AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE NORTH CARVER WATER DISTRICT.
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. As used in this act, the following words shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
"Bonds" or "bond", general obligation bonds, notes or other obligations or evidences of indebtedness that the town has authorized or issued to finance the acquisition, of and improvements to, any water works system that is or shall be operated and managed by the district prior to the effective date of this act, or that the town authorizes and issues after said effective date, upon a two-thirds vote of the commission, with the approval of a two-thirds vote of the town, to pay for capital costs of the district, including land acquisition within the district service area, which shall be issued for a term not to exceed 40 years, and which shall otherwise be issued in accordance with the provisions of chapter 44 of the General Laws. A bond issued in accordance with this act shall be arranged so that the amounts payable over a term of years for principal and interest combined shall be as equal as practicable in the opinion of the officers authorized to issue the bonds or, in the alternative, in accordance with a schedule that provides a more rapid amortization of the principal. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the district may issue a bond only if the bond must be issued to the United States Rural Development Administration or to any other similar federal or state agency to qualify for federal or state grants, loans or any other financial assistance with respect to the development of the district's facilities. A bond issued by the district shall not be included in any debt or other limitation pursuant to any general or special law. A bond issued in accordance with this act not paid by the district as it becomes due and payable shall constitute a pledge of the full faith and credit of the town and a debt of the town within the meaning of section 23 of chapter 59 of the General Laws. A bond issued pursuant to this act shall be signed by a majority of the commission, and acknowledged by the signatures of the town treasurer and a majority of the selectmen of the town.
“Capital costs”, an extension, improvement or enlargement of the water works system of the district or any other project of the district financed under this act; all or any part of the cost of acquisition, construction, reconstruction, alteration or remodeling of such works including, but not limited to, the costs of labor, materials, machinery, equipment, and supplies, demolition removal or relocation of any public utilities facilities, or advance training of operating personnel; the acquisition of interests in land, structures and rights of any kind in real and personal property; financing charges and expenses; interest prior to, during and for a period not to exceed 6 months after completion of such work; reserves for debt service and other capital and current expenses; costs of architectural, engineering, financial, legal or consulting services, including costs of plans, specifications, appraisals, surveys, inspections or financial and feasibility studies; administrative and operational expenses incurred prior to the commencement of and during such work; and other expenses of completing and commencing operation of such work, working capital, and other necessary or incidental expenses related to the acquisition, construction, financing and placing in operation of such work.
“Commission”, the members of the North Carver water district or, if the commission shall terminate, the succeeding person, board, body or commission to whom the powers given by this act shall have been transferred by law.
“Current expenses”, the district's current expenses, whether or not annually recurring, for maintaining, repairing and operating the water works system and any other properties of the district including, but not limited to, administrative costs; debt service on bonds; debt service on bonds that were paid by the town because of the failure of the district to make such payments as they became due and payable; payroll and employee benefits; engineering expenses for maintenance, operation and repairs; legal, financial and auditing expenses; insurance and surety bond premiums; fees and expenses of trustees and paying agents; payments to others for services rendered to the district; taxes or fees which may be lawfully imposed upon the district or its income or operations or property under its control; and other current expenses required or permitted by law to be paid by the district, including the funding of reasonable reserves for maintenance, repair, replacements or operations.
“District”, the North Carver water district established in this act.
“District service area”, the area exclusively within the town of Carver as shown on the map of the district on file in the town clerk's office as may be amended by a majority vote of the commission, the local appointing authority, or the town.
“Local appointing authority”, the board of selectmen of the town of Carver.
“Municipality” or “town”, the town of Carver, Massachusetts.
“Revenues”, all revenues, rates, fees, charges, rents and other receipts derived from the operation of the water works system and the other properties of the district including, but not limited to, proceeds of bonds, proceeds of any grant or loan to the district, investment earnings and the proceeds of insurance, condemnation, sale or other disposition of properties.
“Water works system”, the water supply and distribution system in the district service area and under the jurisdiction, ownership, control and regulation of the district including, but not limited to, the plants, works, instrumentalities or parts thereof; lands, easements, rights in land, water and flowage rights, approaches, water courses, rights of way, contract rights, franchises and privileges, all connections, dams, wells, reservoirs, water mains and pipe lines, equipment, buildings, structures, vehicles, standpipes, tanks, conduits, meters, hydrants, fire connections and fixtures of the system; purification, filtration and treatment works and other adjuncts thereto; other real or personal property interests incidental to and included in the system; and all facilities, betterment, extensions, improvements and enlargements thereto and to or for the system hereafter constructed or acquired.
