Chapter 162A.

Water and Sewer Systems.

Article 1.

Water and Sewer Authorities.

§ 162A-1.  Title.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the "North Carolina Water and Sewer Authorities Act." (1955, c. 1195, s. 1; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-2.  Definitions.

As used in this Article the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent:

(1)        The word "authority" shall mean an authority created under the provisions of this Article or, if such authority shall be abolished, the board, body or commission succeeding to the principal functions thereof or to whom the powers given by this Article to the authority shall be given by law.

(2)        The word "Commission" shall mean the Environmental Management Commission.

(3)        The word "cost" as applied to a water system or a sewer system shall include the purchase price of any such system, the cost of construction, the cost of all labor and materials, machinery and equipment, the cost of improvements, the cost of all lands, property, rights, easements and franchises acquired, financing charges, interest prior to and during construction and, if deemed advisable by the authority, for one year after completion of construction, cost of plans and specifications, surveys and estimates of cost and of revenues, cost of engineering and legal services, and all other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of such construction, administrative expense and such other expenses, including reasonable provision for working capital, as may be necessary or incident to the financing herein authorized. Any obligation or expense incurred by the authority or by any political subdivision prior to the issuance of bonds under the provisions of this Article in connection with any of the foregoing items or cost may be regarded as a part of such cost.

(4)        The term "governing body" shall mean the board, commission, council or other body, by whatever name it may be known, in which the general legislative powers of the political subdivision are vested.

(5)        The word "improvements" shall mean such repairs, replacements, additions, extensions and betterments of and to a water system or a sewer system as are deemed necessary by the authority to place or to maintain such system in proper condition for its safe, efficient and economic operation or to meet requirements for service in areas which may be served by the authority and for which no existing service is being rendered.

(6)        The word "person" shall mean any and all persons, including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities, or political subdivisions, governmental agencies, or private or public corporations organized and existing under the laws of this State or any other state or country.

(7)        The term "political subdivision" shall mean any county, city, town, incorporated village, sanitary district or other political subdivision or public corporation of this State now or hereafter incorporated.

(7a)      The word "revenues" shall mean all moneys received by an authority from or in connection with any sewer system or water system including, without limitation, any moneys received as interest grants.

(8)        The word "sewage" shall mean the water-carried wastes created in and carried or to be carried away from residences, hotels, schools, hospitals, industrial establishments, commercial establishments or any other private or public building together with such surface or groundwater or household and industrial wastes as may be present.

(9)        The term "sewage disposal system" shall mean and shall include any plant, system, facility, or property used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the collection, treatment, purification or disposal of sewage (including industrial wastes resulting from any processes of industry, manufacture, trade or business or from the development of any natural resources), or any integral part thereof, including but not limited to septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems, treatment plants, pumping stations, intercepting sewers, trunk sewers, pressure lines, mains and all necessary appurtenances and equipment, and all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by the authority for the operation thereof.

(10)      The word "sewers" shall include mains, pipes and laterals for the reception of sewage and carrying such sewage to an outfall or some part of a sewage disposal system, including pumping stations where deemed necessary by the authority.

(11)      The term "sewer system" shall embrace both sewers and sewage disposal systems and all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto.

(12)      The term "water system" shall mean and include all plants, systems, facilities or properties used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the supply or distribution of water or the control and drainage of stormwater runoff and any integral part thereof, including but not limited to water supply systems, water distribution systems, stormwater management programs designed to protect water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in, and the quantity and flow of, stormwater and structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems of all types, sources of water supply including lakes, reservoirs and wells, intakes, mains, laterals, aqueducts, pumping stations, standpipes, filtration plants, purification plants, hydrants, meters, valves, and all necessary appurtenances and equipment and all properties, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by the authority for the operation thereof. (1955, c. 1195, s. 2; 1969, c. 850; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1979, c. 619, s. 8; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 43; 1991, c. 591, s. 3; 2000-70, s. 5.)

 

§ 162A-3.  Procedure for creation; certificate of incorporation; certification of principal office and officers.

(a)        The governing body of a single county or the governing bodies of any two or more political subdivisions may by resolution signify their determination to organize an authority under the provisions of this Article. Each of such resolutions shall be adopted after a public hearing thereon, notice of which hearing shall be given by publication at least once, not less than 10 days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the political subdivision. Such notice shall contain a brief statement of the substance of the proposed resolution, shall set forth the proposed articles of incorporation of the authority and shall state the time and place of the public hearing to be held thereof. No such political subdivision shall be required to make any other publication of such resolution under the provisions of any other law.

(a1)      If an authority is organized by three or more political subdivisions, it may include in its organization nonprofit water corporations. The board of directors of a nonprofit water corporation must signify the corporation's determination to participate in the organization of the authority by adopting a resolution that meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section. The nonprofit water corporation is not subject to the notice and public hearing requirements of subsection (a) of this section. For all other purposes of this Article, the nonprofit water corporation shall be considered to be a political subdivision.

(a2)      If an authority is organized by three or more political subdivisions, it may include in its organization the State of North Carolina. The State of North Carolina is not subject to the notice and public hearing requirements of subsection (a) of this section. For purposes of this Article, the State of North Carolina shall be a political subdivision and its governing body shall be the Council of State.

(b)        Each such resolution shall include articles of incorporation which shall set forth:

(1)        The name of the authority;

(2)        A statement that such authority is organized under this Article;

(3)        The names of the organizing political subdivisions; and

(4)        The names and addresses of the first members of the authority appointed by the organizing political subdivisions.

(c)        A certified copy of each of such resolutions signifying the determination to organize an authority under the provisions of this Article shall be filed with the Secretary of State of North Carolina, together with proof of publication of the notice of hearing on each of such resolutions. If the Secretary of State finds that the resolutions, including the articles of incorporation, conform to the provisions of this Article and that the notices of hearing were properly published, he shall file such resolutions and proofs of publication in his office and shall issue a certificate of incorporation under the seal of the State and shall record the same in an appropriate book of record in his office. The issuance of such certificate of incorporation by the Secretary of State shall constitute the authority a public body and body politic and corporate of the State of North Carolina. Said certificate of incorporation shall be conclusive evidence of the fact that such authority has been duly created and established under the provisions of this Article.

(d)       When the authority has been duly organized and its officers elected as herein provided the secretary of the authority shall certify to the Secretary of State the names and addresses of such officers as well as the address of the principal office of the authority. (1955, c. 1195, s. 3; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1991, c. 516, s. 1; 2001-224, s. 1; 2002-76, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-3.1.  Alternative procedure for creation.

(a)        As an alternative to the procedure set forth in G.S. 162A-3, the governing body of a single county or the governing bodies of any two or more political subdivisions may by resolution signify their determination to organize an authority under the provisions of this section of this Article. Each of such resolutions shall be adopted after a public hearing thereon, notice of which hearing shall be given by publication at least once, not less than 10 days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the political subdivision. Such notice shall contain a brief statement of the substance of the proposed resolution, shall set forth the proposed articles of incorporation of the authority and shall state the time and place of the public hearing. No such political subdivision shall be required to make any other publication of such resolution under the provisions of any other law.

(a1)      If an authority is organized by three or more political subdivisions, it may include in its organization nonprofit water corporations. The board of directors of a nonprofit water corporation must signify the corporation's determination to participate in the organization of the authority by adopting a resolution that meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section. The nonprofit water corporation is not subject to the notice and public hearing requirements of subsection (a) of this section. For all other purposes of this Article, the nonprofit water corporation shall be considered to be a political subdivision.

(a2)      If an authority is organized by three or more political subdivisions, it may include in its organization the State of North Carolina. The State of North Carolina is not subject to the notice and public hearing requirements of subsection (a) of this section. For purposes of this Article, the State of North Carolina shall be a political subdivision and its governing body shall be the Council of State.

(b)        Each such resolution shall include articles of incorporation which shall set forth:

(1)        The name of the authority;

(2)        A statement that such authority is organized under this section of this Article;

(3)        The names of the organizing political subdivisions;

(4)        The names and addresses of the members of the authority appointed by the organizing political subdivisions; and

(5)        A statement that members of the authority will be limited to such members as may be appointed from time to time by the organizing political subdivisions.

(c)        A certified copy of each of such resolutions signifying the determination to organize an authority under the provisions of this section of this Article shall be filed with the Secretary of State of North Carolina, together with proof of publication of the notice of hearing on each of such resolutions. If the Secretary of State finds that the resolutions, including the articles of incorporation, conform to the provisions of this section of this Article and that the notices of hearing were properly published, he shall file such resolutions and proofs of publication in his office and shall issue a certificate of incorporation under the seal of the State and shall record the same in an appropriate book of record in his office. The issuance of such certificate of incorporation by the Secretary of State shall constitute the authority a public body and body politic and corporate of the State of North Carolina. Said certificate of incorporation shall be conclusive evidence of the fact that such authority has been duly created and established under the provisions of this section of this Article.

(d)       When the authority has been duly organized and its officers elected as herein provided the secretary of the authority shall certify to the Secretary of State the names and addresses of such officers as well as the address of the principal office of the authority. (1975, c. 224, s. 1; 1991, c. 516, s. 2; 2001-224, s. 2; 2002-76, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-4.  Withdrawal from authority; joinder of new subdivision.

(a)        Whenever an authority has been organized under the provisions of this Chapter, any political subdivision may withdraw therefrom at any time prior to the creation of any obligations by the authority, and any political subdivision not having joined in the original organization may, with the consent of the authority, join the authority; provided, that any political subdivision not having joined the original organization shall have the right upon reasonable terms and conditions, whether the authority shall consent thereto or not, to join the authority if the authority's water system or sewer system, or any part thereof is situated within the boundaries of the political subdivision or of the county within which the political subdivision is located; provided, further, that any political subdivision authorized to join the authority by G.S. 162A-5.1 may do so without the consent of the authority.

(b)        Any political subdivision desiring to withdraw from or to join an existing authority shall signify its desire by resolution adopted after a public hearing thereon, notice of which hearing shall be given in the manner and at the time provided in G.S. 162A-3 or 162A-3.1, as appropriate. Such notice shall contain a brief statement of the substance of said resolution and shall state the time and place of the public hearing to be held thereon. In the case of a political subdivision desiring to join the authority, the resolution shall set forth all of the information required under G.S. 162A-3 or 162A-3.1, as appropriate, in connection with the original organization of the authority, including the name and address of the first member of the authority from the joining political subdivision if the authority was organized under G.S. 162A-3.

(c)        A certified copy of each such resolution signifying the desire of a political subdivision to withdraw from or to join an existing authority, together with proof of publication of the notice of hearing on each such resolution and, in cases where such resolution provides for the political subdivision joining the authority, certified copies of the resolution of the governing bodies creating the authority consenting to such joining shall be filed with the Secretary of State of North Carolina. If the Secretary of State finds that the resolutions conform to the provisions of this Article and that the notices of hearing were properly published, he shall file such resolutions and proofs of publication in his office and shall issue a certificate of withdrawal, or a certificate of joinder, as the case may be, and shall record the same in an appropriate book of record in his office. The withdrawal or joining shall become effective upon the issuance of such certificate, and such certificate shall be conclusive evidence thereof. (1955, c. 1195, s. 4; 1969, c. 850; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; c. 1093, s. 6; 1975, c. 224, s. 2; 1995, c. 207, s. 2; c. 509, s. 135.2(c).)

 

§ 162A-5.  Members of authority; organization; quorum.

(a)        Each authority organized under this Article shall consist of the number of members as may be agreed upon by the participating political subdivisions, such members to be selected by the respective political subdivision. A proportionate number (as nearly as can be) of members of the authority first appointed shall have terms expiring one year, two years and three years respectively from the date on which the creation of the authority becomes effective. Successor members and members appointed by a political subdivision subsequently joining the authority shall each be appointed for a term of three years, but any person appointed to fill the vacancy shall be appointed to serve only for the unexpired term and any member may be reappointed; provided, however, that a political subdivision subsequently joining an authority created under G.S. 162A-3.1, or under the provisions of G.S. 162A-3 other than subsection (a1), shall not have the right to appoint any members to such authority. Appointments of successor members shall, in each instance, be made by the governing body of the political subdivision appointing the member whose successor is to be appointed. Any member of the authority may be removed, with or without cause, by the governing body appointing said member. This subsection does not apply in the case of an authority that a city joins under G.S. 162A-5.1.

(b)        Each authority organized under this Article that a city has joined under G.S. 162A-5.1 shall consist of the number of members provided by that section, such members to be selected as provided by that section. Two each of the members of the authority first appointed after a city has joined under G.S. 162A-5.1 shall have terms expiring one year and two years respectively from the date on which the certificate of joinder was issued, and three of the members of the authority first appointed after a city has joined under G.S. 162A-5.1 shall have terms expiring three years from the date on which the certificate of joinder was issued. Such designation shall be made by the authority by lot at the meeting where members take their oaths of office. Successor members shall each be appointed for a term of three years to commence on the day that the terms of the prior members' terms expire, but any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall be appointed to serve only for the unexpired term and any member may be reappointed. Appointments of successor members shall, in each instance, be made by the governing body of the political subdivision appointing the member whose successor is to be appointed. Any member of the authority may be removed, with or without cause, by the governing body appointing said member.

(c)        Each member of the authority before entering upon his duties shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States and of this State and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office, and a record of each such oath shall be filed with the secretary of the authority.

The authority shall select one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman and shall also select a secretary and a treasurer who may but need not be members of the authority. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be combined. The terms of office of the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer shall be as provided in the bylaws of the authority.

A majority of the members of the authority shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of a majority of all of the members of the authority shall be necessary for any action taken by the authority. No vacancy in the membership of the authority shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all of the duties of the authority. The members of the authority may be paid a per diem compensation set by the authority which per diem may not exceed the total amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000) annually, and shall be reimbursed for the amount of actual expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties. (1955, c. 1195, s. 5; 1969, c. 850; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1975, c. 224, ss. 3, 4; 1995, c. 207, s. 3; 1999-456, s. 43; 2001-224, s. 2.1; 2005-127, s. 2; 2006-226, s. 29.)

 

§ 162A-5.1.  Political subdivision allowed to join certain authorities.

(a)        As used in this section, "city" means a city, town, or incorporated village.

(b)        When an authority was organized under G.S. 162A-3.1 by one county and one city, and the majority of the authority's water customers are located within a city which is not the city that was one of the two original organizers, then that city may join the authority and appoint members as provided by this section.

(c)        A city joining the authority under this section shall do so in accordance with the procedures of G.S. 162A-4. The resolution shall become effective upon the issuance of a certificate of joinder under G.S. 162A-4(c).

(d)       When a city joins an authority under this section, then effective on a date set in the resolution, but not earlier than the first day of the second calendar month after the issuance of the certificate of joinder under G.S. 162A-4(c), the terms of office of all the members of the authority are terminated, and the authority shall consist of members appointed as follows:

(1)        Two members appointed by the governing board of the city joining the authority under this section. These members must be residents of that city.

(2)        One member appointed by the governing board of the city that was one of the two original organizers. That member must be a resident of that city.

(3)        One member appointed by the board of commissioners of the county that was one of the two original organizers. This member must be a resident of a household served by the authority's water system.

(4)        One member appointed by the board of commissioners of the county that was one of the two original organizers. This member must be a resident of a household served by a sewer system operated by the authority, but may not be a resident of a household served by the authority's water system.

(5)        One member appointed by the board of commissioners of the county that was one of the two original organizers. This member must be a resident of a household served by the authority's water system which is located outside the corporate limits of any municipality.

(6)        One member appointed by the board of commissioners of the county that was one of the two original organizers. That member must be a resident of the city that has the second highest number of residential water customers served by the authority. (1995, c. 207, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-6.  Powers of authority generally.

(a)        Each authority created hereunder shall be deemed to be a public instrumentality exercising public and essential governmental functions to provide for the public health and welfare, and each authority is authorized and empowered:

(1)        To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business;

(2)        To adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure;

(3)        To maintain an office at such place or places as it may designate;

(4)        To sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded;

(5)        To acquire, lease as lessee or lessor, construct, reconstruct, improve, extend, enlarge, equip, repair, maintain and operate any water system or part thereof or any sewer system or part thereof or any combination thereof within or without the participating political subdivisions or any thereof;

(6)        To issue revenue bonds of the authority as hereinafter provided to pay the cost of such acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement or equipment;

(7)        To issue revenue refunding bonds of the authority as hereinafter provided;

(8)        To combine any water system and any sewer system as a single system for the purpose of operation and financing;

(9)        To fix and revise from time to time and to collect rates, fees and other charges for the use of or for the services and facilities furnished by any system operated by the authority, including rates for water stored by the authority through programs to store and protect water resources in the region served by the authority. Schedules of rates, fees, and other charges may vary according to classes of service for programs to store and protect water resources. For purposes of this subdivision, "programs to store and protect water resources" includes aquifer or surficial storage.

(10)      To acquire in the name of the authority by gift, grant, purchase, devise, exchange, lease, acceptance of offers of dedication by plat, or any other lawful method, to the same extent and in the same manner as provided for cities and towns under the provisions of G.S. 160A-240.1 and G.S. 160A-374, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain in accordance with the General Statutes of North Carolina which may be applicable to the exercise of such powers by municipalities or counties, any lands or rights in land or water rights in connection therewith, and to acquire such personal property, as it may deem necessary in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement or operation of any water system or sewer system, and to hold and dispose of all real and personal property under its control; provided, that the taking of water from any stream or reservoir by any authority created under the provisions of this Article shall not vest in the taker any rights by prescription; provided, further, that nothing in this section shall affect rights by prescription, if any, now held by any municipality and which may be later transferred to any authority of which such municipality may become a member;

(11)      To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Article, including a trust agreement or trust agreements securing any revenue bonds issued hereunder, and to employ such consulting and other engineers, superintendents, managers, construction and financial experts, accountants and attorneys, and such employees and agents as may, in the judgment of the authority be deemed necessary, and to fix their compensation; provided, however, that all such expenses shall be payable solely from funds made available under the provisions of this Article;

(12)      To enter into contracts with the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or with any political subdivision, private corporation, copartnership, association or individual providing for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, operation or maintenance of any water system or sewer system or providing for or relating to the treatment and disposal of sewage or providing for or relating to any water system or the purchase or sale of water;

(13)      To receive and accept from any federal, State or other public agency and any private agency, person or other entity, donations, loans, grants, aid or contributions of any money, property, labor or other things of value for any sewer system or water system, and to agree to apply and use the same in accordance with the terms and conditions under which the same are provided;

(14)      To enter into contract with any political subdivision by which the authority shall assume the payment of the principal of and interest on indebtedness of such subdivision; and

(14a)    To make special assessments against benefited property within the area served or to be served by the authority for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise improving water systems or sanitary collection, treatment, and sewage disposal systems, in the same manner that a county may make special assessments under authority of Chapter 153A, Article 9, except that the language appearing in G.S. 153A-185 reading as follows: "A county may not assess property within a city pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of this section unless the governing board of the city has by resolution approved the project," shall not apply to assessments levied by Water and Sewer Authorities established pursuant to Chapter 162A, Article 1, of the General Statutes. For the purposes of this paragraph, references in Chapter 153A, Article 9, to the "county," the "board of county commissioners," "the board" or a specific county official or employee are deemed to refer, respectively, to the authority and to the official or employee of the authority who performs most nearly the same duties performed by the specified county official or employee.

