Florida Senate - 2016                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 324
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  02/09/2016           .                                

       The Committee on Finance and Tax (Simpson) recommended the
    1         Senate Substitute for Amendment (806856) (with title
    2  amendment)
    4         Delete lines 73 - 556
    5  and insert:
    6  163.01(7)(g), Florida Statutes, or a separate legal entity
    7  created by one or more local agencies. The term includes any
    8  successor to the powers and functions of such an entity.
    9         (b) “Cost,” as applied to a utility project or a portion of
   10  a utility project financed under this section, means:
   11         1. Any part of the expense of constructing, renovating, or
   12  acquiring lands, structures, real or personal property, rights,
   13  rights-of-way, franchises, easements, and interests acquired or
   14  used for a utility project;
   15         2. The expense of demolishing or removing any buildings or
   16  structures on acquired land, including the expense of acquiring
   17  any lands to which the buildings or structures may be moved, and
   18  the cost of all machinery and equipment used for the demolition
   19  or removal;
   20         3. Finance charges;
   21         4. Interest, as determined by the authority;
   22         5. Provisions for working capital and debt service
   23  reserves;
   24         6. Expenses for extensions, enlargements, additions,
   25  replacements, renovations, and improvements;
   26         7. Expenses for architectural, engineering, financial,
   27  accounting, and legal services, plans, specifications,
   28  estimates, and administration; or
   29         8. Any other expenses necessary or incidental to
   30  determining the feasibility of constructing a utility project or
   31  incidental to the construction, acquisition, or financing of a
   32  utility project.
   33         (c) “Customer” means a person receiving water or wastewater
   34  service from a publicly owned utility.
   35         (d) “Finance” or “financing” includes refinancing.
   36         (e) “Financing cost” means:
   37         1. Interest and redemption premiums that are payable on
   38  utility cost containment bonds;
   39         2. The cost of retiring the principal of utility cost
   40  containment bonds, whether at maturity, including acceleration
   41  of maturity upon an event of default, or upon redemption,
   42  including sinking fund redemption;
   43         3. The cost related to issuing or servicing utility cost
   44  containment bonds, including any payment under an interest rate
   45  swap agreement and any type of fee;
   46         4. A payment or expense associated with a bond insurance
   47  policy; financial guaranty; contract, agreement, or other credit
   48  or liquidity enhancement for bonds; or contract, agreement, or
   49  other financial agreement entered into in connection with
   50  utility cost containment bonds;
   51         5. Any coverage charges; or
   52         6. The funding of one or more reserve accounts relating to
   53  utility cost containment bonds.
   54         (f) “Financing resolution” means a resolution adopted by
   55  the governing body of an authority that provides for the
   56  financing or refinancing of a utility project with utility cost
   57  containment bonds and that imposes a utility project charge in
   58  connection with the utility cost containment bonds in accordance
   59  with subsection (4). A financing resolution may be separate from
   60  a resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds.
   61         (g) “Governing body” means the body that governs a local
   62  agency.
   63         (h) “Local agency” means a member of the authority, or an
   64  agency or subdivision of that member, which is sponsoring or
   65  refinancing a utility project, or any municipality, county,
   66  authority, special district, public corporation, regional water
   67  authority, or other governmental entity of the state that is
   68  sponsoring or refinancing a utility project.
   69         (i) “Public utility services” means water or wastewater
   70  services provided by a publicly owned utility. The term does not
   71  include communications services, as defined in s. 202.11,
   72  Florida Statutes, Internet access services, or information
   73  services.
   74         (j) “Publicly owned utility” means a utility providing
   75  retail or wholesale water or wastewater services which is owned
   76  and operated by a local agency. The term includes any successor
   77  to the powers and functions of such a utility.
   78         (k) “Revenue” means income and receipts of the authority
   79  related to the financing of utility projects and issuance of
   80  utility cost containment bonds, including any of the following:
   81         1. Bond purchase agreements;
   82         2. Bonds acquired by the authority;
   83         3. Installment sales agreements and other revenue-producing
   84  agreements entered into by the authority;
   85         4. Utility projects financed or refinanced by the
   86  authority;
   87         5. Grants and other sources of income;
   88         6. Moneys paid by a local agency;
   89         7. Interlocal agreements with a local agency, including all
   90  service agreements; or
   91         8. Interest or other income from any investment of money in
   92  any fund or account established for the payment of principal,
   93  interest, or premiums on utility cost containment bonds, or the
   94  deposit of proceeds of utility cost containment bonds.
