Q May a municipally-owned utility, established pursuant to Section 21-27-1 et seq. make charitable contributions as a means of sales development in accordance with Section 21-27-19?

A No, a municipal utility commission must have specific statutory authority to make donations or contributions. Any other donation is a violation of Section 66 of the Mississippi Constitution.Furthermore, Section 21-27-19 clearly states that payment of items required for sales development should come from a commissionís operating expenses. If the utility is routinely operating with a surplus of funds, the commission may wish to re-evaluate its rates. Municipal utility commissions should set rates in a manner that will not result in a surplus over the amount required to operate (including maintenance and replacement reserves) and pay debt service. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Blackmon, March 31, 2017)