      Assessment rolls after being confirmed shall be filed for registration in the office of the Register of Deeds of the county in which the property being assessed is located, and the term "county tax collector" wherever used in G.S. 153A-195 and G.S. 153A-196, shall mean the Executive Director or other administrative officer designated by the authority to perform the functions described in said sections of the statute.

(14b)    To provide for the defense of civil and criminal actions and payment of civil judgments against employees and officers or former employees and officers and members or former members of the governing body as authorized by G.S. 160A-167, as amended.

(14c)    To adopt ordinances concerning any of the following:

a.         The regulation and control of the discharge of sewage or stormwater into any sewerage system owned or operated by the authority.

b.         The regulation and control of a water system owned or operated by the authority.

c.         Stormwater management programs designed to protect water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in and the quantity and flow of stormwater.

d.         The regulation and control of structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems of all types.

Prior to the adoption of any such ordinance or any amendment to any such ordinance, the authority shall first pass a declaration of intent to adopt such ordinance or amendment. The declaration of intent shall describe the ordinance which it is proposed that the authority adopt. The declaration of intent shall be submitted to each governing body for review and comment. The authority shall consider any comment or suggestions offered by any governing body with respect to the proposed ordinance or amendment. Thereafter, the authority shall be authorized to adopt such ordinance or amendment to it at any time after 60 days following the submission of the declaration of intent to each governing body.

(14d)   To require the owners of developed property on which there are situated one or more residential dwelling units or commercial establishments located within the jurisdiction of the authority and within a reasonable distance of any waterline or sewer collection line owned, leased as lessee, or operated by the authority to connect the property with the waterline, sewer connection line, or both and fix charges for the connections. The power granted by this subdivision may be exercised by an authority only to the extent that the service, whether water, sewer, or a combination thereof, to be provided by the authority is not then being provided to the improved property by any other political subdivision or by a public utility regulated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission pursuant to Chapter 62 of the General Statutes. In the case of improved property that would qualify for the issuance of a building permit for the construction of one or more residential dwelling units or commercial establishments and where the authority has installed water or sewer lines or a combination thereof directly available to the property, the authority may require payment of a periodic availability charge, not to exceed the minimum periodic service charge for properties that are connected. In accordance with G.S. 87-97.1, when developed property is located so as to be served by an authority water line and the property owner has connected to that water line, the property owner may continue to use any private water well located on the property for nonpotable purposes as long as the water well is not interconnected to the sanitary district water line and the sanitary district shall not require the owner of any such water well to abandon, cap, or otherwise compromise the integrity of the water well. This subdivision applies only to a water and sewer authority whose membership includes part or all of a county that has a population of at least 40,000 according to the most recent annual population estimates certified by the State Budget Officer.

(15)      To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this Article.

(16)      To purchase real or personal property as provided by G.S. 160A-20, in addition to any other method allowed under this Article.

(17)      To enter into reimbursement agreements to be paid by the authority to a private developer or property owner for the design and construction of infrastructure that is included on the authority's capital improvement plan and serves the developer or property owner. An authority shall enact ordinances setting forth procedures and terms under which such agreements may be approved. An authority may provide for such reimbursements to be paid from any lawful source. Reimbursement agreements authorized by this subdivision shall not be subject to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, except as provided by this subsection. A developer or property owner who is party to a reimbursement agreement authorized under this subdivision shall solicit bids in accordance with Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes when awarding contracts for work that would have required competitive bidding if the contract had been awarded by the authority. For the purpose of this subdivision, infrastructure includes, without limitation, water mains, sanitary sewer lines, lift stations, water pump stations, stormwater lines, and other associated facilities.

(18)      To offer and pay rewards in an amount not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person who willfully defaces, damages or destroys, or commits acts of vandalism or larceny of any authority property. The amount necessary to pay said rewards shall be an item in the current expense budget of the authority.

(b)        In addition to the powers given under subsection (a) of this section, an authority created under G.S. 162A-3.1 and its participating political subdivisions may enter into agreements obligating these subdivisions to make payments to the authority for treated water delivered or made available or expected to be delivered or made available by the authority, regardless of whether treated water is actually delivered or made available. Such payments may be designed to cover the authority's operating costs (including debt service and related amounts) by allocating those costs among the participating political subdivisions and by requiring these subdivisions to pay additional amounts to make up for the nonpayment of defaulting subdivisions. The participating political subdivisions may agree to budget for and appropriate such payments. Such payment obligations may be made absolute, unconditional, and irrevocable and required to be performed strictly in accordance with the terms of such agreements and without abatement or reduction under all circumstances whatsoever, including whether or not any facility of the authority is completed, operable or operating and, notwithstanding the suspension, interruption, interference, reduction or curtailment of the output of any such facility or the treated water contracted for, and such obligations may be made subject to no reduction, whether by offset or otherwise, and not conditioned upon the performance or nonperformance of the authority or any participating political subdivision under any agreement. Such payment obligations are in consideration of any output or capacity that may at any time be available from facilities of the authority. The participating political subdivisions may agree to make such payments from limited or specified sources. To the extent such payments relate to debt service of the authority and related amounts, they may not be made from any moneys derived from exercise by the participating political subdivisions of their taxing power, and such payment obligations shall not constitute a pledge of such taxing power. The participating political subdivisions may agree (i) not to pledge or encumber any source of payment and (ii) to operate (including fixing rates and charges) in a manner that enables them to make such payments from such sources. The participating political subdivisions may also secure such payment obligations with a pledge of or lien upon any such sources of payment. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 162A-9 or any other law to the contrary, an authority entering into any such agreement need not fix rates, fees and other charges for its services except as provided herein, and such rates, fees and charges need not be uniform through the authority's service areas. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 160A-322 or any other law to the contrary, agreements described herein may have a term not exceeding 50 years. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the execution and effectiveness of any agreement authorized hereby shall not be subject to any authorizations or approvals by any entity except the parties thereto. Each authority and its participating political subdivisions shall have the power to do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this subsection.

(c)        In addition to the powers given under subsection (a) of this section, an authority that holds a certificate issued after December 1, 1991, by the Environmental Management Commission under G.S. 162A-7 (repealed) may acquire property by the power of eminent domain or by gift, purchase, grant, exchange, lease, or any other lawful method for one or more of the following purposes:

(1)        To relocate a road or to construct a road necessitated by construction of water supply project.

(2)        To establish, extend, enlarge, or improve storm sewer and drainage systems and works, or sewer and septic tank lines and systems.

(3)        To establish drainage programs and programs to prevent obstructions to the natural flow of streams, creeks and natural water channels or to improve drainage facilities. The authority contained in this subdivision is in addition to any authority contained in Chapter 156 of the General Statutes.

(4)        To acquire property for wetlands mitigation.  (1955, c. 1195, s. 6; 1969, c. 850; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1979, c. 804; 1983, c. 525, s. 5; c. 820, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 981, s. 2; 1989, c. 517; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 8.1; 1995, c. 509, s. 113; c. 511, s. 1; 1997-436, s. 1; 2000-70, s. 6; 2004-203, s. 5(n); 2013-107, s. 1; 2015-207, ss. 1, 2; 2015-246, s. 3.5(h).)

 

§ 162A-6.1.  Privacy of employee personnel records.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 132-6 or any other law concerning access to public records, personnel files of employees, former employees, or applicants for employment maintained by an authority are subject to inspection and may be disclosed only as provided by this section. For purposes of this section, an employee's personnel file consists of any information in any form gathered by the authority with respect to that employee and, by way of illustration but not limitation, relating to his application, selection or nonselection, performance, promotions, demotions, transfers, suspension and other disciplinary actions, evaluation forms, leave, salary, and termination of employment. As used in this section, "employee" includes former employees of the authority.

(b)        The following information with respect to each authority employee is a matter of public record:

(1)        Name.

(2)        Age.

(3)        Date of original employment or appointment to the service.

(4)        The terms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written or oral, past and current, to the extent that the authority has the written contract or a record of the oral contract in its possession.

(5)        Current position.

(6)        Title.

(7)        Current salary.

(8)        Date and amount of each increase or decrease in salary with that authority.

(9)        Date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification with that authority.

(10)      Date and general description of the reasons for each promotion with that authority.

(11)      Date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons taken by the authority. If the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the authority setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal.

(12)      The office to which the employee is currently assigned.

(b1)      For the purposes of this subsection, the term "salary" includes pay, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and deferred and all other forms of compensation paid by the employing entity.

(b2)      The authority shall determine in what form and by whom this information will be maintained. Any person may have access to this information for the purpose of inspection, examination, and copying, during regular business hours, subject only to such rules and regulations for the safekeeping of public records as the authority may have adopted. Any person denied access to this information may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order compelling disclosure, and the court shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders.

(c)        All information contained in an authority employee's personnel file, other than the information made public by subsection (b) of this section, is confidential and shall be open to inspection only in the following instances:

(1)        The employee or his duly authorized agent may examine all portions of his personnel file except (i) letters of reference solicited prior to employment, and (ii) information concerning a medical disability, mental or physical, that a prudent physician would not divulge to his patient.

(2)        A licensed physician designated in writing by the employee may examine the employee's medical record.

(3)        An authority employee having supervisory authority over the employee may examine all material in the employee's personnel file.

(4)        By order of a court of competent jurisdiction, any person may examine such portion of an employee's personnel file as may be ordered by the court.

(5)        An official of an agency of the State or federal government, or any political subdivision of the State, may inspect any portion of a personnel file when such inspection is deemed by the official having custody of such records to be inspected to be necessary and essential to the pursuance of a proper function of the inspecting agency, but no information shall be divulged for the purpose of assisting in a criminal prosecution (of the employee), or for the purpose of assisting in an investigation of (the employee's) tax liability. However, the official having custody of such records may release the name, address, and telephone number from a personnel file for the purpose of assisting in a criminal investigation.

(6)        An employee may sign a written release, to be placed with his personnel file, that permits the person with custody of the file to provide, either in person, by telephone, or by mail, information specified in the release to prospective employers, educational institutions, or other persons specified in the release.

(7)        The chief administrative officer, with concurrence of the authority, may inform any person of the employment or nonemployment, promotion, demotion, suspension or other disciplinary action, reinstatement, transfer, or termination of an authority employee and the reasons for that personnel action. Before releasing the information, the chief administrative officer or authority shall determine in writing that the release is essential to maintaining public confidence in the administration of authority services or to maintaining the level and quality of authority services. This written determination shall be retained in the office of the chief administrative officer or the secretary of the authority, and is a record available for public inspection and shall become part of the employee's personnel file.

(d)       Even if considered part of an employee's personnel file, the following information need not be disclosed to an employee nor to any other person:

(1)        Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment, employment, or promotion in the authority's service, when disclosure would compromise the objectivity or the fairness of the testing or examination process.

(2)        Investigative reports or memoranda and other information concerning the investigation of possible criminal actions of an employee, until the investigation is completed and no criminal action taken, or until the criminal action is concluded.

(3)        Information that might identify an undercover law enforcement officer or a law enforcement informer.

(4)        Notes, preliminary drafts, and internal communications concerning an employee. In the event such materials are used for any official personnel decision, then the employee or his duly authorized agent shall have a right to inspect such materials.

(e)        The authority may permit access, subject to limitations it may impose, to selected personnel files by a professional representative of a training, research, or academic institution if that person certifies that that person will not release information identifying the employees whose files are opened and that the information will be used solely for statistical, research, or teaching purposes. This certification shall be retained by the authority as long as each personnel file examined is retained.

(f)        An authority that maintains personnel files containing information other than the information mentioned in subsection (b) of this section shall establish procedures whereby an employee, who objects to material in his file on grounds that it is inaccurate or misleading, may seek to have the material removed from the file or may place in the file a statement relating to the material.

(g)        A public official or employee who knowingly, willfully, and with malice permits any person to have access to information contained in a personnel file, except as is permitted by this section, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable only by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(h)        Any person not specifically authorized by this section to have access to a personnel file designated as confidential, who shall:

(1)        Knowingly and willfully examine in its official filing place; or

(2)        Remove or copy

any portion of a confidential personnel file shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable only by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).  (1993, c. 505, s. 1; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, ss. 69, 70; 2007-508, s. 8; 2010-169, s. 18(g).)

 

§ 162A-7:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c.  348, s. 6.

 

§ 162A-8.  Revenue bonds.

A water and sewer authority shall have power from time to time to issue revenue bonds under the Local Government Revenue Bond Act. (1955, c. 1195, s. 7; 1969, c. 850; 1971, c. 780, s. 32; c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-9.  Rates and charges; notice; contracts for water or services; deposits; delinquent charges.

(a)        An authority may establish and revise a schedule of rates, fees, and other charges for the use of and for the services furnished or to be furnished by any water system or sewer system or parts thereof owned or operated by the authority. The rates, fees, and charges established under this subsection are not subject to supervision or regulation by any bureau, board, commission, or other agency of the State or of any political subdivision.

Before an authority sets or revises rates, fees, or other charges for stormwater management programs and structural or natural stormwater and drainage system service, the authority shall hold a public hearing on the matter. At least seven days before the hearing, the authority shall publish notice of the public hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in the area. An authority may impose rates, fees, or other charges for stormwater management programs and stormwater and drainage system service on a person even though the person has not entered into a contract to receive the service.

Rates, fees, and charges shall be fixed and revised so that the revenues of the authority, together with any other available funds, will be sufficient at all times:

(1)        To pay the cost of maintaining, repairing, and operating the systems or parts thereof owned or operated by the authority, including reserves for such purposes, and including provision for the payment of principal of and interest on indebtedness of a political subdivision or of political subdivisions which payment shall have been assumed by the authority, and

(2)        To pay the principal of and the interest on all bonds issued by the authority under the provisions of this Article as the same shall become due and payable and to provide reserves therefor.

The fees established under this subsection must be made applicable throughout the service area. Schedules of rates, fees, charges, and penalties for providing stormwater management programs and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system service may vary according to whether the property served is residential, commercial, or industrial property, the property's use, the size of the property, the area of impervious surfaces on the property, the quantity and quality of the runoff from the property, the characteristics of the watershed into which stormwater from the property drains, and other factors that affect the stormwater drainage system. Rates, fees, and charges imposed under this subsection for stormwater management programs and stormwater and drainage system service may not exceed the authority's cost of providing a stormwater management program and a structural and natural stormwater and drainage system. The authority's cost of providing a stormwater management program and a structural and natural stormwater and drainage system includes any costs necessary to assure that all aspects of stormwater quality and quantity are managed in accordance with federal and State laws, regulations, and rules.

No stormwater utility fee may be levied under this subsection whenever two or more units of local government operate separate stormwater management programs or separate structural and natural stormwater and drainage system services in the same area within a county. However, two or more units of local government may allocate among themselves the functions, duties, powers, and responsibilities for jointly operating a stormwater management program and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system service in the same area within a county, provided that only one unit may levy a fee for the service within the joint service area. For purposes of this subsection, a unit of local government shall include a regional authority providing stormwater management programs and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system services.

(a1)      An authority shall provide notice to interested parties of the imposition of or increase in rates, fees, and charges under subsection (a) of this section applicable solely to the construction of development subject to Part 2 of Article 19 of Chapter 160A or Part 2 of Article 18 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes at least seven days prior to the first meeting where the imposition of or increase in the rates, fees, and charges is on the agenda for consideration. The authority shall employ at least two of the following means of communication in order to provide the notice required by this subsection:

(1)        Notice of the meeting in a prominent location on a Web site managed or maintained by the authority.

(2)        Notice of the meeting in a prominent physical location, including, but not limited to, the authority's headquarters or any government building, library, or courthouse located within the authority's service area.

(3)        Notice of the meeting by electronic mail to a list of interested parties that is created by the authority for the purpose of notification as required by this section.

(4)        Notice of the meeting by facsimile to a list of interested parties that is created by the authority for the purpose of notification as required by this section.

(a2)      If an authority does not maintain its own Web site, it may employ the notice option provided by subdivision (1) of subsection (a1) of this section by submitting a request to a county or counties in which the authority is located to post such notice in a prominent location on a Web site that is maintained by the county or counties. Any authority that elects to provide such notice shall make its request to the county or counties at least 15 days prior to the date of the first meeting where the imposition of or increase in the fees or charges is on the agenda for consideration.

(a3)      During the consideration of the imposition of or increase in rates, fees, or charges under this subsection, the authority shall permit a period of public comment.

(a4)      The notice requirements in subsection (a1) of this section shall not apply if the imposition of or increase in rates, fees, and charges is contained in a budget filed in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 159-12.

(b)        Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this section, the authority may enter into contracts relating to the collection, treatment or disposal of sewage or the purchase or sale of water which shall not be subject to revision except in accordance with their terms.

(c)        In order to insure the payment of such rates, fees and charges as the same shall become due and payable, the authority may do the following in addition to exercising any other remedies which it may have:

(1)        Require reasonable advance deposits to be made with it to be subject to application to the payment of delinquent rates, fees and charges.

(2)        At the expiration of 30 days after any rates, fees and charges become delinquent, discontinue supplying water or the services and facilities of any water system or sewer system of the authority.

(3)        Specify the order in which partial payments are to be applied when a bill covers more than one service.  (1955, c. 1195, s. 8; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 45; 1991, c. 591, s. 4; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1007, s. 47; 2000-70, s. 7; 2009-436, s. 4; 2010-180, s. 11(d).)

 

§ 162A-9.1.  Adoption and enforcement of ordinances.

(a)        An authority shall have the same power as a city under G.S. 160A-175 to assess civil fines and penalties for violation of its ordinances; and, an authority may seek and recover injunctive relief to insure compliance with its ordinances as provided by this section.

(b)        An ordinance may provide that its violation shall subject the offender to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation, to be recovered by the authority in a civil action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalty within a prescribed period of time after he has been cited for violation of the ordinance. Any person assessed a civil penalty by the authority shall be notified of the assessment by registered or certified mail, and the notice shall specify the reasons for the assessment of the civil penalty. If the person assessed fails to pay the amount of the assessment to the authority within 30 days after receipt of such notice, or such longer period, not to exceed 180 days, as the authority may specify, the authority may institute a civil action in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the violation occurred, or, in the discretion of the authority, in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the person has his or its principal place of business, to recover the amount of the assessment. The validity of the authority's action in assessing the violator may be appealed directly to the General Court of Justice in the county in which the violation occurred, or may be raised at any time in the action to recover the assessment. No failure to contest directly the validity of the authority's action in levying the assessment shall preclude the person assessed from later raising the issue of validity in any action to collect the assessment.

(c)        An ordinance may provide that it may be enforced, and it may be enforced, by any appropriate equitable remedy issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction. In such cases, the General Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction and authority to issue such orders as may be appropriate to enforce the ordinances of the authority, and it shall not be a defense to the application made by the authority therefor that there is an adequate remedy at law.

(d)       Subject to the express terms of any ordinance, an ordinance adopted by the authority may be enforced by any one, all or a combination of the remedies authorized and prescribed by this section.

(e)        An ordinance may provide, when appropriate, that each day's continuing violation thereof shall constitute and be a separate and distinct offense. (1983, c. 820, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-10:  Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c.  780, s. 33.

 

§ 162A-11.  Moneys received deemed trust funds.

