(a) Tiers Defined. - A development tier one area is a county whose annual ranking is one of the 40 highest in the State. A development tier two area is a county whose annual ranking is one of the next 40 highest in the State. A development tier three area is a county that is not in a lower-numbered development tier.
(b) Development Factor. - Each year, on or before November 30, the Secretary of Commerce shall assign to each county in the State a development factor that is the sum of the following:
(1) The county's rank in a ranking of counties by average rate of unemployment from lowest to highest, for the most recent 12 months for which data are available.
(2) The county's rank in a ranking of counties by median household income from highest to lowest, for the most recent 12 months for which data are available.
(3) The county's rank in a ranking of counties by percentage growth in population from highest to lowest, for the most recent 36 months for which data are available.
(4) The county's rank in a ranking of counties by adjusted assessed property value per capita as published by the Department of Public Instruction, from highest to lowest, for the most recent taxable year.
(c) Annual Ranking. - After computing the development factor as provided in this section and making the adjustments required in this section, the Secretary of Commerce shall rank all the counties within the State according to their development factor from highest to lowest. The Secretary shall then identify all the areas of the State by development tier and publish this information. A development tier designation is effective only for the calendar year following the designation.
(d) Data. - In measuring rates of unemployment and median household income, the Secretary shall use the latest available data published by a State or federal agency generally recognized as having expertise concerning the data. In measuring population and population growth, the Secretary shall use the most recent estimates of population certified by the State Budget Officer. For the purposes of this section, population statistics do not include people incarcerated in federal or State prisons.
(e) Adjustment for Certain Small Counties. - Regardless of the actual development factor, any county that has a population of less than 12,000 shall automatically be ranked one of the 40 highest counties, any county that has a population of less than 50,000 shall automatically be ranked one of the 80 highest counties, and any county that has a population of less than 50,000 and more than nineteen percent (19%) of its population below the federal poverty level according to the most recent federal decennial census shall automatically be ranked one of the 40 highest counties.
(f) Adjustment for Development Tier One Areas. - Regardless of the actual development factor, a county designated as a development tier one area shall automatically be ranked one of the 40 highest counties until it has been a development tier one area for at least two consecutive years.
(g) Exception for Two-County Industrial Park. - An eligible two-county industrial park has the lower development tier designation of the designations of the two counties in which it is located if it meets all of the following conditions:
(1) It is located in two contiguous counties, one of which has a lower development tier designation than the other.
(2) At least one-third of the park is located in the county with the lower tier designation.
(3) It is owned by the two counties or a joint agency of the counties, is under contractual control of designated agencies working on behalf of both counties, or is subject to a development agreement between both counties and third-party owners.
(4) The county with the lower tier designation contributed at least the lesser of one-half of the cost of developing the park or a proportion of the cost of developing the park equal to the proportion of land in the park located in the county with the lower tier designation.
(5) Expired, effective July 1, 2012, pursuant to Session Laws 2009-524, s. 2.
(h) Exception for Certain Multijurisdictional Industrial Parks. - An eligible industrial park created by interlocal agreement under G.S. 158-7.4, and parcels of land located within the industrial park that are subsequently transferred and used for industrial or commercial purposes authorized for cities and counties under G.S. 158-7.1, have the lowest development tier designation of the designations of the counties in which they are located if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The industrial park is located, at one or more sites, in three or more contiguous counties.
(2) At least one of the counties in which the industrial park is located is a development tier one area.
(3) The industrial park is owned by three or more units of local government or a nonprofit corporation owned or controlled by three or more units of local government.
(4) In each county in which the industrial park is located, the park has at least 250 developable acres. A transfer of acreage that reduces the number of developable acres below 250 developable acres in a county does not affect an industrial park's eligibility under this subsection if the transfer is to an owner who uses or develops the acreage for industrial or commercial purposes authorized for cities and counties under G.S. 158-7.1. For the purposes of this subdivision, "developable acres" includes acreage that is owned directly by the industrial park or its owners or that is the subject of a development agreement between the industrial park or its owners and a third-party owner.
(5) The total population of all of the counties in which the industrial park is located is less than 200,000.
(6) In each county in which the industrial park is located, at least sixteen and eight-tenths percent (16.8%) of the population was Medicaid eligible for the 2003-2004 fiscal year based on 2003 population estimates.
(i) Expired, effective July 1, 2013, pursuant to Session Laws 2009-505, s. 2, as amended by Session Laws 2012-36, s. 1.
(j) Exception for Eco-Industrial Park. - An Eco-Industrial Park has a development tier one designation. An Eco-Industrial Park is an industrial park that the Secretary of Commerce has certified meets the following requirements:
(1) It has at least 100 developable acres.
(2) It is located in a county that is not required under G.S. 143-215.107A to perform motor vehicle emissions inspections.
(3) Each building located in the industrial park is constructed in accordance with energy-efficiency and water-use standards established in G.S. 143-135.37 for construction of a major facility.
(4) Each business located in the park is in a clean-industry sector according to the Toxic Release Inventory by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
(k) Report. - By November 30 of each year, the Secretary of Commerce shall submit a written report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Natural and Economic Resources, the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the tier rankings required by subsection (c) of this section, including a map of the State whereupon the tier ranking of each county is designated. (2006-252, s. 1.2; 2008-147, s. 1; 2009-505, s. 1; 2009-524, s. 1; 2010-147, s. 5.1; 2012-36, s. 1; 2012-142, s. 13.4(e).)
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Last modified: March 23, 2014