Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. There is hereby established a district within the towns of Lee and Tyringham, to be known as the Goose Pond Maintenance District which, upon its establishment in the manner hereinafter set forth, shall constitute a body politic and corporate.
SECTION 2. The district within said towns of Lee and Tyringham generally encompasses Goose Pond which is situated in part in a southeasterly portion of the town of Lee, southerly of U.S. Route 20 and the Massachusetts turnpike and easterly of Forest street. The remaining southerly portion of Goose pond is located in the north part of the town of Tyringham, northerly of Goose pond road.
At the general location above described, the actual boundaries and composition of the district shall be deemed to include only those separately assessed parcels within each said town, including any tax exempt parcels, as shown from time to time on the maps maintained by the board of assessors for each town, except only as the same are otherwise determined based upon recorded survey plan or deed, and which parcels:
(a) abut directly on the shoreline of Goose pond; or
(b) have a recorded private right of access to and upon land which abuts the shoreline of Goose pond in such manner that the owner or proprietor of such parcel, is afforded by such recorded rights access to Goose pond, either individually or in common with the owners or proprietors of other such parcels, for bathing, boating or other lake recreational activities where the general public may lawfully be excluded from such use; or
(c) as an incident of ownership of said parcels, the owners thereof are entitled or required to become members of an incorporated or unincorporated association, other corporation, partnership, trust or any other entity owning land abutting directly on the shoreline of Goose pond and who, by virtue of such membership or ownership in any such entity are entitled, upon the payment of dues, assessments or other charges, to the use and enjoyment of said shoreline parcel for bathing, boating or other lake recreational activities in common with other such members or owners and where the general public may lawfully be excluded therefrom.
SECTION 3. Membership in the district shall consist of the record owners from time to time of one or more separately assessed parcels of land lying within the district as defined in section two. Such owners are hereinafter referred to as a "proprietor" or collectively as "proprietors". For all purposes hereunder, a proprietor shall be deemed to include not only natural persons, but also all manner of other entities owning land within the district as aforesaid, including profit or nonprofit corporations, partnerships, trusts and unincorporated associations. Federal, state, county and local governments, together with any agencies or departments thereof, and also conservation land trusts and other similar nonprofit entities owning unimproved land for environmental, conservation or other similar purpose, which own lands abutting or having a record right of access to Goose pond, shall not be deemed as proprietors for the purposes of this act but shall be entitled to participate in the affairs of the district as hereinafter set forth. Any mortgagee of record in possession of any one or more separately assessed parcels within the district shall be deemed a proprietor under this act. Any number or combination of persons and entities who share ownership of one or more separately assessed but contiguous parcels within the district, shall collectively constitute a proprietor.
SECTION 4. The district, upon establishment in the manner hereafter set forth, shall have the following powers:
(a) To initiate and coordinate research and surveys for the purpose of gathering data on Goose pond, its related shore lands, watershed, its downstream drainage basin and other matters directly pertaining to the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of Goose pond for general recreational use.
(b) To plan rehabilitation, enhancement, maintenance and preservation projects for Goose pond, and also public recreational projects.
(c) To implement such projects and to conduct, coordinate and supervise the implementation thereof at all times subject to the obtaining of necessary approvals and permits from and, where required, under the supervision of appropriate federal, state and local governmental agencies including, but not limited to, the towns of Lee and Tyringham, the department of environmental management, the department of environmental protection, the department of fisheries, wildlife and recreational vehicles, the National Park Service and all other now or hereafter existing, funding and regulatory agencies of the federal, state, county and local governments.
(d) To negotiate and enter into all manner of contracts, leases and agreements necessary or incidental to the exercise of any power permitted to the district by this act.
(e) To adopt an annual budget and to raise and appropriate funds in amounts necessary to carry out the purposes for which the district is formed, including the power to raise funds by assessment of taxes upon the land of district proprietors in the manner hereinafter set forth.
(f) To acquire by lease, purchase, gift, grant, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain pursuant to chapter seventy-nine of the General Laws, real property required from time to time for the purposes of the district, including the existing dam, flowage rights and all manner of easements required to maintain, operate and control the dam and the water level at Goose pond and the outflow therefrom; provided, however, that the power of the district to acquire by eminent domain such title or lesser rights in real estate shall be subject, in each separate instance, to prior approval by a two-thirds vote at a special or annual town meeting in the towns of Lee and Tyringham.
