Gov Brd Meeting

Notice and Hearing Requirements for Economic Development Appropriations

As discussed in a prior post, Session Law 2015-277 requires North Carolina local governments [more…]
Grading site

Local Government Economic Development Powers “Clarified”

On October 20, 2015, the Governor signed Session Law (S.L.) 2015-277, placing into effect [more…]
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…]

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 |

  • Public-Private Partnerships: Universities & Private Developers

    first-ward-park-rendering-370pxUniversity enrollments are at an historic high and an increased student population requires that universities grow in other areas as well, such as housing and facilities. In recent years, universities have been partnering with private developers to advise and help them manage this growth. Previous posts on this blog have highlighted the role that higher education can play in economic development and in downtown revitalization.

    There are many benefits to a university in seeking a private partner as they expand and redevelop their facilities. Reduced budgets, hiring freezes, and capital cutbacks mean many university departments are already working at capacity. Hiring a private developer to take on the work of managing major redevelopment greatly reduces the pressure on campus staff and brings in development expertise that the in-house staff may not have. The result of that expertise can mean reduced construction costs, expedited timelines, and better buildings that capitalize on the latest academic trends.

    The move to using private developers to create facilities also has the added benefit of providing access to new sources of private funding unavailable to universities, and access and expertise in using funding sources such as government grants, loans, and tax credits, that can significantly reduce the cost burden on the public partner. Private development partnerships can even provide a university the option to complete the project through off-sheet financing if their current debt structure does not necessarily allow for the undertaking of new, costly projects, thus allowing them to still meet the needs of their students despite concerns of debt capacity. Read more »

  • As Walmart shutters stores, what’s next for small towns?

    Walmart%20Express%202Less than five years after Walmart introduced its small-format retail model, Express stores are throwing in the towel. This month, the big box retailer announced plans to shutter 154 stores across the country. North Carolina, one of the states to pilot the pared down Walmart experience, will see all 15 Express stores and a Supercenter closed by the end of January.

    Walmart Express stores were designed to fill a convenience gap in small towns and urban centers where Walmart perceived an increasing demand for “everyday low prices” in a more accessible format. The stores specialize in healthy convenience food, pharmaceuticals and in some cases, fuel. They occupy between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, less than a tenth of the typical Supercenter, and employ an average of 30 residents.

    The announcement came as a surprise for most, especially since as recently as 2014 Walmart released plans to double the number of new small-format stores nationwide. This decision marks a public shift in strategy for the Walmart Corporation that will now focus “on building up its e-commerce firepower and improving its massive Supercenters and grocery-centric Neighborhood Market stores.” Read more »

  • U.S. EDA Resources Help Communities Build the Local Ecosystem for Sustainable Economic Development

    EDA logoIt takes a multitude of resources, dedicated professionals, and committed organizations to promote economic development. Successfully realizing the economic potential of a place requires doing the hard work of leveraging all existing regional assets to build the environment, or ecosystem, where business can flourish, jobs are created, and citizens prosper. It is this integration of assets, resources, best practices, and complementary actions that energizes a region’s economic potential. Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: January 2016

    CED_Icon_for_TwitterThe 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.

    Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:

    New Hanover County holds public hearings in compliance with recent changes to the Local Development Act. http://bit.ly/1ZMBT5U 

    North Carolina Railroad to buy hundreds of acres within the 1,450-acre Greensboro-Randolph industrial megasite with the hope to lure an automaker: ‪http://bit.ly/22JphPb 

    Rowan-Cabarrus Community College workforce development program trains “production technicians” for region’s manufacturing jobs: http://bit.ly/1ns9bcr

    An overview of Chatham County’s Tiny Home Collaborative – innovative partnership model for affordable housing for homeless people with mental illness: ‪http://bit.ly/1ZYDhlU 

    Report on the financial condition of Charlotte economic development nonprofits. ‪http://bit.ly/1OMsU0N 