SECTION 2. There is hereby created within the town of Carver, a body politic and corporate and political subdivision to be known as the North Carver water district. The commission of the district is hereby constituted and shall exercise the powers conferred by this act, which shall be deemed to be the performance of an essential public function. The commission shall not be subject to the supervision of the municipality or of any department, commission, board, bureau or agency of the municipality except as provided in this act.
Except as otherwise provided in this act, the powers of the commission shall be exercised by a board of 3 members to be elected by the voters of the town for overlapping 3 year terms. Vacancies shall be filled in accordance with section 11 of chapter 41 of the General Laws, except that at the first annual election, which shall occur within 64 days after the effective date of this act, the initial members of the commission shall be elected to 1, 2 and 3 year terms, with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes to serve for a 3 year term, the candidate with the second highest number of votes to serve for a 2 year term, and the candidate with the third highest number of votes to serve for a 1 year term. Until the initial members of the commission are elected in accordance with this section, the board of selectmen shall appoint 3 registered voters of the town as members. Two members of the commission shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of 2 members shall be necessary for any action requiring a vote of the commission. Any such action shall take effect immediately unless otherwise provided and need not be published or posted.
The commission shall annually elect one of its members to be its chair. The commission may establish, with the approval of the local appointing authority and the town, by majority vote of its town meeting, a reasonable annual compensation for its members. In addition, each member may be reimbursed for the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of his official duties as approved by the commission. The commission shall be deemed to be a municipal agency and its members shall be deemed to be special municipal employees as defined in section 1 of chapter 268A.
Sections 23A to 23C, inclusive, of chapter 39 of the General Laws shall apply to the meetings of the commission and section 10 of chapter 66 shall apply to the commission’s documentary materials or data.
The district shall be deemed to be a public employer and its members, officers and employees shall be deemed to be public employees as defined in section 1 of chapter 258 of the General Laws. The district shall be liable in tort for defects in a public way to the same extent a municipality may be liable under chapter 84 of the General Laws.
The district members and its employees shall be subject to chapter 150E of the General Laws, and, for purposes of said chapter, the district shall be considered an “employer” or “public employer” as defined in section 1 of said chapter 150E.
SECTION 3. The commission may appoint, employ and determine the compensation, duties and conditions of employment of a superintendent, who shall not be a member of the commission and who shall serve at the pleasure of the commission. The commission may not enter into a contract to employ a superintendent for a period of more than 5 years and the contract must be approved by the local appointing authority. The superintendent shall be the chief operating officer of the district and shall administer and direct its affairs as authorized or approved by the commission and shall have and execute the powers and duties of the commission as the commission may have delegated to the superintendent and not recalled. The superintendent or his designee, as approved by the commission, shall be the secretary of the commission and shall keep a record of the proceedings of the commission and shall be custodian of the books, documents and papers filed with the district. The superintendent or any other officer designated by the commission for this purpose may cause copies to be made of the minutes and other records and documents of the district and may certify that such copies are true copies and a person dealing with the district may rely upon such certification.
The commission may hire, transfer or otherwise appoint or employ legal counsel, financial advisors and other experts, engineers, agents, accountants, clerks, consultants and employees as it deems necessary.
The commission may purchase insurance for itself or a member, officer, employee, or agent against liability that may arise out of his status as such, whether or not the commission would have the power to indemnify him against such liability.
The commission shall operate on a fiscal year commencing on July 1 of each year unless otherwise provided by the commission.
