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  • Acts
  • 2008
  • Chapter 103 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WHITIN RESERVOIR WATERSHED DISTRICT IN THE TOWN OF DOUGLAS.

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 shall be established a district within the town of Douglas, which shall be known as the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District, which, upon its establishment in the manner set forth in this act, shall constitute a body politic and corporate. The district shall be generally bounded and described as follows:

A. General Boundaries.

BEGINNING at a point on the Easterly line of Wallis Street, said point marking the Southerly line of the Whitin Reservoir Causeway;

THENCE Southwesterly by the Easterly and Northeasterly line of Wallis Street for a distance of 3,912.05 feet to a point;

THENCE Northerly by land, now or formerly, of Mathew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 119.7 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Mathew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 480.37 feet to a point;

THENCE S outhwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Mathew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 476.26 feet to a point on the Northeasterly line of Wallis Street;

THENCE Southeasterly by the Northeasterly line of Wallis Street for a distance of 1245 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northerly, by land, now or formerly, of Matthew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 673.47 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly, continuing by land, now or formerly, of Matthew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 156.68 feet to a point;

THENCE Southeasterly, continuing by land, now or formerly, of Matthew F. Erskine, Trustee for a distance of 714.86 feet to a point on the Northerly line of Wallis Street;

THENCE Northeasterly by the Northerly line of Wallis Street for a distance of 605.36 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Peter R. Brady for a distance of 491.63 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Edward A. Therrien for a distance of 253.25 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Edward A . Therrien for a distance of 323.24 feet to a point;

THENCE Easterly and Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of the J. J. Douglas Nominee Trust for a distance of 235.64 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of the J. J. Douglas Nominee Trust for a distance of 38.26 feet to a point;

THENCE Easterly by land, now or formerly, of Allan Wayne O. Day for a distance of 235.74 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Allan Wayne O. Day for a distance of 217.99 feet to a point on the Southwesterly line of J. P. Manning Way;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Southwesterly line of J. P. Manning Way for a distance of 82 feet, more or less, to a point at the Northwesterly end of J. P. Manning Way;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of George L. Plays for a distance of 127.35 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of the Temple Family Nominee Trust for a distance of 275 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Robert C. Orr for a distance of 200 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Robert A. Deluca for a distance of 78 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Eric C. Virostek for a distance of 200 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Eric C. Virostek for a distance of 283.13 feet to a point;

THENCE Southeasterly and Easterly by land, now or formerly, of Don J. Virostek for a distance of 497.23 feet to a point on the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street for a distance of 210 feet to a point;

THENCE Westerly and Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Don J. Virostek for a distance of 317.19 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Joseph Nedoroscik for a distance of 86.06 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Joseph Nedoroscik for a distance of 94.5 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of the MEDJD Nominee Trust for a distance of 53.42 feet to a point;

THENCE Southeasterly, Northerly and Southeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Thomas E. Evers for a distance of 448.49 feet to a point on the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street for a distance of 138 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Thomas E. Evers for a distance of 342 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Fred W. Pilch for a distance of 200 feet to a point;

THENCE Northerly by land, now or formerly, of Paul T. Hare for a distance of 220 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Elaine Kulesza for a distance of 220 feet to a point on the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Westerly line of Northwest Main Street for a distance of 1024.15 feet to a point;

THENCE Easterly crossing Northwest Main Street for a distance of 35 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly and Easterly by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 462 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 546.48 feet to a point on the Southerly line of West Street;

THENCE Westerly by the Southerly line of West Street for a distance of 425 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly crossing West Street for a distance of 35 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Westerly by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 171 feet to a point on Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Northwesterly crossing Northwest Main Street for a distance of 35 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly crossing Northwest Main Street for a distance of 35 feet, more or less, to a point on the Westerly line of Birch street;

THENCE Northeasterly by the Westerly line of Birch Street for a distance of 270.6 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Lorraine Picotte for a distance of 319.15 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly and Southeasterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Lorraine Picotte for a distance of 380.12 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Paul H. Petrillo for a distance of 99.45 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Paul J. Garagliano, Jr. for a distance of 99.59 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Vincent Ross for a distance of 12.85 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Vincent Ross for a distance of 124.24 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Vincent Ross for a distance of 154.73 feet to a point on the Northerly line of Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Southwesterly crossing Northwest Main Street for a distance of 40 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly and Westerly by the Southerly line of Northwest Main Street for a distance of 2,978.56 feet to a point on the Easterly line of Peters Cove Road;

