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SENATE BILL NO. 302
INTRODUCED BY D. TOEWS, G. JERGESON P. EKEGREN, S. KITZENBERG
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL WATER AND WASTEWATER AUTHORITIES; SETTING FORTH THE PURPOSE OF THE AUTHORITIES AS ENABLING PUBLIC AGENCIES TO JOIN TOGETHER TO SECURE AND PROVIDE WATER FOR RESALE AND OTHER PURPOSES OR TO JOIN TOGETHER FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND TREATMENT OF WASTEWATER; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; SETTING FORTH REQUIREMENTS FOR AGREEMENTS BETWEEN PUBLIC AGENCIES; PROHIBITING COMPETING SERVICES BY PUBLIC AGENCIES IN AN AGREEMENT; REQUIRING OUTSTANDING BOND INDEBTEDNESS TO BE RETIRED BEFORE A PUBLIC AGENCY MAY WITHDRAW FROM AN AGREEMENT; AUTHORIZING PUBLIC AGENCIES TO PROVIDE FUNDS, PERSONNEL, AND SERVICES TO REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITIES, REGIONAL WASTEWATER AUTHORITIES, AND REGIONAL WATER AND WASTEWATER AUTHORITIES; AUTHORIZING AGREEMENTS BETWEEN PUBLIC AGENCIES AND AUTHORITIES; ESTABLISHING AN AUTHORITY AS A PUBLIC BODY, CORPORATE AND POLITIC; ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GOVERNING BODY OF AN AUTHORITY; REQUIRING MEETINGS AND AN AUDIT OF AN AUTHORITY; ESTABLISHING POWERS OF AN AUTHORITY; AUTHORIZING THE SALE OF BONDS FOR CONSTRUCTING OR ACQUIRING WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS OR FOR CONSTRUCTING OR ACQUIRING WASTEWATER TRANSPORTATION AND TREATMENT FACILITIES; AUTHORIZING ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED AS COSTS OF PROPERTIES; PROVIDING THAT THE BONDS MAY BE SECURED BY TRUST INDENTURE; REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SINKING FUND; ESTABLISHING ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS FOR BONDHOLDERS; ESTABLISHING A STATUTORY MORTGAGE LIEN IN FAVOR OF BONDHOLDERS; PROVIDING THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE AUTHORITY ESTABLISH APPROPRIATE RATES AND CHARGES FOR THE USE OF SERVICES RENDERED; PROVIDING FOR REFUNDING ISSUED BONDS; EXEMPTING BONDS AND BOND INTEREST FROM TAXATION; ESTABLISHING THAT BONDS ISSUED BY AUTHORITIES ARE LEGAL INVESTMENTS; PROVIDING THAT AUTHORITIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCING UNDER STATE PROGRAMS; AMENDING SECTIONS 17-5-1604, 75-5-1102, 75-6-202, 85-1-605, AND 90-6-701, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 20] may be cited as the "Regional Water and Wastewater Authority Act".
Section 2. Purpose. (1) It is the purpose of [sections 1 through 20] to permit certain public agencies to make the most efficient use of their powers relating to public water supplies and the transportation and treatment of wastewater by enabling them to cooperate with other public agencies on a basis of mutual advantage and to provide services and facilities to participating public agencies. It is also the purpose of [sections 1 through 20] to provide for the establishment of a public body, corporate and politic, that is known as a regional water authority or, when appropriate, a regional wastewater authority or regional water and wastewater authority. The function of the regional water authority is to secure a source of water on a scale larger than is feasible for individual public agencies acting alone and to sell the water to public service districts, municipalities, publicly and privately owned water utilities, and others. The function of the regional wastewater authority is to enable public agencies to join together to provide the most economical method of transportation and treatment of wastewater and to provide the transportation and treatment services to public service districts, municipalities, publicly and privately owned wastewater utilities, and others. The function of the regional water and wastewater authority is to enable public agencies to join together to carry out the joint functions of both a regional water authority and a regional wastewater authority.