(g) To construct, acquire by lease, purchase, gift or grant, maintain, operate, control and supervise all manner of equipment and facilities necessary or appropriate in the accomplishment of one or more of the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, maintenance, operation and improvement of and to the dam and its related water level control facilities and equipment so as to permit either temporary, seasonal or permanent water level control; the acquisition and utilization of all manner of technologies and systems as may from time to time be required to plan or implement a lake rehabilitation, enhancement, maintenance or preservation project or other public recreational project, all to the same extent and subject to the same limitations as shall apply to towns in the commonwealth from time to time under the General Laws.
(h) To apply for, accept and expend financial assistance from the federal government, the commonwealth, Berkshire county and the towns of Lee and Tyringham either directly or jointly with and through said towns, or either of them.
(i) To apply for, receive and expend funds from charitable foundations or other private entities and individuals in the form of grants, gifts, loans and advances for or in aid of the purposes of the district.
(j) To employ such persons, including consultant experts as may be deemed necessary in its judgement, and to fix their compensation.
(k) To adopt by-laws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business, which by-laws shall be consistent with the powers conferred by this act and with other applicable provisions of the General Laws.
(l) To reimburse any person or entity owning an interest, direct or otherwise, in any separately assessed parcel within the district who shall have advanced funds to the unincorporated association known as Save Goose Pond Association for its legal and other expenditures for the formation of the district and which funds were advanced to Save Goose Pond Association for such purpose on or after July first, nineteen hundred and ninety-two.
(m) To borrow at the first or any subsequent meeting of the district for the purpose of meeting preliminary or current expenses such sums as may be necessary and to issue therefore general obligation temporary notes for a period of not more than two years; provided, however that such notes shall be issued only in anticipation of assessments and other revenues of the district of the year in which such notes are issued or in anticipation of money to be received from the sale of longer term bonds or notes for such purposes as are otherwise hereafter permitted in this act.
(n) To sue and be sued in its own name and to plead and be impleaded; provided, however, that neither the district nor any officer or employee thereof shall be liable in tort or by reason of any other act or omission to an extent greater than the limits set by the provisions of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws; and provided, further, that the district shall have the right to indemnify its officers and employees to the extent provided for public employees under section nine of said chapter two hundred and fifty-eight.
(o) To invest any funds not required for the immediate use of the district in such manner and to the extent permitted under the General Laws for the investment of such funds by the town treasurer of a town.
(p) To procure insurance against any loss or liability which may be sustained or incurred by the district or by its elected or appointed officials in the carrying out of the purposes of this act in such amount as the district shall deem necessary and appropriate and with one or more insurers who shall be licensed to furnish such insurance in the commonwealth.
(q) To perform generally all acts which are necessary or convenient to implement the powers which are expressly or by necessary implication conferred upon the district by this act and which are not otherwise prohibited under any provision of the General Laws, except that the district shall conduct its meetings and elections and shall raise its funds in the manner expressly provided for in this act except where the act shall make reference to a General Law with respect thereto.
SECTION 5. The board of selectmen of the towns of Lee and Tyringham shall, within one hundred and eighty days of the effective date of this act, call a meeting of the proprietors of the lands to be included in the district as set forth under section two. For the purposes of establishing an initial list of proprietors, the board of selectmen of each town shall consult with its respective boards of assessors who shall furnish its board of selectmen with a listing of all record property owners as of January first in the year in which this act shall take effect who, within the reasonable knowledge of belief of the assessors, are the record owners of one or more separately assessed parcels includable within the district under section two. Each board of selectmen upon receiving such list shall prepare and mail by certified mail a notice to each such record owner or proprietor signed by the board of selectmen and setting forth a time and place of a meeting to occur within said one hundred and eighty day period but not less than fourteen days from the date of mailing of said notice. The notice shall be in the form of a warrant specifying the matters upon which action is to be taken at the meeting and shall further clearly state that the purpose of the meeting is to consider the organization of the district. Each board of selectmen shall not later than fourteen days prior to the date of such meeting cause a copy of the notice to be posted in one or more public access locations within its town in the same manner as the posting of a warrant for a special or annual town meeting. The meeting shall be held at a public or a public access building in either the town of Lee or Tyringham to be jointly agreed upon by the respective board of selectmen.
