Posts on Financial Assets

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  • Local Government Owners of Historic Property Asked to Convey Property by End of 2017: What Public Officials Should Know

    Federal tax reform is likely to be enacted before the end of the year. While the final form of the bill has not been determined, it is nearly certain that federal historic preservation tax credits—an important financing mechanism for preservation of historic properties—will be significantly affected. In fact, most [more…]

  • Fighting Blight with Property Tax Bills

    How can a city more effectively fight blight—vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated housing? The city of High Point tried to find some answers last year with help from the Center for Community Progress and the UNC School of Government. My economic development expert-colleague Tyler Mulligan and I were honored to [more…]

  • Making the Case for Affordable Housing: Using BLS Statistics to ask Hard Questions About Salaries vs. Local Housing Costs

    Last year, nursing assistants in Goldsboro earned $11.83 an hour (median wage) for a mean annual salary of $24,610.  Is this a sufficient wage to sustain a person who wants to live and work there? Affordable housing for different demographic groups in North Carolina communities has been discussed in [more…]

  • The Power of Partnership: The Case of the NC Commerce Park in Alamance County

    The N.C. Commerce Park in Alamance County, North Carolina is an economic development success story that underscores how vital interlocal and regional collaboration is for community and economic development. It highlights the power of partnership and also the importance of local leaders that share a collaborative mindset.

  • EPA Resources on Smart Growth Economic Development

    Many small towns and rural areas had an economy that was built on a single economic sector (for example, logging, mining, or manufacturing) that has changed significantly by technology and/or market forces, leaving residents without jobs and governments without a healthy tax base.  Some communities respond with an economic [more…]

  • Evictions: A vicious cycle for people in poverty

    Matthew Desmond has authored a scrupulously researched, stimulating and compelling book that should be of interest to everyone in the apartment industry, every low-income housing advocate, any student of American neighborhoods and every public official. Examinations of urban poverty are nothing new, but this study of the causes and [more…]

  • Mapping North Carolina’s Local Food Infrastructure

    Strengthening local food economies can be viewed as an important part of a holistic approach to community development. Local food can be a positive contributor to social capital, public health, environmental preservation, and overall quality of life. It also can be an important component of local economic development. In [more…]

  • Is Your Local Community Partner Ready To Go?

    In July 2013, I wrote a blog proposing a four-part framework for understanding if specific local organizations have the capacity to implement CED programs. How well does this framework hold up when actually used?  We answer this question using interviews with 31 local partners, over the past two years [more…]

  • Local Government Support for Privately Constructed Affordable Housing

    County officials from Tarheel County as well as City officials from the county seat were approached by two residential developers who are seeking to construct housing that is affordable to low and moderate income (LMI) persons. One developer, DoGooder Inc., is a private, for-profit developer who intends to construct [more…]

  • Live Long and Prosper: Does CED Impact How Long We Live?

    I often think about ways in which local government matters in the daily lives of citizens. This month, a major study was released showing how local conditions, and community and economic development, infrastructure, and planning in particular, may have a direct impact on the most basic quality of life [more…]

  • More Federal Funding Available to Grow Clean Energy Small Businesses

    Back in September, this blog highlighted a new program from US EPA to work with small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies that tackle critical environmental problems:  the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.  Now the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has [more…]

  • Reimbursement Agreements

    A developer in town is seeking approval for a large new real estate project. The zoning and subdivision ordinances call for the developer to construct and dedicate public streets and parks and water infrastructure. But, the city has plans for some additional improvements adjacent to the development—a greenway on [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 [more…]

  • How to Measure Job Creation from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

      In past posts, we have discussed how governments can use financing programs to encourage energy improvements and how energy improvements can turn undesirable properties into economic opportunities.  In fact, economic development and job creation are some of the major benefits touted by governmental energy programs, even above and [more…]

  • Cash Grants for Real Estate Developers without Competition for Jobs—A Constitutional Quandary

    A local real estate developer, Al Czervik, proposes to construct a mixed-use development with residential, office, and retail space. The city council likes the development plan because it is consistent with the council’s vision for the area. Czervik, seeing incentives being offered to convince companies to locate in North [more…]

  • Five Dangerous Myths for Small Water Systems

    Small water systems serving 10,000 people or less comprise more than 94% of our nation’s public water systems. They are a large and diverse group, and are managed by a wide variety actors – from local and tribal governments, to mobile home park owners, to homeowners associations, to shopping [more…]

  • Key Financial Indicators: Debt Service Coverage 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.  In March, we discussed operating ratio.  This post will discuss another key [more…]

  • Special Property Tax Rules for Affordable Housing

    North Carolina law offers a variety of exemptions, exclusions, and appraisal benefits for property used to provide housing for low- or moderate-income residents. Here is a quick summary of those special rules with links to the full statutes and to more-detailed blog posts on related issues.

