1997 Regular Session
To: Ways and Means
By: Representative Endt
House Bill 1863
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-39-329, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE COUNTIES THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE PAT HARRISON WATERWAY DISTRICT TO LEVY AD VALOREM TAXES THAT ARE LEVIED BY OTHER COUNTIES FOR THE PAYMENT OF BONDS OR NOTES OR OTHER AUTHORIZED PURPOSES; TO PROVIDE THAT IF A COUNTY WHICH IS A MEMBER OF THE PAT HARRISON WATERWAY DISTRICT LEVIED AN AD VALOREM TAX FOR THE 1996 CALENDAR YEAR FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES, SUCH LEVY IS HEREBY RATIFIED, CONFIRMED AND VALIDATED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 27-39-329, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-39-329. (1) Each county shall, in addition to all other taxes authorized by any statute and notwithstanding any limitation provided in Article 3, Chapter 39, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, levy ad valorem taxes pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.
(2) (a) Any county which has, prior to October 1, 1982, under the provisions of Section 27-39-3, or any other statute authorizing the retention of any state millage or the levying of any county millage, retained a net amount of revenue produced by the state ad valorem tax collected in such county or levied any tax, the proceeds of which have been committed for any purpose authorized by Section 27-39-7 or any other statute authorizing the retention of any state millage or the levying of any county millage, or for the support of a water management district, development district or other district or authority created by law for the improvement and development or operation of a port or harbor or for the payment of any bonds, notes or other indebtedness, or for any other purpose authorized by any statute authorizing the retention of any state millage or the levying of any county millage, shall, for the Fiscal Year 1983 and annually thereafter, levy a tax sufficient to produce the amount of revenue necessary to fulfill such commitment or pay all such bonds, notes or other indebtedness together with the interest thereon as the same shall become due and payable, to continue at the same level the support and operation of such authority or district created by law, as long as the county remains a member, and to fulfill any other purpose authorized by any statute authorizing the retention of any state millage or the levying of any county millage. Any county which has, pursuant to a contract between the Mississippi Board of Economic Development or its predecessor and a city located therein, retained a net amount of revenue, produced by two (2) mills of the state ad valorem tax collected in such county, the proceeds of which have been committed for the improvement, development, operation and expansion of a state port or for the payment of any indebtedness incurred for such purposes, shall, for the Fiscal Year 1983 and annually thereafter until the completion of property reappraisal as certified by the State Tax Commission, levy a tax of two (2) mills to fulfill such commitment consistent with the terms of said contract; however, for the fiscal year after property reappraisal as certified by the State Tax Commission and annually thereafter, such county shall levy an ad valorem tax sufficient to generate revenue equal to the avails of the two-mill levy imposed for the fiscal year next preceding the initial use of such reappraised property values, to fulfill such commitment consistent with the terms of said contract.
Any county which is a member of the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District may at such time as the district, by determination of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has completely fulfilled all its obligations as local sponsor for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Project pursuant to P.L. 79-525, 60 Stat. 634 (1946), and has completely fulfilled its obligations for any other lawful project where the district serves as local sponsor, elect to withdraw from or terminate its membership in said district. Upon completion as determined by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and in order to withdraw from or terminate its membership in the district, the board of supervisors of any county so desiring shall declare its intention by adopting a resolution so stipulating and spreading such executed resolution upon its minutes and publish such resolution once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks in some newspaper published in the county or in a newspaper having a general circulation therein. If, within the time of giving notice, twenty percent (20%) or fifteen hundred (1500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the county shall protest or file a petition against the county's withdrawal from or termination of its membership in the district, then such withdrawal or termination of membership shall not occur unless authorized by a majority of the qualified electors of such county voting at an election to be called and held for that purpose. If the county's withdrawal from or termination of its membership in the district is authorized in the manner set forth herein, the board of supervisors shall mail by regular U.S. Mail a certified copy of its executed resolution to the general office of the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District. Upon full compliance as heretofore and hereafter directed, the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District shall enter its order on its minutes terminating or withdrawing the membership of the county as of September 30 following, thereby approving the termination or withdrawal of the county and suspending the levy or levies of ad valorem taxes used to support the district. Provided, however, that the board of supervisors shall not suspend the levy or levies of any millage pledged to support the issuance of any bonds or notes in the name of the district during the period of time that such county was a member of the district and which levies were outstanding at the time of the withdrawal and/or termination; and it is further provided, said county shall be liable and responsible for its pro rata share of any present and/or subsequent judgments or liens filed against the district until the statute of limitations shall have run against the district. "Pro rata share" shall be determined by dividing the total ad valorem tax contribution of such withdrawing county by the total of all ad valorem tax contributions of all member counties in the district multiplied by the total of the outstanding bonded indebtedness and other indebtedness funded by such ad valorem levy or levies, as of the date such indebtedness was incurred.
After the commitment has been fulfilled and is certified by the State Tax Commission as having been fulfilled, the board of supervisors may continue to levy a millage for each fiscal year necessary to produce that same dollar amount as the previous fiscal year for the same purpose or for any other purpose for which any portion of the former state ad valorem tax levy could heretofore have been retained, or for general county purposes. After such commitment has been fulfilled, any county which chooses to continue a levy for the same purpose for which such levy was being made may do so in its discretion. Any county which wishes to continue a levy for any other purpose for which the state ad valorem tax could have been retained or for general county purposes may do so only after an election has been held as follows: such tax shall not be levied until the board shall have published notice of its intention to levy same; said notice to be published once each week for three (3) weeks in some newspaper having a general circulation in the county, but not less than twenty-one (21) days, nor more than sixty (60) days, intervening between the time of the first notice and the meeting at which said board proposes to levy such tax. If, within the time of giving notice, twenty percent (20%) or three thousand (3,000) of the qualified electors of the county, whichever is less, shall protest or file a petition against the levy of such tax, then such tax shall not be levied unless authorized by a three-fifths (3/5) majority of the qualified electors of such county, voting at an election to be called and held for that purpose.
In all cases where a county which is a member of the Pat Harrison Waterway District levied an ad valorem tax for the 1996 calendar year for any purpose authorized in this paragraph (a), such levy is hereby ratified, confirmed and validated.
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(b) Beginning with taxes levied for the Fiscal Year 1983, each county shall levy each year an ad valorem tax of one (1) mill upon all taxable property of the county which may be used for any purpose for which counties are authorized by law to levy an ad valorem tax, but the avails of such tax levy shall not be expended unless and until the State Tax Commission has certified that the county has a method of maintaining assessment records in accordance with commission rules and regulations, has an ownership mapping system as provided in Section 27-35-53 in conformity with commission specifications, maintains certified appraisers as provided in Section 27-3-52, and complies with requests by the commission for sales data under Section 27-3-51.
In the event the commission enters its order directing that the avails of this levy be paid to the commission pursuant to Section 27-35-113, then the county shall comply with the commission's directions and the monies paid shall remain in escrow until the county is in compliance with acceptable performance standards for the appraisal of property in accordance with Section 27-35-113.
The commission, prior to October 1 of each year, shall notify each county whether or not it is certified as being in compliance with the requirements of subsection (2)(b). A copy of the notice shall be forwarded to the State Auditor. Any county not certified as being in compliance with any requirements of this subsection (2)(b), except where the commission has entered its order requiring the escrowing of these funds pursuant to Section 27-35-113, shall deposit the avails of the levy described herein in an interest-bearing special account and such avails, including interest earned thereon, shall not be expended until such county has been certified by the commission, for each fiscal year, to be in compliance with this subsection (2)(b).
(c) The tax levies required in this section shall not be exempt under the provisions of Section 27-31-101.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.