All moneys received pursuant to the authority of this Article shall be deemed to be trust funds, to be held and applied solely as provided in this Article. The resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds or the trust agreement securing such bonds shall provide that any officer to whom, or bank, trust company or fiscal agent to which, such moneys shall be paid shall act as trustee of such moneys and shall hold and apply the same for the purposes hereof, subject to such regulations as this Article and such resolution or trust agreement may provide. (1955, c. 1195, s. 10; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-12.  Bondholder's remedies.

Any holder of revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this Article or of any of the coupons appertaining thereto, and the trustee under any trust agreement, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or such trust agreement, may, either at law or in equity, by suit, action, mandamus or other proceeding, protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of the State or granted hereunder or under such resolution or trust agreement, and may enforce and compel the performance of all duties required by this Article or by such resolution or trust agreement to be performed by the authority or by any officer thereof, including the fixing, charging and collecting of rates, fees and charges for the use of or for the services and facilities furnished by a water system or sewer system. (1955, c. 1195, s. 11; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-13.  Refunding bonds.

Each authority is hereby authorized to issue from time to time revenue refunding bonds for the purpose of refunding any revenue bonds of the authority then outstanding, including the payment of any redemption premium thereon and any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of redemption of such bonds. The authority is further authorized to issue from time to time revenue bonds of the authority for the combined purpose of

(1)        Refunding any revenue bonds or revenue refunding bonds of the authority then outstanding, including the payment of any redemption premium thereon and any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of redemption of such bonds, and

(2)        Paying all or any part of the cost of acquiring or constructing any additional water system or sewer system or part thereof, or any improvements, extensions or enlargements of any water system or sewer system.

The issuance of such bonds, the maturities and other details thereof,  the rights and remedies of the holders thereof, and the rights, powers, privileges, duties and obligations of the authority with respect to the same, shall be governed by the foregoing provisions of this Article insofar as the same may be applicable. (1955, c. 1195, s. 12; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-14.  Conveyances and contracts between political subdivisions and authority.

The governing body of any political subdivision is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        Pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 160A-274 and subject to the approval of the Local Government Commission, except for action taken hereunder by any State agency, to transfer jurisdiction over, and to lease, lend, grant or convey to an authority upon the request of the authority, upon such terms and conditions as the governing body of such political subdivision may agree with the authority as reasonable and fair, the whole or any part of any existing water system or sewer system or such real or personal property as may be necessary or desirable in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, equipment, repair, maintenance or operation of any water system or sewer system or part thereof by the authority, including public roads and other property already devoted to public use;

(2)        To make and enter into contracts or agreements with an authority, upon such terms and conditions and for such periods as are agreed to by the governing body of such political subdivision and the authority;

a.         For the collection, treatment or disposal of sewage by the authority or for the purchase of a supply of water from the authority;

b.         For the collecting by such political subdivision or by the authority of fees, rates or charges for water furnished to such political subdivision or to its inhabitants and for the services and facilities rendered to such political subdivision or to its inhabitants by any water system or sewer system of the authority, and for the enforcement of delinquent charges for such water, services and facilities;

c.         For shutting off the supply of water furnished by any water system owned or operated by such political subdivision in the event that the owner, tenant or occupant of any premises utilizing such water shall fail to pay any rates, fees or charges for the use of or for the services furnished by any sewer system of the authority, within the time or times specified in such contract; and

d.         For requiring the owners of developed property on which there are situated one or more residential dwelling units or commercial establishments located within the corporate limits of the political subdivision and located within a reasonable distance of any waterline or sewer connection line owned, leased as lessee, or operated by the authority to connect to the line and collecting, on behalf of the authority, charges for the connections and requiring, as a condition to the issuance of any development permit or building permit by the political subdivision, evidence that any impact fee by the authority has been paid by or on behalf of the applicant for the permit. In accordance with G.S. 87-97.1, when developed property is located so as to be served by the authority's water line and the property owner has connected to that water line, the property owner may continue to use any private water well located on the property for nonpotable purposes as long as the water well is not interconnected to the authority's water line and the authority shall not require the owner of any such water well to abandon, cap, or otherwise compromise the integrity of the water well.

(3)        To fix, and revise from time to time, rates, fees and other charges for water and for the services furnished or to be furnished by any water system or sewer system of the authority, or parts thereof, under any contract between the authority and such political subdivision, and to pledge all or any part of the proceeds of such rates, fees and charges to the payment of any obligation of such political subdivision under such contract; and

(4)        In its discretion, to submit to the qualified electors under the election laws applicable to such political subdivision any contract or agreement which such governing body is authorized to make and enter into with the authority under the provisions of this Article.  (1955, c. 1195, s. 13; 1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1975, c. 224, ss. 5, 6; 1995, c. 511, s. 2; 2015-246, s. 3.5(i).)

 

§ 162A-15.  Services to authority by private water companies; records of water taken by authority; reports to the Commission.

Each private water company which is supplying water to the owners, lessees or tenants of real property which is or will be served by any sewer system of an authority is authorized to act as the billing and collecting agent of the authority for any rates, fees or charges imposed by the authority for the services rendered by such sewer system.  Any such company shall, if requested by an authority furnish to the authority copies of its regular periodic meter reading and water consumption records and other pertinent data as may be required for the authority to act as its own billing and collecting agent.  The authority shall pay to such water company the reasonable additional cost of clerical services and other expenses incurred by the water company in rendering such services to the authority.  The authority shall by means of suitable measuring and recording devices and facilities record the quantity of water taken daily by it from any stream or reservoir and make monthly reports of such daily recordings to the Commission. (1955, c. 1195, s. 14; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 46.)

 

§ 162A-16.  Contributions or advances to authority by political subdivisions.

Any political subdivision is hereby authorized to make contributions or advances to an authority, from any moneys which may be available for such purpose, to provide for the preliminary expenses of such authority in carrying out the provisions of this Article. Any such advances may be repaid to such political subdivisions from the proceeds of bonds issued by such authority under this Article. (1955, c. 1195, s. 15; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-17.  Article regarded as supplemental.

This Article shall be deemed to provide an additional and alternative method for the doing of the things authorized hereby and shall be regarded as supplemental and additional to powers conferred by other laws, and shall not be regarded as in derogation of or as repealing any powers now existing under any other law, either general, special or local; provided, however, that the issuance of revenue bonds or revenue refunding bonds under the provisions of this Article need not comply with the requirements of any other law applicable to the issuance of bonds. (1955, c. 1195, s. 16; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-18.  Actions against authority by riparian owners.

Any riparian owner alleging an injury as a result of any act of an authority created under this Article may maintain an action for relief against the acts of the authority either in the county where the lands of such riparian owner lie or in the county in which the principal office of the authority is maintained. (1955, c. 1195, s. 16 1/2; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-19.  Inconsistent laws declared inapplicable.

All general, special or local laws, or parts thereof, inconsistent herewith are hereby declared to be inapplicable to the provisions of this Article. (1955, c. 1195, s. 17; 1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

 

Article 2.

Regional Water Supply Planning.

§ 162A-20.  Title.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the "Regional Water Supply Planning Act of 1971." (1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-21.  Preamble.

The Legislative Research Commission was directed by Senate Resolution 875 of the 1969 General Assembly to study and report to the 1971 General Assembly on the need for legislation "concerning local and regional water supplies (including sources of water, and organization and administration of water systems)." Pursuant to said Resolution a report was prepared and adopted by the Legislative Research Commission in 1970 concerning local and regional water supplies. In this report the Legislative Research Commission made the following findings concerning the need for planning and developing regional water supply systems in order to provide adequate supplies of high quality water to the citizens of North Carolina, of which the General Assembly hereby takes cognizance:

(1)        The existing pattern of public water supply development in North Carolina is dominated by many small systems serving few customers. Of the 1,782 public water systems of record on July 1, 1970, according to Department of Health and Human Services statistics, over eighty percent (80%) were serving less than 1,000 people each. These small systems are often underfinanced, inadequately designed and maintained, difficult to coordinate with nearby regional systems, and generally inferior to systems serving larger communities as regards adequacy of source, facilities and quality. The situation which has developed reflects a need for better planning at both State and local levels.

(2)        The State's population balance is steadily changing. Sparsely populated counties are losing residents to the more densely populated counties, while the State's total population is increasing. As this trend continues, small towns and communities will find it increasingly difficult to build and maintain public water supply systems. Also, as urban centers expand, and embrace relatively large geographical areas, economic factors will dictate that regional water systems be developed to serve these centers and to meet the demands of commercial and industrial development. It is estimated that countywide or regional water systems are needed now by 50 counties.

(3)        If the future public water supply needs of the State are to be met, a change in the existing pattern of public water supply development and management must be undertaken. Regional planning and development is an immediate need. The creation of countywide or regional water supplies, with adequate interconnections, is necessary in order to provide an adequate supply of high quality water to the State's citizens, to make supplies less vulnerable to recurring drought conditions, and to have systems large enough to justify the costs of adequate facilities and of proper operation and maintenance.

(4)        The State should provide a framework for comprehensive planning of regional water supply systems, and for the orderly coordination of local actions, so as to make the most efficient use of available water resources and economies of scale for construction, operation and maintenance. The State should also provide financial assistance to local governments and regional authorities in order to assist with the cost of developing comprehensive regional plans, and countywide plans compatible with a regional system. (1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 162A-22.  Definition of regional water supply system.

For the purposes of this Article "a regional water supply system" is defined as a public water supply system of a municipality, county, sanitary district, or other political subdivision of the State, or combination thereof, which provides, is intended to provide, or is capable of providing an adequate and safe supply of water to a substantial portion of the population within a county, or to a substantial water service area in a region composed of all or parts of two or more counties, or to a metropolitan area in two or more counties. (1971, c. 892, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-23.  State role and functions relating to local and regional water supply planning.

(a)        It should be the role of State government to provide a framework for comprehensive planning of regional water supply systems, and for the orderly coordination of local actions relating to water supply, so as to make possible the most efficient use of water resources and to help realize economies of scale in water supply systems. To these ends, it shall be the function of State government to:

(1)        Identify major sources of raw water supply for regional systems, and raw water interconnections as may be desirable and feasible.

(2)        Identify areas suitable for the development of regional systems.

(3)        Establish priorities for regionalization.

(4)        Develop plans for connecting proposed regional systems to major sources of supply, and for such finished water interconnections as may be desirable and feasible.

(5)        Review and approve plans for proposed regional systems, and for proposed municipal and countywide systems which are compatible with a regional plan.

(6)        Administer a State program of financial assistance to local governments and regional planning agencies for the development of comprehensive plans for regional water systems, or county systems compatible with regional plans.

(7)        Provide technical assistance to local and regional planning agencies, and to consulting engineering firms.

(b)        Responsibility for carrying out the role of State government in regional water supply planning shall be assigned to the Department of Environmental Quality.  (1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1989, c. 727, s. 212; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 162A-24.  Regional Water Supply Planning Revolving Fund established; conditions and procedures.

(a)        There is established under the control and direction of the Department of Administration a Regional Water Supply Planning Revolving Fund, to consist of any moneys that may be appropriated for use through the fund by the General Assembly or that may be made available to it from any other source. The Department may make advances from the fund to any county, municipality, sanitary district, or to counties and municipalities acting collectively or jointly as a regional water authority, for the purpose of meeting the cost of advance planning and engineering work necessary or desirable for the development of a comprehensive plan for a regional water supply system as defined in this Article. Such advances shall be subject to repayment by the recipient to the Department from the proceeds of bonds or other obligations for the regional water supply system, or from other funds available to the recipient including grants, except when, in the judgment of the Department of Environmental Quality, a proposed plan for development and construction of a countywide or other regional water system is not feasible because of design and construction factors or because available sources of raw water supply are inadequate or because construction of a proposed system is not economically feasible, (but not if the applicant decides not to proceed with construction that has been planned and which the Department of Environmental Quality have declared to be feasible).

(b)        The Department of Administration shall not make any advance pursuant to this section without first referring the application and proposal to the Department of Environmental Quality for determination as to whether the following conditions have been met:

(1)        The proposed area is suitable for development of a regional water supply system from the standpoint of present and projected populations, industrial growth potential, and present and future sources of raw water.

(2)        The applicant proposes to undertake long-range comprehensive planning to meet present and projected needs for high quality water service through the construction of a regional water supply system as defined in this Article. The determination by the Department of Environmental Quality that the proposed system would be a "regional system," as defined by this Article, shall be conclusive.

(3)        The applicant proposes to coordinate planning of the regional water supply with land-use planning in the area, in order that both planning efforts will be compatible.

(4)        The applicant proposes to employ an engineer licensed to practice in the State of North Carolina to prepare a comprehensive regional water supply plan, which plan will provide detailed information on source or sources of water to meet projected domestic and industrial water demands; proposed system, including raw water intake(s), treatment plant, storage facilities, distribution system, and other waterworks appurtenances; proposed interconnections with existing systems, and provisions for interconnections with other county, municipal and regional systems; phased development of systems to achieve ultimate objectives if economic feasibility is in question; projected water service areas; proposed equipment; estimates of cost and projected revenues; and methods of financing.

(c)        In addition to the above conditions, the Department of Administration shall not make any advance to any applicant until the following conditions have also been met:

(1)        The Department has determined that there is a reasonable prospect of federal (or State) aid in the financing of the projected work if the undertaking is one that will be dependent upon federal (or State) aid.

(2)        The Department has received firm assurances from the applicant that the works or project, if feasible, will be undertaken.

(d)       All advances made pursuant to this section shall be repaid in full, within one year of the start of construction on the projected system, or within six months after the issuance of bonds for the financing of construction of the system, or within six years from the date of the making of the advance, whichever comes first. The Department may, in its discretion, require the repayment of any advance in installments.

(e)        The Department of Administration may adopt such rules and regulations with respect to the making of applications or the receipt of advances as are consistent with the terms and purpose of this section.

(f)        The provisions of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes of North Carolina (Local Government Acts) shall not apply to advances made from the Regional Water Supply Planning Revolving Fund as authorized in this Article.  (1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1989, c. 727, ss. 213, 214; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 162A-25.  Construction of Article.

This Article shall be construed as providing supplemental authority in addition to the powers of the Department of Environmental Quality under Chapter 130A and Articles 21 and 38 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, the powers of the North Carolina Utilities Commission under Chapter 62 of the General Statutes, and any other provisions of law concerning local and regional water supplies.  (1971, c. 892, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1989, c. 727, s. 215; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

 

Article 3.

Regional Sewage Disposal Planning.

§ 162A-26.  Title.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the "Regional Sewage Disposal Planning Act of 1971." (1971, c. 870, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-27.  Definitions of "regional sewage disposal system" and "comprehensive planning."

For the purposes of this Article "regional sewage disposal  system" is defined as a public sewage disposal system of a municipality, county, sanitary district, or other political subdivision of the State, or combination thereof, which provides, is intended to provide, or is capable of providing adequate collection, treatment, purification and disposal of sewage to a substantial portion of the population within a county, or a region composed of all or parts of two or more counties, or to a metropolitan area in two or more counties. "Comprehensive planning" is defined as that planning which is a prerequisite for qualifying for receipt of federal and/or State grant funds for preparation of plans and specifications and for actual construction of regional sewage disposal systems. (1971, c. 870, s. 1; 1975, c. 251, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-28.  Role and function of Environmental Management Commission.

The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, in  order to provide a framework for comprehensive planning of regional sewage disposal systems and for orderly coordination of local actions relating to sewage disposal, to make possible the most efficient disposal of sewage and to help realize economies of scale in sewage disposal systems, shall perform the following functions:

(1)        Identify major sources of sewage for regional systems and sewer system interconnections as may be desirable and feasible.

(2)        Identify geographical areas of the State suitable for the development of regional sewage disposal systems that meet federal and State grant requirements.

(3)        Establish priorities for regionalization.

(4)        Develop plans for connecting proposed regional sewage disposal systems to major sources of sewage and for such sewer system interconnections as may be desirable and feasible.

(5)        Review and approve plans for proposed regional sewage disposal systems and for proposed municipal and countywide systems which are compatible with a regional plan.

(6)        Administer a State program of financial assistance to local governments and regional planning agencies for the development of comprehensive plans for regional sewage disposal systems or county systems compatible with regional plans.

(7)        Provide technical assistance to local and regional planning agencies and to consulting engineering firms. (1971, c. 870, s. 1; 1973, c. 1262, s. 23; 1975, c. 251, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-29.  Regional Sewage Disposal Planning Revolving Fund established; conditions and procedures.

(a)        There is established under the control and direction of the Department of Administration a Regional Sewage Disposal Planning Revolving Fund, to consist of any moneys that may be appropriated for use through the fund by the General Assembly or that may be made available to it from any other source. The Department may make advances from the fund to any county, municipality, or sanitary district, or to counties and municipalities acting collectively or jointly as a regional sewer authority, for the purpose of meeting the cost of advance planning and engineering work necessary or desirable for the development of a comprehensive plan for a regional sewage disposal system as defined in this Article. Such advances shall be subject to repayment by the recipient to the Department from the proceeds of bonds or other obligations for the regional sewage disposal system, or from other funds available to the recipient including grants, except when, in the judgment of the Department of Environmental Quality, a proposed plan for development and construction of a countywide or other regional sewage disposal system is not feasible because of design and construction factors, or because of the effect that the sewage disposal system discharge will have upon water quality standards, or because construction of a proposed system is not economically feasible, (but not if the applicant decides not to proceed with construction that has been planned and which the Department of Environmental Quality has declared to be feasible).

(b)        The Department of Administration shall not make any advance pursuant to this section without first referring the application and proposal to the Department of Environmental Quality for determination as to whether the following conditions have been met:

(1)        The proposed area is suitable for development of a regional sewage disposal system from the standpoint of present and projected populations, industrial growth potential, and present and future sources of sewage.

(2)        The applicant proposes to undertake long-range comprehensive planning to meet present and projected needs for high quality sewage disposal through the construction of a regional sewage disposal system as defined in this Article. The determination by the Department of Environmental Quality, that the proposed system would be a "regional system," as defined by this Article, shall be conclusive.

(3)        The applicant proposes to coordinate planning of the regional sewage disposal system with land-use planning in the area, in order that both planning efforts will be compatible.

(4)        The applicant proposes to employ an engineer licensed to practice in the State of North Carolina to prepare a comprehensive regional sewage disposal plan, which plan will provide detailed information on the source or sources of sewage; the proposed system, including all facilities and appurtenances thereto for the collection, transmission, treatment, purification and disposal of sewage; any proposed interconnection with existing systems, and provisions for interconnections with other county, municipal and regional systems; the phased development of systems to achieve ultimate objectives if economic feasibility is in question; projected sewage disposal service areas; proposed equipment; estimates of cost and projected revenues; and methods of financing.

(c)        In addition to the above conditions, the Department of Administration shall not make any advance to any applicant until the following conditions have also been met:

(1)        The Department has determined that there is a reasonable prospect of federal (or State) aid in the financing of the projected work if the undertaking is one that will be dependent upon federal (or State) aid.

(2)        The Department has received firm assurances from the applicant that the work or project, if feasible, will be undertaken.

(3)        The applicant has furnished evidence that it does not have funds available to finance the plan.

(d)       All advances made pursuant to this section shall be repaid in full, upon receipt of any sewage disposal facilities planning grant funds from federal or State sources, or within one year of the start of construction on the projected system, or within six months after the issuance of bonds for the financing of construction of the system, or within six years from the date of the making of the advance, whichever comes first. The Department may, in its discretion, require the repayment of any advance in installments.

(e)        The Department of Administration may adopt such rules and regulations with respect to the making of applications or the receipt of advances as are consistent with the terms and purpose of this section.