(2) In addition to the purposes for which it may have originally been created, any authority created pursuant to [sections 1 through 20] may enter into agreements with public agencies, privately owned utilities, and other authorities for the provision of related services, including but not limited to the following:
(b) operation and maintenance; and
(c) billing and collection.
Section 3. Definitions. For the purposes of [sections 1 through 20], the following definitions apply:
(1) "Authority" means any regional water authority, regional wastewater authority, or regional water and wastewater authority organized pursuant to the provisions of [sections 1 through 20].
(2) "Public agency" means any municipality, county, water and sewer district, or other political subdivision of this state.
Section 4. Joint exercise of powers by certain public agencies -- agreements among agencies -- filing of agreement -- prohibition against competition -- retirement of bonds. (1) Any powers, privileges, or authority of a public agency of this state relating to public water supplies or the transportation or treatment of wastewater may be exercised jointly with any other public agency of this state or with any agency of the United States to the extent that the laws of the United States permit. An agency of the state government when acting jointly with any public or private agency may exercise all of the powers, privileges, and authority conferred by [sections 1 through 20] upon a public agency.
(2) A public agency may enter into agreements with one or more other public agencies for the purpose of organizing an authority. Appropriate action by ordinance, resolution, or otherwise pursuant to law of the governing bodies of the participating public agencies is necessary before any agreement may take effect.
(3) An agreement must specify the following:
(a) its duration;
(b) the precise organization, composition, and nature of the authority created, together with the powers delegated to the authority;
(c) its purpose or purposes;
(d) the manner of financing for the authority and of establishing and maintaining a budget for the authority;
(e) the permissible methods for partial or complete termination of the agreement and for disposing of property upon partial or complete termination;
(f) the manner of acquiring, holding, and disposing of real and personal property of the authority; and
(g) any other necessary and proper matters.
(4) An agreement may be amended to include additional public agencies by consent of two-thirds of the signatories to the agreement, if the terms of the agreement are not changed. Otherwise, a new agreement with the new public agency must be made. When only two public agencies form an authority, both parties shall consent to the amendment of the agreement to include additional public agencies.
(5) Prior to taking effect, an agreement made under [sections 1 through 20] must be filed with the clerk of the county commission of each county in which a member of the authority is located and the agreement then must also be filed with the secretary of state, accompanied by a certificate from the clerk of the county commission of the county or counties where filed, stating that the agreement has been filed in that county.
(6) A public agency that enters into an agreement made under [sections 1 through 20] may not offer or provide water or wastewater services in competition with another public agency entering into the agreement.
(7) A public agency that enters into an agreement made under [sections 1 through 20] may not withdraw from the agreement until the outstanding bonded indebtedness of the authority is retired or the bondholders are otherwise protected.
Section 5. Furnishing of funds, personnel, or services by certain public agencies -- agreements for purchase, sale, distribution, transmission, transportation, and treatment of water or wastewater -- terms and conditions. A public agency entering into an agreement pursuant to [sections 1 through 20] may appropriate funds and may sell, lease, give, or otherwise supply to the authority personnel or services for the operation of the authority as may be within its legal power to furnish. A public agency, whether or not a party to an agreement pursuant to [sections 1 through 20], and a publicly or privately owned water distribution company may enter into contracts with an authority, created pursuant to [sections 1 through 20], for the purchase of water from the authority or the sale of water to the authority, for the treatment of water by either party, and for the distribution or transmission of water by either party. The authority may enter into the contracts. A public agency, whether or not a party to an agreement pursuant to [sections 1 through 20], and a publicly or privately owned wastewater transportation or treatment system may enter into contracts with an authority, created pursuant to [sections 1 through 20], for the transportation and treatment of wastewater by either party. The authority may enter into the contracts, subject to the prior approval of the public service commission, if the privately owned wastewater transportation or treatment system is subject to the jurisdiction of the public service commission. However, if the public service commission has not acted on a proposed contract within 90 days of its filing, approval is considered to have been granted. A contract may include an agreement for the purchase of water not actually received or the treatment of wastewater not actually treated. A contract may not be for a period in excess of 40 years, but renewal options may be included in the contract. The obligations of a public agency under a contract must be payable solely from the revenue produced from the public agency's water or wastewater system, and the public service commission, in the case of a water system whose rates are subject to its jurisdiction, shall permit the water system to recover through its rates revenue sufficient to meet its obligations under the agreement.