Prior to the first meeting of the district, the board of selectmen shall jointly determine the total number of proprietors eligible to vote from both towns.
At the initial meeting of the district, one member of each board of selectmen from the towns of Lee and Tyringham shall jointly preside and shall call the meeting to order. Said presiding members shall thereupon determine whether or not a quorum exists which, for the purposes of the initial district meeting, shall be that number of proprietors determined by said board of selectmen members as eligible to cast not less than two-thirds of the total number of eligible votes, determined as above set forth in this section. A quorum shall be determined with reference not only to the eligible votes to be cast by proprietors in attendance at such meeting, but also by including the eligible votes of all proprietors who are represented at the meeting by written proxies, prepared and executed as set forth in section five, and placed in the hands of other proprietors prior to said meeting.
Lacking such a quorum, the meeting shall have no power to act, but the members of the board of selectmen of said towns shall, in the manner above provided, and upon the written request of at least ten proprietors, call up to two additional meetings for the same purpose within said one hundred and eighty day period.
Provided that a quorum has been determined to be present in the manner above specified, the meeting shall then proceed to the following order of business:
(a) Election of a temporary clerk, who shall be sworn by one of the members of the board of selectmen present, and a moderator who shall thereupon preside.
(b) The taking of a vote to determine whether or not the district authorized by this act shall be established and organized, which vote shall require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the eligible votes determined to be present either in person or by proxy. If such vote shall be in the negative, the meeting shall be adjourned, upon motion duly made, seconded and adopted by a majority of the quorum of eligible votes so determined to a date in time not more than sixty days from the date of the initial meeting or, in the absence of the making and of such motion, the meeting shall thereupon finally adjourn and the authority granted under this act shall terminate. If the motion and vote to adjourn the initial meeting shall be made and carried as provided in this section, the quorum and voting requirements shall remain unchanged at said further meeting and, if the vote to organize the district at such further meeting shall likewise be in the negative, the meeting shall thereupon finally adjourn and the authority granted under this act shall likewise terminate.
If such vote shall be in the affirmative and upon the above required majority, the meeting shall next proceed to consider the order of business set forth in paragraphs (c) to (f), inclusive.
(c) The adoption of district by-laws and a form of district seal.
(d) The election by ballot of a district clerk and a district treasurer, who may be the same person, and who shall be legal residents of the commonwealth, to hold office until one year from the next succeeding annual meeting and at each annual meeting after the first a clerk and treasurer shall be elected by ballot for one year. There shall also be elected by ballot three members of the prudential committee, and meeting the individual requirements as are hereinafter set forth, said three members to hold office, one for three years, one for two years, and one for one year, from the next succeeding annual meeting. At each annual meeting after the first, a member of the committee shall be elected by ballot for three years. The aforesaid officers of the district shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified. Persons eligible for nomination and election to the prudential committee shall be at least eighteen years of age and shall include all persons who individually or collectively constitute a proprietor for the purposes of this act as defined in section two, or with respect to proprietor under paragraph (c) of said section two, are member, owner or co-owner of the proprietor entity.
(e) The adoption of an initial budget for the remainder of the fiscal year and the appropriation of monies to be raised by assessment upon the proprietors in support thereof.
(f) The consideration of such other business as shall be consistent with the power and authority conferred by this act.
The district clerk shall retain all proxy votes cast at the initial meeting, together with the minutes of the meeting and as part of the permanent record of the district. The clerk shall further prepare a certificate of the vote taken to organize the district and shall affix the form of seal thereto as adopted by the initial district meeting and shall obtain the endorsement of the members of the boards of selectmen initially presiding at the initial meeting thereon. Such certificate shall be attested to by the clerk and shall be forwarded to the attorney general within thirty days following the adjournment of the meeting.
