2007 Regular Session
To: Local and Private; Finance
By: Senator(s) Dearing, Butler
AN ACT TO CREATE THE ST. CATHERINE CREEK UTILITY AUTHORITY WITHIN ADAMS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; TO PROVIDE THAT THE AUTHORITY SHALL BE GOVERNED BY A BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPOINTED BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ADAMS COUNTY; TO PROVIDE FOR THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS; TO AUTHORIZE THE AUTHORITY TO PLAN, ACQUIRE, CONSTRUCT, MAINTAIN, OPERATE AND COORDINATE SOLID WASTE, STORM WATER, WATER AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO ENSURE THE DELIVERY OF SOLID WASTE, STORM WATER, WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES TO CITIZENS RESIDING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF ADAMS COUNTY; TO AUTHORIZE THE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE REVENUE BONDS TO PROVIDE FUNDS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this act is to create the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority for the purpose of providing solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems for economic development activities within Adams County. The act provides for a cooperative effort by an area situated within Adams County, Mississippi, including the areas situated within the corporate boundaries of any existing municipality and other eligible municipalities, public agencies and political subdivisions, for the acquisition, construction, operation of a user funded solid waste, storm water, water or wastewater systems, in order to prevent and control the pollution of the waters in this state by the creation of the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority. This act may be citied as the "St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority Act."
(a) "Authority" means the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority created under this act.
(b) "Board of directors" means the Board of Directors of the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority.
(c) "Facilities" mean any structure, building, ditch, pipe, channel, improvement, land, or other real or personal property used or useful in water system, wastewater system or combination of systems under this act.
(d) "Fiscal year" means the period of time beginning on October 1 of each year and ending on September 30 of each year.
(g) "Person" means the State of Mississippi, a municipality, any public agency or any other city, town, village, or political subdivision or governmental agency of the State of Mississippi or of the United States of America, or any private utility, individual, copartnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other entity whatsoever.
(h) "Project" means the construction, development or acquisition by the authority of Adams County of any infrastructure for economic development, including industrial, commercial and residential development; the construction and operation of water or wastewater systems or services and includes upgrading or repair of existing systems.
(i) "Public agency" means any municipality, county, political subdivision, governmental authority or unit, public institution of higher learning, community college authority, planning and development authority, drainage authority or any body politic and corporate or governmental agency created under the laws of this state.
(j) "Solid waste" means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semisolid or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solid or dissolved material in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges which are point sources subject to permits under Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (86 Stat. 880), or source, special nuclear or by-product material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
(l) "System" or "systems" means any plants, structures, facilities and other real and personal property, used or useful in the generation, storage, transportation or supply of solid waste, water, and the collection, transportation, treatment or disposal of wastewater and storm water, including, but not limited to, tanks, reservoirs, lakes, streams, ponds, pipes, trunk lines, mains, sewers, conduits, pipelines, pumping and ventilating stations, plants and works, connections and any other real and personal property and rights therein necessary, useful or convenient for the purposes of the authority in connection therewith.
(m) "Wastewater" means water being disposed of by any person and which is contaminated with waste or sewage, including industrial, municipal and any other wastewater that may cause impairment of the quality of the waters in the state.
(n) "Water" means potable water, surface water and groundwater.
(o) "Water supply system" means pipelines, conduits, pumping stations and all other structures, devices and appliances appurtenant thereto, including land and right-of-way thereto, for use for transporting water to a point of ultimate use.
(p) "Waterworks" means all works, plants or other facilities necessary for the purpose of collecting, storing, treating and transporting water for domestic, municipal, commercial, industrial, agricultural and manufacturing purposes, including open channels.
(q) "Unit of local government" means any county or municipality of the state.
SECTION 3. There is hereby created and established a public body corporate and politic constituting a political subdivision of the State of Mississippi to be known as the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority. The authority is composed of the geographic area of Adams County for the purpose of acquiring property for economic development and for the planning, acquisition, construction, maintenance, operation and coordination of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems in order to ensure the delivery of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater services to citizens residing within the boundaries of Adams County. The St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority shall be deemed to be acting in all respects for the benefit of the people of the state in the performance of essential public functions, and the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority shall be empowered in accordance with the provisions of this act to promote the health, welfare and prosperity of the general public.
