1997 Regular Session
To: Local and Private
By: Senator(s) Furniss
Senate Bill 3232
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 914, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1992, AS AMENDED, TO AUTHORIZE THE COAHOMA COUNTY TOURISM COMMISSION TO DONATE SURPLUS COMMISSION PROPERTY; TO AUTHORIZE SUCH COMMISSION TO TRANSFER CERTAIN REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY AND ASSETS TO COAHOMA COUNTY TO AID SUCH COUNTY IN ITS ELIGIBILITY FOR THE RECEIPT OF GRANTS OR LOANS FOR TOURISM AND CONVENTION PROJECTS IN THE COUNTY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Chapter 914, Local and Private Laws of 1992, as amended by Chapter 906, Local and Private Laws of 1996, is amended as follows:
Section 1. For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the meanings herein ascribed unless the context otherwise clearly requires:
(a) "Bar" means any bar, tavern or lounge which are on-premises Alcoholic Beverage Control permit holders where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises;
(b) "Board" means the Board of Supervisors of Coahoma County, Mississippi;
(c) "Commission" means the Coahoma County Tourism Commission;
(d) "County" means Coahoma County, Mississippi;
(e) "Hotel" or "motel" means any establishment engaged in the business of furnishing or providing rooms intended or designed for lodging or sleeping purposes for transient guests, which establishment consists of ten (10) or more guest rooms and does not encompass any hospital, convalescent or nursing home; sanitarium; or any hotel-like facility operated by or in connection with a hospital or medical clinic providing rooms exclusively for patients and their families;
(f) "Prepared food" means food prepared on the premises of a restaurant;
(g) "Restaurant" means and includes all places where prepared food and beverages are sold for consumption, whether such food is consumed on the premises or not.
Section 2. There is hereby created the Coahoma County Tourism Commission which shall be domiciled in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Section 3. (1) The commission shall be composed of five (5) resident citizens of the county, one (1) at large member being appointed by each member of the board. The initial members appointed shall serve terms as follows: the member appointed by the Supervisor of District 1 shall be appointed for a term of one (1) year; the member appointed by the Supervisor of District 2 shall be appointed for a term of two (2) years; the member appointed by the Supervisor of District 3 shall be appointed for a term of three (3) years; the member appointed by the Supervisor of District 4 shall be appointed for a term of four (4) years; and the member appointed by the Supervisor of District 5 shall be appointed for a term of five (5) years; thereafter, such members shall serve terms of five (5) years each.
(2) Before entering upon the duties of office, each member of the commission shall take and subscribe to the oath of office required by Section 268, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, and shall give bond in the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50.000), conditioned upon the faithful performance of his duties, such bond to be made payable to the county and to be approved by the board. The members of the commission shall meet at the regular meeting place of the board within fifteen (15) days after the members are initially appointed; shall elect from their number a president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer of the commission; and shall adopt a seal and such by-laws, rules and regulations as may be necessary to govern the time, place and manner for holding subsequent meetings of the commission and for conduct of its business, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act. The members of the commission shall serve without salary or compensation; however, members may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, including mileage, as authorized by Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(3) Any member of the commission may be removed from office at any time for any reason by a majority vote of the board.
Section 4. The commission shall have jurisdiction and authority over all matters relating to establishing, promoting and developing conventions and tourism in the county and is hereby expressly authorized and empowered:
(a) To sue and be sued in its own name;
(b) To acquire by gift, purchase or otherwise, own, rent, lease, hold, maintain, control and develop real and personal property within the county;
(c) To contract for the furnishing, equipping and operation of facilities necessary or useful in promoting tourism and conventions;
(d) To receive and expend, subject to the provisions of this act, revenues from any source;
(e) To sell, donate, convey or otherwise dispose of all or any part of its surplus property and assets in accordance with the general laws of the State of Mississippi providing for the sale, donation, conveyance and disposal of surplus property by counties;
(f) To appoint and employ attorneys, accountants, consultants, promoters and other personnel and to contract with agencies to act for and on its behalf as may be reasonable and necessary in the performance of its duties, powers and responsibilities under this act; * * *
(g) To adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary or advantageous to carry out its powers and duties under this act; and
(h) To sell, donate, convey or otherwise dispose of or transfer all or any part of its real or personal property and assets acquired for the purpose of establishing, promoting and developing conventions and tourism in the county when the commission finds that it is in the best interest of the promotion of conventions or tourism in the county to transfer such assets to the county to provide for receipt by the county of grants or loans to develop convention and tourism projects in the county.
The enumeration of any specific rights and powers contained herein, and elsewhere in this act, where followed by general powers, shall not be construed in a restrictive sense but, rather, in a broad and comprehensive sense for the fulfillment of the purposes of this act.
