Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same
SECTION 1. The inhabitants of the towns of Dedham and Westwood liable to taxation in said towns and residing within the territory comprised within the territorial limits of said towns shall constitute a water district and are hereby made a body politic and corporate by the name of the Dedham-Westwood Water district, hereinafter called the district, for the purpose of supplying themselves with water for the extinguishment of fires and for domestic and other purposes, with power to lay water mains, to establish fountains and hydrants and to relocate and discontinue the same, to regulate the use of such water and to fix and collect rates to be paid therefor, and for the purposes of assessing and raising taxes as provided herein for the payment of such services, and for defraying the necessary expenses of carrying on the business of the district, with all the powers and privileges and subject to the limitations provided for in all general laws now or hereafter in force relating to such districts, except as otherwise provided herein. The district shall also have for its purpose the construction and financing of such water treatment works and facilities as may be necessary to deliver pure and healthful drinking water, including without limitation thereof, a proposed treatment plant for the White Lodge Well Field, and for this purpose, the district shall seek, obtain and accept any available capital and operating funds from the commonwealth or the Federal government or any authority or entity created by either of said governments. The district shall have power to prosecute and defend all actions relating to its property and affairs and shall be deemed a public employer for purposes of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws.
SECTION 2. For the aforesaid purposes the district, acting by and through its board of water commissioners hereinafter provided for:
(a) May contract with any municipality, acting through its water department, or with any water company, or with any water district, or with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for the purchase or sale of whatever water may be required, authority to furnish the same being hereby granted, and may enter into such other contracts as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act;
(b) May, in addition to the powers granted to it by section ten, take by eminent domain under the provisions of chapter seventy-nine or chapter eighty A of the General Laws, or acquire, by lease, purchase or otherwise, and hold, the waters, or any portion thereof, of any pond, spring or stream, or of any ground sources of supply by means of driven, artesian or other wells, within the territorial limits of the towns of Dedham and Westwood not already appropriated for the purposes of a public water supply by another governmental body, and the water and flowage rights connected with any such water sources; may take as aforesaid, or acquire by purchase or otherwise, and hold, all lands, rights of way and other easements necessary for collecting, storing, holding, purifying and preserving the purity of the water and for conveying the same to any part of the district; provided, that no source of water supply or lands necessary for preserving the quality of such water shall be so taken or used without first obtaining the advice and approval of the department of environmental quality engineering, and that the location and arrangement of all dams, reservoirs, springs, wells, pumping, purification and filtration plants and such other works as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this act shall be subject to the approval of said department;
(c) May construct and maintain on the lands acquired and held under this act proper dams, wells, springs, reservoirs, standpipes, tanks, pumping plants, buildings, fixtures and other structures, including the establishment and maintenance of filter beds and purification works or systems, and may make excavations, procure and operate machinery and provide such other means and appliances, and do such other things as may be necessary for the establishment and maintenance of complete and effective water works; and for that purpose may construct pipe lines, wells and reservoirs, may establish pumping works, and may construct, lay, acquire and maintain aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works under or over any land, water courses, railroads, railways, and public or other ways and along such ways, in said towns, in such manner as not unnecessarily to obstruct the same;
(d) May, for the purpose of constructing, laying, maintaining, operating and repairing such aqueducts, conduits, pipes and other works, and for all other purposes of this act, dig up or raise and embank any such lands, highways or other ways in such manner as to cause the least hindrance to public travel on such ways; provided, that the manner in which all things are done upon any such way shall be subject to the direction of the selectmen of the respective towns in which such lands, highways or other ways are located; and provided, further, that the district shall not enter upon, or construct or lay any conduit, pipe or other works within the location of any railroad corporation except at such time and in such manner as it may agree upon with such corporation or, in case of failure to so agree, as may be approved by the department of public utilities;
(e) May enter upon any lands for the purpose of making surveys, test wells or pits and borings, or any of them, and may take or otherwise acquire the right to occupy temporarily any lands necessary for the construction of any work or for any other purpose authorized by this act;
(f) May, pursuant to chapter three hundred and seventy-two of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty-four, as may be amended from time to time, derive all or any part of its water supply from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority;
(g) May from time to time sell such of the property of the district as shall, in the opinion of its board of water commissioners hereinafter provided for, be no longer useful in the conduct of the affairs of the district;
(h) May employ personnel and may engage architectural, engineering, accounting, management, legal, financial and environmental consulting and other professional services; and
(i) May do all things necessary, convenient or desirable for carrying out the purposes of this act or the powers expressly granted or necessarily implied by this act.
SECTION 3. Any person sustaining damages in his property by any taking under this act or any other thing done under authority thereof may recover such damages from the district under the provisions of said chapter seventy-nine or said chapter eighty A; but the right to damages for the nonexclusive taking of any water, water right or water source, or for any injury thereto, shall not vest until water is actually withdrawn or diverted under authority of this act.
