Florida Senate - 2014                                    SB 1248
       By Senator Latvala
       20-01157B-14                                          20141248__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to water and wastewater utilities;
    3         providing a short title; amending s. 153.03, F.S.;
    4         prohibiting a county from providing water or sewer
    5         services to an unincorporated area if a municipality
    6         is authorized to provide such services to the
    7         unincorporated area pursuant to a franchise agreement
    8         with a county or by a county resolution or ordinance;
    9         authorizing a county to provide water and sewer
   10         services upon expiration of an agreement under certain
   11         circumstances; authorizing a county to provide water
   12         and sewer services in certain circumstances when the
   13         agreement does not contain an expiration date;
   14         amending s. 180.02, F.S.; specifying that the
   15         corporate powers of a municipality do not apply to the
   16         unincorporated areas of a county without the county’s
   17         express consent; amending s. 180.191, F.S.; limiting
   18         the amount of water and sewer utility rates, fees, and
   19         charges that a municipality may impose on consumers
   20         outside of the municipality’s boundaries; requiring
   21         billing disclosure of surcharges imposed on consumers
   22         outside of the municipality’s borders; authorizing
   23         ratepayers in unincorporated areas to petition the
   24         Florida Public Service Commission or county for a
   25         determination of whether rates, fees, and charges
   26         imposed by a municipality are just and equitable;
   27         amending s. 367.022, F.S.; providing that a
   28         municipality providing certain services in
   29         unincorporated areas is subject to the regulation of
   30         the commission; amending s. 367.071, F.S.; requiring
   31         and establishing conditions for commission approval
   32         before a municipality may purchase certain water or
   33         wastewater facilities; providing an effective date.
   35  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   37         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Ratepayer
   38  Representation Act.”
   39         Section 2. Section 153.03, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   40  read:
   41         153.03 General grant of power.—A county may Any of the
   42  several counties of the state which may hereafter come under the
   43  provisions of this chapter as hereinafter provided is hereby
   44  authorized and empowered:
   45         (1) To Purchase or and/or construct and to improve, extend,
   46  enlarge, or and reconstruct a water supply system or systems or
   47  sewage disposal system or systems, or both, within a such county
   48  and any adjoining county or counties; and to purchase and/or
   49  construct or reconstruct water system improvements or sewer
   50  improvements, or both, within such county and any adjoining
   51  county or counties and to operate, manage, and control those all
   52  such systems so purchased and/or constructed and all properties
   53  pertaining thereto; and to furnish and supply water and sewage
   54  collection and disposal services to a county, municipality, or
   55  any of such counties and to any municipalities and any persons,
   56  firms, or corporations, public or private, in a county. any of
   57  such counties ; provided, However, that none of the facilities
   58  described in provided by this chapter may be constructed, owned,
   59  operated, or maintained by the county on property located within
   60  the corporate limits of a any municipality without the consent
   61  of the governing council, commission or body having general
   62  legislative authority in the government of such municipality
   63  unless the such facilities were owned by the county before the
   64  on such property prior to the time such property was included
   65  within the corporate limits of the such municipality.
   66         (a) If a municipality, pursuant to a franchise agreement
   67  with a county or by a county resolution or ordinance, is
   68  authorized to provide water and sewage collection and disposal
   69  services in an unincorporated area of the county, the No county
   70  may not shall furnish any of the facilities described in
   71  provided by this chapter to that unincorporated area any
   72  property already being furnished like facilities by any
   73  municipality without the express consent of the governing
   74  council, commission or body having general legislative authority
   75  in the government of the such municipality until the franchise
   76  agreement, resolution, or ordinance has expired or is no longer
   77  in effect. If the county thereafter elects to provide water
   78  service or sewage collection and disposal services to the
   79  unincorporated area, the county must compensate the municipality
   80  for the fair market value of the facilities owned by the
   81  municipality that are transferred to the county to serve the
   82  unincorporated area.
   83         (b) If the franchise agreement, resolution, or ordinance
   84  does not contain an expiration term or date, the county may
   85  provide water service or sewage collection and disposal services
   86  to the unincorporated area of the county served by the
   87  municipality subject to the following requirements:
   88         1. A majority of the ratepayers in the unincorporated area,
   89  by vote in a referendum or written response to a mail survey,
   90  have agreed to be served by the county; and
   91         2. The county compensates the municipality for the fair
   92  market value of the facilities owned by the municipality to
   93  serve the unincorporated area of the county.
