CHARTER
   Session Laws of the General Assembly - 1880 A.D., Chapter 8
   AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE TOWN OF RICHLANDS IN ONSLOW COUNTY
   The GENERAL ASSEMBLY of NORTH CAROLINA DO ENACT;
   Section 1.  That the town of Richlands, in Onslow county, be and the same is hereby incorporated by the name and style of the “Town of Richlands,” and shall be subject to all provisions contained in chapter one hundred and eleven (111) Battle’s Revisal, not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this state and the United States.
   Section 2.  That the corporate limits of said town shall be as follows:  beginning at the center of the Methodist church, and running one-half mile north, south, east and west, comprising one mile square. 
   Section 3.  That until their successors are elected under the laws of the state, L. W. Hargett shall act as mayor, and Uzza Mills, S. J. Veach, F. D. Koonce, shall act as commissioners and M. B. Steed shall act as marshal of said town.
   Section 4.  That it shall be the duty of the persons elected under the laws of the state to go before some justice of the peace for said county and take an oath prescribed by law within five (5) days after their election.
   Section 5.  That all fines collected for violation of any town ordinance shall go into the town treasury for the benefit of the town. 
   Section 6.  That no licenses shall be granted to sell spirituous liquors within the corporate limits of the town by the commissioners.
   Section 7.  This act shall be in force from and after its ratification.
   Read three times in general assembly, and ratified the 29th day of March, A.D. 1880.
Session Laws of the General Assembly - 1905 A.D., Chapter 417
AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE TOWN OF RICHLANDS IN THE COUNTY OF ONSLOW
   The GENERAL ASSEMBLY of NORTH CAROLINA DO ENACT;
   Section 1. That the Town of Richlands in the county of Onslow be and continue to be, as it heretofore has been, and is hereby declared to be incorporated into a body politic and corporate by the name and style of the “Town of Richlands,” and shall have the usual powers of such corporations, and under said corporate name may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with, and may acquire, hold, own, possess and convey property, real and personal, for the use and benefit of said town, and may make all needful rules, regulations, by-laws and ordinances for the government, improvement, health and welfare of the inhabitants of said Town, not inconsistent with the laws and Constitution of the United States and of the State of North Carolina.
   Section 2. That the corporate limits of said Town shall be as follows, viz: Beginning at the center of the Methodist Church Building in said Town and running north one-half mile and running from the center of said building east one-half mile, and running from center of said building south one-half mile, and running from center of said building west one-half mile, and shall comprise one mile square.
   Section 3. That on the first Tuesday in May, one thousand nine hundred and five, and every two years thereafter, an election shall be held at the usual voting place in said Town by the qualified voters therein as hereinafter prescribed for a mayor and five aldermen and a town constable for said town, who shall hold their offices for two years from their election and until their successors are elected and qualified; and every person elected as mayor or aldermen or town constable who shall willfully neglect or refuse to qualify on the first Monday following his election, and willfully neglect or refuse to perform the duties of the office to which he may have been chosen after being duly notified of his election thereto by a written notice given within three days from the date of such election by the pollholders (and) registrar of said election, shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty-five dollars to the use and benefit of said town, which may be recovered before any justice of the peace of Onslow County in the name of the “Town of Richlands” for the use and benefit of said town, or, in failure to pay said penalty, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days:  Provided, that no person shall be eligible to the office of mayor or aldermen of said town who is not qualified voter thereof and freeholder therein and who has not been a bona fide resident of the town for ninety days before the day of election. No person shall be required to serve in any of said offices two terms in succession:
   Provided further, that no person shall be qualified to vote at any election for officers of said town unless such person shall be duly registered upon the book of registered voters of said town, and in addition to being qualified voter for members of the General Assembly of North Carolina, shall have been a bona fide resident of said town for ninety days prior to the date of the election. And in case of a vacancy in the office of mayor, for any cause, after his election, the board of aldermen shall appoint a qualified person to serve as mayor until the next ensuing election and until the person then elected as mayor shall be duly sworn, qualified and inducted into office. And in case of a vacancy in the office of alderman, the board shall elect a qualified person to act as alderman until the next ensuing election and until the person then elected as alderman shall be duly sworn, qualified and inducted into office.
