136-41.3. Use of funds; records and annual statement; excess accumulation of funds; contracts for maintenance, etc., of streets.

(a) Uses of Funds. - Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the funds allocated to cities and towns under the provisions of G.S. 136-41.2 shall be expended by said cities and towns primarily for the resurfacing of streets within the corporate limits of the municipality but may also be used for the purposes of maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of any street or public thoroughfare including bridges, drainage, curb and gutter, and other necessary appurtenances within the corporate limits of the municipality or for meeting the municipality's proportionate share of assessments levied for such purposes, or for the planning, construction and maintenance of bikeways, greenways, or sidewalks. The funds allocated to cities and towns under the provisions of G.S. 136-41.2 shall not be expended for the construction of a sidewalk into which is built a mailbox, utility pole, fire hydrant, or other similar obstruction that would impede the clear passage of pedestrians on the sidewalk.

(b) Records and Annual Statement. - Each municipality receiving funds by virtue of G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 shall maintain a separate record of accounts indicating in detail all receipts and expenditures of such funds. It shall be unlawful for any municipal employee or member of any governing body to authorize, direct, or permit the expenditure of any funds accruing to any municipality by virtue of G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 for any purpose not herein authorized. Any member of any governing body or municipal employee shall be personally liable for any unauthorized expenditures. On or before the first day of August each year, the treasurer, auditor, or other responsible official of each municipality receiving funds by virtue of G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 shall file a statement under oath with the Secretary of Transportation showing in detail the expenditure of funds received by virtue of G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 during the preceding year and the balance on hand. The Department of Transportation shall submit to the chairs of the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee an annual report no later than October 1 of each year detailing the uses by each municipality of funds received under G.S. 136-41.1 and G.S. 136-41.2 during the preceding year.

(b1) Failure to File. - A municipality that fails to file the statement required under subsection (b) of this section by October 1 is ineligible to receive funds allocated on October 1 under G.S. 136-41.1 or G.S. 136-41.2 for the fiscal year in which the municipality failed to file the statement. A municipality that fails to file the statement required under subsection (b) of this section by January 1 is ineligible to receive funds allocated under G.S. 136-41.1 or G.S. 136-41.2 for the fiscal year in which the municipality failed to file the statement.

(c) Excess Accumulation of Funds Prohibited. - No funds allocated to municipalities pursuant to G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 shall be permitted to accumulate for a period greater than permitted by this section. Interest on accumulated funds shall be used only for the purposes permitted by the provisions of G.S. 136-41.3. Except as otherwise provided in this section, any municipality having accumulated an amount greater than the sum of the past 10 allocations made, shall have an amount equal to such excess deducted from the next allocation after receipt of the report required by this section. Such deductions shall be carried over and added to the amount to be allocated to municipalities for the following year. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the Department shall adopt a policy to allow small municipalities to apply to the Department to be allowed to accumulate up to the sum of the past 20 allocations if a municipality's allocations are so small that the sum of the past 10 allocations would not be sufficient to accomplish the purposes of this section.

(d) Contracts for Maintenance and Construction. - In the discretion of the local governing body of each municipality receiving funds by virtue of G.S. 136-41.1 and 136-41.2 it may contract with the Department of Transportation to do the work of maintenance, repair, construction, reconstruction, widening or improving the streets in such municipality; or it may let contracts in the usual manner as prescribed by the General Statutes to private contractors for the performance of said street work; or may undertake the work by force account. The Department of Transportation within its discretion is hereby authorized to enter into contracts with municipalities for the purpose of maintenance, repair, construction, reconstruction, widening or improving streets of municipalities. And the Department of Transportation in its discretion may contract with any city or town which it deems qualified and equipped so to do that the city or town shall do the work of maintaining, repairing, improving, constructing, reconstructing, or widening such of its streets as form a part of the State highway system.

In the case of each eligible municipality, as defined in G.S. 136-41.2, having a population of less than 5,000, the Department of Transportation shall upon the request of such municipality made by official action of its governing body, on or prior to June 1, 1953, or June 1 in any year thereafter, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1953, and for the years thereafter do such street construction, maintenance, or improvement on nonsystem streets as the municipality may request within the limits of the current or accrued payments made to the municipality under the provisions of G.S. 136-41.1.

In computing the costs, the Department of Transportation may use the same rates for equipment, rental, labor, materials, supervision, engineering and other items, which the Department of Transportation uses in making charges to one of its own department or against its own department, or the Department of Transportation may employ a contractor to do the work, in which case the charges will be the contract cost plus engineering and inspection. The municipality is to specify the location, extent, and type of the work to be done, and shall provide the necessary rights-of-way, authorization for the removal of such items as poles, trees, water and sewer lines as may be necessary, holding the Department of Transportation free from any claim by virtue of such items of cost and from such damage or claims as may arise therefrom except from negligence on the part of the Department of Transportation, its agents, or employees.

If a municipality elects to bring itself under the provisions of the two preceding paragraphs, it shall enter into a two-year contract with the Department of Transportation and if it desires to dissolve the contract at the end of any two-year period it shall notify the Department of Transportation of its desire to terminate said contract on or before April 1 of the year in which such contract shall expire; otherwise, said contract shall continue for an additional two-year period, and if the municipality elects to bring itself under the provisions of the two preceding paragraphs and thereafter fails to pay its account to the Department of Transportation for the fiscal year ending June 30, by August 1 following the fiscal year, then the Department of Transportation shall apply the said municipality's allocation under G.S. 136-41.1 to this account until said account is paid and the Department of Transportation shall not be obligated to do any further work provided for in the two preceding paragraphs until such account is paid.

Section 143-129 of the General Statutes relating to the procedure for letting of public contracts shall not be applicable to contracts undertaken by any municipality with the Department of Transportation in accordance with the provisions of the three preceding paragraphs.

(e) Permitted Offsets to Funding. - The Department of Transportation is authorized to apply a municipality's share of funds allocated to a municipality under the provisions of G.S. 136-41.1 to any of the following accounts of the municipality with the said Department of Transportation, which the municipality fails to pay:

(1) Cost sharing agreements for right-of-way entered into pursuant to G.S. 136-66.3, but not to exceed ten percent (10%) of any one year's allocation until the debt is repaid,

(2) The cost of relocating municipally owned waterlines and other municipally owned utilities on a State highway project which is the responsibility of the municipality,

(3) For any other work performed for the municipality by the Department of Transportation or its contractor by agreement between the Department of Transportation and the municipality, and

(4) For any other work performed that was made necessary by the construction, reconstruction or paving of a highway on the State highway system for which the municipality is legally responsible. (1951, c. 260, s. 3; c. 948, s. 4; 1953, c. 1044; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1969, c. 665, ss. 3, 4; 1971, c. 182, s. 4; 1973, c. 193; c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, ss. 7.1, 20; c. 808; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 690, s. 1.1; 2011-145, s. 28.10(d); 2013-183, s. 3.3; 2015-241, s. 29.17D(b); 2017-57, s. 34.17(a).)