The N.C. Supreme Court has ruled today that the Moore County seat of Carthage did not have authority from the state to impose water and sewer impact fees. The decision reverses the state Court of Appeals.

Justice Paul Newby concludes:

While the Public Enterprise Statutes at issue here enable Carthage to charge for the contemporaneous use of its water and sewer systems, the statutes clearly and unambiguously fail to give Carthage the essential prospective charging power necessary to assess impact fees. Because the legislature alone controls the extension of municipal authority, the impact fee ordinances on their face exceed the powers delegated to the Town by the General Assembly, thus overstepping Carthage’s rightful authority. See Smith Chapel, 350 N.C. at 812, 517 S.E.2d at 879 (holding that “the [town’s] ordinance on its face exceeds the express limitation of the plain and unambiguous reading of” the applicable Public Enterprise Statutes).

The ordinances are therefore invalid and, accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the Town of Carthage.