2006 Regular Session
To: Local and Private Legislation
By: Representative Chism
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 834, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1988, AS AMENDED BY CHAPTER 880, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1989, CHAPTER 808, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1990, AND CHAPTER 942, LOCAL AND PRIVATE LAWS OF 1997, TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE CALEDONIA NATURAL GAS DISTRICT TO CONTRIBUTE MATCHING FUNDS FOR MONIES CONTRIBUTED TO THE MISSISSIPPI DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN BY ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE DISTRICT OR INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING COMPENSATION FROM THE DISTRICT WHO IS A QUALIFIED PARTICIPANT IN THE PLAN; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Chapter 834, Local and Private Laws of 1988, as amended by Chapter 880, Local and Private Laws of 1989, Chapter 808, Local and Private Laws of 1990, and Chapter 942, Local and Private Laws of 1997, is amended as follows:
Section 1. The Caledonia Natural Gas District is hereby created composed of the following described area:
Beginning at the Northeast Corner of Lowndes County, which is also on the Mississippi-Alabama State Line, in Section 19, Township 15 South, Range 16 West, and proceed South along the Mississippi-Alabama State Line approximately 12-1/2 miles to the intersection with Luxapalila Creek; run thence in a Westerly direction along the tread of Luxapalila Creek as it progresses through Sections 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 19, 20, 21, 29, 30, and 31 of Township 17 South, Range 17 West, and through Sections 36 and 35 of Township 17 South, Range 18 West, to a Point where it intersects with the South boundary of Section 35, Township 17 South, Range 18 West, Lowndes County, Mississippi; run thence Westerly along the South boundary of said Section 35, Township 17 South, Range 18 West, to the West boundary of the East half of said Section 35, thence North along said boundary of East half to the South boundary of Section 26, Township 17 South, Range 18 West, then run West to the Southwest Corner of said Section 26, thence run North 1-1/2 miles more or less to the Northwest Corner of the Southwest Quarter of Section 23, Township 17 South, Range 18 West; thence run West along the Southern boundary of the North half of Section 22, Township 17 South, Range 18 West to the Southwest Corner of the said North half; thence run North 2 miles more or less to the Northwest Corner of the South half of Section 10, Township 17 South, Range 18 West; run thence West along the South boundary of the North halfs of Section 8 and 9 of Township 17 South, Range 18 West to the Southwest Corner of the North half of Section 8; run thence North along the West boundary of Sections 5 and 8, Township 17 South, Range 18 West to the intersection with the South boundary of the Columbus Air Force Base said Point being at or near the Northwest Corner of Section 5, Township 17 South, Range 18 West; run thence Easterly along the South boundary of the Columbus Air Force Base to the Southeast Corner of the Columbus Air Force Base which is on the West right-of-way of Highway 45 at or near the Northeast Corner of Section 4, Township 17 South, Range 18 West; run thence North and West along the East boundary of the said Columbus Air Force Base to a Point where it intersects with the West boundary of the East half of the East half of Section 33, Township 16 South, Range 18 West; run thence North along the West boundary of the East half of the East half of Sections 33, 28, 21, and 16 of Township 16 South, Range 18 West, until said boundary line intersects with the main channel of the Buttahatchie River which is also the North boundary line of Lowndes County, Mississippi; run thence Northeasterly along the main channel of the Buttahatchie River to a Point in Section 21, Township 15 South, Range 17 West where the North boundary of Lowndes County leaves the River channel; thence run Easterly along the North boundary of Lowndes County through Sections 21, 22, 23, and 24 of Township 15 South, Range 17 West, and through Section 19, Township 15 South, Range 16 West, to the POINT OF BEGINNING."
Section 2. The Caledonia Natural Gas District shall be and is hereby declared to be a valid political subdivision of the State of Mississippi, with the power to sue and be sued and to contract and be contracted with.
Section 3. It is hereby found and declared that the object and purpose of creating the district is to provide natural gas service to the residents of the aforesaid area and to provide ways and means to carry out and accomplish that purpose, thereby benefiting and making more valuable the lands in the district and preserving and promoting the health, safety and convenience of the residents thereof. In order to carry out and render effective that object and purpose, the courts of this state shall construe this act as an exercise by the Legislature of all the power appertaining to it, necessary for the benefit of the health, safety and convenience of the residents of the district; and the necessity in the public interest of the state at large for the provision herein enacted is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination. All the terms and provisions of this act are to be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes herein set forth, and all powers required to accomplish the purposes of this act are hereby granted and conferred, including the power to employ engineers and attorneys at such reasonable compensation as the board of commissioners shall determine.
Section 4. (1) From and after April 26, 1988, and until the effective date of House Bill No. 1869, 1997 Regular Session, the effective date of this act, the powers of the Caledonia Natural Gas District shall be vested in and exercised by a board of commissioners consisting of the Mayor of the Town of Caledonia and four (4) residents of the district. The Governor shall appoint the four (4) residents to an interim board, the term of which shall expire upon completion of the construction of the district's natural gas transmission and distribution system and the election of such resident members to a successor board as provided in this subsection.