SECTION 6. At the initial district meeting, and at all subsequent annual and special district meetings, voting by proprietors shall be governed by the requirements of this section. Except as hereinafter set forth in this section, each proprietor as defined in section three, shall be entitled to cast one vote with respect to any matter or issue to be voted upon at any such meeting. Proprietors who are joint owners or entities shall designate in writing prior to the commencement of the initial meeting or any annual or special meeting of the district thereafter, the person authorized to vote on behalf of such proprietors at the meeting and such person shall be presumed as qualified and authorized to represent the proprietor at said meeting and any subsequent meeting if:
(a) Such person is named as an individual co-owner of record in the records of the board of assessors as of January first of the year in which the meeting shall occur or, with respect to any meeting other than the initial district meeting, is listed as a co-owner of record in a deed recorded in the common or land court records of the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds following January first of the year in which the meeting shall occur, and the written instruments designating said co-owner shall be signed by all other co-owners so listed or shown; or
(b) With respect to a corporation, whether profit or nonprofit, an attested certificate of vote naming the person to vote on behalf of the corporation, and granting such person full authority to vote on all matters properly considered by any district meeting and confirming that the appointment and authorization is in full conformity with the articles of incorporation and by-laws of the corporation. With respect to trusts and other entities, the writing shall be in a form that would be acceptable for recording at the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds of an instrument authorizing the named person to convey the real estate owned by the entity. A person owning one or more parcels together with his spouse shall not be required to submit a written designation from his spouse and either shall be presumed to be qualified to vote. All written designations or certificates of vote submitted to the district as evidence of authority to vote under this section, shall be maintained in the files of the district clerk and, in the absence of a limit on the duration of such person's authority set forth in such document, the same shall be presumed to be valid at all subsequent district meetings unless or until revoked by the persons or entity granting same by written instrument submitted to the district clerk or like instrument debating a new person authorized to vote on behalf of such proprietor or which indicates that such person is no longer a co-owner or proprietor, including an original, duly executed and recorded deed or a registry certified photocopy thereof.
The authority of a proprietor to cast a proxy vote on behalf of another proprietor shall likewise be determined by the clerk. All proxies shall be tendered in writing prior to the commencement of any district meeting and shall clearly set forth the name and address of the proprietor giving the proxy, the name and address of the person who is to exercise the proxy, the signatures of the proprietor granting same and the date of execution. The district, may, if it so elects, adopt in its by-laws an approved form of proxy to satisfy the requirements of this section. The duration of a proxy shall be as established by district by-law.
SECTION 7. Annual meetings of the district shall be held on the last Saturday in June in each year or at such other time as the district shall establish from time to time in its by-laws. Annual and other special meetings of the district shall be called by warrant under the hands of the prudential committee, notice of which shall be given fourteen days at least before such meeting. The warrant shall be mailed first class, postage prepaid, to each proprietor of record in the district and copy of the same shall be directed to a constable of the towns of Lee and Tyringham or to some other person who shall cause a copy of said notice to be posted in one or more public places within each town or by advertising in a newspaper published at least weekly within Berkshire county and having a general circulation within both towns. The warrant for all district meetings shall state the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be acted upon thereat. The prudential committee shall insert in the warrant of the annual meeting all subjects, the insertion of which shall be required of them in writing by ten or more proprietors of the district and in the warrant for every special district meeting all subjects the insertion of which shall be requested of them in writing by twenty or more proprietors. The prudential committee shall call a special district meeting at its behest or upon request in writing signed by not less than that number of proprietors as shall constitute at least twenty percent of the total votes eligible to be cast by the proprietors as of January first of the year which said special meeting is to be held. Special meetings so requested shall be held not later than sixty days after the receipt of such request. No action taken at the annual or any special district meeting shall be valid unless the subject matter thereof shall have been set forth in the warrant for such meeting. Two or more district meetings for distinct purposes may be called for by the same warrant. At the annual district meeting a moderator shall be chosen by ballot and shall serve as moderator until a new moderator shall likewise be elected at the next annual meeting. The moderator shall have all of the powers of a moderator at a town meeting within the commonwealth.
District meetings shall be governed by chapter thirty-nine of the General Laws except as otherwise expressly provided in this act.
The board of assessors of the towns of Lee and Tyringham shall, at least thirty days prior to the annual district meeting, prepare and forward to the district clerk a true and complete alphabetical listing with addresses of the proprietors reflected in their records as of January first of that year and from the records maintained by the assessors pursuant to chapter fifty-nine and other related provisions of the General Laws. A copy of such list shall be maintained by the district clerk in a manner accessible to the proprietors and the general public at all reasonable times and shall further be available for inspection at the annual meeting and any special meeting of the district. The boards of assessors shall likewise maintain a list of proprietors and their lands in the district within their town by separate list or special designation on their list of all assessed parcels within each town.
