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. (a) Notwithstanding section 53 of chapter 44 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the town of Acushnet shall establish a capital expenditure fund, into which shall be credited, without further appropriation, all solar tax revenues. The town treasurer shall be the custodian of the fund, and the deposit and investment of solar tax revenues in the fund shall be in accordance with section 55 of said chapter 44. Interest earned shall remain with and become part of the fund.
(b) For the purposes of this act, “solar tax revenues” shall mean real estate and personal property tax revenue from solar farm facilities situated in residential districts in the town, as such districts may be defined by the town’s zoning by-laws, and “solar farm facilities” shall mean real property on which multiple arrays of photovoltaic panels that collect and convert sunlight to energy for commercial purposes are located, regardless of how the facilities are characterized, and the panels and related equipment.
(c) Not later than March 15, annually, the board of assessors shall estimate solar tax revenues to be collected in the upcoming fiscal year and notify the board of selectmen of the amount available for appropriation at the annual town meeting and at any later town meeting held prior to the setting of the tax rate. As with other municipal tax revenues, following the close of the books at the end of each fiscal year, any solar tax revenues not appropriated and any other monies remaining in the fund shall be reported to the department of revenue. Once approved, the fund balance shall be available for appropriation at any time until the close of that fiscal year.
(d) Appropriations from the fund shall be authorized by majority vote at an annual or a special town meeting for any purpose related to capital improvements or for the repayment of capital debt. For the purposes of this act, “capital improvements” or “capital debt” shall include acquisition of interests in land, acquisition of tangible assets or the undertaking of capital projects that have a useful life of at least 5 years and a cost of at least $10,000 and are not properly categorized as annual operating expenses; provided, however, that “capital improvements” or “capital debt” shall also include the payment of debt service on capital projects, whether such projects were approved prior to or after the effective date of this act. Capital projects shall include major departmental capital equipment, even if acquired on an annual basis, meeting the useful life and cost requirements of this subsection.
Approved, October 18, 2013.