SECTION 4. (1) All powers of the St. Catherine Creek Utility Authority shall be exercised by a board of directors comprised of five (5) directors who shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors of Adams County. The directors shall serve at the will and pleasure of the board of supervisors.
(2) The board of directors shall elect annually from its number a president and a vice president of the authority and such other officers as in the judgment of the board are necessary. The president shall be the chief executive officer of the authority and the presiding officer of the board, and shall have the same right to vote as any other director. The vice president shall perform all duties and exercise all powers conferred by this act upon the president when the president is absent, fails or declines to act, except the president's right to vote. The board shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer who may or may not be members of the board, and it may combine these offices. The treasurer shall give bond in the sum of not less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) as set by the board of directors, and each director may be required to give bond in the sum of not less than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), with sureties qualified to do business in this state, and the premiums on said bond shall be an expense of such authority. Each such bond shall be payable to the State of Mississippi and the condition of each such bond shall be that the treasurer and director will faithfully perform all duties of his office and account for all money and other assets which shall come into his or her custody as treasurer or member of the board of directors.
(3) The members of the board of directors shall serve without salary, but shall be entitled to receive per diem as provided for in Section 25-3-69, Mississippi Code of 1972. Members of the board of directors shall be reimbursed their actual travel and hotel expenses as provided in Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, incurred while in the performance of their duties as members of the board of directors, to be paid on an itemized statement. Expenses shall be paid from available funds of the authority.
(4) All business of the authority shall be transacted by a majority affirmative vote of the total membership of the board of directors. The quorum for any meeting of the board of directors shall be a majority of the total membership of the board of directors.
(5) Regular meetings of the board shall be held as set forth in its bylaws for management of the authority's business and affairs. Additional meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the chairman or whenever a majority of commissioners so request.
(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 solid waste, storm water, water, and wastewater.
(b) To make contracts with any person in furtherance of its purposes and make contracts with any person, under the terms of which the authority will collect, transport, treat or dispose of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater for such person.
(c) To make contracts with any person to design and construct any solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater 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 solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems and to lease to or from any person, for such term and upon such conditions as may be deemed desirable, any solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater collection, transportation, treatment or 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 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 its 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 authority boundaries as it may determine.
(i) to invest money of the authority, including proceeds from the sale of any bonds subject to any agreements with bondholders, on such terms and in such manner as the authority deems proper.
(j) To require the necessary relocation or rerouting of roads and highways, railroads, 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 solid waste, storm water, water or wastewater system within the authority's service area. The authority may pay all or part of the cost of any system from any contribution by persons, firms, public agencies or corporations. The 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, except 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, in its own name, by purchase on any terms and conditions and in any manner as it may deem proper, except eminent domain, property for the economic development of the county, or by gift, grant, lease, or otherwise, real property or easements therein and may lease or manage such property for the economic development of the county and personal property necessary or convenient for the economical development of the county.
(n) To acquire insurance for the 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.
(o) 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 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 authority shall be held by the authority exclusively for the benefit of the public.
(p) 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 authority may administer trusts. The authority may sell, lease, transfer, convey, appropriate and pledge any and all of its property and assets.
(q) 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.
(r) To employ and terminate staff and other personnel, including attorneys, engineers and consultants as may be necessary to the functioning of the 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 of directors.
(s) To establish and maintain rates, fees, assessments and any other charges for services and the use of systems and facilities within the control of the authority, and from time to time, to adjust such rates, fees, assessments 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 obligations under any contract or bond resolutions with respect thereto or any obligation of any person under any agreement, contract, indenture or bond resolutions with respect thereto. Such rates, fees, assessments and any other charges shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
(t) To adopt rules and regulations necessary to accomplish the purposes of the 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.
(u) 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 district, subject to responsibility for any damage done to property entered.
(v) To accept industrial wastewater from within the boundaries of the authority for treatment and to require the pretreatment of same when, in the opinion of the authority, such pretreatment is necessary.
(w) To control and operate local retail solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater services and may provide or be responsible for direct servicing of those services to residences, businesses and individuals; however, the 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, except in industrial areas. Any rates, fees, assessments or other charges shall not be under the control or regulation of the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
(x) To assume control and administer, within the authority's jurisdiction, any solid waste, storm water, water or wastewater system or systems by agreement and/or contract with any person providing that such services are requested by such person 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 authority.
