Unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(1) MUNICIPAL POWER DISTRICT, POWER DISTRICT or DISTRICT. A municipal power district organized under this chapter, either as originally organized or as the same may be from time to time altered or amended.
(2) MUNICIPALITY. Any city or town.
(3) GOVERNING BODY. Whenever used in relation to any municipality, the body or board, by whatsoever name known, having charge of the governing of a municipality and shall be held to include the mayor or other chief executive officers of such municipality in any case wherein the concurrence or approval of such officer is required by the law governing such municipality for the adoption of any municipal ordinance or resolution or other municipal act provided for in this chapter.
(4) BOARD OF DIRECTORS, DIRECTORS or BOARD. The board of directors of a municipal power district selected as provided in this chapter, duly constituted, organized and acting as a board.
(5) COMMISSION. The Public Service Commission of the State of Alabama.
(6) PUBLIC UTILITY or UTILITY. The plant, works, system facilities or properties together with all parts thereof and appurtenances thereto, including contract rights, used and useful primarily for the production, transmission or distribution of electric energy to or for the public for any purpose.
A municipal power district may be created as provided in this chapter and, when so created, shall be considered a municipal corporation and may exercise the powers granted in this chapter. The governing body of every municipality proposed to be included in a district shall pass a resolution declaring that the public interest or necessity demands the creation and maintenance of a municipal power district, describing the territory to be included in the proposed district, and file a certified copy thereof in duplicate with the commission. Upon receipt of the resolutions, the commission shall make an investigation of the propriety of creating the proposed district, of the character of utility feasible and economically desirable for the district and of the territory to be served. After investigation, the commission shall issue an order approving or disapproving the creation of the district and, if it approves, determining the character of utility appropriate to the district. If the commission finds that the public convenience and necessity requires the creation of a power district and that the creation of a power district is economically sound and desirable, it shall enter an order so finding, approving the creation of the district and defining its territorial limits, a certified copy of which order the commission shall file with the Secretary of State. Thereupon the district shall be and constitute a municipal corporation as provided in this chapter. Whenever the commission shall after hearing determine that it is in the public interest and in the interest of efficient and economical operation of a utility to alter the territorial limits of a district, it shall so order and file a certified copy of such order with the Secretary of State. Thereupon the territorial limits of the district shall be considered altered in accordance with such order. Two or more districts may be consolidated by a determination of the board of each district, fixing the terms and conditions of such consolidation. Certified copies of such determination shall be filed with the commission. If the commission finds that such consolidation is in the public interest and in the interest of efficient and economical utility service, it shall approve such consolidation and file a certified copy of the order approving the same with the Secretary of State. Thereupon the consolidation shall be effective to create a single district. Preexisting rights and liabilities shall not be affected by such consolidation. Whenever the commission shall determine that the continued existence of the district is not in the public interest and is not in the interest of efficient and economical utility service, it shall make an order to such effect and file a certified copy of such order with the Secretary of State, whereupon the district shall cease to continue as a body corporate for the purpose of doing business, but shall continue as such for such period as the commission may determine to settle the business of the district, wind up its affairs, dispose of its assets and settle its obligations, and for no other purpose. Under such circumstances the directors shall have the powers of receivers, subject to the supervisory control of the commission, to determine what is in the best interests of creditors and the users of the service of the district. In the event of dissolution, the assets of the district and the proceeds thereof shall be used first to pay the expenses of settling the affairs of the district, then the creditors in the order of their priority, and any surplus remaining shall be divided among and paid to the municipalities in the district in proportion to the gross operating revenues of the district for the last five years of its operation derived from payment for services furnished within the territorial limits of each municipality.
A district shall be created for the purpose of conducting and operating a utility and, to carry out such purpose, shall have power and authority to acquire, construct, reconstruct, operate, maintain, extend or improve any utility within or without the district and to furnish, deliver and sell to the public and to any municipality and to the state and any public institution heat, light and power service and any other service, commodity or facility which may be produced or furnished in connection therewith. For said purposes the district is granted and shall have and exercise the right freely to use and occupy any public highway, street, way or place reasonably necessary to be used or occupied for the maintenance and operation of such utility or any part thereof, subject to such local regulations as may be imposed in connection therewith by any regulations of the governing body of the municipality in which such highway, street, way or place is located. Any district created pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be vested with all the powers necessary and requisite for the accomplishment of the purpose for which such district is created, capable of being delegated by the legislature. No enumeration of particular powers created in this chapter shall be construed to impair or limit any general grant of power contained in this chapter nor to limit any such grant to a power or powers of the same class or classes as those enumerated. The district is empowered to do all acts necessary, proper or convenient in the exercise of the powers granted under this chapter. Any district created pursuant to this statute shall have the power:
(1) To sue and be sued.
(2) To have a seal.
(3) To acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease or exercise of the power of eminent domain or other mode of acquisition, hold and dispose of real and personal property of every kind within or without the district, subject to mortgages or any other liens.
(4) To make and enter into contracts, conveyances, mortgages, deeds of trust, bonds or leases.
(5) To incur debts, to borrow money, to issue negotiable bonds and to provide for the rights of holders thereof.
(6) To fix, maintain and collect rates and charges for any service.
(7) To pledge all or any part of its revenues.
(8) To make such covenants in connection with the issuance of bonds or to secure the payment of bonds that a private business corporation can make under the general laws of the state, notwithstanding that such covenants may operate as limitations on the exercise of any power granted by this section.
