2005 Regular Session

To: Conservation and Water Resources; Ways and Means

By: Representative Brown

House Bill 1481

(As Passed the House)



     SECTION 1.  Section 51-39-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     51-39-25.  The district shall have all the rights and powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following:

          (a)  To sue and be sued in its own name;

          (b)  To adopt an official seal and alter the seal at its pleasure;

          (c)  To maintain an office or offices at any place or places within the geographic boundaries of its members as it may determine;

          (d)  To establish a graduated storm water user fee, which may be assessed and collected from each user of the storm water facilities provided by the district.  The fees shall be reasonable in an amount not to exceed Three Dollars and Seventy-seven Cents ($3.77) and used exclusively by the district for the purposes set forth in this act.  The graduated storm water user fee shall be based on actual or estimated use of the storm water facility of the district and each user or user class shall only be required to pay its proportionate share of the construction, administration, operation and maintenance costs of the facilities based on the actual or estimated proportionate contribution to the total storm water runoff from all users or user classes.  To insure a proportionate distribution of all costs to each user or user class, the user contribution shall be based on factors such as the amount of impervious area utilized by the user and the volume or rate of storm water runoff;

     The fee structure shall provide adjustments for users who construct facilities to retain and control the storm water runoff.  Prior to establishing or amending any user fees, the district shall advertise its intent to do so by publishing a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area served by the district at least thirty (30) days in advance of the meeting at which the district shall consider user fee proposals.  The following shall be exempted from payment of user fees authorized by the district:

              (i)  Users whose storm water runoff is not discharged into or through the storm water facilities of the district;

              (ii)  Any entity that possesses a valid individual storm water National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit;

              (iii)  Any entity that has coverage under a general storm water National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit; and

              (iv)  Any Class II real property, as defined in Section 112 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, that is classified as agriculture or forest land;

          (e)  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, a storm water management system within the counties or municipalities in the district.  The district may pay all or part of the cost of any storm water management system from any contribution by persons, firms, public agencies or corporations.  The district may receive, accept and use all funds, public or private, and pay all cost of development, implementation and maintenance as may be determined as necessary for any project;

          (f)  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.  These purposes shall include, but are not limited to, the constructing or acquiring of a storm water management system; the improving, extending, reconstructing, renovating or remodeling of any existing storm water management system or part thereof; or the demolition to make room for any project or any part thereof.  The district may insure the storm water management system against all risks as any insurance may, from time to time, be available.  The district may also 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 district 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 district shall be held by the district exclusively for the benefit of the public;

          (g)  To adopt, modify, repeal and promulgate rules and regulations implementing or effectuating the powers and duties of the district under any statute within the district's jurisdiction, and where otherwise not prohibited by federal or state law, to make exceptions to and grant variances and exemptions from, and to enforce those rules and regulations.  Those rules and regulations may include, but shall not be limited to, rules and regulations for (i) the management of the district's business and affairs; (ii) the use, operation, maintenance or implementation of the district's storm water management system or any portion of that system, facility or any other property owned or operated by the district; and (iii) specifications and standards relating to the planning, design or construction of the storm water management system or any facility owned or operated by the district;

          (h)  To enter into contracts or leases with any person or public agency and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for construction, operation and maintenance of the storm water management system and leases of projects.  Without limiting the generality of the above, authority is specifically granted to units of local government and to the district to enter into contracts, lease agreements or other undertaking relative to the furnishing of storm water management system services or facilities or both by the district to a unit of local government and by a unit of local government to the district;

          (i)  To exercise any powers, rights or privileges conferred by this chapter either alone or jointly or in common with any other public or private parties.  In any exercise of any powers, rights and privileges jointly or in common with others for the construction, operation and maintenance of facilities, the district may own an undivided interest in any facilities with any other party with which it may jointly or in common exercise the rights and privileges conferred by this chapter and may enter into any agreement with respect to any facility with any other party participating in those facilities.  An agreement may contain any terms, conditions and provisions, consistent with this section, as the parties to the agreement shall deem to be in their best interest including, but not limited to, provisions for the planning, design, construction, operation, implementation and maintenance of any facility by any party to an agreement.  Any party or parties shall be designated in or under any agreement as agent or agents on behalf of itself and one or more of the other parties to the agreement, or by any other means as may be determined by the parties.  The agreement shall include a method or methods of determining and allocating, among the parties, costs of planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renewals, replacements, improvements and disposal related to any facility.  In carrying out its functions and activities as an agent with respect to planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of any facility, the agent shall be governed by the laws and regulations applicable to that agent as a separate legal entity and not by any laws or regulations which may be applicable to any of the other participating parties.  The agent shall act for the benefit of the public.  In any agreement, the district may delegate its powers and duties related to the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of any facility to the party acting as agent and all actions taken by that agent in accordance with the agreement may be binding upon the district without further action or approval of the district;

          (j)  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, authority 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, authority or instrumentality shall impose.  The district may administer trusts.  The district may sell, lease, transfer, convey, appropriate and pledge any and all of its property and assets;

          (k)  To employ professional and administrative staff and personnel and to retain legal, engineering, fiscal, accounting and other professional services;

          (l)  To assume or continue any contractual or other business relationships entered into by the municipalities or counties who are members of the district, including the rights to receive and acquire transferred rights under option to purchase agreements;

          (m)  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;

          (n)  To do and perform any acts and things authorized by this chapter under, through or by means of its officers, agents and employees, or by contracts with any person; and

          (o)  To do and perform any and all acts or things necessary, convenient or desirable for the purposes of the district, or to carry out any power expressly granted in this chapter.

     SECTION 2.  Section 51-39-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     51-39-43.  This chapter, without reference to any other statute, shall be deemed to be full and complete authority for the creation of a district.  No proceedings shall be required for the creation of a district other than those provided for and required in this chapter.  All the necessary powers to be exercised by the governing body of a county or municipality and by the board of commissioners of any district, in order to carry out this chapter, are hereby conferred.

     The powers conferred by this chapter are in addition and supplemental to other powers conferred by law.

     SECTION 3.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.