   Section 4. That the aldermen of the town shall give notice shall be posted at three public places in the corporate limits of the town at least ten days before the time of holding said election; and all elections for officers of said town shall be held by two persons styled pollholders of the election and the registrar of the qualified voters of the town, and who shall be appointed for that purpose by the aldermen of the town; and shall be duly sworn by the mayor or other person authorized to administer oaths to truly, fairly, honestly, impartially and lawfully hold and conduct said election; and at its close announce the result thereof. It shall be the duty of the aldermen to cause a registration to be made of all the qualified voters residing in said town and entitled to vote therein under the rules and regulations prescribed for the registration of voters for general election; and in case of a vacancy for any cause in the office of registrar, the mayor of said town shall be authorized and empowered to fill the vacancy by appointing some suitable person to act; and in case either one of the pollholders should fail to attend at the time, and place for holding the election, the registrar and the pollholders present may appoint some suitable person to act in place of the absent pollholders; and in the absence of both pollholders, the registrar and mayor may appoint suitable persons to act; and said pollholders and registrar, after being duly sworn as hereinbefore prescribed, shall open, hold and close said election in the manner directed by the general election laws of the State, and declare the result at the close thereof. The pollholders and registrar shall within three days thereafter transmit to the Register of Deeds of Onslow County an abstract of the votes cast, and for whom, and for what offices, and the names of the persons declared elected to the several offices, and shall also within three days deposit and file with the aldermen of the town the pollbook and registrations of said elections; and the said pollholders and registrar shall also within three days from the holding of said election give notice in writing to the several persons elected to the respective offices, who shall meet and qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of their respective offices on the Monday following. All outgoing or retiring officers of said town shall yield, surrender and deliver to their successors all property and rights of property, moneys, books, accounts, records, writings, papers, and other things in their keeping, belonging to said town; and on failure or refusal to do so, after demands made by their successors, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction in a court of a justice of the peace of Onslow County be fined not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days.
   Section 5. The person elected or appointed mayor of the town, before entering upon the performance of his duties, shall, on the Monday following the notification of his election or appointment, take and subscribe an oath to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina, and to well, truly and faithfully perform the duties of mayor of said town to the best of his ability, which oath shall be administered by a justice of the peace of Onslow County or other officer duly empowered to administer oaths for general purposes, and shall be filed with the board of aldermen. The Mayor of the Town of Richlands while acting as such is hereby constituted an official court with the same jurisdiction and powers in criminal offenses committed or occurring within the limits of said town as now are or hereafter may be given by law to justices of the peace. The mayor shall also have full jurisdiction to hear and determine all misdemeanors consisting of a violation of any of the ordinances of said town. The proceedings in said court shall be the same as now are or hereafter shall be provided for courts of justices of the peace, and in all cases there shall be a right of appeal from the mayor’s court to the superior court of the county. And in all cases wherein a defendant may be adjudged to be imprisoned it shall be competent for the mayor to also adjudge that the said defendant shall work during the period of his confinement upon the public streets or other public work of said town. The mayor may issue his precepts to the Chief of Police and to such other officers to whom a justice of the peace may direct his precepts.
   Section 6. That the mayor shall keep a full, true and perfect record of all precepts issued by him and of all his judicial proceedings. The judgments rendered by him shall have all the force, virtue and validity of judgments rendered by a justice of the peace.
   Section 7. That the mayor when present shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Aldermen, and when there is an equal division upon any question or in the election of officers by the board, he shall decide the matter by his vote; he shall vote in no other case. If he shall be absent at any meeting of the board, the aldermen may appoint one of their number to preside pro tempore and exercise the duties of the mayor of said meeting, as well as during the absence of the mayor from the town, or his inability.
   Section 8. That every person elected as alderman or appointed as such shall, before entering upon the performance of duties of his office and on the Monday following his election or appointment, take and subscribe an oath to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the State of North Carolina, and to well, truly and faithfully perform the duties of alderman of said town to the best of his ability, which oath may be administered by the mayor or a justice of the peace of Onslow County, and filed with the mayor. That the aldermen shall form one board, and a majority of them shall be competent to perform all the duties prescribed, unless otherwise provided. At their first meeting they shall fix stated days of meetings for the year, which shall not be less than one time in every month; special meetings of the aldermen may also be held on the call of the mayor or by the call of a majority of the aldermen; and of every such meeting, when called by the mayor, all the aldermen shall be notified of the time of meeting, and when called by a majority of the aldermen, such as shall not join in the call shall be notified of the time of meeting.
   Section 9. That the Board of Aldermen when convened shall have power to make and provide for the execution and carrying out of such ordinances, by-laws, rules, and regulations for the government, improvement, health and welfare of the inhabitants of said town as they may deem necessary, not in conflict with this act nor with the laws of the land; and to affix penalty thereto for violation thereof; to make by-laws, rules and regulations for the proper conduct and government of these corporate meetings, with the penalties attached; to cause to be erected necessary prison-house, market-house, and provide for keeping the same cleanly and in good sanitary condition; to provide for constructing and keeping in good order public pumps and wells of drinking water; to appoint inspectors of wood, and for weighing and inspection of cotton, tar, and other products of the country; to provide how such weight and inspection shall be paid; to appoint town watchmen or patrols and to do all other acts and things which in their judgment may be necessary for the improvements, welfare, health, and good government of the inhabitants of said town; and the said by-laws, rules, regulations and ordinances from time to time to alter, change, amend or discontinue, when they or the majority of the said aldermen shall deem the same necessary, and publish and post all such as are passed ten days before going into effect.
