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  • Acts
  • 2000
  • Chapter 351 AN ACT RELATIVE TO ESTABLISHING THE BECKET WOODS ROAD AND MAINTENANCE DISTRICT IN THE TOWN OF BECKET.

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. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, rule or regulation to the contrary, there may be established in accordance with this act the Becket Woods Road and Maintenance District, hereinafter referred to as the "district" in the town of Becket which shall constitute a body politic and corporate.

(A) (1) The district shall be comprised of the land described in the following deeds, which land areas comprise the subdivision known as Becket Woods:

(i) Deed from Robert E. Hamilton and John Valigorsky to the Ponderosa, Inc., dated July 10, 1969 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 879, Page 286;

(ii) Deed from Robert E. Hamilton and John Valigorsky to the Ponderosa, Inc., dated July 10, 1969 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 879, Page 287;

(iii) Deed from Roger C. Fairchild to Barbara Hamilton, dated October 29, 1965 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 808, Page 444;

(iv) Deed from Barbara Hamilton to the Ponderosa, Inc., dated July 20, 1970 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 892, Page 376;

(v) Deed from Robert E. Hamilton to the Ponderosa, Inc., dated August 20, 1970 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 894, Page 78; and

(vi) Deed from Albert R. Palmer et ux to the Ponderosa, Inc., dated August 20, 1970 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 894, Page 79;

Excepting from the foregoing that parcel conveyed to Western Mass Associates, Ltd. by deed of the Ponderosa, Inc. on October 5, 1977 recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 995, Page 617, which parcel constitutes all or a portion of the subdivision known as Becket Estates.

(2) The land areas are further shown on plans recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds, as follows:

(i) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 1, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated May 18, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 201A;

(ii) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #7, #8, and #9 on Sheet 1 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated July 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 189. Such plan modifies the boundaries of Lots 7, 8 and 9;

(iii) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #20 and #2 on Sheet 1 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated July 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 189A. Such plan modifies the boundaries of Lots 2 and 20;

(iv) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #1 and #2 on Sheet 1 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 191. Such plan modifies the boundaries of Lots 1 and 2;

(v) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Sheet 1 of Section A, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated July 5, 1973 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., So. Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 228. Such plan divides Lot 16 into new Lots 16A and 16B;

(vi) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot No. 6 on Sheet 1 of Sect. A, Becket Woods, Becket, Massachusetts, for Tor, Inc.", which plan is dated April 13, 1988 and prepared by C.T. Male Associates, P.C., Greenfield, MA, which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417M, Page 162. Such plan divides Lot 6 into new Lots 6A and 6B;

(vii) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 2, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated May 18, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 202;

(viii) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Sheet 2 of Section A, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated June 17, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 190. Such plan modifies the boundaries of Lots 28, 29 and 30;

(ix) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #29 and #30 on Sheet 2 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated January 18, 1973 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 190A. Such plan modifies the boundaries of Lots 29 and 30;

(x) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 3, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated May 19, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 205;

(xi) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 3 (Revised), Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated March 27, 1972 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 235. Such plan eliminates Lots A through Z and A-1 and creates new Lots A through D, the "Common and Pond Area" and the "Meadow Land";

(xii) A plan of land entitled "A Plan of Land in Becket, (Berkshire Co.) Mass., prepared for John Egee", which plan is dated April 5, 1984 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., South Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Drawer F, Page 58. Such plan eliminates a portion of the "Meadow Land" and creates new Lots 153 through 157, not including Lot 153A;

(xiii) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 4, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated June 10, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 202A;

(xiv) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot #39 on Sheet 4 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 192. Such plan divides Lot 39 into new Lots 39 and 38A;

(xv) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot #39 on Sheet 4 of Section A, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated October 12, 1972 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 191A. Such plan divides new Lot 39 into new Lots 39A and 39B;

(xvi) A plan of land entitled "Section A- Sheet 5, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated June 15, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 204A;

(xvii) A plan of land entitled "Section B- Sheet 1, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated September 3, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 205A;

(xviii) A plan of land entitled "Survey - Becket, Mass., prepared for Alice and Jack Siegel.", which plan is dated June 26, 1990 and prepared by Thomas E. Conlon, Westfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Plat C, Page 170. Such plan creates Lots 52A and 51B, which become part of Lots 52 and 51, respectively;

