Yes. Under State law all affected properties are assessed the cost of the street improvements. This even applies to property owners who opted not to join the original petitions.
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The Assessment Program was established pursuant to Article 9 of Chapter 153A of the North Carolina General Statutes. The law permits counties to oversee construction improvements to subdivision roads that do not meet NC Department of Transportation standards. The County fronts the cost of the project and then assesses the affected property owners after construction is complete. The costs are split equally amongst all property owners in the subdivision. The County adopted a street assessment policy in 2015 which governs the County’s implementation of these projects.
No. Under North Carolina law counties are prohibited from improving or maintaining roads. Municipalities are permitted to fund road improvements, but roads outside municipal limits may only be improved pursuant to Article 9, Chapter 153A of the NC General Statutes.
Interested subdivisions may contact the Clerk to the Board of Commissioners to obtain a petition for street improvements. Residents must complete the petition and return it to the Clerk who will then certify whether it meets the minimum requirements.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the owners who own at least 75% of the lineal feet in the subdivision must be included on the petition in order for the County to undertake the project. (NCGS § 153A-205). For properties which are jointly owned, all owners must sign the petition.
Street assessment projects are approved for financing in the order they were received and confirmed as valid petitions. When funds are available for projects, the Board of Commissioners considers when to proceed on an improvement project on a case-by-case basis.
After the petition is received and confirmed, the County will proceed with securing an engineer who drafts construction documents for the project. The project is then put out to bid for qualified contractors to submit proposals. Staff uses the bid to calculate the total expected cost of the project. Affected property owners are notified of the final estimated cost and two public hearings are held for citizens to speak in front of the Board of Commissioners. Construction may not begin until the Board of Commissioner approve a preliminary resolution directing the project to proceed. Residents may remove their name from the petition at any time prior to approval of the preliminary resolution. If the petition falls below the 75% before approval of the preliminary roll, the project cannot move forward, and no fees will be charged to residents.
Upon completion of construction, the Board determines the total costs of the project in order to calculate the total assessment to be levied. After the total costs has been determined, a preliminary assessment roll is created listing all properties and the amount of each assessment. Residents are mailed copies of the roll, and a public hearing is scheduled so that any residents may appear and comment on the preliminary roll. Following the public hearing, the Board may amend the preliminary roll as it sees fit and vote to approve the roll. The assessments become a lien on the property once the Board of Commissioners confirm the roll.
Yes. A resident may remove or add their property to the petition at any time prior to the Board of Commissioners adopting a Preliminary Resolution directing the project to proceed.
In determining the final cost, the Board of Commissioners may include construction costs, legal services, third-party billing costs, amount of interest paid during construction, the cost of rights-of way, engineering costs, and the cost of publishing and mailing notices and resolutions.
Resident have two options for repayment. Residents may repay the entire assessment interest free within 30 days of confirmation of the assessment roll. If not paid within 30 days, then the assessments are paid in 10 annual installments with interest.
The annual installments are included in the annual property tax bill. They are due and payable on the same terms as property taxes.
Yes. Residents may pay assessments in full at any time within the 10-year repayment period in order to avoid future interest. Interest will still be due for the year in which payment is made.
Escrow practices vary depending on the lender and mortgage servicer. If you wish to have assessment payment included in your escrow, you should contact your mortgage servicer. Wayne County does not notify mortgage companies of the newly created assessments nor does it have any control over how escrows are collected.
The NC Department of Transportation accepts the roads into the state secondary road system after construction is completed. NC DOT becomes responsible for maintenance of the roads from that point forward.
The assessment constitutes a lien on the property until it is paid in full. A transfer of ownership does not extinguish the lien. Any property which is transferred is sold subject to any outstanding assessment balance. Sellers and potential buyers should consult their realtors and/or closing attorneys for guidance on how best to handle property transfers.
Failure to timely repay the assessment and the annual installments may result in foreclosure proceedings. In North Carolina, property taxes and special assessments liens have priority over mortgages or any other private liens.