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.

(9a) To impose and require system development fees only in accordance with Article 8 of this Chapter.

(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); 2017-138, s. 5(a).)

 

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.

(a5) An authority may require system development fees only in accordance with Article 8 of this Chapter.

(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); 2017-138, s. 5(b).)

 

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.)