2007 Regular Session
To: Conservation and Water Resources
By: Representative Guice
AN ACT TO REQUIRE 20% OF ANY FEDERAL FUNDS RECEIVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TO EFFECTUATE THE PROVISIONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI GULF REGION UTILITY ACT TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO CITIES AND UTILITY DISTRICTS; TO AMEND SECTION 49-17-733, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE NUMBER OF DIRECTORS THAT ARE REQUIRED TO SERVE ON THE JACKSON COUNTY UTILITY AUTHORITY; TO AMEND SECTIONS 49-17-743 AND 49-17-745, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO RESTRICT THE AUTHORITY OF A COUNTY AUTHORITY TO ACQUIRE AND CONTROL A LOCAL UTILITY DISTRICT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 49-17-704, Mississippi Code of 1972:
49-17-704. Twenty percent (20%) of any federal funds received by the Mississippi Development Authority to effectuate the provisions of the Mississippi Gulf Region Utility Act shall be distributed to the cities and utility districts that existed before April 18, 2006, for the purpose of improvement and repairs within the city or utility district.
SECTION 2. Section 49-17-733, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-17-733. (1) Upon creation of the Jackson County Utility Authority, all powers of the Jackson County Utility Authority shall be exercised by the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Wastewater Authority.
(2) Upon consolidation of the Jackson County Utility Authority and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Wastewater Authority, the county authority shall be governed by a board consisting of nine (9) directors.
(a) The members of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Wastewater Authority shall serve as Directors of the Jackson County Utility Authority until the expiration of their existing terms. Upon expiration of a member's term, the governing body making the appointment shall appoint a person residing within the corporate boundaries of the governing body to serve as a director.
(b) The City of Gautier shall appoint one (1) director who resides within the City of Gautier for an initial term of three (3) years.
(c) The Board of Supervisors of Jackson County shall appoint four (4) additional directors for an initial term of two (2) and four (4) years, respectively, two (2) who reside within the unincorporated area of Jackson County, two (2) of the largest users of wastewater in the county. One (1) of the largest users of wastewater shall reside in West Jackson County and the other largest user shall reside in East Jackson County.
(3) (a) After expiration of the initial terms, all appointed directors shall serve a term of six (6) years.
(b) No director shall hold an elected public office.
(4) In addition to any other powers and rights conferred upon such board of directors, the board is granted and may exercise all powers and rights granted pursuant to Sections 49-17-739 through 49-17-773 to promote the health, welfare and prosperity of the general public.
SECTION 3. Section 49-17-743, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-17-743. From and after the passage of this act, each and every county authority shall have, in addition to any other powers granted under any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) To acquire, construct, improve, enlarge, extend, repair, operate and maintain one or more of its systems used for the collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of water, wastewater and storm water;
(b) To make contracts with any person in furtherance thereof; and to make contracts with any person, under the terms of which the county authority will collect, transport, treat or dispose of water, wastewater and storm water for such person;
(c) To make contracts with any person to design and construct any water, wastewater and storm water systems or facilities, and thereafter to purchase, lease or sell, by installments over such terms as may be deemed desirable, reasonable and necessary, or otherwise, any such system or systems;
(d) To enter into operating agreements with any person, for such terms and upon such conditions as may be deemed desirable, for the operation of any water, wastewater and storm water systems; and the county authority may lease to or from any person, for such term and upon such conditions as may be deemed desirable, any water, wastewater and storm water collection, transportation, treatment or its other facilities or systems. Any such contract may contain provisions requiring any public agency or other person to regulate the quality and strength of materials to be handled by the respective system or systems and also may provide that the county authority shall have the right to use any streets, alleys and public ways and places within the jurisdiction of a public agency or other person during the term of the contract;
(e) To enter into contracts with any person or any public agency, including, but not limited to, contracts authorized by this act, in furtherance of any of the purposes authorized under this act upon such consideration as the board of directors and such person may agree. Any such contract may extend over any period of time, notwithstanding any provision or rule of law to the contrary; may be upon such terms and for such consideration, nominal or otherwise, as the parties thereto shall agree; and may provide that it shall continue in effect until bonds specified therein, refunding bonds issued in lieu of such bonds, and all other obligations specified therein are paid or terminated. Any such contract shall be binding upon the parties thereto according to its terms;
(f) To adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure;
(g) To sue and be sued, in its own name, and to enjoy all of the protections, immunities and benefits provided by the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, as it may be amended or supplemented from time to time;
