates, corrupts, pollutes or diverts any source of water used by the district or any water obtained or supplied under this act, or injures any reservoir, well, standpipe, aqueduct, pipe or other property owned or used by the district for any of the purposes of this act, shall be liable for and pay to the district the district's cost of assessing, remedying and removing such contamination, corruption, pollution, diversion or injury, and for the district's costs, expenses and attorney's fees to be recovered in an action of tort. Any person convicted of a violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both.
SECTION 12. This act shall take effect upon its acceptance by a majority of the voters of the district as established in section one and voting thereon at a district meeting called in accordance with the provisions of section nine, within four years after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 13. This act shall take effect upon its passage.