(f)        The provisions of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes of North Carolina (Local Government Acts) shall not apply to advances made from the Regional Sewage Disposal Planning Revolving Fund as authorized in this Article.  (1971, c. 870, s. 1; 1975, c. 251, ss. 3, 4; 1989, c. 727, ss. 216, 217; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 162A-30.  Construction of Article.

This Article shall be construed as providing supplemental authority in addition to the powers of the North Carolina Utilities Commission under Chapter 62 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission under Articles 21 and 38 of Chapter 143 of the North Carolina General Statutes, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality under General Statutes Chapter 130A, and any other provisions of law concerning local and regional sewage disposal.  (1971, c. 870, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 1262, s. 23; 1997-443, s. 11A.116; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

 

Article 4.

Metropolitan Water Districts.

§ 162A-31.  Short title.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the Metropolitan Water Districts Act. (1971, c. 815, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-32.  Definitions; description of boundaries.

(a)        As used in this Article the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent:

(1)        "Board of commissioners" or "commissioners" shall mean the duly elected board of commissioners of the county in which a metropolitan water district shall be created under the provisions of this Article.

(2)        "City council" or "council" shall mean the duly elected city  council of any municipality located within the State.

(3)        "Cost" as applied to a water system or sewerage system shall  mean the cost of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, extending, enlarging, repairing and equipping any such system, and shall include the cost of all labor and materials, machinery and equipment, lands, property, rights, easements and franchises, plans and specifications, surveys and estimates of cost and of revenues, and planning, engineering, financial advice, and legal services, financing charges, interest prior to and during construction and, if deemed advisable by a district board, for one year after the estimated date of completion of construction, and all other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of any such undertaking, administrative expense and such other expenses, including reasonable provision for working capital and a reserve for debt service, as may be necessary or incident to the financing herein authorized, and may also include any obligation or expense incurred by a district or by any political subdivision prior to the issuance of bonds under the provisions of this Article in connection with any such undertaking or any of the foregoing items of cost.

(4)        "District" shall mean a metropolitan water district created under the provisions of this Article.

(5)        "District board" shall mean the district board of the metropolitan water district created under the provisions of this Article.

(6)        "General obligation bonds" shall mean bonds of a metropolitan water district for the payment of which and the interest thereon all the taxable property within said district is subject to the levy of an ad valorem tax without limitation of rate or amount.

(7)        "Governing body" shall mean the board, board of trustees, commission, board of commissioners, council or other body, by whatever name it may be known, of a political subdivision including, but without limitation, other water or sewer districts or the trustees thereof within the State of North Carolina in which the general legislative powers thereof are vested.

(8)        "Person" shall mean any and all persons including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities or political subdivisions, governmental agencies or private or public corporations organized and existing under the laws of the State or any other state or county.

(9)        "Political subdivision" shall mean any county, city, town, incorporated village, sanitary district, water district, sewer district, special purpose district or other political subdivision or public corporation of this State now or hereafter created or established.

(10)      "Revenue bonds" shall mean bonds the principal of and the interest on which are payable solely from revenues of a water system or systems or a sewerage system or systems or both owned or operated by a metropolitan water district created under the provisions of this Article.

(11)      "Revenues" shall mean all moneys received by a metropolitan  water district from, in connection with, or as a result of its ownership or control or operation of a water system or systems or a sewerage system or systems, or both, including, without limitation and as deemed advisable by the district board, moneys received from the United States of America or any agency thereof, pursuant to an agreement with the district board pertaining to the water system or the sewerage system or both.

(12)      "Sewerage system" shall embrace sewage collection and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems and any part or parts thereof, either within or without the limits of a district, all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto, and any and all buildings and other structures deemed necessary or useful by a district board in connection with the operation or maintenance thereof.

(13)      "Sewers" shall mean any mains, pipes and laterals, including pumping stations for the reception of sewage and carrying such sewage to an outfall or some part of a sewage disposal system, and all property, rights, easements, and franchises related thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by a district board for the operation and maintenance thereof.

(14)      "Water distribution system" shall include aqueducts, mains,  laterals, pumping stations, distributing reservoirs, standpipes, tanks, hydrants, services, meters, valves, and all necessary appurtenances, and all property, rights, easements, and franchises related thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by a district board for the operation and maintenance thereof.

(15)      "Water system" shall mean and include all plants, systems, facilities or properties used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the supply or distribution of water, and any integral part thereof, including but not limited to water supply systems, water distribution systems, sources of water supply including lakes, reservoirs and wells, intakes, mains, laterals, aqueducts, pumping stations, standpipes, filtration plants, purification plants, hydrants, meters, valves, and all necessary appurtenances and equipment and all properties, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by a district board for the operation or maintenance thereof.

(16)      "Water treatment or purification plant" shall mean any plant, system, facility, or property, used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the treatment or purification of water, or any integral part thereof; and all necessary appurtenances or equipment, and all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by a district board for the operation thereof.

(b)        Whenever this Article requires that the boundaries of an area be described, it shall be sufficient if the boundaries are described in a manner which conveys an understanding of the location of the land and may be

(1)        By reference to a map,

(2)        By metes and bounds,

(3)        By general description referring to natural boundaries, boundaries of political subdivisions, existing water or sewer districts, or portions thereof, or boundaries of particular tracts or parcels of land, or

(4)        Any combination of the foregoing. (1971, c. 815, s. 2; 1979,  c. 619, s. 9.)

 

§ 162A-33.  Procedure for creation; resolutions and petitions for creation; notice to and action by Commission for Public Health; notice and public hearing; resolutions creating districts; actions to set aside proceedings.

Any two or more political subdivisions in a county, or any political subdivision or subdivisions, including any existing water or sewer district, and any unincorporated area or areas located within the same county, which political subdivisions or areas need not be contiguous, may petition the board of commissioners for the creation of a metropolitan water district under the provisions of this Article by filing with the board of commissioners:

(1)        A resolution of the governing body of each such political subdivision stating the necessity for the creation of a metropolitan water district under the provisions of this Article in order to preserve and promote the public health and welfare within the area of the proposed district, and requesting the creation of a metropolitan water district having the boundaries set forth in said resolution, and

(2)        If any unincorporated area is to be included in such district, a petition, signed by not less than fifteen per centum (15%) of the voters resident within such area, defining the boundaries of such area, stating the necessity for the creation of a metropolitan water district under the provisions of this Article in order to preserve and promote the public health and welfare within the proposed district, and requesting the creation of a metropolitan water district having the boundaries set forth in such petition for such district.

If any water district, sewer district or special purpose district shall encompass wholly or in part within its boundaries a city or town, no such water district, sewer district or special purpose district may petition for inclusion within a metropolitan water district unless the governing body of such city or town shall approve such petition or shall also petition for its inclusion within such metropolitan water district.

Upon the receipt of such resolutions and petitions requesting the creation of a metropolitan water district, the board of commissioners, through its chairman shall notify the Department of Environmental Quality of the receipt of such resolutions and petitions, and shall request that a representative of the Department of Environmental Quality hold a joint public hearing with the board of commissioners concerning the creation of the proposed metropolitan water district. The Secretary of Environmental Quality and the chairman of the board of commissioners shall name a time and place within the proposed district at which the public hearing shall be held. The chairman of the board of commissioners shall give prior notice of such hearing by posting a notice at the courthouse door of the county and also by publication in a newspaper circulating in the proposed district at least once a week for four successive weeks, the first publication to be at least 30 days prior to such hearing. In the event all matters pertaining to the creation of such metropolitan water district cannot be concluded at such hearing, such hearing may be continued to a time and place within the proposed district determined by the board of commissioners with the concurrence of the representative of the Department of Environmental Quality.

If, after such hearing, the Commission for Public Health and the board of commissioners shall deem it advisable to comply with the request of such resolutions and petitions, and determine that the preservation and promotion of the public health and welfare in the area or areas described in such resolutions and petitions require that a metropolitan water district should be created and established, the Commission for Public Health shall adopt a resolution to that effect, defining the boundaries of such district and declaring the territory within such boundaries to be a metropolitan water district under the name and style of "____ Metropolitan Water District of ____ County"; provided that the Commission for Public Health may make minor deviations in the boundaries from those prescribed in the resolutions and petitions upon the Commission for Public Health determining that such deviations are advisable in the interest of the public health, provided no such district shall include any political subdivision which has not petitioned for inclusion as provided for in this Article.

The Commission for Public Health shall cause copies of the resolution creating the metropolitan water district to be sent to the board of commissioners and to the governing body of each political subdivision included in the district. The board of commissioners shall cause a copy of such resolution of the Commission for Public Health to be published in a newspaper circulating within the district once in each of two successive weeks, and a notice substantially in the following form shall be published with such resolution:

"The foregoing resolution was passed by the Commission for Public Health on the ____ day of ____, ____, and was first published on the ____ day of ____, ____.

      Any action or proceeding questioning the validity of said resolution or the creation of the metropolitan water district therein described must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of said resolution.

_____________________________________

                                                            Clerk, Board of Commissioners for

______________________________County."

Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a resolution creating a metropolitan water district or to obtain any other relief upon the ground that such resolution or any proceeding or action taken with respect to the creation of such district is invalid, must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of the resolution and said notice. After the expiration of such period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the resolution or the creation of the metropolitan water district therein described shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the resolution or of the creation of such metropolitan water district be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within such period.

Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 160-2(6), after the creation of a water district pursuant to the provisions of this Article a municipality or other political subdivision which owns or operates an existing water system or sewer system may lease, contract, assign or convey such system or systems to the district under and subject to such terms and conditions and for such considerations as it may deem advisable for the general welfare and benefit of its citizens.  (1971, c. 815, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1985, c. 462, s. 16; 1989, c. 727, s. 219(40); 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 19(b); 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 1999-456, s. 59; 2007-182, s. 2; 2015-241, ss. 14.30(u), (v).)

 

§ 162A-34.  District board; composition, appointment, term, oaths and removal of members; organization; meetings; quorum; compensation and expenses of members.

(a)        Immediately after the creation of the district, the board of commissioners shall appoint three members of the district board and the governing body of each political subdivision included in the district shall appoint one member, except that if any city or town has a population, according to the latest decennial census, in excess of the total population of the remaining cities and towns within the district, or where there are no other cities or towns involved, if the census population is in excess of the total population of the remainder of the district, the governing body shall appoint three members. No appointment of a member of the district board shall be made by or in behalf of any political subdivision of which the board of commissioners shall be the governing body, the three appointees designated by the board of commissioners shall be selected from within the district and shall be deemed to represent all such political subdivisions. The members of the district board first appointed shall have terms expiring one year, two years and three years, respectively, from the date of adoption of the resolution of the Commission for Public Health creating the district, as the board of commissioners shall determine, provided that of the three members appointed by any governing body, not more than one such member shall be appointed for a three-year term. Successive members shall each be appointed to serve only for the unexpired term and any member of the district board may be reappointed. Appointments of successor members shall, in each instance, be made by the governing body making the initial appointment or appointments. All members shall serve until their successors have been duly appointed and qualified, and any member of the district board may be removed for cause by the governing body appointing him.

Each member of the district board before entering upon his duties shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office, and a record of each such oath shall be filed with the clerk of the board of commissioners.

The district board shall elect one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman and shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer who may but need not be members of the district board. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be combined. The terms of office of the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer shall be as provided in the bylaws of the district board.

The district board shall meet regularly at such places and dates as determined by the board. Special meetings may be called by the chairman on his own initiative and shall be called by him upon request of two or more members of the board. All members shall be notified in writing at least 24 hours in advance of such meeting. A majority of the members of the district board shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the district board present at any meeting thereof shall be necessary for any action taken by the district board. No vacancy in the membership of the district board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the district board. Each member including the chairman shall be entitled to vote on any question. The members of the district board may receive compensation in an amount to be determined by the board, but not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) for each meeting attended, and may be reimbursed the amount of actual expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.

(b)        Any metropolitan water district wholly within the corporate limits of two or more municipalities shall be governed by a district board consisting of members appointed by the governing body of each political subdivision (municipal corporation) included wholly or partially in the district and an additional at-large member appointed by the other members of the district board as provided in this subsection. The governing body of each constituent municipality shall initially appoint two members from its qualified electors, one for a term expiring the first day of July after the first succeeding regular election in which municipal officers shall be elected by the municipality from which he is appointed, and the other for a term expiring the first day of July after the second succeeding regular election of municipal officers in the municipality. Thereafter, subsequent to each ensuing regular election of municipal officers the governing body of each municipal corporation composing any part of the metropolitan water district shall appoint one member to the district board for a term of four years beginning on the first day of July. The one additional at-large member of the district board shall be a qualified elector of a constituent municipality of the district and appointed initially and quadrennially thereafter by majority vote of the other district board membership for a term of four years which shall expire on the first day of August in every fourth calendar year thereafter.

Any vacancy in district board membership shall be filled by appointment of the original appointing authority for the remainder of the unexpired term.

The provisions of subsection (a) in particular and of this Article generally not inconsistent with this subsection shall also apply.

(c)        In those cases where a district is created which includes a municipality which owns an existing water and sewer system and where the county commissioners are acting as or have been appointed as trustees of a separate water or sewer system, or both which will be included within the district along with an existing municipal system, the district board shall be comprised of seven members designated as follows: three county commissioners and three members of the city council of the municipality, said members to be selected by majority vote of the governing body on which they serve. These six members of the district board shall appoint a seventh member who shall also serve as chairman of the district board and whose term shall automatically expire upon the seating of either a new board of commissioners, or of a new council of the municipality.

The chairman of the district board will be eligible, however, for reappointment, upon the expiration of his or her current term, by the next district board selected upon and after the seating of either a new board of commissioners or new council of the municipality. The chairman of the district board shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office, and a record of each such oath shall be filed with the clerk of the board of commissioners and the clerk of the municipality. The other six members will serve upon said board corollary to the responsibilities and duties of their respective elective offices and such service upon the district board will not constitute the holding of a public office. No compensation shall be paid to any member of the district board except for the chairman, and his compensation shall be fixed by the remaining six members. Except as provided above, no additional oath or affirmation shall be required of the members of the district board. No county commissioner or member of the council of the municipality shall continue to serve upon the district board subsequent to the termination of his or her current elective term, except upon reelection to said office.

The district board shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer who will not be members of the district board. The terms of office of the secretary and treasurer shall be as provided in the bylaws of the district board and the compensation of said officers shall be fixed by the district board. The treasurer shall furnish bond in some security company authorized to do business in North Carolina, the amount to be fixed by the district board in a sum not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000), which bond shall be approved by the district board and shall be continued upon the faithful performance of his duties. Every official, employee or agent of the district who handles or has custody of more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) of such district funds at any time, shall before assuming his duties as such be required to furnish bond in some security company authorized to do business in North Carolina, the amount to be fixed by the district board, which bond shall be approved by the district board and shall be continued upon the faithful performance of his duties in an amount sufficient to protect the district. All bonds required by this section shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality.

The district board shall meet regularly and no less than monthly, at such places and dates as determined by the board. Special meetings may be called by the chairman on his own initiative and shall be called by him upon request of two or more members of the board. All members shall be notified in writing at least 24 hours in advance of any meeting. A majority of the members of the district board shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of a majority of the district board present at any meeting thereof shall be necessary for any action taken by the district board. No vacancy in the membership of the district board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the district board. Each member, including the chairman, shall be entitled to vote upon any question.

Any vacancy in district board membership, except that of the chairman, shall be filled by appointment of the original appointing authority for the remainder of the unexpired term. Each governing body may, by majority vote, replace at any time its representatives on said district board. (1971, c. 815, s. 4; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 2007-182, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-35.  Procedure for inclusion of additional political subdivision or unincorporated area; notice and hearing; elections; actions questioning validity of elections.

If, at any time subsequent to the creation of a district, there shall be filed with the district board a resolution of the governing body of a political subdivision, or a petition, signed by not less than fifteen per centum (15%) of the voters resident within an unincorporated area, requesting inclusion in the district of such political subdivision or unincorporated area, and if the district board shall favor the inclusion in the district of such political subdivision or unincorporated area, the district board shall notify the board of commissioners and the board of commissioners, through its chairman, shall thereupon request that a representative of the Department of Environmental Quality hold a joint public hearing with the board of commissioners concerning the inclusion of such political subdivision or unincorporated area in the district. The Secretary of Environmental Quality and the chairman of the board of commissioners shall name a time and place within the district at which the public hearing shall be held. The chairman of the board of commissioners shall give prior notice of such hearing by posting a notice at the courthouse door of the county and also by publication in a newspaper circulating in the district and in any such political subdivision or unincorporated area at least once a week for four successive weeks, the first publication to be at least 30 days prior to such hearing. In the event all matters pertaining to the inclusion of such political subdivision or unincorporated area cannot be included at such hearing, such hearing may be continued to a time and place within the district determined by the board of commissioners with the concurrence of the representative of the Department of Environmental Quality.

If, after such hearing, the Commission for Public Health and the board of commissioners shall determine that the preservation and promotion of the public health and welfare require that such political subdivision or unincorporated area be included in the district, the Commission for Public Health shall adopt a resolution to that effect, defining the boundaries of the district including such political subdivision or unincorporated area which has filed a resolution or petition as provided for in this section, and declaring such political subdivision or unincorporated area to be included in the district, subject to the approval, as to the inclusion of such political subdivision, of a majority of the qualified voters of such political subdivision, or as to the inclusion of such unincorporated area, of a majority of the qualified voters of such unincorporated area, voting at an election thereon to be called and held in such political subdivision or unincorporated area. When an election is required to be held within both a political subdivision and an unincorporated area, a separate election shall be called and held for the unincorporated area and a separate election shall be called and held for the political subdivision. Such separate elections, although independent one from the other, shall be called and held within each political subdivision and within the unincorporated area simultaneously on the same date.

If, at or prior to such public hearing, there shall be filed with the district board a petition signed by not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the registered voters of the district requesting an election to be held on the question of including the political subdivision or unincorporated area in the district, the district board shall certify the petition and if found adequate, shall request the county board of elections to hold the election in the district. The election in the district may be held at the same time as the election in the political subdivision or unincorporated area seeking to become a part of the district.

The county board of elections shall give notice of the elections as required in G.S. 163-33(8) and shall conduct the election.

The cost of the election in the district shall be paid by the district board and the cost of the municipal election by the municipality. The county shall pay the cost of an election in the unincorporated area. The governing body of the political subdivision shall file an accurate description of its boundaries, and those persons signing the petition for an unincorporated area shall file an accurate description of its boundaries with the board of elections at the time the petition is filed with the district board.

The elections shall be held and conducted in accordance with the applicable provisions of Articles 23 and 24 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

The ballot shall contain the words:

"FOR inclusion in the ____ Metropolitan Water District of ____ County that area known as ____."

"AGAINST inclusion in the ____ Metropolitan Water District of ____ County that area known as ____."

If a majority of the votes cast in a political subdivision or unincorporated areas proposed to be included are in favor of inclusion, and a majority of the votes cast in the district favor inclusion, then from and after the date of the certification of the results such area or areas shall be a part of the district and subject to the debts of the district.

The results of the elections shall be certified to the district board.

If no election is required to be held in the district, then a favorable vote for inclusion in the political subdivision or unincorporated area shall be deemed to include such area or political subdivision as a part of the district and they shall be subject to the debts of the district.