   95         (l) “Utility cost containment bonds” means bonds, notes,
   96  commercial paper, variable rate securities, and any other
   97  evidence of indebtedness issued by an authority the proceeds of
   98  which are used directly or indirectly to pay or reimburse a
   99  local agency or its publicly owned utility for the costs of a
  100  utility project and which are secured by a pledge of, and are
  101  payable from, utility project property.
  102         (m) “Utility project” means the acquisition, construction,
  103  installation, retrofitting, rebuilding, or other addition to or
  104  improvement of any equipment, device, structure, process,
  105  facility, technology, rights, or property located within or
  106  outside this state which is used in connection with the
  107  operations of a publicly owned utility.
  108         (n) “Utility project charge” means a charge levied on
  109  customers of a publicly owned utility to pay the financing costs
  110  of utility cost containment bonds issued under subsection (4).
  111  The term includes any adjustments to the utility project charge
  112  made under subsection (5).
  113         (o) “Utility project property” means the property right
  114  created pursuant to subsection (6). The term does not include
  115  any interest in a customer’s real or personal property but
  116  includes the right, title, and interest of an authority in any
  117  of the following:
  118         1. The financing resolution, the utility project charge,
  119  and any adjustment to the utility project charge established in
  120  accordance with subsection (5);
  121         2. The financing costs of the utility cost containment
  122  bonds and all revenues, and all collections, claims, payments,
  123  moneys, or proceeds for, or arising from, the utility project
  124  charge; or
  125         3. All rights to obtain adjustments to the utility project
  126  charge pursuant to subsection (5).
  127         (3) UTILITY PROJECTS.—
  128         (a) A local agency that owns and operates a publicly owned
  129  utility may apply to an authority to finance the costs of a
  130  utility project using the proceeds of utility cost containment
  131  bonds. In its application to the authority, the local agency
  132  shall specify the utility project to be financed by the utility
  133  cost containment bonds and the maximum principal amount, the
  134  maximum interest rate, and the maximum stated terms of the
  135  utility cost containment bonds.
  136         (b) A local agency may not apply to an authority for the
  137  financing of a utility project under this section unless the
  138  governing body has determined, in a duly noticed public meeting,
  139  all of the following:
  140         1. The project to be financed is a utility project.
  141         2. The local agency will finance costs of the utility
  142  project, and the costs associated with the financing will be
  143  paid from utility project property, including the utility
  144  project charge for the utility cost containment bonds.
  145         3. Based on the best information available to the governing
  146  body, the rates charged to the local agency’s retail customers
  147  by the publicly owned utility, including the utility project
  148  charge resulting from the financing of the utility project with
  149  utility cost containment bonds, are expected to be lower than
  150  the rates that would be charged if the project were financed
  151  with bonds payable from revenues of the publicly owned utility.
  152         (c) A determination by the governing body that a project to
  153  be financed with utility cost containment bonds is a utility
  154  project is final and conclusive, and the utility cost
  155  containment bonds issued to finance the utility project and the
  156  utility project charge are valid and enforceable as set forth in
  157  the financing resolution and the documents relating to the
  158  utility cost containment bonds.
  159         (d) If a local agency that has outstanding utility cost
  160  containment bonds ceases to operate a water or wastewater
  161  utility, directly or through its publicly owned utility,
  162  references in this section to the local agency or to its
  163  publicly owned utility must be to the successor entity. The
  164  successor entity shall assume and perform all obligations of the
  165  local agency and its publicly owned utility required by this
  166  section and shall assume the servicing agreement required under
  167  subsection (4) while the utility cost containment bonds remain
  168  outstanding.
  170         (a) An authority may issue utility cost containment bonds
  171  to finance or refinance utility projects; refinance debt of a
  172  local agency incurred in financing or refinancing utility
  173  projects, provided such refinancing results in present value
  174  savings to the local agency; or, with the approval of the local
  175  agency, refinance previously issued utility cost containment
  176  bonds.
  177         1. To finance a utility project, the authority may:
  178         a. Form a single-purpose limited liability company and
  179  authorize the company to adopt the financing resolution of such
  180  utility project; or
  181         b. Create a new single-purpose entity by interlocal
  182  agreement under s. 163.01, Florida Statutes, the membership of
  183  which shall consist of the authority and two or more of its
  184  members or other public agencies.