Quorum requirements for annual meetings and special meetings of the district shall be as specified for the initial district meeting or otherwise as the district shall determine from time to time in its by-laws; provided, however, that the quorum requirements at any such meeting shall not be reduced below that number of proprietors entitled to cast at least one-third of the total district votes, whether voting in person or by proxy, as aforesaid.
Any matter to be voted upon at an annual or special meeting of the district shall require only a majority of proprietors present in person or by proxy and constitute the required quorum, except for the following actions which shall require a two-thirds vote of such quorum:
(a) A vote to petition for dissolution of the district.
(b) A vote to purchase or otherwise acquire or to dispose of real property of any value or likewise with respect to tangible personal property, having a value of fifteen thousand dollars or more except as such sum may, from time to time, be amended by district by-law.
(c) A vote to finance any undertaking which is authorized by this act to be financed in whole or in part by the issuance by the district of long term notes or bonds.
(d) A vote taken pursuant to section thirteen.
SECTION 8. In addition to the three members elected by the district and such additional elected members provided for in this section, the prudential committee shall comprise the following additional persons:
(a) One member each from the board of selectmen of the towns of Lee and Tyringham or such other resident voter of each town as shall be appointed by its board of selectmen, to serve on the prudential committee. Such member of the board of selectmen or other person shall serve at the pleasure of the board of selectmen appointing same and each shall be a full voting member of the committee.
(b) One representative each, to serve ex-officio, as shall be designated from time to time in writing by the Berkshire county commissioners, the commissioner of the department of environmental protection; the commissioner of the department of environmental management; the director of fisheries, wildlife and recreational vehicles; the director of the National Park Service under the United States Department of the Interior; and the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts charitable corporation created by special act.
The above county, state and federal agencies, together with the Trustees of Reservations shall continue, together with their successors, to have the right to appoint a member to the district prudential committee while they shall continue to either own land abutting the shoreline of Goose pond or shall continue to have jurisdiction over Goose pond and its dam for the purpose of either environmental protection or public safety.
Appointed members shall serve for an indefinite term at the pleasure of their appointing authorities and shall be non-voting members of the prudential committee but shall nonetheless be permitted and encouraged to participate fully in all discussions and deliberations of the prudential committee and shall further be entitled to be heard at the annual and any special meeting of the district to the same extent as a proprietor thereof.
In the event that either town or any one or more of the above agencies or private entity, or their respective successors, shall fail from time to time to so designate its member, or if such member shall resign and no replacement shall have been designated in like manner, the prudential committee shall nonetheless be legally constituted with full power to carry out its duties and responsibilities as set forth herein. At any regular or special meeting of the prudential committee, a majority of its voting members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of all business.
If the district shall so provide by duly adopted by-law, the voting membership of the prudential committee may be expanded to not more than seven members; provided, however, that any such additional members shall be elected by the district in the same manner as provided at paragraph (d) of section four except as follows:
(a) the terms of such additional members may range from one year to three years; and
(b) one or both of such additional members may be required to be a person who is a member or owner of one or more proprietor entities owning real estate included within the district pursuant to paragraph (c) of section two.
The prudential committee shall have and shall exercise, the following powers and duties:
(a) To expend for the purposes permitted to the district, of the money raised and borrowed by the district.
(b) To prepare an annual budget for the management and operation of the district and the submission of such budget to the annual district meeting for its approval. Such budget shall include the committees estimate of monies required to be raised and appropriated by means of assessment upon the district proprietors, by borrowing, or otherwise to be received.
(c) To apply in the name of the district for grants, loans, and other assistance from both governmental and non-governmental entities.
(d) Subject to prior appropriation therefor, to enter into agreements and contracts involving the purchase or lease of services, equipment and supplies consistent with the powers granted by this act.
(e) Subject to prior appropriation therefor, to hire, supervise, terminate, suspend and discharge such employees and consultants as the committee shall deem necessary or appropriate for the conduct and performance of district work including, but not limited to, one or more employees and consultants responsible for the day to day and periodic inspection and maintenance of the dam facility at Goose pond. Compensation and benefits for such employees and consultants shall, subject to prior appropriation therefor, be as determined from time to time by vote of the prudential committee.
