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  • Acts
  • 1997
  • Chapter 132 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF HOLYOKE TO UNDERTAKE AND FINANCE A HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. The following words as used in this act shall, unless the content otherwise requires, have the following meanings:

"Bonds", bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued under this act.

"City", the city of Holyoke.

"Commission", the municipal gas and electric commission of the city of Holyoke.

"Project", the hydroelectric power project described in section 2.

SECTION 2. The city, acting by and through the commission, is hereby authorized to undertake a hydroelectric project that will utilize waters of the Connecticut river, and to apply for a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act to develop and maintain the project. The city is hereby further authorized to construct, purchase, or lease and maintain one or more plants, or any part of any plant, for the manufacture or distribution of electricity within or outside the city limits in accordance with said license, to do all things necessary to comply with the applicable requirements of the Federal Power Act, and to engage in developing, transmitting, utilizing, distributing and selling electric power to any purchasers within or without the geographical limits of the city. Such plants may include suitable land, dams, structures, machinery, transmission lines, conduits, canals, apparatus, reservoirs, power house and all appurtenant works and facilities, and may in part be constructed and maintained in the Connecticut river to the extent permitted by said license.

SECTION 3. (a) The city may incur debt for the project in whole or in part under chapter 44 of the General Laws or by and through the commission in accordance with the provisions of this section, when authorized by a two-thirds vote of the city council and the mayor. The principal of, premium, if any, and interest on all bonds issued under this act shall be payable solely from the particular funds provided therefor under the documents governing the issuance of the bonds and this act. The bonds shall be issued in such amounts as the commission may authorize, shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates, including rates variable from time to time as determined by such index, banker's loan rate, remarketing or index agent, or other method as may be determined by the commission, and shall mature at such time or times as may be determined by the commission, except that no bond shall mature more than 40 years from the date of its issue. Bonds may be made redeemable before maturity at such prices and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the commission. The commission shall determine the form and details and the manner of execution of bonds. The commission may sell bonds in such manner, either at public or private sale, for such price, at such rate or rates of interest, or at such discount in lieu of interest, as the commission may determine.

(b) In addition to other lawful items, the costs to be financed by the issuance of bonds may include interest during construction and for up to one year after completion of the project as estimated by the commission, the cost of architectural, engineering, financial and legal services, plans, specifications, studies, expenses as may be necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of constructing the project, the financing of such construction and the placing of the facilities in operation, and such other related expenses as may be determined by the commission.

(c) Any bonds issued under this act may be secured by a resolution or by a trust or security agreement between the commission, acting on behalf of the city, and a corporate trustee, which may be any trust company or bank having the powers of a trust company within or without the commonwealth, or by a trust or security agreement directly between the commission and the purchasers of the bonds, and such resolution or trust or security agreement shall be in such form and executed in such manner as may be determined by the commission. Such trust or security agreement or resolution may pledge or assign, in whole or in part, the revenues held or to be received by the commission including the revenues from any facilities already existing when the pledge or assignment is made, and any contract or other rights to receive the same, whether then existing or thereafter coming into existence and whether then held or thereafter acquired by the commission, and the proceeds thereof. Such trust or security agreement or resolution may contain such provisions for protecting and enforcing the rights, security and remedies of the bondholders as may, in the discretion of the commission, be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such agreement or resolution may include provisions defining defaults and providing for remedies in the event of default, which may include the acceleration of maturities, and covenants setting forth the duties of, and limitations on the commission in relation to the custody, safeguarding, investment and application of moneys, the issue of additional or refunding bonds, the fixing, revision and collection of fees, charges and other revenues, the use of any surplus bond proceeds, the establishment of reserves, the construction and operation of facilities of the commission, and the making and amending of contracts relating to the bonds. It shall be lawful for any bank or trust company to act as a depository or trustee of the proceeds of bonds, revenues or other moneys under a trust or security agreement or resolution and to furnish such indemnification or pledge such securities and issue such letters or lines of credit or other credit facilities as may be required by the commission acting under this chapter. Any such trust or security agreement or resolution may set forth the rights and remedies of bondholders and of the trustee and may restrict the individual right of action by bondholders.

(d) Any bonds issued under this act may be issued pursuant to lines of credit or other banking arrangement under such terms and conditions not inconsistent with this act, and under such agreements as the commission may determine to be in the best interests of the commission and the city. Bonds may also be secured, in whole or in part, by insurance or by letters or lines of credit or other credit or liquidity facilities issued by any financial institution, within or without the commonwealth, and the commission may pledge or assign any of its revenues as security for the reimbursement by the commission to the issuers of such letters or lines of credit, insurance or credit or liquidity facilities of any payments made thereunder.

