Special Assessments for Critical Infrastructure Needs.
§ 160A-239.1. (See note for expiration of Article) Purpose; sunset.
(a) Purpose. - This Article enables cities that face increased demands for infrastructure improvements as a result of rapid growth and development to issue revenue bonds payable from special assessments imposed under this Article on benefited property. This Article supplements the authority cities have in Article 10 of this Chapter. The provisions of Article 10 of this Chapter apply to this Article, to the extent they do not conflict with this Article.
(b) Sunset. - This Article expires July 1, 2020. The expiration does not affect the validity of assessments imposed or bonds issued or authorized under the provisions of this Article prior to the effective date of the expiration. (2008-165, s. 3; 2013-371, ss. 2(a), 3; 2015-121, s. 2.)
§ 160A-239.2. (See note for expiration of Article) Assessments.
(a) Projects. - The council of a city may make special assessments as provided in this Article against benefited property within the city for the purpose of financing the capital costs of projects for which project development financing debt instruments may be issued under G.S. 159-103 or for the purpose of financing the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, industrial, or other real property.
(b) Costs. - The city council must determine a project's total estimated cost. In addition to the costs allowed under G.S. 153A-193, the costs may include any expenses allowed under G.S. 159-84. A preliminary assessment roll may be prepared before the costs are incurred based on the estimated cost of the project.
(c) Method. - The city council must establish an assessment method that will most accurately assess each lot or parcel of land subject to the assessments according to the benefits conferred upon it by the project for which the assessment is made. In addition to other bases upon which assessments may be made under G.S. 160A-218, the council may select any other method designed to allocate the costs in accordance with benefits conferred. In doing so, the council may provide that the benefits conferred are measured on the basis of use being made on the lot or parcel of land and provide for adjustments of assessments upon a change in use, provided that the total amount of all assessments is sufficient to pay the costs of the project after the adjustments have been made. (2008-165, s. 3; 2008-187, s. 47.5(b); 2009-525, s. 2(a); 2013-371, ss. 2(b), 3.)
§ 160A-239.3. (See note for expiration of Article) Petition required.
(a) Petition. - The city council may not impose a special assessment under this Article unless it receives a petition for the project to be financed by the assessment signed by (i) at least a majority of the owners of real property to be assessed and (ii) owners who represent at least sixty-six percent (66%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed. For purposes of determining whether the petition has been signed by a majority of owners, an owner who holds title to a parcel of real property alone shall be treated as having one vote each, and an owner who shares title to a parcel of real property with one or more other owners shall have a vote equal to one vote multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is one, and the denominator of which is the total number of owners of the parcel. For purposes of determining whether the assessed value represented by those signing the petition constitutes at least sixty-six percent (66%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed, an owner who holds title to a parcel of real property alone shall have the full assessed value of the parcel included in the calculation, and an owner who shares title to a parcel of real property with one or more other owners shall have their proportionate share of the full assessed value of the parcel included in the calculation. The petition must include the following:
(1) A statement of the project proposed to be financed in whole or in part by the imposition of an assessment under this Article.
(2) An estimate of the cost of the project.
(3) An estimate of the portion of the cost of the project to be assessed.
(b) Petition Withdrawn. - The city council must wait at least 10 days after the public hearing on the preliminary assessment resolution before adopting a final assessment resolution. A petition submitted under subsection (a) of this section may be withdrawn if notice of petition withdrawal is given in writing to the council signed by at least a majority of the owners who signed the petition submitted under subsection (a) of this section representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed. The council may not adopt a final assessment resolution if it receives a timely notice of petition withdrawal.
(c) Validity of Assessment. - No right of action or defense asserting the invalidity of an assessment on grounds that the city did not comply with this section may be asserted except in an action or proceeding begun within 90 days after publication of the notice of adoption of the preliminary assessment resolution. (2008-165, s. 3; 2013-371, ss. 2(c), 3.)
§ 160A-239.4. (See note for expiration of Article) Financing a project for which an assessment is imposed.
(a) Financing Sources. - A city council may provide for the payment of the cost of a project for which an assessment may be imposed under this Article from one or more financing sources listed in this subsection. The assessment resolution must include the estimated cost of the project and the amount of the cost to be derived from the respective financing source.
(1) Revenue bonds issued under G.S. 160A-239.6.
(2) Project development financing debt instruments issued under the North Carolina Project Development Financing Act, Article 6 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes.
(3) General obligation bonds issued under the Local Government Bond Act, Article 4 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes.
(4) General revenues.
(b) Assessments Pledged. - An assessment imposed under this Article may be pledged to secure revenue bonds under G.S. 160A-239.6 or as additional security for a project development financing debt instrument under G.S. 159-111. If an assessment imposed under this Article is pledged to secure financing, the city council must covenant to enforce the payment of the assessments. (2008-165, s. 3; 2009-525, s. 2(b); 2010-95, s. 40; 2013-371, s. 3.)
§ 160A-239.5. (See note for expiration of Article) Payment of assessments by installments.
An assessment imposed under this Article is payable in annual installments. The city council must set the number of annual installments, which may not be more than 25. The installments are due on the date that property taxes are due. (2008-165, s. 3; 2013-371, s. 3; 2015-121, s. 4.)
§ 160A-239.6. (See note for expiration of Article) Revenue bonds.
(a) Authorization. - A city council that imposes an assessment under this Article may issue revenue bonds under Article 5 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes to finance the project for which the assessment is imposed and use the proceeds of the assessment imposed as revenues pertaining to the project.
(b) Modifications. - This Article specifically modifies the authority of a city to issue revenue bonds under Article 5 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes by extending the authority in that Article to include a project for which an assessment may be imposed under this Article. In applying the provisions of Article 5, the following definitions apply:
(1) Revenue bond project. - Defined in G.S. 159-81(3). The term includes projects for which an assessment is imposed under this Article.
(2) Revenues. - Defined in G.S. 159-81(4). The term includes assessments imposed under this Article to finance a project allowed under this Article. (2008-165, s. 3; 2013-371, s. 3.)
§ 160A-239.7. (See note for expiration of Article) Project implementation.
A city may act directly, through one or more contracts with other public agencies, through one or more contracts with private agencies, or by any combination thereof to implement the project financed in whole or in part by the imposition of an assessment imposed under this Article. If no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the estimated cost of a project is to be funded from the proceeds of general obligation bonds or general revenue, a private agency that enters into a contract with a city for the implementation of all or part of the project is subject to the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes only to the extent specified in the contract. In the event any contract relating to construction a substantial portion of which is to be performed on publicly owned property is excluded from the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143, the city or any trustee or fiduciary responsible for disbursing funds shall obtain certification acceptable to the city in the amount due for work done or materials supplied for which payment will be paid from such disbursement. If the city or any trustee or fiduciary responsible for disbursing funds receives notice of a claim from any person who would be entitled to a mechanic's or materialman's lien but for the fact that the claim relates to work performed on or supplies provided to publicly owned property, then either no disbursement of funds may be made until the city, trustee, or fiduciary receives satisfactory proof of resolution of the claim or funds in the amount of the claim shall be set aside for payment thereof upon resolution of the claim. (2009-525, s. 2(c); 2013-371, s. 3.)