SB53 (2021) Detail

Enabling municipalities to establish a community preservation and resilience program funded in part through a surcharge on real property.


SB 53  - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0876

05/10

 

SENATE BILL 53

 

AN ACT enabling municipalities to establish a community preservation and resilience program funded in part through a surcharge on real property.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Rep. Mangipudi, Hills. 35; Rep. Southworth, Straf. 20

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill enables municipalities to establish a community preservation and resilience program and fund through adoption of a surcharge on real property.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0876

05/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT enabling municipalities to establish a community preservation and resilience program funded in part through a surcharge on real property.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Title.  This act may be known and cited as "New Hampshire Community Preservation and Resilience Act".

2  Findings. The state of New Hampshire finds that it is a public good to encourage community preservation and resilience by enabling communities to direct funding to preservation, open spaces, recreation, community housing, renewable energy, and mitigation of environmental challenges.

3  New Chapter; Community Preservation and Resilience Program.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 53-G the following new chapter:

CHAPTER 53-H

COMMUNITY PRESERVATION AND RESILIENCE PROGRAM

53-H:1  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I.  ''Acquire'' means obtain by gift, purchase, devise, grant, rental, rental purchase, lease or otherwise.  ''Acquire'' shall not include a taking by eminent domain, except as provided in this chapter.

II.  ''Annual income'' means a family's or person's gross annual income less such reasonable allowances for dependents, other than a spouse, and for medical expenses as the housing authority or, in the event that there is no housing authority, the department of housing and community development, determines.

III.  ''Capital improvement'' means reconstruction or alteration of real property that:  materially adds to the value of the real property or appreciably prolongs the useful life of the real property; becomes part of the real property or is permanently affixed to the real property so that removal would cause material damage to the property or article itself; and is intended to become a permanent installation or is intended to remain there for an indefinite period of time.

IV.  ''Community housing'' means low and moderate income housing for individuals and families, including low or moderate income senior housing.

V.  ''Community preservation'' means the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, the acquisition, creation and preservation of historic resources and the creation and preservation of community housing.

VI.  “Community resilience” means the development of municipal renewable energy resources and the mitigation of environmental impacts due to extreme precipitation, storm surge, sea-level rise, and nitrogen deposition.

VII.  ''Community preservation and resilience committee'' means the committee established by the legislative body of a city or town to make recommendations for community preservation, as provided in RSA 53-H:4.

VIII.  ''Community preservation and resilience fund'' means the municipal fund established under RSA 53-H:6.

IX.  ''CPR'' means community preservation and resilience.

X.  ''Historic resources'' means a building, structure, vessel real property, document or artifact that is listed on the state or national registers of historic places or has been determined by the local historic preservation commission to be significant in the history, archeology, architecture or culture of a city or town.

XI.  ''Low income housing'' means housing for those persons and families whose annual income is less than 80 percent of the area-wide median income.  The area-wide median income shall be the area-wide median income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

XII.  ''Low or moderate income senior housing'', housing for those persons having reached the age of 60 or over who would qualify for low or moderate income housing.

XIII.  ''Maintenance'' means incidental repairs which neither materially add to the value of the property nor appreciably prolong the property's life, but keep the property in a condition of fitness, efficiency or readiness.

XIV.  ''Moderate income housing'' means housing for those persons and families whose annual income is less than 100 percent of the area-wide median income.  The area-wide median income shall be the areawide median income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

XV.  ''Open space'' shall include, but not be limited to, land to protect existing and future well fields, aquifers and recharge areas, watershed land, agricultural land, grasslands, fields, forest land, fresh and saltwater marshes and other wetlands, ocean, river, stream, lake and pond frontage, beaches, dunes and other coastal lands, lands to protect scenic vistas, land for wildlife or nature preserve and land for recreational use.

XVI.  ''Preservation'' means protection of personal or real property from injury, harm, or destruction.

XVII.  ''Real property'' means land, buildings, appurtenant structures and fixtures attached to buildings or land, including, where applicable, real property interests.

