1998 Regular Session
To: Public Utilities
By: Representatives Miles, Markham
House Bill 241
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 21-39-13, 21-27-17 AND 21-27-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE A MUNICIPALITY TO ALLOW A MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITY TO IMMEDIATELY REFUND A DEPOSIT TO A CUSTOMER OF A MUNICIPAL UTILITY AFTER THE MUNICIPAL UTILITY DETERMINES THAT PAYMENT FOR ALL SERVICES AND ANY OTHER OBLIGATIONS WHICH THE CUSTOMER MAY HAVE INCURRED IN REGARD TO THE UTILITY HAS BEEN MADE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 21-39-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-39-13. (1) (a) The clerk of the municipality shall draw all warrants or checks for claims and accounts allowed and approved by the governing authorities. Except as provided in subsection (b), the warrants or checks shall be signed by the mayor or a majority of the members of the board of aldermen in any municipality operating under a mayor-alderman form of government, and attested by the clerk, and to which there shall be affixed the seal of the municipality. The governing authorities of any municipality may adopt the use of a standard check signing machine to be used in lieu of the manual signing of warrants or checks under such terms and conditions as the governing authorities shall deem meet and proper for the protection of the interest of the municipality.
(b) A municipality may authorize a municipally owned utility to immediately refund to a customer of the municipal utility his or her deposit for municipal utility services after the municipal utility has determined that payment for all services and any other obligations which the customer may have incurred in regard to the municipal utility has been made.
(2) Every warrant or check drawn on the treasury shall express on its face to whom issued and for what purpose allowed, and the ordinance authorizing its issuance shall be cited, by minute book and page, in or upon it.
(3) All such warrants or checks shall be drawn against the proper fund in the municipality from which such allowed claims shall be paid, and all such warrants or checks shall be drawn in the order of their allowance. No warrant or check shall be signed, removed from the warrant book or checkbook or delivered by the clerk until there is sufficient money in the fund upon which it is drawn to pay the same and all prior unpaid warrants or checks drawn upon that fund, whether delivered or not.
(4) The owner of any claim against a municipality, either before or after allowance, may transfer same by assignment, and the holder of such assignment shall be entitled to receive the warrant or check therefor at the proper time by presenting such assignment to the clerk at any time before the delivery of the warrant or check to the original claimant.
SECTION 2. Section 21-27-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-27-17. The commission provided for by Section 21-27-13 is authorized to make such bylaws for the holding and conduct of its meetings and such other regulations as it may deem necessary for the safe, economic and efficient management and protection of the system or systems, and such bylaws and regulations shall have the same validity as an ordinance duly passed by the governing authorities of any municipality.
It is authorized to elect such officers and appoint such employees as may be necessary to operate the system or systems efficiently, and it shall have the entire control and management of such system or systems, together with all property connected or appertaining in any manner to such system or systems. The commission shall have the authority to employ a superintendent or manager of the systems, who shall have actual charge of the management and operation thereof and of the enforcement and execution of all the rules, regulations, programs, plans and decisions made and adopted by the commission in making purchases for materials and supplies to be used in the operation of the systems. In addition to any other purchasing authority granted by law, the commission may purchase electric transmission line materials, electric distribution system substation equipment, transformer equipment, and all other appliances, apparatus, machinery, equipment and appurtenances necessary for the sale of electricity, such as utility vehicles and fencing, from the surplus inventory of the Tennessee Valley Authority or any other similar agency of the federal government and electric power associations. These purchases shall be exempt from the public bid requirements prescribed in Sections 31-7-12 and 31-7-13. However, for all other purchases, the commission shall advertise for competitive bids in the manner and form as is required in accordance with Section 31-7-13. The superintendent or manager shall make and keep full and proper books and records of all purchases and shall submit them to the commission for its approval and ratification before payment thereof is authorized to be made. It shall have the right to fix the salaries and term of office of all employees and to direct them in the discharge of their duties. It shall have the right to require good and sufficient bonds from all officers and employees in such amounts as it may deem proper. It shall have the right to discharge employees when found inefficient or for other good cause. It shall have the power to make and collect rates for services and facilities, and appropriate funds for the maintenance and improvements of such systems. It is authorized to borrow from the Mississippi Development Bank in order to fund advance purchases of energy for gas producing, generating, transmission or distribution system or its electric generating, transmission or distribution system. It is authorized to insure all property used in the operation of such systems, including buildings, furniture, books and records, against loss by fire and tornado, and to carry sufficient amount of employers liability, steam boiler, plate glass and other miscellaneous casualty insurance, as in the discretion of the commission may be deemed proper, and to pay premiums therefor out of the funds derived from the operation of the systems. It shall report quarterly to the governing authorities of the municipality of all its doings and transactions of every kind whatsoever and shall make a complete statement of the financial condition of the systems at the end of each quarter, and shall annually make a detailed statement covering the entire management and operation of the systems, with any recommendations which it may have for the further development of the systems. At any time, the commission, by order or resolution, may authorize the expansion of activities of any component facility to include processing of materials on a custom basis or the processing and marketing of materials acquired to fully and efficiently utilize existing plant capacity. It shall also provide copies of all such quarterly and annual reports and statements to the Public Service Commission when so directed under Section 77-3-6.