Section 6. Declaration of authority organization -- when public body, corporate and politic. Upon filing with the secretary of state, the secretary of state shall declare the authority organized and give it the corporate name of regional water authority number ...., regional wastewater authority number ...., or regional water and wastewater authority number ...., as appropriate. Upon assignment of the designation, the authority is a public body, corporate and politic.
Section 7. Governing body -- appointments -- terms of members -- voting rights. (1) The governing body of the authority shall consist of not less than three persons selected by the participating public agencies. Each participating public agency shall appoint at least one member. Each member's full term may not be less than 1 year or more than 4 years, and initial terms must be staggered in accordance with procedures set forth in the agreement provided for in [section 4] and amendments to the agreement. In the case of an authority that is made up by the agreement of two public agencies, each public agency shall appoint two representatives to the governing body.
(2) The manner of selection of the governing body and terms of office must be set forth in the agreement provided for in [section 4] and amendments to the agreement. The governing body of the authority shall elect one of its members as president, one as treasurer, and one as secretary.
(3) Each member has one vote in any matter that comes before the authority for decision. However, the member agencies shall, in the original agreement establishing the authority, set forth any special weighing of votes based upon population served, volumes of water purchased, volumes of wastewater treated, numbers of customers, or some other criterion that the authority considers appropriate for maintaining fairness in the decisions and operations of the authority.
Section 8. Meetings of governing body -- annual audit. The governing body of the authority shall meet as often as the needs of the authority require, but not less frequently than on a quarterly basis. The authority is subject to the provisions of Title 2, chapter 3, regarding open meeting laws and public participation. The governing body shall cause an annual audit of the financial records of the authority to be made. The cost of the audit must be paid by the authority. The authority is considered a local government entity for purposes of Title 2, chapter 7, part 5, and audits must comply with the provisions of that part.
Section 9. Powers of governing body. (1) For the purpose of providing a water supply, transportation facilities, or treatment system to the participating public agencies and others, the governing body of the authority has the powers, authorities, and privileges provided for in this section.
(2) The governing body may accept by gift or grant from any person, firm, corporation, trust, or foundation; from this state or any other state or any political subdivision or municipality of this or any other state; or from the United States any funds or property or any interest in funds or property for the uses and purposes of the authority. The governing body may hold title to the funds or property in trust or otherwise and may bind the authority to apply the funds or property according to the terms of the gift or grant.
(3) The governing body may sue and be sued.
(4) The governing body may enter into franchises, contracts, and agreements with this or any other state, the United States, any municipality, political subdivision, or authority of a political subdivision, or any of their agencies or instrumentalities; any Indian tribe; or any public or private person, partnership, association, or corporation of this state or of any other state or the United States. This state and any municipality, political subdivision, or authority of a political subdivision or any of their agencies or instrumentalities and any public or private person, partnership, association, or corporation may enter into contracts and agreements with the authority for any term not exceeding 40 years for the planning, development, construction, acquisition, maintenance, or operation of a facility or for any service rendered to, for, or by the authority. However, the authority is subject to the same statutory requirements for competitive bidding and procurement contracts as would be applicable to any member public agency.
(5) The governing body may borrow money and evidence the borrowing by warrants, notes, or bonds provided for in [sections 1 through 20] and may refund the indebtedness by the issuance of refunding obligations.
(6) The governing body may acquire land and interests in land by gift, purchase, exchange, or eminent domain. The power of eminent domain may be exercised within or outside of the boundaries of the authority in accordance with the provisions of Title 70, chapter 30.