XVIII.  ''Real property interest'' means a present or future legal or equitable interest in or to real property, including easements and restrictions, and any beneficial interest therein, including the interest of a beneficiary in a trust which holds a legal or equitable interest in real property, but shall not include an interest which is limited to the following: an estate at will or at sufferance and any estate for years having a term of less than 30 years; the reversionary right, condition or right of entry for condition broken; the interest of a mortgagee or other secured party in a mortgage or security agreement.

XIX.  ''Recreational use'' means active or passive recreational use including, but not limited to, the use of land for community gardens, trails, and noncommercial youth and adult sports, and the use of land as a park, playground or athletic field.  ''Recreational use'' shall not include horse or dog racing or the use of land for a stadium, gymnasium or similar structure.

XX.  ''Rehabilitation'' means capital improvements, or the making of extraordinary repairs, to historic resources, open spaces, lands for recreational use and community housing for the purpose of making such historic resources, open spaces, lands for recreational use and community housing functional for their intended uses including, but not limited to, improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal, state or local building or access codes; provided, that with respect to historic resources, ''rehabilitation'' shall comply with the Standards for Rehabilitation stated in the United States Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties codified in 36 C.F.R. Part 68; and provided further, that with respect to land for recreational use, ''rehabilitation'' shall include the replacement of playground equipment and other capital improvements to the land or the facilities thereon which make the land or the related facilities more functional for the intended recreational use.

XXI.  "Support of community housing'' shall include, but not be limited to, programs that provide grants, loans, rental assistance, security deposits, interest-rate write downs or other forms of assistance directly to individuals and families who are eligible for community housing or to an entity that owns, operates or manages such housing, for the purpose of making housing affordable.

XXII.  “Municipal renewable energy” shall include projects involving solar, hydro-electric, and biomass renewable energy generation, as well as energy storage, that will benefit exclusively the municipality.

XXIII.  “Environmental mitigation” shall include projects to mitigate the effects of extreme precipitation, storm surge, sea-level rise, and nitrogen pollution of water resources.

53-H:2  Adoption Procedure.

I.  This chapter shall take effect in any city or town upon the approval by the legislative body and their acceptance by the voters of a ballot question as set forth in this section.

(a)  Notwithstanding RSA 76 or any other general or special law to the contrary, the legislative body may vote to accept RSA 53-H:2-53-H:6, inclusive, by approving a surcharge on real property of not more than 2 percent of the real estate tax levy, exclusive of the statewide education tax, against real property, as determined annually by the board of assessors.  The amount of the surcharge shall not be included in a calculation of total taxes assessed for purposes of RSA 76.  

(b)  Notwithstanding RSA 76 or any other general or special law to the contrary, as an alternative to subparagraph (a), the legislative body may vote to accept RSA 53-H:3-53-H:6, inclusive, by approving a surcharge on real property of not less than one percent of the real estate tax levy against real property and making an additional commitment of funds by dedicating revenue not greater than one percent of the real estate tax levy against real property; provided, however, that additional funds so committed shall come from other sources of municipal revenue including, but not limited to, linkage fees, the sale of municipal property, existing open space and historic preservation funds, however authorized, and gifts received from private sources for community preservation and resilience purposes; and provided further, that additional funds so committed shall not include any federal or state funds.  The total funds committed to purposes authorized under this chapter by means of this subsection shall not exceed 2 percent of the real estate tax levy against real property, less exemptions, adopted.

II.  All exemptions under RSA 72 and abatements of real property authorized by RSA 76 or any other law for which a taxpayer qualifies as eligible shall not be affected by this chapter.  The surcharge to be paid by a taxpayer receiving an exemption under RSA 72 or abatement of real property authorized by RSA 76 or any other law shall be reduced in proportion to the amount of such exemption or abatement.

III.  Any amount of the surcharge not paid by the due date shall bear interest at the rate per annum provided in RSA 76:13.

IV.(a)  The legislative body may also vote to accept one or more of the following exemptions from the surcharge:

(1)  For property owned and occupied as a domicile by a person who would qualify for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the city or town;

(2)  For property used for commercial or industrial purposes.

