§ 130A-55. Corporate powers.
A sanitary district board shall be a body politic and corporate and may sue and be sued in matters relating to the sanitary district. Notwithstanding any limitation in the petition under G.S. 130A-48, but subject to the provisions of G.S. 130A-55(17)e, each sanitary district may exercise all of the powers granted to sanitary districts by this Article. In addition, the sanitary district board shall have the following powers:
(1) To acquire, construct, maintain and operate sewage collection, treatment and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection, treatment or disposal facilities or systems; water supply systems; water purification or treatment plants and other utilities necessary for the preservation and promotion of the public health and sanitary welfare within the district. The utilities shall be constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with applicable statutes and rules.
(2) To acquire, construct, maintain and operate sewage collection, treatment and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems, water supply systems; water purification or treatment plants and other utilities, within and outside the corporate limits of the district, as may be necessary for the preservation of the public health and sanitary welfare outside the corporate limits of the district, within reasonable limitation. The utilities shall be constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with applicable statutes and rules.
a. The authority granted to a sanitary district by the provisions of this subsection is supplemental to the authority granted to a sanitary district by other provisions of law.
b. Actions taken by a sanitary district to acquire, construct, maintain and operate sewage collection, treatment and disposal systems of all types; water supply systems; water purification or treatment plants and other utilities within and outside the corporate limits to provide service outside the corporate limits are approved and validated.
c. This subsection shall apply only in counties with a population of 70,000 or greater, as determined by the most recent decennial federal census.
(3) To levy taxes on property within the district in order to carry out the powers and duties conferred and imposed on the district by law, and to pay the principal of and interest on bonds and notes of the district.
(4) To acquire either by purchase, condemnation or otherwise and hold real and personal property, easements, rights-of-way and water rights in the name of the district within or without the corporate limits of the district, necessary or convenient for the construction or maintenance of the works of the district.
(5) To employ and compensate engineers, counsel and other persons as may be necessary to carry out projects.
(6) To negotiate and enter into agreements with the owners of existing water supplies, sewage systems or other utilities as may be necessary to carry out the intent of this Part.
(7) To adopt rules necessary for the proper functioning of the district. However, these rules shall not conflict with rules adopted by the Commission for Public Health, Environmental Management Commission, or the local board of health having jurisdiction over the area. Further, such sanitary district board rules shall be no more restrictive than or conflict with requirements or ordinances of any county having jurisdiction over the area, and, if a conflict should arise, the requirements or ordinances of the county having jurisdiction over the area shall control.
(8) a. To contract with any person within or outside the corporate limits of the district to supply raw water without charge to the person in return for an agreement to allow the district to discharge sewage in the person's previous water supply. The district may so contract and construct at its expense all improvements necessary or convenient for the delivery of the water when, in the opinion of the sanitary district board and the Department, it will be for the best of the district.
b. To contract with any person within or outside the corporate limits of the district to supply raw or filtered water and sewer service to the person where the service is available. For service supplied outside the corporate limits of the district, the sanitary district board may fix a different rate from that charged within the corporate limits but shall not be liable for damages for failure to furnish a sufficient supply of water and adequate sewer service.
c. To contract with any person within or outside the corporate limits of the district for the treatment of the district's sewage in a sewage disposal or treatment plant owned and constructed or to be constructed by that person.
(9) After adoption of a plan as provided in G.S. 130A-60, the sanitary district board may, in its discretion, alter or modify the plan if the Department determines that the alteration or modification does not constitute a material deviation from the objective of the plan and is in the public health interest of the district. The alteration or modification must be approved by the Department. The sanitary district board may appropriate or reappropriate money of the district for carrying out the altered or modified plan.
(10) To take action, subject to the approval of the Department, for the prevention and eradication of diseases transmissible by vectors by instituting programs for the eradication of the mosquito.
(11) To collect and dispose of garbage, waste and other refuse by contract or otherwise.
(12) To establish a fire department, or to contract for firefighting apparatus and personnel for the protection of life and property within the district.
(13) To provide or contract for rescue service, ambulance service, rescue squad or other emergency medical services for use in the district. The sanitary district shall be subject to G.S. 153A-250.
(14) To have privileges and immunities granted to other governmental units in exercise of the governmental functions.
(15) To use the income of the district, and if necessary, to levy and collect taxes upon all the taxable property within the district sufficient to pay the costs of collecting and disposing of garbage, waste and other refuse, to provide fire protection and rescue services in the district, and to acquire, construct, maintain, operate, and regulate roads and streets within the district. Taxes shall be levied and collected at the same time and in the same manner as taxes for debt service as provided in G.S. 130A-62.
(16) To adopt rules for the promotion and protection of the public health and for these purposes to possess the following powers:
a. 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 district and within a reasonable distance of any waterline or sewer collection line owned, leased as lessee, or operated by the district 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 a district only to the extent that the service, whether water, sewer, or a combination thereof, to be provided by the district 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 district has installed water or sewer lines or a combination thereof directly available to the property, the district 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 a sanitary district 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.
b. To require any person owning, occupying or controlling improved real property within the district where the water or sewage systems of the district are not immediately available or it is impractical with the systems, to install sanitary toilets, septic tanks and other health equipment or installations in accordance with applicable statutes and rules.
c. To order a person to abate a public health nuisance of the district. If the person being ordered to abate the nuisance refuses to comply with the order, the sanitary district board may institute an action in the superior court of the county where the public health nuisance exists to enforce the order.
d. To abolish or regulate and control the use and occupancy of all pigsties and other animal stockyards or pens within the district and for an additional distance of 500 feet beyond the outer boundaries of the district, unless the 500 feet is within the corporate limits of a city or town.
e. Upon the noncompliance by a person of a rule adopted by the sanitary district board, the board shall notify the person of the rule being violated and the facts constituting the violation. The person shall have a reasonable time to comply with the rule as determined by the local health director of the person's residence. Upon failure to comply within the specified time or within a time extended by the sanitary district board, the person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
f. The sanitary district board is authorized to enforce the rules adopted pursuant to this Part by criminal action or civil action, including injunctive relief.