(y) To use any legally available funds to acquire, rebuild, operate and maintain any existing water or wastewater systems owned or operated by any person.
(z) To refuse to receive wastewater from any public agency or person.
(aa) So long as any indebtedness on the property or systems of the authority remains outstanding, to require by contract with a public agency, or other person, that all solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater within the boundaries of the respective authority be disposed of through the appropriate treatment system to the extent that the same may be available.
(2) Nothing in this act shall give the authority the power to levy any type of impact fee.
(3) For the purposes of this act, the following shall be exempt from payment of fees or assessments authorized by the authority for a storm water system or storm water facilities:
(a) Users whose storm water runoff is not discharged into or through the storm water facilities of the district;
(b) Any entity that possesses a valid individual storm water National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit;
(c) Any entity that has coverage under a general storm water National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit; and
(d) Any Class II real property, as defined in Section 112, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, that is classified as agriculture or forest land.
SECTION 6. (1) The authority shall have the power, duty and responsibility to exercise general supervision over the design, construction, operation and maintenance of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems.
(2) The authority may adopt rules and regulations regarding the design, construction or installation, operation and maintenance of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems.
(3) The authority may adopt rules establishing a standard application form for the installation, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater system, application review, approval or denial procedures for any proposed system, inspection, monitoring and reporting guidelines and enforcement procedures.
(4) Any system of any municipality, public agency or other persons which becomes connected with, or tied into, the systems of the authority, shall be subject to the authority's jurisdiction and the terms of this act.
(5) The authority shall approve all solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater systems prior to approval or renewal of any permit issued by the appropriate state agency or staff.
(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 51-39-1 et seq., the 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 authority.
SECTION 7. (1) Any public agency or person, pursuant to a duly adopted resolution of the governing body of such public agency or person, may enter into contracts with the authority under the terms of which the authority will manage, operate and contract for usage of its systems and facilities, or other services, for such person or public agency.
(2) Any public agency or person may enter into contracts with the authority for the authority to purchase or sell, by installments over such terms as may be deemed desirable, or otherwise, to any person or any systems. Any public agency may sell, donate, convey, or otherwise dispose of solid waste, storm water, water and wastewater facilities or systems; or any equipment, personal property or any other things, deemed necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance to the authority without the necessity of appraisal, advertising, or bidding. This section creates an alternative method of disposal of public property.
(3) Any public agency is authorized to enter into operating agreements with the authority, for such terms and upon such conditions as may be deemed desirable, for the operation of any of its property or systems of any person by the authority or by any person contracting with the authority to operate such systems.
(4) Any public agency may lease property or systems to or from the authority, for such term and upon such conditions as may be deemed desirable.
(5) Any municipality or county may donate office space, equipment, supplies and materials to the authority.
(6) Any such contract may contain provisions requiring any public agency or other person to regulate the quality and strength of the material to be handled by the wastewater systems and may also provide that the 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. Such contracts may obligate the public agency to make payments to the authority or to a trustee in amounts which shall be sufficient to enable the authority to defray the expenses of administering, operating and maintaining its respective systems, to pay interest and principal (whether at maturity upon redemption or otherwise) on bonds of the authority, issued under this act and to fund reserves for debt service, for operation and maintenance and for renewals and replacements, to fulfill the requirements of any rate covenant with respect to debt service coverage contained in any resolution, trust indenture or other security agreement relating to the bonds of the authority issued under this act or to fulfill any other requirement relating to bonds issued pursuant to this act.
(7) Any public agency shall have the power to enter into such contracts with the authority as in the discretion of the governing body of the public agency would be in the best interest of the public agency. Such contracts may include a pledge of the full faith and credit of such public agency and/or the avails of any special assessments made by such public agency against property receiving benefits, as now or hereafter are provided by law. Any such contract may provide for the sale, or lease to, or use of by the authority, of the systems or any part thereof, of the public agency; and may provide that the authority shall operate its systems or any part thereof of the public agency; and may provide that any public agency shall have the right to continued use and/or priority use of the systems or any part thereof during the useful life thereof upon payment of reasonable charges therefor; and may contain provisions to assure equitable treatment of persons or public agencies who contract with the authority under this act; and may contain such other provisions and requirements as the parties thereto may determine to be appropriate or necessary. Such contracts may extend over any period of time, notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, and may extend beyond the life of the respective systems or any part thereof or the term of the bonds sold with respect to such facilities or improvements thereto.
