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  • Acts
  • 2002
  • Chapter 243 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE WOODS HOLE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET STEAMSHIP AUTHORITY.

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. Section 53 of chapter 7 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the words "and the Massachusetts Port Authority" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- , the Massachusetts Port Authority and the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority.

SECTION 2. Section 3 of chapter 701 of the acts of 1960 is hereby amended by striking out the second paragraph, as appearing in section 24 of chapter 235 of the acts of 2000, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

The authority shall consist of 5 persons to be appointed as follows: 1 resident of the county of Dukes County by the county commissioners thereof; 1 resident of the county of Nantucket by the county commissioners thereof; 1 resident of the town of Barnstable by the town council thereof; 1 resident of the town of Falmouth by the selectmen thereof; and 1 member who is a resident of the city of New Bedford by the mayor of the city of New Bedford with the approval of the city council thereof, each of whom shall serve for a term of 3 years and until his successor has been appointed and qualified. The successor of each member shall be appointed in a like manner for a like term and serve, except for any person appointed to fill a vacancy who shall serve only for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any member may be removed for cause by the member's appointing authority.

SECTION 3. Said section 3 of said chapter 701 is hereby further amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

Upon the effective date of this act, the member from the town of Falmouth shall remain chairman of the authority until December 31, 2002. Beginning on January 1, 2003, the chairmanship of the authority shall rotate every year in the following order: first, the member from the county of Nantucket; second, the member from the town of Barnstable; third, the member from the county of Dukes County; fourth, the member from the town of Falmouth; and fifth, the member from the city of New Bedford.

SECTION 4. Said section 3 of said chapter 701 is hereby further amended by striking out the fourth paragraph, as appearing in section 103 of chapter 33 of the acts of 1991, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

The authority shall elect 1 of the voting members as vice-chairman and as secretary and shall also elect a treasurer who need not be a member of the authority. The votes of the members of the authority shall be weighted such that the county of Dukes County member's vote shall count as 35 per cent of the whole; the Nantucket member's vote shall count as 35 per cent of the whole; and the Barnstable, Falmouth and New Bedford members' votes shall each count as 10 per cent of the whole, to the end that the votes of the county of Dukes County and Nantucket members, if cast on the same side of any motion placed before the authority, shall pass or defeat that motion. A vote of greater than 50 per cent of the weighted vote shall be necessary for any action taken by the authority. Members whose combined votes count as more than 50 per cent of the whole shall constitute a quorum. No vacancy in the membership of the authority shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the authority. Before the issuance of any steamship bonds under this act, each voting member of the authority shall execute a surety bond to the commonwealth with a surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety in the penal sum of $10,000, and the treasurer shall execute such a bond in the penal sum of $20,000, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of his office. Each surety bond shall be approved by the attorney general and filed in the office of the state secretary. The members of the authority shall serve without compensation. Each member shall be reimbursed for his actual expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of his duties. All expenses incurred in carrying out this act shall be paid solely from funds provided under the authority of this act, and no liability or obligation shall be incurred by the authority hereunder beyond the extent to which monies shall have been provided under the authority of this act.

SECTION 5. Paragraph (b) of section 4 of said chapter 701 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the word "fifty", inserted by section 104 of chapter 33 of the acts of 1991, and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 75.

SECTION 6. Said paragraph (b) of said section 4 of said chapter 701, as most recently amended by said section 104 of said chapter 33 of the acts of 1991, is hereby further amended by adding the following sentence:- Any real estate owned or leased by the authority in the towns of Bourne and Barnstable that sits on an aquifer from which drinking water is extracted shall be subject to applicable zoning ordinances and by-laws.

SECTION 7. Paragraph (e) of said section 4 of said chapter 701 is hereby amended by striking out the words "; provided, however, that no acquisition of real property or capital improvement in excess of fifty thousand dollars shall be undertaken by the authority within the town of Barnstable unless written notice of said real property acquisition or capital improvement is forwarded by registered mail and subsequently approved by the Barnstable town council, a majority of the members thereof present and voting. Said notice shall include, but not be limited to, a detailed description of the proposed real property acquisition or capital improvement and any other documents relevant or pertinent to said proposal. Failure on the part of said town council to render a vote on said real property acquisition or capital improvement within ninety days of the receipt of said notice shall constitue approval of said town council", inserted by section 105 of chapter 33 of the acts of 1991.

SECTION 8. Section 9 of said chapter 701 is hereby amended by striking out the seventh paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

In case the commonwealth shall be called upon in the calendar year 2002 or a subsequent calendar year to pay the authority any amount under this section on account of a deficiency for the calendar year 2001 or a subsequent calendar year, such amount, with interest or other charges incurred in borrowing the money for the purpose, except such amounts as may be appropriated by the general court therefor, shall be assessed on the towns of Barnstable, Falmouth and Nantucket and the city of New Bedford and the county of Dukes County, in the following proportions: 10 per cent each on Barnstable, New Bedford and Falmouth, 35 per cent on Nantucket and 35 per cent on the county of Dukes County. The county commissioners of the county of Dukes County shall allocate such assessment upon the county to be paid severally by the towns in the county, excepting the town of Gosnold, in the same proportions as in the assessment of the county tax. The city of New Bedford shall be assessed 50 per cent of any net operating losses, not to exceed $650,000 annually, accrued for any authority passenger and freight service run from the port of New Bedford which is directly attributable to such service, excluding any net operating losses resulting from the operation of the authority's Schamonchi , in the calendar years 2003, 2004 and 2005 and 25 per cent of any such net operating losses, not to exceed $650,000 annually, accrued in calendar years 2006 and 2007. In calendar year 2008 and thereafter, the city of New Bedford shall pay 10 per cent of any annual deficiency, in an identical fashion, to the towns of Falmouth and Barnstable, pursuant to this section. At the end of each calendar year beginning with the calendar year subsequent to the effective date of this act, the authority shall prepare a report calculating the operating losses in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and shall submit the same to the auditor of the commonwealth for his approval. The amount certified by the auditor shall be paid to the authority by the state treasurer and assessed on the city of New Bedford in accordance with the above principles.

