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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND IN THE TOWN OF REHOBOTH

     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, there is hereby established in the town of Rehoboth a capital expenditure fund into which shall be credited, without further appropriation, real estate, personal property taxes and permitting revenues from solar farm facilities situated in the town, hereinafter referred to as 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, the term solar farm facilities shall mean real property on which is located a large-scale system of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels that collect and convert sunlight to energy for exclusively commercial purposes with a minimum nameplate capacity of 250 kilowatts direct current and shall include any panels and related equipment. 
     (c)  Not later than March 15, annually, the board of assessors shall estimate annual 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 setting 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 and for any fiscal year. Funds not spent in any 1 fiscal year may remain in the fund and carry over to succeeding fiscal years.
     (d)  Appropriations from the fund shall be authorized by majority vote at an annual or 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: (i) acquisition of interests in land; (ii) 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; and (iii) the payment of debt service on capital projects, whether the projects were approved prior to or after the effective date of this act. Capital projects shall be limited to general government buildings only, such as public safety buildings, municipal offices, the senior center and other similar buildings, but shall also include major departmental capital equipment, building renovations, expansion, construction and land acquisitions related thereto, even if acquired on an annual basis, meeting the useful life and cost requirements of this subsection.
     (e)  The unencumbered balance of the fund shall at no time exceed $2,000,000.  In the event that the unencumbered balance reaches $2,000,000, all solar tax revenues shall go into the general fund of the town.
     (f)  In the event an expenditure from the fund for the repayment of capital debt is approved by the town meeting, the town treasurer shall, annually, encumber sufficient funds to satisfy the annual debt payment, after which time the remainder of the balance of the fund shall be subject to appropriation as set forth in this act.
     SECTION  2.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, September 9, 2014.