A sanitary district may merge with a contiguous city or town in the following manner:
(1) The sanitary district board and the governing board of the city or town may resolve that it is advisable to call an election within both the sanitary district and the city or town to determine if the sanitary district and the city or town should merge;
(2) If the sanitary district board and the governing board of the city or town resolve that it is advisable to call for an election, both boards shall adopt a resolution requesting the board of commissioners in the county or counties in which the district and the town or city or any portion is located to hold an election on a date named by the sanitary district board and the governing board of the city or town after consultation with the appropriate board or boards of elections. The election shall be held within the sanitary district and the city or town on the question of merger;
(3) The county board or boards of commissioners shall request the appropriate board or boards of elections to hold and conduct the election. All voters of the city or town and the sanitary district shall be eligible to vote if the election is called in both areas as authorized in subsection (1);
(4) Notice of the election shall be given as required in G.S. 163-33(8). The board or boards of elections may use either method of registration set out in G.S. 163-288.2;
(5) If an election is called as provided in subsection (2), the board or boards of elections shall provide ballots for the election in substantially the following form:
"[ ] FOR merger of the Town of . . . . . . . . . . . . and the . . . . . . . . . Sanitary District, if a majority of the registered voters of both the Sanitary District and the Town vote in favor of merger, the combined territories to be known as the Town of . . . . . . . . . . . . and to assume all of the obligations of the Sanitary District and to receive from the Sanitary District all the property rights of the District; from and after merger residents of the District would enjoy all of the benefits of the municipality and would assume their proportionate share of the obligations of the Town as merged.
[ ] AGAINST merger."
(6) A majority of all the votes cast by voters of the sanitary district and a majority of all the votes cast by voters of the city or town is necessary for the merger of a sanitary district with the city or town. The merger shall be effective on July 1 following the election. If a majority of the votes cast in either the sanitary district or the city or town vote against the merger, any election on similar propositions of merger may not occur until one year from the date of the last election.
(7) Upon the merger of a sanitary district and a city or town pursuant to this section, the city or town shall assume all obligations of the sanitary district and the sanitary district shall convey all property rights to the city or town. The vote for merger shall include a vote for the city or town to assume the obligations of the district. The sanitary district shall cease to exist as a political subdivision from and after the effective date of the merger. After the merger, the residents of the sanitary district enjoy all of the benefits of the municipality and shall assume their share of the obligations of the city or town. All taxes levied and collected by the city or town from and after the effective date of the merger shall be levied and collected uniformly in all the territory included in the enlarged municipality; and
(8) If merger is approved, the governing board of the city or town shall determine the proportion of the district's indebtedness, if any, which was incurred for the construction of water systems and the proportion which was incurred for construction of sewage disposal systems. The governing board shall send a certified copy of the determination to the local government commission in order that the Commission and the governing body of the merged municipality can determine the net debt of the merged municipality as required by G.S. 159-55. (1961, c. 866; 1981, c. 186, s. 7; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 1987, c. 314, s. 1.)