1999 Regular Session
To: Ways and Means
By: Representatives Reynolds, Gadd, Gibbs, Hudson, Livingston, Maples
House Bill 1652
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAM TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSISTING COUNTIES IN PURCHASING FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT OR FIRE TRUCKS, OR BOTH; TO CREATE A SPECIAL FUND IN THE STATE TREASURY DESIGNATED AS THE "COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT REVOLVING LOAN FUND"; TO PRESCRIBE THE MANNER IN WHICH FUNDS UNDER THIS ACT MAY BE MADE AVAILABLE AND EXPENDED BY COUNTIES; TO PRESCRIBE THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTION 27-33-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAX LOSS BECAUSE OF HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ALLOCATED TO COUNTIES TO BE PLEDGED AS SECURITY FOR A LOAN UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUANCE OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS TO PROVIDE MONIES FOR THE FUND; TO AMEND SECTION 57-1-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. There is established a county fire protection equipment revolving loan program to be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development for the purpose of assisting counties in purchasing fire protection equipment or fire trucks, or both.
SECTION 2. (1) There is created a special fund in the State Treasury to be designated as the "County Fire Protection Equipment Revolving Loan Fund," hereinafter referred to as "revolving fund," which fund shall consist of such monies as provided in Sections 5 and 12 of this act. The revolving fund may receive appropriations, bond proceeds, grants, gifts, donations or funds from any source, public or private. The revolving fund shall be credited with all repayments of principal and interest derived from loans made from the revolving fund. The monies in the revolving fund may be expended only in amounts appropriated by the Legislature. The revolving fund shall be maintained in perpetuity for the purposes established in this act. Unexpended amounts remaining in the revolving fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund, and any interest earned on amounts in the revolving fund shall be deposited to the credit of the fund. Monies in the revolving fund may not be used or expended for any purpose except as authorized under this act. All or any portion of the monies in the fund may be used to match any federal funds that are available for the same or related purposes for which funds are used and expended under this act. However, any such federal funds shall be used and expended only in accordance with federal laws, rules and regulations governing the expenditure of such funds.
(2) The Department of Economic and Community Development shall establish loan programs by which loans may be made available to counties to assist such counties in purchasing fire protection equipment or fire trucks, or both. The interest rate on such loans may vary from time to time and from loan to loan as determined by the Department of Economic and Community Development, and shall be substantially equal to, but not more than, a rate necessary to repay the state's cost of making such loans. The department shall act as quickly as is practicable and prudent in deciding on any loan request that it receives. Loans from the revolving fund may be made to counties, as set forth in a loan agreement in amounts not to exceed one hundred percent (100%) of eligible project costs as established by the department. The department may require county participation or funding from other sources, or otherwise limit the percentage of costs covered by loans from the revolving fund. The maximum amount for any loan from the revolving fund shall be Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00).
(3) A county that receives a loan from the revolving fund shall pledge for repayment of the loan any part of the homestead exemption annual tax loss reimbursement to which it may be entitled under Section 27-33-77. All recipients of such loans shall establish a dedicated source of revenue for repayment of the loan. Each loan agreement shall provide for (i) monthly payments, (ii) semiannual payments or (iii) other periodic payments, the annual total of which shall not exceed the annual total for any other year of the loan by more than fifteen percent (15%). The loan agreement shall provide for the repayment of all funds received from the revolving fund within not more than fifteen (15) years from the date of the purchase of the fire protection equipment or fire trucks, and any repayment shall commence not later than one (1) year after the purchase of the fire protection equipment or fire trucks.
(4) The State Auditor, upon request of the department, shall audit the receipts and expenditures of a county whose loan repayments appear to be in arrears, and if the Auditor finds that the county is in arrears in such payments, the Auditor shall immediately notify the department which may take such action as may be necessary to enforce the terms of the loan agreement, including liquidation and enforcement of the security given for repayment of the loan, and the Executive Director of the Department of Finance and Administration who shall withhold all future payments to the county of homestead exemption reimbursements under Section 27-33-77 until such time as the county is again current in its loan repayments as certified by the department.
