NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH | The payment of assessments for a sandbag revetment built to fight erosion at the north end of town remains on hold as a legal challenge over the issue remains pending in court.

North Topsail Beach aldermen voted to extend the payment due date for the property owner assessments for 60 days, continuing the series of delays while the lawsuit is ongoing, said Assistant Town Manager/Town Clerk Carin Faulkner.

Faulkner said there have been a number of 30-day and 60-day postponements of the assessment due date since the lawsuit was filed in May 2015.

“In essence, they have been putting (the payment due date) off until the lawsuit is resolved,” Faulkner said.

In October 2014, the town’s Board of Aldermen approved a preliminary assessment resolution and later approved a total $1.4 million in assessments charging 39 property owners for half the cost of building a sandbag revetment to provide temporary erosion protection for the oceanfront structures north of Topsail Reef Condominiums and to provide some flood protection for a portion of New River Inlet Road.

Individual assessments range from $30,000 to $76,000.

Property owners were given the option to make a one-time payment or to pay five annual installments with 3.5-percent interest owed.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which include Mayor Fred Burns, are critical of the town’s efforts to curb erosion at the town’s north end and claim that projects have worsened the shoreline.

The lawsuit seeks monetary recovery and called for an injunction to stop the assessments for the sandbag revetment.

Burns was elected mayor after the lawsuit was filed and due to his status as a plaintiff in the legal matter, the town board opted to form a litigation committee, of which Burns is not a member, to handle all discussions involving the suit.

The litigation committee met in closed session Wednesday evening to meet with the town’s attorney and preserve “attorney-client” privilege.

No action was taken in open session.