  185         2. A single-purpose limited liability company or a single
  186  purpose entity may be created by the authority solely for the
  187  purpose of performing the duties and responsibilities of the
  188  authority specified in this section and constitutes an authority
  189  for all purposes of this section. Reference to the authority
  190  includes a company or entity created under this paragraph.
  191         (b) The governing body of an authority that is financing
  192  the costs of a utility project shall adopt a financing
  193  resolution and shall impose a utility project charge as
  194  described in subsection (5). All provisions of a financing
  195  resolution adopted pursuant to this section are binding on the
  196  authority.
  197         1. The financing resolution must:
  198         a. Provide a brief description of the financial calculation
  199  method the authority will use in determining the utility project
  200  charge. The calculation method must include a periodic
  201  adjustment methodology to be applied at least annually to the
  202  utility project charge. The authority shall establish the
  203  allocation of the utility project charge among classes of
  204  customers of the publicly owned utility. The decision of the
  205  authority is final and conclusive, and the method of calculating
  206  the utility project charge and the periodic adjustment may not
  207  be changed;
  208         b. Require each customer in the class or classes of
  209  customers specified in the financing resolution who receives
  210  water or wastewater service through the publicly owned utility
  211  to pay the utility project charge regardless of whether the
  212  customer has an agreement to receive water or wastewater service
  213  from a person other than the publicly owned utility;
  214         c. Require that the utility project charge be charged
  215  separately from other charges on the bill of customers of the
  216  publicly owned utility in the class or classes of customers
  217  specified in the financing resolution; and
  218         d. Require that the authority enter into a servicing
  219  agreement with the local agency or its publicly owned utility to
  220  collect the utility project charge.
  221         2. The authority may require in the financing resolution
  222  that, in the event of a default by the local agency or its
  223  publicly owned utility with respect to revenues from the utility
  224  project property, the authority, upon application by the
  225  beneficiaries of the statutory lien as set forth in subsection
  226  (6), shall order the sequestration and payment to the
  227  beneficiaries of revenues arising from utility project property.
  228  This subparagraph does not limit any other remedies available to
  229  the beneficiaries by reason of default.
  230         (c) An authority has all the powers provided in this
  231  section and s. 163.01(7)(g), Florida Statutes.
  232         (d) Each authority shall work with local agencies that
  233  request assistance to determine the most cost-effective manner
  234  of financing regional water projects. If the entities determine
  235  that the issuance of utility cost containment bonds will result
  236  in lower financing costs for a project, the authority shall
  237  cooperate with such local agencies and, if requested by the
  238  local agencies, issue utility cost containment bonds as provided
  239  in this section.
  240         (5) UTILITY PROJECT CHARGE.—
  241         (a) The authority shall impose a sufficient utility project
  242  charge, based on estimates of water or wastewater service usage,
  243  to ensure timely payment of all financing costs with respect to
  244  utility cost containment bonds. The local agency or its publicly
  245  owned utility shall provide the authority with information
  246  concerning the publicly owned utility which may be required by
  247  the authority in establishing the utility project charge.
  248         (b) The utility project charge is a nonbypassable charge to
  249  all present and future customers of the publicly owned utility
  250  in the class or classes of customers specified in the financing
  251  resolution upon its adoption. If the regulatory structure for
  252  the water or wastewater industry changes in a manner that
  253  authorizes a customer to choose to take service from an
  254  alternative supplier and the customer chooses an alternative
  255  supplier, the customer remains liable for paying the utility
  256  project charge if the customer continues to receive any service
  257  from the publicly owned utility for the transmission,
  258  distribution, processing, delivery, or metering of the
  259  underlying water or wastewater service.
  260         (c) The authority shall determine at least annually and at
  261  such additional intervals as provided in the financing
  262  resolution and documents related to the applicable utility cost
  263  containment bonds whether adjustments to the utility project
  264  charge are required. The authority shall use the adjustment to
  265  correct for any overcollection or undercollection of financing
  266  costs from the utility project charge or to make any other
  267  adjustment necessary to ensure the timely payment of the
  268  financing costs of the utility cost containment bonds, including
  269  adjustment of the utility project charge to pay any debt service
  270  coverage requirement for the utility cost containment bonds. The
  271  local agency or its publicly owned utility shall provide the
  272  authority with information concerning the publicly owned utility
  273  which may be required by the authority in adjusting the utility
  274  project charge.
