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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 2532

2nd Engrossment - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 03/08/2010 11:41am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to telecommunications; reducing the plurality necessary in a local
election for a municipality to own and operate a telephone exchange; granting
authority to counties; providing limitations on a municipality's method of
financing a telephone exchange; requiring a feasibility study; prohibiting
discrimination in favor of a municipality's own telephone exchange; requiring
competitive bidding;amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 237.19.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 237.19, is amended to read:


237.19 MUNICIPAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES.

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Referendum required. new text end

Any municipality shall have the right to own
and operate a telephone exchange within its own borders, subject to the provisions of this
chapter. It may construct such plant, or purchase an existing plant by agreement with the
owner, or where it cannot agree with the owner on price, it may acquire an existing plant
by condemnation, as hereinafter provided, but in no case shall a municipality construct
or purchase such a plant or proceed to acquire an existing plant by condemnation until
such action by it is authorized by a majority of the electors voting upon the proposition at
a general election or a special election called for that purpose, and if the proposal is to
construct a new exchange where an exchange already exists, it shall not be authorized to
do so unless deleted text begin65 percentdeleted text endnew text begin a majoritynew text end of those voting thereon vote in favor of the undertaking.
A municipality that owns and operates a telephone exchange may enter into a joint
venture as a partner or shareholder with a telecommunications organization to provide
telecommunications services within its service area. new text beginFor the purpose of this section
"municipality" includes a county.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Taxpayer protections. new text end

new text begin (a) Notwithstanding another law, a municipality
shall not, in whole or in part, finance, refinance, pay the costs or expenses of, or otherwise
fund the construction, acquisition, or operation of a telephone exchange, directly or
indirectly, through issuance of debt, liability, or obligation, or secure or otherwise become
contingently liable for the costs or expenses, except through the use of the revenues
directly earned or to be earned from the operation of the telephone exchange. This
subdivision does not preclude a municipality that has, on the effective date of this act,
already approved a sales tax from using the revenue derived from the tax for constructing,
acquiring, or operating a telephone exchange.
new text end

new text begin (b) This subdivision does not prohibit:
new text end

new text begin (1) the use of otherwise available funds to pay the reasonable costs of studying the
feasibility of operating a telephone exchange or conducting an election on a proposal for
the operation of a telephone exchange; or
new text end

new text begin (2) the sale to nongovernmental investors of revenue bonds to fund the construction
or acquisition of a telephone exchange if principal, interest, and premium are payable
upon maturity or default and are actually paid solely from, and all obligations under the
bonds are secured solely by, the net revenues earned or to be earned by the ownership
or operation of the telephone exchange.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Feasibility study. new text end

new text begin (a) Before conducting the referendum under subdivision
1, the municipality must prepare and make publicly available a written report on the
feasibility of owning or acquiring and operating a telephone exchange. The feasibility
report must, at minimum, address and disclose:
new text end

new text begin (1) the cost of establishing, acquiring, or leasing the telephone exchange facilities
and an explanation of how these costs will be paid;
new text end

new text begin (2) detailed projected income statements for each of the first five years of operation of
the telephone exchange. In addition to including revenue and expense detail, the projected
income statements must also include allowances for depreciation, and a maintenance and
upgrade plan for the telephone exchange to avoid technological obsolescence;
new text end

new text begin (3) a five-year projected capital budget; and
new text end

new text begin (4) the costs incurred by the municipality in preparing the feasibility report and a
list of the individuals or firms paid by the municipality for assistance in studying the
feasibility of the project.
new text end

new text begin (b) Not less than 60 days before the referendum, the municipality must hold a public
hearing regarding the feasibility report. Public notice of the hearing must be given to
inform the public of the availability of the feasibility report for inspection and copying.
new text end

new text begin (c) The ballot issue for the referendum must include, in addition to any other
information required by law, a statement of the maximum costs disclosed under paragraph
(a), clauses (1) and (2), to construct, acquire, and operate the telephone exchange, which
costs shall not be exceeded without voter approval in another election.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Nondiscrimination. new text end

new text begin A municipality shall not discriminate in favor of its
own telephone exchange system by granting itself more favorable or less burdensome
terms and conditions than a competitive telephone exchange operator with respect to the
access and use of public rights-of-way, municipally owned or controlled conduit, towers,
telephone poles, and permitting fees charged for access to the municipally owned and
managed facilities. A municipality operating a telephone exchange under this section shall:
new text end

new text begin (1) approve or reject all permit applications seeking access to the facilities from a
private telecommunications service provider within 30 days of submission; and
new text end

new text begin (2) deny a permit application only for cause and must provide a written explanation
for any denial.
new text end

new text begin A permit not acted on within 30 days by a municipality operating a telephone
exchange under this section shall be considered approved.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Competitive bidding required. new text end

new text begin All agreements between a municipality
and any firm or individual related to a feasibility study, construction or acquisition, and
operation of a telephone exchange, is a "contract" as defined under section 471.345,
subdivision 2.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end