Section 5. (1) For the purpose of providing operating funds for the commission to promote tourism and conventions, the board is hereby authorized, in its discretion, to levy and assess upon, and collect from, every person, firm and corporation operating a hotel or motel in the county, a tax, in addition to all other taxes and assessments imposed by the county, in an amount of two percent (2%) of the gross proceeds from room rentals of such hotels and motels in the county, excluding charges for telephone, laundry and similar service charges. The tax shall not be levied upon or collected from gross proceeds of nontaxable rooms or gross proceeds of room rentals for day meetings that do not serve as overnight sleeping accommodations.
(2) The board is also authorized to impose upon persons doing business within the county, other than the tax imposed on hotel and motel rooms under subsection (1) of this section, a tax at a rate of one percent (1%) on the gross receipts of restaurants and bars from retail sales of prepared food, beer and alcoholic beverages.
(3) Before imposing the taxes described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section the board shall, by resolution spread upon its minutes, declare its intention to impose the taxes authorized by this act and state in such resolution the amount of the taxes proposed to be imposed, and shall likewise fix in such resolution the date upon which the board proposes to enact its resolution directing the levy and assessment of such taxes. Notice of such intention shall be published once a week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper published or having a general circulation in the county, with the first publication of such notice to be made not less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the date fixed in the board's resolution upon which the board proposes to enact its resolution directing the levy and assessment of such taxes and the last publication to be made not more than seven (7) days prior to such date. If, on or before the date specified in the resolution, twenty percent (20%) or fifteen hundred (1500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the county shall file a written protest against the imposition of such taxes, then an election upon the levy and assessment of such taxes shall be called and held as hereby provided. If no such protest shall be filed, then the board may enact its resolution directing the levy and assessment of such taxes without an election on the question of the levy and assessment thereof at any time within a period of six (6) months after the date specified in the resolution. If an election is required by the protest of the appropriate number of qualified electors of the county, then an election shall be held by the county under applicable laws for conducting elections for the protest of bond issues, with such election to be conducted on the next special election day as such day is defined by Section 23-15-833, Mississippi Code of 1972, occurring more than sixty (60) days after the date specified in the aforesaid resolution.
(4) At such election, all qualified electors of the county may vote, and the ballots used in such election shall have printed thereon a brief statement of the amount and purposes of the proposed taxes and the words "FOR THE TOURISM TAX" and the words "AGAINST THE TOURISM TAX", and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (X) or check (U) opposite their choice on the proposition.
(5) When the results of any such election shall have been canvassed by the election commission of the county, and certified, the board may impose the taxes if a majority of the qualified electors who vote in such an election vote in favor of the imposition of such taxes. If such taxes shall be approved, the board may levy and assess and direct the collection of such taxes within six (6) months from the date of such election or within six (6) months after final favorable termination of any litigation affecting the imposition of such taxes, at such time or times as shall be deemed proper by the board.
(6) Persons liable for the taxes imposed under this section shall add the amount of tax to the sales price and, in addition thereto, shall collect, insofar as practicable, the amount of tax due by them from the person receiving the services or goods at the time of payment therefor.
(7) All such taxes shall be collected by and paid to the State Tax Commission on a form prescribed by the State Tax Commission in the same manner that state sales taxes are computed, collected and paid; and the full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Chapter 65, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation and administration of this act.
(8) The proceeds of such taxes, less three percent (3%) to be retained by the State Tax Commission to defray the costs of collection, shall be paid to the commission on or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which collected. The proceeds of the taxes shall be dedicated solely for the purposes of this act. The proceeds of the taxes shall not be considered by the county as general fund revenue and shall be paid directly to the commission.
(9) Before the commission shall expend any funds from whatever source, a cost category budget reflecting all anticipated receipts and expenditures shall be approved by cost category by the board. The first budget of anticipated receipts and expenditures shall cover the period beginning with the effective date of receipt of taxes and ending with the end of the county's fiscal year; and, thereafter, the commission's budget shall be on the same fiscal basis as the budget of the county. During the initial fiscal year the commission shall present its proposed budget to the board for review, modification and approval, as in the board's discretion it deems appropriate, within thirty (30) days after first receiving taxes but before the expenditure of any funds. Following the initial fiscal year, the commission shall present its proposed cost category budget to the board not later than July 1 annually for its review, modification and approval, as in the board's discretion it deems appropriate. The commission shall make no unbudgeted expenditure which when taken in conjunction with previous expenditures would cause the commission to exceed its cost category authority as approved in its budget.
(10) The commission shall keep accurate records of all receipts and expenditures, employing generally accepted accounting procedures. The financial records of the commission shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, or the office of the State Auditor if provided by law, and the auditor performing the audit shall thereafter provide a full written report of his audit findings and exceptions to the commission and the board. The audit shall be made and completed as soon as practicable after the close of the county's fiscal year, and a copy of the report of audit shall be filed by the commission with the clerk of the board to be maintained on file for inspection by the public within fifteen (15) days after its completion and presentation by the auditor.
Section 6. Chapter 938, Local and Private Laws of 1991, which creates a Coahoma County Tourism Commission, is hereby repealed.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.