(7) The governing body may acquire by purchase or lease, construct, install, and operate reservoirs, pipelines, wells, check dams, pumping stations, water purification plants, and other facilities for the production, distribution, and use of water and transportation facilities, pump stations, lift stations, treatment facilities, and other facilities necessary for the transportation and treatment of wastewater and may own and hold real and personal property that may be necessary to carry out the purposes of its organization.
(8) The governing body has the general management, control, and supervision of all the business, affairs, property, and facilities of the authority and of the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of authority improvements. The governing body may establish regulations relating to authority improvements.
(9) The governing body may hire and retain agents, employees, engineers, and attorneys and determine their compensation. The governing body shall select and appoint a general manager of the authority who shall serve at the pleasure of the governing body. The general manager must have training and experience in the supervision and administration of the system or systems operated by the authority and shall manage and control the system under the general supervision of the governing body. All employees, servants, and agents of the authority must be under the immediate control and management of the general manager. The general manager shall perform all other duties that may be prescribed by the governing body and shall give the governing body a good and sufficient surety company bond in a sum to be set and approved by the governing body, conditioned upon the satisfactory performance of the general manager's duties. The governing body may also require that any other employees be bonded in an amount that it shall determine. The cost of a bond must be paid out of the funds of the authority.
(10) The governing body may adopt and amend rules and regulations not in conflict with the constitution and laws of this state, necessary for carrying on the business, objects, and affairs of the governing body and of the authority.
(11) The governing body has and may exercise all rights and powers necessary or incidental to or implied from the specific powers granted in this section. Specific powers may not be considered as a limitation upon any power necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of [sections 1 through 20].
Section 10. Revenue bonds. For constructing or acquiring any water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system for the authorized purposes of the authority or as necessary or incidental to the authorized purposes, for constructing improvements and extensions to improvements, and for reimbursing or paying the costs and expenses of creating the authority, the governing body of an authority may borrow money from time to time and in evidence of the borrowing issue revenue bonds of the authority. The revenue bonds are a lien on the revenue produced from the operation of the authority's system, but may not be general obligations of the public agencies participating in the agreement. All revenue bonds issued under [sections 1 through 20] must be signed by the president of the governing body of the authority and attested by the secretary of the governing body of the authority. The bonds must contain recitals stating the authority under which the bonds are issued, that they are to be paid by the authority from the net revenue derived from the operation of the authority's system and not from any other fund or source, and that the bonds are negotiable and payable solely from the revenue derived from the operation of the system under control of the authority. However, in the case of a regional water and wastewater authority, the statutory lien created by this section is a lien only on the revenue of that service funded by the proceeds of the sale of the bonds, it being understood that the combined authority shall maintain separate books and records for its water and wastewater operations. The bonds may be issued in one or more series, may bear a date or dates, may mature at a time or times not exceeding 40 years from their respective dates, may bear interest at a rate not exceeding 2% above the interest rate on treasury notes, bills, or bonds of the same term as the term of the bond or bonds the week of closing on the bond or bonds as reported by the treasury of the United States, may be payable at the times, may be in the form, may carry registration privileges, may be executed in the manner, may be payable at a place or places, may be subject to terms of redemption with or without premium, may be declared or become due before the maturity date, may be authenticated in any manner and upon compliance with the conditions, and may contain terms and covenants that may be provided by resolution or resolutions of the governing body of the authority. Notwithstanding the form or tenor of the bonds, and in the absence of any express recital on the face of the bonds, that the bonds are nonnegotiable, all bonds must be, and must be treated as, negotiable instruments for all purposes. Bonds bearing the signatures of officers in office on the date of the signing of the bonds must be valid and binding for all purposes, notwithstanding that before the delivery of the bonds, any of the persons whose signatures appear on the bonds ceased to be officers. Notwithstanding the requirements or provisions of any other law, bonds may be negotiated or sold in the manner and at the time or times that are found by the governing body to be most advantageous, and all bonds may be sold at the price that the interest cost of the proceeds from the bonds does not exceed 3% above the interest rate on treasury notes, bills, or bonds of the same term as the term of the bond or bonds the week of closing on the bond or bonds as reported by the treasury of the United States, based on the average maturity of the bonds and computed according to standard tables of bond values. Any resolution or resolutions providing for the issuance of the bonds may contain covenants and restrictions upon the issuance of additional bonds that are considered necessary or advisable for the assurance of the payment of the bonds authorized by the resolutions.