No right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of any such election shall be asserted, or open to question in any court upon any grounds unless the action or proceeding is commenced within 30 days after the results have been certified by the board of elections.  (1971, c. 815, s. 5; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1981, c. 185; 1985, c. 462, s. 17; 1989, c. 727, s. 219(41); 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2007-182, s. 2; 2011-31, s. 14; 2015-241, ss. 14.30(u), (v).)

 

§ 162A-36.  Powers generally; fiscal year.

(a)        Each district shall be deemed to be a public body and body politic and corporate, exercising public and essential governmental functions, to provide for the preservation and promotion of the public health and welfare, and said district is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business not in conflict with this or other law;

(2)        To adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure;

(3)        To maintain an office or offices at such place or places in the district as it may designate;

(4)        To sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded;

(5)        To acquire, lease as lessor or lessee, construct, reconstruct, improve, extend, enlarge, equip, repair, maintain and operate any water system or part thereof, and any sewerage system or part thereof, except interceptors, treatment plants and facilities constituting a system operated by a metropolitan sewage district within or without the district; provided, however, that no such water or sewerage system or part thereof, shall be located in any city, town or incorporated village except with the consent of the governing body thereof, and each such governing body is hereby authorized to grant such consent;

(6)        To issue general obligation bonds and revenue bonds of the district as hereinafter provided, to pay the costs of a water or sewerage system or systems;

(7)        To issue general obligation refunding bonds and revenue refunding bonds of the district as hereinafter provided;

(7a)      To pledge a security interest in accordance with G.S. 160A-20;

(8)        To fix and revise from time to time and to collect rents, rates, fees and other charges for the use of the services and facilities furnished by any water or sewerage system;

(9)        To cause taxes to be levied and collected upon all taxable property within the district sufficient to meet the obligations of the district, to pay the costs of maintaining, repairing and operating any water or sewerage system or systems, and to pay all obligations incurred by the district in the performance of its legal undertakings and functions;

(10)      To acquire in the name of the district, either within or without the corporate limits of the district, by gift, purchase, lease or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, which right shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes, any improved or unimproved lands or rights in lands, and to acquire by lease or purchase such personal property as it may deem necessary in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, repair, equipment, maintenance or operation of any water or sewerage system or systems, and to hold and dispose of real and personal property under its control;

(11)      To make and enter into all contracts, leases and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Article, including a trust agreement or trust agreements securing any revenue bonds issued hereunder;

(12)      To employ such consulting and other engineers, superintendents, managers, construction and financial experts, accountants, attorneys, employees and agents as may, in the judgment of the district board, be deemed necessary, and to fix their compensation; provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 159-20 shall be complied with to the extent that the same shall be applicable;

(13)      To receive and accept from the United States of America or the State of North Carolina, or any agency or instrumentality thereof loans, grants, advances or contributions for or in aid of the planning, acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, repair, equipment, maintenance or operation of any water or sewerage system or systems, to agree to such reasonable conditions or requirements as may be imposed, and to receive and accept contributions from any source of either money, property, labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purposes of which such loans, grants, advances or contributions may be made;

(14)      To negotiate and pay close-out costs involved in the acquisition or lease of existing water supply or sewerage systems;

(15)      To determine the extent to which local water distribution system and local sewerage system improvements will be financed out of district revenues and to contract with other political subdivisions for construction of facilities to be jointly financed and whose title would be vested in the district;

(16)      To lease from any city or town or any other municipal corporation, or from any water or sewage district, any water or sewerage system or portions thereof upon such terms and conditions and for such considerations as may to the district board be deemed fair and reasonable;

(17)      The metropolitan water district is authorized and empowered, through its district board, officers, agents and employees, to cause any user of water who shall fail to pay promptly his water rent or use bill for any month to be cut off, and his right to further use of water from said district to be discontinued until payment of any water rent or use arrearages;

(18)      To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this Article.

(b)       (1)        Each metropolitan water district shall publish an annual financial report and its books shall be open for public inspection.

(2)        Each district shall keep its accounts on the basis of a fiscal year commencing on the first day of July and ending on the thirtieth day of June of the following year.

(3)        District revenues shall be used solely for the operation, improvement or benefit of the district's water and sewerage systems and the leasing of any portion thereof and to pay the principal and interest on bonds issued by the district. Said revenues shall not be used for the payment of interest or amortization of any utility bonds previously issued by any city, town or water or sewerage district.

(4)        A district may provide water to a city or county or portion thereof within the district for governmental purposes without charge or at reduced rates.  (1971, c. 815, s. 6; 1981, c. 919, s. 31; 2015-207, s. 5(b).)

 

§ 162A-37.  Bonds and notes authorized.

A metropolitan water district may from time to time issue bonds and notes under the Local Government Finance Act. (1971, c. 780, s. 37.5; c. 815, s. 7; 1973, c. 494, s. 46.)

 

§§ 162A-38 through 162A-44.  Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 780, s. 37.5; 1973, c. 494, s. 46.

 

§ 162A-45.  Determination of tax rate by district board; levy and collection of tax; remittance and deposit of funds.

After each assessment for taxes following the creation of the district, the board of commissioners shall file with the district board the valuation of assessable property within the district. The district board shall then determine the amount of funds to be raised by taxation for the ensuing year in excess of available funds to provide for the payment of the interest on and the principal of all outstanding general obligation bonds as the same shall become due and  payable, to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating any water system or sewerage system or both, and to pay all obligations incurred by the district in the performance of its lawful undertakings and functions.

The district board shall determine the number of cents per one hundred dollars ($100.00) necessary to raise said amount and certify such rate to the board of commissioners. The board of commissioners in its next annual levy shall include the number of cents per one hundred dollars ($100.00) certified by the district board in the levy against all taxable property within the district, which tax shall be collected as other county taxes are collected, and every month the amount of tax so collected shall be remitted to the district board and deposited by the district board in a separate account in a bank in the State of North Carolina. Such levy may include an amount for reimbursing the county for the additional cost to the county of levying and collecting such taxes, pursuant to such formula as may be agreed upon by the district board and the board of commissioners, to be deducted from the collections and stated with each remittance to the district board. The officer or officers having charge or custody of the funds of the district shall require such bank to furnish security for protection of such deposits as provided in G.S. 159-31. (1971, c. 815, s. 15; 1973, c. 1446, s. 13.)

 

§§ 162A-46 through 162A-48.  Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 780, s. 37.5; 1973, c. 494, s. 46.

 

§ 162A-49.  Rates and charges for services.

The district board may fix, and may revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees and other charges for the use of land for the services furnished or to be furnished by any water system or sewerage system or both. Such rents, rates, fees and charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any bureau, board, commission, or other agency of the State or of any political subdivision. Any such rents, rates, fees and charges pledged to the payment of revenue bonds of the district shall be fixed and revised so that the revenues of the water system or sewerage system or both, together with any other available funds, shall be sufficient at all times to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the water system or the sewerage system or both, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such revenue bonds, including reserves for such purposes, and to pay the interest on and the principal of such revenue bonds as the same shall become due and payable and to provide reserves therefor. If any such rents, rates, fees and charges are pledged to the payment of any general obligation bonds issued under this Article, such rents, rates, fees and charges shall be fixed and revised so as to comply with the requirements of such pledge. The district board may provide methods for collection of such rents, rates, fees and charges and measures for enforcement of collection thereof, including penalties and the denial or discontinuance of service. (1971, c. 815, s. 19.)

 

§§ 162A-50 through 162A-52.  Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 780, s. 37.5; 1973, c. 494, s. 46.

 

§ 162A-53.  Authority of governing bodies of political subdivisions.

The governing body of any political subdivision is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        Subject to the approval of the Local Government Commission, to  transfer jurisdiction over, and to lease, lend, sell, grant or convey to a district, upon such terms and conditions as the governing body of such political subdivision may agree upon with the district board, the whole or any part of any water system or sewerage system or both, and such real or personal property as may be necessary or useful in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, equipment, repair, maintenance or operation of any new water system or sewerage system or both by the district, including public roads and other property already devoted to public use;

(2)        To make and enter into contracts or agreements with a district, upon such terms and conditions and for such periods as such governing body and the district board may determine:

a.         For the collection, treatment or disposal of sewage;

b.         For the collecting by such political subdivision or by the district of rents, rates, fees or charges for the services and facilities provided to or for such political subdivision or its inhabitants by any water system or sewerage system or both and for the enforcement of collection of such rents, rates, fees and charges; and

c.         For the imposition of penalties, including the shutting off of the supply of water furnished by any water system owned or operated by such political subdivision, in the event that the owner, tenant or occupant of any premises utilizing such water shall fail to pay any such rents, rates, fees or charges;

d.         For the supply of raw or treated water on a regular retail or wholesale basis;

e.         For the supply of raw or treated water on a standby wholesale basis;

f.          For the construction of jointly financed facilities whose  title shall be vested in the district.

(3)        To fix, and revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees and other charges for the services furnished or to be furnished by a water system or sewerage system or both under any contract between the district and such political subdivision, and to pledge all or any part of the proceeds of such rents, rates, fees and charges to the payment of any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract;

(4)        To pay any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract from any available funds of the political subdivision and to levy and collect a tax ad valorem for the making of any such payment; and

(5)        In its discretion or if required by law, to submit to its qualified electors under the election laws applicable to such political subdivision any contract or agreement which such governing body is authorized to make and enter into with the district under the provisions of this Article.

Any such election upon a contract or agreement, may, at the discretion of the governing body, be called and held under the election laws applicable to the issuance of bonds by such political subdivision. (1971, c. 815, s. 23.)

 

§ 162A-54.  Rights-of-way and easements in streets and highways.

A right-of-way or easement in, along, or across any State highway system road, or street, and along or across any city or town street within a district is hereby granted to a district in case such right-of-way is found by the district board to be necessary or convenient for carrying out any of the work of the district. Any work done in, along, or across any State highway system, road, street, or property shall be done in accordance with the rules and regulations and any reasonable requirements of the Department of Transportation, and any work done in, along, or across any municipal street or property shall be done in accordance with any reasonable requirements of the municipal governing body. (1971, c. 815, s. 24; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)

 

§ 162A-55.  Submission of preliminary plans to planning groups; cooperation with planning agencies.

Prior to the time final plans are made for the location and construction of any water system or sewerage system or both, the district board shall present preliminary plans for such improvement to the county, municipal or regional planning board for their consideration, if such facility is to be located within the planning jurisdiction of any such county, municipal or regional planning group. The district board shall make every effort to cooperate with the planning agency, if any, in the location and construction of a proposed facility authorized under this Article. The district board created under the authority of this Article is hereby directed, wherever possible, to coordinate its plans for the construction of a water system or sewerage system or both, with the overall plans for the development of the planning area, if such district is located wholly or in part within a county, municipal or regional planning area; provided, however, that the approval of any such county, municipal or regional planning board as to any such plan of the district shall not be required. (1971, c. 815, s. 25.)

 

§ 162A-56.  Advances by political subdivisions for preliminary expenses of districts.

Any political subdivision is hereby authorized to make advances, from any moneys that may be available for such purpose, in connection with the creation of such district and to provide for the preliminary expenses of such district. Any such advances may be repaid to such political subdivision from the proceeds of bonds issued by said district or from other available funds of said district. (1971, c. 815, s. 26.)

 

§ 162A-57.  Article regarded as supplemental.

This Article shall not be regarded as in derogation of or as repealing any powers now existing under any other law, either general, special or local; provided, however, that the issuance of bonds under the provisions of this Article need not comply with the requirements of any other law applicable to the issuance of bonds except as herein provided. (1971, c. 815, s. 27.)

 

§ 162A-58.  Inconsistent laws declared inapplicable.

All general, special or local laws, or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby declared to be inapplicable, unless otherwise specified, to the provisions of this Article. It is specifically provided that Chapter 399 of the 1933 Public-Local and Private Laws of North Carolina shall not be applicable to any metropolitan water district created pursuant to the provisions of this Article. (1971, c. 815, s. 28.)

 

§§ 162A-59 through 162A-63.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 5.

Metropolitan Sewerage Districts.

§ 162A-64.  Short title.

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the "North Carolina Metropolitan Sewerage Districts Act." (1961, c. 795, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-65.  Definitions; description of boundaries.

(a)        Definitions. - As used in this Article the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent:

(1)        The term "board of commissioners" shall mean the board of commissioners of the county in which a metropolitan sewerage district shall be created under the provisions of this Article.

(2)        The word "cost" as applied to a sewerage system shall mean the cost of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, extending, enlarging, repairing and equipping any such system, and shall include the cost of all labor and materials, machinery and equipment, lands, property, rights, easements and franchises, plans and specifications, surveys and estimates of cost and of revenues, and engineering and legal services, financing charges, interest prior to and during construction and, if deemed advisable by the district board, for one year after the estimated date of completion of construction, and all other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of any such undertaking, administrative expense and such other expenses, including reasonable provision for working capital and a reserve for interest, as may be necessary or incident to the  financing herein authorized, and may also include any obligation or expense incurred by the district or by any political subdivision prior to the issuance of bonds under the provisions of this Article in connection with any such undertaking or any of the foregoing items of cost.

(3)        The word "district" shall mean a metropolitan sewerage district created under the provisions of this Article.

(4)        The term "district board" shall mean a sewerage district board established under the provisions of this Article as the governing body of a district or, if such sewerage district board shall be abolished, any board, body, or commission succeeding to the principal functions thereof or upon which the powers given by this Article to the sewerage district board shall be given by law.

(5)        The term "general obligation bonds" shall mean bonds of a district for the payment of which and the interest thereon all the taxable property within such district is subject to the levy of an ad valorem tax without limitation of rate or amount.

(6)        The term "governing body" shall mean the board, commission, council or other body, by whatever name it may be known, of a political subdivision in which the general legislative powers thereof are vested, including, but without limitation, as to any political subdivision other than the county, the board of commissioners for the county when the general legislative powers of such political subdivision are exercised by such board.

(7)        The word "person" shall mean any and all persons including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities, or political subdivisions, governmental agencies, or private or public corporations organized and existing under the laws of this State or any other state or county.

(8)        The term "political subdivision" shall mean any county, city, town, incorporated village, sanitary district, water district, sewer district, special purpose district or other political subdivision or public corporation of this State now or hereafter created or established.

(9)        The term "revenue bonds" shall mean bonds the principal of and the interest on which are payable solely from revenues of a sewerage system or systems.

(9a)      The word "revenues" shall mean all moneys received by a district from, in connection with or as a result of its ownership or operation of a sewerage system, including, without limitation and if deemed advisable by the district board, moneys received from the United States of America, or any agency thereof, pursuant to an agreement with the district board pertaining to the sewerage system.

(10)      The word "sewage" shall mean the water-carried wastes created in and carried or to be carried away from residences, hotels, schools, hospitals, industrial establishments, commercial establishments or any other private or public buildings, together with such surface or groundwater or household and industrial wastes as may be present.

(11)      The term "sewage disposal system" shall mean any plant, system, facility or property, either within or without the limits of the district, used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the collection, treatment, purification or disposal of sewage, or any integral part thereof, including but not limited to septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems, treatment plants, facilities for the generation and transmission of electric power and energy, pumping stations, intercepting sewers, trunk sewers, pressure lines, mains and all necessary appurtenances and equipment, and all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto and deemed necessary or convenient by the district board for the operation thereof.

(12)      The term "sewerage system" shall embrace both sewers and sewage disposal systems and any part or parts thereof, either within or without the limits of the district, all property, rights, easements and franchises relating thereto, and any and all buildings and other structures necessary or useful in connection with the ownership, operation or maintenance thereof.

(13)      The word "sewers" shall mean any mains, pipes and laterals,  including pumping stations, either within or without the limits of the district, for the reception of sewage and carrying such sewage to an outfall or some part of a sewage disposal system.

(b)        Description of Boundaries. - Whenever this Article requires  that the boundaries of an area be described, it shall be sufficient if the boundaries are described in a manner which conveys an understanding of the location of the land and may be

(1)        By reference to a map,

(2)        By metes and bounds,

(3)        By general description referring to natural boundaries, boundaries of political subdivisions, or boundaries of particular tracts or parcels of land, or

(4)        Any combination of the foregoing. (1961, c. 795, s. 2; 1969, c. 993, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 4; 1979, c. 619, s. 10; 1983,  c. 333, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-66.  Procedure for creation; resolutions and petitions for creation; notice to and action by the Environmental Management Commission; notice and public hearing; resolutions creating districts; actions to set aside proceedings.

Any two or more political subdivisions in one or more counties, or any political subdivision or subdivisions and any unincorporated area or areas located within one or more counties, which political subdivisions or areas need not be contiguous, may petition for the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district under the provisions of this Article by filing with the board or boards of commissioners of the county or counties within which the proposed district will lie:

(1)        A resolution of the governing body of each such political subdivision stating the necessity for the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district under the provisions of this Article in order to preserve and promote the public health and welfare within the area of the proposed district, and requesting the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district having the boundaries set forth in said resolution, and

(2)        If any unincorporated area is to be included in such district, a petition, signed by not less than fifty-one per centum (51%) of the qualified voters resident within such area, defining the boundaries of such area, stating the necessity for the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district under the provisions of this Article in order to preserve and promote the public health and welfare within the proposed district, and requesting the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district having the boundaries set forth in such petition for such district.

Upon the receipt of such resolutions and petitions requesting the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district, the board or boards of commissioners, through the chairman thereof, shall notify the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission of the receipt of such resolutions and petitions, and shall request that a representative of the Environmental Management Commission hold a joint public hearing with the board or boards of commissioners concerning the creation of the proposed metropolitan sewerage district. The chairman of the Environmental Management Commission and the chairman or chairmen of the board or boards of commissioners shall name a time and place within the proposed district at which the public hearing shall be held; provided, however, that where a proposed district lies within more than one county, the public hearing shall be held in the county within which the greater portion of the proposed district lies. The chairman or chairmen of the board or boards of commissioners shall give prior notice of such hearing by posting a notice at least 30 days prior to the hearing at the courthouse of the county or counties within which the district will lie and also by publication at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the proposed district, the first publication to be at least 30 days prior to such hearing. In the event all matters pertaining to the creation of such metropolitan sewerage district cannot be concluded at such hearing, such hearing may be continued to a time and place within the proposed district determined by the board or boards of commissioners with the concurrence of the representative of the Environmental Management Commission.

If, after such hearing, the Environmental Management Commission and the board or boards of commissioners shall deem it advisable to comply with the request of such resolutions and petitions, and determine that the creation of a metropolitan sewerage district would preserve and promote the public health and welfare in the area or areas described in such resolutions and petitions, the Environmental Management Commission shall adopt a resolution to that effect, defining the boundaries of such district and declaring the territory within such boundaries to be a metropolitan sewerage district under the name and style of "________ Metropolitan Sewerage District of ______________ [County] [Counties]"; provided, that the Environmental Management Commission may make minor deviations in the boundaries from those prescribed in the resolutions and petitions upon determination by the Environmental Management Commission that such deviations are advisable in the interest of the public health, and provided no such district shall include any political subdivision which has not petitioned for inclusion as provided in this Article.

The Environmental Management Commission shall cause copies of the resolution creating the metropolitan sewerage district to be sent to the board or boards of commissioners and to the governing body of each political subdivision included in the district. The board or boards of commissioners shall cause a copy of such resolution of the Environmental Management Commission to be published in a newspaper circulating within the district once in each of two successive weeks, and a notice substantially in the following form shall be published with such resolution:

The foregoing resolution was passed by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission on the ________ day of ________, ________, and was first published on the ________ day of ________, ____.