   94         (2) To Issue water revenue bonds or and/or sewer revenue
   95  bonds or general obligation bonds of the county to pay all or a
   96  part of the cost of such purchase, and/or construction, or
   97  reconstruction.
   98         (3) To Fix and collect rates, fees, and other charges for
   99  the service and facilities furnished by any such water supply
  100  system or water system improvements and sewage disposal system
  101  or sewer improvements and to fix and collect charges for making
  102  connections with the water system of the county.
  103         (4) To Receive and accept from the Federal Government or
  104  any agency thereof grants for or in aid of the planning,
  105  purchase, construction, reconstruction, or financing of any
  106  facility and to receive and accept contributions from any source
  107  of either money, property, labor, or other things of value to be
  108  held, used, and applied only for the purpose for which such
  109  grants and contributions may be made.
  110         (5) To Acquire in the name of the county by gift, purchase
  111  as hereinafter provided, or by the exercise of the right of
  112  eminent domain, such lands and rights and interests therein,
  113  including lands under water and riparian rights, and to acquire
  114  such personal property as it may deem necessary for the
  115  efficient operation or for the extension of or the improvement
  116  of a any facility purchased or constructed under the provisions
  117  of this chapter and to hold and dispose of all real and personal
  118  property under its control.; provided, However, a county that
  119  may not no county shall have the right to exercise the right of
  120  eminent domain over any such lands or rights or interests
  121  therein or any personal property owned by any municipality
  122  within the state or nor to exercise such right with respect to
  123  any privately owned water supply system or sewage disposal
  124  system including without limitation ponds, streams, and surface
  125  waters constituting a part thereof, provided any such system is
  126  primarily used, owned, or operated by an industrial or
  127  manufacturing plant for its own use as a water supply system or
  128  in disposing of its industrial wastes.
  129         (6) To Make and enter into all contracts and agreements
  130  necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the
  131  execution of its powers under this chapter and to employ such
  132  consulting and other engineers, superintendents, managers,
  133  construction and accounting experts, and attorneys, and such
  134  other employees and agents as it may deem necessary in its
  135  judgment and to fix their compensation.
  136         (7) Subject to the provisions and restrictions as may be
  137  set forth in the resolution hereinafter mentioned authorizing or
  138  securing any bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter,
  139  to enter into contracts with the government of the United States
  140  or any agency or instrumentality thereof or with any other
  141  county or with any municipality, private corporation,
  142  copartnership, association, or individual providing for or
  143  relating to the acquisition and supplying of water and the
  144  collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage.
  145         (8) To Acquire by gift or purchase at a price to be
  146  mutually agreed upon, any of the facilities or portions thereof,
  147  provided for by this chapter, which, before shall, prior to such
  148  acquisition, must have been owned by a any private person,
  149  group, firm, partnership, association, or corporation.;
  150  provided, however, If a the price for same cannot be agreed
  151  upon, the price shall be determined by an arbitration board
  152  consisting of three persons, one whom is of whom shall be
  153  selected by the board of county commissioners, one whom is shall
  154  be appointed by the private company or corporation, and the two
  155  persons so selected shall select a third member of the
  156  arbitration said board; and if the provided, further, that in
  157  the event said board cannot agree as to the price to be paid by
  158  the said board of county commissioners, then the board of county
  159  commissioners shall exercise the right of eminent domain.
  160         (9) To Enter into agreements and contracts with building
  161  contractors erecting improvements within any duly platted
  162  subdivision within the county, the terms of which said
  163  agreements or contracts may provide that the such building
  164  contractors must shall install within the such subdivision water
  165  mains, lines, and equipment and sewer mains and lines, to be
  166  approved by the county commission. The, said mains and lines
  167  must to run to a point or location to be agreed upon, at which
  168  said point or location said mains and lines shall be connected
  169  to the water supply system or water system improvements or
  170  and/or to the sewage disposal system or sewer improvements of
  171  the county. If In the event such agreements or contracts are
  172  entered into they must shall provide that upon the connection of
  173  the mains or lines within the subdivision to the water or sewer
  174  facilities of the county the said mains, lines, and equipment
  175  running to the various privately owned parcels of land within
  176  such subdivision shall become the property of the county and
  177  shall become a part of the county water system improvements or
  178  and/or sewer improvements.