Section 11. Items included in cost of properties. The cost of any water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system acquired or constructed under the provisions of [sections 1 through 20] must be considered to include the cost of the acquisition or construction of the supply or system and the cost of all property rights, easements, and franchises considered necessary or convenient for the supply or system and for the improvements and extensions to the supply or system. Costs also include interest on bonds prior to and during construction or acquisition and for 6 months after completion of construction or of acquisition of the improvements and extensions; engineering expenses; fiscal agent and legal expenses; expenses for estimates of cost and of revenue; expenses for plans, specifications, and surveys; other expenses necessary or incidental to determining the feasibility or practicability of the enterprise; administrative expense; and other expenses that may be necessary or incidental to the financing authorized in [sections 1 through 20], the construction or acquisition of the properties, the placing of the properties in operation, and the performance of the things required or permitted, in connection with any property.
Section 12. Trust indenture. In the discretion and at the option of the governing body of the authority, bonds may be secured by a trust indenture by and between the authority and a corporate trustee, which may be a trust company or bank that has the powers of a trust company within or outside of the state. However, a trust indenture may not convey, mortgage, or create a lien upon the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system, any part of the system, or the authority or its member public agencies. The resolution authorizing the bonds and fixing the details of the bonds may provide that the trust indenture may contain provisions for protecting and enforcing the rights and remedies of bondholders as may be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law, including covenants setting forth the duties of the authority and the members of its governing body and officers in relation to the construction or acquisition of the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system and the improvement, extension, operation, repair, maintenance, and insurance of the bonds and the custody, safeguarding, and application of all money. The resolution may also provide that all or any part of the construction work must be contracted for, constructed, and paid for under the supervision and approval of consulting engineers employed or designated by the governing body and satisfactory to the original bond purchasers, their successors, assignees, or nominees, who may be given the right to require that the security given by contractors and by any depository of the proceeds of bonds or revenue of the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system or other money pertaining to the supply or system be satisfactory to the purchasers, their successors, assignees, or nominees. The indenture may set forth the rights and remedies of the bondholders and the trustee.
Section 13. Sinking fund for revenue bonds. At or before the time of the issuance of any bonds under [sections 1 through 20], the governing body of the authority shall by resolution or in the trust indenture provide for the creation of a sinking fund and for monthly payments into the sinking fund from the revenue of the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system operated by the authority sums in excess of the cost of maintenance and operation of the properties that will be sufficient to pay the accruing interest and retire the bonds at or before the time that each will respectively become due and to establish and maintain reserves for the bonds. All sums that are or should be, in accordance with the provisions, paid into the sinking fund must be used solely for payment of interest and for the retirement of the bonds at or prior to maturity, as may be provided or required by the resolutions.
