Municipal Districts Common in Massachusetts

The Manchaug Pond Association continues the work begun last August of educating town officials as to the beauty of Manchaug Pond, the benefits of forming a municipal district, and the need to position the lake community so it can act promptly and effectively in the future.

Municipal districts within cities and towns are common in Massachusetts. Water districts such as the ones in the Sutton villages of Wilkinsonville and Manchaug are simple, easy to understand examples. Sewer districts, fire districts, even school districts, there are also community improvement districts which look to the maintenance of roads, historic preservation and then those that manage a lake,pond or river. The watershed/lake districts look to the issues that are important to nearly all waterways – quality of the water, invasive aquatic weeds and their control, and water level and impoundment issues.

How do districts come about? Well, there is a ground swell of support from the local user group/property owners with a minimum of 80% needed. The support here on Manchaug Pond was and remains over 80%. The citizens bring their request to the town and then in turn to the state legislature for review, input and approval. Once approved, the district management committee will receive training from the government. The first meeting of the district, the property owners will vote to form the district and elect their clerk, treasurer and representatives and approve a budget, etc.

Why are districts desireable? Well, they get things done! They have a special interest in the area inwhich they live, know the issues and develop partnerships with individuals, businesses and government which would otherwise not happen. Their neighborhood is important to them. In this time where cities and towns wrestle with tight budgets and prop 2 1/2, these districts handle their own budgets with no economic costs to the town. They think creatively to secure funds throught the partnerships and grants available to municipalities.

A win-win situation!