Section 11-97-17

Prior approval of utility services agreements and related agreements with governmental users; notice and public hearing.

(a) No utility services agreement or related agreements in connection with the acquisition, construction, equipment, or operation of any facilities may be entered into by any governmental user pursuant to the provisions of this chapter unless the entering into of such utility services agreement and related agreements by such governmental user is approved by resolution adopted by the governing body of such governmental user in accordance with the provisions of this chapter; and any utility services agreement or related agreements entered into without prior compliance with the provisions of this section shall be void; provided, however, that no public hearing pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be required in connection with the entering into of any utility services agreement by Tannehill Furnace and Foundry Commission.

(b) No approval of any utility services agreement or related agreements by the governing body of any governmental user shall be effective for purposes of this chapter unless such approval is obtained in compliance with the provisions of this section. Prior to entering into any utility services agreement or related agreements, the governing body of any governmental user shall designate a place, date, and time at which such governing body shall meet to consider all views expressed by the general public, whether in support or opposition, with respect to such utility services agreement, the utility services to be provided thereunder or any related agreements for the acquisition, construction, equipment, or operation of facilities for provision of such utility services. The date of such meeting to hear the views of the general public shall be not less than three weeks after the date on which notice thereof is first published as hereinafter provided. Notice of such meeting shall be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in some newspaper published within the territorial boundaries of such governmental user in the event that the governmental user is a county or municipality, or within the territorial limits of the pertinent determining subdivision or subdivisions in the event that the governmental user is an instrumentality; provided, however, that if no newspaper is at the time being published within the territorial boundaries of such governmental user, or such determining subdivision or subdivisions, as in the case may be applicable, such notice shall be published in a newspaper which the governing body of such governmental user determines to have general circulation within the territorial boundaries of such governmental user or such determining subdivision or subdivisions, as in the case may be applicable; provided further that if no newspaper is at the time being published within the territorial boundaries of such governmental user or such determining subdivision or subdivisions, as in the case may be applicable, and if the governing body of such governmental user determines that there is no newspaper at the time having general circulation within the territorial boundaries of such governmental user or such determining subdivision or subdivisions, as in the case may be applicable, then such notice may be published by posting for three weeks in three public places within such territorial boundaries. Such notice shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this chapter if it contains (1) a statement of the intention of the governing body of such governmental user to meet at the designated place, date, and time for the purpose of hearing and considering the views of the general public with respect to the approval by such governing body of the entering into of the utility services agreement and related agreements in question, (2) a brief description of such utility services agreement and related agreements and (3) the proposed street address of the facilities for the provision of the utility services in question or such other description of the proposed location thereof as will be intelligible to the general public.

At the meeting with respect to which such notice is published, the governing body of the governmental user shall hear and consider the views of all persons desiring to be heard and may thereafter at the same meeting adopt a resolution expressing its final approval or disapproval of the entering into such utility services agreement and related agreements. Instead of taking final action with respect to such utility services agreement and related agreements at the first meeting held to hear the views of the general public, such governing body may defer such action to a subsequent meeting, and it may also continue to hear the views of the general public with respect to such utility services agreement and related agreements during one or more subsequent meetings until it takes such final action, but it may not take any final action with respect to the approval or disapproval of such utility services agreement and related agreements, or conduct other hearings with respect thereto, at any subsequent meeting unless (1) such subsequent meeting is a regular meeting of such governing body or a valid adjournment thereof and (2) at the preceding meeting at which such utility services agreement and related agreements were last considered, such subsequent meeting was publicly designated by such governing body as the place, date and time to which further consideration of such utility services agreement and related agreements was to be continued.

The decision of the governing body of any governmental user to grant or refuse any approval of the entering into of any utility services agreement or related agreements required by the provisions of this chapter shall be within the sole discretion of such governing body, and, except to the extent affected by fraud, bribery, or other unlawful conduct, the reasonableness or fairness of such governing body in approving or refusing to approve the entering into of any such utility services agreement and related agreements shall not be the subject of any case, controversy, or inquiry brought before any court of the state.

(Acts 1984, No. 84-314, p. 695, §17; Acts 1984, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 85-45, §1.)