2006 Regular Session
To: Local and Private; Finance
By: Senator(s) Hewes, Gollott, Cuevas, Dawkins
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 1 THROUGH 12 OF CHAPTER 1012, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 2004, TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "HOTEL" OR "MOTEL" UNDER THE LAW THAT AUTHORIZES THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF HARRISON COUNTY TO IMPOSE A SPECIAL TAX ON THE GROSS PROCEEDS OF ROOM RENTALS OF HOTELS OR MOTELS; TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN DAMAGES TO BE IMPOSED IF THE PAYMENTS OF THE SPECIAL TAX ARE DELINQUENT OR DEFICIENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Sections 1 through 12 of Chapter 1012, Local and Private Laws of 2004, are amended as follows:
Section 1. For the purposes of Sections 1 through 12 of this act:
(a) "Board of supervisors" means the Board of Supervisors of Harrison County, Mississippi.
(b) "County" means Harrison County, Mississippi.
(c) "Hotel" or "motel" means and includes any establishment engaged in the business of furnishing or providing one or more * * * rooms intended or designed for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes that at any one time will accommodate transient guests on a daily or weekly basis and that are known to the trade as such, and shall include every building or other structure kept, used, maintained or advertised as, or held out to the public to be, a place where sleeping accommodations are supplied for pay or other consideration to transient or permanent guests or tenants that have not entered into a bona fide written lease for a term of more than ninety (90) consecutive days, whether the establishment is known as a hotel, apartment hotel, condominium, cooperative housing, time-share, bed and breakfast, rooming house, recreational vehicle park, cabin, inn, tavern, club, resort, tourist home, tourist court, motel, court, motor court, motor lodge or by any other similar term, regardless of the number of rooms, lots, units, suites, spaces or cabins available. Nursing homes or institutions for the aged or infirm, as defined in Section 43-11-1, and personal care homes shall be excluded from the definition of the term "hotel" or "motel."
(d) "Bona fide written lease" means a written document that clearly demonstrates it is intended for the transient guest to have exclusive use of the leased unit in the hotel or motel. Factors to be considered in evaluating the intent of the parties shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) The length of the lease, including the beginning and ending date;
(ii) A statement in the lease giving the lessee complete and exclusive use of the property for the entire duration of the lease;
(iii) Execution of the lease in good faith, without deceit or fraud;
(iv) A sufficient description in the lease of the leased property;
(v) A statement in the lease that the lease contains the complete and sole agreement;
(vi) A statement in the lease that the lessee will pay an agreed amount of rent;
(vii) A statement in the lease containing the due date, frequency and address for payment of the rent;
(viii) A statement in the lease specifying what conditions will result in early termination of the lease, the rights and obligations of the parties at termination and any penalties that will result from early termination; and
(ix) Signatures of the lessor and lessee on the lease.
Section 2. (1) Before the issuance of bonds provided for in Section 6 of this act, the board of supervisors shall levy, assess and collect from every person, firm, corporation or other entity operating hotels or motels in the county, a tax, in addition to all other taxes or assessments now imposed, which shall be equal to two percent (2%) of the gross proceeds from room rentals of all hotels or motels in the county.
(2) Persons, firms, corporations or other entities liable for the tax imposed by subsection (1) of this section shall add the amount of such tax to the room rental and in addition thereto shall collect, insofar as practicable, the amount of the tax due from the person renting the room at the time of payment therefor.
Section 3. (1) Before any tax authorized under Sections 1 through 12 of this act may be imposed, the governing authorities shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention to levy the taxes, setting forth the amount of such tax to be imposed, the date upon which such taxes shall become effective and calling for a referendum to be held on the question. The date of the referendum shall be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2004. Notice of such intention shall be published once each week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper published or having a general circulation in the county, with the first publication of such notice to be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the date fixed in the resolution for the referendum and the last publication to be made not more than seven (7) days before the referendum. At the referendum, all qualified electors of the county may vote, and the ballots used in such referendum shall have printed thereon a brief statement of the amount and purposes of the proposed tax levy and the words "FOR THE HOTEL-MOTEL TAX TO FUND THE IMPROVEMENT AND EXPANSION OF THE MISSISSIPPI COAST COLISEUM AND CONVENTION CENTER" and, on a separate line, "AGAINST THE HOTEL-MOTEL TAX TO FUND THE IMPROVEMENT AND EXPANSION OF THE MISSISSIPPI COAST COLISEUM AND CONVENTION CENTER", and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (X) or check (√) opposite their choice on the proposition. When the results of any such referendum shall have been canvassed by the election commission and certified, the county may levy the taxes beginning on the first day of the second month following the referendum, only if at least sixty percent (60%) of the qualified electors who vote in the election vote in favor of the tax. No public funds shall be used for the purpose of promoting the adoption of the referendum and no employee of the county or any city located in the county, other than elected public officials, may promote the referendum during business hours.
(2) If a referendum has been held under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, and the authority of the county to impose the convention center taxes has been denied by the electors of the county, a subsequent referendum on the issue may be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2006. If a second referendum is held, and the authority to impose the convention center taxes has been denied again by the electors of the county, no further referendum may be held.
Section 4. (1) On or before the fifteenth day of the month prior to the imposition of the tax authorized in Section 2 of this act, the board of supervisors shall give written notification to the Chairman of the State Tax Commission of the date on which the tax will become effective.