The commission provided for by Section 21-27-13 is also authorized to immediately refund to a customer of the municipal utility his or her deposit for municipal utility services after the municipal utility has determined that payment for all services and any other obligations which the customer may have incurred in regard to the municipal utility has been made.
SECTION 3. Section 21-27-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-27-23. Any municipality is authorized and empowered:
(a) To borrow money and to issue revenue bonds therefor solely for the purposes specified in this section and by the procedure provided in Sections 21-27-41 through 21-27-69.
Money may be borrowed and bonds issued by any municipality of the State of Mississippi, as hereinbefore defined, to acquire or improve any waterworks system, water supply system, sewerage system, sewage disposal system, garbage disposal system, rubbish disposal system or incinerators, gas producing system, gas generating system, gas transmission system, or gas distribution system, electric generating, transmission or distribution system, or motor vehicle transportation system, including any combination of any or all of those systems into one (1) system, within or without the corporate limits thereof, for the purpose of supplying such municipality and the persons and corporations, both public and private, whether within or without its corporate limits, with the services and facilities afforded by such system, provided that water, electric energy, or gas afforded by any such system or systems may be supplied to such ultimate consumers thereof by sale thereof to the owners or operators of a distribution system for resale to the public. Any municipality which shall borrow money and issue revenue bonds to provide funds with which to acquire a gas transmission system may, if necessary, in order to reach and obtain a source of supply of gas for such municipality, extend or construct its gas transmission line into an adjoining state, and may use and expend part of the proceeds of such issue of revenue bonds for such purpose.
(b) To assume all indebtedness for any system or systems which may be acquired under the provisions of this section as all or part of the consideration for the acquisition of such system or systems and to issue its revenue bonds in exchange for the bonds or notes evidencing such indebtedness.
(c) To acquire or improve any system which it is authorized to borrow money and issue revenue bonds under subsection (a) of this section to acquire or improve; and to make contracts in furtherance thereof or in connection therewith.
(d) To own, operate and maintain any such system or combination of any and all of said systems into one (1) system.
(e) To establish, maintain and collect rates for the facilities and services offered by any such system; provided that if there is a combination of systems into one or more systems, the municipality establishing the same shall be and is empowered to establish, maintain and collect rates for any and all of the services or for any combination thereof, and such municipality shall be and is authorized to discontinue any or all of the services upon any failure to promptly pay the charges fixed for the services. The rates so fixed for services rendered by any system or combination thereof may be charged for all services rendered thereby, regardless of whether or not such services may have been previously rendered without rates or charges therefor by the previously existing waterworks system, water supply system, sewerage system, sewage disposal system, garbage disposal system, rubbish disposal system or incinerators, gas producing system, gas generating system, gas transmission system, or gas distribution system, electric generating, transmission or distribution system, which shall have been merged into such combined system. Any such municipality is authorized to pledge for the payment of any bonds issued to acquire or improve any such combined system, or to refund any bonds previously issued to acquire or improve any such combined system or to acquire or improve any system merged with such combined system, the revenues to be derived from the operation of such combined system, including the charges authorized to be imposed by this section.
A municipality may authorize a municipally owned utility to immediately refund to a customer of the municipal utility his or her deposit for municipal utility services after the municipal utility has determined that payment for all services and any other obligations which the customer may have incurred in regard to the municipal utility has been made.
If the revenues of any previously existing system being merged into a combined system are subject to a prior lien, the revenues and the expenses of any such previously existing system shall be accounted for separately to the extent necessary to satisfy the covenants relating to such prior lien for so long as the indebtedness secured by such revenues shall remain outstanding. Only surplus revenues remaining after the satisfaction of all covenants relating to said outstanding indebtedness may be pledged to the retirement of any indebtedness to be secured by the revenues of a combined system. The existence of such outstanding indebtedness shall not, in and of itself, prevent the combining of systems as herein provided, so long as the prior lien on the revenues of any previously existing system is fully satisfied from the revenues of said previously existing system.
(f) To acquire property, real or personal, which may be necessary to effectuate the powers herein conferred. The municipality may purchase electric transmission line materials, electric distribution system substation equipment, transformer equipment, and all other appliances, apparatus, machinery, equipment and appurtenances necessary for the sale of electricity, such as utility vehicles and fencing, from the surplus inventory of the Tennessee Valley Authority or any other similar agency of the federal government and electric power associations. These purchases by the municipality shall be exempt from the public bid requirements prescribed in Sections 31-7-12 and 31-7-13. If the power of eminent domain is exercised, it shall be exercised in the manner provided by Sections 11-27-1 through 11-27-51.
(g) To enter into contract with the United States of America or any agency thereof, under the provisions of acts of the Congress of the United States, to aid or encourage public works and the regulations made in pursuance thereof, for the sale of bonds issued in accordance with the provisions of Sections 21-27-41 through 21-27-69 or for the acceptance of a grant to aid such municipality in acquiring or improving any such system; and such contracts may contain such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by and between the municipality and the United States of America or any agency thereof, or any purchaser of such bonds.
(h) To adopt such ordinances and resolutions and to do all things and perform all acts necessary, proper or desirable to effectuate the full intent and purpose of Sections 21-27-11 through 21-27-69, including processing, marketing, custom processing, sale and resale of materials processed through any facility under its jurisdiction.
(i) To borrow from the Mississippi Development Bank in order to fund the advance purchase of energy for its gas producing, generating, transmission or distribution system or its electric generating, transmission or distribution system.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.