1997 Regular Session
To: Game and Fish
By: Representatives Hamilton, Comans, Cummings, Davis (102nd), Ellzey, Endt, Evans, Franks, Green (96th), Green (34th), Maples, McInnis, Read, Robertson, Smith (39th), Taylor, Weathersby
House Bill 1483
AN ACT TO AMEND 49-5-71, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSION ON WILDLIFE, FISHERIES AND PARKS TO RENEW LEASES OF LAND WITHIN THE PASCAGOULA RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA TO HOUSEBOAT OWNERS ALONG THE PASCAGOULA RIVER ON ANNUAL BASIS THROUGH TO JUNE 30, 2002, SUBJECT TO THE HOUSEBOAT OWNERS' DECISION NOT TO RENEW THE LEASE FOR ANOTHER YEAR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-5-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-5-71. (1) The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is hereby authorized to acquire interests in real estate and personal property through purchase, donation, bequest or devise in furtherance of the purposes of Sections 49-5-61 through 49-5-85 and otherwise in accordance with the provisions of law.
(2) Before such real estate is purchased or leased, the fair market value of such real estate shall be determined by the averaging of at least three (3) appraisals by Mississippi Certified General Appraisers. Such appraisals shall be paid for by the State of Mississippi.
(3) The commission is hereby authorized to obtain abstracts and surveys, and to engage the services of attorneys to conduct the above described transactions. The commission is authorized to obtain title insurance on property purchased if, in the opinion of the commission, the best interests of the State of Mississippi would be served.
(4) The commission is hereby authorized and empowered, in its discretion, to lease on a yearly basis for up to ten (10) years campsites on property which was acquired by the State of Mississippi pursuant to Section 49-5-87, Mississippi Code of 1972, to persons who held valid leases on campsites as of June 30, 1986; provided, however, no campsite may be leased after June 30, 2002, without further legislative action. An annual rent shall be paid for each lease which shall be equal to five percent (5%) of the fair market value of the leased land. The fair market value shall be determined by an independent appraiser. A leaseholder of such campsite shall not sublease, sell, rent, assign, devise or otherwise transfer such campsite and the terms of the lease shall so provide. A leaseholder shall forfeit the lease in the event such campsite is subleased, sold, rented, assigned, devised or otherwise transferred. The lease shall also provide for the forfeiture of the lease upon the death of the leaseholder during the term of the lease. Upon the execution of a lease, the campsite shall be taxed as other lands are taxed during the continuance of the lease. In the event the taxes are not paid when due, the lease shall be forfeited. Leaseholders granted leases pursuant to this paragraph shall indemnify and hold harmless the State of Mississippi, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks from any liability arising from claims which may be asserted by those persons who held leases of campsites prior to July 1, 1986.
(5) The commission shall lease land within the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area to any person who owns a houseboat located or docked, as of January 1, 1993, on such land. The commission may impose all rules, regulations, requirements and legal procedures it deems necessary in leasing land to such houseboat owner, provided that such rules, regulations, requirements and legal procedures are consistent with the provisions of this subsection. Such houseboat owner desiring to enter into a lease with the commission shall file an application for lease with the commission before August 1, 1993. Any such houseboat owner who has not filed an application for lease before September 1, 1993, may be evicted by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Such lease shall be for a period not to exceed twelve (12) months, and it shall be renewed each year thereafter, until June 30, 2002, unless the leaseholder gives the commission thirty (30) days notice in writing that he or she does not intend to renew the lease for another year. The commission is authorized to assess an annual lease fee of Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) in addition to any taxes, including personal property taxes, which may be assessed by the proper county authorities. The commission may restrict the houseboats owned by such leaseholders to designated locations. Leaseholders granted leases pursuant to this subsection shall indemnify and hold harmless the State of Mississippi, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks from any claims, liability and/or damages in whole or in part caused by acts of commission, omission or negligence on the part of the leaseholder. Such leaseholder shall comply with all applicable ordinances, rules and regulations in effect or that may be adopted by the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the county, the municipality or other political subdivision having jurisdiction in the area in which the houseboat is located, relating to fire, safety or health, including building codes and zoning ordinances. Any leaseholder who fails to comply with such ordinances, rules and regulations shall be subject to eviction or termination of the lease agreement by the commission. The commission is authorized to impose an administrative fine in the amount of Fifty Dollars ($50.00) per day against any leaseholder, his heir or devisee, or any party possessing an interest in the houseboat, who fails to remove his houseboat within thirty (30) days after the termination of the lease. After June 30, 2002, the commission shall not renew any existing leases authorized under this subsection or enter into any new leases with any person who owns a houseboat located or docked on land within the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area.
(6) In order to carry out its management responsibilities over all state lands which are now or may hereafter come under its jurisdiction, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is authorized to grant easements and rights-of-way over and across any part of such state lands. Such easements and rights-of-way may be granted for such consideration, and upon such terms and conditions, as the department may deem to be in the best interest of the state, consistent with the use of such lands for recreational purposes. Any easement for a utility line shall be granted for that period of time which the department deems to be in the best interest of the management of such lands.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.