SECTION 4. The commission shall have all the rights and powers necessary or convenient to carry out and implement this act, including, but not limited to, the rights and powers:
(a) to adopt rules, regulations and procedures in connection with the performance of its functions and duties, and regarding the use of, and connection to, the water works system; to provide by regulation for civil penalties not to exceed $5,000, which shall inure to the town, for the violation of its rule, order or regulation and to assess fines for violation of its rules and regulations in accordance with section 21 of chapter 40 of the General Laws;
(b) to maintain an office in the town at a place as it may determine;
(c) on behalf of the district, or on behalf of the town, upon the approval of the local appointing authority, to apply for, receive, accept, administer, expend or comply with the conditions, obligations or requirements of, a grant, gift or loan, including without limitation a grant, gift or loan from local, state or federal government agencies, donation or appropriation of property or money to support the purposes of the commission or contributions of money, property, labor or other things of value;
(d) to acquire, in the name of the district or on behalf of the town, with the approval of the local appointing authority, by purchase, lease, lease-purchase, sale and leaseback, gift or devise, or to obtain options for the acquisition of any property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, or any interest therein, in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties;
(e) with the approval of the local appointing authority, to acquire, sell, lease, mortgage, exchange, transfer or otherwise dispose of, or to grant options for any such purpose relative to, any property held by it, including real or personal, tangible or intangible property, or any interest therein, consistent with the General Laws, except that no lease, mortgage, exchange, transfer or other disposal of real property shall be permitted without the affirmative vote of the town at a duly called and held town meeting to consider the same;
(f) to enter onto any land within the district service area to make surveys, borings, soundings and examinations thereon, provided that the commission shall make reimbursements for any injury or actual damage resulting to such lands and premises or caused by any act of its authorized agents or employees and shall, so far as possible, restore the land to its condition prior to making such surveys, borings, soundings or examinations; to acquire by eminent domain, after obtaining approval of the town and the local appointing authority, any interest in real property within the district service area in the name of the commission in accordance with chapters 79 and 80A of the General Laws or any alternative method provided by law; to order the removal or relocation of any conduits, pipes, wires, poles, structures or other property, located in a public way or place or in or upon private lands, which it deems to interfere with the laying out, construction or operation of any water system project and such order, to the extent specified therein, shall be deemed a revocation of the right or license to maintain such tracks, pipes, conduits, wires, poles, structures or other property in such public ways or places; to insure that the proper authorities grant a new location for the structure so removed or relocated; to compensate the owner of such property for the reasonable costs of the removal or relocation; to discontinue, remove such tracks, conduits, pipes, wires, poles, structures or other property and to charge the owner the cost of such discontinuance, removal or relocation. If an owner fails to comply with an order of the commission relating to any such structure within a reasonable time to be fixed in the order, the commission may discontinue and remove the tracks, conduits, pipes, wires, poles or other property, and may relocate them, and the cost of the discontinuance, removal or relocation shall be repaid to the commission by the owner. No discontinuance, removal or relocation shall entitle the owner of the affected property to any damages on account thereof, except for reimbursement of costs as provided in this section. This section shall not apply to facilities on property of the commonwealth under the control of the department of highways or the department of conservation and recreation or installed under licenses or permits granted by those departments, except with the department’s approval;
(g) to contract for and purchase water supply, treatment and distribution services from, and to provide such services to, a person, a private or public corporation or a public instrumentality within or without the district service area or to another town, as the commission shall determine to be in the best interests of the district, or to the commonwealth or to the federal government when necessary or convenient for the operation of the water system;
(h) to construct, improve, extend, enlarge, maintain or repair the water works system and to occupy and operate, extend, enlarge, maintain or repair any portion of the water works system owned by the town, upon the terms and conditions determined by the commission and the local appointing authority;
(i) to use monies borrowed or appropriated by the town for the purposes of this act;
(j) to make contracts that shall be subject to chapter 30B of the General Laws; and to execute and deliver all instruments necessary or convenient for carrying out any of its purposes;
(k) to exercise the powers and privileges of, and to be subject to limitations upon, towns and cities provided under sections 1 to 24, inclusive, and 27 to 29, inclusive, of chapter 83 of the General Laws, insofar as such provisions may be applicable and are consistent with this act;
(l) to create an overall water policy and plan for the district;
(m) to do all things necessary, convenient or desirable for carrying out the purposes of this act or the powers expressly granted or necessarily implied in this act;
(n) consistent with the constitution and laws of the commonwealth, to have other powers as may be necessary for or incident to carrying out the foregoing powers and to accomplish the purposes of this act except that nothing in this act shall impose a duty on the commission to maintain groundwater levels within or without the boundaries of the town; and
(o) to enter into 1 or more intermunicipal agreements with governmental entities other than the town for the provision of water services, in accordance with section 4A of chapter 40 of the General Laws, except that no further vote of the town meeting shall be required with respect to such intermunicipal agreements.