(8) The obligations of a public agency arising under the terms of any contract referred to in this act, whether or not payable solely from a pledge of revenues, shall not be included within the indebtedness limitations of the public agency for purposes of any constitutional or statutory limitation or provision. To the extent provided in such contract and to the extent such obligations of the public agency are payable wholly or in part from the revenues and other monies derived by the public agency from the operation of its systems or of its combined systems, or any part thereof, such obligations shall be treated as expenses of operating such systems.
(9) Contracts referred to in this section may also provide for payments in the form of contributions to defray the cost of any purpose set forth in the contracts and as advances for the respective systems or any part thereof subject to repayment by the authority. A public agency may make such contributions or advances from its general fund or surplus fund or from special assessments or from any monies legally available therefor.
(10) Payments made, or to be made, to the authority by a public agency or other person under a contract for any of its treatment systems, or any property thereof, shall not be subject to approval or review by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
(11) Subject to the terms of a contract or contracts referred to in this act, the authority is hereby authorized to do and perform any and all acts or things necessary, convenient or desirable to carry out the purposes of such contracts, including the fixing, charging, collecting, maintaining and revising of rates, fees, assessments and other charges for the services rendered to any user of any of the properties or systems operated or maintained by the authority, whether or not such systems are owned by the authority.
(12) Any public agency in the county having the right of eminent domain may agree to use its respective eminent domain powers for the benefit of the authority and at the cost of the authority as set forth hereinafter in this subsection (12) to acquire such property, easements, rights-of-way and other property interests as may be required and requested by the board of directors.
The authority may reimburse or pay all costs, including professional fees, along with damages awarded in connection with the exercise of such eminent domain power to the entity which has agreed to exercise its eminent domain powers under the terms of this act.
The amount and character of interest in land, other property, and easements thus to be acquired shall be determined by the board of directors, and their determination shall be conclusive and shall not be subject to attack in the absence of manifold abuse of discretion or fraud on the part of such board in making such determination, however:
(a) In acquiring lands, either by negotiation or eminent domain through action of the public agency, the authority shall not acquire mineral rights or royalties, provided that sand and gravel shall not be considered as minerals within the meaning of this section;
(b) No person or persons 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 land or interest thereon of the authority held or used for the purposes of this act, but any such activities shall be subject to and secondary to such reasonable regulations by the board of directors as will adequately protect the systems of the authority contemplated by this act; and
(c) In acquiring lands, either by negotiation or eminent domain through action of the public agency, the authority shall acquire only any interest or rights in such facilities, components and systems which are part of the authority's plan implemented by the authority.
(13) No provision of this act shall be construed to prohibit any public agency, otherwise permitted by law to issue bonds, from issuing bonds in the manner provided by law for the construction, renovation, repair or development of any of the authority's systems, or any part thereof, owned or operated by such public agency.
SECTION 8. Whenever a public agency shall have executed a contract under this act and the payments thereunder are to be made either wholly or partly from the revenues of the public agency's systems, or any part thereof, or a combination of such systems, the duty is hereby imposed on the public agency to establish and maintain and from time to time to adjust the rate or fees charged by the public agency for the services of such systems, so that the revenues therefrom, together with any taxes and special assessments levied in support thereof, will be sufficient at all times to pay: (a) the expense of operating and maintaining such properties or systems, including all of the public agency's obligations to the authority, its successors or assigns under such contract; and (b) all of the public agency's obligations under and in connection with bonds theretofore issued, or which may be issued thereafter and secured by the revenues of such systems. Any such contract may require the use of consulting engineers and financial experts to advise the public agency whether and when such rates and fees are to be adjusted.
SECTION 9. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 77-3-21 and 77-3-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, the certificate of public convenience and necessity held by any municipality, public agency, district, public utility or other person authorized by law to provide water, sewer and wastewater services may be canceled and its powers, duties and responsibilities transferred to the authority in the manner provided by this section.
