The Town of Weddington will no longer accept for maintenance any new subdivision roads or streets within its jurisdiction, according to a resolution approved earlier this month by the Town Council. The town’s decision comes just a few weeks after a similar policy was enacted by the Village of Marvin, and is likely to be replicated in the coming months by other municipalities in Union County.
This highly problematic situation results from a September letter from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) saying that the state would no longer accept and maintain local streets within municipalities in Union County. NCDOT had been accepting new streets for the towns and villages for some time, in direct violation of state law that assigns this responsibility to local government.
Now, towns like Weddington are refusing to take responsibility for roads that they should have already been maintaining under state law. Citing a lack of funds and an unwillingness to raise taxes on existing residents, these communities are essentially telling new homeowners that they will need to set aside funding in an HOA escrow account for long-term maintenance of their streets and sidewalks.
The state annually allocates ‘Powell Bill’ funds to incorporated municipalities that establish their eligibility and qualify as provided by G.S. 136-41.1 through 136-41.4. The general statutes lay out a specific formula whereby funds are disbursed to qualifying municipalities during the fiscal year. Powell Bill funds can only be expended for the purposes of maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of any street or public thoroughfare within the municipal limits or for planning, construction, and maintenance of bikeways, greenways or sidewalks.
While Weddington did not become eligible for Powell Bill dollars until just this year, the Village of Marvin has been allocated $605,830.30 from this account since 2006. Marvin; however, appears to have not spent the lion’s share of those dollars on road construction and maintenance as its own website states it “received over $200,000 in state funds during the last two years for building trails and sidewalks.”
REBIC is meeting with state and local officials to determine if a solution exists that will keep new homebuyers in Union County from having to fund maintenance of their own subdivision streets. We will keep you posted on our progress on this critical issue in the weeks and months ahead.