1999 Regular Session
To: Conservation and Water Resources
By: Representative Simpson (By Request)
House Bill 794
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 51-29-39, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DAYS THAT MUST ELAPSE AFTER SERVICE OF A SUMMONS BEFORE A DEFAULT JUDGMENT MAY BE ENTERED, IN THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE COMMISSIONERS OF A DRAINAGE DISTRICT APPRAISE THE VALUE OF LAND TAKEN FOR DISTRICT IMPROVEMENTS AND PAY COMPENSATION THEREFOR; TO AMEND SECTION 21-19-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO GRANT ADDITIONAL MUNICIPALITIES THE AUTHORITY TO CLEAR DRAINAGE DITCHES ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY; TO IMPOSE RESTRICTIONS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO AMEND SECTION 51-35-305, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO GRANT ADDITIONAL MUNICIPALITIES THE AUTHORITY TO ORGANIZE FLOOD AND DRAINAGE CONTROL DISTRICTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 51-29-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
51-29-39. In lieu of the method provided in Sections 51-29-29 through 51-29-35 for acquiring land and making compensation for damages, the drainage commissioners may adopt the following method for acquiring lands and making compensation for damages, to wit:
The commissioners may, at any time after the organization of the district, appraise the value of any land taken or to be taken for the purposes of the proposed improvement, according to the plans of the district on file, and the damages resulting to the owners from such taking * * *. The board may specify, in case of any property, the particular purpose for which and the extent to which easement is desired, and the assessment of property in such case shall represent only the damages resulting from the use so specified. They may make a complete appraisement of all such lands, taken or to be taken, at one time, or at any time make appraisements as it becomes necessary or desirable. When the commissioners * * * have made their appraisement of lands taken, they shall certify to the same and file it with the clerk of the chancery court of the county in which the land lies. The court, or chancellor in vacation, shall enter an order designating the date, time, and place for the hearing of objections to such appraisement, either at a regular term of the court or in vacation * * *. The clerk shall issue a summons directed to the sheriff of the county or counties of the state in which any landowner or other person interested may reside, commanding him to summon such owner or owners or interested persons to * * * appear at the time and place named. If the owner of any land sought to be taken is an infant or person of unsound mind, the summons may be served on his guardian; and the guardian in such cases is authorized, subject to the approval of the chancellor in termtime or vacation, to sell and convey such property and dedicate it thus to the public use, or he may agree upon the damages and thereby bind the ward. If there is no guardian in such case, the chancellor in vacation may, on application of anyone in interest, appoint a guardian ad litem to represent such infant or person of unsound mind, whose acts and doings in the premises shall be valid and binding on the ward. The chancellor may require a bond of such guardian ad litem. The clerk of the court shall notify the guardian ad litem of his appointment and the amount of bond required, if any, by certified mail sent to the post office address of the guardian. If the owner of such land is a nonresident of the state or cannot be found, or if the owner is unknown, and this shall apply to any person interested, upon affidavit to that fact being made by the commissioners or by their agent or attorney, service of the summons may be delivered to any of his agents in charge of the land; or publication shall be made in the manner provided by law for publication for nonresident and unknown parties in chancery suits. If the land belongs to a deceased person whose estate is being administered, the summons may be served upon the executor or administrator, who shall, for all purposes of this chapter, be authorized to act for the owner, and * * * shall be responsible on his bond accordingly. Such notice, when published, need only state that the hearing will be for the purpose of confirming the report of the commissioners as to the appraisement of land taken for the use of the district. The notice shall contain the names of the owners or persons interested in such land and their post office address, if known, and if unknown, that fact shall be so stated, and * * * shall * * * contain a list of the land, described by section numbers, belonging to such nonresident owners * * * through which the ditches of the district are to run, or which such lands are to be taken for the uses of the district.
If any owner is not satisfied with the amount allowed by the commissioners for lands taken by reason of the construction of such proposed system according to the plans of the district, he shall file with the clerk of the court written objections * * *, in specific terms, prior to the time designated for the hearing.
If * * * no written objections are filed, a decree confirming the appraisement shall be rendered, and upon payment of the amount to the chancery clerk, the commissioners of the district may enter upon and take possession of the * * * property and appropriate it to the public use of the district and the title of the property shall thereupon vest in the district. The clerk shall receipt upon the decree for the money paid, and the decree with the receipt thereon shall be recorded.
If written objections are filed prior to the time set for the hearing, the court or chancellor in vacation shall proceed to hear the objections filed, trying the cause or causes without the intervention of a jury.
No judgment by default shall be entered against an owner or person interested residing in this state unless it appears that he has been duly served with summons at least thirty (30) days before the return day, and no judgment by default shall be rendered against any nonresident or unknown person or persons interested unless proper publication has been made.
SECTION 2. Section 21-19-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-19-13. (1) The governing authorities of municipalities shall have the power to establish, alter and change the channels of streams or other water courses, and to bridge the same, whenever so to do will promote the health, comfort and convenience of the inhabitants of such municipality. * * *
(2) The governing authorities of any municipality with a population of ten thousand (10,000) or more according to the most recent federal census shall also have the power and authority to incur costs and pay necessary expenses in providing labor, materials and supplies to clean or clear drainage ditches, creeks or channels, whether on public or private property, and to incur costs and pay necessary expenses in providing labor, materials and supplies in order to prevent erosion where such erosion has been caused or will be caused by such drainage ditches, creeks or channels. This paragraph shall not impose any obligation or duty upon the municipality and shall not create any additional rights for the benefit of any owner of public or private property.
(3) No additional taxes shall be imposed for the works authorized under subsections (1) and (2) of this section until the governing authorities shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention to levy the taxes and establishing the amount of the tax levies and the date on which the taxes initially will be levied and collected. This date shall be the first day of a month but not earlier than the first day of the second month from the date of adoption of the resolution. Notice of the proposed tax levies shall be published once each week for at least three (3) weeks in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality. The first publication of the notice shall be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the date fixed in the resolution on which the governing authorities propose to levy the taxes, and the last publication of the notice shall be made not more than seven (7) days before that date. If, within the time of giving notice, fifteen percent (15%) or two thousand five hundred (2,500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the municipality file a written petition against the levy of the taxes, then the taxes shall not be levied unless authorized by a majority of the qualified electors of the municipality voting at an election to be called and held for that purpose.
(4) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2001.
SECTION 3. Section 51-35-305, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
51-35-305. (1) Flood and drainage control districts may now or hereafter be organized in this state under the provisions of this article, in the manner hereinafter provided, whenever any part of such district lies wholly or partially in or adjacent to any part of a municipality having a population of ten thousand (10,000) or more inhabitants at the time of the filing of the petition to create such district. For the purposes of determining population of any municipality, the last completed census prior to the filing of such petition shall be presumed to be the population of such municipality at the time of the filing of such petition. Each flood and drainage control district shall be an agency of the state and a body politic and corporate, and may be composed of one or more entire municipalities or a part or parts thereof, one or more entire counties or a part or parts thereof, or any combination of counties and municipalities or a part or parts thereof.
(2) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2001.
SECTION 4. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is hereby directed to 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 5. 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.