  179         (10) To Restrain, enjoin, or otherwise prevent a any person
  180  or corporation, public or private, from contaminating or
  181  polluting (as defined in s. 387.08) any source of water supply
  182  from which is obtained water for human consumption is obtained
  183  to be used in any water supply system or water system
  184  improvement as authorized by this chapter, and to restrain,
  185  enjoin, or otherwise prevent the violation of any provision of
  186  this chapter or any resolution, rule, or regulation adopted
  187  pursuant to the powers granted by this chapter.; provided,
  188  however, that This chapter does shall not apply to or affect any
  189  existing contract that a municipality has may have for water or
  190  sewage disposal without the consent of both parties to the said
  191  contract. but This subsection does shall not authorize the
  192  institution or prosecution of any proceeding hereunder nor the
  193  adoption of any resolution, rule, or regulation which affects
  194  shall in anywise affect the right of any industrial or
  195  manufacturing plant to discharge industrial waste into any
  196  nonnavigable or navigable waters unless such waters are now
  197  being used or are hereafter used hereunder as a source of water
  198  for human consumption and unless the industrial wastes of any
  199  such plant are not being discharged into such waters before
  200  prior to the time that action is taken by the commission under
  201  this chapter to include such water as a part of any water supply
  202  system.
  203         (11) To Acquire by gift or purchase, at such price, and
  204  upon such deferred or other terms, as may be mutually agreed
  205  upon, all the capital stock of any domestic or foreign
  206  corporation which, before prior to such acquisition, shall have
  207  owned or operated any of the facilities or portions thereof
  208  provided for by this chapter; to pledge the revenues from the
  209  facilities as security for payment of the purchase price for
  210  said stock; and to operate the facilities through the
  211  corporation so acquired or to dissolve said corporation and
  212  operate the facilities in any other manner authorized by law.
  213         Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 180.02, Florida
  214  Statutes, is amended to read:
  215         180.02 Powers of municipalities.—
  216         (2) A Any municipality may extend and execute all of its
  217  applicable corporate powers to accomplish applicable for the
  218  accomplishment of the purposes of this chapter outside of its
  219  corporate limits, as hereinafter provided and as may be
  220  desirable or necessary to promote for the promotion of the
  221  public health, safety, and welfare or to accomplish for the
  222  accomplishment of the purposes of this chapter.; provided,
  223  However, such that said corporate powers do shall not extend or
  224  apply within the corporate limits of another municipality or
  225  within the unincorporated areas of a county without the express
  226  consent of a majority of the commissioners at a duly noticed
  227  meeting of the board of county commissioners of that county.
  228         Section 4. Section 180.191, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  229  read:
  230         180.191 Limitation on rates charged consumer outside city
  231  limits.—
  232         (1) Any municipality within the state operating a water or
  233  sewer utility outside of the boundaries of such municipality
  234  shall charge consumers outside the boundaries rates, fees, and
  235  charges determined in one of the following manners:
  236         (a) It may charge the same rates, fees, and charges as
  237  consumers inside the municipal boundaries. However, in addition
  238  thereto, the municipality may add a surcharge of not more than
  239  25 percent of such rates, fees, and charges to consumers outside
  240  the boundaries. Fixing of such rates, fees, and charges in this
  241  manner does shall not require a public hearing except as may be
  242  provided for service to consumers inside the municipality.
  243         (b) It may charge rates, fees, and charges that are just
  244  and equitable and which are based on the same factors used in
  245  fixing the rates, fees, and charges for consumers inside the
  246  municipal boundaries. In addition thereto, the municipality may
  247  add a surcharge not to exceed 25 percent of such rates, fees,
  248  and charges for said services to consumers outside the
  249  boundaries. However, the total of all such rates, fees, and
  250  charges for the services to consumers outside the boundaries may
  251  shall not be more than 25 50 percent greater than in excess of
  252  the total amount the municipality charges consumers served
  253  within the municipality for corresponding service. No Such
  254  rates, fees, and charges may not shall be fixed until after a
  255  public hearing at which all of the users of the water or sewer
  256  systems; owners, tenants, or occupants of property served or to
  257  be served thereby; and all others interested shall have an
  258  opportunity to be heard concerning the proposed rates, fees, and
  259  charges. Any change or revision of such rates, fees, or charges
  260  may be made in the same manner as they such rates, fees, or
  261  charges were originally established, but if such change or
  262  revision is to be made substantially pro rata as to all classes
  263  of service, both inside and outside the municipality, no hearing
  264  or notice shall be required.
  265         (c) The amount of any surcharge imposed pursuant to this
  266  section must be clearly stated as a separate line item on the
  267  bill of each customer to whom the surcharge is applied.