Any and all purchases of goods or services by the prudential committee shall be conducted in accordance with all state and public bidding laws applicable from time to time to towns and other districts established under General Laws and, where applicable, all federal public bidding statutes.
SECTION 9. The prudential committee shall meet as necessary, but in no event less frequently than every three months. The initial meeting of the prudential committee shall be not later than thirty days following the establishment of the district. Thereafter the committee shall schedule one meeting to occur in each year immediately following the adjournment of the annual district meeting. At such initial meeting and at all subsequent meetings following the annual district meeting, the committee shall elect from its members a chairperson who shall preside at all committee meetings and who shall serve until his successor shall be elected at the meeting following the annual district meeting. The committee shall also elect a vice-chairperson who shall be empowered to preside over committee meetings in the absence of the chairperson and who shall serve for like term. The district, may, subject to a prior appropriation therefor, establish compensation for district officers including members of the prudential committee, and payment to such officers and committee members for direct out-of-pocket expenses related to the district such as toll calls and postage as well as the expense of travel, meals and lodging for such officers and committee members who shall reside outside of the district.
SECTION 10. Without limiting its powers as set forth in this act, the prudential committee shall have charge of expenditures on account of the district, duly budgeted and appropriated pursuant to this act, and shall perform the duties conferred upon it by the district by-laws, except as otherwise expressly required in this act.
SECTION 11. The district treasurer shall receive and take charge of all money belonging to the district, and pay over and account for the same according to the order of the district or of its prudential committee. No other persons shall pay any district bill; provided, however, that this provision shall not prohibit the treasurer from paying such bill by the use of a bank treasurer's or cashier's check. He shall further have the authority given to an auditor by section fifty-one of chapter forty-one of the General Laws, and shall annually render a true account of his receipts and disbursements and report of his official acts to the district. The treasurer shall give bond annually for the performance of his duties in a form approved by the department of revenue and in such sum, not less than the amount established by said department, as shall be fixed by the prudential committee, and, if he fails to give such bond within ten days after his election or appointment, or if within ten days after the expiration of said bond or any renewal of said bond he fails to file a renewal thereof, the prudential committee shall declare the office vacant and the vacancies shall be filled by the committee in the manner set forth in section twelve.
SECTION 12. The district clerk shall, in addition to the other duties specified herein, take all minutes at district meetings and at meetings of the prudential committee and maintain a record of such minutes in a manner provided for the maintenance of records of minutes of town meetings and of meetings of boards of selectmen. The clerk shall be the official responsible for certain copies of any and all votes taken at a district meeting or a meeting of the prudential committee.
SECTION 13. Any vacancy occurring in the office of clerk, treasurer or member of the prudential committee elected by the district may be filled by the district for the remainder of the unexpired term at any special meeting called for such purpose, or in the case of a vacancy in the office of clerk or treasurer or disability effecting either of said officers, the prudential committee may appoint a person to fill said vacancy until an election can be held or the disability is removed. Such temporary appointee shall be sworn and shall perform the duties of the office to which he is appointed during his tenure thereof. A temporary treasurer appointed to fill a vacancy shall give bond in the same manner as the treasurer.
SECTION 14. At its initial meeting and at each annual meeting thereafter, immediately following the adoption of the annual district budget for the ensuing fiscal year, there shall be taken a separate vote or votes with respect to each separate source of funding proposed by the prudential committee to be used to fund all or any portion of the budget so approved except with respect to funding carried over from a previous fiscal year to the extent permitted under the laws of the commonwealth and previously appointed by the district. The separate funding methods that may be voted upon and utilized by the district are as follows:
(a) Gifts or other voluntary contributions from the proprietors or from any other person or entity.
(b) All manner of governmental grants or intergovernmental loans.
(c) Tax assessments upon those separately assessed lands and improvements of the proprietors comprising the district which are not exempt from real estate taxation under the laws of the commonwealth or the laws of the United States.
(d) District notes issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes to be levied upon the proprietors lands and improvements, as aforesaid, or the receipt of revenue from other approved funding sources during the fiscal year in which said debt is incurred or the fiscal year next following and except as further modified for the initial fiscal year of the district as provided at paragraph (m) of section three.
