158-7.1. Local development.

(a) Economic Development. - Each county and city in this State is authorized to make appropriations for economic development purposes. These appropriations must be determined by the governing body of the city or county to increase the population, taxable property, agricultural industries, employment, industrial output, or business prospects of the city or county. These appropriations may be funded by the levy of property taxes pursuant to G.S. 153A-149 and 160A-209 and by the allocation of other revenues whose use is not otherwise restricted by law. The specific activities listed in subsection (b) of this section are not intended to limit the grant of authority provided by this section.

(b) Specific Activities. - A county or city may undertake any of the following specific economic development activities under this section:

(1) A county or city may acquire and develop land for an industrial park, to be used for manufacturing, assembly, fabrication, processing, warehousing, research and development, office use, or similar industrial or commercial purposes. A county may acquire land anywhere in the county, including inside of cities, for an industrial park, while a city may acquire land anywhere in the county or counties in which it is located. A county or city may develop the land by installing utilities, drainage facilities, street and transportation facilities, street lighting, and similar facilities; may demolish or rehabilitate existing structures; and may prepare the site for industrial or commercial uses. A county or city may convey property located in an industrial park pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(2) A county or city may acquire, assemble, and hold for resale property that is suitable for industrial or commercial use. A county may acquire such property anywhere in the county, including inside of cities, while a city may acquire such property inside the city or, if the property will be used by a business that will provide jobs to city residents, anywhere in the county or counties in which it is located. A county or city may convey property acquired or assembled under this subdivision pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(3) A county or city may acquire options for the acquisition of property that is suitable for industrial or commercial use. The county or city may assign such an option, following such procedures, for such consideration, and subject to such terms and conditions as the county or city deems desirable.

(4) A county or city may acquire, construct, convey, or lease a building suitable for industrial or commercial use.

(5) A county or city may construct, extend or own utility facilities or may provide for or assist in the extension of utility services to be furnished to an industrial facility, whether the utility is publicly or privately owned.

(6) A county or city may extend or may provide for or assist in the extension of water and sewer lines to industrial properties or facilities, whether the industrial property or facility is publicly or privately owned.

(7) A county or city may engage in site preparation for industrial properties or facilities, whether the industrial property or facility is publicly or privately owned.

(8) A county or city may make grants or loans for the rehabilitation of commercial or noncommercial historic structures, whether the structure is publicly or privately owned.

(c) Public Hearing. - Any appropriation or expenditure pursuant to this section must be approved by the county or city governing body after a public hearing. The county or city shall publish notice of the public hearing at least 10 days before the hearing is held. If the appropriation or expenditure is for the acquisition of an interest in real property, the notice shall describe the interest to be acquired, the proposed acquisition cost of such interest, the governing body's intention to approve the acquisition, the source of funding for the acquisition and such other information needed to reasonably describe the acquisition. If the appropriation or expenditure is for the improvement of privately owned property by site preparation or by the extension of water and sewer lines to the property, the notice shall describe the improvements to be made, the proposed cost of making the improvements, the source of funding for the improvements, the public benefit to be derived from making the improvements, and any other information needed to reasonably describe the improvements and their purpose.

(d) Interests in Real Property. - A county or city may lease or convey interests in real property held or acquired pursuant to subsection (b) of this section in accordance with the procedures of this subsection. A county or city may convey or lease interests in property by private negotiation and may subject the property to such covenants, conditions, and restrictions as the county or city deems to be in the public interest or necessary to carry out the purposes of this section. Any such conveyance or lease must be approved by the county or city governing body, after a public hearing. The county or city shall publish notice of the public hearing at least 10 days before the hearing is held; the notice shall describe the interest to be conveyed or leased, the value of the interest, the proposed consideration for the conveyance or lease, and the governing body's intention to approve the conveyance or lease. Before such an interest may be conveyed, the county or city governing body shall determine the probable average hourly wage to be paid to workers by the business to be located at the property to be conveyed and the fair market value of the interest, subject to whatever covenants, conditions, and restrictions the county or city proposes to subject it to. The consideration for the conveyance may not be less than the value so determined.