(3)  For $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property; or

(4)  For $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of commercial property or industrial property.

(b)  A person claiming an exemption provided under this paragraph may apply to the board of assessors, in writing, on a form approved by the commissioner of the department of revenue administration, on or before the deadline for an application for exemption under RSA 72.  Any person aggrieved by the decision of the assessors, or by their failure to act, upon such application, may appeal as provided in RSA 72.  Applications for exemption under this chapter shall be open for inspection only as provided in RSA 72.

V.(a)  A city or town may adopt the provisions of RSA 53-H:2 - 53-H:6, inclusive, in the following manner:

(1)  In a town, other than a town that has adopted a charter pursuant to RSA 49-D, the question shall be placed on the warrant of a special or annual town meeting, by the governing body or by petition pursuant to RSA 39:3.

(2)  In a city or town that has adopted a charter pursuant to RSA 49-C or RSA 49-D, the legislative body may consider and act upon the question in accordance with its normal procedures for passage of resolutions, ordinances, and other legislation.  In the alternative, the legislative body of such municipality may vote to place the question on the official ballot for any regular municipal election.

(b)  The vote shall specify the percentage of the surcharge to be imposed.  If a majority of those voting on the question vote "yes," the surcharge shall take effect within the town or city, on the date set by the governing body, or in the tax year beginning April 1 following its adoption, whichever shall occur first.

53-H:3  Surcharge on Real Property; Collection.

I.  Upon acceptance of RSA 53-H:2-53-H:6, inclusive, and upon the assessors' warrant to the tax collector, the accepted surcharge shall be imposed.

II.  After receipt of the warrant, the tax collector shall collect the surcharge in the amount and according to the computation specified in the warrant and shall pay the amounts so collected, quarterly or semi-annually, according to the schedule for collection of property taxes for the tax on real property, to the city's or town's treasurer.  The tax collector shall cause appropriate books and accounts to be kept with respect to such surcharge, which shall be subject to public examination upon reasonable request from time to time.

53-H:4  Community Preservation and Resilience Committee; Members; Recommendations.

I.  A city or town that adopts RSA 53-H:2-53-H:6, inclusive, shall establish by ordinance or by-law a community preservation and resilience committee.  The committee shall consist of not less than 5 nor more than 9 members.  The ordinance or by-law shall determine the composition of the committee, the length of its term and the method of selecting its members, whether by election or appointment or by a combination thereof.

II.(a)  The community preservation and resilience committee shall study the needs, possibilities, and resources of the city or town regarding community preservation and resilience, including the consideration of regional projects for community preservation and resilience.  The committee shall consult with existing municipal boards, including the conservation commission, the historical commission, the planning board, the board of park commissioners, the housing authority, public works committees, energy or environmental committees, or persons acting in those capacities or performing like duties, in conducting such studies.  As part of its study, the committee shall hold one or more public informational hearings on the needs, possibilities and resources of the city or town regarding community preservation and resilience possibilities and resources, notice of which shall be posted publicly and published for each of 2 weeks preceding a hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town.

(b)  The community preservation and resilience committee shall make recommendations to the legislative body for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use; for the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing; for the creation of renewable energy projects, for environmental mitigation projects, and for the rehabilitation or restoration of open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section; provided, however, that funds expended pursuant to this chapter shall not be used for maintenance.  With respect to community housing, the community preservation and resilience committee shall recommend, whenever possible, the reuse of existing buildings or construction of new buildings on previously developed sites.  The committee shall establish guidelines and strategies for selecting priorities for expenditures among the categories enumerated in this section.  Recommendations to the legislative body shall include their anticipated costs.

(c)  The community preservation and resilience committee may include in its recommendation to the legislative body a recommendation to set aside for later spending funds for specific purposes that are consistent with community preservation but for which sufficient revenues are not then available in the community preservation and resilience fund to accomplish that specific purpose or to set aside for later spending funds for general purposes that are consistent with community preservation and resilience.