  275         1. If the authority determines that an adjustment to the
  276  utility project charge is required, the adjustment must be made
  277  using the methodology specified in the financing resolution.
  278         2. The adjustment may not impose the utility project charge
  279  on a class of customers which was not subject to the utility
  280  project charge pursuant to the financing resolution imposing the
  281  utility project charge.
  282         (d) Revenues from a utility project charge are special
  283  revenues of the authority and do not constitute revenue of the
  284  local agency or its publicly owned utility for any purpose,
  285  including any dedication, commitment, or pledge of revenue,
  286  receipts, or other income that the local agency or its publicly
  287  owned utility has made or will make for the security of any of
  288  its obligations.
  289         (e) The local agency or its publicly owned utility shall
  290  act as a servicing agent for collecting the utility project
  291  charge throughout the duration of the servicing agreement
  292  required by the financing resolution. The local agency or its
  293  publicly owned utility shall hold the money collected in trust
  294  for the exclusive benefit of the persons entitled to have the
  295  financing costs paid from the utility project charge, and the
  296  money does not lose its designation as revenues of the authority
  297  by virtue of possession by the local agency or its publicly
  298  owned utility.
  299         (f) The customer must make timely and complete payment of
  300  all utility project charges as a condition of receiving water or
  301  wastewater service from the publicly owned utility. The local
  302  agency or its publicly owned utility may use its established
  303  collection policies and remedies provided under law to enforce
  304  collection of the utility project charge. A customer liable for
  305  a utility project charge may not withhold payment, in whole or
  306  in part, thereof.
  307         (g) The pledge of a utility project charge to secure
  308  payment of utility cost containment bonds is irrevocable, and
  309  the state, or any other entity, may not reduce, impair, or
  310  otherwise adjust the utility project charge, except that the
  311  authority shall implement the periodic adjustments to the
  312  utility project charge as provided under this subsection.
  313         (6) UTILITY PROJECT PROPERTY.—
  314         (a) A utility project charge constitutes utility project
  315  property on the effective date of the financing resolution
  316  authorizing such utility project charge. Utility project
  317  property constitutes property, including contracts for securing
  318  utility cost containment bonds, regardless of whether the
  319  revenues and proceeds arising with respect to the utility
  320  project property have accrued. Utility project property shall
  321  continuously exist as property for all purposes with all of the
  322  rights and privileges of this section through the end of the
  323  period provided in the financing resolution or until all
  324  financing costs with respect to the related utility cost
  325  containment bonds are paid in full, whichever occurs first.
  326         (b) Upon the effective date of the financing resolution,
  327  the utility project property is subject to a first-priority
  328  statutory lien to secure the payment of the utility cost
  329  containment bonds.
  330         1. The lien secures the payment of all financing costs then
  331  existing or subsequently arising to the holders of the utility
  332  cost containment bonds, the trustees or representatives of the
  333  holders of the utility cost containment bonds, and any other
  334  entity specified in the financing resolution or the documents
  335  relating to the utility cost containment bonds.
  336         2. The lien attaches to the utility project property
  337  regardless of the current ownership of the utility project
  338  property, including any local agency or its publicly owned
  339  utility, the authority, or any other person.
  340         3. Upon the effective date of the financing resolution, the
  341  lien is valid and enforceable against the owner of the utility
  342  project property and all third parties, and additional public
  343  notice is not required.
  344         4. The lien is a continuously perfected lien on all
  345  revenues and proceeds generated from the utility project
  346  property regardless of whether the revenues or proceeds have
  347  accrued.
  348         (c) All revenues with respect to utility project property
  349  related to utility cost containment bonds, including payments of
  350  the utility project charge, shall be applied first to the
  351  payment of the financing costs of the utility cost containment
  352  bonds then due, including the funding of reserves for the
  353  utility cost containment bonds. Any excess revenues shall be
  354  applied as determined by the authority for the benefit of the
  355  utility for which the utility cost containment bonds were
  356  issued.
  358         (a) Utility cost containment bonds shall be issued within
  359  the parameters of the financing provided by the authority
  360  pursuant to this section. The proceeds of the utility cost
  361  containment bonds made available to the local agency or its
  362  publicly owned utility shall be used for the utility project
  363  identified in the application for financing of the utility
  364  project or used to refinance indebtedness of the local agency
  365  which financed or refinanced utility projects.