(e) Long term notes or bonds to be issued or tendered with respect to expenses set forth in the budget that relate solely to approved long-term district improvements and major equipment purchases as hereafter set forth in section fifteen.
Votes taken by the district to fund all or any portion of the annual budget under paragraph (b), (c) or (d), shall require an affirmative two-thirds vote pursuant to section seven.
Votes to fund all or any portion of the budget under paragraphs (b), (c), and (e), shall require a two-thirds vote of a meeting quorum.
SECTION 15. Long term notes or bonds as provided for under section fourteen, may be tendered or issued on the condition that the first payment on account of the principal shall not be deferred for a period of more than five years from the date of issuance thereof and with the whole amount of such debt to be payable within a period of not more than twenty-five years from the date of such issuance or the reasonably estimated useful life or of the improvements, facilities and equipment to be so funded, whichever is lesser.
All indebtedness issued or incurred by the district under the provisions of this section or under section fourteen set forth, shall be subject to chapter forty-four and to all other provisions of the General Laws applicable to notes and bonds of districts except as otherwise provided in this act. If the district shall issue or tender notes or bonds and shall thereafter receive a grant or other transfer of funds from another governmental entity to cover all or any portion of the budgeted expense for which the district notes or bonds were tendered or issued, the district shall, unless otherwise mandated by the terms and conditions of the grant or other funding from such governmental unit, make all of such grant or funding available to redeem said notes or bonds of the district. Bonds or notes tendered or issued under this section and section fourteen, shall be general obligations of the district.
SECTION 16. If the district shall vote to raise and appropriate funds for the initial or subsequent fiscal year budget by means of tax assessment upon the land and improvements of the proprietors as provided in paragraph (c) of section fourteen, the schedule of assessed valuations of such land and improvements, as established by the boards of assessors in each town for the same fiscal year under the provisions of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws shall be relied upon as the basis for determining the pro-rata share to be paid by each proprietor of all or that portion of such fiscal year budget that the district shall have voted to so fund.
Following the adjournment of the initial district meeting and each annual district meeting thereafter, the clerk of the district shall certify to the assessors of the towns of Lee and Tyringham all sums of money voted to be raised by real estate tax assessment upon the lands and improvements of the proprietors. The assessors of both towns shall, without further vote, assess and levy such amounts upon the land and improvements of the proprietors in the same manner provided for the assessment and levy of general real estate taxes under chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws and shall commit same to the collector of taxes of their respective town who thereupon shall have and exercise the same powers and duties in relation to the collection of such taxes as he has and exercises relative to the collection of town real estate taxes. Each tax collector shall remit at least monthly to the district treasurer all sums so collected. District taxes assessed hereunder shall constitute a lien upon the land and improvements assessed therefor, in the same manner as a lien for the payment for real estate taxes assessed by the town under the provisions of section thirty-seven of chapter sixty, and all other related provisions of the General Laws.
SECTION 17. The fiscal year of the district shall be the same fiscal year as established by the General Laws for cities and towns in the commonwealth.
SECTION 18. Unless otherwise specified in this act, or otherwise required by General Law, all actions permitted to be taken at annual or special districts meetings shall require a majority vote of those proprietors present in person or by proxy at said meeting and entitled to vote thereat, who shall constitute a quorum in accordance with this act or otherwise by by-law of the district. All actions permitted to be taken by the prudential committee shall require a majority vote of the committee members present at said meeting who shall constitute a quorum in accordance with this act.
SECTION 19. The district shall include in its initial and in all subsequent annual appropriations, compensation for the board of assessors and the tax collector of the towns of Lee and Tyringham, pursuant to the provisions of section one hundred and eight B of chapter forty-one of the General Laws, with respect to their duties and expenses hereunder.
SECTION 20. Notwithstanding their membership on the prudential committee, neither the town of Lee nor the town of Tyringham, nor any agency or department of Berkshire county, the commonwealth or the federal government shall be obligated for any debts of the district, nor shall they by virtue of this act be required to pay for any liability, obligation or expense made, suffered or incurred by the district. In like manner, the proprietors of the district shall not be individually liable or obligated with respect to debts or other obligations made, suffered or incurred by the district except with respect to the payment of district taxes assessed upon their real estate, as provided for in this act.
