PA 15-114—sSB 1069

Planning and Development Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT IN HARTFORD COUNTY AND EXTENDING THE MATURITY DATE FOR MUNICIPAL SEWERAGE SYSTEM BONDS

SUMMARY: This act increases, from 30 to 40 years, the maximum term of municipal sewer bonds. It applies to sewer bonds secured by municipal revenue (i. e. , general obligation bonds) and sewer system user charges (i. e. , revenue bonds).

The act also makes several changes in the Metropolitan District Commission's (MDC) special act charter. It:

1. broadens MDC's ability to appropriate funds for capital expenditures that exceed certain threshold amounts without the approval of a majority of the district's voters or a supermajority of the district's board;

2. allows MDC, instead of publishing in a newspaper a full legal notice soliciting competitive bids or proposals, to advertise a brief description of the notice, which must be published in full on a newspaper website; and

3. increases, from one to two years, the time that a lien for delinquent MDC water rates and charges runs before it must be continued by filing a certificate with the town clerk.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

APPROPRIATIONS FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

Expenditures Requiring Special Approval

Prior law generally required two-thirds of MDC's district board and a majority of the district's voters to approve any single capital expenditure of more than $5 million. The act (1) increases this threshold to $20 million, annually adjusted for inflation as described below, and (2) limits the required voter approval to the portion of the appropriation that exceeds the threshold. The act's provisions apply to any appropriation the board approves on or after October 1, 2015.

By law, the threshold applies to capital expenditures that may be financed over the long term, even if the district's budget pays for them with current revenue. It does not apply to regularly recurring capital expenditures.

The act also increases, from $10 million to double the capital expenditure threshold (i. e. , $40 million, adjusted for inflation), the amount the district board can appropriate in any single year, without voter approval, for public emergencies that threaten lives, health, or property in the district. By law, such emergency appropriations must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the board.

Calculating the Threshold

Under the act, the threshold must be annually adjusted on October 1, beginning in 2016, by the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban consumers during the previous 12-month period, as most recently published by the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The act requires the district board, in determining whether an appropriation meets the threshold, to deduct the aggregate amount of federal and state grants available, or committed or expected to be made available, for the appropriation. It specifies that the board's determination as to such grants is conclusive.

LEGAL NOTICES FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS OR PROPOSALS

The law generally requires MDC to solicit competitive bids or proposals for work or supplies costing more than $25,000. Prior law required MDC to advertise the solicitations by publishing a notice in daily and weekly newspapers that serve its member municipalities. As an alternative, the act allows MDC to publish a brief summary of the bid or proposal and reference the newspaper website where the full notice is published, provided the website is free to access. Newspapers must place the full legal notices in a conspicuous location on their websites.

As under existing law, MDC must also publish the solicitations on its website.

OLR Tracking: RP; MLK; TA: BS