THENCE Northwesterly crossing the Northerly end of Peters Cove Road for a distance of 80 feet, more or less, to a point on the Westerly line of Peters Cove Road;

THENCE Southeasterly by the Westerly line of Peters Cove Road for a distance of 186.46 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Mary Ellis for a distance of 100 feet to a point;

THENCE Southeasterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Mary Ellis for a distance of 161.62 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Meredith G. Parrott for a distance of 100 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Gregory A. Rheaume for a distance of 180 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Joseph H. Daigle for a distance of 180 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Dudley R. Marsh for a distance of 60 feet to a point on the Easterly line of Wallis Street;

THENCE Southwesterly by the Easterly line of Wallis Street for a distance of 487.40 feet to a point;

THENCE Westerly crossing Wallis S treet for a distance of 50 feet, more or less, to a point on the N ortherly line of Shady L ane;

THENCE Southwesterly, N orthwesterly and W esterly by the N ortherly line of Shady L ane for a distance of 1,645 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly, N ortheasterly and Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Richard J. Spratt for a distance of 480.73 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Claire A. Dodd for a distance of 342 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Claire A. Dodd for a distance of 208.12 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Ralph E. Yung for a distance of 421.16 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly, Westerly and Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Ralph E. Yung by the arc of a curve to the left for a distance of 200 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly by land, now or formerly, of Philip Michaelson, for a distance of 201.18 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Philip Michaelson for a distance of 528.04 feet to a point;

THENCE Northerly by land, now or formerly, of Francis C. Tebo, Donald G. Carpenter and Carol R. Johnson, respectively, for a distance of 225 feet to a point;

THENCE Northerly by land, now or formerly, of the William R. Meskeries Family Trust for a distance of 150 feet to a point on the Easterly line of Laurel Glades;

THENCE Southwesterly crossing Laurel Glades for a distance of 58 feet, more or less, to a point on the Westerly line of Laurel Glades;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Westerly line of Laurel Glades for a distance of 710 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 371.95 feet to a point;

THENCE Northeasterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Hrdro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 300 feet to a point on the Southerly line of Northwest Main Street;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Southerly line of Northwest Main Street for a distance of 92 feet to a point;

THENCE Southwesterly by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 311.15 feet to a point;

THENCE Northwesterly continuing by land, now or formerly, of Hydro Projects, Inc. for a distance of 443.33 feet to a point on the Easterly line of Ridge Trail;

THENCE Southwesterly by the Easterly line of Ridge Trail for a distance of 1,620 feet, more or less, to a point;

THENCE by the Southerly bound of land, now or formerly, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it being Lots 149-1 and 158-18 on the Town of Douglas
Assessors Maps, by various courses for a distance of 11,700 feet, more or less, to a point on the Westerly line of Wallis Street;

THENCE Northwesterly by the Westerly line of Wallis Street for a distance of 458.15 feet to a point;

THENCE Southeasterly crossing Wallis Street 35 feet, more or less, to the point of beginning.

B. Actual Boundaries.
(a) The general boundaries described in subsection (a) are intended to be guidelines only. The actual district boundaries shall include those separately assessed parcels within the town of Douglas as shown on the maps maintained by the board of assessors for the town and which either: (1) abut directly on the shoreline of Whitin Reservoir; or (2) except as set forth in the following paragraph, consists of all the property of a holder of a recorded private right of access to land which abuts the shoreline of Whitin Reservoir in such a manner that the owner or proprietor of such land is afforded by such recorded right, a right of access to Whitin Reservoir for bathing, boating or other water recreational activities at a location where members of the general public may lawfully be excluded from such use.

(b) The actual boundaries of the district, as so comprised, shall likely include certain parcels situated outside of the general boundaries set forth in subsection A and may also exclude several parcels lying within said general boundaries.

