2005 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation
By: Representative Johnson, Mims
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ADAMS COUNTY TO LEVY EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SERVICE CHARGES WHICH HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED BY A VOTE OF A MAJORITY OF THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE COUNTY ON A FLAT RATE OR FIXED RATE BASIS; TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN FUNDS DERIVED UNDER THIS CHAPTER MAY BE EXPENDED BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR THE PURCHASE OF COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OR CIVIL DEFENSE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares it to be in the public interest to warn the general public of an actual or impending emergency. Warning the public of violent weather or other emergencies can be effectively achieved through the utilization of communications equipment for emergency management or civil defense. This equipment will alert citizens of impending danger and thus enable such citizens to take necessary precautions.
SECTION 2. For purposes of this act, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Exchange access facilities" shall mean all lines, provided by the service supplier for the provision of local exchange service, as defined in existing general subscriber services tariffs.
(b) "Tariff rate" shall mean the rate or rates billed by a service supplier as stated in the service supplier's tariffs and approved by the Public Service Commission, which represent the service supplier's recurring charges for exchange access facilities, exclusive of all taxes, fees, licenses or similar charges whatsoever.
(c) "District" shall mean any communications district created pursuant to this act.
(d) "Service supplier" shall mean any person providing exchange telephone service to any service user throughout the county.
(e) "Service user" shall mean any person, not otherwise exempt from taxation, who is provided exchange telephone service in the county.
(f) "E-911" shall mean Enhanced Universal Emergency Number Service or Enhanced 911 Service which is a telephone exchange communications service whereby a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) designated by the customer may receive telephone calls dialed to the telephone number 911. E-911 Service includes lines and equipment necessary for the answering, transferring and dispatching of public emergency telephone calls originated by persons within the serving area who dial 911.
SECTION 3. (1) The Board of Supervisors of Adams County, when so authorized by a vote of a majority of the qualified electors of the county voting in an election held therefor, in accordance with law, may levy an emergency telephone service charge in an amount not to exceed five percent (5%) of the tariff rate. At any time after a majority of the qualified electors of the county, voting in an election held therefor, have approved the levy of a service charge not to exceed five percent (5%) of the tariff rate, the board of supervisors, upon the request of the E-911 commission or board, may levy such service charge on a flat rate or fixed rate basis, provided that such flat rate or fixed rate shall not exceed the amount which would be produced by a service charge of five percent (5%) of the tariff rate. The board of supervisors may, upon its own initiative, call such a special election in the manner provided by law for special elections. Any such 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.
(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 shall reduce the service charge rate to an amount adequate to fund the service, unless such excess funds are spent for the purposes authorized by subsection (6) of this section. In lieu of reducing the service charge rate, the board of supervisors may temporarily or permanently suspend such service charge, if the revenues generated therefrom exceed the needs. The board of supervisors may thereafter reestablish the original emergency telephone service charge rate, or lift the suspension thereof, if the amount of monies generated is not adequate to fund the service.
(3) An emergency telephone service charge shall be imposed only upon the amount received from the tariff rate exchange access lines or on a flat rate or fixed rate basis, provided that such flat rate or fixed rate shall not exceed the amount which would be produced by a service charge of five percent (5%) of the tariff rate. If there is no separate exchange access charge stated in the service supplier's tariffs, the board of supervisors shall determine a uniform percentage not in excess of eighty-five percent (85%) of the tariff rate for basic exchange telephone service that shall be deemed to be the equivalent of tariff rate exchange access lines, until such time as the service supplier establishes such a tariff rate. No such service charge shall be imposed upon more than twenty-five (25) exchange access facilities per person per location. 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 calling the election. 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 governing commission 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 quarterly. The amount of service charge collected in one (1) calendar quarter by the service supplier shall be remitted to the county no later than sixty (60) days after the close of a calendar quarter. On or before the sixtieth day after the close of a calendar quarter, 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 the service charge collected for a period of at least two (2) years from date of collection. The board of supervisors and commission 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.
(6) The board of supervisors, in its discretion, may expend funds generated under the provisions of this act which are in excess of the amount of funds determined by the commission to be needed for the operation and services of the district for the purpose of purchasing communications equipment for emergency management or civil defense.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.