Chapter 53-A

Section 53-A:1

    53-A:1 Purpose. – It is the purpose of this chapter to permit municipalities and counties to make the most efficient use of their powers by enabling them to cooperate with other municipalities and counties on a basis of mutual advantage and thereby to provide services and facilities in a manner and pursuant to forms of governmental organization that will accord best with geographic, economic, population and other factors influencing the needs and development of local communities.

Source. 1963, 275:14. 1974, 15:1. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977.

Section 53-A:2

    53-A:2 Public Agency Defined. – For the purposes of this chapter, the term "public agency" shall mean any political subdivision of this state or of any adjoining state and any quasi-municipal corporation, including but not limited to school districts, school administrative units, village districts, regional water districts, and special districts.

Source. 1963, 275:14. 1977, 238:1. 2003, 281:11, eff. July 18, 2003. 2016, 46:1, eff. July 2, 2016.

Section 53-A:3

    53-A:3 Joint Exercise of Powers. –
Any power or powers, privileges or authority exercised or capable of exercise by a public agency of this state may be exercised jointly with any other public agency of this state. Such authority shall include, but not be limited to, the power to enter into agreements to share tax revenues resulting from local economic development efforts and with respect to cities, towns, school districts, and school administrative units, the power to form the entities and conduct the activities provided for in RSA 162-G and RSA 31:134 through RSA 31:149, and/or the appropriate activities, including but not limited to, conducting financial, human resource, information technology, and other managerial and administrative functions related to the operation of the participating agencies as provided for in RSA 31, RSA 37, and RSA 194-C:4 as well as city charters adopted under RSA 49-C and town charters adopted under RSA 49-D.
I. Any 2 or more public agencies may enter into agreements with one another for joint or cooperative action pursuant to this chapter. Appropriate action by ordinance, resolution or other action pursuant to law of the governing bodies of the participating public agencies shall be necessary before any such agreement may enter into force.
II. Any such agreement shall specify the following:
(a) Its duration;
(b) The precise organization, composition and nature of any separate legal or administrative entity created thereby together with the powers delegated thereto, provided such entity may be legally created;
(c) Its purpose;
(d) The manner of financing the joint or cooperative undertaking and of establishing and maintaining a budget therefor;
(e) The method to be employed in accomplishing the partial or complete termination of the agreement and for disposing of property upon such termination;
(f) Any other necessary and proper matters.
III. In the event that the agreement does not establish a separate legal entity to conduct the joint or cooperative undertaking, the agreement shall, in addition to items enumerated in paragraph II, contain the following:
(a) Provision for an administrator or a joint board responsible for administering the joint or cooperative undertaking. In the case of a joint board all public agencies party to the agreement shall be represented.
(b) The manner of acquiring, holding and disposing of real and personal property used in the joint or cooperative undertaking.
IV. No agreement made pursuant to this chapter shall relieve any public agency of any obligation or responsibility imposed upon it by law except to the extent of actual and timely performance thereof by a joint board or other legal or administrative entity created by an agreement made hereunder. Said performance may be offered in satisfaction of the obligation or responsibility.
V. Every agreement made hereunder shall, prior to and as a condition precedent to its entry into force, be submitted to the attorney general who shall determine whether the agreement is in proper form and compatible with the laws of this state. The attorney general shall approve any agreement submitted to him hereunder unless he shall find that it does not in substance meet the conditions set forth herein and shall detail in writing addressed to the governing bodies of the public agencies concerned the specific respects in which the proposed agreement substantially fails to meet the requirements of law. Failure to disapprove an agreement submitted hereunder within 30 days of its submission shall constitute approval thereof.

Source. 1963, 275:14. 1969, 126:1. 1971, 474:2. 1974, 15:2. 1977, 82:1; 238:1. 1993, 328:5. 1994, 331:2, eff. Aug. 7, 1994. 2013, 214:2, eff. Sept. 8, 2013. 2016, 46:2, eff. July 2, 2016.

