The state House Committee on Government has pulled a proposed bill to amend the Town of Zebulon’s charter at the request of Mayor Bob Matheny.
Matheny explained House Bill 1147 – which would give the town the authority to spend as much as it wants from developers’ fees to pay for individual road, open space and recreation projects – did not lack support at the legislative level. He cited a procedural error as the reason he asked the bill to be removed from the committee’s June 18 meeting agenda.
“What happened was ... we realized we had not adopted a formal resolution,” Matheny said. “The (town) board agreed to proceed with it but hadn’t done it formally and that was a mistake. So if you make a mistake, you correct it.”
The town must pass a resolution and then hold a public hearing before amending its charter. Town leaders decided July 7 would be the earliest they could meet those requirements, and didn’t think that would leave enough time before the legislature concluded its session.
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“I feel kind of bad we didn’t catch it earlier, but I haven’t lost any sleep over it, and short-term, it’s not going to hurt or delay any plans we had,” Matheny said.
Zebulon’s charter states the town can spend no more than 50 percent of the fees it collects from developers for a single capital project. The fees must also be used within six years of the time they are deposited, or the town has to refund the fees plus interest.
The bill called for striking the funding limit and giving the town 10 years from the time of collection to use the fees for different projects.
“They were asking for more flexibility, to remove the six-year cap to 10 years and the 50 percent cap,” said Rep. Chris Malone, a Wake Forest Republican who represents Zebulon. “It might have come to pass, and maybe it wouldn’t, but I’m not 100 percent it would have gotten through the Senate because of time constraints.”
Malone and Rep. Darren Jackson, a Knightdale Democrat, were listed as primary sponsors on the bill. The Wake County legislative delegation also unanimously supports the bill, according to Matheny.
Nothing but the town’s formal adoption of the amendment stands in the way of the bill passing in next year’s session, Malone said.
“We’ll do it in January and get it done,” Malone said. “It has full support of the delegation, both Republicans, Democrats, House and Senate. It’s just one of those things. Sometime these things happen.”
Staff writer T. Keung Hui contributed to this report.