The government of the district shall be vested in a board of three directors, to be appointed by the Governor within 10 days after the creation and incorporation of the district. The regular term of directors of the district after the first term shall be four years. Each director shall hold office until his successor is selected and qualified. Each director shall, before entering upon discharge of his duties, take and subscribe to the constitutional oath of office. Such oath shall be filed with the commission. The first directors of the district shall be selected for terms of two, three and four years, respectively. The death of a director, his resignation, his removal for cause by the appointing power, or his disability to continue for any cause to act as director, or his change of residence from the district shall vacate the office. Within 20 days after a determination of the vacancy by the appointing power, a successor for the unexpired term shall be selected by such appointing power. Each director of the district shall receive compensation from the district for his services as such at the rate of $10.00 for each day he shall attend meetings of the board or when he is engaged upon business of the board, not to exceed the sum of $1,000.00 in any one year. He shall also be entitled to be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred by him in the performance of his duties required of him by law or by resolution or vote of the board.
The board of directors of any district shall have power and authority:
(1) To exercise by vote, ordinance or resolution all of the general powers of the district.
(2) To make all needful rules, regulations and bylaws for the management and the conduct of the affairs of the district and of the board.
(3) To adopt a seal for the district, prescribe the style thereof and alter the same at pleasure.
(4) To lease, purchase, sell, convey and mortgage the property of the district and to execute all instruments, contracts, mortgages, deeds or bonds on behalf of the district in such manner as the board shall direct.
(5) To inquire into any matter relating to the affairs of the district, to compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers material to any such inquiry, to administer oaths to witnesses and to examine such witnesses.
(6) To appoint and fix the salaries and duties of such officer, experts, agents and employees as it deems necessary, to hold office during the pleasure of the board and upon such terms and conditions as the board may require.
(7) To do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its functions.
Each district shall have power and is authorized from time to time to issue its negotiable bonds in anticipation of the revenues from an enterprise. Said bonds may be issued for any corporate purpose or purposes of such district. Said bonds shall be authorized by resolution of the board of such district and may be issued in one or more series, may bear such date or dates, mature at such time or times not exceeding 40 years from their respective dates, bear interest at such rate or rates, not exceeding six percent per annum, payable semiannually, be in such denominations, be in such form, either coupon or registered, be executed in such manner, be payable in such medium of payment, at such place or places and be subject to such terms of redemption, with or without premium, be declared or become due before the maturity date thereof, as such resolution or resolutions may provide. Said bonds may be issued for money or property (at public or private sale for such price or prices) as the board shall determine, provided that the interest cost to maturity of the money or property (at its value as determined by such board, the determination of which shall be conclusive) received for any issue of said bonds shall not exceed six percent per annum, payable semiannually. Said bonds may be repurchased by the district out of any funds available for such purpose at a price not more than the principal amount thereof and accrued interest, and all bonds so repurchased shall be cancelled. Pending the preparation or execution of definitive bonds, interim receipts or certificates or temporary bonds may be delivered to the purchaser of said bonds.
No bonds or other evidence of indebtedness of a district created under this chapter shall be issued or sold until consent to the issuance and sale thereof shall have been given by the Department of Finance. Such consent shall be granted only after a public hearing and after a petition requesting such consent has been duly filed by such district with the director of the Department of Finance more than five days before such public hearing. Such petition shall specify the plan or program of the district and the uses to which it is proposed to put the proceeds of such issue and such other matters as are necessary fully to advise said department of the nature of the corporate purpose, in furtherance of which such issue is proposed, and said petition shall include such other information as may be required by the rules of the Department of Finance. The Department of Finance shall grant such consent only after it finds that such issue or sale serves some public need and is in the public interest. It shall be unlawful for the district to use the proceeds of any such issue or sale contrary to the plan and purposes presented to the Department of Finance in obtaining its consent thereto. The district applying for such consent is authorized to pay such fees as shall be lawfully assessed against it by the Department of Finance.
In addition to all other remedies, any holder of a bond of any district incorporated under this chapter, including a trustee for bondholders, shall have the right, subject to any contractual limitations binding upon such bondholders or trustee and subject to the prior or superior rights of others:
(1) By mandamus or other action or proceedings to enforce his rights against such district and the board of such district, including the right to require such district and such board to fix and collect rates and charges adequate to carry out any agreement as to, or pledge of, the revenues produced by such rates or charges, and to require such district and such board to carry out any other covenants and agreements with such bondholder and to perform its and their duties under this chapter.
(2) By civil action to enjoin any acts or things which may be unlawful or a violation of the rights of such bondholder.
(3) By civil action to require such authority to act as if it were the trustees of an express trust for such bondholder.
(4) By civil action or proceeding to obtain the appointment of a receiver of the enterprise in which the district is engaged or any part or parts thereof, who may enter and take possession of such utility or any part or parts thereof, including all property, land, property rights, easements and other adjuncts of the utility, and such receiver may operate and maintain the same, and collect and receive all revenues thereafter arising therefrom in the same manner as such district itself might do and shall deposit all such moneys in a separate account or accounts and apply the same in accordance with the obligations of such district as the court shall direct.
Any municipality situated within the territorial limits of a district may advance funds to such district to pay the preliminary organization and administration expenses thereof, on such terms of repayment as the governing body of such municipality shall determine. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, any such municipality is authorized and empowered to borrow money for a period not to exceed one year from the date of such borrowing for the purpose of making such advances.