1998 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation; Ways and Means
By: Representative Perry
House Bill 1865
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF THE CITY OF OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, TO ACQUIRE, PURCHASE AND/OR CONSTRUCT, OWN, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN, LEASE, SELL, MORTGAGE, PLEDGE OR OTHERWISE DISPOSE OF, A TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM; TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY OF OXFORD TO ISSUE BONDS FOR THE PURPOSES PROVIDED IN THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act, the following terms shall have meanings ascribed in this section unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context in which they are used:
(a) "City" means the City of Oxford, Mississippi.
(b) "Governing authorities" means the governing authorities of the City of Oxford, Mississippi.
SECTION 2. The governing authorities, in their discretion, may:
(a) Acquire, purchase and/or construct, own, operate and maintain, lease, sell, mortgage, pledge or otherwise dispose of, in whole or in part, a telecommunications system within Lafayette County, Mississippi, comprised of
(i) Fiberoptic, coaxial, and/or copper conductors with necessary electronics, connections, and other plant and equipment necessary or appropriate to receive, transmit, broadcast and communicate voice, data, and/or video signals, and
(ii) Such other means or instruments of communication as the governing authorities in their discretion may select to accomplish the purposes of this act.
(b) Use the telecommunications system for the receipt, transmission, broadcast, or communication of voice, data, and/or video signals of each and every sort for:
(i) Control, monitoring and regulation of the city's utilities,
(ii) Communications by and among, from or to, the city's departments, and the public, executive, legislative or judicial offices of other governments and educational facilities in Lafayette County, Mississippi; and
(iii) Cable television services to persons, firms, public or private corporations, or other users or consumers of telecommunication services in Lafayette County.
(c) Lease, or otherwise by contract, provide access to the telecommunications system to one or more persons, firms, public or private corporations, or other users or consumers of telecommunication services, in order for such lessee(s) or contracting party to provide any lawful telecommunications service in Lafayette County the governing authorities may deem appropriate.
SECTION 3. To accomplish its telecommunications system, the city shall have power and is authorized:
(a) To accept grants, loans, or other financial assistance from any federal agency, for or in aid of the acquisition or improvement of the telecommunications system;
(b) To contract debts for the acquisition or improvement of the telecommunications system, to borrow money, to issue its bonds to finance such acquisition or improvement, as set forth hereinbelow, and to provide for the rights of the holders of the bonds and to secure the bonds as hereafter provided, and to pledge all or any part of the tangible and intangible assets constituting, or the revenues derived from the telecommunications system to the payment of such debts or repayment of money borrowed;
(c) To acquire, hold and, subject to the applicable provisions of any bonds or contracts, to dispose of any property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, or any right or interest in any such property in connection with the telecommunications system, however, the governing authorities shall dispose of all or substantially all of its telecommunications system only as provided by general law;
(d) To make contracts and execute instruments containing such covenants, terms, and conditions as in the discretion of the governing authorities may be necessary, proper or advisable for the purpose of obtaining loans from any federal agency, including, but without limitation, covenants, terms, and conditions with respect to the acquisition and/or construction of its telecommunications system or any improvement thereto with money in whole or in part borrowed from or granted by any such federal agency and subject to the provisions of any acts or joint resolutions of the Congress of the United States of America heretofore or hereafter enacted to encourage such public works; to make all other contracts and execute all other instruments as in the discretion of the governing authorities may be necessary, proper or advisable in or for the furtherance of the acquisition, improvement, operation and maintenance of the telecommunications system and the furnishing of telecommunications system services authorized by this act; and to carry out and perform the covenants, terms and conditions of all such contracts or instruments; and
(e) To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressly given in this act.
SECTION 4. (1) The governing authorities may issue negotiable bonds of the city, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00) for the purposes described in Section 2 of this act. General obligation bonds issued pursuant to this act shall be included within and subject to the twenty-percent (20%) limitation on municipal floating indebtedness provided in Section 21-33-303, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) The governing authorities are authorized to annually levy a special tax upon all of the taxable property within the city, which tax shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of the principal of and the interest on such general obligation bonds according to the terms thereof. Such bonds may also be secured by a pledge of the assets comprising the system or the revenue derived from it, which pledge shall be in addition to the pledge of the full faith and credit of the city.
SECTION 5. All general obligation bonds issued under this act shall be issued, and the proceeds managed, in accordance with the terms and provisions of Sections 21-33-307, 21-33-309, 21-33-311, 21-33-313, 21-33-315, 21-33-317, 21-33-319, 21-33-321 and 21-33-323, Mississippi Code of 1972, and sold in accordance with the provisions of Section 31-19-25, Mississippi Code of 1972. SECTION 6. In addition to the authority granted in Section 4 of this act, the governing authorities may issue revenue bonds for the purposes described in Section 2 of this act. All revenue bonds issued as hereinabove provided shall be issued, and the proceeds managed, in accordance with the terms and provisions of Sections 21-27-23, 21-27-41, 21-27-45, 21-27-47, 21-27-49, 21-27-51, 21-27-53, 21-27-55, 21-27-57, 21-27-59, 21-27-61, 21-27-63, 21-27-65, 21-27-67 and 21-27-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, as if the telecommunications system were included in the statutory definition of "system" used in those provisions, and the revenue bonds shall be sold in accordance with the provisions of Section 31-19-25, Mississippi Code of 1972. There shall be no requirement for the governing authorities to hold an election and obtain voter approval before issuing revenue bonds in accordance with these provisions, so long as the bonds are not backed by the full faith and credit of the city or to be repaid by ad valorem taxes.