SECTION 2. Membership in the district shall consist of the proprietors of separately assessed parcels of lands lying within the district which either abut Whitin reservoir or have a real property deeded access to Whitin reservoir, including, but not limited to, an easement to Whitin reservoir. For purposes of this act, “proprietor” shall include: natural persons and other entities empowered to own real estate in the commonwealth, including corporations, partnerships, realty and other trusts and federal, state and local governmental units; a mortgagee of record in possession of separately assessed parcels; and persons or entities who jointly own separately assessed parcel. Persons or entities who jointly own separately assessed parcels within the district shall collectively constitute one proprietor for purposes of this act.

Any private community beach or private access parcel, currently existing or hereafter created, within the general boundaries of the district shall be deemed a single proprietor. The community beach or private access parcel shall be assessed at the value of each beach and apportioned among all those parties with property rights therein. A holder of a recorded private right of access to or through such community beaches or private access parcels shall not be assessed individually nor shall a holder of such right be considered a proprietor except and to the extent that each community beach or private access parcel is deemed a proprietor.

This act shall not apply to any public beach, public access parcel, public boat ramp or any other parcel held by the commonwealth or the town of Douglas during the time that the parcel is owned or operated by the commonwealth or the town of Douglas; provided, however, that if a parcel reverts to private ownership or use in the future, it shall no longer be exempt from this act.

This act shall not apply to any parcel held by a recognized non-profit entity, which shall include but shall not be limited to agencies, corporations and trusts. The district, through its management, shall be the sole arbiter as to what shall constitute a recognized non-profit entity; provided however, that if a parcel reverts to private ownership or use in the future, it shall no longer be exempt from this act.

SECTION 3. The district, upon its establishment in the manner set forth in this act, shall have the following purposes and powers:

(a) to initiate and coordinate research and surveys for the purpose of gathering data on the lake, related shore lands, watershed and the drainage basis and other matters directly pertaining to the improvement of water quality, reclamation, preservation and maintenance of the lake for general recreational use;
(b) t o plan lake rehabilitation, enhancement, maintenance and preservation projects and water quality improvement and to acquire by any legal manner , purchase, own, operate, repair, maintain or manage an impound or dam;
(c) t o implement , conduct, coordinate and supervise such projects, subject to the grant of necessary approvals by the appropriate local, state and federal governmental agencies, including the town of Douglas, the department of environmental management, department of environmental protection, and the department of fisheries, wildlife and recreational vehicles, or their successor agencies and the appropriate funding or regulatory agencies of the federal government and, if required, under the supervision of such agencies ;
(d) to make and enter into all manner of contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the exercise of any power granted to the district by this act;
(e) 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;
(f) to acquire, dispose of and encumber real and personal property for the purposes of the district, including but not limited to the power to acquire real estate or a limited interest in real estate by eminent domain under and subject to chapters 79 and 80A of the General Laws; provided however, that, the district’s power of eminent domain shall be limited to property lying within the general boundaries of the district not already appropriated to public use by the commonwealth or the town of Douglas and solely for the purposes set forth in subsections (a), (b) and (c);
(g) to manage, control and supervise equipment and facilities necessary or appropriate to accomplish the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, weed harvesting equipment, dredging apparatus, lake draw down facilities for either temporary or permanent water level control, weed control or water quality improvement and recreational swimming and boating facilities for public use;
(h) to construct, acquire, or 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 under the General Laws;
(i) to apply for, accept and expend financial assistance from the federal government, the commonwealth, Worcester county and the town of Douglas;
(j) 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 purposes of the district;
(k) to employ such persons, including consultants as may be deemed necessary in its judgment, and to fix their compensation;
(l) to adopt by-laws, which shall be consistent with the powers conferred by this act and with other applicable provisions of the General Laws, for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business;
(m) t o perform all duties and exercise all responsibilities required by the t own of Douglas, pursuant to any grant awarded by the d epartment of e nvironmental protection under chapter 628 of the acts of 1981, c hapter 286 of the acts of 1982, and c hapter 722 of the acts of 1969, or any grant awarded by the d ivision of e nviro nmental m anagement or any other public agency, subject to approval by the c ommissioner of e nvironmental p rotection or his designee so as to permit the d istrict to act as direct grantee or sub-grantee under the t own of Douglas ;
(n) to borrow at any meeting of the district, for the purpose of meeting preliminary or current expenses, such sums as may be necessary and to issue therefor general obligation temporary notes for a period of not more than 2 years; provided, however, that such notes shall be issued only in anticipation of assessments and other revenues of the district for 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 permitted in this act;
(o) to sue and be sued in its own name and to plead and be impleaded; provided, however, that neither the district nor any of its officers or employees shall be liable in tort except under chapter 258 of the General Laws; and provided further, that the district may indemnify its officers and employees to the extent provided in said chapter 258;
(p) 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;
(q) to procure insurance against any loss or liability which may be sustained or incurred in carrying out this act in such amount as the district shall deem necessary and appropriate and with insurers licensed to furnish such insurance in the commonwealth;
(r) 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; and
(s) in carrying out its purposes and exercising its powers as set forth in this act, the district shall, to the extent reasonably possible and in coordination with other sources, maintain water flows into the Mumford river sufficient to supply adequate water flows to the town of Douglas Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant, subject to chapter 253 and section 40 of chapter 131 of the General Laws and regulations promulgated thereunder.

