[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Belchertown 12-5-2005 by Art. 6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established a Community Preservation Committee, consisting of nine voting members pursuant to MGL c. 44B, § 5. The composition of the Committee, the appointing authority, and the term of office for the Committee members shall be as follows:
One member of the Conservation Commission as designated by the Commission for a term of three years and thereafter for a term of three years.
One member of the Historical Commission as designated by the Commission for a term of three years and thereafter for a term of three years.
One member of the Planning Board as designated by the Board for an initial term of two years and thereafter for a term of three years.
One member of the Recreation Commission as designated by the Commission for an initial term of two years and thereafter for a term of three years.
One member of the Housing Authority as designated by the Authority for an initial term of one year and thereafter for a term of three years.
Four at-large members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, two of which to be appointed for a term of one year and thereafter for a term of three years, one of which to be appointed for a term of two years and thereafter for a term of three years, and one of which to be appointed for a term of three years and thereafter for a term of three years.
Each member of the Committee shall serve for a term of three years or until the person no longer serves on the Commission, Board, or Authority as set forth above, whichever is earlier. The initial appointment will end on June 30th of the last year of the appointment. Thereafter, terms shall run from July 1st through June 30th of the last year of the term.
Should any of the municipal agencies that have appointment authority under this chapter be no longer in existence for whatever reason, the appointment authority for that Commission, Board, or Authority shall become the responsibility of the Board of Selectmen.
All members shall serve without compensation. The Committee shall elect annually a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Clerk from its own number.
Any member of the Committee may be removed for cause by his or her respective appointing authority after a hearing conducted by such appointing authority.
Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority within 30 days by appointment for the unexpired term.
The Community Preservation Committee shall comply with the provisions of the Open Meeting Law (MGL c. 39, §§ 23A—23C).
The Committee shall not meet or conduct business without the presence of a quorum. A majority of the members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum. The Committee shall approve its actions by majority vote.
Recommendations by the Committee to the Town Meeting shall include the anticipated costs of any such recommendations.
Duties. The Committee shall evaluate the community preservation needs of the Town and make recommendations to the Annual Town Meeting as part of the annual budget process.
Annual needs study. The Committee shall study the community preservation needs, possibilities, and resources of the Town, consulting with various Town agencies, particularly those represented on the Committee. It shall develop a community preservation program and financial plan for the Town. The program shall identify both long-term and short-term goals and needs, set criteria for evaluating proposed acquisitions and initiatives, prioritize projects and estimate their costs. The financial plan shall include a multi-year revenue and expenditure forecast and identify the fund or other Town financing source for each proposed project. The program and financial plan shall be reviewed and updated annually to reflect changes in the Town's needs, priorities and resources.
Requirement for public hearing. The Committee shall annually hold at least one public informational hearing. Notice of the annual hearing must be posted at least two weeks before the hearing date, and the Committee must publish a hearing notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town for each of the two weeks before the hearing date.
Annual recommendations and budget.
Each year the Committee shall make recommendations to the Annual Town Meeting for funding community preservation acquisitions and initiatives in conformity with MGL c. 44B, for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition, preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation and support of community housing; and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section. With respect to community housing, the Committee shall recommend, wherever possible, the reuse of existing buildings or construction of new buildings on previously developed sites.
In every fiscal year, the Community Preservation Committee shall recommend either that the Town Meeting spend, or set aside for later spending, not less than 10% of the annual revenues in the Community Preservation Fund for each of the following purposes:
The community preservation budget shall include the Committee's revenue projections for the fiscal year and identify all expenditures the Committee proposes funding with Community Preservation Fund sources, including Committee administrative and operating expenses, debt service, and any other existing or ongoing obligations.
Reservation of funds. The Committee may include in its recommendation to the Annual Town Meeting a recommendation to set aside for later spending funds for specific purposes that are consistent with community preservation but for which sufficient funds are not then available in the Community Preservation Fund to accomplish that specific purpose, or to set aside for later spending funds for general purposes that are consistent with community preservation.
Additional recommendations. Throughout the year, the Committee may make additional recommendations on acquisitions and initiatives to the extent that funds are available to support them.
The Town Meeting may make appropriations from or reservations of community preservation funds in the amount recommended by the Committee or it may reduce or reject any recommended amount. It may also vote to reserve all or part of the annual revenues recommended by the Committee for appropriation for specific acquisitions or initiatives for later appropriation by allocating funds to the reserve for that category of expenditures. The Town Meeting may not increase any recommended appropriation or reservation, and it may not appropriate or reserve any fund monies on its own initiative without a prior recommendation by the Committee.
The Committee must maintain records relating to the use of the Community Preservation Fund (MGL c. 44B, § 13). These records are subject to disclosure as public records (MGL c. 66, § 10).
Recommendations. The Committee shall keep a full and accurate account of all of its actions, including recommendations to the Town Meeting and the specific action taken on them.
Expenditures. The Committee shall track all appropriations and expenditures made from the Fund and periodically monitor spending from the Fund and review the status of its budget.
Property interests. The Committee shall maintain an inventory of all real property interests acquired, disposed of, or improved by the Town after recommendation of the Committee. The inventory shall contain, at a minimum, the names and addresses of the grantors and grantees, the amount of consideration, and all relevant action dates, and shall reference all documents related to acquisitions, dispositions, and improvements, such as purchase and sale agreements and deeds.
This chapter may be amended from time to time by a majority vote of the Town Meeting, provided that the amendments would not cause a conflict to occur with MGL c. 44B.
In case any section, paragraph or part of this chapter be for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court of last resort, every other section, paragraph or part shall continue in full force and effect.
Following Town Meeting approval, this chapter shall take effect immediately upon approval by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth and compliance with all bylaw approval procedures under MGL c. 40, § 32.
Each appointing authority shall have 30 days after approval by the Attorney General to make its initial appointment.