1997 Regular Session

To: Public Utilities

By: Senator(s) Dearing

Senate Bill 2394




SECTION 1. Section 19-5-313, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

19-5-313. (1) The board of supervisors shall levy an emergency telephone service charge in an amount of One Dollar ($1.00) per residential telephone subscriber line per month and Two Dollars ($2.00) per commercial telephone subscriber line per month. Any emergency telephone service charge shall have uniform application and shall be imposed throughout the entirety of the district to the greatest extent possible in conformity with availability of such service in any area of the district. Cellular telephone and personal communications network subscribers shall also be subject to the subscriber service charge. Cellular subscribers and personal communications network subscribers shall be treated the same as residential and commercial wireline subscribers and charged accordingly with the proceeds paid to the county in which the subscriber resides. * * *

(2) If the proceeds generated by the emergency telephone service charge exceed the amount of monies necessary to fund the service, the board of supervisors may authorize such excess funds to be expended by the county and the municipalities in the counties to perform the duties and pay the costs relating to identifying roads, highways and streets, as provided by Section 65-7-143. The board of supervisors shall determine how the funds are to be distributed in the county and among municipalities in the county for paying the costs relating to identifying roads, highways and streets. The board of supervisors may temporarily reduce the service charge rate or temporarily suspend the service charge if the proceeds generated exceed the amount that is necessary to fund the service and/or to pay costs relating to identifying roads, highways and streets. Such excess funds may also be used in the development of county or district communications and paging systems when used primarily for the alerting and dispatching of public safety entities and for other administrative costs such as management personnel, maintenance personnel and related building and operational requirements. Such excess funds may be placed in a depreciation fund for emergency and obsolescence replacement of equipment necessary for the operation of the overall 911 emergency telephone and alerting systems.

(3) No such service charge shall be imposed upon more than twenty-five (25) exchange access facilities per person per location. Trunks or service lines used to supply service to cellular telephone sites or personal communications systems sites shall not have a service charge levied against them. Every billed service user shall be liable for any service charge imposed under this section until it has been paid to the service supplier. The duty of the service supplier to collect any such service charge shall commence upon the date of its implementation, which shall be specified in the resolution for the installation of such service. Any such emergency telephone service charge shall be added to and may be stated separately in the billing by the service supplier to the service user.

(4) The service supplier shall have no obligation to take any legal action to enforce the collection of any emergency telephone service charge. However, the service supplier shall annually provide the board of supervisors and board of commissioners with a list of the amount uncollected, together with the names and addresses of those service users who carry a balance that can be determined by the service supplier to be nonpayment of such service charge. The service charge shall be collected at the same time as the tariff rate in accordance with the regular billing practice of the service supplier. Good faith compliance by the service supplier with this provision shall constitute a complete defense to any legal action or claim which may result from the service supplier's determination of nonpayment and/or the identification of service users in connection therewith.

(5) The amounts collected by the service supplier attributable to any emergency telephone service charge shall be due the county treasury monthly. The amount of service charge collected each month by the service supplier shall be remitted to the county no later than sixty (60) days after the close of the month. A return, in such form as the board of supervisors and the service supplier agree upon, shall be filed with the county, together with a remittance of the amount of service charge collected payable to the county. The service supplier shall maintain records of the amount of service charge collected for a period of at least two (2) years from date of collection. The board of supervisors and board of commissioners shall receive an annual audit of the service supplier's books and records with respect to the collection and remittance of the service charge. From the gross receipts to be remitted to the county, the service supplier shall be entitled to retain as an administrative fee, an amount equal to one percent (1%) thereof. From and after March 10, 1987, the service charge is a county fee and is not subject to any sales, use, franchise, income, excise or any other tax, fee or assessment and shall not be considered revenue of the service supplier for any purpose.

(6) In order to provide additional funding for the district, the board of commissioners may receive federal, state, county or municipal funds, as well as funds from private sources, and may expend such funds for the purposes of Section 19-5-301 et seq.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.