Any action or proceeding questioning the validity of said resolution or the creation of the metropolitan sewerage district therein described must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of said resolution.

                                                                                    ____________________________________

Clerk, Board of Commissioners for

_____________________ County.

Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a resolution creating a metropolitan sewerage district, or to obtain any other relief upon the ground that such resolution or any proceeding or action taken with respect to the creation of such district is invalid, must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of the resolution and said notice. After the expiration of such period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the resolution or the creation of the metropolitan sewerage district therein described shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the resolution or of the creation of such metropolitan sewerage district be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within such period. (1961, c. 795, s. 3; 1973, c. 512, s. 1; c. 822, s. 4; c. 1262, s. 23; 1977, c. 764, s. 1; 1999-456, s. 59.)

 

§ 162A-66.5.  Approval of all political subdivisions required.

Prior to the adoption of a resolution under G.S. 162A-66 on or after April 1, 2013, the Environmental Management Commission shall receive a resolution supporting the establishment of a district board from (i) the board of commissioners of the county or counties lying wholly or partly within the boundaries of the proposed district and (ii) from the governing board of each political subdivision in the county or counties lying wholly or partly within the boundaries of the proposed district. If the Environmental Management Commission does not receive a resolution from each of those political subdivisions, the Environmental Management Commission may not adopt the resolution to create the district board.  (2013-50, s. 5.5.)

 

§ 162A-67.  District board; composition, appointment, terms, oaths and removal of members; organization; meetings; quorum; compensation and expenses of members.

(a)        Appointment of Board for District Lying Wholly or Partly outside City or Town Limits. - The district board of a metropolitan sewerage district lying in whole or in part outside the corporate limits of a city or town shall be appointed immediately after the creation of the district in the following manner:

(1)        If the district lies entirely within one county with a population of 25,000 or more, the board of commissioners of that county shall appoint to the district board three members who are qualified voters residing within the district. The initial members so appointed shall have terms expiring one year, two years and three years, respectively, from the date of adoption of the resolution of the Environmental Management Commission creating the district, and the board of commissioners shall designate the length of the term of each initial member. Successor members shall be appointed for a term of three years.

(1a)      If the district lies entirely within one county with a population of less than 25,000, the board of commissioners of that county shall appoint to the district board five members who are qualified voters residing within the district. Of the initial members so appointed, one shall have a term expiring at the end of one year, two shall have terms expiring at the end of two years, and two shall have terms expiring at the end of three years from the date of adoption of the resolution of the Environmental Management Commission creating the district. In making initial appointments, the board of commissioners shall specify whether a member is to serve a term of one, two, or three years. Successor members shall be appointed for a term of three years.

(2)        If the district lies in two counties, the board of commissioners of the county in which the largest portion of the district lies shall appoint to the district board two qualified voters residing in the county and district to serve for terms of one year and three years, respectively. The board of commissioners of the county in which the lesser portion of the district lies shall appoint to the district board one qualified voter residing in the county and district to serve for a term of two years. All successor members shall be appointed for a term of three years.

(3)        If the district lies in three or more counties, the board of commissioners of each such county shall appoint one member of the district board. Each member so appointed shall be a qualified voter residing in the district and of the county from which he is appointed and shall serve for a term of three years. Successor members shall be appointed for a term of three years.

(4)        The governing body of each political subdivision, other than counties, lying in whole or in part within the district, shall appoint one member of the district board. Except as provided in G.S. 162A-68, no appointment of a member of the district board shall be made by or in behalf of any political subdivision of which the board or boards of commissioners shall be the governing body. If any city or town within the district shall have a population, as determined from the latest decennial census, more than one-half the combined population of all other political subdivisions (other than counties) and unincorporated areas within the district, the governing body of any such city or town shall appoint three members.

(b)        Appointment of Board for District Lying Wholly within City or Town Limits. - Any district lying entirely within the corporate limits of two or more cities or towns shall be governed by a district board consisting solely of members appointed by the governing bodies of such cities or towns and, in addition, one member elected by the appointed members of the district board. The governing body of each constituent city or town of the district shall appoint to the district board two qualified voters residing in the district and the city or town. The members so appointed shall elect, by majority vote, one additional member who shall be a qualified voter residing in the district and one of the constituent cities or towns.

One of the two members initially appointed by the governing body of each constituent city or town shall serve for a term which shall expire 30 days following the next regular election held for election of the governing body by which the member was appointed; and the other member shall serve for a term which shall expire two years thereafter. Successor members shall serve for a term of four years.

The member elected by the district board and his successors in office shall serve for a term of four years.

(c)        Reappointment; Vacancies; Removal; Term. - Members of a district board may be reappointed. If a vacancy shall occur on a district board, the governing body which appointed the member who previously filled the vacancy shall appoint a new member who shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any member of a district board may be removed for cause by the governing board that appointed him. All members shall serve until their successors have been duly appointed and qualified.

(d)       District Board Procedures. - Each member of the district board, before entering upon his duties, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office; and a record of each such oath shall be filed with the clerk or clerks of the board or boards of commissioners.

The district board shall elect one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman and shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer who may, but need not, be members of the district board. The officers [offices] of secretary and treasurer may be combined. The district board may also appoint an assistant secretary and an assistant treasurer or, if the office is combined, an assistant secretary-treasurer who may, but need not, be members of the district board. The terms of office of the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer, assistant secretary, and assistant treasurer shall be as provided in the bylaws of the district board.

The district board shall meet regularly at such places and dates as are determined by the board. Special meetings may be called by the chairman on his own initiative and shall be called by him upon request of two or more members of the board. All members shall be notified in writing at least 24 hours in advance of such meeting. A majority of the members of the district board shall constitute a quorum, and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the district board present at any meeting thereof shall be necessary for any action taken by the district board. No vacancy in the membership of the district board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the district board. Each member, including the chairman, shall be entitled to vote on any question. The members of the district board may receive compensation in an amount to be determined by the board, but not to exceed that compensation paid to members of Occupational Licensing Boards as provided in G.S. 93B-5(a) for each meeting of the board attended and for attendance at each regularly scheduled committee meeting of the board. The members of the district board may also be reimbursed the amount of actual expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.  (1961, c. 795, s. 4; 1963, c. 471; 1973, c. 512, s. 2; c. 822, s. 4; c. 1262, s. 23; 1979, c. 471; 1983, c. 333, s. 2; 1991, c. 351, s. 1; 1995, c. 511, s. 2.1; 2012-203, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-67.1:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-67.2:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-67.3:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-67.4:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-67.5.  Determination of population and representation.

(a)        For purposes of determining district board representation of political subdivisions for any appointment under this Article, population shall be determined by reference to the most recent decennial census.

(b)        For purposes of determining population for district board representation, only that portion of the population residing within the district boundary itself shall be included for each political subdivision and each unincorporated area having district board representation at the time such determination is made.

(c)        In determining district board representation, no appointment shall be made by or in behalf of a political subdivision which does not own or operate a public system for the collection of wastewater at the time of such appointment.  (2012-203, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-68.  Procedure for inclusion of additional political subdivision or unincorporated area; notice and hearing; elections; actions to set aside proceedings.

(a)        If, at any time subsequent to the creation of a district, there shall be filed with the district board a resolution of the governing body of a political subdivision, or a petition, signed by not less than fifty-one per centum (51%) of the qualified voters resident within an unincorporated area, requesting inclusion in the district of such political subdivision or unincorporated area, and if the district board shall favor the inclusion in the district of such political subdivision or unincorporated area, the district board shall notify the board or boards of commissioners of the county or counties within which the district lies and shall file with the board or boards of commissioners and with the Environmental Management Commission a report setting forth the plans of the district for extending sewerage service to the political subdivision or unincorporated area. The report shall include:

(1)        A map or maps of the district and adjacent territory showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district; the existing major sewer interceptors and outfalls; and the proposed extension of such interceptors and outfalls.

(2)        A statement setting forth the plans of the district for extending sewerage services to the territory proposed to be included, which plans shall:

a.         Provide for extending sewerage service to the territory included on substantially the same basis and in the same manner as such services are provided within the rest of the district prior to inclusion of the new territory.

b.         Set forth a proposed time schedule for extending sewerage service to the territory proposed to be included.

c.         Set forth the estimated cost of extending sewerage service to the territory proposed to be included; the method by which the district proposes to finance the extension; the outstanding existing indebtedness of the district, if any; and the valuation of assessable property within the district and within the territory proposed to be included.

d.         Contain a declaration of intent of the district board to conform with the plans set forth in the report in extending sewerage services to the territory proposed to be included; and a certification by the chairman of the district board to the effect that the matters and things set forth in the report are true to his knowledge or belief.

(b)        The board or boards of commissioners, through the chairmen thereof, shall thereupon request that a representative of the Environmental Management Commission hold a joint public meeting with the board or boards of commissioners concerning the inclusion of a political subdivision or an unincorporated area in the district. The chairman of the Environmental Management Commission and the chairman or chairmen of the board or boards of commissioners shall name a time and place within the district at which the public hearing shall be held. The chairman or chairmen of the board or boards of commissioners shall give prior notice of such hearing by posting a notice at the courthouse door of the county or counties at least 30 days prior to the hearing and also by publication at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the district and in any such political subdivision or unincorporated area, the first publication to be at least 30 days prior to such hearing. In the event all matters pertaining to the inclusion of such political subdivision or unincorporated area cannot be included at such hearing, such hearing may be continued to a time and place within the district determined by the board or boards of commissioners with the concurrence of the representative of the Environmental Management Commission.

(c)        If, after such hearing, the Environmental Management Commission and the board or boards of commissioners shall determine that the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area in the district will preserve and promote the public health and welfare, the Environmental Management Commission shall adopt a resolution to that effect, defining the boundaries of the district, including the political subdivision or unincorporated area which has filed a resolution or petition as provided for in this section, and declaring such political subdivision or unincorporated area to be included in the district.

(d)       If, at or prior to such public hearing, there shall be filed with the district board a petition, signed by not less than ten per centum (10%) of the qualified voters residing in the district, requesting an election to be held therein on the question of including the political subdivision or unincorporated area, the district board shall certify a copy of such petition to the board or boards of commissioners, and the board or boards of commissioners shall request the county board or boards of elections to submit such question to the qualified voters within the district in accordance with G.S. 163-287 and the other applicable provisions of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes; provided, that the election shall not be held unless the Environmental Management Commission has adopted a resolution approving the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area in the district.

Notice of such election, which shall contain a statement of the boundaries of the territory proposed to be included in the district and the boundaries of the district after inclusion, shall be given by publication once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper or newspapers having general circulation within the district, the first publication to be at least 30 days prior to the election.

(e)        Notice of the resolution of the Environmental Management Commission, or in the event that an election pursuant to this section is held, notice of the results of the election, approving the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area within the district shall be published as provided in G.S. 162A-66.

(f)        Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a resolution of the Environmental Management Commission or an election approving the inclusion of a political subdivision or unincorporated area within a district or to obtain any other relief upon the ground that such resolution or election or any proceeding or action taken with respect to the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area within the district is invalid, must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of the notice. After the expiration of such period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the resolution or the election or the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area in the district shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the resolution or the election or the inclusion of the political subdivision or unincorporated area be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within such period.

(g)        Any political subdivision or unincorporated area included within an existing district by resolution of the Environmental Management Commission or by such resolution and election shall be subject to all debts of the district.

(h)        The annexation by a city or town within a metropolitan sewerage district of an area lying outside such district shall not be construed as the inclusion within the district of an additional political subdivision or unincorporated area within the meaning of the provisions of this section; but any such areas so annexed shall become a part of the district and shall be subject to all debts thereof.

(i)         Immediately following the inclusion of any additional political subdivision within an existing district, members representing such additional political subdivision shall be appointed to the district board in the manner provided in this section:

(1)        Any additional unincorporated area that is included within an existing district shall be represented by the members representing the county in which the unincorporated area lies as follows:

a.         If inclusion of the additional unincorporated area extends the district into more than one county, members representing the unincorporated area in the new county shall be appointed immediately following the inclusion of the additional area. Upon the inclusion of the additional area, the board members appointed in accordance with G.S. 162A-67(a)(1) or G.S. 162A-67(a)(1a) shall continue to serve on the district board. The board of commissioners of the county in which the largest portion of the district lies shall appoint qualified voters residing in the county and district as their successors such that the county in which the largest portion of the district lies shall always have three members on the district board. The board of commissioners of the county in which the lesser portion of the district lies shall appoint to the district board two qualified voters residing in the county and district to serve a term of three years and shall appoint qualified voters residing in the county and district as their successors such that the county in which the lesser portion of the district lies shall always have two members on the district board. For purposes of this subdivision, the county in which the largest portion and lesser portion of the district lies shall be determined with reference to the land area of the district lying within the county as a percentage of land area of the entire district at the time such appointment or reappointment is made.

b.         If the inclusion of the additional unincorporated area has the effect of changing the county in which the largest portion of the district lies, new members representing the county comprising the larger portion of the district shall be appointed in accordance with G.S. 162A-67(a)(2) immediately following the inclusion, and no reappointment shall be made by the county in which the lesser portion of the district lies upon expiration of the first term of a member representing that county following the inclusion.

(2)        Following the inclusion of any additional political subdivision within an existing district, the political subdivisions added shall appoint members to the district board in accordance with G.S. 162A-67(a)(4) only if the governing body of the political subdivision owns or operates a public system for the collection of wastewater at the time of such appointment.

The terms of office of the members first appointed to represent such additional subdivision or area may be varied for a period not to exceed six months from the terms provided for in G.S. 162A-67, so that the appointment of successors to such members may more nearly coincide with the appointment of successors to members of the existing board; and all successor members shall be appointed for the terms provided for in G.S. 162A-67.  (1961, c. 795, s. 5; 1973, c. 512, s. 3; c. 822, s. 4; c. 1262, s. 23; 1977, c. 764, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 954, s. 1; 2012-203, s. 3; 2013-381, s. 10.30.)

 

§ 162A-69.  Powers generally; fiscal year.

Each district shall be deemed to be a public body and body politic and corporate exercising public and essential governmental functions to provide for the preservation and promotion of the public health and welfare, and each district is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business not in conflict with this or other law;

(2)        To adopt an official seal and alter the same at pleasure;

(3)        To maintain an office at such place or places in the district as it may designate;

(4)        To sue and be sued in its own name, plead and be impleaded;

(5)        To acquire, lease as lessor or lessee, construct, reconstruct, improve, extend, enlarge, equip, repair, maintain and operate any sewerage system or part thereof within or without the district; provided, however, that no such sewerage system or part thereof shall be located in any city, town or incorporated village outside the district except with the consent of the governing body thereof, and each such governing body is hereby authorized to grant such consent;

(6)        To issue general obligation bonds and revenue bonds of the district as hereinafter provided to pay the cost of a sewerage system or systems;

(7)        To issue general obligation refunding bonds and revenue refunding bonds of the district as hereinafter provided;

(8)        To fix and revise from time to time and to collect rents, rates, fees and other charges for the use of or for the services and facilities furnished by any sewerage system;

(9)        To cause taxes to be levied and collected upon all taxable property within the district sufficient to meet the obligations of the district, to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating any sewerage system or systems, and to pay all obligations incurred by the district in the performance of its lawful undertakings and functions;

(10)      To acquire in the name of the district, either within or without the corporate limits of the district, by gift, purchase or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, which right shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, any improved or unimproved lands or rights in land, and to acquire such personal property, as it may deem necessary in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, repair, equipment, maintenance or operation of any sewerage system, and to hold and dispose of all real and personal property under its control;

(11)      To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Article, including a trust agreement or trust agreements securing any revenue bonds issued hereunder;

(11a)    To pledge a security interest in accordance with G.S. 160A-20;

(12)      To employ such consulting and other engineers, superintendents, managers, construction and financial experts, accountants, attorneys, employees and agents as may, in the judgment of the district board be deemed necessary, and to fix their compensation; provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 159-20 shall be complied with to the extent that the same shall be applicable;

(13)      To receive and accept from the United States of America or the State of North Carolina or any agency or instrumentality thereof loans, grants, advances or contributions for or in aid of the planning, acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, repair, equipment, maintenance or operation of any sewerage system or systems, to agree to such reasonable conditions or requirements as may be imposed, and to receive and accept contributions from any source of either money, property, labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purposes for which such loans, grants, advances or contributions may be made;

(13a)    To adopt ordinances to regulate and control the discharge of sewage into any sewerage system owned or operated by the district. Prior to the adoption of any ordinance or any amendment to any ordinance the district shall first pass a declaration of intent to adopt such ordinance or amendment. The declaration of intent shall describe the ordinance or amendment which it is proposed that the district adopt. The declaration of intent shall be submitted to each governing body for review and comment. The district shall take into consideration any comment and suggestions with respect to the proposed ordinance or amendment offered by any governing body and may modify such proposed ordinance or amendment to reflect comment and suggestions offered by any governing body. Thereafter, the district shall be authorized to adopt such ordinance or any amendment to it at any time after 60 days following the submission of the declaration of intent to each governing body;

(13b)    To require the owners of improved property located within the district so as to be served by a sewer collection line owned or leased and operated by the district to connect their premises with the sewer line, and fix charges for these connections; and

(13c)    To exercise any power of a Metropolitan Water District under Article 4 of this Chapter not set forth in this section; [and]

(14)      To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this Article.

Each district shall keep its accounts on the basis of a fiscal year commencing on the first day of July and ending on the thirtieth day of June of the following year.  (1961, c. 795, s. 6; 1973, c. 822, s. 4; 1981, c. 919, s. 32; 1983, c. 333, s. 3; 1987, c. 396, ss. 1-3; 2012-203, s. 4; 2015-207, s. 5(c).)

 

§ 162A-70.  Bonds and notes authorized.

A metropolitan sewerage district shall have power from time to time to issue bonds and notes under the Local Government Finance Act. (1961, c. 795, s. 7; 1971, c. 780, s. 30; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-71.  Determination of tax rate by district board; levy and collection of tax; remittance and deposit of funds.

After each assessment for taxes following the creation of the district, the board or boards of commissioners shall file with the district board the valuation of assessable property within the district. The district board shall then determine the amount of funds to be raised by taxation for the ensuing year in excess of available funds to provide for the payment of interest on and the principal of all outstanding general obligation bonds as the same shall become due  and payable, to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating any sewerage system or systems, and to pay all obligations incurred by the district in the performance of its lawful undertakings and functions.

The district board shall determine the number of cents per one hundred dollars ($100.00) necessary to raise said amount and certify such rate to the board or boards of commissioners. The board or boards of commissioners shall include the number of cents per one hundred dollars ($100.00) certified by the district board in its next annual levy against all taxable property within the district, which tax shall be collected as other county taxes are collected, and every month the amount of tax so collected shall be remitted to the district board and deposited by the district board in a separate account in a bank in the State of North Carolina. Such levy may include an amount for reimbursing the county for the additional cost to the county of levying and collecting such taxes, pursuant to such formula as may be agreed upon by the district board and the board or boards of commissioners, to be deducted from the collections and stated with each remittance to the district board. The officer or officers having  charge or custody of the funds of the district shall require said bank to furnish security for protection of such deposits as provided in G.S. 159-28 and, after June 30, 1973, G.S. 159-31. (1961, c. 795, s. 15; 1973, c. 512, s. 4; c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-72.  Rates and charges for services.

