§8-12-17. Sale or lease of municipal public utility.
In any case where a municipality owns a gas system, an electric system, a waterworks system, a sewer system or other public utility and a majority of not less than sixty percent of the members of the governing body thereof shall deem it for the best interest of such municipality that such utility be sold or leased, the governing body may so sell or lease such gas system, electric system, waterworks system, sewer system or other public utility upon such terms and conditions as said governing body in its discretion considers in the best interest of the municipality: Provided, That such sale or lease may be made only upon: (1) The publication of notice of a hearing before the governing body of the municipality, as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, in a newspaper published and of general circulation in the municipality, such publication to be made not earlier than twenty days and not later than seven days prior to the hearing; and (2) the approval by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. The governing body, upon the approval of the sale or lease by a majority of its members of not less than sixty percent of the members of the governing body, shall have full power and authority to proceed to execute or effect such sale or lease in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed in the ordinance approved as aforesaid, and shall have power to do any and all things necessary or incident thereto: Provided, however, That if at any time after such approval and before the execution of the authority under the ordinance, any person should present to the governing body an offer to buy such public utility at a price which exceeds by at least five percent the sale price which shall have been so approved and authorized or to lease the same upon terms which the governing body, in its discretion, shall consider more advantageous to the municipality than the terms of the lease which shall have been previously approved as aforesaid, the governing body shall have the power to accept such subsequent offer, and to make such sale or such lease to the person making the offer, upon approval of the offer by a majority of not less than sixty percent of the members of the governing body; but, if a sale shall have been approved by the governing body as aforesaid, and the subsequent proposition be for a lease, or, if a lease shall have been approved by the governing body, and the subsequent proposition shall be for a sale, the governing body shall have the authority to accept the same upon approval of the offer by a majority of not less than sixty percent of the members of the governing body. The person making such proposition shall furnish bond, with security to be approved by the governing body, in a penalty of not less than twenty-five percent of such proposed bid, conditioned to carry such proposition into execution, if the same shall be approved by the governing body. In any case where any such public utility shall be sold or leased by the governing body as hereinabove provided, no part of the moneys derived from such sale or lease shall be applied to the payment of current expenses of the municipality, but the proceeds of such sale or lease shall be applied in payment and discharge of any indebtedness created in respect to such public utility, and in case there be no indebtedness, the governing body, in its discretion, shall have the power and authority to expend all such moneys when received for the purchase or construction of firefighting equipment and buildings for housing such equipment, a municipal building or city hall, and the necessary land upon which to locate the same, or for the construction of paved streets, avenues, roads, alleys, ways, sidewalks, sewers and other like permanent improvements, and for no other purposes. In case there be a surplus after the payment of such indebtedness, the surplus shall be used as aforesaid.
The requirements of this section shall not apply to the sale or lease of any part of the properties of any such public utility determined by the governing body to be unnecessary for the efficient rendering of the service of such utility.