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Commission Capsule - February 19, 2013

Tax Increment Grant
The Board adopted a proposal to give a tax increment grant to Tanger Factory Outlet Centers and Simon Property Group to develop a 445,000 square foot upscale outlet center on an 82 acre site at Steele Creek Road/I-485/new Dixie River Road. An additional 80,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office development and a 120 room hotel is also planned for the site. Significant ($8.5 million) infrastructure improvements (utilities and roads) are needed to support the new development, creating the need for a public/private partnership. In order to make the project financially viable, the developer has requested a 10 year, 45% tax increment grant (TIG) from the City and County. The TIG is based on new property taxes generated by the development, with a total estimated value capped at $6.1 million including interest. The Board agreed.

Women’s Advisory Board
The Board received the annual report from the Women’s Advisory Board. WAB’s mission is to recommend ways to work toward the betterment of the status of women in education, employment, family, community, health, law, finance and social services; To work collaboratively with other organizations; and To provide community leadership opportunities by initiating and promoting programs designed to serve the needs of women. WAB’s recommendations include:
• Continue County funding, time and logistic support of the new Battered Women Shelter.
• Continue County funding, time and logistic support of the new Supervised Visitation Exchange Center.
• Promote equality in the workplace with regard to recruitment, training, promotion, and wages
• Continue to fund programs to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the county.
• Conduct a pay equity audit at the County level and eliminate pay disparity between male-dominated and female-dominated jobs requiring comparable levels of education and expertise. Read the full WAB Annual Report here.

Cultural Partnership
The Board adopted in concept the Arts & Science Council request for County participation in a public/private task force that will assess the cultural sector’s future role in the community and the required revenue model to support it. Why a Task Force? The current funding model is eroding, donations are down $8 million in the past ten years. According to the ASC the community has voiced a need for more access and relevant programming, innovation, and cultural education. ASC’s Recommendation actions:
• April 1 – Task Force appointed and begins work
• December 2013 – recommendations presented to City, County,  Chamber and ASC

Prosperity for Greater Charlotte Project
The Board received a report on the Prosperity for Greater Charlotte Project, which is part of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) of the Centralina Council of Governments (COG). The strategy for the nine-county district in the Greater Charlotte region was first developed in 2004. An updated five-year plan was adopted in 2007. The CEDS outlines an approach to regional growth and prosperity that builds on the region’s strengths, emphasizes key regional industry clusters, and prioritizes economic development projects. A required five-year update for the 2012-2017 CEDS was completed in September 2012. View the full CEDS report here.

Revaluation Action Plan
The Board approved the staff recommendation for handling minor issues from the 2011 property revaluation. Staff reported to the Board on item number four from the Board’s revaluation action plan. That item says: Direct the assigned General Manager, with the advice and assistance of Pearson’s to develop and oversee a process to address the minor issues Pearson has identified or will during the extended period of Pearson’s service to the County in a manner that is consistent with Pearson’s recommendations. The process developed by the General Manager for addressing minor issues shall be brought to the Board within 60 days for review and approval prior to implementation. Pearson’s Appraisal Service shall be asked to provide feedback to the Board on the effectiveness of the minor issue corrective measures recommended by the General Manager prior to Board consideration of approval. Minor issues are defined as inaccurate property data or variables.  These are quantified as individual or a limited number of individual errors that do not impact the overall quality or assessments in a given neighborhood.  This process is designed to improve the overall data integrity in the database for the next real property revaluation. These are variables in an individual property that may impact the value of that property only, not the entire neighborhood.
A second, separate resolution, the Board adopted  a resolution that reads as follows: "The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners agrees, in concept, with legislation authorizing retroactive property appraisals back to January 1, 2011 necessary to eliminate inequities identified in the report by Pearson's Appraisal Service that would include issues of resulting taxpayer reimbursement and taxpayer levies (if required by law) and authorize the County Attorney, Marvin Bethune, to work with legislators and legislative staff to draft a bill that accomplishes this goal. The proposed motion would be an effort to provide remedy to property owners as a result of inequities in assessed valuation. It would allow refunds to property owners for 2011 and 2012 values. Co-Author Commissioner Bill James says if the law allows, he would prefer that undervalued homes will not be increased for that same period.

Health Department Transition
Previous Board approved cancelation of the contract with Carolinas Healthcare System that had CHS operating the County Health Department. Beginning July 1 2013, Mecklenburg County itself will operate the health department. The health department offers 34 separate services with 500 staff. Major issues have been hiring new staff and supervisors and making sure phone and computers were switched over to the County IT system. The cost of running the Health Department is estimated to be $20-$23 million. Yet to be decided – will the County continue with current leadership set-up having both a Health Director and Medical Director. Current Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry has announced his retirement and County staff is in the process of hiring a search firm to recruit for this position.

Economic Development Committee
The Board approved reestablishing the Board’s Economic Development Committee. Work of all but one of the Board’s committees (Audit Review Committee) was ended by the previous board. The Chairman will select members to serve on the committee.

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