(xix) A plan of land entitled "Section B- Sheet 2, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 206;

(xx) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot #84 on Sheet 2 of Section B, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated November 2, 1972 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 203. Such plan divides Lot 84 into new Lots 84A and 84B;

(xxi) A plan of land entitled "Section B- Sheet 3, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 206A;

(xxii) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot #108 on Sheet 3 of Sect. B, Becket Woods, Becket, Massachusetts", which plan is dated November 18, 1987 and prepared by C.T. Male Associates, P.C., Greenfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Drawer O, Page 254. Such plan divides Lot 108 into new Lots 108A and 108B;

(xxiii) A plan of land entitled "Section C- Sheet 1, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 230A;

(xxiv) A plan of land entitled "Section C- Sheet 1 (Revised), Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated September 4, 1973 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., So. Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417G, Page 102. Such plan revises the entire plan, eliminating Lots 153 and 154 and creating new Lot 153A;

(xxv) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #153 and #154 on Sheet 1 of Section C, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated August 19, 1976 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., So. Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417I, Page 86. Such plan changes the course line description of Lot 153A, but not its actual boundaries;

(xxvi) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lots #143, #144, and #145 on Sheet 1 of Section C, Becket Woods, Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated November, 1977 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., South Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417I, Page 179. Such plan eliminates Lots 143, 144 and 145 and creates new Lots 143A, 143B, a part of 143A, 144A, 145A, 145B, a part of 145A, 147A, a part of 147 and 147B, a part of 147;

(xxvii) A plan of land entitled "Revision to Lot 150, Section C, Sheet 1 (Revised), Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, MA., prepared for Shirley Sabbeth", which plan is dated December 18, 1986 and prepared by C.T. Male Associates, P.C., Greenfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Drawer 0, Page 84. Such plan divides Lot 150 into new Lots 150A and 150B;

(xxviii) A plan of land entitled "Section C- Sheet 2, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for The Ponderosa Corp.", which plan is dated December 6, 1971 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 231;

(xxix) A plan of land entitled "Section E, Becket Woods, a subdivision in Becket, Mass., prepared for Robert E. Hamilton", which plan is dated June 6, 1977 and prepared by Gordon E. Ainsworth and Associates, Inc., So. Deerfield, Mass., which plan is recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417J, Page 1;

(3) The above-described parcels of land now contain the following Lots located in the subdivision known as Becket Woods: Lots A, B, C, D, 1 through 5, 6A, 6B, 7 through 15, 16A, 16B, 17 through 38, 38A, 39A, 39B, 40 through 50, 51, 51A, a part of 5l, 52, 52B, a part of 52, 53 through 83, 84A, 84B, 85 through 107, 108A, 108B, l09 through 117, 118A, 118B, 119 through 139, 140A, 140B, 141, 142, 143A, 144A, 145, 145B, a part of 145, 146, 147, 147A, a part of 147, 147B, a part of 147, 148, 149, 150A, 150B, 151, 152, 153, 153A, and 154 through 159, plus those areas designated as "Common and Pond Area", "Meadow Land", hiking trails, pond Lots and common areas.

(B) The "25 acre parcel" comprised of Lots 183, 184, 185, 186 and 187, as they appear on a Plan of land entitled "Section E - Becket Woods, a Subdivision in Becket, Massachusetts, prepared for Robert E. Hamilton, dated June 6, 1977, revised March 23, 1978", "the Plan", recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417-J, Page 1, shall not be a part of the district unless and until Squirrel Hill Road, as shown on said Plan shall be constructed, as provided for in a certain deed from The Ponderosa, Inc. to Howard Lazar dated May 15, 1978 and recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 1003, Page 850. Upon the construction of Squirrel Hill Road and the division of the 25-acre parcel into lots, the presently excepted land area shall be added to the district, and each lawful building lot therein created, shall be an included lot subject to assessment as hereinafter provided.

(C) Farmstead Road; Beech Tree Lane; Fox Hollow Drive; Access Road; Woodmere Road; Woodchuck Road; Oak Drive; Stage Coach Road; Gentian Hollow; Spruce Drive; Longview Road; Deer Knoll Drive; Knoll Drive; and any other streets or ways as shown on the plans and maps described in paragraphs A and B, except that portion of Fred Snow road lying within the perimeter boundary of the district shall be excluded therefrom.