SECTION 21. No provision of this act shall be deemed to modify or amend any power, authority or jurisdiction now or hereafter vested in any agency, department or unit of town, county, state, or federal government as it relates to regulate the use, operation or enjoyment of Goose pond for any lawful public purpose including, but not limited to, its use by either town as an emergency public water resource.
SECTION 22. The district shall establish in its initial budget and in all subsequent fiscal year budgets an overlay account and a reserve fund as provided for towns under the provisions of section twenty-five of chapter fifty-nine and section five C of chapter forty of the General Laws and, except for the initial fiscal year, or portion thereof, of the operation of the district, the district may add to the amount to be raised by district assessment a sum voted by the district for not more than twenty percent thereof for the purposes of and subject to the limitations as set forth in said section twenty-five of said chapter fifty-nine. The district is further authorized to establish and maintain a stabilization fund under the provisions of section five B of chapter forty of the General Laws. The district shall further be subject to an audit of its accounts in the manner provided in section forty of chapter forty-four of the General Laws.
SECTION 23. The district clerk, shall, in addition to the other duties to be performed, cause a review to be made each year at least sixty days prior to the date of the annual meeting of the records required to be maintained by the boards of assessors for the towns of Lee and Tyringham, including copies of deeds furnished to said boards by the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds, and shall otherwise take such actions as shall be reasonably necessary to verify the list of proprietors and their lands and improvements to be included within the district as furnished by said boards of assessors to the district in each year pursuant to this act. If the clerk shall determine any discrepancy with respect to the list submitted by the boards of assessors for either town, the clerk shall forthwith notify the prudential committee and also the boards of assessors. Upon receipt of such information, the prudential committee shall include a separate warrant article to the annual district meeting proposing the inclusion of such additional separately assessed parcels determined by them to be includable within the district under section two and shall give written notice in the manner provided for the furnishing of notice to the proprietor of a district meeting to the record owners of such parcels. At the annual meeting, the district shall, by its vote, determine whether or not such parcel or parcels shall be included within the district and shall furnish the record owners thereof with full opportunity to be heard prior to such vote as though such persons were proprietors of record, entitled to vote thereon.
Any original proprietor of the district and any record owner of real estate hereafter included within the district as a proprietor in the manner set forth in this section, shall have the right to petition the district through its prudential committee for exclusion from the district based upon an alleged lack of sufficient direct benefit to said proprietor's land with respect to the purposes for which the district has established. Such petition shall be in writing and shall set forth in summary form the reasons relied upon in support thereof. Said committee shall, upon receipt of such petition, conduct such investigation thereof as it shall deem appropriate, and shall, at its next regular meeting, or sooner at a special meeting, and upon at least seven days written notice to the petitioner, consider the petition and vote thereon. A vote by the prudential committee to exclude the land of the petitioner from the district shall be final except where it thereafter determines that the property no longer qualifies for exclusion, in which event the property shall again be proposed for inclusion within the district in the manner provided for above in this section. In the event that the prudential committee shall vote to disapprove the petition or shall fail to act thereon prior to the next annual meeting of the district, the petition shall be included in the warrant for said meeting and the district shall vote on same at that time. If the district shall vote to disallow the petition, the petitioner may appeal to the superior court department of the trial court within the county in which the district is located for a remedy. Upon such appeal, said court shall, if the reasons set forth by the petitioner shall be satisfactory to the court, grant such exclusion. Such exclusion, if the petition shall have been filed in writing therefor prior to December thirty-first of the then current fiscal year, result in an abatement of district assessment from the commencement of such fiscal year; otherwise, such abatement shall not be effective until the commencement of the next year.
The district may, from time to time, provide in its by-laws further detailed provisions concerning grounds for exclusion from the district and procedures for the handling of exclusion petitions; provided, however, that the same shall not be inconsistent with any express provision of this act.
SECTION 24. Once established pursuant to this act, the district shall not dissolve without specific authorization by the general court, which shall not be given until provision has been made for the payment of the obligations of said district. Such dissolution may be initiated by the general court, or by two-thirds vote at a regular or special district meeting or by joint petition by the towns of Lee and Tyringham.
SECTION 25. This act shall take effect upon its passage; provided, however, that if the initial meeting of the district shall not occur and the certified vote evidencing the establishment of the district shall not be filed with the attorney general within one year after enactment, all authority granted herein shall terminate and the provisions of this act shall no longer be operative.