   Section 10. That the violation of any ordinance of said town shall be a misdemeanor, but the punishment thereof shall not exceed a fine of fifty dollars nor exceed imprisonment for thirty days.
   Section 11. That the Board of Aldermen shall have the power to open, lay out and widen any street, lane or avenue within the limits of said town whenever deemed necessary by them, and shall have power to enlarge, extend, change or discontinue any street or streets or any part thereof in the corporated limits of the town, and shall have full power and authority to condemn, appropriate or use any land or lands necessary for any of the purposes named in this section upon making a reasonable compensation to the owners of said land. In case the owners of the land and the aldermen do not agree as to the amount of damages, then the matter shall be referred to arbitrators, each party choosing one, who shall be a freeholder and a resident of the town; and in case the owner of the land shall refuse to choose such arbitrator, the sheriff of the county shall select one for him; and in case the two arbitrators chosen as prescribed do not agree they shall select an umpire whose duty it shall be to examine the land condemned and ascertain the amount of damages sustained, and the benefit accruing to the owner in consequence of the change; and the award of the arbitrators or umpire shall be conclusive of the rights of the parties, and shall vest in the aldermen the right and power to use the land for the purposes specified; and all damage agreed upon by the aldermen or awarded by the arbitrators or umpire shall be paid as other town liabilities, by taxation:  Provided, either party may appeal to the Superior Court of the county as provided by law.
   Section 12. That among the powers hereby conferred upon the Board of Aldermen are the powers to order a new registration of voters at any and all town elections if they deem it proper to do so; to take all proper means to prevent and extinguish fires; to appoint and regulate a police force; to make regulations to cause the due observance of Sunday; to provide for repairing and cleansing the streets and building bridges at necessary points; to provide suitable places for imprisonment of persons adjudged guilty of violations of town ordinance; to regulate the markets; to execute such precepts as the mayor and other authorized persons may lawfully issue to them; to declare, suppress and abate all nuisances; to preserve the health of the inhabitants of the town from exposure to contagious or infectious diseases; to preserve the peace and order of the town; to prohibit the firing of guns, pistols, gunpowder, fire-crackers, or other explosives, combustible or dangerous materials, within the corporate limits of the town; to impose annually a tax per capita on all dogs running at large or kept within the corporate limits of the town, not exceeding five dollars upon each dog; to prohibit all horses, mules, cattle, swine, geese, sheep and goats from running at large upon the streets, public grounds or in any public place in the corporate limits of the town; and to declare all such animals and fowls so running at large a nuisance, and may at their option impose a fine upon the owner or owners of such animals and fowls so running at large not to exceed ten dollars for each animal and one dollar upon each fowl, or may treat the same as nuisances and abate or suppress the same as other nuisances are abated or suppressed. And the owner of any dog who shall fail or refuse to pay the tax imposed upon such dog running at large within the corporate limits of the town shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not exceeding twenty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days. And the owner or owners of such animals and fowls as are found running at large within the corporate limits of said town, who shall fall or refuse to pay the fine imposed in this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days.
   Section 13. The Board of Aldermen shall have power to appoint and provide for the pay and prescribe the duties of all such subordinate officers of said town as may be necessary. The Board of Aldermen shall also have power to make contracts in the name of the “Town of Richlands,” and as such to become the owners or part owners of electric light plants and water plants, and to contract with persons or corporations for light and water supplies for the inhabitants of said town, and shall have the power to sell and grant franchises to any persons or corporation, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said Board of Aldermen of the one part and the contracting persons or corporation of the other part. But no mayor, nor aldermen, nor other officer of said town shall directly or indirectly become a contractor for any work to be done by said town, or for its improvement; and any officer of said town violating this provision shall be removed from office, and be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days. That said Board of Aldermen shall have power to appoint from time to time special police, who shall be subject to the control and direction of the mayor.
   Section 14. That the Board of Aldermen of said town shall have the same powers over levying, collecting and settling of the taxes of said town as the Commissioners of the County of Onslow have over the taxes of the county:  Provided, that the taxes levied by said Board of Aldermen shall not exceed thirty three and one-third cents on each one hundred dollars valuation of real and personal property and one dollar on each poll.
