Board of Water & Sewerage
Organization of the Water & Sewerage Board
The present Board consists of three Commissioners appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The commissioners serve for a period of three years and may be re-appointed but do not have to be by the Selectmen at their prerogative.
Members have extensive engineering, engineering management and accounting experience. In addition, the Selectmen may appoint additional associated members of the Board who lack voting power but are routinely heard by the formal Board members. Board members as well as associated members must have engineering background and or technical project manager experience.
Familiarity with financial management is also desirable since the Board is also involved with the Enterprise Fund, an entity independent of the town fiscal structure. The Enterprise Fund collects all sewer and water related bills and fees.
Legislative Background of the Water & Sewerage Board
Based on Massachusetts Legislature Acts of 1921, Chapter 205, Section 9 and Acts of 1926, Chapter 136, Town Water and Sewerage Boards were created and made subject to State Regulations. These reference Statutes for Officers and Employees, Chapter 41.
Chapter 136 combines water and sewer authority into Board of Water and Sewerage (March 1926) These Boards came under Mass. Statutes for Officers and Employees, Chapter 41, Section 69A "Establishment of Board of Water Commissioners" Board members were elected by the towns. Chapter 41, Section 69B establishes "Authority and Duties of Water Commissioners etc. Chapter 41, Section 69A was superseded by the Medfield Town Charter to appoint Water and Sewerage Commissioners.
In essence, the Board has full jurisdiction over any and all town water and sewer related plans, permits, setting rates and other items related thereto. The Town Meeting has the financial power to prevent or approve any plans offered by the Board. No other Board has any authority to interfere with the Water and Sewerage Board in performing their work. As long as the citizens of Medfield approve of a plan and the funding thereof by vote, they express confidence and support of the plan and the Board.
The Town Counsel, Mr. M. Cerel, has researched the legal status and authority of the Water and Sewerage Board in response to a request by the Board of Selectmen and the Medfield Water and Sewerage Board. The letter dated July 1994 states:
"In summary, it is my opinion that the Water and Sewerage Board is an independent town board created by special acts of the legislature whose membership is appointed, pursuant to the town charter, by the Board of Selectmen."
The Enterprise Fund
Enterprise Funds were established by State Legislature under Chapter 44 Section 53F ½. The Medfield Enterprise Fund was created by Town Vote in 1990 and should be self supporting. It may be used to operate and maintain the water and sewer infrastructure of the town. It also may be used to fund water and sewer related engineering and construction projects.
The Fund has to report on a yearly basis to the community and the State. Special expenditures from reserves are justified during town meetings and must be approved by the town. The Enterprise Fund collects all sewer and water related bills and fees.