(2) Any entity described in subsection (1) of this section desiring to have its certificate of public convenience and necessity canceled and its powers, duties and responsibilities transferred to the authority shall make a determination to that effect on its official minutes if a public entity, or by affidavit if not a public entity, and transmit such determination to the authority.
(3) Upon receipt of the document evidencing such determination from an entity to transfer its powers, duties and responsibilities to the authority, the authority shall by resolution declare whether it is willing and able to accept such transfer from the entity.
(4) Upon completion of the requirements of subsections (2) and (3) herein and agreement by both parties to the transfer, the holder of the certificate of public convenience and necessity and the authority shall jointly petition the Public Service Commission to cancel the certificate of public convenience and necessity. The petition must be accompanied by copies of the official minutes, affidavit or resolution, as the case may be, reflecting the actions of the petitioners. After review of the petition and any other evidence as the Public Service Commission deems necessary, the commission may issue an order canceling the certificate and transferring to the authority the powers, duties and responsibilities granted by the certificate, including all assets and debts of the transferor petitioner related to such certificated services, real or personal, or both, if it finds that:
(a) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section have been complied with; and
(b) Such action is in the public interest.
(5) The authority and providers of water, sewer, or wastewater services that are not holders of a certificate of a public convenience and necessity from the Public Service Commission may enter into agreements for the provision of such services, including, but not limited to, the transfer to the authority of such provider's powers, duties, responsibilities, assets and debts.
SECTION 10. (1) Any system of a municipality, public agency or person that becomes subject to the jurisdiction of the authority and this act shall not impair, invalidate or abrogate any liens, bonds or other certificates of indebtedness related to water, storm water or wastewater facilities and systems incurred prior to becoming subject to the jurisdiction of the authority.
(2) The authority may do and perform any and all acts necessary, convenient or desirable to ensure the payment, redemption or satisfaction of such liens, bonds or other certificates of indebtedness.
SECTION 11. (1) Sections 11 through 20 apply to all bonds to be issued after the effective date of this act and such provisions shall not affect, limit or alter the rights and powers of any authority under this act or any law of Mississippi to conduct the activities referred to herein in any way pertinent to the interests of the bondholders, including, without limitation, such authority's right to charge and collect rates, fees and charges and to fulfill the terms of any covenants made with the registered owners of any existing bonds, or in any other way impair the rights and remedies of the registered owners of any existing bonds, unless provision for full payment of such bonds, by escrow or otherwise, has been made pursuant to the terms of the bonds or the resolution, trust indenture or security interest securing the bonds.
(2) The authority shall have the power and is hereby authorized, from time to time, to borrow money and to issue revenue bonds and interim notes in such principal amounts as the authority may determine to be necessary to provide sufficient funds for achieving one or more of the purposes of this act, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to defray all the costs of the project, the cost of the acquisition, construction, improvement, repair or extension of a system, or any part thereof, whether or not such facilities are owned by the authority, the payment of interest on bonds of the authority issued pursuant to this act, establishment of reserves to secure such bonds and payment of the interest thereon, expenses incident to the issuance of such bonds and to the implementation of the authority's system, and all other expenditures of the authority incident to or necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this act.
(3) Before issuing bonds, other than interim notes or refunding bonds as provided in Section 12, the board of directors of the authority shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention to issue such bonds and stating the maximum principal amount of bonds proposed to be issued, a general generic description of the proposed improvements and the proposed location thereof and the date, time and place at which the board of directors proposes to take further action with respect to the issuance of such bonds. The resolution of the authority shall be published once a week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in at least one (1) newspaper having a general circulation within the geographical limits of all of the public agencies which have contracted with the authority pursuant to this act.
(4) Bonds of the authority issued pursuant to this act shall be payable from and secured by a pledge of all or any part of the revenues under one or more contracts entered into pursuant to this act between the authority and one or more of its contracting public agencies and from all or any part of the revenues derived from the operation of any designated system or any part or parts thereof and any other monies legally available and designated therefor, as may be determined by such authority, subject only to any agreement with the purchasers of the bonds. Such bonds may be further secured by a trust indenture between such authority and a corporate trustee, which may be any trust company or bank having powers of a trust company without or within the state.
