§ 153C‑3. Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission.
(a) Creation. – The Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission is hereby established. The Commission is a permanent body corporate of the State composed of members from the Uwharrie region of North Carolina. The Commission shall be located administratively in the Department of Commerce but shall exercise its statutory powers and duties independently of the Department of Commerce. The Commission shall meet in the Uwharrie region of North Carolina. Funds appropriated for the Commission by the General Assembly shall be disbursed directly to the Commission at the beginning of each fiscal year.
(b) Purpose. – The purposes and functions of the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission are to do all of the following:
(1) Identify and evaluate issues affecting important resources of the region and recommend policies and programs to address those issues.
(2) Coordinate with existing local and regional efforts to address threats to important regional resources and work undertaken by councils of government and the jurisdictions they serve in the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
(3) Provide a forum for discussion of issues affecting important regional resources.
(4) Promote communication, coordination, and education among stakeholders within the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
(5) Collect research and information from North Carolina and other states and jurisdictions regarding State and regional approaches to coordinating (i) provision of infrastructure for the protection of important regional resources and (ii) efforts to encourage quality growth to protect such important regional resources.
(6) Determine whether new strategies or tools would be helpful to address pressures on important regional resources and whether and how such strategies or tools should be implemented to protect and enhance such resources to maximize their value for the benefit of the citizens of the Uwharrie region as well as the State.
(7) Provide guidance and make recommendations to local, State, and federal legislative and administrative bodies and to others as it considers necessary and appropriate for the use, stewardship, and enhancement of important regional resources.
(c) Authority. – To achieve its purposes, the Commission shall have all of the following powers and duties:
(1) To develop rules and procedures for the conduct of its business or as may be necessary to perform its duties and carry out its objectives, including, but not limited to, calling meetings and establishing voting procedures. Rules and procedures developed pursuant to this subsection shall be effective upon an affirmative vote by a majority of the Commission members.
(2) To pursue efforts directed at the equitable distribution of water for public purposes.
(3) To establish standing and ad hoc committees. The Commission shall determine the purpose of each standing or ad hoc committee.
(4) To seek, apply for, accept, and expend gifts, grants, donations, services, and other aid from public or private sources. The Commission may accept or expend funds only after an affirmative vote by a majority of the members of the Commission.
(5) To exercise the powers of a body corporate, including the power to sue and be sued, own or lease property, and adopt and use a common seal and alter the same.
(6) To enter into contracts and execute all instruments necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Commission.
(7) To designate a fiscal agent.
(8) To perform any lawful acts necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Commission.
(d) Membership. – The Commission shall consist of 12 members as follows:
(1) One representative from the public at large who is a resident of the Uwharrie region of North Carolina appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
(2) One representative from the public at large who is a resident of the Uwharrie region of North Carolina appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(3) Four representatives from the public at large who are residents of the Uwharrie region of North Carolina to be appointed by the Governor, including:
a. Two who shall at the time of appointment be actively connected with or have experience in local government within the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
b. One who shall at the time of appointment have experience in tourism or tourism development in the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
c. One who shall have experience in economic development in the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
(4) Two members to represent each of the following regional councils of government as appointed by those councils: the Centralina Council of Governments and the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments.
(5) The Secretary of Commerce or the Secretary's designee.
(6) The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources or the Secretary's designee.
The members of the Commission shall elect a chair, vice‑chair, and any other officers they consider necessary and shall determine the length of the term of office, not to exceed two years, of each officer. A majority of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. Each member appointed to the Commission shall be appointed to serve a four‑year term. Any vacancy on the Commission shall be filled by the original appointing authority for the remainder of the unexpired term. Initial terms commence September 1, 2010.
(e) Salary; Expenses. – Members of the Commission shall receive no salary for their service on the Commission but may receive per diem, subsistence, and travel allowances in accordance with G.S. 120‑3.1, 138‑5, or 138‑6, as appropriate. All expenses shall be paid from funds available to the Commission through the Uwharrie Regional Resources Fund, but no expenses shall be paid if the Uwharrie Regional Resources Fund lacks the necessary funds.
(f) Staff Support. – The Department of Commerce shall provide staff support and facilities to the Commission within the existing programs of the agency. Additional staff may be hired or contracted by the Commission through funds raised by or provided to it. The duties and compensation of any additional staff shall be determined and fixed by the Commission within available resources.
(g) State Agency Cooperation. – All agencies of the State of North Carolina shall cooperate with the Commission and, upon request, shall assist the Commission in fulfilling its responsibilities. The Secretary of Commerce or the Secretary's designee shall serve as the liaison between the Secretary's agency and the Commission. The Commission may obtain information and data upon request from all officers, agents, agencies, and departments of the State of North Carolina or of local governments while in discharge of its duties.
(h) The role of the Commission is advisory in nature, and in no way shall the Commission be construed to have regulatory authority. No action of the Commission supercedes any decision of any local planning board. (2010‑176, s. 1; 2011‑3, s. 2.)