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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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. There is hereby established a nonprofit housing corporation to be known as the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc., which shall be subject to the supervision of the board of selectmen of the town of Belmont. Said corporation shall be governed by a board of directors, in this act referred to as the board. The board shall consist of not less than five nor more than nine members, who shall be appointed by the board of selectmen for staggered three year terms as designated by the board of selectmen, such appointments to be made annually by the board of selectmen on or before July 1. Members shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified. Continuing members may act despite vacancies in the board and for this purpose shall be deemed to constitute a full board. Any vacancy in the board, however occurring, shall be filled by the board of selectmen for the unexpired portion of the term.

Said board of directors of the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc. shall exercise its powers and perform its duties for the purpose of investigating and implementing alternatives for the provision of and providing affordable housing for persons of low, moderate and middle income, and others whose needs may be identified from time to time in the town of Belmont. The powers and duties of the board as set forth herein are intended to be alternative and supplemental to, and not in limitation of, the powers and duties of the Belmont Housing Authority established pursuant to chapter 121B of the General Laws. The liability of the board and its members shall be limited to the same extent as the liability of a public employer and public employees as provided in section 2 of chapter 258 of the General Laws.

SECTION 2. (a) The board of directors of the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc. shall have the powers and privileges conferred by the provisions of clauses (a) to (i), inclusive, and clause (k) of section 9 of chapter 156B of the General Laws, and the following powers, but that no such power shall be exercised either in a manner inconsistent with this act or any general or special law, and the board shall not carry on any activity which is not in furtherance of the purposes set forth in this act:

(1) to adopt, amend, and repeal corporate by-laws, said by-laws to be subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, for the regulation and conduct of its business including, but not limited to, the call and conduct of its meetings, the number of members which shall constitute a quorum and the mode of voting by proxy;

(2) to elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson, each of whom shall be members of the board, and a secretary and a treasurer, who need not be members of the board and who may be the same person. The treasurer shall give bond for the faithful performance of his duties in a form and amount approved and affixed by the board of selectmen, the cost of which bond shall be paid from funds of the board. The chairperson and in the chairperson's absence, the vice-chairperson shall chair meetings of the board. The secretary shall be the custodian of all books, documents and papers filed with the board and of the minute book or journal of the board;

(3) to make and execute all contracts and all other instruments necessary or convenient for the exercise of its power and functions, subject to approval of the town counsel of the town of Belmont as to form;

(4) to acquire or lease, by purchase, gift or otherwise, and to own, hold and use, on such terms and conditions and in such manner as it may deem proper, and to exchange, grant options on, sell, transfer, convey, assign, lease, pledge, mortgage, encumber, grant liens on and security interests or to otherwise dispose of; on such terms and conditions as it may deem proper, real, personal or mixed real and personal property or any interest, easements or rights therein and assets or revenues of said board, as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out its purposes;

(5) to enter into agreements or other transactions with the commonwealth or a political subdivision or public instrumentality thereof; the United States government or a federal, state or other governmental agency;

(6) to borrow money and to execute notes therefor which shall not be deemed to be debts or obligations of the town of Belmont, to hold mortgages, and to invest any funds held in reserve funds, or any funds not required for immediate disbursement in such investments as may be lawful for fiduciaries in the commonwealth and said board shall have no stock;

(7) to enter into contracts or agreements with, and to employ from time to time, contractors, architects, engineers, consultants, attorneys, accountants, construction, financial and other experts, superintendents, managers and such other agents and employees as may be necessary in its judgment and to fix their compensation;

(8) to receive and hold funds appropriated by the town and other funds, property, labor and other things of value from any source, public or private by gift, grant, bequest, loan or otherwise, either absolutely or in trust, and to expend or utilize the same on behalf of said board for any of its purposes or to act as an agent or conduit in administering or disbursing funds or financial or other aid from any source;

(9) to appear in its own behalf before boards, commissions, departments or other agencies of government, municipal, state or federal;

(10) to procure insurance against any loss in connection with the property, or activities of the board, in such amounts and from such insurers as it may deem necessary or desirable and to indemnify its members or agents if and to the extent specified from time to time in the by-laws of the board and subject to and in the manner provided in section 6 of chapter 180 of the General Laws;

(11) to formulate and carry out or monitor plans for projects involving the acquisition or operation of housing facilities of any kind or nature and to construct, reconstruct, renovate, expand, extend, improve, repair, remodel, equip, furnish, maintain, manage and operate such facilities;

(12) to fix and revise from time to time and to charge and collect rates, fees, rentals and other charges and sales prices for or in connection with the use, occupancy or other disposition of any housing facility or other property or portion thereof under its ownership or control;

(13) to establish, impose, grant or amend, by deed, lease or other means or method, and to hold the benefit or, monitor, exercise and enforce lawful restrictions on the rental, sale, resale, use or occupancy of housing facilities or other property under its ownership or control or other facilities or property designated by the selectmen of the town, or restrictions with respect to the income of owners, tenants or occupants of such housing facilities or other property, or options and rights of first refusal with respect to such facilities or property and to waive, release or discharge any such rights or restrictions;

(14) to enter into, perform or monitor agreements or other transactions with contractors, developers, brokers or other real estate professionals or any other person relating to the providing of affordable housing for persons of low and moderate income in the town; and

(15) to do any and all things necessary or convenient to carry out its purposes and exercise the powers conferred by this act.

(b) The board may delegate pursuant to guidelines approved in advance by the board of selectmen to any committee or member of said board any action which the board is authorized to do or make. The board may be a partner in any business enterprise which it would have power to conduct by itself.

SECTION 3. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the income, assets and activities of the board shall be exempt from all taxes and assessments and the board shall not be subject to any of the provisions of chapter 63 of the General Laws or to any taxes based upon or measured by property or income imposed by the commonwealth or by any political subdivision thereof. The board of directors of the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc. may enter into an agreement with the assent of the town of Belmont, wherein the board shall undertake to make to the town annual payments in lieu of taxes in connection with any real property acquired and owned by the board, the amounts of such payments to be reasonable sums stipulated in each such agreement or determined in accordance with a reasonable formula so stipulated.

SECTION 4. Without limitation of the powers of the board of directors of the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc. set forth in section 2, the board is authorized to receive and to expend and utilize for its purposes all proceeds that have been appropriated by the town of Belmont for such purposes. In addition, the town may appropriate other funds for the carrying out by the board of its purposes as set forth herein. Any appropriation therefor may be raised by the town by taxation. At least annually, the board shall cause independent audits to be made of its books and records of the board, which annual audits shall be filed with the board of selectmen of the town.

SECTION 5. In the event that the board of directors of the Belmont Housing Trust, Inc. shall be dissolved in accordance with law at any time, all property and interests therein, assets and rights of said board existing at such time shall be transferred to the town of Belmont by authority of this act, and title to all such property and all such rights shall vest in said town automatically without the need for further action or instrument, and said town shall, to the maximum extent permitted by law, and acting by and through its board of selectmen, assume, hold and exercise the powers and duties of the board set forth herein with respect to such property and rights so transferred to said town.

SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved November 15, 1999.