  • How much does connecting to a water and wastewater system cost?

    It varies and it depends. Need more details? It may cost as little as a few hundred dollars to connect to a rural water system in some areas of the state or $10,000 or more in other areas such as the coast or fast growing urban centers that are [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 [more…]

  • Three Headlines, Two Futures for North Carolina?

    Three important headlines for economic and community development officials appeared in the past several days in the New York Times, Washington Post, and, closer to home, the News and Observer.

  • Where to Find Data for Smart Managerial and Financial Decisions

    Ever need to know how many single-family wood-framed houses were sold in the Midwest last year? Or the latitude and longitude of every farmers market in Wisconsin that sells herbs, flowers, and soap? What about the number of planes that sat on the tarmac more than three hours this [more…]

  • Sale of Historic Structures by NC Local Governments for Redevelopment

    Almost ten years ago, in the town of Bushwood, North Carolina, the “generous” owner of the historic textile mill building just off Main Street donated the property to the town (it was difficult to maintain and the owner didn’t want to pay property taxes on it any more). The [more…]

  • Many Mini-Bonds in the Mile High City

    $12 million in one hour: That’s not a report of the ticket sales for the Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s Greensboro show last week. That is how much the City of Denver raised directly from the citizens of Colorado for the final phase of its Better Denver capital campaign [more…].

  • Property Tax Exemptions and Community Economic Development

    North Carolina property tax law, nicknamed the Machinery Act, contains over 60 full or partial exemptions for property as diverse as free drug samples, uranium 233, and Loyal Order of the Moose clubhouses. A number of these exemptions are aimed at property that might be part of a local [more…]

  • Crowdfunding for Development: A Primer on Federal and North Carolina Securities Law

    Securities laws rarely provide the introductory hook writers dream about, but they do represent a substantial challenge that many real estate developers must address. Over the last two years, the United States Congress and North Carolina State House each proposed crowdfunding legislation that lessens the regulatory burden for small-dollar [more…]

  • The Role of U.S. Counties in Economic Development

    In a recently released report, the National Association of Counties (NACo) examines the special role that county governments play in the process of economic development. The report’s findings are based on a national survey of U.S. counties and case studies of local economic development in 34 selected counties. The [more…]

  • Taxes and Environmental Finance

    In the span of a week, Americans witnessed two important days – Tax Day on April 15th, and Earth Day on April 22nd. While we saw many celebrations on Earth Day, on the infamous day that tax forms are due, moods were likely less cheerful as individuals throughout the [more…]

  • Land Banks in Action: Genesee County, Michigan

    A previous post by Tyler Mulligan explained how local governments can utilize land banks to address vacant, abandoned, and tax foreclosed properties in their community.  This post provides an example of a successful land bank in Genesee County, Michigan – home to the city of Flint – and discusses [more…]

  • New Construction Delivery Methods – Public-Private Partnerships (P3)

    Imagine a county wondering what to do with its old courthouse that is sitting vacant in the middle of downtown.  Perhaps the county wants to use part of the building as the commissioners’ meeting room, but the rest of the courthouse would sit unused, literally gathering dust, because the [more…]

  • Payday Lenders & North Carolina’s Capital Showdown

    In his Inferno, Dante places usurers in the seventh circle of Hell along with profligates, blasphemers, and those violent towards people and property.  These damned souls dwell in the innermost ring of the seventh circle, where they must sit in a flaming desert surrounded by falling tongues of fire.  [more…]

  • Food Deserts and Development Finance Options in North Carolina

    On January 27, 2014, the North Carolina General Assembly’s House Committee on Food Desert Zones heard testimony about food deserts in North Carolina. A “food desert” is defined in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 as an area “with limited access to affordable and nutritious food.” Maps [more…]

  • Town of Hillsborough: Special Assessments (Part I)

    In the fall of 2013, a blog post on special assessments for financing infrastructure included a short description of the Town of Hillsborough’s use of this finance strategy. Hillsborough was the first local government in North Carolina to borrow money and pledge special assessments as security for a loan [more…].