(5) Bonds of the authority issued pursuant to this act shall be authorized by a resolution or resolutions adopted by a majority affirmative vote of the total membership of the board of directors of the authority. Such bonds may be issued in series, and each series of such bonds shall bear such date or dates, mature at such time or times, bear interest at such rate or rates (not exceeding the maximum rate set out in Section 75-17-103, Mississippi Code of 1972), be in such denomination or denominations, be in such form, carry such conversion privileges, have such rank or priority, be executed in such manner and by such officers, be payable from such sources in such medium of payment at such place or places within or without the state, provided that one such place shall be within the state, and be subject to such terms of redemption prior to maturity, all as may be provided by resolution or resolutions of the board of directors. The term of such bonds issued pursuant to this act shall not exceed forty (40) years.
(6) Bonds of the authority issued pursuant to this act may be sold at such price or prices, at public or private sale, in such manner and at such times as may be determined by the authority to be in the public interest, and the authority may pay all expenses, premiums, fees and commissions which it may deem necessary and advantageous in connection with the issuance and sale thereof.
(7) Any pledge of earnings, revenues or other monies made by the authority shall be valid and binding from the time the pledge is made. The earnings, revenues or other monies so pledged and thereafter received by the authority shall immediately be subject to the lien of such pledge without any physical delivery thereof or further act, and the lien of any such pledge shall be valid and binding as against all parties having claims of any kind in tort, contract or otherwise against such authority irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof. Neither the resolution nor any other instrument by which a pledge is created need be recorded.
(8) Neither the members of the board of directors nor any person executing the bonds shall be personally liable on the bonds or be subject to any personal liability or accountability by reason of the issuance thereof.
(9) Proceeds from the sale of bonds of the authority may be invested, pending their use, in such securities as may be specified in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds or the trust indenture securing them, and the earnings on such investments applied as provided in such resolution or trust indenture.
(10) Whenever any bonds shall have been signed by the officer(s) designated by the resolution of the board of directors to sign the bonds who were in office at the time of such signing but who may have ceased to be such officer(s) prior to the sale and delivery of such bonds, or who may not have been in office on the date such bonds may bear, the manual or facsimile signatures of such officer(s) upon such bonds shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes and have the same effect as if the person so officially executing such bonds had remained in office until the delivery of the same to the purchaser or had been in office on the date such bonds may bear.
(11) The authority has the discretion to advance or borrow funds needed to satisfy any short-term cash flow demands or deficiencies or to cover start-up costs until such time as sufficient bonds, assets and revenues have been secured to satisfy the needs of the authority.
SECTION 12. (1) The authority may, by resolution adopted by its board of directors, issue refunding bonds for the purpose of paying any of its bonds at or prior to maturity or upon acceleration or redemption. Refunding bonds may be issued at such time prior to the maturity or redemption of the refunded bonds as the board of directors deems to be in the public interest, without an election on the question of the issuance thereof. The refunding bonds may be issued in sufficient amounts to pay or provide the principal of the bonds being refunded, together with any redemption premium thereon, any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of payment of such bonds, the expenses of issue of the refunding bonds, the expenses of redeeming the bonds being refunded, and such reserves for debt service or other capital or current expenses from the proceeds of such refunding bonds as may be required by the resolution, trust indenture or other security instruments. The issue of refunding bonds, the maturities and other details thereof, the security therefor, the rights of the holders and the rights, duties and obligations of the authority in respect of the same shall be governed by the provisions of this act relating to the issue of bonds other than refunding bonds insofar as the same may be applicable. Any such refunding may be effected, whether the obligations to be refunded shall have then matured or shall thereafter mature, either by the exchange of the refunding bonds for the obligations to be refunded thereby with the consent of the holders of the obligations so to be refunded, or by sale of the refunding bonds and the application of the proceeds thereof to the payment of the obligations proposed to be refunded thereby, and regardless of whether the obligations proposed to be refunded shall be payable on the same date or different dates or shall be due serially or otherwise.
(2) Borrowing by the authority may be made by the delivery of interim notes to any person or public agency or financial institution by a simple majority vote of the board of directors.