SECTION 4. The district, for the purposes of paying the cost of, and expenses incurred in connection with, the taking or the acquisition of the properties of the Dedham Water Company as hereinafter provided, and for putting such properties in a satisfactory operating condition as may be in the district's opinion needed and as approved by the department of environmental quality engineering, may, from time to time, borrow such sums, as may be necessary, and may issue bonds or notes therefor, which shall be payable in not less than thirty years from their dates and shall bear on their face the words Dedham-Westwood Water District Water Loan, Act of 1985. Any bonds issued pursuant to the preceding sentence shall not be included in the amount of debt which is subject to limit prescribed by sections eight, nine and ten of chapter forty-four of the General Laws. The district, for the purpose of paying other necessary expenses and liabilities incurred under this act, other than expenses of maintenance and operation, may from time to time borrow such additional sums as may be necessary, not exceeding, in the aggregate, the amounts permitted by law to be borrowed by water districts, and may issue bonds or notes therefor which shall bear on their face the words Dedham-Westwood Water District Water Loan and such other distinguishing designation as may be determined by said board of water commissioners. The district may borrow from time to time such sums as may be necessary for the purposes of this act in anticipation of revenue. Indebtedness incurred under this act shall, except as otherwise provided herein, be subject to the provisions of said chapter forty-four pertaining to such districts. Each such borrowing and each such issue of bonds or notes shall constitute a separate loan, shall be authorized by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of said board of water commissioners, and shall be upon the full faith and credit of the district. All bonds or notes issued under the provisions of this act shall be obligatory upon the district and its inhabitants and the property within the limits of the district according to the tenor and purport thereof.
SECTION 5. The district, acting by and through said board of water commissioners, shall, subject to the applicable provisions of law, fix just and equitable prices and rates for the use of water and shall prescribe the time and manner of payment. Notwithstanding the foregoing, such prices and rates shall be fixed and adjusted so as to provide funds at least sufficient in each fiscal year, together with other revenues and funds of the district, if any, available therefor, to pay the full cost of operation of the district for that fiscal year, including all current expenses; all debt service on bonds or notes of the district; all costs of maintenance, repair and replacement, including the establishment of reasonable sinking funds, stabilization funds, replacement reserves and other similar funds in accordance with generally accepted accounting principals, as determined by the board of water commissioners to be necessary or desirable to be funded as current expenses; and all other amounts which the district may be obligated to pay or provide for by law or contract. Such prices and rates shall be reviewed on not less than an annual basis and as necessary shall be revised. In the event that the water system operated by the district shall have been taken by eminent domain, or otherwise acquired, from the Dedham Water Company, the district acting through said board of water commissioners, shall immediately after such taking or acquisition fix the rates to be paid within the territorial limits of the towns of Dedham and Westwood. If in any fiscal year a tax has been levied upon the inhabitants of the district under the provision of section six of this act, the board of water commissioners shall fix such prices and rates for the use of water as to raise within the shortest practicable period as determined by the board of water commissioners the amount of such tax and shall, at the end of each fiscal year thereafter until both towns of Dedham and Westwood shall have been reimbursed an amount equal to the amount of the taxes so paid to the district by the inhabitants of each town respectively, pay to each such town so much, if any, of the revenue of the district as is in excess of the cost of operation. Payments shall be made to each such town in the same proportions of such excess as those in which deficits were apportioned to each of such towns under the provisions of said section six. If there should be a net surplus remaining at the end of any fiscal year after the payment of all costs of operation and the aforesaid reimbursements, such net surplus shall be applied to pay costs of operation for the district for the succeeding fiscal year. The fiscal year of the district shall commence July first and end June thirtieth, or as otherwise provided in the bylaws of the district.
SECTION 6. If for any reason the revenues and available funds of the district, including revenues from prices and rates for the use of water as provided in section five hereof, shall be determined by the board of water commissioners not to be sufficient to pay the full cost of operation of the district, said board of water commissioners shall levy a tax upon the property of the district, and promptly thereafter the clerk of the district shall apportion the amount of said tax between the property subject to tax under this act in the towns of Dedham and Westwood in proportion to the assessors' valuation of said property in each town and shall furnish a certified copy of the vote imposing said tax, together with said apportionment of the tax, to the assessors of said towns, who shall assess said tax on the property within the district in the same manner in all respects in which town taxes are required by law to be assessed. No estate shall be subject to any tax assessed on account of the system of water supply under this act, if, in the judgment of the board of water commissioners, after a hearing, due notice whereof shall have been given, such estate is so situated that it will receive no aid in the extinguishment of fire from said system of water supply, and if such estate is so situated that the buildings thereon, or the buildings that might be constructed thereon, could not be supplied with water from said system in any ordinary or reasonable manner; but all other estates in the district shall be deemed to be benefited and shall be subject to such tax. A certified list of the estates exempt from taxation under the provisions of this section shall be sent by said board of water commissioners to said assessors, at the same time at which the clerk shall send a certified copy of the vote as aforesaid. The assessments shall be committed to the respective town collectors, who shall collect said tax in the manner provided by law for the collection of town taxes, and shall deposit the proceeds thereof with the district treasurer for the use and benefit of the district. The district may collect interest on overdue taxes in the manner in which interest is authorized to be collected on town taxes, provided the board of water commissioners at the time of voting to levy the tax shall so determine and shall also fix a time when said tax is due.