(5) All monies deposited in the revolving fund including loan repayments and interest earned on those repayments, shall be used only for providing loans or other financial assistance to counties as the department deems appropriate. However, any amounts in the revolving fund may be used to defray the reasonable costs of administering the revolving fund and conducting activities under this act, subject to annual appropriation by the Legislature.
SECTION 3. In administering the provisions of this act, the department shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To supervise the use of all funds made available under this act;
(b) To review and certify all purchases for which funds are authorized to be made available under this act;
(c) To requisition monies in the revolving loan fund and distribute those monies on a purchase-by-purchase basis in accordance with the provisions of this act;
(d) To ensure that the funds made available under this act to a county are distributed among the counties under a priority system established by the department;
(e) To maintain in accordance with generally accepted government accounting standards an accurate record of all monies in the revolving fund made available to counties and the costs for each purchase;
(f) To establish policies, procedures and requirements concerning viability and financial capability to repay loans that may be used in approving loans available under the provisions of this act, including a requirement that all loan recipients have a rate structure which will be sufficient to cover the costs of repayment of any loans made under this act; and
(g) To file annually with the Legislature a report detailing how monies in the revolving loan fund were spent during the preceding fiscal year in each county, the number of purchases and the cost of each purchase.
SECTION 4. Section 27-33-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-33-77. Beginning with the 1985 supplemental roll, and for each succeeding year's roll thereafter, the amount of tax loss to be reimbursed because of exemptions provided for in this article shall be Fifty Dollars ($50.00) each for county taxes exempted and school taxes exempted for a total of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per applicant qualifying for homestead exemption under this article.
The reimbursement received by the county shall be distributed by the county treasurer to the general fund. Such reimbursement may be pledged as security for any loan received by the county for the purpose of capital improvements as authorized under Section 57-1-303, or for the purpose of loans as authorized under Section 17-24-7, or for the purpose of water systems improvements as authorized under Section 41-3-16, or for the purpose of loans as authorized under House Bill No. , 1999 Regular Session.
Provided further, that tax losses sustained by municipalities because of exemptions granted to homeowners described in subsection (2) of Section 27-33-67 shall be reimbursed up to the amount of the actual exemption allowed, not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) per qualified applicant.
SECTION 5. The Department of Economic and Community Development at one time or from time to time, may declare by resolution the necessity for issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Mississippi to provide funds for all costs incurred or to be incurred by the department for purchases as described in Section 1 of this act. Upon the adoption of a resolution by the department, declaring the necessity for the issuance of any part or all of the general obligation bonds authorized by this section, the department shall deliver a certified copy of its resolution or resolutions to the State Bond Commission. Upon receipt of such resolution, the State Bond Commission, in its discretion, may act as the issuing agent, prescribe the form of the bonds, advertise for and accept bids, issue and sell the tax exempt or taxable bonds so authorized to be sold, and do any and all other things necessary and advisable in connection with the issuance and sale of such bonds. The amount of bonds issued under Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall not exceed Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00), the proceeds of which shall be deposited in the revolving fund.
SECTION 6. The principal of and interest on the bonds authorized under Section 5 of this act shall be payable in the manner provided in this section. Such bonds shall bear such date or dates, be in such denomination or denominations, bear interest at such rate or rates (not to exceed the limits set forth in Section 75-17-101), be payable at such place or places within or without the State of Mississippi, shall mature absolutely at such time or times not to exceed twenty-five (25) years from date of issue, be redeemable before maturity at such time or times and upon such terms, with or without premium, shall bear such registration privileges, and shall be substantially in such form, all as shall be determined by resolution of the State Bond Commission.