III.  After receiving recommendations from the community preservation committee, the legislative body shall take such action and approve such appropriations from the community preservation and resilience fund as set forth in RSA 53-H:6, and such additional non-community preservation and resilience fund appropriations as it deems appropriate to carry out the recommendations of the community preservation and resilience committee.  In the case of a city, the ordinance shall provide for the mechanisms under which the legislative body may approve or veto appropriations made pursuant to this chapter, in accordance with the city charter.

IV.  A city or town may appropriate money in any year from the community preservation and resilience fund to an affordable housing trust fund.

53-H:5  Annual Revenues; Open Space, Historic Resources and Community Housing.

I.  In each fiscal year and upon the recommendation of the community preservation and resilience committee, the legislative body shall expend, or set aside for later spending funds.  In each fiscal year, the legislative body shall make appropriations from the community preservation and resilience fund as it deems necessary for the administrative and operating expenses of the community preservation and resilience committee and such appropriations shall not exceed 5 percent of the annual revenues in the community preservation and resilience fund.  The legislative body may also make appropriations from the community preservation and resilience fund as it deems necessary for costs associated with tax billing software and outside vendors necessary to integrate such software for the first year that a city or town implements the this chapter; provided, however, that the total of any administrative and operating expenses of the community preservation and resilience committee and the first year implementation expenses shall not exceed 5 percent of the annual revenues in the community preservation and resilience fund.

II.  Funds that are set aside shall be held in the community preservation and resilience fund and spent in that year or later years; provided, however, that funds set aside for a specific purpose shall be spent only for the specific purpose.  Any funds set aside may be expended in any city or town.  The community preservation and resilience funds shall not replace existing operating funds, only augment them.

53-H:6  Community Preservation and Resilience Fund.  A city or town that adopts RSA 53-H:2-53-H:6, inclusive, shall establish a separate account to be known as the community preservation and resilience fund of which the municipal treasurer shall be the custodian.  The authority to approve expenditures from the fund shall be limited to the legislative body and the municipal treasurer shall pay such expenses authorized by the legislative body.  The following moneys shall be deposited in the fund:  (i) all funds collected from the real property surcharge or bond proceeds in anticipation of revenue pursuant to RSA 53-H:3 or RSA 53-H:10; (ii) additional funds appropriated or dedicated from allowable municipal sources pursuant to RSA 53-H:2, I(b), if applicable; (iii) all funds received from the state or any other source for such purposes; and (iv) proceeds from the disposal of real property acquired with funds from the community preservation and resilience fund.  The treasurer may deposit or invest the proceeds of the fund in the state investment pool under RSA 383:22, in savings banks, trust companies incorporated under the laws of the state, banking companies incorporated under the laws of the state which are members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or national banks, or may invest the proceeds in paid up shares of savings and loan associations or in shares of federal savings and loan associations doing business in the state, and any income therefrom shall be credited to the fund.  The expenditures from the fund shall be limited to implementing the recommendations of the community preservation and resilience committee and providing administrative and operating expenses to the committee.

53-H:7  General Obligation Bonds or Notes.

I.  A city or town that adopts RSA 53-H:2 - 53-H:6, inclusive, may issue, from time to time, general obligation bonds or notes in anticipation of revenues to be raised pursuant to RSA 53-H:2, the proceeds of which shall be deposited in the community preservation and resilience fund.  Bonds or notes so issued may be at such rates of interest as shall be necessary and shall be repaid as soon after such revenues are collected as is expedient.  Cities or towns that choose to issue bonds pursuant to this section shall make every effort to limit the administrative costs of issuing such bonds by cooperating among each other using methods including, but not limited to, common issuance of bonds or common retention of bond counsel.  Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, bonds or notes issued pursuant to this section shall be subject to the applicable provisions of RSA 44.  The maturities of each issue of bonds or notes issued under this chapter may be arranged so that for each issue the amounts payable in the several years for principal and interest combined shall be as nearly equal as practicable in the opinion of the officers authorized to issue bonds or notes or, in the alternative, in accordance with a schedule providing for a more rapid amortization of principal.

53-H:8  Real Property Interest; Permanent Restriction; Management.

