2021 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation
By: Representative Clark
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF HOLMES COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, TO TRANSFER FUNDS AND CERTAIN PROPERTY TO THE HOLMES COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT FROM THE NONOPERATIONAL HOLMES COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY; TO AMEND CHAPTER 814, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1987, WHICH PERTAINS TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HOLMES COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING SECTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Boards of Supervisors of Holmes County, Mississippi, is authorized and empowered, in its discretion, to transfer any funds as well as any real and personal property that is owned by the nonoperational Holmes County Economic Development Authority to the Holmes County Economic Development District.
(2) In addition to the authority provided in subsection (1) of this section, the board of supervisors is authorized to do the following for the transference authorized under this section:
(a) Execute any documents; and
(b) Do any and all things necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
In all cases, prior to the effective date of this act, where the board of supervisors and/or the trustees of the Holmes County Economic Development District took action concerning the management of the nonoperational Holmes County Economic Development Authority is hereby ratified, confirmed and validated.
SECTION 2. Chapter 814, Local and Private Laws of 1987, is amended as follows:
Section 1. Whenever used in this act, unless a different meaning clearly appears in the context, the following terms, whether used in the singular or plural, shall be given the following meanings:
(a) "Authority" means the economic development authority established under the provisions of this act.
(b) "Board of supervisors" means the board of supervisors of the county.
(c) "Bonds" means debt obligations of the county issued under the provisions of this act.
(d) "County" means Holmes County, Mississippi.
(e) "Project" means any project as defined in Section 57-3-5, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Section 2. When the Board of Supervisors of Holmes County, Mississippi, shall find and determine that the public convenience and necessity requires the same, as evidenced by a resolution duly adopted and entered on the official minutes of such board, it shall establish an economic development authority, to be known as the Holmes County Economic Development Authority. The authority shall be composed of twelve (12) resident citizens of such county, to be appointed as follows: five (5) appointed by the board of supervisors, one (1) from each supervisors district, who shall be qualified electors therein; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Cruger; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the City of Durant; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Goodman; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the City of Lexington; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Pickens; one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Tchula; and one (1) appointed by the Mayor of the Town of West. The initial members of the authority appointed by the board of supervisors shall serve terms as follows: the member from supervisors district one, one (1) year; the member from supervisors district two, two (2) years; the member from supervisors district three, three (3) years; the member from supervisors district four, four (4) years; the member from supervisors district five, five (5) years. Thereafter, all members appointed by the board of supervisors shall serve terms of five (5) years. The members of the authority appointed by the mayors of the several municipalities shall serve terms of five (5) years.
Section 3. Before entering upon the duties of the office, each member of the authority shall take and subscribe to the oath of office required by Section 268, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, and shall give bond in the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), conditioned upon the faithful performance of his duties, such bond to be made payable to the authority and to be approved by the board of supervisors of the county.
The members of the authority shall meet at the regular meeting place of the board of supervisors within thirty (30) days after the members are initially appointed and shall elect from among their number a president, vice president and secretary treasurer of the authority and shall adopt a seal and such bylaws, rules and regulations as may be necessary to govern the time, place and manner for holding subsequent meetings of the authority and for conduct of its business, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.
The members of the authority shall serve without salary or compensation; however, the members and staff of the authority may be reimbursed for actual expenses, including mileage and travel expenses, incurred in the performance of their duties, as authorized by Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Section 4. (1) The authority is hereby granted the following powers, together with all powers incidental thereto or necessary for the performance of those hereinafter stated, in order to effectuate the purposes of this act:
(a) To acquire by gift, purchase or otherwise, and to own, lease, hold, maintain, control and develop, real estate and improvements thereon situated within the county, either within or without the corporate limits of a municipality, for development, use and operation as one or more industrial park complexes, buildings or sites or economic development districts.
(b) To engage in works of internal improvement for those sites, including, but not limited to, construction or contracting for the construction of streets, roads, railroads, site improvements, water, sewerage, drainage, pollution and other related facilities necessary or required for industrial or economic development use and development of projects.
(c) To acquire, purchase, install, lease, construct, own, hold, equip, control, maintain, use, operate and repair such structures and facilities as are determined to be necessary and convenient for the planning, development, use, operation and maintenance of projects for industrial or economic development purposes, including, but not limited to, buildings, utility installations, elevators, compressors, warehouses, air, rail and other transportation terminals and pollution control facilities.
(d) To request the board of supervisors of the county to borrow money and issue negotiable promissory notes evidencing the same under the provisions of Sections 5 through 11 of this act, and, in addition to or in lieu of the pledges authorized in Section 11 of this act, to secure such notes by the execution of deeds of trust and mortgages upon any real estate not otherwise encumbered belonging to the authority.
