Kinston, NC

Development Finance Initiative: Rebuilding North Carolina one town at a time – Southern City

This article was originally published in the November/December edition of Southern City, as “Rebuilding [more…]
Aerial downtown

How a North Carolina Local Government Can Operate a Land Bank for Redevelopment

If America’s cities and towns are to realize their greatest potential as attractive and [more…]
Shell building under construction 2

When May NC Local Governments Pay an Economic Development Incentive?

News outlets regularly report about the latest company that was lured to North Carolina [more…]
maureen joy

Historic School Redevelopment (Durham, NC)

Yesterday, Sept 4th, community leaders, elected officials, school administrators and a team from Self-Help [more…]

The Community and Economic Development program at the School of Government provides public officials with training, research, and assistance that support local efforts to create jobs and wealth, expand the tax base, and maintain vibrant communities. We deploy the resources of the University to support the development goals of communities in North Carolina.

Recent Blog Posts |

  • CDFI Profile: The Support Center

    71cce9b59b37271682748c3d90bcf1aeOftentimes, small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to start businesses require capital to do so but do not have the track record necessary to be eligible for loans from traditional sources. Additionally, they may not have the size or scale to justify their lending needs. However, the ability of entrepreneurs to create small businesses is an important component of economic development and without access to capital, these companies struggle to ever get off the ground. Many Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) seek to fill this gap that exists in the market by providing capital to small business in their initial stages of development.  Read more »

  • Key Financial Indicators: Operating Ratio

    In previous posts, we have discussed where to find data to help make smart financial and managerial decisions. Another vital data source for any enterprise is its own financial statements, from which enterprises can calculate key financial indicators.

    Let’s look at key financial indicators from the perspective of a business-like unit within government–a water or wastewater system.  Key financial indicators are a way for that enterprise to get a snapshot of its financial health and to determine whether it needs to make adjustments to its rates, and they should be calculated annually when financial statements are released. One important financial indicator is operating ratio, which measures the ratio of annual operating revenues to annual operating expenses. To be a true enterprise fund that is self-supporting, a system should strive to have at least as much operating revenue as it has operating expenses, if not more. Otherwise, the system would be operating at a loss.

    Read more »

  • Primer on New Markets Tax Credits


    Golden Belt in Durham, NC used NMTCs

    New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) are mentioned in several other blog posts, but normally as part of a list of various development financing tools. This is the first in a series of posts that seek to provide detailed information on the NMTC program and process.


    The NMTC program was enacted by Congress as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000. The goal of the program is to spur growth in low-income communities by providing tax incentives to investors who invest in certified Community Development Entities. Distressed areas eligible for NMTC projects are defined as areas with a poverty rate greater than 20%, and a median income not exceeding 80% of the area median. If you are not sure as to whether or not a particular area qualifies for NMTC’s, this map is a useful tool. Read more »

  • Conveyance of Local Government Property to Nonprofit EDC for Industrial Park

    Business Park SignRay Kinsella leads the nonprofit economic development corporation (the “EDC”) that was jointly formed by the county and its largest city in the early 2000s, and that is now governed by an independent board of directors. Ray has heard some optimistic forecasts of “re-shoring” of manufacturing facilities to the United States, and he has a plan to take advantage of the possible trend. He proposes for the EDC to build a new industrial park with the help of the county and city. Upon completion of the park, Ray believes the available land with new infrastructure will attract manufacturing facilities to the local area.

    The EDC hasn’t amassed enough privately-raised capital to undertake the project on its own, and private developers and investors don’t have an appetite for the project, so Ray’s plan depends on direct local government support. Ray proposes for the county to contribute the land for the park by conveying a 500-acre tract of land, which the county already owns, to the EDC for one dollar. The tract lies outside of city limits, but Ray thinks he can convince the city to provide water and sewer. Ray plans to market the tract to manufacturing companies, and when a company decides to locate in the park, the EDC will sell the required land to the company. Ray hopes the EDC can keep the proceeds from any sale, and then the EDC would use those retained proceeds for future economic development activities.

    Is the EDC’s proposed structure allowable? In a word, no. Read more »

  • Hospital Employee Benefit Program as Neighborhood Revitalization Tool

    b050913_HOMEHospital Employee Home Ownership Programs

    Large institutions such as colleges and hospitals play important roles in our communities. In addition to their primary educational and medical functions, they are significant community partners and forces of neighborhood revitalization. Hospitals around the country are realizing that community and economic development efforts go hand-in-hand with their mission to improve the health and welfare of the community. Hospitals are developing innovative programs to encourage neighborhood revitalization and better outcomes for their patients, employees, and community.

    This blog post will focus on two homeownership programs from out-of-state hospitals as examples for successful community development that could be emulated by hospitals and communities in North Carolina.  Lancaster General Health (LGH) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) in New Haven, Connecticut created homeownership assistance programs to help facilitate neighborhood revitalization in the city and neighborhoods surrounding their urban campuses.  Read more »

  • Development Finance Initiative: Rebuilding North Carolina one town at a time – Southern City

    Kinston, NC

    This article was originally published in the November/December edition of Southern City, as “Rebuilding North Carolina one town at a time.” It is reprinted here with permission.

    Towns across North Carolina are attracting investment and rejuvenating historic properties with the help of the University of North Carolina School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI). Read more »

  • Taking a closer look at low wage workers in North Carolina

    Low Wage Work WebsiteBy many measures, the job market in North Carolina seems to be recovering well from the recession. In December 2014, the statewide unemployment rate stood at 5.5%, down from 7.5% a year before (December 2013) and a high of 11.3%. At a national level, though, some analyses suggest that a large proportion of the jobs that have been created since the recession pay low wages.

    What role does low-wage work play in North Carolina’s economy? In fall 2014, a UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) student workshop collaborated with the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity to build an online data resource surveying low-wage work in North Carolina. This blog post takes a look at some important findings for North Carolina community economic development practitioners.  Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: February 2015

    CED_Icon_for_Twitter1The following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.

    Economic development incentives in North Carolina:

    Golden Leaf commits $50 million to attract an automobile manufacturer to North Carolina as multiple megasites take shape: ‪ 

    News & Observer op-ed on economic development incentives: ‪ 

    North Carolina Justice Center report says that the state’s Job Development Investment Grants program, a primary job incentives program, hasn’t delivered on its promises: ‪ 

    Quick primer on North Carolina General Assembly’s debate over economic development incentives: ‪ 

    Report says that North Carolina has more transparency around the performance of its state economic development incentives compared to South Carolina: Read more »

  • Local Government Strategies for Mitigating the Risks of Flooding

    With six feet (and counting) of snow on the ground in Boston, the only thing that local officials should fear as much or more than more snow is a heat wave. If it doesn’t melt slowly, communities and homeowners will have to deal with significant flooding. In an area as developed as the Boston metro, there are not a lot of places for that water to go. Mitigating the impact of flooding is not just a Northeastern issue.

    Read more »

  • CDFIs and Small Business Lending

    IMG_5221aPrevious blog posts have discussed the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in North Carolina. CDFIs are typically smaller financial institutions that engage in mission-drive lending intended to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to foster economic development and revitalization.

    This post, one in a series of posts profiling CDFIs with links to North Carolina, will highlight Mountain BizWorks, a CDFI focused on supporting small businesses by providing short-term loans, credits, training and consulting to micro enterprises and small businesses. Mountain BizWorks works primarily in Western North Carolina with businesses who may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources. What makes Mountain BizWorks unique is that all its loan decisions and relationships are managed locally, and they work to ensure clients’ success by offering highly customized, peer-to-peer business coaching by an extensive network of local business owners.  Read more »

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