Town of Williamstown, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Williamstown 5-15-2012, Art. 22. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 6-1 Purpose.

The purpose of the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust shall be to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Williamstown for the benefit of low- and moderate-income households.

§ 6-2 Composition and tenure of Trustees.

A. 
Establishment. There shall be a Board of Trustees consisting of at least five and no more than seven members who shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
B. 
Composition. One of the Trustees shall be a member of the Board of Selectmen, one a member of the Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee, and three to five residents who would bring to the Trust relevant experience and expertise, such as in real estate, housing, banking, fundraising, or the like. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the Board of Selectmen from appointing the Town Manager as an ex-officio additional member, without the power to vote.
[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
C. 
Terms. Trustees shall be appointed, or reappointed, by the Board of Selectmen, and shall serve for a term of two years, with the exception that two initial appointments shall be made for one year only so as to allow staggered terms.
D. 
Residency. Only persons who are residents of the Town of Williamstown shall be eligible to hold the office of Trustee. Any Trustee who ceases to be a resident of the Town of Williamstown shall cease to be a Trustee hereunder and shall promptly provide a written notification of the change in residence to the Board and to the Town Clerk. Vacancies shall be filled by the Board of Selectmen for the remainder of the unexpired term.
E. 
Continuity and removal. Upon the appointment of any succeeding Trustee, title to the Trust estate shall thereupon be vested in such succeeding Trustee jointly with the remaining Trustees, without the necessity of any conveyance. Trustees serve at the will of the Board of Selectmen, and any Trustee may be removed by that body for cause or no cause.

§ 6-3 Powers of trust.

A. 
Powers. The powers of the Board, all of which shall be carried on in furtherance of the purposes set forth in this act, shall include the following powers, subject to the limitations set forth in § 6-3B:
(1) 
To solicit and accept grants, gifts, devices, and bequests, or otherwise acquire real or personal property;
(2) 
To invest any of the Trust property in such manner as they may deem advisable without being limited as to the kind or amount of any investment;
(3) 
To sell and exchange any real personal property or any interest therein for such consideration and upon such terms and conditions as they deem advisable;
(4) 
To join with others in the acquisition of real property or any interest therein;
(5) 
To borrow money and mortgage or pledge any part of the Trust estate assets and issue notes or other indebtedness;
(6) 
To join with others in borrowings, mortgages and pledges, and to guarantee and become surety on obligations of others in transactions in which the Trust has an interest;
(7) 
To execute, as lessor or lessee, leases, including for terms expiring after the possible expiration of the Trust;
(8) 
To restore, construct, repair and maintain buildings and to make other improvements and establish such reserves as they deem necessary therefor;
(9) 
To pay, compromise or adjust all obligations incurred and rights acquired in the administration of the Trust;
(10) 
To obtain advice of counsel and to rely thereon;
(11) 
To employ such other persons, agents, staff, brokers, managers, accountants or advisors as they may deem advisable and to pay reasonable compensation and expenses, apportioning same between income and principal as the Board deems advisable; and
(12) 
To execute, acknowledge, and deliver all such contracts, deeds, mortgages, leases, discharges, and partial releases of mortgages or other instruments as they may deem advisable in the course of the administration of the Trust.
B. 
Limitations. These powers shall be subject to the following limitations:
(1) 
Any purchase, sale, lease, exchange, transfer or conveyance of any interest in real property must be approved by at least 4/5 of the voting members.
[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
(2) 
The Trustees may incur debt, borrow money, grant mortgages and pledge Trust assets only in an amount not to exceed 80% of the total value of the Trust's assets.
(3) 
Any debt incurred by the Board shall not constitute a pledge of the full faith and credit of the Town of Williamstown, and all documents related to any debt shall contain a statement that the holder of any such debt shall have no recourse against the Town of Williamstown with an acknowledgement of said statement by the holder.
C. 
Full powers of MGL c. 44, § 55C. The Trustees shall have these and all powers set forth in MGL c. 44, § 55C, and shall refrain from exercising any powers in such manner as to violate the provisions of said statute.
D. 
Single appropriation. In accordance with MGL c. 44 § 55C(16)(d), all monies paid to the Trust shall be paid directly into the Trust and need not be appropriated or accepted and approved into the Trust. General revenues appropriated into the Trust become Trust property, and to be expended, these funds need not be further appropriated. All monies remaining in the Trust at the end of any fiscal year, whether or not expended by the Trustees within one year of the date that they were appropriated into the Trust, remain Trust property.

