Summary of Amendments to Rules Governing Public Water Authorities, Title 17, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
The General Assembly created water authorities as a means for public entities providing certain public services to issue tax exempt bonds. When such entities are authorized to issue tax exempt bonds, they can construct public infrastructure with "cheaper" money because investors will buy tax exempt bonds at a lower interest rate than what they spend on taxable bonds.
Initially, the Water Authority Act (Ark. Code Ann. 4-35-101 et seq.) only applied to public entities providing drinking water service. However, in 2005, the General Assembly expanded the Act to also apply to public entities providing sewer services or collecting solid and industrial waste. We have amended Title 17 to reflect this change.
Water authorities are formed when persons submit an application to ANRC, ANRC approves the application, and then ANRC files the approved application with the Secretary of State. Revisions to these rules emphasize that an entity providing water or sewer service seeking approval to become a water authority must obtain separate approval of its service area through ANRC’s water plan compliance procedures (Title 6).
Language that requires proposed water authorities to provide information duplicative of information ANRC requires of entities applying for water plan certification has been struck. Public notice procedures duplicative of notice an entity must give when applying for water plan certification have also been struck. Former Subtitle VI, describing alterations to geographic service area, has been struck since any proposed revisions would need to take place using Title 6’s water plan compliance procedures.