SECTION 4. The board of selectmen of the town of Douglas shall, within 60 days of the effective date of this act, call a meeting of the proprietors of the lands to be included in the district as set forth under section 2. For the purposes of establishing an initial list of proprietors, the board of selectmen shall consult with the board of assessors who shall furnish to the board of selectmen a list of all property owners of record, as of January 1 in the year in which this act takes effect who are owners of one or more separately assessed shore front parcels or who, within the reasonable knowledge or belief of the assessors, are owners of separately assessed parcels which do not have frontage on Whitin reservoir but which possess deeded easement rights to the use of the Whitin reservoir frontage property, as set forth in section 2. The board of selectmen, upon receiving such list, 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 the 60-day period but not less than 14 days from the date of mailing of such notice. 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 board of selectmen shall, not later than 14 days prior to the date of such meeting, cause a copy of the notice to be posted in at least 1 publicly accessible location within the town. The meeting shall be held at the Douglas town hall unless some other location within the town of Douglas is designated in the notice.

At the first meeting of the district, a selectman from the town of Douglas shall initially preside and shall call the meeting to order. The selectman shall thereupon determine whether or not the proprietors constituting a majority in interest in either aggregate assessed valuation of land and improvements or land area are present or represented by proxies duly executed and placed in the hands of other proprietors prior to said meeting. In the absence of such a majority, the meeting shall have no power to act, but the selectmen of the town may, in the manner provided above, call additional meetings for the same purpose within an additional 60-day period.

If a quorum has been determined to be present in the manner specified above, the meeting shall then proceed in the following order of business:
(a) the election of a temporary clerk, who shall be sworn in by a selectman present and a moderator who shall thereupon preside;
(b) the taking of a vote to determine whether or not the d istrict shall be established and organized, which shall require an affirmative vote of 60 per cent of the proprietors present and voting in person or by proxy;

  1. (c) i f the vote taken under clause (b) shall be in the negative, the meeting shall thereupon adjourn and i f such vote shall be in the affirmative and upon the required majority, the meeting shall proceed to conduct the business set forth in c lauses (d ) to (g ), inclusive;

(d) the adoption of district by-laws and form of district seal;
(e) the election by ballot of a district clerk and a district treasurer, who may be the same person and who shall be legal residents of the commonwealth, to hold office until 1 year from the next succeeding annual meeting and at each annual meeting after the first clerk and treasurer shall be elected;
(f) the election by ballot of 4 members of the management committee, constituted in its entirety as set forth in this act, to hold office as follows: 1 member for 4 years, 1 for 3 years, 1 for 2 years and 1 for 1 year, from the next succeeding annual meeting;
(g) 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; and
(h) 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 as part of the permanent record of the district. The clerk shall 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. The certificate shall be forwarded to the attorney general within 30 days following the adjournment of the meeting and upon the filing of such certificate, the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District shall be established.
At each annual meeting after the first, a member of the management committee shall be elected by ballot for 3 years. The officers of the district shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified. Persons eligible for nomination and election to the management 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.

