Article 6.

Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission.

§ 77-70.  Definitions.

For purposes of this Article:

(1)        "Board" means the board of commissioners of one of the three counties.

(2)        "Commission" means the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission or its governing board, as the case may be.

(3)        "Commissioner" means a member of the governing board of the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission.

(4)        "Joint resolution" means a resolution or ordinance substantially identical in content adopted separately by the governing boards in each of the three counties.

(5)        "Mountain Island Lake" means the impounded body of water along the Catawba River in the three counties extending from the Cowans Ford Dam downstream to the Mountain Island Dam.

(6)        "Shoreline area" means, except as modified by a joint resolution, the area within the three counties lying within 1,000 feet of the full pond elevation contour on Mountain Island Lake. In addition, the shoreline area includes all islands within Mountain Island Lake and all peninsulas extending into the waters of Mountain Island Lake.

(7)        "Three counties" means Gaston, Lincoln, and Mecklenburg Counties.

(8)        "Wildlife Commission" means the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. (1997-257, s. 1.)


§ 77-71.  Authority to create Commission; withdrawal from and dissolution of Commission.

The three counties may by joint resolution  create the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission.  Upon its creation the  Commission has the powers, duties, and responsibilities conferred upon it  by joint resolution, subject to the provisions of this Article. The provisions of any joint resolution may be modified, amended, or rescinded by a subsequent joint resolution. A county may unilaterally withdraw from participation as provided by any joint resolution or the provisions of this Article, once the Commission has been created, and any county may unilaterally withdraw from the Commission at the end of any budget period upon 90 days prior written notice. Upon the effectuation of the withdrawal, the Commission is dissolved, and all property of the Commission must be distributed to or divided among the three counties and any other public agency or agencies serving the Mountain Island Lake area in a manner considered equitable by the Commission by resolution adopted by it prior to dissolution.  (1997-257, s. 1.)


§ 77-72.  Membership; terms.

Upon its creation, the Commission shall have  a governing board of seven.  Except as otherwise provided for the initial  appointees, each commissioner shall serve a three-year term.  Upon  creation of the Commission, the Boards of Commissioners of Gaston County  and Mecklenburg County shall appoint three commissioners each, and the  Board of Commissioners of Lincoln County shall appoint one commissioner.   Of the initial appointees:

(1)        One commissioner appointed by Gaston County and  one member appointed by Mecklenburg County shall serve one-year terms;

(2)        One commissioner appointed by Gaston County and  one member appointed by Mecklenburg County shall serve two-year terms; and

(3)        One member appointed by Gaston County, one  member appointed by Mecklenburg County, and the member appointed by  Lincoln County shall serve three-year terms.

Any commissioner who has served two consecutive terms, including any initial term of less than three years, may not be reappointed to a third consecutive term.  Such a member may, however, be  appointed to serve again after the expiration of the term of the member's  successor.

On the death of a commissioner, resignation, incapacity,  or inability to serve, as determined by the board appointing that commissioner, or removal of the commissioner for cause, as determined by  the board appointing that commissioner, the board affected may appoint  another commissioner to fill the unexpired term. (1997-257, s. 3.)


§ 77-73.  Compensation; budget.

The joint resolution of the three counties  shall state the terms relating to compensation to commissioners, if any,  compensation of consultants and staff members employed by the Commission,  and reimbursement of expenses incurred by commissioners, consultants, and  employees.  The Commission shall be governed by those budgetary and  accounting procedures specified by joint resolution.  (1997-257, s. 4.)


§ 77-74.  Organization and meetings.

Upon creation of the Commission, its  governing board shall meet at a time and place agreed upon by the boards  of the three counties concerned. The commissioners shall elect a chairman  and officers as they choose.  All officers shall serve one-year terms. The governing board shall adopt rules and regulations as it deems  necessary, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Article or of any  joint resolution, for the proper discharge of its duties and for the  governance of the Commission.  In order to conduct business, a quorum must  be present.  The chairman may adopt those committees as authorized by  those rules and regulations.  The Commission shall meet regularly at times  and places as specified in its rules and regulations or in any joint  resolution.  However, meetings of the Commission must be held in all three  counties on a rotating basis so that an equal number of meetings is held  in each county.  Special meetings may be called as specified in the rules  and regulations.  The provisions of the Open Meetings Law, Article 33C of  Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, shall apply.  (1997-257, s. 5.)


§ 77-75.  Powers of the Commission; administration and funding.