Section 14. Collection of revenue and enforcement of covenants -- default -- suit to compel performance -- appointment and powers of receiver. The governing body of an authority may insert enforceable provisions in a resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds relating to the collection, custody, and application of revenue of the authority from the operation of the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system under its control and relating to the enforcement of the covenants and undertakings of the authority. If there is a default in the sinking fund provisions provided for in [section 13] or in the payment of the principal or interest on any of the bonds or if the authority or its governing body or any of its officers, agents, or employees fail or refuse to comply with the provisions of [sections 1 through 20] or default in any covenant or agreement made with respect to the issuance of the bonds or offered as security for the bonds, then any holder or holders of the bonds and any trustee under the trust indenture, if there is one, has the right by suit, action, mandamus, or other proceeding instituted in the district court in any of the counties in which the authority operates, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, to enforce and compel performance of all duties required by [sections 1 through 20] or undertaken by the authority in connection with the issuance of the bonds. Upon application by any holder or holders of the bonds, or the trustee of the trust indenture, the court shall, upon proof of the defaults, appoint a receiver for the affairs of the authority and its property. The receiver shall directly, or through its agents and attorneys, enter and take possession of the affairs of the authority. The receiver may hold, use, operate, manage, and control the authority and, in the name of the authority, exercise all of the rights and powers of the authority as considered expedient. The receiver may collect and receive all revenue and apply the revenue in the manner that the court shall direct. Whenever the default causing the appointment of the receiver has been cleared and fully discharged and all other defaults have been cured, the court, after notice and hearing as it considers reasonable and proper, may direct the receiver to surrender possession of the affairs of the authority to its governing body. The receiver may not sell, assign, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of any assets of the authority except as provided in this section.
Section 15. Statutory mortgage lien. There is a statutory mortgage lien upon the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system of the authority. The lien exists in favor of the holders of bonds authorized to be issued pursuant to [sections 1 through 20], and each holder and the system remain subject to the statutory mortgage lien until payment in full of all principal of and interest on the bonds.
Section 16. Rates and charges. The governing body shall by appropriate resolution make provisions for the payment of bonds issued pursuant to [sections 1 through 20] by taxing rates, fees, and charges, for the use of all services rendered by the authority. The rates, fees, and charges must be sufficient to pay the costs of operation, improvement, and maintenance of the authority's water supply or wastewater transportation or treatment system; provide an adequate depreciation fund; provide an adequate sinking fund to retire any bonds and pay interest on the bonds when due; and create reasonable reserves for the enumerated purposes. The rates, fees, or charges must be sufficient to allow for miscellaneous and emergency or unforeseen expenses. The resolution of the governing body authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds may include agreements, covenants, or restrictions considered necessary or advisable by the governing body to effect the efficient operation of the system, to safeguard the interests of the holders of the revenue bonds, and to secure the payment of the bonds and the interest on the bonds.
Section 17. Refunding revenue bonds. If the authority has issued bonds under the provisions of [sections 1 through 20], it may by resolution issue refunding bonds for the purpose of retiring or refinancing outstanding bonds, together with any unpaid interest on the bonds and any redemption premium. All of the provisions of [sections 1 through 20] relating to the issuance, security, and payment of bonds apply to the refunding bonds. However, the bonds are subject to the provisions of the proceedings that authorized the issuance of the bonds to be refunded.
Section 18. Exemption from taxation. Bonds issued pursuant to [sections 1 through 20] and the interest on the bonds, together with all properties and facilities of the authority owned or used in connection with the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system, and all the money, revenue, and other income of the authority derived from the water supply, wastewater transportation, or treatment system are exempt from all taxation by the state or any county, municipality, political subdivision, or agency of the state, county, or municipality.
Section 19. Bonds as legal investment. Bonds issued under the provisions of [sections 1 through 20] are legal investments for banks, building and loan associations, and insurance companies organized under the laws of this state.
Section 20. Liberal construction. The provisions of [sections 1 through 20] are necessary for the public health, safety, and welfare and must be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes of [sections 1 through 20].
Section 21. Section 17-5-1604, MCA, is amended to read:
"17-5-1604. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Board" means the board of investments created in 2-15-1808.
(2) "Department" means the department of commerce created in 2-15-1801.
(3) "Eligible government unit" means:
(a) any municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state, including without limitation any city, town, county, school district, authority as defined in [section 3], or other special taxing district or assessment or service district authorized by law to borrow money; or
(b) the state, any board, agency, or department of the state, or the board of regents of the Montana university system when authorized by law to borrow money.
(4) "Reserve fund" means the municipal finance consolidation act reserve fund created in 17-5-1630."
Section 22. Section 75-5-1102, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-5-1102. Definitions. Unless the context requires otherwise, in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Administrative costs" means costs incurred by the department and the department of natural resources and conservation in the administration of the program, including but not limited to costs of servicing loans and issuing debt; program start-up costs; financial, management, and legal consulting fees; and reimbursement costs for support services from other state agencies.