I.  A real property interest that is acquired with moneys from the community preservation and resilience fund shall be bound by a permanent restriction, recorded as a separate instrument, limiting the use of the interest to the purpose for which it was acquired.  The permanent restriction shall run with the land and shall be enforceable by the city or town or the state.  The permanent restriction may also run to the benefit of a nonprofit organization, charitable corporation or foundation selected by the city or town with the right to enforce the restriction.  The legislative body may appropriate monies from the community preservation and resilience fund to pay a nonprofit organization to hold, monitor and enforce the deed restriction on the property.

II.  Real property interests acquired under this chapter shall be owned and managed by the city or town, but the legislative body may delegate management of such property to the conservation commission, the historical commission, the board of park commissioners or the housing authority, or, in the case of interests to acquire sites for future wellhead development by a water district, a water supply district or a fire district.  The legislative body may also delegate management of such property to a nonprofit organization.

53-H:9  Accurate Account of Recommendations and Actions; Records of Appropriations and Expenditures and of Real Property Interests.  The community preservation and resilience committee shall keep a full and accurate account of all of its actions, including its recommendations and the action taken on them and records of all appropriations or expenditures made from the community preservation and resilience fund.  The committee shall also keep records of any real property interests acquired, disposed of or improved by the city or town upon its recommendation, including the names and addresses of the grantors or grantees and the nature of the consideration.  The records and accounts shall be public records.

53-H:10  Tort Liability for Destruction of Real Property Purchased with CPR Funds.

I.  A person who, without permission, knowingly carries away or steals, mutilates, destroys, damages, causes to be damaged or cuts any tree, shrub, grass or any other portion of real property purchased by a city or town with funds derived from this chapter shall be liable to the city or town in tort for such actions.

II.  Damages, including punitive damages for willful or wanton violation of this chapter or any rule or regulation issued or adopted hereunder, may be recovered in a civil action brought by the city or town or, upon request of the city or town, by the attorney general.  The city or town or, upon request of the city or town, the attorney general, may bring an action for injunctive relief against any person violating this chapter or any rule or regulation issued hereunder.  The superior court shall have jurisdiction to enjoin violations, to award damages and to grant such further relief as it may deem appropriate.

III.  Any damages, penalties, costs or interest thereon recovered pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the community preservation and resilience fund of the city or town in which the violation occurred.

53-H:11  Amendments to Amount and Computation of Surcharge; Revocation Procedure.

I.  At any time after imposition of the surcharge, the legislative body may approve and the voters may accept an amendment to the amount and computation of the surcharge, or to the amount of exemption or exemptions, in the same manner and within the limitations set forth in this chapter, including committing additional municipal funds pursuant to RSA 53-H:2, I(b).

II.  At any time after the expiration of 5 years after the date on which RSA 53-H:2 - 53-H:6, inclusive, have been adopted in a city or town, the sections may be revoked in the same manner as they were accepted by such city or town, but the surcharge imposed under RSA 53-H:2 shall remain in effect in any such city or town, with respect to unpaid taxes on past transactions and with respect to taxes due on future transactions, until all contractual obligations incurred by the city or town prior to such termination shall have been fully discharged.

53-H:12  Rulemaking.  The commissioner of the department of revenue administration may adopt rules under RSA 541-A to effect the purposes of this chapter.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Links

SB53 at GenCourtMobile
SB53 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 28, 2021 Senate Hearing
Feb. 4, 2021 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

SB53 Revision: 31984 Date: Jan. 19, 2021, 11:50 a.m.

Docket


Feb. 4, 2021: Rereferred to Committee, RC 23Y-1N, MA; 02/04/2021; SJ 3


Feb. 4, 2021: Committee Report: Rereferred to Committee, 02/04/2021; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 9


Jan. 28, 2021: Remote Hearing: 01/28/2021, 09:15 am; Links to join the hearing can be found in the Senate Calendar; SC 8


Jan. 6, 2021: Introduced 01/06/2021 and Referred to Election Law and Municipal Affairs; SJ 3