(D) The following parcels and the improvements thereon, if any, including swimming ponds, tennis courts, basketball courts, or other such improvements that may be added from time to time in accordance herewith, constitute the common areas of Becket Woods, which are owned by Becket Woods Community Association, Inc., hereinafter, "BWCA", and shall be maintained by the district for the benefit of all members of the district:

(1) Lot 5, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 201A, Section A, Sheet 1;

(2) Lot 6A, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417M, Page 162, Revision of Section A, Sheet 1;

(3) Lot 8, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 189, Revision of Section A, Sheet 1;

(4) Lot 158, otherwise known as the "Common and Pond Area", as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 235, Revision of Section A, Sheet 3;

(5) Lot 159, the remaining portion of the "Meadow Land", as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417F, Page 235 and in Drawer F, Page 58, Revision of Section A, Sheet 3;

(6) Lot 2, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 191, Revision of Section A, Sheet 1;

(7) Lot 20, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 189A, Revision of Section A, Sheet 1;

(8) Lot 84B, as shown on Plan recorded in the Berkshire middle district registry of deeds in Book 417D, Page 203, Revision of Section B, Sheet 2; and

(9) Any additional parcels or Lots which may be irrevocably designated as common areas by BWCA in the future.

SECTION 2. (A) Membership in the district shall consist of the record owner, hereinafter referred to as the "proprietor", from time to time of one or more lots lying within the district. For the purposes of this act, a proprietor shall be deemed to include not only natural persons, but also other entities empowered to own real estate in the commonwealth including corporations, partnerships, realty trusts and federal, state and local governmental units. Further, any mortgagee of record in possession of any one or more lots shall be deemed a proprietor under this act. Persons or entities who shall jointly own a lot within the district shall collectively constitute a proprietor of that lot for all purposes hereunder.

(B) As used herein, "lot" shall mean each separate lot as shown on the Plans and enumerated in paragraph (2) of subsection (A) of section 1; provided, however, that if one or more lots have heretofore been combined to constitute a single building lot as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (A) of section 5, then the lots so combined will constitute a single lot.

SECTION 3. (A) The district, upon establishment in the manner hereafter set forth, shall have the following powers:

(1) To upgrade, repair and maintain, including snow and ice removal, the streets or ways within the district, or such portions thereof, as the district shall determine in accordance with this act, exclusive of any public way.

(2) To upgrade, repair and maintain all common lands and recreational facilities located within the district, or such portions thereof, as the district shall determine in accordance with this act.

(3) To make and enter into all manner of contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the exercise of any power permitted to the district by this act.

(4) 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.

(5) To acquire, dispose of and encumber real and personal property for the purposes of the district.

(6) To construct, acquire by lease or purchase, improve, maintain and operate such equipment and facilities and such other equipment, materials, supplies, facilities and services as shall be required to accomplish the purposes of this act, 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.

(7) To apply for, accept and expend financial assistance from the federal government, the commonwealth, Berkshire county and the town of Becket either directly or jointly with and through said town, for or in aid of the purposes of this district.

(8) 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 this district.

(9) To employ such persons including advisors, consultants, and experts, as may be deemed necessary, in its judgment, in carrying out the purposes of the district, and to fix their compensation.

(10) 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.

(11) To reimburse the town of Becket or the BWCA, with respect to monies advanced or expended for legal and legal related expenses for the formation of the district, which expenditures are required to be made or incurred prior to the effective date of this act and the formation of the district pursuant hereto.

(12) 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 that such notes shall be issued only in anticipation of assessments and other revenues of the district of the fiscal 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.

(13) 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 except pursuant to the provisions of chapter 258 of the General Laws and provided that the district may indemnify its officers and employees to the extent provided in said chapter 258.

(14) 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 treasurer of a town.

(15) To procure insurance against any loss or liability which may be sustained or incurred 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.

(16) 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.

