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. The town of Charlton may, subject to the approval of its town meeting, acquire by gift, purchase, eminent domain or otherwise, any dam located within the town, including any real property appurtenant thereto, if such dam and any appurtenant real property is not at the time of such acquisition owned or held in trust by the commonwealth. In connection with such an acquisition the town may, subject to appropriation, repair, reconstruct and make improvements to a town-owned dam as may be necessary, in the judgment of the board of selectmen, to maintain, repair or improve such dam, and to accept and expend grants or gifts for such purposes in accordance with section 53A of chapter 44 of the General Laws upon approval of the board of selectmen without further appropriation.
SECTION 2. Upon a two-thirds vote of the voters present and voting at a meeting duly called, the town of Charlton may borrow funds for the purposes authorized in section 1. Any such borrowing shall be repaid within 40 years of its date of issue, and shall be outside the limit of indebtedness prescribed in section 10 of chapter 44 of the General Laws. Except as provided in this act, any borrowing pursuant hereto shall be subject to the requirements of said chapter 44.
SECTION 3. Any dam owned by the town of Charlton shall constitute public improvements for purposes of chapter 80 of the General Laws and, subject to the approval of the town, the selectmen may assess betterments to pay any and all costs, of or relating to, acquiring, owning, maintaining or improving any such dam. Such betterments may be assessed upon properties benefiting from the acquisition, ownership, repair, maintenance or improvement of such a dam and in such amounts as the selectmen shall determine. Except as otherwise provided by this act, any betterment so assessed shall be subject to said chapter 80. Any betterment assessed pursuant to this act may be apportioned for a maximum term of 40 years.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town of Charlton shall have no liability for or related to the presence, release or threat of release of oil or any hazardous material with respect to any dam or dams acquired by the town in accordance with this act that occurred prior to the date any such dam or dams were acquired by the town.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved, February 4, 2010.