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Session Law

2004

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Chapter 491 AN ACT ESTABLISHING MUNICIPAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST FUNDS.

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. Chapter 44 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 55B the following section:-

Section 55C. (a) Notwithstanding section 53 or any other general or special law to the contrary, a city or town that accepts this section may establish a trust to be known as the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund, in this section called the trust. The purpose of the trust is to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in municipalities for the benefit of low and moderate income households. For the purposes of this section, acceptance shall be in a town by vote of an annual town meeting, and in any other municipality in accordance with section 4 of chapter 4.

(b) There shall be a board of trustees, in this section called the board, which shall include no less than 5 trustees, including the chief executive officer, as defined by section 7 of chapter 4, of the city or town. Trustees shall be appointed in a city by the mayor or by the city manager in a Plan D or Plan E municipality, subject in either case, to confirmation by the city council, and in a town by the board of selectmen, shall serve for a term not to exceed 2 years, and are designated as public agents for purposes of the constitution of the commonwealth.

(c) The powers of the board, all of which shall be carried on in furtherance of the purposes set forth in this act, may include, but not be limited to, the following:-

(1) to accept and receive property, whether real or personal, by gift, grant, devise, or transfer from any person, firm, corporation or other public or private entity, including without limitation grants of funds or other property tendered to the trust in connection with provisions of any zoning ordinance or by-law or any other ordinance or by-law;
(2) to purchase and retain real or personal property, including without restriction investments that yield a high rate of income or no income;
(3) to sell, lease, exchange, transfer or convey any personal, mixed, or real property at public auction or by private contract for such consideration and on such terms as to credit or otherwise, and to make such contracts and enter into such undertaking relative to trust property as the board deems advisable notwithstanding the length of any such lease or contract;
(4) to execute, acknowledge and deliver deeds, assignments, transfers, pledges, leases, covenants, contracts, promissory notes, releases and other instruments sealed or unsealed, necessary, proper or incident to any transaction in which the board engages for the accomplishment of the purposes of the trust;
(5) to employ advisors and agents, such as accountants, appraisers and lawyers as the board deems necessary;
(6) to pay reasonable compensation and expenses to all advisors and agents and to apportion such compensation between income and principal as the board deems advisable;
(7) to apportion receipts and charges between incomes and principal as the board deems advisable, to amortize premiums and establish sinking funds for such purpose, and to create reserves for depreciation depletion or otherwise;
(8) to participate in any reorganization, recapitalization, merger or similar transactions; and to give proxies or powers of attorney with or without power of substitution to vote any securities or certificates of interest; and to consent to any contract, lease, mortgage, purchase or sale of property, by or between any corporation and any other corporation or person;
(9) to deposit any security with any protective reorganization committee, and to delegate to such committee such powers and authority with relation thereto as the board may deem proper and to pay, out of trust property, such portion of expenses and compensation of such committee as the board may deem necessary and appropriate;
(10) to carry property for accounting purposes other than acquisition date values;
(11) to borrow money on such terms and conditions and from such sources as the board deems advisable, to mortgage and pledge trust assets as collateral;
(12) to make distributions or divisions of principal in kind;
(13) to comprise, attribute, defend, enforce, release, settle or otherwise adjust claims in favor or against the trust, including claims for taxes, and to accept any property, either in total or partial satisfaction of any indebtedness or other obligation, and subject to the provisions of this act, to continue to hold the same for such period of time as the board may deem appropriate;
(14) to manage or improve real property; and to abandon any property which the board determined not to be worth retaining;
(15) to hold all or part of the trust property uninvested for such purposes and for such time as the board may deem appropriate; and
(16) to extend the time for payment of any obligation to the trust.

(d) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, all moneys paid to the trust in accordance with any zoning ordinance or by-law, exaction fee, or private contributions shall be paid directly into the trust and need not be appropriated or accepted and approved into the trust. General revenues appropriated into the trust become trust property and to be expended these funds need not be further appropriated. All moneys remaining in the trust at the end of any fiscal year, whether or not expended by the board within 1 year of the date they were appropriated into the trust, remain trust property.

(e) The trust is a public employer and the members of the board are public employees for purposes of chapter 268A.

(f) The trust shall be deemed a municipal agency and the trustees special municipal employees, for purposes of chapter 268A.

(g) The trust is exempt from chapters 59 and 62, and from any other provisions concerning payment of taxes based upon or measured by property or income imposed by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof.

(h) The books and records of the trust shall be audited annually by an independent auditor in accordance with accepted accounting practices.

(i) The trust is a governmental body for purposes of sections 23A, 23B and 23C of chapter 39.

(j) The trust is a board of the city or town for purposes of chapter 30B and section 15A of chapter 40; but agreements and conveyances between the trust and agencies, boards, commissions, authorities, departments and public instrumentalities of the city or town shall be exempt from said chapter 30B.

SECTION 2. Section 5 of chapter 44B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
A city or town may appropriate money in any year from the Community Preservation Fund to an affordable housing trust fund.

Approved January 7, 2005.

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