1998 Regular Session

To: Insurance; Appropriations

By: Representative Straughter

House Bill 1314



SECTION 1. Section 17-23-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

17-23-1. (1) There is established a rural fire truck acquisition assistance program to be administered by the Department of Insurance for the purpose of assisting counties and municipalities in the acquisition of fire trucks.

(2) There is created in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Rural Fire Truck Fund." The Legislature may appropriate an amount not to exceed Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00), or that amount obligated by the Department of Insurance, from the State General Fund to such special fund, which sum shall be added to the remainder of the money transferred on July 1, 1995, and during the 1996 Regular Session to the Rural Fire Truck Fund. The appropriation may be made * * * during the 1999 Regular Session. Such monies as are deposited into the fund under the provisions of this section * * * may be available after the 1999 Regular Session and such monies must be obligated by December 31, 2000, upon legislative appropriation, and upon requisition therefor by the Commissioner of Insurance, in accordance with the provisions of this section. Unexpended amounts remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Insurance continue to accept applications from the counties for fire trucks from the additional funds authorized by this subsection. The Department of Insurance shall include these funds in the fiscal years 1999 and 2000 budget requests.

(3) (a) A county that meets the requirements provided herein may receive an amount not to exceed One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) as provided in subparagraphs (i), (ii) and (iii) of this paragraph, and such amount shall be divided equally with not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) per fire truck. Monies distributed under this chapter shall be expended only for the purchase of new fire trucks and such trucks must meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards in the 1900 series.

(i) Any county that has not applied for a fire truck under this section is eligible to submit applications for three (3) fire trucks at not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) per truck or a total of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00).

(ii) Any county that has received one (1) fire truck under this section is eligible to submit applications for two (2) fire trucks at not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) per truck or a total of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00).

(iii) Any county that has received two (2) fire trucks under this section is eligible to submit an application for one (1) fire truck or a total of not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).

(b) The board of supervisors of the county shall submit its request for the receipt of monies to the Department of Insurance. A committee composed of the Commissioner of Insurance, the State Fire Coordinator, the Director of the Rating Bureau and the Director of the State Fire Academy shall review the requests by the boards of supervisors and shall determine whether the county or municipality for which the board of supervisors has requested a truck meets the requirements of eligibility under this chapter.

(c) To be eligible to receive monies under this chapter:

(i) A county or municipality must pledge to set aside or dedicate each year as matching funds, for a period not to extend over ten (10) years, local funds in an amount equal to or not less than one-tenth (1/10) of the amount of monies for which it is requesting distribution from the Rural Fire Truck Fund, which pledged monies may be derived from local ad valorem tax authorized by law or from any other funds available to the county or municipality, except for those funds received by municipalities or counties from the Municipal Fire Protection Fund or the County Volunteer Fire Department Fund, as defined in Sections 83-1-37 and 83-1-39.

(ii) A municipality must provide adequate documentation of its contract with the county that requires the municipality to provide fire protection in rural areas. The term "rural areas" means any area within the county located outside the boundaries of an incorporated municipality or any incorporated municipality with a population of two thousand five hundred (2,500) or less.

(d) The Department of Insurance shall maintain an accurate record of all monies distributed to counties and municipalities and the number of fire trucks purchased and the cost for each fire truck, such records to be kept separate from other records of the Department of Insurance; notify counties and municipalities of the rural fire truck acquisition assistance program and the requirements for them to become eligible to participate; adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary and desirable to implement the provisions of this chapter; and file with the Legislature on or before January 2, 1999, and July 1, 1999, a report detailing how monies made available under this chapter were distributed and spent during the preceding portion of the fiscal year in each county and municipality, the number of fire trucks purchased, the counties and municipalities making such purchases and the cost of each fire truck purchased.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.