SECTION 13. All bonds (other than refunding bonds, interim notes and certificates of indebtedness, which may be validated) issued pursuant to this act shall be validated as now provided by law in Sections 31-13-1 through 31-13-11, Mississippi Code of 1972; however, notice of such validation proceedings shall be addressed to the citizens of the respective public agencies (a) which have contracted with the authority pursuant to this act, and (b) whose contracts and the payments to be made by the public agencies thereunder constitute security for the bonds of the authority proposed to be issued, and that such notice shall be published at least once in a newspaper or newspapers having a general circulation within the geographical boundaries of each of the contracting public agencies to whose citizens the notice is addressed. Such validation proceedings shall be instituted in any chancery courts within the boundaries of the authority. The validity of the bonds so validated and of the contracts and payments to be made by the public agencies thereunder constituting security for the bonds shall be forever conclusive against the authority and the public agencies which are parties to the contracts; and the validity of the bonds, the contracts and the payments to be made thereunder shall never be called in question in any court in this state.
SECTION 14. Bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall not be deemed to constitute, within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory limitation, an indebtedness of the authority. Such bonds shall be payable solely from the revenues or assets of the authority pledged therefor. Each bond issued under this act shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the authority shall not be obligated to pay the same nor the interest thereon except from the revenues or assets pledged therefor.
SECTION 15. The authority shall have power in connection with the issuance of its bonds pursuant to this act to:
(a) Covenant as to the use of any or all of its property, real or personal;
(b) Redeem the bonds, to covenant for their redemption and to provide the terms and conditions thereof;
(c) Covenant to charge rates, fees and charges sufficient to meet operating and maintenance expenses, renewals and replacements, principal and debt service on bonds, creation and maintenance of any reserves required by a bond resolution, trust indenture or other security instrument and to provide for any margins or coverages over and above debt service on the bonds deemed desirable for the marketability of the bonds;
(d) Covenant and prescribe as to events of default and terms and conditions upon which any or all of its bonds shall become or may be declared due before maturity, as to the terms and conditions upon which such declaration and its consequences may be waived and as to the consequences of default and the remedies of the registered owners of the bonds;
(e) Covenant as to the mortgage or pledge of or the grant of a security interest in any real or personal property and all or any part of the revenues from any designated system or any part thereof or any revenue-producing contract or contracts made by such authority with any person to secure the payment of bonds, subject to such agreements with the registered owners of bonds as may then exist;
(f) Covenant as to the custody, collection, securing, investment and payment of any revenues, assets, monies, funds or property with respect to which such authority may have any rights or interest;
(g) Covenant as to the purposes to which the proceeds from the sale of any bonds then or thereafter to be issued may be applied, and the pledge of such proceeds to secure the payment of the bonds;
(h) Covenant as to the limitations on the issuance of any additional bonds, the terms upon which additional bonds may be issued and secured, and the refunding of outstanding bonds;
(i) Covenant as to the rank or priority of any bonds with respect to any lien or security;
(j) Covenant as to the procedure by which the terms of any contract with or for the benefit of the registered owners of bonds may be amended or abrogated, the amount of bonds the registered owners of which must consent thereto, and the manner in which such consent may be given;
(k) Covenant as to the custody of any of its properties or investments, the safekeeping thereof, the insurance to be carried thereon, and the use and disposition of insurance proceeds;
(l) Covenant as to the vesting in a trustee or trustees, within or outside the state, of such properties, rights, powers and duties in trust as the authority may determine;
(m) Covenant as to the appointing and providing for the duties and obligations of a paying agent or paying agents or other fiduciaries within or outside the state;
(n) Make all other covenants and to do any and all such acts and things as may be necessary or convenient or desirable in order to secure its bonds, or in the absolute discretion of the authority tend to make the bonds more marketable, notwithstanding that such covenants, acts or things may not be enumerated herein; it being the intention hereof to give the authority power to do all things in the issuance of bonds and in the provisions for security thereof which are not inconsistent with the constitution of the state; and
(o) Execute all instruments necessary or convenient in the exercise of the powers herein granted or in the performance of covenants or duties, which may contain such covenants and provisions, as any purchaser of the bonds of the authority may reasonably require.
