North Carolina General Statutes allow cities to pass a portion of the cost of extending water and sewer mains and making street and sidewalk improvements to the benefitted properties.
Public hearings are required before such projects can be authorized by City Council and before the assessment costs can be confirmed and billed to the affected properties.
An assessment becomes a lien against the property until it is paid in full. A more detailed explanation of the process is available below.
While street, sidewalk and utility projects are being designed, at least one public meeting is held to let citizens know about the proposed improvements and for the City to receive feedback from those affected by the project.
Once construction plans are about 65% complete, abutting property owners are notified of the City's intent to pass a portion of the construction costs to the property owners in the form of an assessment. At that time, the property owners are invited to a public hearing that is required before the City Council can vote on authorizing construction of the project.
Once construction has been authorized, property owners are notified of Council's decision and the affected properties are entered into the City's assessment database.
Estimated Assessment Costs and Prepayments
After a project has been authorized, construction plans and right of way maps are used to calculate estimated assessment amounts. Upon request, these estimates are provided to property owners.
Since the details of projects are subject to change during construction, the final assessment cost can be different than the estimated cost. The City accepts advanced payment of assessments with the understanding that bills for additional assessment amounts due or any refunds will go to the property owner of record at the time the final assessment amount becomes due.
Confirmation of Assessment Charges
After a project has been completed, the final assessment cost for each property is calculated based on the as-built construction plans.
Once the assessments have been calculated, an assessment roll and an assessment map is prepared, and the abutting property owners are notified of a public hearing that is required before the assessments can be adopted by City Council.
After the assessments have been adopted, abutting property owners are notified of their payment options.
Property Outside of the City Limits
If a property is located outside of the Raleigh City Limits, the owner may pay the assessment at any time. However, the assessment does not become due until the property is annexed, is presented for subdivision review, or in the case of Water and Sewer assessments, the property is connected to the water or sewer system. Once a property has been annexed, Revenue Services will send a notice to the property owners notifying them of their new payment options.
Property Inside of the City Limits
If a property is inside of the city limits, the owner may pay the assessment in full at any time. Assessments paid within 50 days of adoption do not accrue interest, however, after 50 days interest accrues at an annual rate of 6%. If the owner does not wish to pay the assessment in full, they may elect to pay the assessment in ten annual installments. If this option is chosen, an annual payment of 10% of the assessment amount plus interest is due by September 1 each year. Annual installment notices are sent by the Revenue Services Division each August. The City does not require assessments to be paid when properties located inside of the city limits are connected to utilities. However, permitting and connection fees do apply.
Payment at the Time of Property Sale
While under certain circumstances, the City requires assessments to be paid when property is being developed, there is not a City-requirement for assessments to be paid when a property that has pending or confirmed assessments is sold. This is an issue that is negotiated by the buyer and seller as part of the sale agreement. The Revenue Division maintains a list of current and pending assessment liens to assist the legal community in determining if a property is subject to assessment.