Under the Dome

Bill would take taxing, condemnation powers away from unelected boards

Unelected local governmental entities such as special districts and authorities wouldn’t be able to impose taxes or condemn property without approval from the board of commissioners of the county they’re in, under a proposed constitutional amendment outlined in a bill filed Tuesday.

The bill is aimed at curtailing the power of local boards like the sewer district in Buncombe County and the proposed airport authority in Charlotte, which have generated controversy.

“They’re not scrutinized like they ought to be, and I think at the end of the day, if you’re going to condemn or tax you ought to have to go to somebody that’s elected by the people and get permission to do so,” Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville told reporters.

Nesbitt endorsed the bill by accompanying its sponsor, freshman Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat from Fayetteville. Nesbitt said Clark came to him with the idea, and he liked it.

Nesbitt noted that some Republicans in the legislature have supported submitting to voters a constitutional amendment restricting condemnation, so he was hopeful there might be bipartisan agreement on this proposal, Senate Bill 705.

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