SECTION 16. The authority may, in any authorizing resolution of the board of directors, trust indenture or other security instrument relating to its bonds issued pursuant to this act, provide for the appointment of a trustee who shall have such powers as are provided therein to represent the registered owners of any issue of bonds in the enforcement or protection of their rights under any such resolution, trust indenture or security instrument. The authority may also provide in such resolution, trust indenture or other security instrument that the trustee, or in the event that the trustee so appointed shall fail or decline to so protect and enforce such registered owners' rights then such percentage of registered owners as shall be set forth in, and subject to the provisions of, such resolution, trust indenture or other security interest, may petition the court of proper jurisdiction for the appointment of a receiver of the authority's systems, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds of such registered owners. Such receiver may exercise any power as may be granted in any such resolution, trust indenture or security instrument to enter upon and take possession of, acquire, construct or reconstruct or operate and maintain such system, fix charges for services of the system and enforce collection thereof, and receive all revenues derived from such system or facilities and perform the public duties and carry out the contracts and obligations of such authority in the same manner as such authority itself might do, all under the direction of such court.
SECTION 17. (1) The exercise of the powers granted by this act will be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the state, for their well-being and prosperity and for the improvement of their social and economic conditions, and the authority shall not be required to pay any tax or assessment on any property owned by the authority under the provisions of this act or upon the income therefrom; nor shall the authority be required to pay any recording fee or transfer tax of any kind on account of instruments recorded by it or on its behalf.
(2) Any bonds issued by the authority under and pursuant to the provisions of this act, their transfer and the income therefrom shall at all times be free from taxation by the state or any local unit or political subdivision or other instrumentality of the state, except inheritance and gift taxes.
SECTION 18. All bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall be legal investments for trustees, other fiduciaries, 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 the state and all municipalities and other political subdivisions thereof for the purpose of securing the deposit of public funds.
SECTION 19. The state hereby covenants with the registered owners of any bonds of any authority that so long as the bonds are outstanding and unpaid the state will not limit or alter the rights and powers of any authority under this act to conduct the activities referred to herein in any way pertinent to the interests of the bondholders, including, without limitation, such authority's right to charge and collect rates, fees, assessments and charges and to fulfill the terms of any covenants made with the registered owners of the bonds, or in any other way impair the rights and remedies of the registered owners of the bonds, unless provision for full payment of such bonds, by escrow or otherwise, has been made pursuant to the terms of the bonds or the resolution, trust indenture or security interest securing the bonds.
SECTION 20. For the purposes of satisfying any temporary cash flow demands and deficiencies, and to maintain a working balance for the authority, the county, municipalities or public agencies within the geographic boundaries of the authority, or other persons, subject to their lawful authority to do so, are authorized to advance, at any time, such funds which, in its discretion, are necessary, or borrow such funds by issuance of notes, for initial capital contribution and to cover start-up costs until such times as sufficient bonds, assets and revenues have been secured to satisfy the needs of the authority for its management, operation and formation. To this end, the county, municipality, public agency or person, subject to their lawful authority to do so, shall advance such funds, or borrow such funds by issuance of notes, under such terms and conditions as may be provided by resolution of the governing body, or other persons as defined in this act, subject to their lawful authority to do so, except that each such resolution shall state:
(a) The need for the proceeds advanced or borrowed;
(b) The amount to be advanced or the amount to be borrowed;
(c) The maximum principal amount of any note issued the interest rate or maximum interest rate to be incurred, and the maturity date of said note;
(d) In addition, the governing body, or other persons as defined in this act, subject to their lawful authority to do so, may arrange for lines of credit with any bank, firm or person for the purpose of providing an additional source of repayment for notes issued pursuant to this section. Amounts drawn on a line of credit may be evidenced by negotiable or nonnegotiable notes or other evidences of indebtedness and contain such terms and conditions as the governing body, or other persons as defined in this act, subject to their lawful authority to do so, may authorize in the resolution approving the same;
(e) The governing body of the county, municipalities or other persons as defined in this act, subject to their lawful authority to do so, may authorize the repayment of such advances, notes, lines of credit and other debt incurred under this section, along with all costs associated with the same, including, but not limited to, rating agency fees, printing costs, legal fees, bank or trust company fees, line of credit fees and other charges to be reimbursed by the authority under such terms and conditions as are reasonable and are to be provided for by resolution of the governing body, or terms agreed upon with other persons as defined in this act, subject to their lawful authority to do so;
(f) In addition, the governing body of the county, municipality or public agency may lease or donate office space and equipment to the authority under such terms and conditions as are reasonable and are to be provided for by resolution of the governing body, or terms agreed upon by the authority.
SECTION 21. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of the provisions of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
SECTION 22. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.