SECTION 4. (A) Within 45 days after the effective date of this act the selectmen of the town of Becket shall call a meeting of the proprietors of the lands to be included in the district as set forth under section 1. For the purposes of establishing an initial list of proprietors, the selectmen of the town of Becket shall consult with its board of assessors and such board shall furnish to the selectmen a listing of all record property owners as of January first in the year of enactment who are owners of one or more lots or who within the reasonable knowledge or belief of the assessors are owners of one or more lots as set forth in paragraph (3) of subsection (A) of section 1. The selectmen, upon receiving such lists, shall prepare and mail by certified mail a notice to each such proprietor signed by the selectmen and setting forth a time and place of a meeting to occur within said 45 day period but not less than 14 days from the date of mailing of said notice. The costs of mailing any notice required to be given under this act shall be paid by the district. 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. The selectmen shall further, not later than 14 days prior to the date of such meeting, cause a copy of the notice to be posted in one or more publicly accessible locations within the town of Becket and within the subdivision known as Becket Woods. The meeting shall be held at the town hall in the town of Becket. At the first meeting of the district, one selectman from the town of Becket shall initially preside and shall call the meeting to order.

(B) Said selectman shall thereupon determine whether or not the proprietors representing a majority of the lots entitled to vote as defined in section 5, are present or represented by proxies duly executed and placed in the hands of other proprietors prior to said meeting. Any original consent to special legislation for the formation of the Becket Woods road and maintenance district, or copy thereof, signed by a proprietor in anticipation of the formation of the district shall be accepted by the selectman presiding as a valid proxy for the purpose of meeting the quorum requirements and for the purpose of voting for the formation of the district, as well as any other matters voted upon at such meeting. Lacking such a majority, the meeting shall have no power to act, but the selectmen of the town may continue the meeting to a date, time and place certain, for the same purpose, within a further 45 day period.

(C) If a quorum has been determined to be present in the manner above specified, the meeting shall proceed to the following order of business:

(1) Election of a temporary clerk, who shall be sworn by one of the selectmen present, and a moderator who shall thereupon preside.

(2) 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 proprietors present and voting in person or by proxy, entitled to vote, as defined in section 5. If such vote shall be in the negative, the meeting shall thereupon adjourn. If such vote shall be in the affirmative and upon the required two-thirds majority, the meeting shall next proceed to consider the order of business set forth in clause (3) to (6), inclusive, all to be effective as of April 1, 2001.

(3) The adoption of district by-laws and a form of district seal.

(4) The election by ballot of a district clerk, who shall be a legal resident of the commonwealth, and a district treasurer, who may be the same person, to hold office for one year until 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 seven members of the prudential committee, constituted in its entirety as hereafter set forth, said seven members to hold office, three for three years, two for two years, and two for one year until the next succeeding annual meeting. At each annual meeting after the first, replacement members of the prudential committee shall be elected by ballot for three years. At any district meeting after the initial meeting, the number of members of the prudential committee may be increased to a maximum of 11 or decreased to a minimum of five by affirmative vote of the district. 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 18 years of age and shall include persons entitled to vote as proprietors or as representatives of proprietors at district meetings. If so elected or appointed, an individual may serve contemporaneously as a district officer and a member of the prudential committee.

(5) 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.

(6) 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 selectman initially presiding at the meeting thereon. Such certificate shall be forwarded to the attorney general within 30 days after the adjournment of the meeting.

SECTION 5. (A) At the initial district meeting, at all subsequent annual and special district meetings, voting by proprietors shall be governed by the requirements of this section.

(1) Persons or entities owning one or more lots within the district shall be entitled to cast one vote for each lot owned by such person, persons or entities, on any matter or issue to be voted upon at any such meeting, exclusive of lots designated as common areas, recreational facilities, and the following lots which have been combined with others to constitute a single lot for BWCA dues assessment purposes: Lot 29 combined with Lot 76, Lot 31 combined with Lot 32, Lot 147, including Lots 147A and 147B, combined with Lot 146. No further combination of lots for district assessment purposes shall be permitted. If at any time the above-mentioned combined lots are reconfigured to create more than one lot, then each separate lot so created shall be a lot subject to assessment by the district.

(2) Joint owners of lots, and proprietors which are not natural persons, shall designate in writing to the clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting, the person authorized to vote on behalf of the proprietor of such lot at such meeting and such person shall be conclusively presumed as qualified and authorized to represent the proprietor. A person owning one or more lots together with his spouse shall not be required to furnish a written designation from his spouse and either shall be presumed to be qualified to vote.

