(a) If the majority of the qualified voters voting in such election favor the levying of such tax, then and in that event, the board of county commissioners shall have all powers of soil and water conservation districts as set forth in subdivisions (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (10) of G.S. 139‑8 (subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (12) of such section) concerning flood prevention, development of water resources, floodwater and sediment damages, and conservation, utilization and disposal of water. It is the intention of the General Assembly that such powers shall normally be exercised within all or parts of one or more single watersheds, or of two or more watersheds tributary to one of the major drainage basins of the State, but exceptions to this policy may be permitted in appropriate cases; provided, however, it is not the intention of the General Assembly to authorize hereby the diversion of water from one stream or watershed to another.
(b) The board of county commissioners may itself exercise such powers or, for that purpose, may create a watershed improvement commission to be composed of three members appointed by the board. The terms of office of the members of the commission shall be six years, with the exception of the first two years of existence of the commission, in which one member shall be appointed to serve for a period of two years, one for a period of four years, and one for a period of six years; thereafter all members shall be appointed for six years, and shall serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified. Vacancies in the membership of the commission occurring otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by appointment to the unexpired term by the board of county commissioners. The commission shall hold its first meeting within 30 days after its appointment as provided for in this Article, and the beginning date of all terms of office of commissioners shall be the date on which the commission holds its first meeting. The commission at its first meeting shall select a chair, vice‑chair, and secretary‑treasurer to serve two‑year terms. All acts done by the commission shall be entered in a book of minutes to be kept by the secretary‑treasurer. A majority of the membership of the commission shall constitute a quorum. The commission shall meet in regular session at least quarterly and may meet specially upon the call of the chair or any members, and upon at least three‑day notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting. The commission shall provide the board of county commissioners 30 days prior to July 1 a proposed budget for the fiscal year commencing on July 1 and shall provide the board of county commissioners an audit by a certified public accountant within 60 days after the expiration of the fiscal year ending on June 30.
(c) The board of county commissioners may create a single watershed improvement commission for the entire county or may create separate commissions for individual projects or watersheds.
(d) The board of county commissioners, as an alternative to itself exercising the powers set forth in subsection (a) of this section or to creating a watershed improvement commission for that purpose, may by resolution designate the soil and water conservation district having jurisdiction in the county to exercise authority for the board of county commissioners in carrying out the county watershed improvement program. The soil and water conservation district shall provide the board of county commissioners 30 days prior to July 1 a proposed budget for the fiscal year commencing on July 1 and shall provide the board of county commissioners an audit by a certified public accountant within 60 days after the expiration of the fiscal year ending on June 30.
(e) Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 326, s. 5.
(f) Any industry or private water user, the State of North Carolina, the United States or any of its agencies, any municipality, any other county, or any other political subdivision may participate in county watershed improvement programs hereunder in the same manner and to the same extent as provided by G.S. 139‑37 with respect to participation in watershed improvement district programs.
(g) The board of county commissioners may provide for county watershed improvement programs and any or all other related activities (such as water supply systems, sewerage systems, water resources programs, beach erosion control programs, and conservation programs) to be coordinated, to be jointly undertaken by two or more local agencies, or to be assigned to a single county agency designated by such name and organized in such manner as the board deems appropriate.
(h) A Watershed Improvement Commission created pursuant to subsection (b) of this section or a soil and water conservation district designated pursuant to subsection (d) of this section may employ such officers, agents, consultants, and other employees as they may require; shall determine their qualifications, duties, and compensation; shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for the secretary‑treasurer and such other officers, agents, and employees as shall be entrusted with funds or property, and shall provide for making and publication of an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements of the watershed improvement program.
(i) District supervisors and watershed improvement commissioners shall receive a per diem allowance of seven dollars ($7.00) and necessary expenses while engaged in the discharge of official duties pursuant to subsections (b) and (d) of this section. Claims for per diem and expenses for any duty except attendance upon a meeting shall be paid only after approval of the commission or the Board of Supervisors respectively. (1959, c. 781, s. 10; 1967, c. 987, s. 10; 1969, c. 711, s. 3; 1971, c. 1138, s. 2; 1973, c. 1262, s. 38; 1981, c. 326, s. 5; 1993, c. 391, s. 25.)