   Section 15. That the Board of Aldermen of said town shall at some meeting held not later than the first Monday of August, one thousand nine hundred and five and every year thereafter, appoint three discreet freeholders, residents of said town, who shall list and assess the real and personal property in said town for taxation; said assessors shall ascertain the true valuation in money of every lot or parcel of land or other real property with the improvements thereon, and also all personal property, and assess the same in accordance with said valuation; said assessors are authorized to administer oaths in all cases necessary to obtain full and accurate information concerning taxable real and personal property in said town.
   Section 16. Said board of assessors shall make a complete return of the assessments, embracing an abstract of taxable property and taxable polls of said town, to the Board of Aldermen on or before the second Monday in September of each year, and annex the following affidavit, sworn to and subscribed before some official authorized to administer oaths, viz: “We, the Assessors of the Town of Richlands in the County of Onslow, make oath the foregoing list contains, to the best of our knowledge and belief, all the real and personal property and the number of polls required by law to be assessed in said town, and that we have assessed every tract or parcel of land, or other real and personal property at its true valuation in money and have endeavored to do equal justice to the public and tax-payers concerned.”
   Section 17. That the Board of Aldermen of said town shall constitute a board of equalization of said town and shall be subject to the same rules and regulations as the county board of equalization of said county of Onslow.
   Section 18. That in addition to the persons and subjects of taxation mentioned in section fourteen of this act, the Board of Aldermen of said town shall have the power to levy and collect as herein specified a special license or privilege tax on the following persons and subjects of taxation, viz:  On all itinerant or resident merchants, peddlers and auctioneers, an annual tax of ten dollars; on each express company, each telegraph office, each railroad company having an office or depot in the limits of the town, an annual tax of twenty dollars; each photograph artist and persons taking the likeness of the human face by whatsoever art, each broker, each bank, or banking office, each cotton buyer, each dealer in patent rights, each sewing machine agent, each commission merchant and each commercial broker, each livery-stable, each dairy, each hotel, each fire or life insurance agent, each dealer in buggies, wagons or other vehicles not manufactured in the town, each dealer in horse, mules, and cattle, an annual tax of twenty-five dollars, to be levied and collected quarterly, monthly or yearly, at the option of the Board of Aldermen of said town as designated in their ordinances.
   Section 19. That in addition to the persons and subjects of taxation mentioned in sections fourteen and eighteen of this act, the Board of Aldermen may also levy a tax on the following subjects:  the amount of such tax when fixed shall be collected by the tax collector immediately:  Upon every company of circus riders who shall exhibit within the town, a tax not exceeding thirty dollars for each separate exhibition, to be paid before the exhibition takes place; if not so paid, the tax to be doubled. Upon each show or exhibition of any kind and upon each concert or lecture for reward, five dollars for each lecture or exhibition:  Provided, that when the proceeds arising from any concert, lecture or exhibition are to be devoted to any religious or charitable use such tax shall not be imposed or collected.
   Section 20. That the tax list of the town, when made out, completed and delivered to the tax collector, shall have the force and effect of a judgment and execution against the property of the person or persons charged in such list and may be enforced in the same manner by said collector as sheriff of the county collect and enforce county and State taxes; and said collector shall settle with the Board of Aldermen every month and account to them for all moneys collected by him up to the day of such settlement, and for his services shall receive such fees and commissions as may be allowed by the Board of Aldermen, not to exceed in any case in the aggregate two dollars per day.
   Section 21. All taxes upon persons and property authorized in section 14 of this act shall be due on the first Monday in October in each year, and when paid the tax collector shall execute and deliver a proper receipt for the amount of such tax, and note the judgment and the date thereof on the tax list against the name of the party paying the same; and if the tax collector fails to fully account with the Board of Aldermen for the amount of such taxes collected by him every month, and oftener when required, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and removed from office by the Board of Aldermen.
   Section 22. The tax collector shall attend during the month of November in each and every year at some stated place in said town for receiving and collecting said taxes, of which fifteen days’ notice shall be given by advertisements posted at three or more public places in said town:  Provided, that if the taxes shall not be paid before the first day of December the tax collector may after that day levy and sell property to satisfy the amount of the taxes owing by such persons as may have not previously paid the same; but he shall not advertise not sell before the first day of January following.
   Section 23. That the Board of Aldermen shall have authority to put at work and keep at work upon the streets or upon the public grounds of the town any person or persons who shall fail or refuse to pay any fines, penalty, or forfeiture which may have been imposed by the mayor of the town; and the said aldermen shall have authority by the ordinances and by-laws of the town to confine, manage and control such person or persons until the fine, penalty, or forfeiture, together with the cost thereof, shall be fully paid and satisfied, under such rates for labor and board as the aldermen may establish.
