A. The authority may fix and revise rates, fees and other charges (which shall include, but not be limited to, a penalty not to exceed 10 percent on delinquent accounts, and interest on the principal), subject to the provisions of this section, for the use of a project or any portion thereof and for the services furnished or to be furnished by the authority, or facilities incident thereto, owned, operated or maintained by the authority, or facilities incident thereto, for which the authority has issued revenue bonds as authorized by this chapter. Such rates, fees and charges shall be so fixed and revised as to provide funds, with other funds available for such purposes, sufficient at all times (i) to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the project or systems, or facilities incident thereto, for which such bonds were issued, including reserves for such purposes and for replacement and depreciation and necessary extensions, (ii) to pay the principal of and the interest on the revenue bonds as they become due and reserves therefor, and (iii) to provide a margin of safety for making such payments. The authority shall charge and collect the rates, fees and charges so fixed or revised.
B. No rates, fees or charges shall be fixed under subsection A until after a public hearing at which all of the users of such facilities; the owners, tenants or occupants of property served or to be served thereby; and all others interested have had an opportunity to be heard concerning the proposed rates, fees and charges. After the adoption by the authority of a resolution setting forth the preliminary schedule or schedules fixing and classifying such rates, fees and charges, notice of a public hearing, setting forth the proposed schedule or schedules of rates, fees and charges, shall be given by two publications, at least six days apart, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the area to be served by such systems at least 60 days before the date fixed in such notice for the hearing. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time. A copy of the notice shall be mailed to the governing bodies of all localities in which such systems or any part thereof is located. After the hearing the preliminary schedule or schedules, either as originally adopted or as amended, shall be adopted and put into effect.
C. A copy of the schedule or schedules of the final rates, fees and charges fixed in accordance with subsection B shall be kept on file in the office of the clerk or secretary of the governing body of the locality, and shall be open to inspection by all interested parties. The rates, fees or charges so fixed for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional properties thereafter served which fall within the same class, without the necessity of a hearing or notice. Any increase in any rates, fees or charges under this section shall be made in the manner provided in subsection B. Any other change or revision of the rates, fees or charges may be made in the same manner as the rates, fees or charges were originally established as provided in subsection B.
D. Connection fees established by any authority shall be fair and reasonable. Such fees shall be reviewed by the authority periodically and shall be adjusted, if necessary, to assure that they continue to be fair and reasonable. Nothing herein shall affect existing contracts with bondholders which are in conflict with any of the foregoing provisions.
2003, c. 643.