MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2006 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Gordon

Senate Bill 2885

(As Passed the Senate)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 31-31-3, 31-31-5, 31-31-7, 31-31-9 AND 31-31-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION SHALL ADMINISTER THE MISSISSIPPI TELECOMMUNICATION CONFERENCE AND TRAINING CENTER; TO ABOLISH THE MISSISSIPPI TELECOMMUNICATION CONFERENCE AND TRAINING COMMISSION AND TRANSFER ITS POWERS, DUTIES, RECORDS, PROPERTY, FUNDS AND OTHER ASSETS AND PERSONNEL TO THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 31-31-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

31-31-3. As used in this chapter:

(a) "Department" means the Department of Finance and Administration.

(b) "Facility" means the Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center located in the City of Jackson, Mississippi.

(c) "Fund" means the Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center Fund.

(d) "Hotel" or "motel" means and includes a place of lodging that at any one time will accommodate transient guests on a daily or weekly basis and that is known to the trade as such. Such terms shall not include a place of lodging with ten (10) or less rental units.

SECTION 2. Section 31-31-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

31-31-5. (1) There is hereby created a commission to be known as the "Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center Commission" which shall consist of eleven (11) members as follows:

(a) The Executive Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development;

(b) The Mayor of the City of Jackson;

(c) The President of Jackson State University;

(d) The Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Mississippi Medical Center;

(e) The Executive Director of the Metro Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau;

(f) The Executive Director of the Institute for Technology Development;

(g) Three (3) members of the private sector appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve a term concurrent with that of the Governor; and

(h) Two (2) members of the private sector appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, with the advise and consent of the Senate, to serve a term concurrent with that of the Lieutenant Governor.

(2) The members of the commission shall serve without compensation except that members shall be paid their actual and necessary expenses in connection with the performance of their duties as members of the commission including mileage, as authorized in Section 25-3-41 and each member who is not a state employee or a public official shall be paid a per diem as authorized in Section 25-3-69. Expenses, mileage and per diem allowance shall be paid out of the Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center Fund.

(3) The commission shall elect from its membership a chairman, who shall preside over meetings, and a vice chairman, who shall preside in the absence of the chairman. Four (4) members of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any and all business of the commission.

(4) The commission shall appoint a director who shall be responsible for conducting the day to day business of the commission.

(5) Lease of the facility as provided for in Section 31-31-7, the Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center Commission shall be abolished and all:

(a) Records, property, funds and other assets and personnel of the commission shall be transferred to the department; and

(b) Any personal service, management or other contracts of like nature entered into by the commission shall be cancelled.

SECTION 3. Section 31-31-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

31-31-7. The department shall have the following powers with regard to the Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center:

 * * *

(a) To establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate and regulate the facility and other property incidental thereto, including any additional property or facilities considered by the department to promote the business, usage or economic viability of the facility;

(b) To grant to others the privilege to operate for profit concessions, leases and franchises, including but not limited to, the furnishing of food and banquet services, management services, and other services necessary to the operation of the facility and such concessions, leases and franchises shall be exclusive or limited;

(c) To lease the facility to any public or private entity;

(d) To determine fees, rates and charges for the use of the facility;

(e) To apply for and accept gifts, or grants of money or gifts, grants or loans of other property or other financial assistance from any source to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

(f) To borrow funds needed to carry out the purposes of this chapter; * * * however, * * * such debt may be secured only by the revenues generated by the facility, funds generated by the tax levied pursuant to Section 31-31-11 and the proceeds of any bonds issued pursuant to this chapter;

(g) To appoint, employ or engage such officers, employees, architects, engineers, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, investment bankers and other advisors, consultants, and agents as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

(h) To make, assume and enter into all contracts, leases and arrangements necessary or incidental to the exercise for its powers, including, but not limited to, contracts for management, operation or marketing of all or any part of the facility;

(i) To adopt, amend and repeal rules and regulations for the use, maintenance and operation of the facility and governing the conduct of persons and organizations using the facility and to enforce such rules and regulations; and

(j) To do all things necessary or convenient to the purposes of this chapter.

SECTION 4. Section 31-31-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

31-31-9. All monies and revenues collected * * * from fees, rates and charges for the use of the facility shall be paid by the department to the State Treasurer, to be deposited to the credit of a special fund to be known as the "Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Center Fund." Money in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the General Fund and interest earned on any amounts deposited into the fund shall be credited to the special fund. Except as otherwise provided in Section 31-31-11, all expenses incident to the operation and upkeep of the facility shall be paid out of the fund.

SECTION 5. Section 31-31-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

31-31-11. (1) For the purpose of providing funds for the payment of a certain portion of the debt service on any bonds issued pursuant to this chapter and for the purpose of providing funds for the maintenance of the facility and renovations, improvements and additions to the facility, there is hereby levied, assessed and shall be collected from every person engaging in or doing business in the City of Jackson, Mississippi, as specified herein, a tax which may be cited as an "occupancy tax," which shall be in addition to all other taxes now imposed. Such tax shall be upon each hotel and motel located within the City of Jackson in the amount of Seventy-five Cents (75) per day for each occupied room.

(2) Persons liable for the tax imposed herein shall add the amount of tax to the price of rooms, and in addition thereto shall collect, insofar as practicable, the amount of the tax due by him from the person receiving the services or goods at the time of payment therefor.

(3) Such tax shall be collected by and paid to the State Tax Commission on a form prescribed by the State Tax Commission, in the same manner that state sales taxes are collected and paid; and the full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Chapter 65, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation and administration of this chapter.

(4) The proceeds of such tax shall be deposited by the State Tax Commission into the reserve fund created pursuant to subsection (5) of this section on or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which collected by the State Tax Commission.

(5) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special fund to be called the "Mississippi Telecommunication Conference and Training Facility Reserve Fund." Money in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the General Fund and interest earned on any amount deposited into the fund shall be credited to the special fund. Money in the fund shall be used to pay a portion of the debt service of the bonds issued pursuant to this chapter as specified in subsection (6) of this section and to provide funds for the maintenance and operation of the facility, including, but not limited to, the director and all other personnel for operational purposes. * * *

(6) The amount of the debt service that shall be paid annually from the reserve fund shall be the amount of the debt service on bonds attributable to forty percent (40%) of the cost of constructing the facility and the amount of the debt service on bonds attributable to all land acquisition costs. Amounts remaining in the fund in any fiscal year after the payments required by this subsection for debt service, may be used * * * to provide funds for the maintenance of the facility and renovations, improvements and additions to the facility.

(7) Before the taxes authorized by this chapter shall be imposed, the municipal governing authorities of the City of Jackson shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention to levy the tax, setting forth the amount of such tax and establishing the date on which this tax initially shall be levied and collected. This date shall be not less than the first day of the second month from the date of adoption of the resolution.

The resolution shall be published in a local newspaper at least twice during the period from the adoption of the resolution to the effective date of the taxation prescribed in this section, with the last publication being made no later than ten (10) days prior to the effective date of such taxation.

(8) The tax imposed pursuant to this section shall remain in force and effect until the City of Jackson shall by resolution rescind the tax; * * * however, * * * the tax imposed pursuant to this section shall not be rescinded if any bonds issued pursuant to this chapter remain outstanding.

SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.