(2) "Cost" means, with reference to a project, all capital costs incurred or to be incurred by a municipality or a private person, including but not limited to engineering, construction, financing, and other fees, interest during construction, and a reasonable allowance for contingencies to the extent permitted by the federal act and regulations promulgated thereunder.
(3) "Federal act" means the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251 through 1387, as amended.
(4) "Intended use plan" means the annual plan adopted by the department and submitted to the environmental protection agency that describes how the state intends to use the money in the revolving fund.
(5) "Loan" means a loan of money from the revolving fund to a municipality or a private person.
(6) "Municipality" means any state agency, city, town, or other public body created pursuant to state law, including an authority as defined in [section 3].
(7) "Private person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other nongovernmental legal entity.
(8) "Program" means the water pollution control state revolving fund program established by this part.
(9) (a) "Project" means an activity that is eligible for financing by the program under the federal act, including treatment works, as defined under section 1292 of the federal act (33 U.S.C. 1292), and nonpoint source pollution control under section 1329 of the federal act (33 U.S.C. 1329), and for which a municipality or private person makes an application for a loan or other financial assistance.
(b) "Project" does not include a solid waste management system, as defined in 75-10-203, except for a project that is intended specifically for the closure or postclosure care of or ground water corrective action at a landfill that:
(i) was in operation on May 5, 1997, and that accepts an annual average of less than 20,000 tons of solid waste
(ii) was closed prior to May 5, 1997.
(10) "Revolving fund" means the fund established by 75-5-1106."
Section 23. Section 75-6-202, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-6-202. Definitions. Unless the context requires otherwise, in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Administrative costs" means costs incurred by the department and the department of natural resources and conservation in the administration of the program, including but not limited to:
(a) costs of servicing loans and issuing debt;
(b) program startup costs;
(c) financial, management, and legal consulting fees; and
(d) reimbursement costs for support services from other state agencies.
(2) "Community water system" means a public water system that is owned by a private person or a municipality and that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents of the area served by the system or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents. The term does not include a public water system that is owned by the federal government.
(3) "Cost" means, with reference to a project, all capital costs incurred or to be incurred for a public water system, including but not limited to:
(a) engineering, financing, and other fees;
(b) interest during construction;
(c) construction; and
(d) a reasonable allowance for contingencies to the extent permitted by the federal act and rules promulgated under the federal act.
(4) "Department" means the department of environmental quality provided for in 2-15-3501.
(5) "Disadvantaged community" means one in which the service area of a public water system meets the affordability criteria established by rule adopted pursuant to this part.
(6) "Federal act" means the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. 300f, et seq., as that act read on May 5, 1997.
(7) "Indian tribe" means an Indian tribe that has a federally recognized governing body carrying out substantial governmental duties and powers over any area.
(8) "Intended use plan" means the annual plan adopted by the department and submitted to the environmental protection agency that describes how the state intends to use the money in the revolving fund.
(9) "Loan" means a loan of money from the revolving fund for project costs.
(10) "Municipality" means a state agency, city, town, or other public body, including an authority as defined in [section 3], created pursuant to state law or an Indian tribe.
(11) "Noncommunity water system" means a public water system that is not a community water system.
(12) "Nonprofit noncommunity water system" means a noncommunity water system owned by an organization that is organized under Montana law and that qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(13) "Private person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other nongovernmental legal entity.
(14) "Program" means the drinking water state revolving fund program established by this part.
(15) "Project" means improvements or activities that are:
(a) to be undertaken for a public water system and that are of a type that will facilitate compliance with the national primary drinking water regulations applicable to the system; or
(b) to further the health protection objectives of the federal act.
(16) "Public water system" means a system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption, through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if that system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves at least 25 individuals. The term includes any collection, treatment, storage, and distribution facilities under control of an operator of a system that are used primarily in connection with a system and any collection or pretreatment storage facilities not under control of an operator and that are used primarily in connection with a system.