(h) To maintain office space at such place or places within the county authority boundaries as it may determine;
(i) To invest money of the county authority, including proceeds from the sale of any bonds subject to any agreements with bondholders, on such terms and in such manner as the county authority deems proper;
(j) To require the necessary relocation or rerouting of roads and highways, railroad, telephone and telegraph lines, and properties, electric power lines, gas pipelines and related facilities, or to require the anchoring or other protection of any of these, provided fair compensation is first paid to the owners or an agreement with such owners regarding the payment of the cost of such relocation, and to acquire easements or rights-of-way for such relocation or rerouting and to convey the same to the owners of the property being relocated or rerouted in connection with the purposes of this act;
(k) To acquire, construct, improve or modify, to operate or cause to be operated and maintained, either as owner of all or of any part in common with others, any water, wastewater or storm water system within the county authority's service area. The county authority may pay all or part of the cost of any system from any contribution by persons, firms, public agencies or corporations. The county authority may receive, accept and use all funds, public or private, and pay all costs of the development, implementation and maintenance as may be determined as necessary for any project;
(l) To acquire, in its own name, by purchase on any terms and conditions and in any manner as it may deem proper, including by eminent domain, property for public use, or by gift, grant, lease, or otherwise, real property or easements therein, franchises and personal property necessary or convenient for its corporate purposes;
(m) To acquire insurance for the county authority's systems, facilities, buildings, treatment plants and all property, real or personal, to insure against all risks as any insurance may, from time to time, be available;
(n) To use any property and rent or lease any property to or from others, including public agencies, or make contracts for the use of the property. The county authority may sell, lease, exchange, transfer, assign, pledge, mortgage or grant a security interest for any property. The powers to acquire, use and dispose of property as set forth in this paragraph shall include the power to acquire, use and dispose of any interest in that property, whether divided or undivided. Title to any property of the county authority shall be held by the county authority exclusively for the benefit of the public;
(o) To apply, contract for, accept, receive and administer gifts, grants, appropriations and donations of money, materials and property of any kind, including loans and grants from the United States, the state, a unit of local government, or any agency, department, district or instrumentality of any of the foregoing, upon any terms and conditions as the United States, the state, a unit of local government, or any agency, department, district or instrumentality shall impose. The county authority may administer trusts. The county authority may sell, lease, transfer, convey, appropriate and pledge any and all of its property and assets;
(p) To make and enforce, and from time to time amend and repeal, bylaws, rules, ordinances and regulations for the management of its business and affairs and for the construction, use, maintenance and operation of any of the systems under its management and control;
(q) To employ and terminate staff and other personnel, including attorneys, engineers and consultants as may be necessary to the functioning of the county authority. The board of directors, in its discretion, may employ an executive director having the authority to employ and fire employees and other duties as determined by the board;
(r) To establish and maintain rates, fees and any other charges for services and the use of systems and facilities within the control of the county authority, and from time to time, to adjust such rates, fees and any other charges to the end that the revenues therefrom will be sufficient at all times to pay the expenses of operating and maintaining of the facilities and treatment systems and all of the persons' obligations under any contract or bonds resolution with respect thereto or any obligation of any person under any agreement, contract, indenture or bonds resolution with respect thereto. Such rates, fees, assessments and any other charges shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Public Service Commission;
(s) To adopt rules and regulations necessary to accomplish the purposes of the county authority and to assure the payment of each participating person or public agency of its proportionate share of the costs for use of any of the systems and facilities of the county authority and for the county authority's proportionate share of the costs of the utility board;
(t) To enter on public or private lands, waters or premises for the purpose of making surveys, borings or soundings, or conducting tests, examinations or inspections for the purposes of the authority, subject to responsibility for any damage done to property entered;
(u) To accept industrial wastewater from within the boundaries of the county authority for treatment and to require the pretreatment of same when, in the opinion of the county authority, such pretreatment is necessary;
(v) To control and operate local retail water, wastewater and storm water services, and may provide or be responsible for direct servicing of those services to residences, businesses and individuals; however, the county authority shall not provide the same services in an area provided by a public utility or person holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Mississippi Public Service Commission for the provision of such services in the certificated area. Any rates, fees, assessments or other charges shall not be under the control or regulation of the Mississippi Public Service Commission;