§ 6-4 Meetings of Trustees.

[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
The Trust shall meet at least quarterly at such time and such place as the Trustees shall determine. Notice of all meetings of the Trust shall be given in accordance with the provisions of the Open Meeting Law, MGL, c. 39, §§ 23A, 23B and 23C. A quorum at any meeting shall be a majority of the voting members.

§ 6-5 Acts of Trustees.

[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
A majority may exercise any and all of the powers of the Trustees hereunder and may execute on behalf of the Trustees any and all instruments with the same effect as though executed by all of the Trustees, subject to the limitations set forth in § 6-3B(1). No Trustee shall be required to give bond. No license of court shall be required to confirm the validity of any transaction entered into by the Trustees with respect to the Trust property.

§ 6-6 Liability.

The Trust is a public employer, and the members of the board are public employees for purposes of MGL Chapter 268A. The Trust shall be deemed a municipal agency and the Trustees special municipal employees, for purposes of Chapter 268A.

§ 6-7 Taxes.

The Trust is exempt from MGL Chapters 59 and 62, and from any other provisions concerning payment of taxes based upon or measured by property or income imposed by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof.

§ 6-8 Custodian of funds/audits.

The Town Treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds of the Trust. The books and records of the Trust shall be audited annually by an independent auditor in accordance with accepted accounting practices for municipalities. Upon receipt of a copy by the Board, a copy shall be provided forthwith to the Board of Selectmen.

§ 6-9 Governmental body.

The Trust is a governmental body for purposes of MGL c. 39, §§ 23A, 23B and 23C.

§ 6-10 Board of the Town.

The Trust is a board of the Town for purposes of MGL Chapter 30B and MGL c. 40, § 15A, but agreements and conveyances between the Trust and agencies, boards, commissions, authorities, departments and public instrumentalities of the Town shall be exempt from said MGL Chapter 30B.

§ 6-11 Compensation of Trustees.

Trustees shall not receive a salary, stipend, bonus, or other means of compensation for their service as a Trustee, nor shall they be eligible for any benefits from the Town of Williamstown. Trustees may be compensated for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for travel and other Trust-related expenses. All such out-of-pocket expenses shall be fully documented with receipts for expenses prior to payment by the Trust.

§ 6-12 Conflicts of interest.

The Trust shall be considered a public employer, and the Trustees shall be subject to the conflict of interest provisions of MGL Chapter 268A.

§ 6-13 Amendment.

[Amended 5-19-2015 ATM, Art. 28]
This Trust may be amended from time to time by approval by at least 4/5 of the voting members of the Trustees and approval by the Board of Selectmen; provided, however, that no such amendment shall violate the purposes of this Trust, nor of MGL, c. 44, § 55C.

§ 6-14 Declaration of Trust.

The Trustees are hereby authorized to execute a Declaration of Trust and Certificate of Trust for the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust to be recorded with the Berkshire North District Registry of Deeds and filed with the Berkshire North Registry District of the Land Court.

§ 6-15 Duration of Trust.

The Trust shall be of indefinite duration, until terminated by a vote of the Williamstown Town Meeting. Upon termination of the Trust, subject to the payment of or making provisions for the payment of all obligations and liabilities of the Trust and the Trustees, the net assets of the Trust shall be transferred to the Town and held for affordable housing purposes. In making any such distribution, the Trustees may, subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen, sell all or any portion of the Trust property and distribute the net proceeds thereof or they may distribute any of the assets in kind. The powers of the Trustees shall continue until the affairs of the Trust are concluded.