(17) "Revolving fund" means the drinking water state revolving fund established by 75-6-211."
Section 24. Section 85-1-605, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-1-605. Grants, loans, and bonds for state, local, or tribal government assistance. (1) The department may recommend to the legislature that grants and loans be made from revenue deposited in the renewable resource grant and loan program state special revenue account, that loans be made from renewable resource bond proceeds deposited in the renewable resource loan proceeds account established in 85-1-617(5), and that coal severance tax bonds be authorized pursuant to Title 17, chapter 5, part 7, to provide financial assistance to a department, agency, board, commission, or other division of state government, to a city, county, or other political subdivision or local government body of the state, including an authority as defined in [section 3], or to a tribal government. The legislature may approve by appropriation or other appropriate means those grants and loans that it finds consistent with the policies and purposes of the program.
(2) Nothing in this part creates or expands the state's or a local government's authority to incur debt, and the legislature may authorize loans only to state and local government entities otherwise structured to incur debt.
(3) Loans may not be authorized except to a state, local, or tribal government entity that agrees to secure the authorized loan with its bond.
(4) In addition to implementing those projects approved by the legislature, the department may request up to 10% of the grant funds available and up to $10 million for loans from the renewable resource grant and loan program state special revenue account and the renewable resource loan proceeds account in any biennium to be used for emergencies. These emergency grant projects or loan projects, or both, may not be made because of the gross negligence of the state, local, or tribal government applicant, must be approved by the department, and must be defined as those projects otherwise eligible for either grant funding or loan funding, or both, that, if delayed until legislative approval can be obtained, will cause substantial damages or legal liability to the project sponsor. In allocating the funds, the department shall inform the legislative finance committee of the legislature.
(5) The grants and loans provided for by this section may be made for projects that enhance renewable resources in the state through conservation, development, management, or preservation; for assessing feasibility or planning; for implementing renewable resource projects; and for similar purposes approved by the legislature.
(6) Grant and loan agreements with tribal governments in Montana entered into under this part must contain, in addition to other appropriate terms and conditions, the following conditions:
(a) a requirement that in the event a dispute or claim arises under the agreement, state law will govern as to the interpretation and performance of the agreement and that any judicial proceeding concerning the terms of the agreement will be brought in the district court of the first judicial district of the state of Montana;
(b) an express waiver of the tribal government's immunity from suit on any issue specifically arising from the transaction of a loan or grant; and
(c) an express waiver of any right to exhaust tribal remedies signed by the tribal government."
Section 25. Section 90-6-701, MCA, is amended to read:
"90-6-701. Treasure state endowment program created -- definitions. (1) (a) There is a treasure state endowment program that consists of:
(i) the treasure state endowment fund established in 17-5-703;
(ii) the infrastructure portion of the coal severance tax bond program provided for in 17-5-701(2).
(b) The treasure state endowment program may borrow from the board of investments to provide additional financial assistance for local government infrastructure projects under this part, provided that no part of the loan may be made from retirement funds.
(2) Interest from the treasure state endowment fund and from proceeds of the sale of bonds under 17-5-701(2) may be used to provide financial assistance for local government infrastructure projects under this part and to repay loans from the board of investments.
(3) As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(a) "Infrastructure projects" means:
(i) drinking water systems;
(ii) wastewater treatment;
(iii) sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems;
(iv) solid waste disposal and separation systems, including site acquisition, preparation, or monitoring; or
(b) "Local government" means an incorporated city or town, a county, a consolidated local government,
or a county or
multicounty water, sewer, or solid waste district, or an authority as defined in [section 3].
(c) "Treasure state endowment fund" means the coal severance tax infrastructure endowment fund established in 17-5-703(1)(b).
(d) "Treasure state endowment program" means the local government infrastructure investment program established in subsection (1)."
Section 26. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.
Section 27. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
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Latest Version of SB 302 (SB0302.ENR)
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