162A-77.1. Special election upon the question of the merger of metropolitan sewerage districts into cities or towns.

Any district lying entirely within the corporate limits of a city or town may be merged into such city or town in accordance with the provisions of this section.

The governing body of a city or town, with the approval of the district board, shall call and conduct a special election within such city or town on the question of the merger of the district into the city or town. A vote in favor of such merger shall constitute a vote for such city or town to assume the obligations of the district. Such special election may be called and conducted by the governing body of a city or town upon its own motion after passage of a resolution of the district board requesting or approving the special election. Any special election shall be conducted in accordance with G.S. 163-287.

A new registration of voters shall not be required for the special election. The special election shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of law applicable to regular elections in the city or town.

If a majority of the votes are in favor of the merger, then:

(1) All property, real and personal and mixed, including accounts receivable, belonging to such district shall vest in, belong to, and be the property of, such city or town. All district boards are hereby authorized to take such actions and to execute such documents as will carry into effect the provisions and the intent of this section.

(2) All judgments, liens, rights of liens, and causes of action of any nature in favor of such district shall vest in and remain and inure to the benefit of such city or town.

(3) All taxes, assessments, sewer charges, and any other debts, charges or fees, owing to such district shall be owed to and collected by such city or town.

(4) All actions, suits and proceedings pending against, or having been instituted by, such district shall not be abated by this section or by the merger herein provided for, but all such actions, suits, and proceedings shall be continued and completed in the same manner as if merger had not occurred, and such city or town shall be a party to all such actions, suits, and proceedings in the place and stead of the district and shall pay or cause to be paid any judgments rendered against the district in any such actions, suits, or proceedings. No new process need be served in any such action, suit, or proceeding.

(5) All obligations of the district, including outstanding indebtedness, shall be assumed by such city or town, and all such obligations and outstanding indebtedness shall constitute obligations and indebtedness of such city or town, and the full faith and credit of such city or town shall be deemed to be pledged for the punctual payment of the principal of and the interest on any general obligation bonds or bond anticipation notes of such district, and all the taxable property within such city or town, as well as that formerly located within the district, shall be and remain subject to taxation for such payment.

(6) All ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies of such district shall continue in full force and effect until repealed or amended by the governing body of such city or town.

(7) Such district shall be abolished, and shall no longer be constituted a public body or a body politic and corporate, except for the purposes of carrying into effect the provisions and the intent of this section.

If a majority of the votes are against the merger, then such merger shall not be effective unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters who vote thereon in a subsequent special election conducted under authority of this section.

Any action or proceeding in any court to set aside a special election held under authority of this section or the result thereof, or to obtain any other relief upon the ground that such election or any proceeding or action taken with respect to the holding of such election is invalid, must be commenced within 30 days after the day of such special election. After the expiration of such period of limitation, no right of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of the election or the result thereof shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the election or of the result thereof be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding commenced within such period. (1975, c. 448; 2013-381, s. 10.31; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, ss. 3.1(a), (b), 6.1.)