(e) Any pledge of revenues, contract or other rights to receive revenues, or the proceeds thereof made by the commission under this act shall be valid and binding and shall be deemed continuously perfected for the purposes of chapter 106 of the General Laws from the time when the pledge is made; the revenues, moneys, rights and proceeds so pledged and then held or thereafter acquired or received by the commission shall immediately be subject to the lien of such pledge without any physical delivery or segregation thereof or further act; and the lien of such pledge shall be valid and binding against all parties having claims of any kind in tort, contract or otherwise against the city or the commission, irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof. Neither the resolution, any trust or security agreement nor any other agreement by which a pledge is created need be filed or recorded except in the records of the commission and no filing need be made under said chapter 106.

(f) Any owner of a bond issued under this act and any trustee under a trust or security agreement or resolution securing the same, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by such agreement or resolution, may bring suit upon the bonds and may, either at law or in equity, by suit, action, mandamus, or other proceeding for legal or equitable relief, including proceedings for the appointment of a receiver to take possession and control of the business and properties of the commission, to operate and maintain the same, to make any necessary repairs, renewals and replacements in respect thereof and to fix, revise and collect fees and charges, protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of the commonwealth or granted hereunder or under such trust or security agreement or resolution and may enforce and compel the performance of all duties required by this act or by such agreement or resolution to be performed by the commission or by any officer of the commission.

(g) The commission, acting on behalf of the city, may issue refunding bonds for the purpose of paying any bonds issued for the project. Refunding bonds may be issued at such times at or prior to the maturity or upon acceleration or redemption of the funding bonds as the commission may determine. The refunding bonds may be issued in sufficient amounts to pay or provide the principal of the bonds being refunded, together with any redemption premium, any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of payment of such bonds, the expenses of issue of the refunding bonds, the expenses of redeeming the bonds being refunded, and such reserves for debt service or other expenses from the proceeds of such refunding bonds as may be required by a trust or security agreement or resolution securing the bonds. The authorization and issue of refunding bonds, the maturities and other details of such bonds, the security for the bonds, the rights of the holders of the bonds, and the rights, duties and obligations of the commission in respect to the same shall be governed by the provisions of this act relating to the issue of the bonds other than refunding bonds insofar as the same may be applicable.

(h) Bonds issued under this act shall be payable solely from the revenues of the commission. All such bonds shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the commonwealth or of any city or town is pledged to the payment of the principal of or interest on the bonds.

(i) Bonds issued under this act are hereby made securities in which all public officers and public bodies of the commonwealth and its political subdivisions, all insurance companies, trust companies in their commercial departments, savings banks, co-operative banks, banking associations, investment companies, executors, administrators, trustees and other fiduciaries may properly and legally invest funds, including capital in their control or belonging to them. Such bonds are hereby made securities which may properly and legally be deposited with and received by any state or municipal officer or any agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds or obligations of the commonwealth is now or may hereafter be authorized by law. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this act or any recitals in any bonds issued under this act, all such bonds shall be deemed to be investment securities under chapter 106 of the General Laws.

(j) Bonds may be issued under this act without obtaining the consent of any department, board, or agency of the commonwealth or the city, and without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required therefor by this act, and the validity of and security for any bonds shall not be affected by the existence or nonexistence of any such consent or other proceedings, conditions or things.

SECTION 4. The city may acquire by purchase or by right of eminent domain any land, structures, water rights, easements, or real and personal property necessary or useful in the establishment, construction or maintenance of any part of the project. The right of eminent domain, if exercised, shall be exercised by the commission under the provisions of chapter 79 of the General Laws except where inconsistent herewith, which rights shall be in addition to similar rights granted to licensees under the Federal Power Act. Any contracts for acquisition by purchase shall be made by the commission.

SECTION 5. The provisions of chapter 164 of the General Laws, relative to the operation, maintenance and management of municipal electric plants, whenever not inconsistent herewith or with the Federal Power Act, shall apply to the project authorized hereunder.

SECTION 6. The acquisition of real or personal property for the purposes of this act shall not deprive any city or town in which the said property is taxable of the amount of taxes thereon being paid at the time of acquisition under this act and the commission shall provide for the payment of the aforesaid amounts in lieu of taxes.

SECTION 7. All general or special laws or parts thereof which are inconsistent herewith, or which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Federal Power Act, shall not be applicable to any acts done under authority of this act.

SECTION 8. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved October 30, 1997.