SECTION 5. At the initial district meeting and at all subsequent annual and special district meetings, voting by proprietors shall be governed by this section. Persons or entities owning separately assessed parcels of land within the district shall each be entitled to cast 1 vote on any matter or issue to be voted upon at any such meeting, notwithstanding the total number of parcels owned by such person, persons or entities. Joint owners and entity proprietors shall designate, in writing to the clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting, the person authorized to vote on behalf of the proprietor at such meeting and such person shall be presumed to be qualified and authorized to represent the proprietor if such person shall be listed record owner of such parcel or parcels or if such person shall, as evidenced by any public record maintained under the laws of the commonwealth, be listed as a partner, trustee, agent, officer or employee of a proprietor. A person owning at least 1 parcel 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.

The authority of a person to cast a proxy vote on behalf of a proprietor shall likewise be determined by the clerk. All proxies must be tendered in writing prior to the commencement of a district 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 the same and the date of execution. Unless otherwise specifically limited by their terms, such proxies shall entitle their holders to vote at any adjournment of such meeting. A proxy with respect to any proprietor where the property interest is held in the name of 2 or more persons shall be valid if executed by any 1 of them unless at or before exercise of the proxy the district receives a specific written notice to the contrary from either of them. A proxy purporting to be executed by or on behalf of a proprietor shall be deemed valid unless challenged at or before its exercise and the burden of proving invalidity shall rest on the challenger. All proxies shall be submitted in the form as set forth in this act.

SECTION 6. Annual meetings of the district shall be held on the last Thursday in March in each year or at such other time as the district shall establish from time to time in its by-laws. Annual and other special meetings of the district shall be called by warrant by the management committee, notice of which shall be given at least 14 days before such meeting. The warrant shall be mailed first class, postage prepaid, to each proprietor of record in the district and a copy shall be directed to a constable of the town of Douglas or to some other person who shall cause a copy of such notice to be posted in at least 1 public place within the town or by advertising in a newspaper published at least weekly within Worcester county and having a general circulation within the town of Douglas. The warrant for all district meetings shall state the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be acted upon. The management committee shall insert in the warrant of the annual meeting all subjects, the insertion of which shall be required of them in writing by 10 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. The management committee shall call a special district meeting on its own initiative or upon a request, in writing, of not less than 20 proprietors, or proprietors constituting at least 20 per cent in interest, either in assessed valuation of land improvements or in total land area within the district. Special meetings so requested shall be held not later than 30 days after the receipt of such request. No action taken at an annual or a 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.
District meetings shall be governed by chapter 39 of the General Laws, except as otherwise expressly provided in this act.
The board of assessors of the town of Douglas shall, at least 30 days prior to the annual district meeting, prepare and forward to the management committee a true and complete alphabetical listing with addresses of the proprietors reflected in their records as of January 1 of that year and from the records maintained by the assessors under chapter 59 and other related provisions of the General Laws. 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 management committee and the district clerk and shall 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 the town by separate list or special designation on its list of all assessed parcels.

Quorum requirements for annual meetings and special meetings of the district shall be as specified for the initial district meeting set forth in this act or otherwise as the district shall determine in its by-laws; provided, however, that the quorum requirements at such meeting shall not be reduced below a number of proprietors constituting one-quarter in interest, either in aggregate assessed valuation of land and improvements or land area, whether voting in person or by proxy.

Any matter to be voted upon at an annual or special meeting of the district shall require only a majority of those proprietors present in person or by proxy and voting on the question, except for the following actions which shall require a two-thirds vote: (1) a vote to petition for dissolution of the district; (2) a vote to purchase or otherwise acquire real property; and (3) a vote to finance an undertaking, which is authorized by this act to be financed in whole or in part by the issuance by the district of long-term notes or bonds.