(a)        Within the limits of funds available to  it and subject to the provisions of this Article and of any joint resolution,  the Commission may:

(1)        Hire and fix the compensation of permanent and  temporary employees and staff as it may deem necessary in carrying out its duties;

(2)        Contract with consultants for services it  requires;

(3)        Contract with the State of North Carolina or the  federal government, or any agency or department, or subdivision of them,  for property or services as may be provided to or by these agencies and  carry out the provisions of these contracts;

(4)        Contract with persons, firms, and corporations  generally as to all matters over which it has a proper concern, and carry  out the provisions of contracts;

(5)        Lease, rent, purchase, or otherwise obtain  suitable quarters and office space for its employees and staff, and lease,  rent, purchase, or otherwise obtain furniture, fixtures, vessels,  vehicles, firearms, uniforms, and other supplies and equipment necessary  or desirable for carrying out the duties imposed in or under the authority  of this Article; and

(6)        Lease, rent, purchase, construct, otherwise  obtain, maintain, operate, repair, and replace, either on its own or in  cooperation with other public or private agencies or individuals, any of  the following: boat docks, navigation aids, waterway markers, public  information signs and notices, and other items of real and personal  property designed to enhance public safety in Mountain Island Lake and its  shoreline area, or protection of property in the shoreline area subject  however to Chapter 113 of the General Statutes and rules promulgated under  that Chapter.

(b)        The Commission may accept, receive, and disburse in  furtherance of its functions any funds, grants, services, or property made  available by the federal government or its agencies or subdivisions, by  the State of North Carolina or its agencies or subdivisions, or by private  and civic sources.

(c)        The governing boards of the three counties may  appropriate funds to the Commission out of surplus funds or funds derived  from nontax sources.  They may appropriate funds out of tax revenues and  may also levy annually property taxes for the payments of such  appropriation as a special purpose, in addition to any allowed by the  Constitution, or as provided by G.S. 153A-149.

(d)       The Commission shall be subject to those audit  requirements as may be specified in any joint resolution.

(e)        In carrying out its duties and either in addition to  or in lieu of exercising various provisions of the above authorization,  the Commission may, with the agreement of the governing board of the  county concerned, utilize personnel and property of or assign  responsibilities to any officer or employee of any of the three counties.  Such contribution in kind, if substantial, may with the agreement of the  other two counties be deemed to substitute in whole or in part for the  financial contribution required of that county in support of the  Commission.

(f)        Unless otherwise specified by joint resolution, each  of the three counties shall annually contribute an equal financial  contribution to the Commission in an amount appropriate to support the  activities of the Commission in carrying out its duties.   (1997-257, s. 6.)


§ 77-76.  Filing and publication of joint ordinances.

(a)        A copy of the joint resolution creating  the Commission and of any joint resolution amending or repealing the joint  resolution creating the Commission shall be filed with the Executive  Director of the Wildlife Commission.  When the Executive Director receives  resolutions that are in substance identical from all three counties  concerned, the Executive Director shall within 10 days so certify and  distribute a certified single resolution text to the following:

(1)        The Secretary of State;

(2)        The clerk to the governing board of each of the  three counties;

(3)        The clerks of Superior Court of Lincoln,  Mecklenburg, and Gaston Counties.  Upon request, the Executive Director  also shall send a certified single copy of any and all applicable joint  resolutions to the chairman of the Commission; and

(4)        A newspaper of general circulation in the three  counties.

(b)        Unless a joint resolution specifies a later date, it  shall take effect when the Executive Director's certified text has been  submitted to the Secretary of State for filing.  Certifications of the  Executive Director under the seal of the Commission as to the text or  amended text of any joint resolution and of the date or dates of  submission to the Secretary of State shall be admissible in evidence in  any court.  Certifications by any clerk of superior court of the text of  any certified resolution filed with him by the Executive Director is  admissible in evidence and the Executive Director's submission of the  resolution for filing to the clerk shall constitute prima facie evidence  that that resolution was on the date of submission also submitted for  filing with the Secretary of State.  Except for the certificate of a clerk  as to receipt and date of submission, no evidence may be admitted in court  concerning the submission of the certified text of any resolution by the  Executive Director to any person other than the Secretary of State.  (1997-257, s. 7.)


§ 77-77.  Regulatory authority.