The district board may fix, and may revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees and other charges for the use of and for the services furnished or to be furnished by any sewerage system. Such rents, rates, fees and charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any bureau, board, commission, or other agency of the State or of any political subdivision. Any such rents, rates, fees and charges pledged to the payment of revenue bonds of the district shall  be fixed and revised so that the revenues of the sewerage system, together with any other available funds, shall be sufficient at all times to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the sewerage system the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such revenue bonds, including reserves for such purposes, and to pay the interest on and the principal of such revenue bonds as the same shall become due and payable and to provide reserves therefor. If any such rents, rates, fees and charges are pledged to the payment of any general obligation bonds issued under this Article, such rents, rates, fees and charges shall be fixed and revised so as to comply with the requirements of such pledge. The district board may provide methods for collection of such rents, rates, fees and charges and measures for enforcement of collection thereof, including penalties and the denial or discontinuance of service. (1961, c. 795, s. 19; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-73.  Authority of governing bodies of political subdivisions.

The governing body of any political subdivision is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        Subject to the approval of the Local Government Commission, to  transfer jurisdiction over, and to lease, lend, sell, grant or convey to a district, upon such terms and conditions as the governing body of such political subdivision may agree upon with the district board, the whole or any part of any existing sewerage system or systems or such real or personal property as may be necessary or useful in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, equipment, repair, maintenance or operation of any sewerage system by the district, including public roads and other property already devoted to public use;

(2)        To make and enter into contracts or agreements with a district, upon such terms and conditions and for such periods as such governing body and the district board may determine:

a.         For the collection, treatment or disposal of sewage;

b.         For the collecting by such political subdivision or by the district of rents, rates, fees or charges for the services and facilities provided to or for such political subdivision or its inhabitants by any sewerage system, and for the enforcement of collection of such rents, rates, fees and charges; and

c.         For the imposition of penalties, including the shutting off of the supply of water furnished by any water system owned or operated by such political subdivision, in the event that the owner, tenant or occupant of any premises utilizing such water shall fail to pay any such rents, rates, fees or charges;

(3)        To fix, and revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees and other charges for the services furnished or to be furnished by a sewerage system under any contract between the district and such political subdivision, and to pledge all or any part of the proceeds of such rents, rates, fees and charges to the payment of any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract;

(4)        To pay any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract from any available funds of the political subdivision and to levy and collect a tax ad valorem for the making of any such payment; and

(5)        In its discretion or if required by law, to submit to its qualified electors under the election laws applicable to such political subdivision any contract or agreement which such governing body is authorized to make and enter into with the district under the provisions of this Article.

                  Any such election upon a contract or agreement may, at the discretion of the governing body, be called and held under the election laws applicable to the issuance of bonds by such political subdivision. (1961, c. 795, s. 23; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-74.  Rights-of-way and easements in streets and highways.

A right-of-way or easement in, along, or across any State highway system, road, or street, and along or across any city or town street within a district is hereby granted to a district in case such right-of-way is found by the district board to be necessary or convenient for carrying out any of the work of the district. Any work done in, along, or across any State highway system, road, street, or property shall be done in accordance with the rules and regulations and any reasonable requirements of the Department of Transportation, and any work done in, along, or across any municipal street or property shall be done in accordance with any reasonable requirements of the municipal governing body. (1961, c. 795, s. 24; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 822, s. 4; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)

 

§ 162A-75.  Submission of preliminary plans to planning groups; cooperation with planning agencies.

Prior to the time final plans are made for the location and construction of any sewerage system, the district board shall present preliminary plans for such improvement to the county, municipal or regional planning board for their consideration, if such facility is to be located within the planning jurisdiction of any such county, municipal or regional planning group. The district board shall make every effort to cooperate with the planning agency, if any, in the location and construction of a proposed facility authorized under this Article. Any district board created under the authority of this Article is hereby directed, wherever possible, to coordinate its plans for the construction of sewerage system improvements with the overall plans for the development of the planning area, if such district is located wholly or in part within a county, municipal or regional planning area; provided, however, that the approval of any such county, municipal or regional planning board as to any such plan of the district shall not be required. (1961, c. 795, s. 25; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-76.  Water system acting as billing and collecting agent for district; furnishing meter readings.

The owner or operator, including any political subdivision, of a water system supplying water to the owners, lessees or tenants of real property which is or will be served by any sewerage system owned or operated by a district is authorized to act as the billing and collecting agent of the district for any rents, rates, fees or charges imposed by the district for the services and facilities provided by such sewerage system, and such district is authorized to arrange with such owner or operator to act as the billing and collecting agent of the district for such purpose. Any such owner or operator shall, if requested by a district, furnish to the district copies of such regular periodic meter reading and water consumption records and other pertinent data as the district may require to do its own billing and collecting. The district shall pay to such owner or operator the reasonable additional expenses incurred by such owner or operator in rendering such services to the district. (1961, c. 795, s. 26; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-77.  District may assume sewerage system indebtedness of political subdivision; approval of voters; actions founded upon invalidity of election; tax to pay assumed indebtedness.

A district may assume all outstanding indebtedness of any political subdivision in the district lawfully incurred for paying all or any part of the cost of a sewerage system, subject to approval thereof by a majority of the qualified voters of the district voting at an election thereon. Any such election shall be called and held in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act, insofar as the same may be made applicable, and the returns of such election shall be canvassed and a statement of the result thereof prepared, recorded and published as provided in the Local Government Finance Act. No right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the election shall be asserted nor shall the validity of the election be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within 30 days after the publication of such statement of result. In the event that any such indebtedness of a political subdivision is assumed by the district, there shall be annually levied and collected a tax ad valorem upon all the taxable property in the district sufficient to pay such assumed indebtedness and the interest thereon as the same become due and payable; provided, however, that such tax may be reduced by the amount of other moneys actually available for such purpose. Such tax shall be determined, levied and collected in the manner provided by G.S. 162A-71 and subject to the provisions of said section.

Nothing herein shall prevent any political subdivision from levying taxes to provide for the payment of its debt service requirements as to indebtedness incurred for paying all or any part of the cost of a sewerage system if such debt service requirements shall not have been otherwise provided for. (1961, c. 795, s. 27; 1973, c. 512, s. 5; c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-77.1.  Special election upon the question of the merger of metropolitan sewerage districts into cities or towns.

Any district lying entirely within the corporate limits of a city or town may be merged into such city or town in accordance with the provisions of this section.

The governing body of a city or town, with the approval of the district board, shall call and conduct a special election within such city or town on the question of the merger of the district into the city or town. A vote in favor of such merger shall constitute a vote for such city or town to assume the obligations of the district. Such special election may be called and conducted by the governing body of a city or town upon its own motion after passage of a resolution of the district board requesting or approving the special election. Any special election shall be conducted in accordance with G.S. 163-287.

A new registration of voters shall not be required for the special election. The special election shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of law applicable to regular elections in the city or town.

If a majority of the votes are in favor of the merger, then:

(1)        All property, real and personal and mixed, including accounts receivable, belonging to such district shall vest in, belong to, and be the property of, such city or town. All district boards are hereby authorized to take such actions and to execute such documents as will carry into effect the provisions and the intent of this section.

(2)        All judgments, liens, rights of liens, and causes of action of any nature in favor of such district shall vest in and remain and inure to the benefit of such city or town.

(3)        All taxes, assessments, sewer charges, and any other debts, charges or fees, owing to such district shall be owed to and collected by such city or town.

(4)        All actions, suits and proceedings pending against, or having been instituted by, such district shall not be abated by this section or by the merger herein provided for, but all such actions, suits, and proceedings shall be continued and completed in the same manner as if merger had not occurred, and such city or town shall be a party to all such actions, suits, and proceedings in the place and stead of the district and shall pay or cause to be paid any judgments rendered against the district in any such actions, suits, or proceedings. No new process need be served in any such action, suit, or proceeding.

(5)        All obligations of the district, including outstanding indebtedness, shall be assumed by such city or town, and all such obligations and outstanding indebtedness shall constitute obligations and indebtedness of such city or town, and the full faith and credit of such city or town shall be deemed to be pledged for the punctual payment of the principal of and the interest on any general obligation bonds or bond anticipation notes of such district, and all the taxable property within such city or town, as well as that formerly located within the district, shall be and remain subject to taxation for such payment.

(6)        All ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies of such district shall continue in full force and effect until repealed or amended by the governing body of such city or town.

(7)        Such district shall be abolished, and shall no longer be constituted a public body or a body politic and corporate, except for the purposes of carrying into effect the provisions and the intent of this section.

If a majority of the votes are against the merger, then such merger shall not be effective unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters who vote thereon in a subsequent special election conducted under authority of this section.

Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a special election held under authority of this section or the result thereof, or to obtain any other relief upon the ground that such election or any proceeding or action taken with respect to the holding of such election is invalid, must be commenced within 30 days after the day of such special election. After the expiration of such period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the election or the result thereof shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the election or of the result thereof be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within such period.  (1975, c. 448; 2013-381, s. 10.31.)

 

§ 162A-78.  Advances by political subdivisions for preliminary expenses of districts.

Any political subdivision is hereby authorized to make advances, from any moneys that may be available for such purpose, in connection with the creation of such district and to provide for the preliminary expenses of such district. Any such advances may be repaid to such political subdivision from the proceeds of bonds issued by such district or from other available funds of the district. (1961, c. 795, s. 28; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-79.  Article regarded as supplemental.

This Article shall be deemed to provide an additional and alternative method for the doing of the things authorized hereby and shall be regarded as supplemental and additional to powers conferred by other laws, and shall not be regarded as in derogation of or as repealing any powers now existing under any other law, either general, special or local; provided, however, that the issuance of bonds under the provisions of this Article need not comply with the requirements of any other law applicable to the issuance of bonds except as herein  provided. (1961, c. 795, s. 29; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-80.  Inconsistent laws declared inapplicable.

All general, special or local laws, or parts thereof, inconsistent herewith are hereby declared to be inapplicable, unless otherwise specified, to the provisions of this Article. (1961, c. 795, s. 30; 1973, c. 822, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-81.  Adoption and enforcement of ordinances.

(a)        A district shall have the same power as a city under G.S. 160A-175 to assess civil fines and penalties for violation of its ordinances, and may secure injunctions to further insure compliance with its ordinances as provided by this section.

(b)        An ordinance may provide that its violation shall subject the offender to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) to be recovered by the district in a civil action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalty within a prescribed period of time after he has been cited for violation of the ordinance. Any person assessed a civil penalty by the district shall be notified of the assessment by registered or certified mail, and the notice shall specify the reasons for the assessment. If the person assessed fails to pay the amount of the assessment to the district within 30 days after receipt of notice, or such longer period, not to exceed 180 days, as the district may specify, the district may institute a civil action in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the violation occurred or, in the discretion of the district, in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the person assessed has his or its principal place of business, to recover the amount of the assessment. The validity of the district's action may be appealed directly to General Court of Justice in the county in which the violation occurred, or may be raised at any time in the action to recover the assessment. Neither failure to contest the district's action directly nor failure to raise the issue of validity in the action to recover an assessment precludes the other.

(c)        An ordinance may provide that it may be enforced by an appropriate equitable remedy issuing from court of competent jurisdiction. In such case, the General Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders as may be appropriate and it shall not be a defense to the application of the district for equitable relief that there is an adequate remedy at law.

(d)       Subject to the express terms of an ordinance, a district ordinance may be enforced by any one, all, or a combination of the remedies authorized and prescribed by this section.

(e)        An ordinance may provide, when appropriate, that each day's continuing violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. (1983, c. 333, s. 4.)

 

§§ 162A-82 through 162A-85.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 5A.

Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Districts.

§ 162A-85.1.  Definitions.

(a)        Definitions. - As used in this Article, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Board of commissioners. - The duly elected board of commissioners of the county or counties in which a metropolitan water and sewerage district shall be created under the provisions of this Article.

(2)        City council or Council. - The duly elected city council of any municipality.

(3)        Cost. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(4)        District. - A metropolitan water and sewerage district created under the provisions of this Article.

(5)        District board. - A water and sewerage district board established under the provisions of this Article.

(6)        General obligation bonds. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(7)        Governing body. - As defined in G.S. 162A-32.

(8)        Person. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(9)        Political subdivision. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(10)      Revenue bonds. - Any bonds the principal of and the interest on which are payable solely from revenues of a water and sewerage system or systems.

(11)      Revenues. - All moneys received by a district from, in connection with, or as a result of its ownership or operation of a water and sewerage system, including moneys received from the United States of America, or any agency thereof, pursuant to an agreement with the district board pertaining to the water and sewerage system, if deemed advisable by the district board.

(12)      Sewage. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(13)      Sewage disposal system. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(14)      Sewerage system. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(15)      Sewers. - As defined in G.S. 162A-65.

(16)      Water distribution system. - As defined in G.S. 162A-32.

(17)      Water system. - As defined in G.S. 162A-32.

(18)      Water treatment or purification plant. - As defined in G.S. 162A-32.

(b)        Description of Boundaries. - Whenever this Article requires the boundaries of an area be described, it shall be sufficient if the boundaries are described in a manner which conveys an understanding of the location of the land and may be by any of the following:

(1)        By reference to a clearly identified map recorded in the appropriate register of deeds office.

(2)        By metes and bounds.

(3)        By general description referring to natural boundaries, boundaries of political subdivisions, or boundaries of particular tracts or parcels of land.

(4)        Any combination of the foregoing.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.2.  Creation.

(a)        Except as provided by operation of law, the governing bodies of two or more political subdivisions may establish a metropolitan water and sewerage district if all of the political subdivisions adopt a resolution setting forth all of the following:

(1)        The names of the appointees to the district board.

(2)        The date on which the district board shall be established.

(3)        The boundaries of the district board.

(b)        Prior to the adoption of a resolution under subsection (a) of this section, the governing body shall hold at least two public hearings on the matter, held at least 30 days apart, after publication of the notices of public hearing in a newspaper of general circulation, published at least 10 days before each public hearing.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.3.  District board.

(a)        Appointment. - The district board shall consist of members appointed as follows:

(1)        Two individuals by the governing body of each county served, wholly or in part, by the district.

(2)        One individual by the governing body of each municipality served by the district located in any county served by the district with a population greater than 200,000.

(3)        Two individuals by the governing body of any municipality served by the district with a population greater than 75,000, in addition to any appointments under subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(4)        One individual by the governing body of any county served by the district with a population greater than 200,000, in addition to any appointments under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(5)        One individual by the governing body of a county in which a watershed serving the district board is located in a municipality not served by the district, upon recommendation of that municipality. The municipality shall provide to the governing body of the county a list of three names within 30 days of written request by the county, from which the county must select an appointee if the names are provided within 30 days of written request.

(6)        One individual by the governing body of any elected water and sewer district wholly contained within the boundaries of the district.

(b)        Terms; Reappointment. - Terms shall be for three years. A member shall serve until a successor has been duly appointed and qualified.

(c)        Vacancies; Removal. - If a vacancy shall occur on a district board, the governing body which appointed the vacating member shall appoint a new member who shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any member of a district board may be removed by the governing board that appointed that member.

(d)       Oath of Office. - Each member of the district board, before entering upon the duties, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State and to discharge faithfully the duties of the office. A record of each such oath shall be filed with the clerk or clerks of the governing boards appointing the members.

(e)        Chair; Officers. - The district board shall elect one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman. The district board shall appoint a secretary and a treasurer who may, but need not, be members of the district board. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be combined. The district board may also appoint an assistant secretary and an assistant treasurer or, if the office is combined, an assistant secretary-treasurer who may, but need not, be members of the district board. The terms of office of the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer, assistant secretary, and assistant treasurer shall be as provided in the bylaws of the district board.

(f)        Meetings; Quorum. - The district board shall meet regularly at such places and dates as are determined by the district board. All meetings shall comply with Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. A majority of the members of the district board shall constitute a quorum, and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the district board present at any meeting thereof shall be necessary for any action taken by the district board. No vacancy in the membership of the district board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the district board. Each member, including the chairman, shall be entitled to vote on any question.

(g)        Compensation. - The members of the district board may receive compensation in an amount to be determined by the district board but not to exceed that compensation paid to members of Occupational Licensing Boards as provided in G.S. 93B-5(a) for each meeting of the district board attended and for attendance at each regularly scheduled committee meeting of the district board. The members of the district board may also be reimbursed the amount of actual expenses incurred by that member in the performance of that member's duties.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.4.  Expansion of district board after creation.

(a)        After creation pursuant to G.S. 162A-85.2, the district board may expand to include other political subdivisions if the district board and the political subdivision adopt identical resolutions indicating the political subdivision will become a participant in the district board.

(b)        Prior to adopting the resolution under subsection (a) of this section, the district board and the political subdivision shall hold at least two public hearings on the matter, held at least 30 days apart, after publication of the notices of public hearing in a newspaper of general circulation, published at least 10 days before each public hearing.

(c)        Upon adoption of the identical resolutions, the political subdivision shall appoint a district member in accordance with G.S. 162A-85.3(a), if that political subdivision is entitled to an appointment under that section.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.5.  Powers generally.

(a)        Each district shall be deemed to be a public body and body politic and corporate exercising public and essential governmental functions to provide for the preservation and promotion of the public health and welfare, and each district is hereby authorized and empowered to do all of the following:

(1)        To exercise any power of a Metropolitan Water District under G.S. 162A-36, except subdivision (9) of that section.

(2)        To exercise any power of a Metropolitan Sewer District under G.S. 162A-69, except subdivision (9) of that section.

(3)        To do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted by this Article.

(b)        Each district shall keep its accounts on the basis of a fiscal year commencing on the first day of July and ending on the 30th day of June of the following year.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.6: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.7.  Bonds and notes authorized.

A metropolitan water and sewerage district shall have power from time to time to issue bonds and notes under the Local Government Finance Act.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.8: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.9: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85-10: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85-11: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85-12: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.13.  Rates and charges for services.

(a)        The district board may fix, and may revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees, and other charges for the use of and for the services furnished or to be furnished by any water system or sewerage system. Such rents, rates, fees, and charges may not apply differing treatment within and outside the corporate limits of any city or county within the jurisdiction of the district board. Such rents, rates, fees, and charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any bureau, board, commission, or other agency of the State or of any political subdivision.

(b)        Any such rents, rates, fees, and charges pledged to the payment of revenue bonds of the district shall be fixed and revised so that the revenues of the water system or sewerage system, together with any other available funds, shall be sufficient at all times to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing, and operating the water system or sewerage system, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such revenue bonds, including reserves for such purposes, and to pay the interest on and the principal of such revenue bonds as the same shall become due and payable and to provide reserves therefor. If any such rents, rates, fees, and charges are pledged to the payment of any general obligation bonds issued under this Article, such rents, rates, fees, and charges shall be fixed and revised so as to comply with the requirements of such pledge.

(c)        The district board may provide methods for collection of such rents, rates, fees, and charges and measures for enforcement of collection thereof, including penalties and the denial or discontinuance of service.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.14: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.17.  Rights-of-way and easements.

A right-of-way or easement in, along, or across any State highway system, road, or street, and along or across any city or town street within a district is hereby granted to a district in case such right-of-way is found by the district board to be necessary or convenient for carrying out any of the work of the district. Any work done in, along, or across any State highway system, road, street, or property shall be done in accordance with the rules and regulations and any reasonable requirements of the Department of Transportation, and any work done in, along, or across any municipal street or property shall be done in accordance with any reasonable requirements of the municipal governing body.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.18: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.19.  Authority of governing bodies of political subdivisions.

