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SENATE BILL NO. 29
INTRODUCED BY J. HERTEL
BY REQUEST OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
AN ACT REMOVING OBSOLETE STATUTORY DIRECTIVES AND PROCEDURES RELATED TO CANAL PROJECTS OWNED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION; APPLYING THE CANAL PROJECT PURCHASE PREFERENCE FOR EXISTING WATER USERS' ASSOCIATIONS TO ALL DEPARTMENT WATER PROJECTS PROPOSED FOR DISPOSAL; AMENDING SECTION 85-1-211, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 85-1-211, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-1-211. Management of property -- water contracts. (1) Subject to this chapter, the department may fix and establish the prices, rates, and charges at which the resources and facilities made available under this chapter may be sold and disposed of and enter into contracts and agreements and do those things that in its judgment are necessary, convenient, or expedient for the accomplishment of the purposes and objects of this chapter, under general rules and upon terms, limitations, and conditions as it prescribes.
(2) The department shall enter into the contracts and fix and establish the prices, rates, and charges to provide at all times funds that are sufficient to pay all costs of operation and maintenance of the works authorized by this chapter, together with necessary repairs to the works, and that will provide at all times sufficient funds to meet and pay the principal and interest of all bonds or loans as they severally become due and payable.
(3) This chapter does not authorize any change, alteration, or revision of the rates, prices, or charges as established by a contract entered into under this chapter except as provided by the contract.
(4) A contract made by the department for the sale of water, use of water, water storage, or other service or for the sale of property or facilities must provide that, in the event of a failure or default in the payment of money specified in the contract to be paid to the department, the department may, upon notice as is prescribed in the contract, terminate the contract and all obligations under the contract. The act of the department in ceasing on default to furnish or deliver water, use of water, water storage, or other service under the contract does not deprive the department of or limit a remedy provided by the contract or by law for the recovery of money due or that may become due under the contract.
(5) The department may sell, transfer to water users' associations, abandon, lease or rent, or otherwise dispose of any rights-of-way, easements, properties, or interests or otherwise take and receive the income or profit and revenue from property without regard to other laws providing for the disposition of state property. Except for a water project for which no water management contracts are managed by the department and for which no money is collected by the department, prior to the department's sale, transfer, or other disposition, a determination must be made by the department as to the market value of the rights-of-way, easements, properties, or interests to be sold, transferred, abandoned, or otherwise disposed of. The department's determination of market value must consider all liens, encumbrances, and other limitations on the project properties or interests. In the disposal of a project, the department shall comply with the provisions of 85-6-109 and shall give purchase preference to existing water users' associations operating and maintaining the project proposed for disposal.
(6) (a) The department shall attempt to dispose of its canal projects by June 30, 1995. The canal projects to be disposed
of include the: (i) Columbus canal; (ii) Delphia-Melstone canals; (iii) Hysham pumping canals; (iv) Lewistown ditch; (v) Livingston ditch; (vi) Florence canal; (vii) Paradise canal; (viii) Park Branch canal; (ix) Sidney pumping canals; (x) South Side canal; (xi) Vigilante canal; and (xii) West Bench canal. (b) The department may dispose of a canal project by sale, transfer to a water users' association, abandonment, or other
legal conveyance. If there is an existing water users' association on the canal project, the provisions of 85-6-109 must be
complied with in the disposal of the canal project. The department shall give preference to existing water users' associations
operating and maintaining the canal project. (c) Upon the sale or transfer of a canal project, the department shall either cancel or write off from the accounts
receivable carried on the books of the department a sum not to exceed any previous 1-year cost of operating and maintaining
the canal project or make a payment not to exceed any previous 1-year cost of operating and maintaining the canal project.
For a canal project not disposed of by June 30, 1995, the water users of the canal project are responsible for the
department's administrative costs and the actual costs of operation and maintenance of the canal project. (7)(6) An employee or agent of the department authorized by the director may enter upon any land to carry out the
purposes of this section, including but not limited to entry to make an inspection of the canal project that the department
considers necessary, entry to salvage or remove project property, and entry to make physical alterations to canal project
property. The department shall give reasonable notice to the landowner of its intention to enter upon the land. The
department is responsible for actual damages done to property."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
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Latest Version of SB 29 (SB0029.ENR)
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