1997 Regular Session
To: Business and Financial Institutions
By: Senator(s) Hewes
Senate Bill 2857
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 19-5-99, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS TO EMPLOY LICENSED REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND APPRAISERS AS SHALL BE REASONABLY NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THEIR DUTIES; TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS CREATED BY LOCAL AND PRIVATE ACTS TO EMPLOY CERTAIN PROFESSIONALS AND EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL AS SHALL BE REASONABLY NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THEIR DUTIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 19-5-99, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
19-5-99. (1) Subject to the provisions of Section 19-9-111, the board of supervisors of any county in the State of Mississippi, in its discretion, by order duly entered on its minutes, may establish economic development districts comprising all of the county, or one or more supervisors districts of the county, or may establish such economic development districts in cooperation with one or more other counties or with municipalities or with other local and private economic development groups. The board of supervisors may do everything within its power to secure and further industrial development of the county or counties or district, to advertise the natural resources and possibilities of the same, and to maintain and support the same.
All monies collected for the support and maintenance of such economic development district, in accordance with the tax levy provided in Section 19-9-111, shall be placed in the county treasury to the credit of the county or district economic development fund and shall be expended as other public funds are expended, and in which event the employees of such economic development district shall be employees of the county and considered as such. In addition to such funds provided by taxation, the board of supervisors of such county may accept gifts, gratuities and donations from municipalities in such districts and from any persons, firms or corporations desiring to make such donations. Such appropriation, gift or donation shall also be placed in the county treasury and be expended in the support and maintenance of such district.
At the option of such board of supervisors, or boards of supervisors if more than one (1) county is embraced in such economic development district, it may provide for the management of such economic development district by appointing not more than twenty-five (25) nor less than five (5) trustees, or if a multicounty district not more than five (5) trustees per participating county, who shall be qualified electors residing within such economic development district, to manage the affairs of such district, and in which event the funds made available by the county or counties for the support and maintenance of such economic development district may be expended by a majority vote of such trustees so appointed to manage such economic development district. Each trustee who is an officer of the economic development district shall qualify by giving bond, with sufficient surety, to be payable, conditioned and approved as provided by law, in a penalty equal to Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), the premiums on all such surety bonds being paid by such economic development district. If this option is exercised and such districts operated and maintained under this paragraph, then in such event the employees of such economic development district shall not be considered as employees of the county for state retirement or any other purposes.
All funds secured and expended under the provisions of this section shall be public funds and the Auditor of Public Accounts of the State of Mississippi shall audit the same as other public funds are now audited.
Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the board of supervisors of a county having therein an economic development district established under this section or any other law and the governing authorities of any municipality located within the economic development district in such county may enter into a contract providing for the contribution of funds by the municipality or other local and private economic development groups to the economic development district and providing for the appointment by the municipal governing authorities or other local and private economic development groups of a number of trustees, as determined by the parties to the contract, to assist in the management of the district. In like manner, any economic or industrial development foundation or private economic development group may enter into a contract with the board of supervisors of the county or jointly with the board of supervisors of the county and municipal governing authorities providing for the contribution of funds by the economic or industrial development foundation or private economic development group to the economic development district and providing for the appointment by the officials or governing board of the foundation of a number of trustees, as determined by the parties to the contract, to assist in the management of the district.
(2) Any economic development district established under this section may, when suitable office space is not otherwise available, purchase and acquire title to real estate within the district and make any improvements thereon to provide the office space it considers necessary for efficient operation of such district.
(3)(a) Any economic development district established under this section shall have the authority to acquire by gift, purchase or otherwise, and to own, hold, maintain, control and develop real estate situated within the county or counties comprising such district for the development, use and operation of industrial parks or other industrial development purposes. The district is further authorized and empowered to engage in works of internal improvement therefor including, but not limited to, construction or contracting for the construction of streets, roads, railroads, spur tracks, site improvements, water, sewerage, drainage, pollution control and other related facilities necessary or required for industrial development purposes or the development of industrial park complexes; to acquire, purchase, install, lease, construct, own, hold, equip, control, maintain, use, operate and repair other structures and facilities necessary and convenient for the planning, development, use, operation and maintenance of an industrial park or parks or for other industrial development purposes, including, but not limited to, utility installations, elevators, compressors, warehouses, buildings and air, rail and other transportation terminals and pollution control facilities.