(a)        The governing body of any political subdivision is hereby authorized and empowered to do any of the following:

(1)        Subject to the approval of the Local Government Commission regarding the disposition of any outstanding debt related to the water system or sewer system, or both, to transfer jurisdiction over and to lease, lend, sell, grant, or convey to a district, upon such terms and conditions as the governing body of such political subdivision may agree upon with the district board, the whole or any part of any existing water system or systems or sewerage system or systems or such real or personal property as may be necessary or useful in connection with the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, enlargement, equipment, repair, maintenance, or operation of any water system or sewerage system by the district, including public roads and other property already devoted to public use.

(2)        To make and enter into contracts or agreements with a district, upon such terms and conditions and for such periods as such governing body and the district board may determine for any of the following:

a.         For the collection, treatment, or disposal of sewage.

b.         For the supply of raw or treated water on a regular retail or wholesale basis.

c.         For the supply of raw or treated water on a standby wholesale basis.

d.         For the construction of jointly financed facilities whose title shall be vested in the district.

e.         For the collecting by such political subdivision or by the district of rents, rates, fees, or charges for the services and facilities provided to or for such political subdivision or its inhabitants by any water system or sewerage system and for the enforcement of collection of such rents, rates, fees, and charges.

f.          For the imposition of penalties, including the shutting off of the supply of water furnished by any water system owned or operated by such political subdivision, in the event that the owner, tenant, or occupant of any premises utilizing such water shall fail to pay any such rents, rates, fees, or charges.

(3)        To fix and revise from time to time, rents, rates, fees, and other charges for the services furnished or to be furnished by a water system or sewerage system under any contract between the district and such political subdivision and to pledge all or any part of the proceeds of such rents, rates, fees, and charges to the payment of any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract.

(4)        To pay any obligation of such political subdivision to the district under such contract from any available funds of the political subdivision and to levy and collect a tax ad valorem for the making of any such payment.

(5)        In its discretion or if required by law, to submit to its qualified electors under the election laws applicable to such political subdivision any contract or agreement which such governing body is authorized to make and enter into with the district under the provisions of this Article.

(b)        Any such election upon a contract or agreement called under subsection (a) of this section may, at the discretion of the governing body, be called and held under the election laws applicable to the issuance of bonds by such political subdivision.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.20: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.21.  Submission of preliminary plans to planning groups; cooperation with planning agencies.

(a)        Prior to the time final plans are made for the extension of any water system or sewerage system, the district board shall present preliminary plans for such improvement to the county or municipal governing board for their consideration if such facility is to be located within the jurisdiction of any such county or municipality. The district board shall make every effort to cooperate with the county or municipality in the location and construction of any new proposed facility authorized under this Article.

(b)        Any district board created under the authority of this Article is hereby directed, wherever possible, to coordinate its plans for the construction of any new water system or sewerage system improvements with the overall plans for the development of the planning area if such district is located wholly or in part within a county or municipal planning area.

(c)        This section shall not apply to renovations, repairs, or regular maintenance of water systems or sewer systems.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.22: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.23: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.24: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.25.  Adoption and enforcement of ordinances.

(a)        A district shall have the same power as a city under G.S. 160A-175 to assess civil fines and penalties for violation of its ordinances and may secure injunctions to further ensure compliance with its ordinances as provided by this section.

(b)        An ordinance may provide that its violation shall subject the offender to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) to be recovered by the district in a civil action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalty within a prescribed period of time after he has been cited for violation of the ordinance. Any person assessed a civil penalty by the district shall be notified of the assessment by registered or certified mail, and the notice shall specify the reasons for the assessment. If the person assessed fails to pay the amount of the assessment to the district within 30 days after receipt of notice, or such longer period, not to exceed 180 days, as the district may specify, the district may institute a civil action in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the violation occurred or, in the discretion of the district, in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the person assessed has his or its principal place of business, to recover the amount of the assessment. The validity of the district's action may be appealed directly to General Court of Justice in the county in which the violation occurred or may be raised at any time in the action to recover the assessment. Neither failure to contest the district's action directly nor failure to raise the issue of validity in the action to recover an assessment precludes the other.

(c)        An ordinance may provide that it may be enforced by an appropriate equitable remedy issuing from court of competent jurisdiction. In such case, the General Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders as may be appropriate, and it shall not be a defense to the application of the district for equitable relief that there is an adequate remedy at law.

(d)       Subject to the express terms of an ordinance, a district ordinance may be enforced by any one, all, or a combination of the remedies authorized and prescribed by this section.

(e)        An ordinance may provide, when appropriate, that each day's continuing violation shall be a separate and distinct offense.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-85.26: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.27: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.28: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 162A-85.29.  No privatization.

The district board may not in any way privatize the provision of water or sewer to the customers of the district unless related to administrative matters only.  (2013-50, s. 2.)

 

 

Article 6.

County Water and Sewer Districts.

§ 162A-86.  Formation of district; hearing.

(a)        The board of commissioners of any county may create a county water and sewer district.

(a1)      The governing board of a consolidated city-county, as defined by G.S. 160B-2(1), may create a water and sewer district pursuant to this Article. For the purposes of this Article, the term "board of county commissioners" shall also mean the governing board of a consolidated city-county and the term "county water and sewer district" also means a water and sewer district created by the governing board of a consolidated city-county.

(b)        Before creating such a district, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall set forth a description of the territory to be included within the proposed district. The notice shall be published once a week for three weeks in a newspaper that circulates in the proposed district and in addition shall be posted in at least three public places in the district. The notice shall be posted and published the first time not less than 20 days before the hearing.

(b1)      Before creating such a district, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall set forth a description of the territory to be included within the proposed district. The notice shall be published once in a newspaper that circulates in the proposed district and in addition shall be posted in at least three public places in the district. The notice shall be posted and published not more than 30 nor less than 14 days before the hearing. The newspaper notice and the public hearing may cover more than one district covered by this subsection.

This subsection applies only when the local Health Director or the State Health Director has certified that there is a present or imminent serious public health hazard caused by the failure of a low-pressure pipe sewer system within the area of the proposed district, and in such case the board of commissioners may proceed either under subsection (a) of this section or under this subsection.

(c)        At the public hearing, the commissioners shall hear all interested persons and may adjourn the hearing from time to time.  (1977, c. 466, s. 1; 1979, c. 624, ss. 2, 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 1; c. 714, s. 1; 1995, c. 461, s. 7.)

 

§ 162A-87.  Creation of district; standards; limitation of actions.

(a)        Following the public hearing, the board of commissioners may, by resolution, create a county water and sewer district if the board finds that:

(1)        There is a demonstrable need for providing in the district water services, or sewer services, or both;

(2)        The residents of all the territory to be included in the district will benefit from the district's creation; and

(3)        It is economically feasible to provide the proposed service or services in the district without unreasonable or burdensome annual tax levies.

Territory lying within the corporate limits of a city or town may not be included in the district unless the governing body of the city or town agrees by resolution to such inclusion. Otherwise, the board of commissioners may define as the district all or any portion of the territory described in the notice of the public hearing.

(b)        Upon adoption of a resolution creating a county water and sewer district, the board of commissioners shall cause the resolution to be published once in each of two successive weeks in the newspaper in which the notices of the hearing were published. In addition, the commissioners shall cause to be published with the resolution a notice in substantially the following form:

"The foregoing resolution was adopted by the __________ County Board of Commissioners on __________ and was first published on __________.

Any action or proceeding questioning the validity of this resolution or the creation of the __________ Water and Sewer District of ____________ County or the inclusion in the district of any of the territory described in the resolution must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of the resolution.

                                                                        __________________________________________

Clerk, __________________County Board of

Commissioners"

Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a resolution creating a county water and sewer district, or questioning the validity of such a resolution, the creation of such a district, or the inclusion in such a district of any of the territory described in the resolution creating the district must be commenced within 30 days after the first publication of the resolution and notice. After the expiration of this period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the resolution, the creation of the district, or the inclusion of any territory in the district may be asserted, nor may the validity of the resolution, the creation of the district, or the inclusion of the territory be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within that period.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, in the case of any county water and sewer districts created under G.S. 162A-86(b1):

(1)        A resolution may cover the creation of more than one district;

(2)        The board of commissioners shall cause the resolution to be published once in the newspaper in which the notice of the hearing was published; and

(3)        References in this subsection to "30 days" are instead "21 days". (1977, c. 466, s. 1; 1979, c. 624, s. 4; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 2; c. 714, s. 2.)

 

§ 162A-87.1.  Extension of water and sewer districts.

(a)        Standards. - The board of commissioners may, by resolution, annex territory to any water and sewer district upon a finding that:

(1)        The area to be annexed is contiguous to the district, with at least one eighth of the area's aggregate external boundary coincident with the existing boundary of the district;

(2)        The residents of the territory to be annexed will benefit from the annexation; and

(3)        It is economically feasible to provide the proposed service or services in the annexed district without unreasonable or burdensome annual tax levies.

(b)        Annexation by Petition. - The board of commissioners may, by resolution, extend by annexation the boundaries of any water or sewer district when one hundred percent (100%) of the real property owners of the area to be annexed have petitioned the board for annexation to the water and sewer district.

(c)        Annexation of Property within a City or Sanitary District. - Territory lying within the corporate limits of a city or sanitary district may not be annexed to a water and sewer district unless the governing body of the city or sanitary district agrees, by resolution, to the annexation.

(d)       Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (e) of this section, the board of commissioners shall have prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the water and sewer district and the adjacent territory, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district; and

(2)        A statement showing that the area to be annexed meets the standards and requirements established in subsections (a), (b), or (c) of this section.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk of the board of commissioners for at least two weeks before the date of the public hearing required by subsection (e) of this section.

(e)        Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution extending the boundaries of a water and sewer district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (d) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk of the board of commissioners. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, unless the hearing is because of a petition for annexation submitted under subsection (b) of this section, the notice shall be mailed, at least four weeks before the date of the hearing, to the owners, as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1, of all property located within the area to be annexed. The notice may be mailed by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid. The person designated by the board of commissioners to mail the notice shall certify to the board of commissioners that the mailing has been completed, and his certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(f)        Effective Date. - The resolution extending the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board of commissioners. (1985, c. 627, s. 1; 1989, c. 543.)

 

§ 162A-87.1A.  Initial boundaries of district.

(a)        The initial boundaries of a district may exclude areas contained solely within the external boundaries of the district.

(b)        The initial boundaries of a district may include noncontiguous portions, as long as the closest distance from a noncontiguous piece to the part of the district containing the greatest area does not exceed one mile.

(c)        This section does not invalidate any district created prior to the effective date of this section. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 3; c. 714, s. 3.)

 

§ 162A-87.1B.  Transfer of State-owned property from one district to another.

If any property owned by the State is located in a county water and sewer district, the board of commissioners of that county by resolution may transfer the property to another county water and sewer district in that county. This section only applies if the State acquired the property from the county. Any such resolution shall become effective on the date specified in the resolution, and a copy of the resolution shall be sent to the Department of Administration. (2005-127, s. 1; 2006-226, s. 29.)

 

 

§ 162A-87.2.  Abolition of water and sewer districts.

(a)        Upon finding that there is no longer a need for a water and sewer district and that there are no outstanding bonds or notes issued to finance projects in the district, the board of commissioners may, by resolution, abolish that district. The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any water and sewer district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year following passage of the resolution, as determined by the board of commissioners.

(b)        If the:

(1)        Terms of any contract between a county water and sewer district and a city provide that upon certain conditions, all the property of the district is conveyed to that city; and

(2)        District has at the time of abolition no existing bonds or notes issued as authorized by G.S. 162A-90 to finance projects in the district,

then such contract may also provide that no earlier than such conveyance the district may be abolished by action of the governing board of the city. If the district has any other indebtedness, a contract providing for conveyance of all of the assets of a district to a city must provide for assumption of such other indebtedness by the city. If the district is owed any assessments, then the right to collect such assessments becomes that of the city. The governing board of the city shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any water and sewer district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year of the district following passage of the resolution, as determined by the governing board. This subsection applies only to a county water and sewer district created under G.S. 162A-86(b1).

(c)        If the:

(1)        Terms of any contract between a county water and sewer district and a private person provide that upon certain conditions, all the property of the district is conveyed to that private person; and

(2)        District has at the time of abolition no existing bonds or notes issued as authorized by G.S. 162A-90 to finance projects in the district,

such contract may also provide that no earlier than such conveyance the district may be abolished by action of the Utilities Commission. If the district has any other indebtedness, a contract providing for conveyance of all of the assets of a district to a private person must provide for assumption of such other indebtedness by the private person. If the district is owed any assessments, then the private person may collect the assessment under the same procedures as if it was the district. The Utilities Commission shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any water and sewer district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year of the district following passage of the resolution, as determined by the Utilities Commission. This subsection applies only to a county water and sewer district created under G.S. 162A-86(b1).

(d)       Any resolution of abolition adopted under this section on or after the effective date of this section shall be filed with the Secretary of State. (1985, c. 627, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 4; c. 714, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-87.3.  Services outside the district.

(a)        A county water and sewer district may provide water or sewer services, or both, to customers outside the district, but in no case shall the county water and sewer district be held liable for damages to those outside the district for failure to furnish such services.

(b)        A county water and sewer district may provide a different schedule of rents, rates, fees, and charges for services provided outside the district.

(c)        A county water and sewer district may not extend service to customers lying within the corporate limits of a city or sanitary district unless the governing body of a city or sanitary district agrees, by resolution, to the extension.

(d)       A county water and sewer district may not extend service to customers lying within another county unless the board of commissioners of that county agrees, by resolution, to the extension. (1989, c. 726, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-88.  District is a municipal corporation.

The inhabitants of a county water and sewer district created pursuant to this Article are a body corporate and politic by the name specified by the board of commissioners. Under that name they are vested with all the property and rights of property belonging to the corporation; have perpetual succession; may sue and be sued; may contract and be contracted with; may acquire and hold any property, real and personal, devised, sold, or in any manner conveyed, dedicated to, or otherwise acquired by them, and from time to time may hold, invest, sell, or dispose of the same; may have a common seal and alter and renew it at will; may establish, revise and collect rates, fees or other charges and penalties for the use of or the services furnished or to be furnished by any sanitary sewer system, water system or sanitary sewer and water system of the district; and may exercise those powers conferred on them by this Article.  (1977, c. 466, s. 1; 1979, c. 624, s. 5; 2011-284, s. 124.)

 

§ 162A-88.1.  Contracts with private entities.

A county water and sewer district may contract with and appropriate money to any person, association, or corporation, in order to carry out any public purpose that the county water and sewer district is authorized by law to engage in. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 696, s. 5; c. 714, s. 5.)

 

§ 162A-89.  Governing body of district; powers.

(a)        The board of commissioners of the county in which a county water and sewer district is created is the governing body of the district.

(b)        The governing board of a consolidated city-county in which a water and sewer district is created is the governing body of the district. (1977, c. 466, s. 1; 1995, c. 461, s. 8.)

 

§ 162A-89.1.  Eminent domain power authorized.

A county water and sewer district shall have the power of eminent domain, to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes, over the acquisition of any improved or unimproved lands or rights in land, within or without the district. (1977, c. 466, s. 1; 1983, c. 735, s. 1.; 1987, c. 2, s. 2)

 

§ 162A-90.  Bonds and notes authorized.

A county water and sewer district may from time to time issue general obligation and revenue bonds and bond anticipation notes pursuant to the Local Government Finance Act, for the purposes of providing sanitary sewer systems or water systems or both.

A county water and sewer district may from time to time issue tax and revenue anticipation notes pursuant to Chapter 159, Article 9, Part 2. (1977, c. 466, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-91.  Taxes authorized.

The governing body of a county water and sewer district may levy property taxes within the district in order to finance the operation and maintenance of the district's water system or sewer system or both and in order to finance debt service on any general obligation bonds or notes issued by the district. No voter approval is necessary in order for such taxes to be levied. (1977, c. 466, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-92.  Special assessments authorized.

A county water and sewer district may make special assessments against benefited property within the district for all or part of the costs of:

(1)        Constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building  or improving water systems;

(2)        Constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building or improving sewage disposal systems.

A district shall exercise the authority granted by this section according to the provisions of Chapter 153A, Article 9. For the purposes of this section references in that Article to the "county" and the "board of commissioners" are deemed to refer, respectively, to the "district" and the "governing body of the district." (1977, c. 466, s. 1.)

 

§ 162A-93.  Certain city actions prohibited.

(a)        No city may duplicate water or sewer services provided by a district under this Article by installing parallel lines and requiring owners of improved property in territory annexed by the city to connect, except with consent of the district governing body.

(b)        The provisions of subsection (a) shall not apply if the city council adopts an annexation ordinance including an area served by a district and finds, after a public hearing, that adequate fire protection cannot be provided in the area because of the level of available water service. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided by first class mail to each affected customer and by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the area, each not less than 10 days before the hearing. The clerk's certification of the mailing shall be deemed conclusive in the absence of fraud. Any resident of the annexed area aggrieved by such a finding of the council may file a petition for review in the superior court in the nature of certiorari, within 30 days after the finding. The petition for review in the nature of certiorari shall comply with G.S. 160A-393.

(c)        Provision of public water and sewer services by a district under this Article to an area annexed by a city shall satisfy the city's obligation to provide for water and sewer services under G.S. 160A-35 and G.S. 160A-47. The city may negotiate for purchase of the lines or systems owned and operated by the district.

(d)       Upon annexation by a city of an area served by a district under this Article, the city may provide for installation of and use fire hydrants on the district water lines, by arrangement with the district and at the city's cost.  (1989, c. 741, s. 1; 2009-421, s. 4.)

 

§ 162A-94.  Certain actions validated.

Any contract entered into by a county water and sewer district on or before February 1, 1995, is not invalid because of failure to comply with Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. (1995, c. 266, s. 1.)

 

§§ 162A-95 through 162A-100.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 7.

Assumption of Indebtedness of Certain Districts.

§ 162A-101.  Assumption of indebtedness of certain districts.

Subject to approval by a majority of the qualified voters of the county voting at an election thereon, a county may assume all indebtedness, incurred for paying all or any part of the cost of a water supply and distribution system, a sewerage system, or both, of any:

(1)        Water and sewer authority organized under Article 1 of this Chapter;

(2)        Metropolitan water district organized under Article 4 of this Chapter;

(3)        Metropolitan sewerage district organized under Article 5 of this Chapter; or

(4)        County water and sewer district organized under Article 6 of this Chapter.

An election under this Article shall be called and held in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act, insofar as the same may be made applicable, and the returns of the election shall be canvassed and a statement of the result thereof prepared, recorded and published as provided in the Local Government Finance Act.  No right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the election shall be asserted nor shall the validity of the election be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within 30 days after the publication of the statement of result.  In the event that any indebtedness of a water and sewer authority, metropolitan water district, metropolitan sewerage district, or county water and sewer district is assumed by the county, there shall be annually levied and collected an ad valorem tax upon all the taxable property in the county sufficient to pay the assumed indebtedness and the interest thereon as it becomes due and payable; provided, however, the tax may be reduced by the amount of other moneys actually available for this purpose.  The tax shall be determined, levied and collected in the manner provided by law. (1989, c. 573.)