(e) To sell, lease, trade, exchange or otherwise dispose of industrial sites and improvements thereon situated within projects to individuals, firms or corporations, public or private, for all types of industrial, economic, commercial and agricultural uses upon such terms and conditions, for such consideration, and with such safeguards as it determines will best promote and protect the public interest, convenience and necessity, and to execute deeds, leases, contracts, easements and other legal instruments necessary or convenient therefor.
(f) To fix and prescribe fees, charges and rates for the use of any water, sewerage, utilities, pollution or other facilities constructed, owned and operated by the authority in connection with a project and to collect the same from persons, firms and corporations using the same for industrial, commercial or agricultural purposes, except as to rates and charges against common carriers regulated by an agency of the federal government or the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
(g) To employ a staff or to contract for staff and professional services with other organizations such as attorneys, engineers, accountants, consultants and such personnel as shall be reasonably necessary to carry out the duties and powers authorized by this act. The authority shall avoid duplication of staff with other organizations such as a chamber of commerce, and, where duplications would occur, it shall contract for staff services with the existing organizations.
(h) To expend funds to promote and solicit new business and industry for the county and to provide services which will ensure the continued operation and expansion of existing industry in the county. The authority is further authorized and empowered to expend funds to remove obstacles to the development of new business and industry.
(2) The board of supervisors of the county, upon the request of the authority, is authorized to issue bonds for the purposes authorized by this act, the principal of and interest on which shall be payable solely out of the revenue derived from the sale, operation and leasing of a project and its facilities. The terms, conditions, forms and laws applicable to such bonds shall be as provided in Sections 57-3-11 through 57-3-23, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(3) Contracts for the acquisition, construction, improvement, equipping and furnishing of a project shall be entered into upon the basis of public bidding pursuant to Section 31-7-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972.
(4) Any sale or lease of all or part of a project may be executed upon such terms and conditions and for such monetary rental or other consideration as may be found adequate and approved by the authority in orders or resolutions authorizing the same. Any covenants and obligations of lessees or sublessees to make expenditures in determined amounts, and within such time or times, for improvements to be erected on the land owned or otherwise held by the authority, and to conduct thereon industrial, commercial, economic, agricultural or public purpose operations in such aggregate payroll amounts and for such period of time or times as may be determined and defined in such sale or lease, and to give preference in employment where practicable to qualified residents of the county, shall, if included in such sale or lease, constitute and be deemed adequate and sufficient consideration for the execution of any such sale or lease, and no monetary rental or other consideration shall be required. Any such instrument may contain reasonable provisions giving the lessee the right to remove its or his improvements upon termination of the lease.
Section 5. For the purpose of providing funds to defray the cost of acquiring land and the cost of improving the same and constructing improvements thereon, as provided by this act, the board of supervisors of the county is hereby authorized to issue the general obligation bonds of the county in the manner prescribed by Sections 6 through 11 of this act, upon obtaining a certification of public convenience and necessity from the Mississippi Board of Economic Development pursuant to Chapter 5, Title 57, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Section 6. This aggregate amount of all bonds authorized to be issued under the provisions of this act shall not exceed the principal amount of Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00). The inclusion of general obligation bonds in any statutory debt limitation shall be governed by Section 19-9-5, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Section 7. All bonds issued under the authority of Section 5 of this act shall bear interest at such rate or rates not exceeding the rate of interest authorized to be paid by counties on general obligation bonds, shall be in such denomination or denominations, shall mature not more than twenty (20) years from date, with or without the right of redemption and with or without premium, and shall be payable, both principal and interest, at such place or places, all as the board of supervisors shall determine. All such bonds shall be sold for not less than par value plus accrued interest at public sale in the manner provided by Section 31-19-25, Mississippi Code of 1972. No less than one fiftieth (1/50) of the total issue shall mature during each year during the first five (5) years of the life of such bonds, and not less than one twenty fifth (1/25) of the total issue shall mature each year during the succeeding period of ten (10) years of the life of such bonds, and the remainder shall be divided into approximately equal annual payments,: with payment to be made each year for the remaining life of such bonds. Such bonds shall be executed on behalf of the county in the manner provided by law for general obligation bonds.
No bond shall bear more than one (1) rate of interest; each bond shall bear interest from its date to its stated maturity date at the interest rate specified in the bid; all bonds of the same maturity shall bear the same rate of interest from date to maturity; all interest accruing on such bonds so issued shall be payable semiannually or annually, except that the first interest payment on any such bond may be for any period not exceeding one (1) year.
The lowest interest rate specified for any bonds issued shall not be less than seventy percent (70%) of the highest interest rate specified for the same bond issue.
Each interest rate specified in any bid must be in multiples of one eighth of one percent (1/8 of 1%) or in multiples of one tenth of one percent (1/10 of 1%). Such bonds may be issued and sold in one or more series.