(b) Contracts for the construction, improvement, equipping or furnishing of an industrial site and improvements thereon as authorized in this section shall be entered into upon the basis of public bidding under Section 31-7-1 et seq.
(4) For the development of such projects, the board of supervisors of any county that establishes an economic development district under this section or that establishes an economic development district in cooperation with one or more other counties, or municipalities or other local and private economic groups, may, upon receipt of a resolution duly adopted by the trustees of such district, issue, secure and manage its bonds in the manner prescribed by Sections 19-9-5, 19-9-7, 19-9-9, 19-9-11, 19-9-13, 19-9-15, 19-9-17, 19-9-19, 19-9-21, 19-9-23, 19-9-25 and 19-9-29. Such bonds shall be sold in accordance with the provisions of Section 31-19-25. The full faith, credit and resources of the county shall be irrevocably pledged for the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds issued under this section. Any income derived from the sale or lease of the property authorized to be acquired under this section shall be applied in one or more of the following manners: (a) the retirement of bonds authorized to be issued under this section; (b) further improvement or development of such industrial parks or other related industrial development activities; or (c) payment into the general fund of the county to be used for any lawful purpose. Any amounts so paid into the general fund shall be included in the computation of total receipts and subject to the restrictions of Section 27-39-321. The board of supervisors may covenant with or for the benefit of the registered owners of any bonds issued under this section with respect to the application of any or all of such income and shall, by resolution adopted before or promptly after receipt of any such income, determine, in its discretion subject only to the restrictions set forth above and any covenants made to or for the benefit of any registered owners of bonds issued under this section, the manner in which such income shall be applied.
The bonds authorized by this section and the income therefrom shall be exempt from all taxation in the State of Mississippi; however, any lessee or purchaser shall not be exempt from ad valorem taxes on industrial sites and improvements thereon unless otherwise provided by the general laws of this state, and purchases required to establish the project and financed by bond proceeds shall not be exempt from taxation in the State of Mississippi.
(5) Economic development districts established under this section are authorized and empowered:
(a) To sell, lease, trade, exchange or otherwise dispose of industrial sites or rail lines situated within industrial parks to individuals, firms or corporations, public or private, for industrial and warehouse use upon such terms and conditions, and for such considerations, with such safeguards as will best promote and protect the public interest, convenience and necessity, and to execute deeds, leases, contracts, easements and other legal instruments necessary or convenient therefor. Any industrial lease may be executed by the district upon such terms and conditions and for such monetary rental or other considerations as may be found to be in the best interest of the public, upon an order or resolution being spread upon the minutes of the district authorizing same.
(b) To sue and be sued in their own name.
(c) To fix and prescribe fees, charges and rates for the use of any water, sewerage, pollution control or other facilities constructed and operated in connection with an industrial park or parks and to collect same from persons, firms and corporations using the same for industrial, warehouse and related purposes and are further empowered to deny or terminate such services for nonpayment of said fees, charges or rates by the users of said services.
(d) To employ engineers, attorneys, accountants, consultants, licensed real estate brokers and appraisers, and such executive and administrative personnel as shall be reasonably necessary to carry out the duties and authority authorized by this section with funds available for such purposes. Such districts may also contribute money directly to the development and cost of operation of any industrial development foundation or other private economic development group in the county.
(6) Any county board of supervisors authorized to issue bonds under this section is hereby authorized, either separately or jointly with the governing authority of any municipality within the county, to acquire, enlarge, expand, renovate or improve an existing building or buildings located in the county or municipality and to issue bonds for such purpose in the manner provided by this section.
(7) Economic development districts established under the provisions of a local and private act enacted before July 1, 1997, are authorized and empowered to employ engineers, attorneys, accountants, consultants, licensed real estate brokers and appraisers, and such executive and administrative personnel as shall be reasonably necessary to carry out the duties and authority authorized by this section, or by such local and private act, with funds available for such purposes.
(8) The enumeration of any specific rights and powers contained in this section where followed by general powers shall not be construed in a restrictive sense, but rather in as broad and comprehensive a sense as possible to effectuate the purposes of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.