SECTION 7. The management and control of all property acquired by, and the exercise of all the powers, privileges and duties conferred upon, the district pursuant to any of the provisions of this act shall be vested in and exercised by a board of water commissioners which shall be constituted as provided in section eight; provided, that no vote of the board of water commissioners authorizing the issue of bonds or notes under the provisions of section four, other than for temporary borrowings in anticipation of revenue, shall become effective before the expiration of twenty days from the date on which notice of such vote, stating the principal amount of the bonds or notes to be issued and the purposes of such issue, shall have been published in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the towns of Dedham and Westwood. If no petition as hereinafter provided for relative to any such vote is filed within said period of twenty days, such vote shall become effective upon the expiration of said period. If within said period a petition signed by registered voters of the towns of Dedham and Westwood at least equal in number to twenty per cent of the total number of such registered voters in the district shall be filed with the clerk of the district asking that the question of approving or disapproving such vote be submitted to the voters of the towns of Dedham and Westwood, such vote shall be further suspended from becoming effective and the board of water commissioners shall forthwith request the respective selectmen of the towns of Dedham and Westwood to call town meetings in their respective towns to act upon the question of approving or disapproving such order. The selectmen of the towns of Dedham and Westwood shall thereupon call town meetings of their respective towns for the purposes specified in such request. If a vote of the district submitted as aforesaid shall be approved by a majority of those voting at each of such town meetings, or shall be approved by a majority of those voting at one of such meetings and disapproved by less than two-thirds of those voting at the other one of such town meeting, such vote shall at once become effective, but not otherwise in case of such petition.
SECTION 8. The board of water commissioners provided for in section seven shall consist of six members, three of whom shall be inhabitants of and registered voters in the town of Dedham and three of whom shall be inhabitants of and registered voters in the town of Westwood. No such member shall hold any elective or appointive office, or be an employee of, either of said towns. Each board of selectmen of the towns of Dedham and Westwood, after both towns shall have accepted this act as hereinafter provided, shall appoint three inhabitants of and registered voters in their town to serve as members of the board of water commissioners, of whom one shall serve until January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, one shall serve until January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and one shall serve until January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, or until their successors are appointed and qualified. Beginning January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven and annually thereafter one inhabitant of and registered voter in each town shall be appointed by the board of selectmen of that town to serve as a member of the board of water commissioners for the term of three years, or until a successor is appointed and qualified. Members of the board of water commissioners shall serve without pay but may be compensated for their actual expenses as approved by the board of water commissioners.
The district acting through its initial board of water commissioners shall promptly adopt bylaws describing by whom and how meetings of the board may be called, notified and conducted, establish rules and regulations for the management of its affairs not inconsistent with this act or any other provision of law, shall appoint, each for such term as it may determine, a clerk and a treasurer of the district, and such other officers and employees not specifically provided for in this act as it may deem necessary and proper and shall fix their compensation. The treasurer shall not be a member of the board of water commissioners and shall give bond to the district in such amount as may be approved by said board with a surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety. At meetings of the board of water commissioners four members, of which two must be from the town of Dedham and two must be from the town of Westwood shall constitute a quorum. Any member of the board of water commissioners may be removed by the board of selectmen who appointed said member for misfeasance, malfeasance or wilful neglect of duty or other cause after notice and a public hearing unless such notice and hearing shall be expressly waived in writing. Vacancies occurring in the membership of the board of water commissioners from any cause may be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by the board of selectmen entitled to appoint such member. No vacancy occurring in the membership of the board of water commissioners shall disqualify the board of water commissioners from taking any action authorized or permitted by this act.
In appointing officers and employees of the district, if it shall have taken by eminent domain or otherwise acquired the properties of the Dedham Water Company, the district, in its sole discretion, may give preferential recognition to the prior experience in the employment of employees of the Dedham Water Company at the time of said taking or acquisition.
