HOW NORTH CAROLINA MUNICIPALITIES WORK
North Carolina municipalities - cities, towns and villages - operate under charters granted by the General Assembly and have powers and authorities granted to them by state statutes and the state constitution. In this state, municipalities do not have home rule, which means that the state legislature must grant the powers and authority to municipalities and authorize them to perform certain functions.
Municipalities are established to protect the citizens and provide residents of a particular area with urban type services: examples are water, sewer, police, streets, transportation, recreation, garbage collection and recycling, land use planning and fire protection. These are all typical but not required municipal services. The individual city or town determines which services it will provide, based on local circumstances.
Only a few services are mandated by state or federal law. If a city or town chooses to provide a service however, it must meet whatever state and federal requirements exist for that service. For example, if a city chooses to provide water service, it must meet all the applicable state and federal water quality standards.
The Town of Hildebran offers Garbage Collection, Recycling, Policing, Streets, Street Lights, and Recreation.
An elected board – called the city or town council, the board of commissioners or the board of aldermen – is the governing body in each N.C. municipality. The number of members on the board, method of election and whether they represent districts or hold at-large seats are determined by the municipal charter.
The Town of Hildebran has a Town Council whose seats are at-large.
The form of government also is set forth in the municipal charter. The Town of Hildebran uses the Council-Manager form. The mayor and council set policy and hire a manager to implement their policies. A manager has specified statutory authority, including hiring and firing of employees. Typically, the council also hires the attorney directly and sometimes the clerk.
North Carolina mayors do not have veto power over council actions (with the exception of one city where the mayor has limited veto power). The mayor may or may not vote on matters before the council, again depending on the charter.
Municipal budgets. One of the major responsibilities of every municipal governing board is to adopt the annual municipal budget, which determines what services will be provided and at what level. The board must set the municipal property tax rate when it adopts its annual budget. By law, all North Carolina budgets must be balanced, and there is a state agency that provides oversight over municipal finances.
Municipal revenues and expenditures. The major sources of municipal revenues are the ad valorem property tax and local option sales taxes. User fees for services, such as water and sewer, support the infrastructure, operational and maintenance costs of the systems themselves.
All Information Provided by the NC League of Municipalities website, www.nclm.org.