SECTION 7. The bonds authorized by Section 5 of this act shall be signed by the Chairman of the State Bond Commission, or by his facsimile signature, and the official seal of the State Bond Commission shall be affixed thereto, attested by the Secretary of the State Bond Commission. The interest coupons, if any, to be attached to such bonds may be executed by the facsimile signatures of such officers. Whenever any such bonds shall have been signed by the officials designated to sign the bonds who were in office at the time of such signing but who may have ceased to be such officers before the sale and delivery of such bonds, or who may not have been in office on the date such bonds may bear, the signatures of such officers upon such bonds and coupons shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes and have the same effect as if the person so officially signing such bonds had remained in office until their delivery to the purchaser, or had been in office on the date such bonds may bear. However, notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, such bonds may be issued as provided in the Registered Bond Act of the State of Mississippi.
SECTION 8. All bonds and interest coupons issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the provisions of the Mississippi Uniform Commercial Code, and in exercising the powers granted by Sections 5 through 19 of this act, the State Bond Commission shall not be required to and need not comply with the provisions of the Mississippi Uniform Commercial Code.
SECTION 9. The State Bond Commission shall act as the issuing agent for the bonds authorized under Sections 5 through 19 of this act, prescribe the form of the bonds, advertise for and accept bids, issue and sell the bonds so authorized to be sold, pay all fees and costs incurred in such issuance and sale, and do all other things necessary and advisable in connection with the issuance and sale of the bonds. The State Bond Commission may pay the costs that are incident to the sale, issuance and delivery of the bonds authorized under Sections 5 through 19 of this act from the proceeds derived from the sale of the bonds. The State Bond Commission shall sell such bonds on sealed bids at public sale, and for such price as it may determine to be for the best interest of the State of Mississippi, but no such sale may be made at a price less than par plus accrued interest to the date of delivery of the bonds to the purchaser. All interest accruing on such bonds so issued shall be payable semiannually or annually; however, the first interest payment may be for any period of not more than one (1) year.
Notice of the sale of any such bond shall be published at least one (1) time, not less than ten (10) days before the date of sale, and shall be so published in one or more newspapers published or having a general circulation in the City of Jackson, Mississippi, and in one or more other newspapers or financial journals with a national circulation, to be selected by the State Bond Commission.
The State Bond Commission, when issuing any bonds under the authority of Sections 5 through 19 of this act, may provide that bonds, at the option of the State of Mississippi, may be called in for payment and redemption at the call price named therein and accrued interest on such date or dates named therein.
SECTION 10. The bonds issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act are general obligations of the State of Mississippi, and for the payment thereof the full faith and credit of the State of Mississippi is irrevocably pledged. If the funds appropriated by the Legislature are insufficient to pay the principal of and interest on such bonds as they become due, then the deficiency shall be paid by the State Treasurer from any funds in the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated. All such bonds shall contain recitals on their faces substantially covering the provisions of this section.
SECTION 11. The State Treasurer is authorized, without further process of law, to certify to the Department of Finance and Administration the necessity for warrants, and the Department of Finance and Administration is authorized and directed to issue such warrants, in such amounts as may be necessary to pay when due the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on, or the accreted value of, all bonds issued under this act; and the State Treasurer shall forward the necessary amount to the designated place or places of payment of such bonds in ample time to discharge such bonds, or the interest on the bonds, on their due dates.
SECTION 12. Upon the issuance and sale of bonds under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act, the State Bond Commission shall transfer the proceeds of any sale or sales of bonds to the revolving fund in the amounts specified in Section 5 of this act. The proceeds of such bonds shall be disbursed solely upon the order of the Department of Economic and Community Development under such restrictions, if any, as may be contained in the resolution providing for the issuance of the bonds.
SECTION 13. The bonds authorized under Sections 5 through 19 of this act may be issued without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things other than those proceedings, conditions and things which are specified or required by Sections 5 through 19 of this act. Any resolution providing for the issuance of bonds under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall become effective immediately upon its adoption by the State Bond Commission, and any such resolution may be adopted at any regular or special meeting of the State Bond Commission by a majority of its members.