Section 53-A:3-a

    53-A:3-a Public Works Mutual Aid Agreements. –
Public agencies may enter into agreements under this chapter for reciprocal emergency management aid and assistance and other public works programs, including provisions for the furnishing and exchanging of supplies, equipment, facilities, personnel, and services. Any such agreement shall be subject to the provisions of this section and to all provisions of this chapter that are not inconsistent with this section.
I. Such an agreement may provide for the manner in which the agreement may be amended and that additional entities may become parties to the agreement.
II. Unless otherwise prohibited or restricted by such an agreement, a private entity providing public services that would otherwise be provided by a public agency, including but not limited to a privately owned water or wastewater utility, may become a party to the agreement and participate in the implementation of it in the same manner as a public agency.
III. The agreement may create a board of directors or other body to govern and administer the agreement and the program of mutual aid established thereby. The membership, powers, and duties of any governing body so established shall be as set forth in the agreement. Except as provided in the agreement, there shall be no requirement that all parties to the agreement be represented on such body.
IV. The agreement may include provisions by which each municipality or private entity indemnifies the other municipality or private entity and its officers, employees, and agents against any liability arising out of the indemnifying municipality's or private entity's negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct. No agreement shall be written or construed to require the state or any state agency to defend or indemnify any other entity.
V. All functions performed under such an agreement are governmental functions, and the parties performing such functions shall be entitled to the same immunities and exemptions provided in RSA 21-P:41.

Source. 2010, 159:1, eff. Aug. 16, 2010.

Section 53-A:4

    53-A:4 Filing of Agreement. – Prior to its entry into force, an agreement made pursuant to this chapter shall be filed with the clerk of each municipality and with the secretary of state. An action shall be maintainable against any public agency whose default, failure of performance, or other conduct caused or contributed to the incurring of damage or liability by the other public agencies jointly.

Source. 1963, 275:14. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977.

Section 53-A:5

    53-A:5 Approval by State Officers. – In the event that an agreement made pursuant to this chapter shall deal in whole or in part with the provision of services or facilities with regard to which an officer or agency of the state government has constitutional or statutory powers of control, the agreement shall, as a condition precedent to its entry into force, be submitted to the state officer or agency having such power of control and shall be approved or disapproved by him or it as to all matters within his or its jurisdiction in the same manner and subject to the same requirements governing the action of the attorney general pursuant to RSA 53-A:3, V. This requirement of submission and approval shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the requirement of submission to and approval by the attorney general.

Source. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977.

Section 53-A:6

    53-A:6 Funds Issuance of Bonds or Notes. –
I. The respective counties, towns, cities and other governmental units involved in any agreements as set forth in this chapter are hereby authorized to appropriate the funds necessary to carry out their contractual obligations thus incurred. In cases involving the expenditure of capital funds they are authorized to borrow such funds under the terms of the municipal finance act, RSA 33, as amended, and to issue bonds in accordance with the provisions of such act or to set up a capital reserve fund for such purposes under the provisions of RSA chapters 34 or 35.
II. Any 2 or more public agencies participating in such an agreement may jointly issue bonds or notes under RSA 33 for any purpose for which they may be issued under that chapter.
(a) Any agreement entered into under RSA 53-A:3 shall specify each participating public agency's proportionate share of the debt represented by any jointly issued bond or note.
(b) Each public agency participating in the joint issuance of a bond or note shall comply separately with the requirements of RSA 33:8 through 33:10 applicable to that public agency, and the bond or note shall not be issued until authorized by each participating public agency as provided in the applicable section or sections.
(c) Each participating public agency's proportionate share of the debt represented by the bond or note shall be counted toward its debt limit under RSA 33:4 or 33:4-a unless excluded by other provisions of RSA 33.
(d) All other applicable provisions of RSA 33 shall apply to the participating public agencies jointly as if the bond or note were issued by a single political subdivision.

Source. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977. 2019, 231:1, eff. Sept. 10, 2019.

Section 53-A:7

    53-A:7 Former Districts Unaffected. – In municipalities which acted under the prior law, the agreement formed remains effective so far as it conforms with the chapter and may be continued accordingly without requiring review or approval by the attorney general.

Source. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977.

Section 53-A:8

    53-A:8 Severability. – If any portion of this chapter shall be held to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter.

Source. 1977, 238:1, eff. Aug. 19, 1977.