(3) The authority of a person to cast a proxy vote on behalf of a proprietor shall likewise be determined by the clerk, except that at the initial meeting, such determination shall be made by the selectman presiding thereat. At the initial meeting, the consent to special legislation for the formation of the Becket Woods road and maintenance district duly executed by the respective lot owners in anticipation of the formation of the district shall be accepted by the selectman presiding as a valid proxy entitling the BWCA to exercise such proxy, for the purpose of meeting the quorum requirements, and for the purpose of voting for the formation of the district, as well as any other matters voted upon at such meeting. At any annual or special meetings, all proxies must be tendered in writing prior to the commencement of such meeting and shall clearly set forth the name and address of the proprietor entering the proxy, the name and address of the person who is to exercise the proxy, the signature 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.

(4) Any matter to be voted upon at the initial district meeting or at any annual or special meeting of the district shall require only a majority of those proprietors representing lots entitled to be voted as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (A), present in person or by proxy and voting on the question, except for the following actions which shall require a two-thirds vote of those proprietors representing lots entitled to be voted as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (A), present in person or by proxy and voting on the question: whether or not the district authorized by this act shall be established and organized; a vote to petition for dissolution of the district; a vote to purchase or otherwise acquire real property; a vote to finance any undertaking which is authorized by the act to be financed in whole or in part by the issuance by the district of long term notes or bonds; and a vote to establish or change the method or means of assessing upon the proprietors their pro rata share of district expenses.

(5) 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 6. (A) (1) Annual meetings of the district shall be held on the Saturday or Sunday within four days of the observed Independence Day in July each year or at such other date as the district shall establish from time to time by action of the prudential committee or in its by-laws.

(2) Annual and other special meetings of the district shall be called by warrant of the prudential committee, notice of which shall be given 14 days at least before such meeting. The warrant shall be mailed first class, postage pre-paid to each proprietor of record in the district and a copy of same shall be directed to a constable of the town of Becket or to some other person who shall cause a copy of said notice to be posted in one or more public places within the town of Becket or by advertising in a newspaper published at least weekly within Berkshire county and having a general circulation within the town of Becket.

(3) 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 requested 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 20 or more proprietors.

(4) The prudential committee may call a special district meeting at its behest and shall call a special meeting upon request in writing of not less than 20 proprietors or proprietors representing at least 20 per cent of the lots entitled to be voted as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (A) of section 5. Special meetings so requested shall be held not later than 45 days after the receipt of such request.

(5) 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 every district meeting, a moderator shall be chosen by ballot and shall have the powers of the moderator of a town meeting.

(6) District meetings shall be governed by chapter 39 of the General Laws except as otherwise expressly provided in this act.

(7) The board of assessors of the town of Becket shall, not less than 30 days prior to the annual district meeting, prepare and forward to the prudential committee 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 59 of the General Laws and other related provisions. A copy of such list shall be maintained in a manner accessible to the proprietors and the general public at all reasonable times by the prudential committee or the district clerk and shall further be available for inspection at the annual meeting and any special meeting of the district. The board of assessors shall likewise maintain a list of proprietors within their town by separate list or special designation on their list of all assessed parcels.

(8) Quorum requirements for annual meetings and special meetings of the district shall be as specified for the initial district meeting set forth above or otherwise as the district shall determine from time to time in its by-laws; provided, however, that the quorum requirements at such meeting will not be reduced below a number of proprietors representing one-third of the lots entitled to be voted as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (A) of section 5, whether voting in person or by proxy as aforesaid.

SECTION 7. (A) The prudential committee shall have and shall exercise, the following powers and duties:

(1) The expenditure for the purposes permitted to the district, of the money raised and borrowed by the district.

(2) The preparation of 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 annual budget shall include the committee's estimate of those monies required to be raised and appropriated by means of assessment upon the district proprietors, by borrowing, or otherwise to be received.

(3) To apply in the name of the district for grants, loans, and other assistance from both governmental and nongovernmental entities, for or in aid of the purposes of this district.

(4) Subject to prior appropriation therefore, to enter into agreements and contracts involving the purchase or lease of services, equipment and supplies consistent with the powers granted by this act.

(5) Subject to prior appropriation therefore, to hire, supervise, suspend and discharge such employees as the committee shall deem necessary or appropriate for the conduct of the work to be performed by the district including, but not limited to, a district superintendent who shall have charge on a day to day basis of all district employees and who shall be responsible to the prudential committee for the conduct and supervision of any and all work to be performed by or on behalf of the district pursuant to this act. Compensation and benefits for the district superintendent and all other employees shall, subject to prior appropriation therefore, be as determined from time to time by vote of the prudential committee.