   Section 24. That the town constable shall be the tax collector of said town. Before entering upon the performance of any duty he shall take the oath prescribed for public officers and an oath that he will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of his office according to law. He shall take this oath before a justice of the peace of Onslow County or other person duly empowered to administer oaths for general purposes. As a peace officer the town constable shall have within the town all the powers of a constable in the county, and as a ministerial officer he shall have the same power as a constable in the county to execute all precepts and process that may be issued by the mayor or other lawful authority of the county and to enforce the ordinances and regulations of the aldermen as they may direct. He shall have the same powers to collect the town taxes imposed by the aldermen as sheriff’s have to collect the taxes imposed by County Commissioners, and he shall execute a bond payable to the State of North Carolina with good and sufficient surety in such sum as the Board of Aldermen may prescribe, which shall not be less than double the amount of the annual tax levied upon the taxable persons and taxable property of the towns upon which the Board of Aldermen may institute suit and prosecute the same to final judgment, for any default made or suffered by the town constable. The bond herein required to be executed and delivered by the town constable shall be duly proved before the mayor and aldermen and recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds of Onslow County.
   Section 25. That it shall be lawful for the town constable to serve and execute all civil or criminal process that may be directed and delivered to him by any court in the County of Onslow under the same regulations and penalties as prescribed by law in the case of other constables.
   Section 26. That policeman of the town shall have the same authority to make arrests and execute criminal process within the corporate limits of the town as is vested by law in a sheriff.
   Section 27. The Board of Aldermen shall annually publish an accurate statement of the taxes levied and collected in the town, together with a statement of the amount expended by them and for what purposes. And on failure to comply with this section the said Board of Aldermen shall forfeit and pay one hundred dollars, for which they shall be personally liable, and be guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty herein prescribed shall be recoverable by any person who will sue for the same, and shall come to his own use and benefit.
   Section 28. That any person violating any of the by-laws, rules, regulations or ordinances of the Town of Richlands shall not only be subject to the penalties thereto attached, but also in addition thereto be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned in the county jail or a town lock-up not exceeding thirty days.
   Section 29. The mayor may issue his precepts to the town constable or to any policeman of the town or to such other officers to whom a justice of the peace may direct his precepts, and no preliminary affidavit shall be necessary to give the mayor final jurisdiction over the offenses against the by-laws, rules, regulations or ordinance of the said town.
   Section 30. That the expenses incurred in holding town election shall be borne by the town, and every person shall be allowed to inspect the election returns deposited with the Board of Aldermen as herein before provided, and also to inspect and examine all journals, records, books, papers, and writings in the custody of the Board of Aldermen, relating to the government of the town and the administration of its affairs in any way connected there with.
   Section 31. That the Town of Richlands through the Board of Aldermen is hereby vested with all the powers, rights, privileges and immunities as are enacted in chapter sixty-two, volume two of The Code of North Carolina, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.
   Section 32. That the present town government of the Town of Richlands now in existence and comprising the mayor and three commissioners shall continue in existence until the election, qualification and induction into office of those provided for in this act and to be chosen on the second Tuesday in May, one thousand nine hundred and five, and L.W. Harget and Lee Mills shall be added to the number of Town Commissioners, who shall henceforth be styled the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Richlands, and said L.W. Harget and Lee Mills shall qualify as aldermen of said town within twenty days after the ratification of this act. The Mayor and Board of Aldermen shall provide for the holding of the town election as prescribed in this act. The mayor now in office and the Board of Aldermen as constituted by this section shall hold their offices until their successors are elected, qualified and inducted into office. They and their successors may continue in force the present method and system of keeping the streets in good order until the first of November, one thousand nine hundred and five.
   Section 33. That prohibition of the sale of spirituous and malt liquors, wines, and cider with intoxicating qualities or powers within two miles of Richlands Academy in said town, having been adopted and established by a vote of the people upwards of forty five years and pursuant to legislative authority and been in force ever since, such prohibition is hereby ratified and confirmed, and any persons, firm or corporation selling, or offering for sale, within two miles of Richlands Academy in said town, any spirituous or malt liquors, wines or cider with intoxicating qualities, or medicated bitters with intoxicating effect, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction fined for each and every offense not exceeding fifty dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days.
   Section 34. That all laws and clauses of laws in conflict with this act shall be and the same are  hereby repealed.
   Section 35. That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification.
   In the General Assembly read three times, and ratified this the 6th day of March A. D. 1905.