  • Update on CDBG Funding for Water and Sewer Projects in North Carolina

    The Community Development and Block Grant Program (CDBG) is one of the key public sources of funds for community water and sewer projects in North Carolina and across the country. While the amount of funds available for water and sewer projects is not as large as other federal programs [more…]

  • Neighborhood Resistance to Redevelopment: A Case from Memphis, TN

    The City of Memphis, Tennessee was an early adopter and frequent user of HOPE VI funds to demolish traditional public housing and redevelop mixed-income sites. Over the past 15 years, the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) has received more than $155 million Federal dollars to demolish five public housing complexes that had housed [more…]

  • Historic Building Reuse for Affordable Senior Housing

    An emerging new source of supply for affordable senior housing is the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. These projects not only create much-needed new units of senior housing, but also offer communities a creative solution to their historic buildings, many of which are in dire need of renovation. Affordable [more…]

  • Strategies to Manage Vacant and Abandoned Properties

    Cities suffering from significant population losses are sometimes referred to as “shrinking cities.” Most notably, the City of Detroit has lost 25 percent of its population from 2010 to 2000. When comparing the City’s peak population of 1.8 million in 1950 to today, the population has decreased more than [more…]

  • Highlights from IEDC Annual Conference 2013

    On October 6-9, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) held its annual conference in the ‘City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This year’s conference theme was Transformation, Innovation, Reinvention: Creating Tomorrow’s Economy Today.  Several of the concurrent sessions offered unique resources and perspectives on the field. A few interesting [more…]

  • Why Local Governments Should be Thinking About Local Food Systems

    Last month I hosted a webinar here at the School of Government, in partnership with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (or CEFS for short),  on the topic of local foods and local government. I was fortunate enough to have with me a who’s who of local foods experts [more…]

  • Historic School Redevelopment (Durham, NC)

    Yesterday, Sept 4th, community leaders, elected officials, school administrators and a team from Self-Help gathered in NE Central Durham to celebrate the opening of a revitalized historic asset. The historic YE Smith School, a 54,000 square foot building originally constructed in 1910, is the new home to the Maureen [more…]

  • Does Your Community Have the Capacity to Undertake Community Economic Development?

    Say you have learned of a community economic development (CED) program that seems to be a perfect fit for your area.  The need is already there and well documented, the program provides the right mix of projects, and all the program financial resources are available and already approved.   All [more…]

  • Small Business Access to Capital (Part V): Crowdfunding

    This is the fifth in a series of blog posts on tools available to local governments to assist small businesses. Previous posts have covered revolving loan funds (parts I and II), loan loss reserves (III) and capital sources for loan funds (IV). The fifth topic in this series is crowdfunding. The history of [more…]

  • Small Business Access to Capital (Part IV): Funding Sources to Capitalize Revolving Loan Funds

    Funding sources to capitalize revolving loan funds is the fourth topic in a series on tools local governments can use to assist small businesses. As discussed in Part II of this blog post series, local governments across North Carolina are using revolving loan funds to support their small businesses [more…].

  • Mega Sites: Part II – Luring the Big Fish

    In Part I of the mega sites blog, we presented the “body-building” rationale for this industrial recruitment tool. In Part II, we’ll look at some risks of a mega site regimen and begin by introducing a new analogy: Attracting a major manufacturer with a mega site is a bit [more…]

  • Small Business Access to Capital (Part III): Loan-Loss Reserve Fund

    This is the third in a series of blog posts on tools available to local governments to assist small businesses. Previous posts have covered revolving loan funds (parts I and II). A second option is a loan-loss reserve fund. What is a loan-loss reserve fund? A loan-loss reserve fund (LLRF) involves a [more…]

  • Role of Community Development Financial Institutions in North Carolina

    The main purpose of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) is to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to foster economic development and revitalization. Many of these communities have been left out of the financial mainstream, unable to access financial services and capital from traditional [more…]

  • Program-related investments (PRIs): A potential funding source for community economic development?

    Program-related investments (PRIs) are a tool that many foundations use to achieve philanthropic goals and financial returns. In contrast to traditional grants, PRIs include loans, equity investments, loan guarantees, or other investments from foundations. Common program areas funded by PRIs include affordable housing, community economic development, and education. Both [more…]

  • Measuring quality of life or “livability” within a community

    What draws and retains residents to a specific community?  Are there characteristics that make a local jurisdiction a particularly livable place, and can this concept be measured?  As many local jurisdictions seek strategies to encourage economic development, some are giving equal attention to the concept of livability to ensure [more…]

  • Federal grant funds for redevelopment: Overcoming challenges with “security” and cash flow

    The STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise is located in Star, North Carolina. The organization is a product of the Central Park North Carolina Regional Partnership, a non-profit partnership between seven counties in the south-central region of North Carolina. The mission of both STARworks and Central Park is to support [more…]

  • USDA Projects in North Carolina Mapped

    The USDA has made a new compass map available — Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map Viewers can see where U.S. Department of Agriculture projects are located throughout the nation.    The map is available for the entire US, but one can zoom down to the region, [more…]