(B) The prudential committee shall meet as necessary, but in no event less frequently than every six months. A quorum of the prudential committee shall be required at all meetings, in person or by telephone, for the conduct of any business thereat and shall consist of a majority of the members. The initial meeting of the prudential committee shall occur not later than 30 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 chairman 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-chairman who shall be empowered to preside over committee meetings in the absence of the chairman and who shall serve for a like term, and elect such other officers as it shall determine necessary to fulfill its duties. The district, may, subject to a prior appropriation therefor, provide appropriate compensation for district officers including members of the prudential committee and including the expense of travel, meals and lodging for such officers and committee members residing outside the district.

(C) Without limiting its powers as set forth above in this act, the prudential committee shall have charge of expenditures on account of the district duly budgeted and appropriated pursuant to the powers granted to the district and shall exercise the authority conferred upon it by district by-law, except as otherwise expressly provided in this act.

(D) (1) 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, but that this provision shall not prohibit the treasurer from paying such bill by the use of a bank treasurer's or cashier's check. The district treasurer shall further have the authority given to an auditor by section 50 of chapter 41 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 district treasurer shall give bond annually for the performance of his duties in a form approved by the commissioner of revenue and in such sum, not less than the amount established by said commissioner, 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 subsection (E).

(2) 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 by the board of selectmen in the commonwealth. The clerk shall further be the official responsible for certifying copies of any and all votes taken at a district meeting or a meeting of the prudential committee.

(E) 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 that purpose. The prudential committee may appoint a person to fill said vacancy until an election can be held or the disability is removed. Said election need not be held earlier than the next annual meeting. 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, as above provided, shall give bond in the same manner as the treasurer.

SECTION 8. (A) (1) At its initial meeting, and at the annual meeting each year thereafter, the district shall adopt by a majority vote a method to be employed during the fiscal year to which the meeting relates for financing the share of its annual budget which is anticipated to be required to be funded by the district. The district may vote to adopt any of the following methods of financing, or combination thereof:

(i) The district may raise, by assessments upon the proprietors and by accepting voluntary contributions, the total sum required to meet such estimated expense.

(ii) The district may pay the whole of such expense from time to time as the work, material, labor and services shall be performed and for this purpose may incur debt by a temporary loan in anticipation of the collection of assessments from the district members during the fiscal year in which said debt is incurred or during the next succeeding fiscal year and except as further modified on the initial fiscal year in clause 15 of subsection (A) of section 3.

(iii) At such district meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose, the district may incur debt to the amount necessary to pay that portion of such expense which relates solely to proposed long term district improvements or major equipment purchases and may issue therefor notes or bonds, and may, if the district further so approves, issue notes or bonds on the condition that the first payment on account of the principal shall be deferred for a period of not more than five years from the date of issue of such notes or bonds and that the whole amount of such debt shall be payable within a period of not more than 25 years after such notes or bonds are issued. No such issue shall be for a term longer than the reasonably estimated useful life of the improvements, facilities and equipment to be so funded.

(2) Indebtedness incurred by the district under the provision of this subsection shall be subject to chapter 44 of the General Laws and to other provisions of the General Laws applicable to notes and bonds of districts except as otherwise provided in this act. If the district issues notes or bonds and thereafter it shall receive an appropriation from another governmental entity to cover all or any part of the expenses of such improvements, the district, in its discretion, unless otherwise mandated by the terms and conditions of the grant from such governmental unit, may make all or any part of such appropriation available to redeem notes or bonds of the district and shall hold the balance, if any, to the credit of the district to be used for the payment of the expense of such improvements, facilities and equipment. Bonds or notes issued under this section shall be the general obligations of the district.

(3) That portion, if any, of the budgeted expense for the initial fiscal year and for each subsequent fiscal year which shall be required by the district for the payment of principal and interest on bonds and notes issued or to be issued by the district and which will become due during the ensuing fiscal year together with those amounts necessary to be raised by the district to maintain and operate the district during said fiscal year for capital outlay items, the costs of which are not otherwise funded, and all other budgeted expenses for which the district is authorized to raise money, the costs of which items the district shall be raised by assessment upon the lots owned by the proprietors within the district. Each lot within the district shall be assessed an equal share of the portion of the budget to be funded by assessment, except that the lots designated as common areas, recreational facilities, and the combined lots, Lots 29, 31 and 147 including Lots 147A and 147B, shall not be subject to assessment.