    Exciting addition to Kinston’s burgeoning Arts & Cultural District – tobacco inspired sculpture by Thomas Sayre: ‪http://bit.ly/1RAiBzB 

    Major shipping hub proposed in Johnston County, North Carolina hailed as key economic development infrastructure. ‪http://bit.ly/1OSo2ra Proves controversial. Read more »

  • Four Finance Facts about Flint

    As this blog is being written, water and community managers from across the country are talking about the water crisis that is occurring in Flint, Michigan. The City made a decision several years ago to discontinue buying Lake Huron water from Detroit in favor of an alternative supplier who was planning on constructing a major new transmission line to provide a “less costly” supply of Lake Huron water. While waiting for the project to be completed, the City relied on water from the Flint River. This source of water was determined to have a different chemical composition that led to water line corrosion causing lead to enter the drinking water supply. In addition to the acute public health impacts of the crisis, the impoverished community is facing a huge price tag to address their infrastructure problems.  Read more »

  • Pedestrian Bridges: Connecting People with Communities

    pedbridgeA pedestrian bridge can be more than just a crossing structure. In some cases, it can be a piece of artwork and a gateway that connects communities. That said, sometimes the total costs and benefits of installing a pedestrian bridge are not fully considered. As such, there is an opportunity to explore the purpose, costs, and funding of building pedestrian bridges as well as examine relevant examples of successful pedestrian bridges. Read more »

  • Capacity Matters For CED, Part 2: News For the NC Food Industry and Farmers

    Colorful_Photo_of_VegetablesFood is in the news, and CED professionals should look below the surface images and arguments to a fundamental question raised about local capacity issues important to the NC farm and food industry. In honor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Food for All all-university 2015-2017 academic theme, this post offers the following food for thought (pun intended): Read more »

  • Behavioral Science in Local Government

    75206-fullAnyone who has taken a basic economics course understands that core economic theories rely on the assumption that people act rationally. Anyone who has worked with people understands that, simply put, they are not very rational actors. This is where behavioral science steps in.

    Professor Dan Ariely of Duke University was one of the main speakers at an event earlier this fall that brought together local government officials to learn about behavioral science. As the article mentions, the White House has even gotten in on this. In September 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order that called for the federal government to use behavioral insights to better serve Americans.

    Behavioral science (or “behavioral economics”) is, essentially, the study of how people actually make decisions—as opposed to how they “should” according to theory or rationality. Read more »

  • What are Tax Abatements and What Must State and Local Governments Disclose in Financial Reporting?

    AccountingThose of a certain age probably remember Steve Martin’s The Jerk, where Martin played the hapless character Navin R. Johnson. Of the countless memorable lines in the movie, one that always stands out is his excitement when the postman drops off the new phone books. “The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!” he exclaims as he rushes out of the house to collect his prize. It is doubtful, unfortunately, that the annual issuance of state and local governmental financial statements would have elicited the same level of excitement for Navin. However, for the avid users of these financial statements, the release of new financial reporting standards may be equally exciting. This post explores new financial reporting requirements for local governments related to economic development incentives. Read more »

  • The End of Economic Development Tiers in North Carolina?

    In many ways, the system of economic development tiers that North Carolina uses to determine which counties are most in need of state support has never fully lived up to expectations. With the passage of the William S. Lee Act in 1996, the tiers system was applied to all 100 counties in the state. The original intent was to use the tiers to identify the most economically distressed counties that would benefit from higher tax credits being made available to the businesses who locate in those jurisdictions. The policy idea makes complete sense: use a formula to rank all 100 counties based on their level of economic distress and offer larger tax credits to induce businesses to locate in the ones that chronically lag behind. The only problem is that it has never quite seemed to work in practice as originally intended. Could it be time to scrap the economic development tiers system all together and figure out a substantively better way to assist the state’s chronically distressed communities? A new report calls for the state legislature to do just that. Read more »

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