SECTION 5. In addition to the powers of the commission otherwise provided in this act, the commission shall have the following powers and shall be subject to the following limitations:
(a) The commission may fix, revise, charge, collect and abate fees, rates, rents, assessments, delinquency charges or other charges for water supply and distribution and other services, facilities and commodities it furnishes or supplies. Subject to clause (c), fees, rates, rents, assessments, delinquency charges and other charges of general application shall be adopted and, as necessary, revised by the commission at least annually in accordance with procedures to be established by the commission for ensuring that interested persons are afforded notice and an opportunity to present data, views and arguments. The commission shall hold at least 1 public hearing on its schedule of fees, rates and charges or any revision thereof prior to its adoption, notice of which shall be delivered to the local appointing authority and published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town in advance of the hearing. Not later than the date of such hearing, the commission shall make the proposed schedule available to the public. The commission may combine its fees, rates and other charges for services provided by it in a single schedule. Fees, rates, rents, assessments, abatements, and other charges established by the commission shall not be subject to supervision of or regulation by any department, division, commission, board, bureau, or agency of the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions. In order to provide for the collection and enforcement of any charges for fees, rates and other charges, the commission shall have the benefit, without further acceptance of sections 42A to 42F, inclusive, of chapter 40 of the General Laws or filing of any certificate relating thereto, of liens for unpaid fees, rates, rents, assessments and other charges as provided in sections 42A and 42B of said chapter 40 to the extent applicable and consistent with this act. The commission shall certify to the town tax collector any fee, rate or charge for which a lien has arisen, and the assessors shall add them to the property tax assessed on the property to which it relates when the annual assessment of town property taxes is made. The town tax collector shall act as collector for the district and collect the rate, fee or charge as provided in section 42D of said chapter 40. The collector or town treasurer shall pay over to the district any amounts collected on account of such rates, fees or charges.
(b) Subject to clause (e), the fees, rates, rents, assessments and other charges established by the commission in accordance with clause (a) shall be fixed and adjusted relative to the aggregate thereof so as to provide revenues sufficient: (i) to pay the current expenses of the commission; (ii) to pay the principal, premium, and interest on bonds for costs as they become due and payable; (iii) to create and maintain such reasonable reserves as may be reasonably required by the commission or by any trust agreement or resolution securing bonds issued by the town on account of capital costs; (iv) to provide funds for paying the costs of all necessary repairs, replacements and renewals of the water system; and (v) to pay or provide for any amounts which the commission may be obligated to pay or provide for by law or contract, including a resolution or contract with or for the benefit of the holders of bonds issued for the commission. The commission shall submit its annual operating budget to the local appointing authority for review and recommendation and all funds expended by the commission shall be subject to appropriation by the town. Once the town approves an appropriation for the district, the commission may allocate the use of such amounts as it shall, in its sole discretion, determine.
(c) The commission shall undertake a study and examination of its estimated expenses and costs of constructing, maintaining, operating and improving the system, and shall, 1 year after the effective date of this act, promulgate, in accordance with clauses (a) and (b), a schedule of fees, rents, rates and other charges. The schedule shall become effective upon promulgation and shall provide for the metering, monitoring and other measuring of, and charging for, water supply services provided by the commission to consumers of such services in the town, including municipal property, the commonwealth and all independent agencies and authorities of the town or the commonwealth. An exemption from such charges provided to the commonwealth or the town under any general or special law shall not apply as of the effective date of the such schedule, except that no betterment or special assessment shall be made by the commission under the authority of chapters 40 or 80 of the General Laws or any other general or special law against property owned by the commonwealth or its political subdivisions.
(d) The district may make special assessments under sections 42G, 42H, 42I and 42K of chapter 40 of the General Laws by vote of the commission. The commission shall certify any district special assessment or betterment to the town assessors, and the assessors shall commit them to the town tax collector as provided in chapter 80 of the General Laws. The town tax collector shall act as collector for the district and collect any betterments or special assessments as provided in chapter 80. The collector shall include on municipal lien certificates of the town any district water rates, fees or charges that are liens, and shall issue certificates under section 12 of said chapter 80 to dissolve liens for special assessments or betterments of the district when such assessments or betterments have been paid in full or abated.
(e) The town is hereby authorized to establish an Enterprise Fund in accordance with the provisions of section 53F1/2 of chapter 44 of the General Laws for the operation of the water supply system. All revenues of the district, including all amounts appropriated by the town on account of the district, shall be held in the care and custody of the treasurer of the town and shall be disbursed only upon the approval and execution of a warrant by the local appointing authority.
(f) A water supply system shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the town and the applicable laws of the commonwealth and shall comply with any approval required thereunder.
(g) The activities of the commission shall be consistent with the official planning documents adopted from time to time by the town boards and commissions.
SECTION 6. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 13 of chapter 80 of the General Laws, or the provisions of any other general or special law to the contrary, an assessment on account of a betterment project of the district may be apportioned into such number of equal portions, not exceeding 40, as may be determined by the district.
SECTION 7. Insofar as this act is inconsistent with a general or special law, administrative order or regulation or law of the town other than a rule or regulation of the board of health, this act shall be controlling.
SECTION 8. This act, being necessary for the welfare of the town and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effect its purposes.
SECTION 9. This act shall be construed in all respects so as to meet all constitutional requirements. In carrying out the purposes and provisions of this act, all steps shall be taken which are necessary to meet constitutional requirements whether or not such steps are required by statute.
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved June 4, 2008