SECTION 7. In addition to the 4 members elected by the district as provided in this act, the management committee shall include 1 member appointed from the board of selectmen of the town of Douglas or such other resident voter of the town as shall be appointed by its board of selectmen to serve on the management committee. Such selectman or other person shall serve at the pleasure of the board of selectmen appointing him.
The town appointed members shall serve for an indefinite term, at the pleasure of the board of selectmen of the town of Douglas and shall be voting member of the management committee and shall be permitted to participate fully in all discussions and deliberations of the committee. If the board of selectmen shall fail to so designate its member or if such member shall resign and no replacement shall have been designated in like manner, the management committee shall nonetheless be legally constituted with full power to carry out its duties and responsibilities as set forth in this act with the 4 members elected by the district.
The management committee shall have and shall exercise the following powers and duties:
(1) to expend, for the purposes permitted in this act, of the money raised and borrowed by the district;
(2) to annually prepare a budget, which 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, for the management and operation of the district and the submission of such budget to the annual district meeting for its approval;
(3) to apply, in the name of the district, for grants, loans and other assistance from both governmental and nongovernmental entities;
(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 therefor, 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 on behalf of the management committee for the conduct and supervision of any and all work to be performed by or on behalf of the district under this act; and
(6) subject to prior appropriation therefor, to set compensation and benefits for the district superintendent and all other employees by vote of the committee.

SECTION 8. The management committee shall meet as necessary and not less than every 4 months. A quorum of the management committee shall be required at all meetings for the conduct of any business and shall consist of a majority of its voting members. The initial meeting of the management committee shall be not later than 30 days following the establishment of the district. Thereafter, the committee shall schedule 1 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.
The district may, subject to a prior appropriation therefor, provide appropriate compensation for district officers, including members of the management committee and including compensation for the expenses of travel, meals and lodging for such officers and committee members residing outside the district.

SECTION 9. Without limiting its powers as set forth in this act, the management 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.

SECTION 10. The district treasurer shall receive and take charge of all money belonging to the district and shall pay over and account for the same according to the order of the district or its management committee. The treasurer or, in his absence, any duly appointed person under the district by-laws shall pay district bills; provided, however, that this section shall not prohibit the treasurer from paying such bills by the use of a bank, treasurer’s or cashier’s check. He shall have the authority given to an auditor under section 52 of chapter 41 of the General Laws, and shall annually render a true account of his receipts and disbursements and report on his official acts to the district. The treasurer shall give bond annually for the performance of his duties in a form approved by the commissioner of revenue in such sum, not less than the amount established by the commissioner, as shall be fixed by the management committee and if the treasurer fails to give such bond within 10 days after his election or appointment or, if within 10 days after the expiration of such bond or any renewal of such bond, he fails to file a renewal thereof, the management committee shall declare the office vacant and the vacancy shall be filled by the committee in the manner set forth in section 12.

SECTION 11. The district clerk shall, in addition to the duties specified in this act, take all minutes at district meetings and at meetings of the management 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. The clerk shall be the official responsible for the certification of any and all votes taken at a district meeting or a meeting of the management committee.

SECTION 12. Any vacancy occurring in the office of clerk, treasurer or member of the management 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 or, in the case of a vacancy in the office of clerk or treasurer or disability affecting either of such officers, the management committee may appoint a person to fill such vacancy until an election can be held or until the disability is removed. Such temporary appointee shall be sworn and shall perform the duties of the office to which he is appointed during his tenure. A temporary treasurer appointed to fill a vacancy shall give bond in the same manner as the treasurer.

SECTION 13. At its initial meeting and at the annual meeting each and every year thereafter, the district shall adopt, by two-thirds vote as set forth in this act, 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 any combination thereof:

(a) The district may raise by assessments upon the proprietors and by voluntary contributions the total sum required to meet such estimated expense.
(b) For materials, labor and services, the district may incur debt by a temporary loan in anticipation of the collection of assessments from the district members during the fiscal year in which such debt is incurred or during the next succeeding fiscal year and except as further modified on the initial fiscal year under subsection (n) of section 3.
(c) 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 and major equipment purchases and may issue therefor notes or bonds and may 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 5 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 or equipment to be so funded.
(d) Indebtedness incurred by the district under this section shall be subject to chapter 44 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 receives an appropriation from other governmental entities to cover 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, shall 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 or equipment. Bonds or notes issued under this section shall be the general obligations of the district.

