2007 Regular Session
To: Environment Prot, Cons and Water Res
By: Senator(s) Browning
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 19-5-151, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972,TO CLARIFY THE INCORPORATION OF RURAL WATER ASSOCIATIONS INTO WATER DISTRICT; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION SHALL REVIEW CERTAIN DISPUTES BETWEEN CUSTOMERS AND CERTAIN WATER DISTRICTS WITHIN THE THREE COASTAL COUNTIES AFFECTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REPEAL OF SUCH REVIEW; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 19-5-151, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
19-5-151. (1) Any contiguous area situated within any county of the state, and not being situated within the corporate boundaries of any existing municipality, and having no adequate water system, sewer system, garbage and waste collection and disposal system, or fire protection facilities serving such area, may become incorporated as a water district, as a sewer district, as a garbage and waste collection and disposal district, as a fire protection district, as a combined water and sewer district, as a combined water and garbage and waste collection and disposal district, as a combined water and fire protection district, or as a combined water, sewer, garbage and waste collection and disposal and fire protection district, in the manner set forth in the following sections.
(2) If the certificated area * * * of a nonprofit, nonshare corporation chartered under the Mississippi Nonprofit Corporation Act for the purpose of owning and operating rural waterworks lies in one county, the corporation may become incorporated as a water district in the manner set forth in Section 19-5-153(3). If the nonprofit, nonshare corporation's certificated area lies in more than one (1) county, the procedure in Section 19-5-164 shall be used.
SECTION 2. (1) In addition to the voluntary review and arbitration of billing, rate and service disputes between a water district and a customer by the Public Service Commission as provided under Sections 19-5-177 and 77-3-6, a customer may petition the Public Service Commission to investigate, review and hold a hearing on billing, rate and service disputes between the customer and a water district as provided in this section.
(2) If a customer files a petition with the Public Service Commission, the commission shall investigate, review and hold a hearing on the dispute if the following conditions are met:
(a) The water district was formed under Section 19-5-151 et seq.;
(b) The water district had over three thousand eight hundred (3,800) water connections at the time of the dispute;
(c) The dispute is more than Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) as provided in Section 77-3-6; and
(d) The water district lies within the three (3) coastal counties affected by Hurricane Katrina.
(3) If the Public Service Commission determines that the rates, charges or fees to be unjust, unreasonable or unreasonably discriminatory, the rates, charges or fees shall be set aside and the commission shall determine and fix such rates, charges or fees as provided under Section 77-3-39.
(4) This section shall repeal on July 1, 2009.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.