(a)        Except as limited in subsection (b) of  this section, by restrictions in any joint resolution, and by other  supervening provisions of law, the Commission may make regulations  applicable to Mountain Island Lake and its shoreline area concerning all  matters relating to or affecting the use of Mountain Island Lake.  These  regulations may not conflict with or supersede provisions of general or  special acts or of regulations of State agencies promulgated under the  authority of general law.  No regulations adopted under this section may  be adopted by the Commission except after public hearing, with publication  of notice of the hearing being given in a newspaper of general circulation  in the three counties at least 10 days before the hearing. In lieu of or  in addition to passing regulations supplementary to State law and  regulations concerning the operation of vessels on Mountain Island Lake,  the Commission may, after public notice, request that the Wildlife  Commission pass local regulations on this subject in accordance with the  procedure established by appropriate State law.

(b)        Violation of any regulation of the Commission  commanding or prohibiting an act shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(c)        The regulations promulgated under this section take  effect upon passage or upon dates as stipulated in the regulations, except  that no regulation may be enforced unless adequate notice of the  regulation has been posted in or on Mountain Island Lake or its shoreline  area.  Adequate notice as to a regulation affecting only a particular  location may be by a sign, uniform waterway marker, posted notice, or  other effective method of communicating the essential provisions of the  regulation in the immediate vicinity of the location in question.  Where a  regulation applies generally as to Mountain Island Lake or its shoreline  area, or both, there must be a posting of notices, signs, or markers  communicating the essential provisions in at least three different places  throughout the area, and it must be printed in a newspaper of general  circulation in the three counties.

(d)       A copy of each regulation promulgated under this  section must be filed by the Commission with the following persons:

(1)        The Secretary of State;

(2)        The clerks of Superior Court of Gaston, Lincoln,  and Mecklenburg Counties; and

(3)        The Executive Director of the Wildlife  Commission.

(e)        Any official designated in subsection (d) above may  issue certified copies of regulations filed with him under the seal of his  office.  Those certified copies may be received in evidence in any  proceeding.

(f)          Publication and filing of regulations promulgated  under this section as required above is for informational purposes and  shall not be a prerequisite to their validity if they in fact have been  duly promulgated, the public has been notified as to the substance of  regulations, a copy of the text of all regulations is in fact available to  any person who may be affected, and no party to any proceeding has been  prejudiced by any defect that may exist with respect to publication and  filing.  Rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission under the  provisions of other sections of this Article relating to internal governance  of the Commission need not be filed or published.  Where posting of any  sign, notice, or marker or the making of other communication is essential  to the validity of a regulation duly promulgated, it shall be presumed in  any proceeding that prior notice was given and maintained and the burden  lies upon the party asserting to the contrary to prove lack of adequate  notice of any regulation.  (1997-257, s. 8.)


§ 77-78.  Enforcement.

(a)        Where a joint resolution so provides,  all law enforcement officers, or those officers as may be designated in  the joint resolution, with territorial jurisdiction as to any part of  Mountain Island Lake or its shoreline area shall, within the limitations  of their subject matter jurisdiction, have the authority of peace officers  in enforcing the laws over all of Mountain Island Lake and its shoreline  area.

(b)        Where a joint resolution provides it, the Commission  may hire special officers to patrol and enforce the laws on Mountain  Island Lake and its shoreline area.  These special officers have and  exercise all the powers of peace officers generally within the area in  question and shall take the oaths and be subject to all provisions of law  relating to law enforcement officers.

(c)        Unless a joint resolution provides otherwise, all  courts in the three counties within the limits of their subject matter  jurisdiction shall have concurrent jurisdiction as to all criminal  offenses arising within the boundaries of Mountain Island Lake and its  shoreline area.

(d)       Where a law enforcement officer with jurisdiction  over any part of Mountain Island Lake or its shoreline area is performing  duties relating to the enforcement of the laws on Mountain Island Lake or  in its shoreline area, the officer has the extraterritorial jurisdiction  necessary to perform his duties. These duties include investigation of  crimes an officer reasonably believes have been, or are about to be,  committed within the area in question.  This includes traversing by  reasonable routes from one portion of that area to another although across  territory not within the boundaries of Mountain Island Lake and its  shoreline area; conducting prisoners in custody to court or detention  facilities as authorized by law, although this may involve going outside  the area in question; execution of process connected with any criminal  offense alleged to have been committed within the boundaries in question,  except that such process may not be executed by virtue of this provision  beyond the boundaries of the three counties.  This also includes  continuing pursuit of and arresting any violator or suspected violator as  to which grounds for arrest arose within the area in question.

(e)        Where law enforcement officers are given additional  territorial jurisdiction under the provisions of this section, this shall  be deemed an extension of the duties of the office held, and no officer  shall take any additional oath or title of office.  (1997-257, s. 9.)


§ 77-79: Reserved for future codification purposes.