(d1) Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 497, s. 22.

(d2) Calculation of Consideration. - In arriving at the amount of consideration that it receives, the Board may take into account prospective tax revenues from improvements to be constructed on the property, prospective sales tax revenues to be generated in the area, as well as any other prospective tax revenues or income coming to the county or city over the next 10 years as a result of the conveyance or lease provided the following conditions are met:

(1) The governing board of the county or city shall determine that the conveyance of the property will stimulate the local economy, promote business, and result in the creation of a substantial number of jobs in the county or city that pay at or above the median average wage in the county or, for a city, in the county where the city is located. A city that spans more than one county is considered to be located in the county where the greatest population of the city resides. For the purpose of this subdivision, the median average wage in a county is the median average wage for all insured industries in the county as computed by the Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security, for the most recent period for which data is available.

(2) The governing board of the county or city shall contractually bind the purchaser of the property to construct, within a specified period of time not to exceed five years, improvements on the property that will generate the tax revenue taken into account in arriving at the consideration. Upon failure to construct the improvements specified in the contract, the purchaser shall reconvey the property back to the county or city.

(e) Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act. - All appropriations and expenditures pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Acts of the North Carolina General Statutes, respectively, for cities and counties and shall be listed in the annual financial report the county or city submits to the Local Government Commission. The budget format for each such governing body shall make such disclosures in such detail as the Local Government Commission may by rule and regulation direct.

(f) Limitation. - At the end of each fiscal year, the total of the following for each county and city may not exceed one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the outstanding assessed property tax valuation for the county or city as of January 1 preceding the beginning of the fiscal year:

(1) The investment in property acquired at any time under subdivisions (b)(1) through (b)(4) of this section and owned at the end of the fiscal year.

(2) The amount expended during the fiscal year under subdivisions (b)(5) and (b)(7) of this section.

(3) The amount of tax revenue that was taken into account under subsection (d2) of this section and was expected to be received during the fiscal year.

The Local Government Commission shall review the annual financial reports filed by counties and cities to determine if any county or city has exceeded the limit set by this subsection. If the Commission finds that a county or city has exceeded this limit, it shall notify the county or city. A county or city that receives a notice from the Commission under this subsection must submit to the Commission for its review and approval any appropriation or expenditure the county or city proposes to make under this section during the next three fiscal years. The Commission shall not approve an appropriation or expenditure that would cause a county or city to exceed the limit set by this subsection.

(g) Repealed by Session Laws 1989, c. 374, s. 1.

(h) Economic Development Agreement. - Each economic development agreement entered into between a private enterprise and a city or county shall clearly state their respective responsibilities under the agreement. Each agreement shall contain provisions regarding remedies for a breach of those responsibilities on the part of the private enterprise. These provisions shall include a provision requiring the recapture of sums appropriated or expended by the city or county upon the occurrence of events specified in the agreement. Events that would require the city or county to recapture funds would include the creation of fewer jobs than specified in the agreement, a lower capital investment than specified in the agreement, and failing to maintain operations at a specified level for a period of time specified in the agreement. (1973, c. 803, s. 37; 1985, c. 639, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 846, s. 1; c. 848, s. 1; c. 858, s. 1; c. 911, s. 1; c. 921, s. 1; 1987, c. 577, s. 1.1; 1989, c. 374, s. 1; 1991, c. 598, s. 6; c. 659, ss. 1, 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 793, s. 1; c. 799, s. 1; c. 938, s. 1; 1993, c. 31, s. 1; c. 42, s. 1; c. 246, ss. 1(a), 1(b); c. 275, s. 2; c. 358, s. 13; c. 497, ss. 22, 24; c. 536, ss. 1, 4; 2007-515, ss. 1, 7; 2011-401, s. 3.24; 2015-277, s. 1.)