Northampton, AVRC reach agreement

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

JACKSON – The avenue is in place for Northampton County to recoup $1.8 million spent in economic development.

At their meeting here yesterday (Monday), the Northampton County Commissioners approved an Economic Development Agreement with the Advanced Vehicle Research Center of North Carolina Inc. (AVRC).

The agreement, in part, allows the county to recoup the $1.8 million Northampton officials invested in purchasing the property and provides for the transfer of the deed from the county to AVRC after such costs have been regained.

Late last year, Northampton County agreed to purchase approximately 610 acres near the town of Garysburg for the building and development of the AVRC.

According to the agreement, Northampton County will be paid the entire $1.8 million borrowed to purchase the property plus interest at 3.75 per annum on the outstanding balance remaining.

That repayment can come in multiple forms, according to the agreement approved Monday morning.

The AVRC will occupy the property once a lease agreement is signed. That document was presented to the Board Monday and will likely be discussed and/or approved at the next scheduled Commissioners meeting, set for March 20.

On the 11-year anniversary of Monday’s adoption, the AVRC shall repay the $1.8 million to the county less the sum of all ad valorem taxes paid on real estate, buildings and land improvements resulting from the AVRC.

At any time in the 11 years, the AVRC has the option of paying the pro-rata balance of $1.8 million plus interest, but minus the sum total of all ad valorem taxes paid previously to the county.

Article II states that if the AVRC meets its target of a minimum investment of $20 million in purchased and leased equipment and facility construction improvements within 10 years and generates other revenues within 10 years to meet the requirements of the North Carolina Local Development Act, the AVRC will have met an equal value to the county paid in ad valorem taxes.

That means if the Center was able to reach its target goal of a $20 million investment, it will have paid the county back through taxes and property value increase. In that case, the county will deed the property to the AVRC at that time.

“The intent is that Northampton County will derive repayment of costs in property values and ad valorem taxes,” Economic Development Director Gary Brown said.

The agreement also provides for three right-of-ways. One will go to the State of North Carolina for an industrial access road while another will be for Northampton County for the construction of water and wastewater infrastructure.

The final right-of-way or easement will be dedicated to Northampton County as ingress, egress and regress to and from property owned by the county.

Following a motion by Commissioner James Hester (D-1st) and seconded by Commissioner James C. Boone (D-3rd), the agreement was executed by a 4-0 vote from the board.

Commission Vice Chairman Robert V. Carter (D-4th) was absent from Monday’s meeting, attending a national county commission meeting in Washington, D.C.