157-33.  Notice, hearing and creation of authority for a county.

Any 25 residents of a county may file a petition with the clerk of the board of county commissioners setting forth that there is a need for an authority to function in the county. Upon the filing of such a petition such clerk shall give notice of the time, place and purposes of a public hearing at which the board of county commissioners will determine the need for an authority in the county. Such notice shall be given at the county's expense by publishing a notice, at least 10 days preceding the day on which the hearing is to  be held, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county or, if there be no such newspaper, by posting such a notice in at least three public places within the county, at least 10 days preceding the day on which the hearing is to be held.

Upon the date fixed for said hearing to be held upon notice as provided herein, an opportunity to be heard shall be granted to all residents and taxpayers of the county and to all other interested persons. After such a hearing, the board of county commissioners shall determine (i) whether insanitary or unsafe inhabited dwelling accommodations exist in the county and/or (ii) whether there is a lack of safe or sanitary dwelling accommodations in the county available for all the inhabitants thereof. In determining whether dwelling accommodations are unsafe or insanitary, the board of county commissioners shall take into consideration the following: the physical condition and age of the buildings; the degree of overcrowding; the percentage of the land coverage; the light and air available to the inhabitants of such dwelling accommodations; the size and arrangement of the rooms; the sanitary facilities; and the extent to which conditions exist in such buildings which endanger life or property by fire or other causes.

If it shall determine that either or both of the above enumerated conditions exist, the board of county commissioners shall adopt a resolution so finding (which need not go into any detail other than the mere finding) and shall thereupon either (i) determine that the board of county commissioners shall itself constitute and act ex officio as an authority or (ii) appoint, as hereinafter provided, not less than five nor more than nine commissioners to act as an authority. Said authority shall be a public body and a body corporate  and politic upon the completion of the taking of the following proceedings:

The commissioners shall present to the Secretary of State an application signed by them, which shall set forth (without any detail other than the mere recital)

(1)        That a notice has been given and public hearing has been held as aforesaid, that the board of county commissioners made the aforesaid determination after such hearing and appointed them as commissioners;

(2)        The name, and official residence of each of the commissioners, together with a certified copy of the appointment evidencing their right to office, the date and place of induction into and taking oath of office, and that they desire the housing authority to become a public body and a body corporate and politic under this Article;

(3)        The term of office of each of the commissioners, except where the authority consists of the board of county commissioners ex officio;

(4)        The name which is proposed for the corporation; and

(5)        The location of the principal office of the proposed corporation.

The application shall be subscribed and sworn to by each of said commissioners before an officer authorized by the laws of the State to take and certify oaths, who shall certify upon the application that he personally knows the commissioners and knows them to be the officers as asserted in the application, and that each subscribed and swore thereto in the officer's presence. The Secretary of State shall examine the application and if he finds that the name proposed for the corporation is not identical with that of a person or of any other corporation of this State or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion and uncertainty he shall receive and file it and shall record it in an appropriate book of record in his office.

When the application has been made, filed and recorded, as herein provided, the authority shall constitute a public body and a body corporate and politic under the name proposed in the application; the Secretary of State shall make and issue to the said commissioners, a certificate of incorporation pursuant to this Article, under the seal of the State, and shall record the same with the application.

If the board of county commissioners, after a hearing as aforesaid, shall determine that neither of the above enumerated conditions exist, it shall adopt a resolution denying the petition. After three months shall have expired from the date of the denial of any such petitions, subsequent petitions may be filed as aforesaid and new hearings and determinations made thereon.

In any suit, action or proceeding involving the validity or enforcement of, or relating to any contract of the authority, the authority shall be conclusively deemed to have been established in accordance with the provisions of this Article upon proof of the issuance of the aforesaid certificate by the Secretary of State. A copy of such certificate, duly certified by the Secretary of State, shall be admissible in evidence in any such suit, action or proceeding, and shall be conclusive proof of the filing and contents thereof. (1941, c. 78, s. 4; 1943, c. 636, s. 7; 1969, c. 785, s. 1; 1981, c. 21, s. 1.)