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 shall be 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 is 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 have voted to raise by assessment upon land and improvements of the proprietors within the district, shall be the subject of a separate vote at the initial district meeting. If the district so votes, the schedule of assessed valuations of land and improvements established by the board of assessors in the town of Douglas for the same fiscal year under the provisions of chapter 59 of the General Laws shall be relied upon as the basis for determination of the prorata share of the district budget voted to be raised and appropriated and paid by the proprietors upon their land and improvements within the district.

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 Douglas all sums of money and means of assessment voted upon at such meeting, which votes shall have been adopted by a two-thirds majority as provided 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 Douglas shall, without further vote, assess such amounts upon the lands of the proprietors within the district and report to the collector of taxes of the town, 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 collector shall remit, monthly, 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 by the town under section 37 of chapter 60 of the General Laws and other related provisions.

SECTION 14. The fiscal year of the district shall be the same fiscal year as established by the General Laws for cities and towns.

SECTION 15. Unless otherwise specified in this act or otherwise required by the General Laws, all actions permitted to be taken at annual or special district meetings shall require a majority vote of those proprietors entitled to vote and present in person or by proxy at a meeting, who shall constitute a quorum in accordance with this act or otherwise by by-law of the district. All actions permitted to be taken by the management committee shall require a majority vote of the committee members present at a meeting who shall constitute a quorum in accordance with this act.

SECTION 16. 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 Douglas, under section 108B of chapter 41 of the General Laws, with respect to their duties and expenses hereunder.

SECTION 17. Notwithstanding their membership on the management committee, neither the town of Douglas, nor any agency or department of the town 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 18. 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 section 25 of chapter 59 and section 5C of chapter 40 of the General Laws except for the initial fiscal year, or portion thereof, for 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 in said section 25 of said chapter 59. The district may establish and maintain a stabilization fund under section 5B of chapter 40 of the General Laws. The district shall be subject to an audit of its accounts in the manner provided in section 40 of chapter 44 of the General Laws.

SECTION 19. Immediately upon the formation of the district, the district clerk shall 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 Douglas, including copies of deeds furnished to the board by the Worcester district registry of deeds in the county of Worcester, and shall otherwise take actions reasonably necessary to verify the list of proprietors to be included within the district. The clerk shall further cause to be prepared maps based in whole or in part upon the maps required to be maintained by the assessors of the town on which shall be shown the location of all proprietors’ lands initially included as well as those which, upon such review, the district clerk determines should 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 management 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.
An original proprietor of the district and a record owner of real estate hereafter included within the district as a proprietor in the manner set forth in this section, shall have the right to petition the district, through its management committee, for exclusion from the district based upon an alleged lack of sufficient direct benefit to such proprietor’s land with respect to the purposes for which the district shall have been established. The petition shall be in writing and shall set forth a summary of the reasons supporting the petition. The committee shall, upon receipt of such petition, conduct an investigation of the petition as it shall deem appropriate and shall, at its next regular meeting or sooner at a special meeting and upon at least 7 days written notice to the petitioner, consider and vote on the petition. A vote by the management committee to exclude the land of the petitioner from the district shall be final. In the event that the management committee votes to disapprove the petition or fails to act on the petition before the next annual meeting of the district, the petition shall be included in the warrant for such meeting and the district shall vote on it at that time. If the district votes to disallow the petition, the petitioner may appeal to the superior court within the county in which the district is located for relief. Upon such appeal, the court shall, if satisfied by the reasons set forth by the petitioner, grant such exclusion. Such exclusion, if the petition shall have been filed in writing before December 31 of the then current fiscal year, shall result in an abatement of district assessment from the commencement of such fiscal year; provided, however, that such abatement shall not be effective until the commencement of the next fiscal year.

SECTION 20. 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 any obligations of the 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 Douglas under the provisions of Section 8 of Article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution.

SECTION 21. This act shall take effect upon its passage; provided, however, that if the initial meeting of the district shall not occur and the certified vote evidencing the establishment of the district shall not be filed with the attorney general within 1 year after its passage, this act shall be repealed.

Approved May 13 , 2008