SECTION 7. This act, without reference to any other statute not referred to herein, shall be deemed to be full and complete authority for the borrowing of money and the issuing of bonds as authorized by the governing authorities and shall be construed as an additional and alternate method therefor.
SECTION 8. Any bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall be validated in the manner provided by law.
SECTION. 9. All expenses actually incurred by the governing authorities in the making of surveys, estimates of costs and revenues, employment of engineers, attorneys or other employees, the giving of notices, taking of options, selling of bonds, and all other preliminary expenses of whatever nature, which the governing authorities deem necessary in connection with or precedent to the acquisition or improvement of its telecommunications system and which they deem necessary to be paid prior to the issuance and delivery of the bonds issued pursuant to the provisions of this act, may be met and paid out of the general fund of said municipality not otherwise appropriated, or from any other available funds.
All such payments from the general fund or other funds shall be considered as temporary loans and shall be repaid promptly upon sale and delivery of the bonds authorized under this act, and claim for such repayment shall have priority over all other claims against the proceeds derived from the sale of such bonds.
SECTION 10. The general supervision and control of the acquisition, improvement, operation, maintenance and disposition of the telecommunications system shall be in the charge of the governing authorities, which shall acquire, improve, operate, maintain and dispose of the telecommunications system as it shall see fit, in its sole discretion, in accordance with applicable law.
The governing authorities may organize a telecommunications department of the city and appoint a telecommunications superintendent (hereinafter called "superintendent"), who shall be qualified by training and experience for the general superintendence of the acquisition, improvement and operation of the telecommunications system. His salary shall be fixed by the governing authorities in their discretion, in accordance with applicable laws for municipal employment.
Subject to the provisions of applicable bonds or contracts, the governing authorities shall determine programs and make all plans for the acquisition of the telecommunications system, shall make all determinations as to improvements, rates and financial practices, may establish such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary or appropriate to govern the furnishing of telecommunications services, and may disburse all moneys available for the acquisition, improvement, operation, maintenance or disposition of the telecommunications system and the furnishing of telecommunications services.
In addition to such other powers as may be delegated by the governing authorities, the superintendent may let all contracts, subject to the approval of the governing authorities, but may, without such approval, obligate the telecommunications department on purchase orders up to an amount to be fixed by the governing authorities, but not to exceed Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00).
Any work or construction in connection with the telecommunications system, exceeding in cost Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) shall, before any contract is let or work done, be advertised for bids; the governing authorities shall have power to reject any and all bids.
The governing authorities shall organize the system so as to make and keep full and proper books and records.
SECTION 11. The city may charge for any telecommunications services provided only to its own department and utilities, and if the city does so charge, the city may pay such charges out of its general fund not otherwise appropriated or any other funds available to it, and revenues from such services shall be treated like any other revenues of the system.
To the extent the city provides telecommunications services to its departments and works, as well as to other customers, the governing authorities shall charge its departments and works thereof, for the telecommunications service furnished to them, at the same rates applicable to other customers taking the service. Revenues derived from such service shall be treated as all other revenues of the telecommunications system service.
The city shall charge for any telecommunications services provided to public, executive, legislative or judicial offices of other governments and educational facilities in the City of Oxford, at rates uniformly and consistently applied to such public offices and educational facilities, such rates to be determined by the governing authorities in their discretion. The city shall charge for cable television and leased access services, at rates uniformly and consistently applied, such rates to be determined by the governing authorities in their discretion.
SECTION 12. The governing authorities may adopt any and all lawful resolutions, orders and ordinances, and do and perform any and all acts and things necessary and requisite to carry out the purposes of this act. However, no action taken by the governing authorities under this act may be in violation of any applicable federal law or regulation.
SECTION 13. Rates charged by the city for telecommunications system services shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any state bureau, board, commission, or other like instrumentality or agency thereof. It shall not be necessary for the governing authorities to obtain any franchise or other permit from any state bureau, board, commission or other instrumentality thereof, in order to acquire, purchase and/or construct, improve, enlarge, extend or repair, operate or maintain, mortgage, pledge, lease, sell or otherwise use or dispose of its telecommunications system. However, that the governing authorities may obtain such a franchise from the city or such a permit from state bureaus, boards, commissions or instrumentalities.
SECTION 14. This act is for the public purpose of promoting the increased use of telecommunications system services and promoting competition for telecommunications services in the city. This act is remedial in nature and the powers granted in it shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes hereof, and to this end the governing authorities shall have power to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes hereof in addition to the powers expressly conferred. The powers conferred hereby shall be in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred by any other law. This act supersedes any conflicting provisions of the general laws of the State of Mississippi, private act or charter.
SECTION 15. If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this act are declared to be severable.
SECTION 16. The governing authorities shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 17. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.