  366         (b) Utility cost containment bonds shall be issued as set
  367  forth in this section and s. 163.01(7)(g)8., Florida Statutes,
  368  and may be validated pursuant to s. 163.01(7)(g)9., Florida
  369  Statutes.
  370         (c) The authority shall pledge the utility project property
  371  as security for the payment of the utility cost containment
  372  bonds. All rights of an authority with respect to utility
  373  project property pledged as security for the payment of utility
  374  cost containment bonds shall be for the benefit of, and
  375  enforceable by, the beneficiaries of the pledge to the extent
  376  provided in the financing documents relating to the utility cost
  377  containment bonds.
  378         1. If utility project property is pledged as security for
  379  the payment of utility cost containment bonds, the local agency
  380  or its publicly owned utility shall enter into a contract with
  381  the authority which requires, at a minimum, that the publicly
  382  owned utility:
  383         a. Continue to operate its publicly owned utility,
  384  including the utility project that is being financed or
  385  refinanced;
  386         b. Collect the utility project charge from customers for
  387  the benefit and account of the authority and the beneficiaries
  388  of the pledge of the utility project charge; and
  389         c. Separately account for and remit revenue from the
  390  utility project charge to, or for the account of, the authority.
  391         2. The pledge of a utility project charge to secure payment
  392  of utility cost containment bonds is irrevocable, and the state
  393  or any other entity may not reduce, impair, or otherwise adjust
  394  the utility project charge, except that the authority shall
  395  implement periodic adjustments to the utility project charge as
  396  provided under subsection (5).
  397         (d) Utility cost containment bonds shall be nonrecourse to
  398  the credit or any assets of the local agency or the publicly
  399  owned utility but are payable from, and secured by a pledge of
  400  the utility project property relating to the utility cost
  401  containment bonds and any additional security or credit
  402  enhancement specified in the documents relating to the utility
  403  cost containment bonds. If, pursuant to subsection (4), the
  404  authority is financing the project through a single-purpose
  405  limited liability company, the utility cost containment bonds
  406  shall be payable from, and secured by, a pledge of amounts paid
  407  by the company to the authority from the applicable utility
  408  project property. This paragraph is the exclusive method of
  409  perfecting a pledge of utility project property by the company
  410  securing the payment of financing costs under any agreement of
  411  the company in connection with the issuance of utility cost
  412  containment bonds.
  413         (e) The issuance of utility cost containment bonds does not
  414  obligate the state or any political subdivision thereof to levy
  415  or to pledge any form of taxation to pay the utility cost
  416  containment bonds or to make any appropriation for their
  417  payment. Each utility cost containment bond must contain on its
  418  face a statement in substantially the following form:
  420   “Neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the  
  421  State of Florida or any political subdivision thereof is pledged 
  422   to the payment of the principal of, or interest on, this bond.” 
  424         (f) Notwithstanding any other law or this section, a
  425  financing resolution or other resolution of the authority, or
  426  documents relating to utility cost containment bonds, the
  427  authority may not rescind, alter, or amend any resolution or
  428  document that pledges utility cost charges for payment of
  429  utility cost containment bonds.
  430         (g) Subject to the terms of any pledge document created
  431  under this section, the validity and relative priority of a
  432  pledge is not defeated or adversely affected by the commingling
  433  of revenues generated by the utility project property with other
  434  funds of the local agency or the publicly owned utility
  435  collecting a utility project charge on behalf of an authority.
  436         (h) Financing costs in connection with utility cost
  437  containment bonds are a special obligation of the authority and
  438  do not constitute a liability of the state or any political
  439  subdivision thereof. Financing costs are not a pledge of the
  440  full faith and credit of the state or any political subdivision
  441  thereof, including the authority, but are payable solely from
  442  the funds identified in the documents relating to the utility
  443  cost containment bonds. This paragraph does not preclude
  444  guarantees or credit enhancements in connection with utility
  445  cost containment bonds.
