SEC. 77-5-727. Determining appropriateness of projects to be undertaken by joint agencies; objections; appeal process.
No joint agency shall undertake any project required to be financed, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of bonds without the approval of a majority of its members. Before undertaking any project, a joint agency shall, based upon engineering studies and reports, determine that such project is required to provide for the projected needs for power and energy of its members from and after the date the project is estimated to be placed in normal and continuous operation and for a reasonable period of time thereafter. In determining the future power requirements of the members of a joint agency, there shall be taken into account the following:
(a) The economies and efficiencies estimated to be achieved in acquiring, constructing and operating the proposed facilities for the generation and transmission of electric power and energy;
(b) The estimated requirements for power and energy and for reserve capacity and to meet obligations under pooling and reserve sharing agreements reasonably related to its needs for power and energy to which the joint agency is or may become a party; and
(c) The cost of such existing alternative power supply sources.
A determination by the joint agency based upon appropriate findings of the foregoing matters shall be conclusive as to the appropriateness of a project to provide the needs of the members of a joint agency for power and energy unless an interested party aggrieved by the determination of said joint agency shall file an appeal therefrom as herein provided. Notice of the determination by the joint agency shall be published one (1) time in one or more newspapers having general circulation in each of the municipalities constituting the membership of the joint agency and shall specify a date, not less than ten (10) days after the publication of such notice, at which the joint agency shall meet to hear any objections or remonstrances that may be made. At said meeting, the commissioners of the joint agency shall consider the objections or protests, if any, and shall at said meeting, or at any adjourned meeting, affirm, modify or rescind the determination. Any person or party objecting or protesting the determination at said meeting who is aggrieved by the action of said joint agency may appeal within ten (10) days from the date of adjournment at which session the joint agency rendered said determination, and may embody the facts and determination in a bill of exceptions which shall be signed by the person acting as chairman of the board of commissioners of the joint agency. The secretary thereof shall transmit at once the bill of exceptions to the circuit court of the county in which the principal office of the joint agency is located, and the court shall either in termtime or in vacation hear and determine the same on the case as presented by the bill of exceptions as an appellate court, and shall affirm or reverse the determination of the joint agency. If the determination of the joint agency be reversed, the circuit court shall certify the same to the board of commissioners of the joint agency. Costs shall be awarded as in other cases. The joint agency may employ counsel to defend such appeals to be paid out of the funds of the joint agency. Any such appeal may be heard and determined in vacation in the discretion of the court on motion of either party on written notice of ten (10) days to the other party or parties or the attorney of record, and the hearing of the same shall be held in the county where the suit is pending unless the judge in his order shall otherwise direct. Provided, however, no appeal to the circuit court shall be taken from any order or determination of the joint agency which authorizes the issuance or sale of bonds, but all objections to any matters relating to the issuance or sale of bonds shall be adjudicated and determined by the chancery court, in accordance with the provisions of sections 31-13-5 through 31-13-11.
Nothing herein contained shall prevent a joint agency from undertaking studies to determine whether there is a need for a project or whether such project is feasible.
SOURCES: Laws, 1978, ch. 363, Sec. 11(2), eff from and after passage (approved March 14, 1978).