SECTION 9. Said chapter 701 is hereby further amended by striking out section 14 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 14. There is hereby established a board to be known as the port council of the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable and New Bedford Steamship Authority which shall consist of 7 members: 1 member to be appointed by the board of selectmen of the town of Falmouth for a term of 1 year; 1 member to be appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council of the city of New Bedford for a term of 1 year; 1 member to be appointed by the town council of the town of Barnstable for a term of 2 years; 1 member to be appointed by the board of selectmen of the town of Oak Bluffs for a term of 2 years; 1 member to be appointed by the board of selectmen of the town of Tisbury for a term of 2 years; 1 member to be appointed by the board of selectmen of the town of Nantucket for a term of 3 years; and 1 member to be appointed by the board of selectmen of the town of Fairhaven for a term of 3 years. Upon the expiration of the term of a member, a successor shall be appointed in like manner for a term of 2 years. Said board shall have the power to review the annual budget of the authority and advise the authority members concerning any activities underway or proposed in any port community in which the authority operates. The board shall have access to such books, records and files of the authority as it may deem necessary or desirable for the exercise of its powers. The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed from the funds of the authority for any actual expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.

SECTION 10. The fourth paragraph of section 15 of said chapter 701 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence, as amended by chapter 167 of the acts of 1990, and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- No contract shall be awarded by the authority for construction work or for the purchase of equipment, supplies or materials, whether for repairs or original construction, the estimated cost of which amounts to $10,000 or more, except in cases of special emergency involving the health, convenience or safety of the people using the facilities of the authority, unless proposals for the same have been invited by advertisements in at least 1 newspaper circulating in each of the towns of Falmouth, Nantucket and Barnstable, the city of New Bedford and the county of Dukes County, once a week for at least 2 consecutive weeks, the last publication to be at least 1 week before the time specified for the opening of said proposals.

SECTION 11. Section 15A of said chapter 701, inserted by chapter 102 of the acts of 1979, is hereby amended by striking out the first and second paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

The authority shall post and advertise in at least 1 newspaper circulating in each of the towns of Falmouth, Nantucket and Barnstable, the city of New Bedford, and the county of Dukes County, all proposed schedule changes no later than 60 days prior to the effective date of the proposed changes. In the event that the authority shall receive, within 30 days of the posting and advertising, a petition signed by not less than 50 persons who are residents of the towns of Falmouth, Nantucket and Barnstable, the city of New Bedford and the county of Dukes County requesting a public hearing on the proposed changes, the authority shall, within 14 days of receiving the petition, conduct a public hearing. The location of the hearing shall be in either the town of Falmouth or Barnstable or in the city of New Bedford or on the islands of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, wherever the greatest number of petitioners reside.

SECTION 12. Section 16 of said chapter 701 is hereby amended by striking out the fifth paragraph, as appearing in chapter 392 of the acts of 1974, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

In addition to the service required by the preceding paragraph, the authority may, in its discretion, provide ferry runs or such transportation between any other port on the mainland, except the town of Fairhaven, and 1 or both of the islands when it shall be deemed necessary or desirable to serve the purposes of this act, and may require any business enterprise necessary or convenient for such purposes.

SECTION 13. Section 27C of chapter 29 of the General Laws shall not be applicable to this act.

SECTION 14. The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority may utilize the state pier in the city of New Bedford under the control of the department of environmental management of which the terms and conditions are to be negotiated by said Authority and said department as subject to the current operating agreement between said department and the city of New Bedford.

SECTION 15. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the city of New Bedford and the current operator of barge service between the city of New Bedford and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket shall enter into a memorandum of understanding not later than October 15, 2002 relative to the continuation of such service as conducted by the current operator; provided, however, that such memorandum shall be subject, but not be limited, to the current guidelines established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as required under chapter 91 of the General Laws and shall include a mutually agreeable location on the Acushnet river or within New Bedford harbor in the city of New Bedford, with a ramp and bulkhead characteristics which equal or surpass the current location in its business and physical characteristics. Any relocation of the current operator shall be within the terms equal to license no. 5130 for the existing facility, and the barge operation shall be permitted and licensed in accordance with said chapter 91. The memorandum of understanding between the city of New Bedford and the operator shall be a legally binding document having the full force and effect of the law between the parties and shall be enforceable in a court of law by equitable relief. If the memorandum of understanding is not executed by October 15, 2002, the operation of barge service between the city of New Bedford and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket shall continue as conducted by the current operator and shall be subject to this section.

SECTION 16. The state secretary shall cause the following question to be placed on the official ballot to be used in the county of Dukes County at the biennial state election to be held in the year 2002: "Shall the member of the Steamship Authority from Martha's Vineyard be appointed by a special committee comprised of 1 selectman from each of the 6 towns of Martha's Vineyard appointed by the selectmen of each respective town and 1 county commissioner appointed by the county of Dukes County Commissioners?" If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, this change shall take effect on December 31, 2003 but not otherwise.

Approved August 9, 2002.