(4) 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 town of Becket all sums of money voted to be raised by district assessment, which vote will have been adopted by a majority vote as provided above in this act, together with the amount to be paid by each proprietor according to the determination made by such votes. The assessors of the town of Becket shall without further vote, assess such amounts upon the lands of the proprietors within the district and commit the same to the collector of taxes of the town of Becket, who thereupon shall have and exercise the same powers and duties in relation to the collection of such assessments as he has and exercises relative to the collection of town taxes. The billing of such assessments shall be done on an annual basis, and be made contemporaneously with the billing of the second installment of real estate taxes in each fiscal year by the town. The collector shall remit weekly to the district treasurer all sums collected by him on account of such assessments. An assessment made hereunder shall be a lien upon the land assessed therefor, in the same manner as a lien for real estate taxes assessed by the town under the provisions of section 37 of chapter 60 of the General Laws, and other related provisions of the General Laws.

(5) Collection of assessments on lots which are owned by BWCA and which are subject to assessment, shall be deferred until such time as such lot is sold or otherwise conveyed by BWCA. The proceeds from the sale of such lot shall be applied first to any due and unpaid real estate taxes with respect to such lot, and then to uncollected district assessments on the lot, in each case together with any interest or other charges due thereon.

SECTION 9. (A) 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. The first fiscal year of the district shall commence on April 1, 2001 and end on June 30, 2001. Thereafter, the district's fiscal year shall commence on July l and end on June 30, unless the fiscal year used by the town of Becket shall change.

SECTION 10. 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 town of Becket, pursuant to the provisions of section 108B of chapter 41 of the General Laws with respect to their duties and expenses hereunder.

SECTION 11. Notwithstanding their membership on the prudential committee, if any, neither the town of Becket nor any agency or department of the commonwealth 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 assessments upon their land as provided for in this act.

SECTION 12. 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 25 of chapter 59 of the General Laws and section 5C of chapter 40 of the General Laws. 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 20 per cent thereof for the purposes of and subject to the limitations as set forth in said section 25 of said chapter 59. The district is further authorized to establish and maintain a stabilization fund under the provisions of section 5B of said chapter 40. The district shall further be subject to an audit of its accounts in the manner provided in section 40 of chapter 44 of the General Laws.

SECTION 13. Immediately upon the formation of the district, the district clerk, shall, in addition to the other duties to be performed by such district officer, cause a review to be made at that time and from time to time thereafter of the records required to be maintained by the board of assessors for the town of Becket, including copies of deeds furnished to said board 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 to be included within the district. The clerk shall further cause to be prepared one or more maps based in whole or in part upon the maps required to be maintained by the assessors of the town of Becket on which shall be shown the location of all proprietors' lands initially included as well as those which upon such review should, in the opinion of the district clerk be included within the district. Thereafter, at any special meeting called for that purpose and not later than the next annual meeting, the district clerk shall furnish the prudential committee with a list of proprietors proposed for inclusion in the district and such maps depicting the approximate location and boundaries of such parcels as well as the existing parcels within the district. The committee shall furnish written notice in the manner provided for furnishing notice to a proprietor of a district meeting to the record owners of such parcels proposed for inclusion in the district. At the district meeting called for such purpose, the district shall, by its vote, determine whether or not its 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 above 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 been established. Such petition shall be in writing and shall set forth in summary form the reasons relied upon in support thereof. The 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. The prudential committee shall, upon a vote to exclude the land of petitioner, so notify the assessors of the town of Becket. 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 of Berkshire county for a remedy. Upon such appeal, the court shall, if it is found by the court that the decisions made by both the prudential committee and the district were arbitrary and capricious, and clearly erroneous, grant such exclusion. Such exclusion, if the petition shall have been filed in writing therefor prior to December 31 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 fiscal year.

SECTION 14. 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, by two-thirds vote at a regular or special district meeting or by petition by the town of Becket under the provisions of section 8 of Article 89 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth.

SECTION 15. Section 3 shall take effect on April 1, 2001. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.

SECTION 16. If the initial meeting of the Becket Woods and Maintenance 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 its passage, this act shall cease to be operative.

Approved December 21, 2000.