  268         (2) A ratepayer in an unincorporated area of a county who
  269  is receiving water or sewer utility services from a municipality
  270  may petition the Florida Public Service Commission or, if the
  271  municipality is located in a county that has elected to regulate
  272  water and sewer utilities pursuant to chapter 367, may petition
  273  the county for a review of the rates, fees, or charges being
  274  imposed by the municipality. The commission or applicable county
  275  shall accept the petition and determine whether such rates,
  276  fees, or charges are just and equitable.
  277         (3)(2)If a Whenever any municipality has engaged, or there
  278  are reasonable grounds to believe that any municipality is about
  279  to engage, in any act or practice prohibited by subsection (1),
  280  a civil action for preventive relief, including an application
  281  for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or
  282  other order, may be instituted by the person or persons
  283  aggrieved.
  284         (4)(3) This section applies shall apply to municipally
  285  owned water and sewer utilities within the confines of a single
  286  county and may apply, pursuant to interlocal agreement, to
  287  municipally owned water and sewer utilities beyond the confines
  288  of a single county.
  289         (5)(4) In any action commenced pursuant to this section,
  290  the court in its discretion may allow the prevailing party
  291  treble damages and, in addition, a reasonable attorney
  292  attorney’s fee as part of the cost.
  293         Section 5. Subsection (2) of section 367.022, Florida
  294  Statutes, is amended to read:
  295         367.022 Exemptions.—The following are not subject to
  296  regulation by the commission as a utility nor are they subject
  297  to the provisions of this chapter, except as expressly provided:
  298         (2) Systems owned, operated, managed, or controlled by
  299  governmental authorities, including water or wastewater
  300  facilities operated by private firms under water or wastewater
  301  facility privatization contracts as defined in s. 153.91, and
  302  nonprofit corporations formed for the purpose of acting on
  303  behalf of a political subdivision with respect to a water or
  304  wastewater facility; however, a municipality that provides water
  305  or wastewater utility services, directly or indirectly, in
  306  unincorporated areas of a county is subject to the requirements
  307  set forth in s. 180.191.
  308         Section 6. Subsection (4) of section 367.071, Florida
  309  Statutes, is amended to read:
  310         367.071 Sale, assignment, or transfer of certificate of
  311  authorization, facilities, or control.—
  312         (4) An application shall be disposed of as provided in s.
  313  367.045, except that:
  314         (a) The sale of facilities, in whole or part, to a
  315  governmental authority shall be approved as a matter of right;
  316  however, before taking any official action, the governmental
  317  authority shall, prior to taking any official action, obtain
  318  from the utility or commission with respect to the facilities to
  319  be sold the most recent available income and expense statement,
  320  balance sheet, and statement of rate base for regulatory
  321  purposes and contributions-in-aid-of-construction. Any request
  322  for rate relief pending before the commission at the time of
  323  sale is deemed to have been withdrawn. Interim rates, if
  324  previously approved by the commission, must be discontinued, and
  325  any money collected pursuant to interim rate relief must be
  326  refunded to the customers of the utility with interest.
  327         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), approval of the
  328  commission is required before a municipality acquires, in whole
  329  or in part, the facilities of a utility that will serve
  330  ratepayers in an unincorporated area of a county. The
  331  municipality shall provide for review by the commission its
  332  proposed rate structure, including proposed rates, fees, or
  333  charges for ratepayers within the municipal boundaries and for
  334  ratepayers in the unincorporated area of the county to be served
  335  by the municipality. The commission shall approve the transfer
  336  provided that:
  337         1. The municipality has obtained from the utility or
  338  commission, with respect to the facilities to be sold, the most
  339  recent available income and expense statement, balance sheet,
  340  and statement of rate base for regulatory purposes and
  341  contributions-in-aid-of-construction;
  342         2. The purchase price in excess of rate base is reflective
  343  of all cost savings as a result of the transfer;
  344         3. The transfer will result in improved quality of service;
  345         4. The transfer will achieve lower operating costs;
  346         5. The transfer will result in an increased ability to
  347  attract capital; and
  348         6. The transfer will result in more professional and
  349  experienced managerial, financial, technical, and operations
  350  resources.
  351         (c)(b) When paragraph (a) does not apply, the commission
  352  shall amend the certificate of authorization as necessary to
  353  reflect the change resulting from the sale, assignment, or
  354  transfer.
  355         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.