(w) To assume control and administer, within the county authority's jurisdiction, any water, wastewater or storm water system or systems by agreement or contract with any person if the person providing such services requests to be relieved of that responsibility. However, the person may maintain control over connections in their service areas and may charge rates, fees and any other charges in addition to the rates, fees and any charges of the county authority;
(x) The county authority shall have the power of eminent domain for the particular purpose of the acquisition of property designated by plan to sufficiently accommodate the location of water, wastewater or storm water systems and such requirements related directly thereto pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 27, Title 11, Mississippi Code of 1972. The county authority may acquire by eminent domain property necessary for any system and the exercise of the powers, rights and duties conferred upon the county authority by this act. No person owning the drilling rights or the right to share in production shall be prevented from exploring, developing or producing oil or gas with necessary rights-of-way for ingress and egress, pipelines and other means of transporting such interests on any lands or interest of the county authority held or used for the purposes of this act, but any such activities shall be subject to reasonable regulations by the board of directors that will adequately protect the systems or projects of the county authority;
(y) To use any legally available funds to acquire, rebuild, operate and maintain any existing water, wastewater or storm water systems owned or operated by any person;
(z) To refuse to receive water, wastewater or storm water from any public agency or person; and
(aa) So long as any indebtedness on the systems of the county authority remains outstanding, to require by contract with a member public agency, or other person, that all water, wastewater and storm water within the boundaries of the respective county authority be disposed of through the appropriate treatment system to the extent that the same may be available, but no public agency shall be precluded from constructing, operating and maintaining its own such system after the current indebtedness owing on the system as of the effective date of this act is paid in full.
(bb) To acquire any local utility district only with the permission and authority of such utility district and only to the extent authorized by such utility district.
SECTION 4. Section 49-17-745, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-17-745. (1) The county authority shall have the power, duty and responsibility to exercise general supervision over the design, construction, operation and maintenance of water, wastewater and storm water systems.
(2) The county authority shall adopt rules and regulations regarding the design, construction or installation, operation and maintenance of water, wastewater and storm water systems.
(3) The county authority shall adopt rules and regulations regarding the use of decentralized treatment systems, individual on-site wastewater treatment systems and centralized wastewater treatment systems.
(4) The county authority shall adopt rules establishing performance standards for water, wastewater and storm water systems and the operation and maintenance of the same. Such rules and regulations shall include the implementation of a standard application form for the installation, operation and maintenance of such systems; application review; approval or denial procedures for any proposed system; inspection, monitoring and reporting guidelines; and enforcement procedures.
(5) (a) Before a building or development which requires the installation of a water, wastewater or storm water system is constructed, the system must be submitted to the county authority for certification that the system complies with the county authority requirements for such system.
(b) Before approving or renewing a water, wastewater or storm water related permit for a system within a county authority, the state agency must require certification that the system complies with the requirements of the county authority.
(6) Any system of any municipality, public agency or other persons which becomes connected with, or tied into, the systems of the county authority shall be subject to the county authority's jurisdiction and the terms of this act.
(7) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 51-39-1 et seq., the county authority shall have the full power to adopt rules and regulations and to construct, maintain and operate facilities for the control of storm water quality and quantity. In addition, the provisions of Section 51-33-1 et seq. relating to drainage districts and flood control districts do not apply to the county authority. However, the county authority may acquire or absorb any utility district only with the permission and authority of such district and only to the extent authorized by such utility district.
(8) The county authority may control and operate the local retail water, wastewater or storm water services and may provide or be responsible for direct servicing of those services to residences, businesses and individuals; however, the county authority shall not provide the same service in an area provided by a public utility or person holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Mississippi Public Service Commission for the provision of such services in the certificated area.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.