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Funds for Maintaining Private Ways: Another Alternative

We ran across this news the other day, and thought it was an interesting approach for landowners looking to fund and coordinate the maintenance of private ways.

At the Scituate Special Town Meeting (held November 13, 2012), residents voted unanimously to approve Article 9, which established a "Private Way Maintenance Revolving Fund" within the town.

What is a private way maintenance revolving fund, you ask?

As a general matter, revolving funds are authorized by M.G.L. c. 44, § 53E½, which is part of the municipal finance chapter of the General Laws. Section 53E½ specifically provides, in relevant part, as follows:

[A] city or town may annually authorize the use of one or more revolving funds by one or more municipal agency, board, department or office which shall be accounted for separately from all other monies in such city or town and to which shall be credited only the departmental receipts received in connection with the programs supported by such revolving fund. Expenditures may be made from such revolving fund without further appropriation . . . .

The Scituate Advisory Committee's Report and Recommendations for the Special Town Meeting laid out support for such a fund that would assist some residents living along private ways.

In a nutshell, some landowners of private ways in Scituate wanted a means to better coordinate maintenance of their roads, but without having to create a public way. They needed a way to deposit and use their own monies toward necessary improvements, maintenance and plowing, but in a manner that would be administratively overseen and coordinated by the town's department of public works. A revolving fund is a good solution toward this objective. From a landowner perspective, this would reduce the headaches that go along with coordinating an often small number of other private landowners in order to undertake this kind of road maintenance. It likely also gives private way owners a means to find services at a lower cost if the town is coordinating multiple efforts on this front.

Given that there was unanimous support for the article, the private way maintenance revolving fund made sense to the residents as well. A full rundown of this and the other articles voted on can be reviewed here.

Written by Kristen M. Ploetz, Esq., of Green Lodestar Communications & Consulting, LLC, on behalf of Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. Edited by Jeffrey T. Angley, Esq.

Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is general in nature and for educational purposes only. No personal legal advice is being provided. If you have an actual legal issue that needs to be addressed, you should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey T. Angley, P.C., Phillips & Angley or their attorneys.

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