SECTION 14. The bonds authorized under the authority of Sections 5 through 19 of this act may be validated in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, in the manner and with the force and effect provided by Chapter 13, Title 31, Mississippi Code of 1972, for the validation of county, municipal, school district and other bonds. The notice to taxpayers required by such statutes shall be published in a newspaper published or having a general circulation in the City of Jackson, Mississippi.
SECTION 15. Any holder of bonds issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act or of any of the interest coupons pertaining thereto may, either at law or in equity, by suit, action, mandamus or other proceeding, protect and enforce all rights granted under Sections 5 through 19 of this act, or under such resolution, and may enforce and compel performance of all duties required by Sections 5 through 19 of this act to be performed, in order to provide for the payment of bonds and interest thereon.
SECTION 16. All bonds issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall be legal investments for trustees and other fiduciaries, and for savings banks, trust companies and insurance companies organized under the laws of the State of Mississippi, and such bonds shall be legal securities which may be deposited with and shall be received by all public officers and bodies of this state and all municipalities and political subdivisions for the purpose of securing the deposit of public funds.
SECTION 17. Bonds issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act and income therefrom shall be exempt from all taxation in the State of Mississippi.
SECTION 18. The proceeds of the bonds issued under the provisions of Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall be used solely for the purposes herein provided, including the costs incident to the issuance and sale of such bonds.
SECTION 19. Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall be deemed to be full and complete authority for the exercise of the powers granted, but Sections 5 through 19 of this act shall not be deemed to repeal or to be in derogation of any existing law of this state.
SECTION 20. Section 57-1-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
57-1-55. (1) The Department of Economic and Community Development shall have the following general powers and duties: To develop and manage programs which enhance the climate for economic growth through assistance to private sector businesses, local communities and individuals, and through an extensive national and international marketing effort.
(2) The Department of Economic and Community Development shall have the following general powers and duties with respect to economic development:
(a) To plan, supervise and direct an active program of solicitation of industries to locate within the state;
(b) To prepare, maintain and disseminate information which is needed by companies in evaluating site locations;
(c) To consult with, advise and assist prospective industries wishing to locate within the state;
(d) To encourage new or expanding industries, which will add to the economy, to locate within the state;
(e) To maintain a coordinated liaison function with other development groups, including state and federal agencies, and planning and development districts, utility companies, chambers of commerce and railroads;
(f) To assist communities and counties within the state in preparation for economic growth;
(g) To assist new and existing business and industry and encourage their development and expansion;
(h) To plan and conduct a nationwide advertising program promoting the state to prospective industry;
(i) To work with economic development agencies of the federal government in areas of industrial development and provide information to industrial prospects regarding the availability of federal funds and assistance;
(j) To work with the Department of Corrections, pursuant to the provisions of Section 47-5-501 et seq., in identifying and evaluating acceptable industries and businesses and in acting as an agent of the Department of Corrections by communicating with such concerns and aggressively soliciting their participation in the Correctional Industries Work Program;
(k) To perform related work as required;
(l) To disseminate information about financial and other programs of the Department of Economic and Community Development that will assist in the creation or expansion of industries processing wood products in this state;
(m) To market processed and raw agricultural products domestically and abroad; and
(n) To aid in the establishment of business incubation centers by private business interests, not for profit corporations, and/or governmental entities. The department may provide funds by contract for the establishment of business incubation centers and may contract for space in which business incubation centers will be located. Business incubation centers are defined as facilities and support services that encourage the establishment of successful small businesses by providing a short-term sheltered environment. The department may solicit and accept grants and other financial aid or support from private or public sources to aid in the development of business incubation centers. In addition, advice and assistance to established business incubation centers may be provided by the department.
(o) To administer the county fire protection equipment revolving loan program in accordance with the provisions of House Bill No. , 1999 Regular Session.
SECTION 21. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1999.