(17) For the purpose of promoting and protecting the public health, safety and the general welfare of the State, a sanitary district board is authorized to establish as zoning units any portions of the sanitary district not under the control of the United States or this State or any agency or instrumentality of either, in accordance with the following:
a. No sanitary district board shall designate an area a zoning area until a petition signed by two-thirds of the qualified voters in the area, as shown by the registration books used in the last general election, and with a petition signed by two-thirds of the owners of real property in the area, as shown by the records in the office of the register of deeds for the county, is filed with the sanitary district board. The petition must be accompanied by a map of the proposed zoning area. The board shall hold a public hearing to obtain comment on the proposed creation of the zoning area. A notice of public hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least two times, and a copy of the notice shall be posted at the county courthouse and in three other public places in the sanitary district.
b. When a zoning area is established within a sanitary district, the sanitary district board as to the zoning area shall have all rights, privileges, powers and duties granted to local governments under Article 7 of Chapter 160D of the General Statutes. However, the sanitary district board shall not be required to appoint any zoning commission or board of adjustment. If neither a zoning commission nor board of adjustment is appointed, the sanitary district board shall have all rights.
c. A sanitary district board may enter into an agreement with any city, town or sanitary district for the establishment of a joint zoning commission.
d. A sanitary district board is authorized to use the income of the district and levy and collect taxes upon the taxable property within the district necessary to carry out and enforce the rules and provisions of this subsection.
e. This subsection shall apply only to sanitary districts which adjoin and are contiguous to an incorporated city or town and are located within three miles or less of the boundaries of two other cities or towns.
(18) To negotiate for and acquire by contract any distribution system located outside the district when the water for the distribution system is furnished by the district. If the distribution system is acquired by a district, the district may continue the operation of the system even though it remains outside the district.
(19) To accept gifts of real and personal property for the purpose of operating a nonprofit cemetery; to own, operate and maintain cemeteries with the donated property; and to establish perpetual care funds for the cemeteries in the manner provided by G.S. 160A-347.
(20) To dispose of real or personal property belonging to the district according to the procedures prescribed in Article 12 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes. For purposes of this subsection, references in Article 12 of Chapter 160A to the "city," the "council," or a specific city official refer, respectively, to the sanitary district, the sanitary district board, and the sanitary district official who most nearly performs the same duties performed by the specified city official. For purposes of this subsection, references in G.S. 160A-266(c) to "one or more city officials" are deemed to refer to one or more sanitary district officials designated by the sanitary district board.
(21) To acquire, renovate property for or construct a medical clinic to serve the district, and to maintain real and personal property for a medical clinic to serve the district.
(22) To make special assessments against benefitted property within the corporate limits of the sanitary district and within the area served or to be served by the sanitary district 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 Article 9 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes, 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 sanitary districts. For the purposes of this paragraph, references in Article 9 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes, to the "county," the "board of county commissioners," "the board" or a specific county official or employee are deemed to refer respectively to the sanitary district and to the official or employee of the sanitary district 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 officer designated by the sanitary district to perform the functions described in said sections of the statute. This subdivision applies only to sanitary districts with a population of 15,000 or over.
(23) To acquire (by purchase, lease, gift, or otherwise, but not by condemnation), construct, maintain, operate, and regulate roads and streets within the sanitary district which are not State-maintained. Not all of these powers need be exercised.
(25) To negotiate and enter into agreements with other municipal corporations or sanitary districts for the purpose of developing and implementing an economic development plan. The agreement may provide for the establishment of a special fund, in which monies not expended at the end of a fiscal year shall remain in the fund. The lead agency designated under the agreement shall be responsible for examination of the fund and compliance with sound accounting principles, including the annual independent audit under G.S. 159-34. The audit responsibilities of the other municipal corporations and sanitary districts extend only to the verification of the contribution to the fund created under the agreement. The procedural requirements of G.S. 158-7.1(c) shall apply to actions of a sanitary district under this subdivision as if it were a city. (1927, c. 100, s. 7; 1933, c. 8, ss. 1, 2; 1935, c. 287, ss. 1, 2; 1941, c. 116; 1945, c. 651, ss. 1, 2; 1947, c. 476; 1949, c. 880, s. 1; cc. 1130, 1145; 1951, c. 17, s. 1; c. 1035, s. 1; 1957, c. 1357, s. 1; 1961, cc. 669, 865, 1155; 1963, c. 1232; 1965, c. 496, s. 1; 1967, c. 632; c. 637, s. 1; c. 798, s. 2; 1969, cc. 478, 700, 944; 1971, c. 780, s. 29; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1979, c. 520, s. 2; c. 619, s. 7; 1981, cc. 629, 655; c. 820, ss. 1-3; c. 898, ss. 1-4; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1237; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; c. 925, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, s. 948; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 422, ss. 1-4; 2001-221, s. 1; 2006-214, s. 1; 2007-182, s. 2; 2011-256, s. 2; 2011-394, s. 22; 2015-246, s. 3.5(g); 2019-111, s. 2.5(j); 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)