  446         (i) Except as otherwise provided in this section with
  447  respect to adjustments to a utility project charge, the recovery
  448  of the financing costs for the utility cost containment bonds
  449  from the utility project charge is irrevocable, and the
  450  authority does not have the power, by rescinding, altering, or
  451  amending the applicable financing resolution, to revalue or
  452  revise for ratemaking purposes the financing costs of utility
  453  cost containment bonds; to determine that the financing costs
  454  for the related utility cost containment bonds or the utility
  455  project charge is unjust or unreasonable; or to in any way,
  456  either directly or indirectly, reduce or impair the value of
  457  utility project property that includes the utility project
  458  charge. The amount of revenues arising with respect to the
  459  financing costs for the related utility cost containment bonds
  460  or the utility project charge is not subject to reduction,
  461  impairment, postponement, or termination for any reason until
  462  all financing costs to be paid from the utility project charge
  463  are fully met and discharged.
  464         (j) Except as provided in subsection (5) with respect to
  465  adjustments to a utility project charge, the state pledges and
  466  agrees with the owners of utility cost containment bonds that
  467  the state may not limit or alter the financing costs or the
  468  utility project property, including the utility project charge,
  469  relating to the utility cost containment bonds, or any rights
  470  related to the utility project property, until all financing
  471  costs with respect to the utility cost containment bonds are
  472  fully met and discharged. This paragraph does not preclude
  473  limitation or alteration if adequate provision is made by law to
  474  protect the owners. The authority may include the state’s pledge
  475  in the governing documents for utility cost containment bonds.
  476         (8) LIMITATION ON DEBT RELIEF.—Notwithstanding any other
  477  law, an authority that issued utility cost containment bonds may
  478  not, and a governmental officer or organization may not
  479  authorize the authority to, become a debtor under the United
  480  States Bankruptcy Code or become the subject of any similar case
  481  or proceeding under any other state or federal law if any
  482  payment obligation from utility project property remains with
  483  respect to the utility cost containment bonds.
  484         (9) CONSTRUCTION.—This section and all grants of power and
  485  authority in this section shall be liberally construed to
  486  effectuate their purposes. All incidental powers necessary to
  487  carry this section into effect are expressly granted to, and
  488  conferred upon, public entities.
  489         Section 2. Subsection (5) of section 153.03, Florida
  490  Statutes, is amended to read:
  491         153.03 General grant of power.—Any of the several counties
  492  of the state which may hereafter come under the provisions of
  493  this chapter as hereinafter provided is hereby authorized and
  494  empowered:
  495         (5) To acquire in the name of the county by gift, purchase
  496  as hereinafter provided, or by the exercise of the right of
  497  eminent domain, such lands and rights and interests therein,
  498  including lands under water and riparian rights, and to acquire
  499  such personal property as it may deem necessary for the
  500  efficient operation or for the extension of or the improvement
  501  of any facility purchased or constructed under the provisions of
  502  this chapter and to hold and dispose of all real and personal
  503  property under its control.; Counties may also exercise such
  504  eminent domain rights pursuant to an action initiated under s.
  505  367.072. provided, However, that no county shall have the right
  506  to exercise the right of eminent domain over any such lands or
  507  rights or interests therein or any personal property owned by
  508  any municipality within the state nor to exercise such right
  509  with respect to any privately owned water supply system or
  510  sewage disposal system including without limitation ponds,
  511  streams and surface waters constituting a part thereof, provided
  512  any such system is primarily used, owned or operated by an
  513  industrial or manufacturing plant for its own use as a water
  514  supply system or in disposing of its industrial wastes.
  515         Section 3. Section 367.072, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  516  read:
  517         367.072 Petition to revoke certificate of authorization;
  518  condemnation.—The Legislature finds that it is in the public
  519  interest that water service be of good quality, be priced at a
  520  rate that is commensurate with the market and the quality of
  521  service provided, and be consistent with the standards set forth
  522  in this chapter. Furthermore, the Legislature declares that the
  523  residents of the state have a right to participate in the
  524  selection of their water service provider. Therefore, a
  525  utility’s certificate of authorization to provide water service
  526  may be revoked if, after its customers file a petition to revoke
  527  a certificate of authorization with the commission, the
  528  commission finds that revocation is in the best interest of the
  529  customers in accordance with this section. Upon the filing of
  530  such petition, and owing to the demonstrated dissatisfaction
  531  with the water service received by such customers, the county
  532  where the customers are located also may deem it a public
  533  necessity that the utility be brought under county ownership,
  534  and may, upon its own election, begin condemnation by eminent
  535  domain proceedings against the utility. As used in this section,
  536  the term “customer” means an individual whose property is
  537  serviced by a single meter or a person whose name appears on the
  538  bill for a master meter.