The district shall annually prepare and provide to the board of selectmen of both of the towns of Dedham and Westwood and to each user of water in the district who requests the same a written report of the condition of the system, the actions of the board of water commissioners and the receipts and expenditures of the district for the preceding fiscal year. The district shall furnish the selectmen of the towns of Dedham and Westwood with such other information as to the condition of the system, the actions of the board of water commissioners and the district and the receipts and expenditures of the district as may be reasonably requested by the selectmen of either of said towns, and such information shall be furnished within a reasonable time after receipt of such a request.
SECTION 9. Whoever wilfully or wantonly corrupts, pollutes or diverts any water obtained or supplied under this act, or wilfully or wantonly injures any reservoir, well, standpipe, aqueduct, pipe or other property owned or used by the district for any of the purposes of this act, shall forfeit and pay to the district three times the amount of damages assessed therefor, to be recovered in an action of tort, and upon conviction of any of the above wilful or wanton acts shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
SECTION 10. The district, upon the acceptance of this act as hereinafter provided by the towns of Dedham and Westwood, is hereby authorized and empowered to purchase all the rights, franchises, privileges, and properties, tangible and intangible, real and personal, including furniture and equipment, inventories and material supplies, of the Dedham Water Company, at a price and upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon between the district and said corporation. In the event that the district shall elect to purchase such rights and properties, it shall give said corporation written notice of such intention, addressed to such corporation at its principal place of business, mailed by registered mail, postage prepaid. If at the expiration of sixty days after the date of such notice the district and said corporation shall have been unable to agree upon the price for such rights and properties, the district may take the same by eminent domain, or by purchase pursuant to the rights described below.
In addition to the right of the district to take or otherwise acquire the rights, franchises and properties of the Dedham Water Company as above provided, the district shall have the right, with the consent of said corporation and its stockholders, to purchase at a price to be agreed upon between the district and said corporation or its stockholders all the outstanding capital stock of said corporation for the sole purpose of dissolving and liquidating said corporation and immediately acquiring by transfer all its franchises, properties, rights, powers and privileges. Such purchase may, but need not necessarily be, conditioned upon the stockholders paying any excess of the current liabilities over current assets, discharging its tax liability and assuming all other liabilities, fixed or contingent.
The district shall not acquire the assets or capital stock of the Dedham Water Company pursuant to an agreed purchase price until said price shall have been approved by majority votes adopted at town meetings of each of the towns of Dedham and Westwood.
Failing agreement on a price as set out in the first three paragraphs of this section, the district may purchase the corporate property, rights and privileges of the Dedham Water Company pursuant to any one or more of the rights granted to the towns of Dedham and Westwood by section ten of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight of the acts of eighteen hundred and seventy-six, as amended by chapter twelve of the acts of eighteen hundred and eighty-two, and by section five of Part I of chapter two hundred and forty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and thirty. The purchase price for the corporate property, rights and privileges of the Dedham Water Company pursuant to the foregoing statutes shall be determined by the department of public utilities, subject to acceptance of said determination by the supreme judicial court. Upon tender of said purchase price by the district, the Dedham Water Company shall deliver to the district good and sufficient conveyances of all of its right, title and interest in all of its corporate privileges, rights and property. The provisions of this section shall be enforceable in equity in the event of refusal by the Dedham Water Company of said tender immediately upon the deposit by the district of the tendered purchase price with the clerk of the superior court in the county of Norfolk. A justice of said superior court may thereafter convey all of the right, title and interest of the Dedham Water Company in all of its corporate property, rights and privileges to the district.
No rights granted to the district by this section shall be deemed to diminish or supersede the rights of the town of Dedham under section ten of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight of the acts of eighteen hundred and seventy-six, as amended by chapter twelve of the acts of eighteen hundred and eighty-two, or the rights of the town of Westwood under section five of Part I of chapter two hundred and forty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and thirty, except that upon acquisition of the assets of the Dedham Water Company by the district said rights shall terminate.
SECTION 11. The acceptance of this act by the towns of Dedham and Westwood shall constitute an acceptance by the district of sections forty-two A to forty-two I, inclusive, of chapter forty of the General Laws and promptly after the formation of the district the clerk shall file a certificate in the registry of deeds in the county of Norfolk signifying the acceptance by the district of sections forty-two A to forty-two F, inclusive, of said chapter forty.
SECTION 12. This act shall be accepted by each town in the same manner as is provided by section four of chapter four of the General Laws for acceptance of statutes by towns; provided both towns shall have accepted this act within four years after its passage.
SECTION 13. The provisions of this act are severable, and if any provision hereof shall be held invalid in any circumstances, such invalidity shall not affect any other provisions or circumstances. 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 that are necessary to meet constitutional requirements whether or not such steps are required by statute.
SECTION 14. This section and sections twelve and thirteen shall take effect upon their passage, and the remaining sections shall take effect upon acceptance of this act by both of the towns of Dedham and Westwood as provided in section twelve.