Section 8. Before issuing any bonds under the authority of Section 5 of this act, the board of supervisors shall declare, by resolution spread upon its minutes, its intention to issue such bonds for the purposes authorized by this act and shall state in such resolution the amount of bonds proposed to be issued and shall likewise fix in such resolution the date upon which the board of supervisors proposes to direct the issuance of such bonds. Notice of such intention shall be published once a 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 issue such bonds and the last publication to be made not less than twenty one (21) days prior to the date fixed in the resolution declaring the intent to issue such bonds and the last publication to be made not more than seven (7) days prior to such date. If, on or before the date specified in the resolution, twenty percent (20%) or two thousand (2,000), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the county proposing to issue such bonds file a written protest against the issuance of the bonds, then an election upon the issuance of the bonds shall be called and held as hereby provided. If no such protest is filed, then the board of supervisors may issue such bonds without an election on the question of their issuance at any time within a period of two (2) years after the date specified in the resolution. If an election is required by the protest of the appropriate number of qualified electors of the county, then an election shall be held by the county under applicable laws. However, nothing in this act shall prevent such county from calling an election on such proposition, in which event it shall not be necessary to publish the resolution of intent above described.
Section 9. At such election, all qualified electors of the county may vote, and the ballots used in such election shall have printed thereon a brief statement of the amount and purposes of the proposed bond issue and the words "FOR THE BOND ISSUE" and "AGAINST THE BOND ISSUE," and the voters shall vote by placing a cross (x) or check (ü) opposite their choice on the proposition.
Section 10. When the results of any such election have been canvassed by the election commission of the county and certified, the board of supervisors may issue the bonds if three fifths (3/5) of the qualified electors who vote in such election vote in favor of the issuance of such bonds. If such bond issue is approved, the board of supervisors may issue such bonds within two (2) years from the date of such election or within two (2) years after final favorable determination of any litigation affecting the issuance of such bonds, at such time or times and in such amount or amounts, not exceeding that specified in the notice of the election, deemed proper by the board of supervisors.
Section 11. The full faith, credit and resources of the county shall be irrevocably pledged for the repayment of such bonds issued pursuant to Sections 5 through 11 of this act and the interest thereon. It shall be the duty of the board of supervisors annually to levy and collect a special tax upon all of the taxable property within the county, which shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds issued pursuant to Sections 5 through 11 of this act. Any income derived from the sale or lease of the property authorized to be acquired under this act shall be applied in one or more of the following manners: (a) the retirement of bonds authorized to be issued under this act; (b) further improvement or development of such industrial parks or other related industrial development activities; or (c) payment into the general fund of the county to be used for any lawful purpose. Any amounts so paid into the general fund shall be included in the computation of total receipts and subject to the restrictions of Section 27-39-321. The board of supervisors may covenant with or for the benefit of the registered owners of any bonds issued under this act with respect to the application of any or all of such income and, by resolution adopted prior to or promptly after receipt of any such income, shall determine, in its discretion subject only to the restrictions set forth above and any covenants made to or for the benefit of any registered owners of bonds issued under this act, the manner in which such income shall be applied.
Section 12. The bonds issued under this act and the income from those bonds shall be exempt from all taxation in the State of Mississippi; however, any lessee or purchaser shall not be exempt from ad valorem taxes on industrial sites and improvements thereon, unless otherwise provided by the general laws of this state, and purchases required to establish a project and financed by bond proceeds shall not be exempt from taxation in the State of Mississippi.
Section 13. All bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall be legal investments for trustees and other fiduciaries, and for 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 this state and all municipalities and political subdivisions for the purpose of securing the deposit of public funds.
Section 14. The carrying out of the corporate purposes of the authority is in all respects for the benefit of the people of the county and is a public purpose, and the authority will be performing an essential government function in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by this act.
Section 15. In addition to any rights, duties and powers now or hereafter conferred upon the county, the board of supervisors, at the request of the authority, is authorized and empowered, in its discretion, to utilize any available revenues in its general fund and to utilize funds generated from levies for economic or industrial development purposes, including, the ad valorem tax authorized by Section 19-9-111, Mississippi Code of 1972, for the operation and general support of the authority. The municipalities of the county may, in their discretion, use any available revenues in their general fund to support the authority.
Section 16. The authority, in addition to the monies which may be received by it form the sale of bonds and from the collection of revenues, rents and earnings derived under the provisions of this act, shall have the authority to accept from any public or private agency, or from any individual, grants for or in aid of the construction of any project or for the payment of bonds, and to receive and accept contributions, from any source, of money or property or other things of value to be held, used and applied only for the purposes for which such grants or contributions may be made.
Section 17. This act shall be deemed to be full and complete authority for the exercise of the powers herein granted.
Section 18. The Board of Supervisors of Holmes County is hereby directed to submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended or extended.
Section 19. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
Section 20. This act shall be repealed from and after July 1, 2021.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.