Promptly upon the commencement of natural gas service by the district to not less than one hundred (100) individually billed users, the commissioners shall give notice to each user of an initial election to be held at a time not less than thirty (30) days nor more than sixty (60) days from such date. The notice shall state the time, place, and manner in which the users may vote upon the selection of the resident members of the board to terms of one (1), two (2), three (3) and four (4) years by ballot of all users of the district. Such election shall be held in a manner and according to procedures to be established by rules and regulations adopted by the board prior to the giving of notice of such election, and a printed copy of such rules and regulations shall accompany the notice to be forwarded by regular mail to the users.
Rules and regulations for the conduct of the election shall provide for a method of nomination of commissioners, notice of such nominations to be provided to users not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date upon which the election is to be held, along with a method of balloting by mail as well as personal attendance at the time and place of election, a method of balloting by proxy vote, and a method of making additional nominations by users in addition to any nominations proposed by the board of commissioners. The time of the election shall be fixed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on a day of the week other than Sunday.
In this and all succeeding elections, each user of the district shall have one (1) vote; provided that when a billing is made to more than one (1) person at a single location, each such person shall be limited to casting a pro rata share of the one (1) vote to which the billing location is entitled.
(2) From and after the effective date of House Bill No. 1869, 1997 Regular Session, the powers of the Caledonia Natural Gas District shall be vested in and exercised by a board of commissioners consisting of five (5) residents of the district. The term of office of the four (4) resident members of the board who are in office on the effective date of House Bill No. 1869, 1997 Regular Session, shall continue uninterrupted until such terms are scheduled to expire in accordance with subsection (1) of this section. At the next regularly scheduled election of commissioners following the effective date of House Bill No. 1869, 1997 Regular Session, the users of the district shall elect, in the same manner that all other commissioners are elected, a fifth resident of the district to serve as a commissioner. However, until such time that the fifth commissioner is duly elected and takes office, an interim commissioner shall be appointed to serve by the four (4) resident members of the board.
(3) Subsequent to the initial election, there shall be held an election annually on a date and in a manner substantially conforming to the initial election, except that in each annual election following the initial election, all commissioners shall be elected to terms of three (3) years.
(4) Vacancies in the office of commissioner during the interim period by an appointee of the Governor shall be filled by appointment of the Governor and, following the holding of the initial election, shall be filled for the unexpired term by the remaining commissioners.
(5) Each commissioner shall be entitled to receive reasonable salary and compensation for the performance of his duties as commissioner, the amount of such salary and compensation to be fixed by resolution duly adopted and entered on the minutes of the commission.
The Caledonia Natural Gas District is hereby authorized to pay the commissioners per diem and travel expenses in an amount as determined and approved by the board of commissioners, and the district is also authorized to implement a health care insurance program for the commissioners in an appropriate amount as determined and approved by the board of commissioners.
Section 5. The board shall have the power to make such rules and regulations as it deems necessary to the operation of the district and the subsequent election of commissioners and shall possess and is hereby granted all necessary power and authority to construct and acquire a natural gas transmission and distribution system, including the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain for the acquisition of property necessary to carry out its powers and duties under this act, and to issue revenue bonds to finance the construction thereof. The amount of revenue bonds authorized to be issued shall not exceed an aggregate of Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00). Except as otherwise provided in this act, all powers with respect to natural gas transmission and distribution systems granted to municipalities of this state by Sections 21-27-11 through 21-27-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, including the issuance of revenue bonds, are hereby conferred upon and may be exercised within the district by the board as if the system and financing thereof as provided herein were pursuant to said sections.
Section 6. The commission shall have full power and authority to issue all bonds of the district, but before issuing any bonds, the commission shall adopt a resolution declaring its intention so to do, stating the amount of the bonds proposed to be issued, and the date upon which the commission proposes to direct the issuance of such bonds. Such resolution shall be published once a week for at least three (3) consecutive weeks in at least one (1) newspaper qualified under the provisions of Section 13-3-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, in the county in which the district lies and having a general circulation in the district which lies in such county. The first publication of such resolution shall be made not less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the date fixed in such resolution for the issuance of the bonds, and the last publication shall be made not more than seven (7) days prior to such date. If ten percent (10%) of the users of the district shall file a written protest against the issuance of such bonds on or before the date specified in such resolution, then an election on the question of the issuance of such bonds shall be called and held in the manner to be provided by the commission by rules and regulations promulgated prior to the adoption of the resolution declaring the commission's intention to issue such bonds.
Section 7. For the purposes of Section 77-3-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, the gas transmission and distribution system of the district shall be deemed to be a municipal gas system not subject to the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, except as provided by Section 77-3-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, and in this act.
Section 8. Any revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this act may be submitted to validation under the provisions of Sections 31-13-1 through 31-13-11, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Section 9. The Board of Commissioners of the Caledonia Natural Gas District, in its discretion, may contribute matching funds of up to Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) per year for any monies contributed to the Mississippi Deferred Compensation Plan established under Section 25-14-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972, by any employee of the district or individual receiving compensation from the district who is a qualified participant in the plan.
Section 10. If any provisions of this act shall be held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this act shall not be affected thereby.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.