(2) The tax shall be collected by and paid to the State Tax Commission in the same manner as state sales taxes are computed, collected and paid, and full enforcement provisions and all other provisions of Chapter 65, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall apply as necessary to the implementation of Sections 1 through 12 of this act.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in Section 27-3-58, the revenue from the special tax collected under the provisions of this section during the preceding month shall be paid to the county on or before the fifteenth day of each month.
(4) The proceeds of such taxes shall be placed into a separate fund apart from the county general fund and any other funds of the county, and shall be expended by the county as provided in Section 10(1) of this act.
(5) (a) The State Tax Commission shall provide the county with written verification of the total tax revenues collected each month under Sections 1 through 12 of this act, together with all penalties and interest collected thereon, and the names of all hotels and motels that paid the special tax. The written verification shall be delivered to the county at the same time as the revenue from the special tax is paid to the county pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.
(b) (i) If any part of the special tax required to be paid by a hotel or motel under Sections 1 through 12 of this act is deficient or delinquent due to negligence or failure to comply with the provisions of Sections 1 through 12 of this act or the rules and regulations of the State Tax Commission without the intent to defraud, there may be added as damages an amount equal to ten percent (10%) of the delinquent or deficient taxes for the first offense, fifteen percent (15%) of the delinquent or deficient taxes for the second offense, twenty-five percent (25%) of the delinquent or deficient taxes for the third offense and fifty percent (50%) of the delinquent or deficient taxes for the fourth or any subsequent offense, or interest at the rate of one percent (1%) per month from the date the special tax was due until paid, or both. Damages shall become payable upon notice and demand by the commissioner.
(ii) If any part of the special tax required to be paid by a hotel or motel under Sections 1 through 12 of this act is deficient or delinquent due to the intentional disregard of the provisions of Sections 1 through 12 of this act or rules and regulations of the State Tax Commission, or due to fraud with intent to evade the law, there shall be added as damages an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the delinquent or deficient taxes, and in such case the total amount of the tax unpaid shall become due and payable upon notice and demand by the commissioner, and interest of one percent (1%) delinquent or deficient tax per month shall be added from the date the special tax was due until the date it was paid.
(iii) If the deficient or delinquent tax is not paid pursuant to the commissioner's notice and it is necessary to resort to the issuance of a notice of a tax lien or a warrant, the damages may be increased by fifteen percent (15%) for the first offense, twenty-five percent (25%) for the second offense and fifty percent (50%) for any subsequent offense.
(6) The tax imposed by Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall stand repealed on the first day of the month immediately succeeding the date the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the bonds issued pursuant to Sections 1 through 12 of this act have been paid in full. Any revenue from the tax remaining after the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the bonds issued pursuant to Sections 1 through 12 of this act have been paid in full shall be transferred to the county general fund.
Section 5. The proceeds of the bonds issued pursuant to Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be utilized:
(a) For the purpose of defraying the cost of constructing, repairing, equipping, remodeling, enlarging, expanding or improving the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center; and
(b) To retire bonds issued by the county after May 1, 1995, but prior to the effective date of this act, to defray the cost of expanding the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
Section 6. The board of supervisors is authorized and empowered, in its discretion, to issue general obligation bonds of the county in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed Sixty-eight Million Dollars ($68,000,000.00) for the purposes provided for in Section 5 of this act. As used in Sections 1 through 12 of this act, "bonds" shall be deemed to mean and include bonds, refunding bonds, notes or certificates of participation. The full faith and credit of the county shall be irrevocably pledged for the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds.
Section 7. Bonds authorized by Sections 1 through 12 of this act, other than refunding bonds, shall be issued pursuant to Sections 19-9-1 through 19-9-31 or as may be otherwise provided by law; however, no election shall be held under the provisions of Sections 19-9-1 through 19-9-31, upon the question of the issuance of bonds authorized under Sections 1 through 12 of this act.
Section 8. Bonds issued pursuant to Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall not be deemed indebtedness within the meaning of Section 19-9-5. Bonds issued pursuant to Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be submitted by validation under Sections 31-13-1 through 31-13-11.
Section 9. Bonds issued under Sections 1 through 12 of this act may be refunded at any time and from time to time by the county pursuant to an authorizing resolution of the board of supervisors, directing issuance of refunding bonds in accordance with the "Mississippi Bond Refinancing Act" (Section 31-27-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972).
Section 10. (1) The avails of the tax provided for in Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be used solely for the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the bonds, and for the payment of expenses of issuance thereof or reserve funds therefor.
(2) To the extent the proceeds of the tax provided for in Sections 1 through 12 of this act and any other amounts which may, from time to time, be available for the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the bonds, including any available revenues of the project, are not sufficient for such purpose, the board of supervisors shall levy a special ad valorem tax upon all of the taxable property within the county which shall be sufficient, together with other money available for such purpose, to provide for the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on such bonds according to the terms thereof.
Section 11. Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be liberally construed for the purposes herein set out, the power hereby granted shall be deemed to be full and complete authority for the issuance of bonds under Sections 1 through 12 of this act and shall be construed as additional, cumulative and supplemental to any power granted to the county by any general or local and private act of the Legislature.
Section 12. The provisions of Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be repealed in the event that two (2) referenda on the question of imposing convention center taxes have been denied by the electors of the county. If this event occurs, the Circuit Clerk of Harrison County shall notify the Chairmen of the Local and Private Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate of the Mississippi State Legislature.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.