  539         (1)(a) If the commission receives a letter from the
  540  customers of a utility stating their intent to file a petition
  541  pursuant to this section, the commission staff, within 10 days
  542  after receipt of the letter, shall notify the utility of the
  543  customers’ intent to file a petition.
  544         (b) Commission staff shall send to the customers
  545  instructions regarding the information required on the petition
  546  and the subsequent process the commission will follow. The
  547  petition must be filed within 90 days after the receipt of the
  548  instructions. Commission staff shall review the petition and
  549  notify the customers within 10 days after receipt of the
  550  petition that the petition is sufficient for the commission to
  551  act or that additional information is necessary. The customers
  552  must file a cured petition within 30 days after receipt of the
  553  notice to cure and provide a copy of the petition to the
  554  utility. If the customers fail to file or refile a petition
  555  within the allotted time, the commission shall dismiss the
  556  petition with prejudice, and the customers may not file another
  557  petition for 1 year after the dismissal.
  558         (c)Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, the
  559  commission shall send to the county where the customers are
  560  located a copy of the petition and notify such county of its
  561  right to initiate condemnation by eminent domain proceedings
  562  pursuant to this section and s. 153.03.
  563         (2) A petition must:
  564         (a) State with specificity each issue that customers have
  565  with the quality of water service, each time the issue was
  566  reported to the utility, and how long each issue has existed;
  567  and
  568         (b) Be signed by at least 65 percent of the customers of
  569  the service area covered under the certificate of authorization.
  570  A person whose name appears on the bill for a master meter may
  571  sign a petition if at least 65 percent of the customers,
  572  tenants, or unit owners served by the master meter support the
  573  petition, in which case documentation of such support must be
  574  included with the petition.
  575         (3) If the petition is in compliance with this section and
  576  the issues identified within the petition support a reasonable
  577  likelihood that the utility is failing to provide quality of
  578  water service, the utility shall thereafter be prohibited from
  579  filing a rate case until the commission has issued a final order
  580  addressing the issues identified in the petition. The utility
  581  shall use the following criteria in preparing a response to the
  582  commission, addressing the issues identified within the petition
  583  and defending the quality of its water service:
  584         (a) Federal and state primary water quality standards or
  585  secondary water quality standards pursuant to s. 367.0812; and
  586         (b) The relationship between the utility and its customers,
  587  including each complaint received regarding the quality of water
  588  service, the length of time each customer has been complaining
  589  about the service, the resolution of each complaint, and the
  590  time it has taken to address such complaints.
  591         (4) The commission shall evaluate the issues identified in
  592  the petition, the utility’s response as to whether it is
  593  providing quality of water service, and any other factor the
  594  commission deems relevant.
  595         (5) Based upon its evaluation, the commission shall:
  596         (a) Dismiss the petition, in which case the decision must
  597  be supported by clear and convincing evidence and is subject to
  598  ss. 120.569 and 120.57; or
  599         (b) Require the utility to take the necessary steps to
  600  correct the quality of water service issues identified in the
  601  petition. The commission shall set benchmarks within a
  602  timeframe, not to exceed 3 years, and may require the utility to
  603  provide interim reports describing its progress in meeting such
  604  benchmarks. The commission may extend the term 3 years for
  605  circumstances that delay the project which are not in the
  606  control of the utility, such as natural disasters and obtaining
  607  permits necessary for meeting such benchmarks; or
  608         (b)(c) Notwithstanding s. 367.045, revoke the utility’s
  609  certificate of authorization, in which case, any condemnation
  610  proceedings initiated pursuant to this section must be dismissed
  611  and a receiver must be appointed pursuant to s. 367.165 until a
  612  sale of the utility system has been approved pursuant to s.
  613  367.071.
  614         (6) The commission shall adopt by rule the format of and
  615  requirements for a petition and may adopt other rules to
  616  administer this section.
  618  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  619  And the title is amended as follows:
  620         Between lines 63 and 64
  621  insert:
  622         amending s. 153.03, F.S.; clarifying that counties may
  623         initiate eminent domain over water utilities under
  624         certain circumstances; amending s. 367.072, F.S.;
  625         revising legislative findings; authorizing counties to
  626         initiate condemnation proceedings under certain
  627         circumstances; requiring the Florida Public Service
  628         Commission to notify counties of petitions to revoke a
  629         certificate of authorization; revising how the
  630         commission must respond to such petitions; requiring
  631         dismissal of condemnation proceedings under certain
  632         circumstances;