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A bond referendum gives voters the power to decide if the Town should be authorized to borrow funding for capital projects with General Obligation (G.O.) bonds that are backed by a pledge of the full faith and credit, the taxing power, of the Town. G.O. bonds are debt instruments authorized by the public that can be issued by the Town during a 7-year period (which can be extended to 10 years). The Town will pay back the principal and interest over time, similar to a home mortgage, from the general funds of the Town.
Under North Carolina law, a local government holding a referendum for the purpose of issuing general obligation (G.O.) bonds must specify general categories of capital projects for which bond proceeds may be used. Within these categories, a local government may identify specific projects that are intended to be funded by the bond proceeds. The Town has identified potential transportation projects that will have a significant impact on safety, congestion and travel time, in addition to projects that allow the Town to leverage its funds to advance the construction of these projects. However, due to the lengthy process involved with identifying, designing, and implementing transportation projects, as well as the lack of finalized cost and other project information available at the time of the bond referendum, the specific projects identified in the bond proposal may change over time. The question that the actual bond referendum therefore asks of voters is whether the local government is authorized to use the G.O. bonds as a financing tool for the general category of projects up to the amount specified in the question.
If citizens vote in favor of the bond financing question on the November 6th ballot, the Town will have the authority to issue up to $24 million in general obligation (G.O.) transportation bonds over seven years. If the Town is not ready to issue bonds within seven years, the Town may ask for a three-year extension from the North Carolina Local Government Commission.
The Town of Cornelius is in good financial health. However, the Town does not have enough cash available to pay for all of these capital projects while still sustaining the high level of service our citizens expect, and while maintaining fund balance levels that are in line with the Town’s Fund Balance Policy. Using a debt instrument, such as bonds, allows citizens to pay for substantial capital projects over the useful life of the assets. Another consideration for using multi-year financing instead of cash is the equity factor: future citizens of Cornelius pay for a portion of the new projects that they will benefit from.
Also, since all of the identified potential projects are partnerships with NCDOT and occur within NCDOT right-of-way, the Town does not have any collateral to obtain pay-as-you-go financing. This means that bond debt is the only financing available for these projects.
In the current fiscal year, one penny on the tax rate is worth about $540,000 in tax revenue annually for the Town.
The Town is required to adopt an annual budget that is balanced, meaning estimated expenses cannot exceed estimated revenues. The Town Board approves an annual budget including revenues and spending plan, including making annual debt service payments. That annual budget document will provide for repayment of the bonds. The Town’s largest revenue source is property taxes; therefore, approval of these bonds could directly impact the Town tax rate.
According to the Town’s financial forecast, if the bond proposal is approved and is issued as currently anticipated in two phases, the Town estimates that the property tax rate may increase by 1 cent as a result of the bonds starting in FY20. However, many factors influence if and how much the tax rate might change, such as future interest rates and timing regarding exactly when the bonds are issued. Additionally, revenue and expenditure changes, legislative changes and operational decisions will impact the Town’s tax rate in future years regardless of whether the bonds are approved.
View the chart below to see what a penny increase at the Town’s current tax rate would cost based on different property values.
Property Value Cost per Month Cost per Year
$150,000 $1.25 $15.00
$300,000 $2.50 $30.00
$450,000 $3.75 $45.00
$600,000 $5.00 $60.00
The Town has identified several potential transportation projects proposed with the bond that voters are being asked to consider. If the voters do not approve the bond proposal, then the majority, if not all, of these projects may not occur and may be delayed for as much as 20-plus years. If the bond proposal does not pass, the Town will determine which projects, if any, it can proceed with. As these projects are partnership projects with NCDOT, it is highly likely that NCDOT will also not proceed with the majority of these projects and project elements, as well.
No. The bond vote is a vote on whether the Town may specifically use general obligation (G.O.) bond financing; it is not a vote on the property tax rate. The Town Board may raise or lower the property tax rates each year depending on the amount of revenues the Board believes is necessary to meet the operational and capital needs of the municipal government.
Bond rating agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s issue a debt rating on each bond issue. The Town currently has a rating of AAA from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on its current bonds. In Standard & Poor’s current opinion on the Town’s ability to repay this debt, S&P notes Cornelius’ financial strengths, including how quickly existing debt is paid off. Based on Cornelius’ overall financial condition, debt rating agencies are expected to recognize the Town’s financial ability to continue to make its debt service payments.
The potential projects are partnership projects with NCDOT. NCDOT estimates that construction for some of these projects could begin as early as 2020.
Email additional questions to Assistant Town Manager, Tyler Beardsley.
The Cornelius Planning Department needs to provide zoning approval on building and sign permit applications before Mecklenburg County issues a permit. Find more information about building permits. You may email sign permit applications to us for zoning approval. Permit fees may be paid online.
For additional information on the False Alarm Reduction Program click here.
Revaluation is a process where all property (land and buildings) within a taxing jurisdiction (in this case Mecklenburg County) is revalued to its current market value as of an established date. State law requires the County to conduct a property revaluation at least every eight years to determine its market value.
All property (homes, commercial and land) is visited and observed by a County Assessor to:
Property taxes are based on property values. Without periodic revaluations, some property owners would pay more than their share of property tax while others would pay less. Revaluations reset property tax values to their current market value so that the property tax burden is spread fairly among all taxpayers
Revaluation and taxation are separate. Revaluation determines the market value. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and Town of Cornelius determine tax rates during the annual budget process in late spring. Budgets will be adopted by June 30, 2019. The value of your property combined with the tax rate determines your property tax bill, which is mailed in late July. The County makes up the majority portion of the taxes you pay (76.4%), and the Town of Cornelius is the balance (23.6%).
Assessor's Office staff are certified to perform property revaluations by the NC Department of Revenue. They are well-trained with decades of experience. Appraisers must meet certification requirements. The Assessor's Office also has an internal quality control division that monitors all aspects of the process.
Revaluation is required by state law and is supported by 75,000 sales across the County. The County and Town will publish a revenue neutral tax rate for review during the budget cycle this spring.
The County is moving to a four-year revaluation cycle and studying how to get to a two-year cycle.
These were mailed to Mecklenburg County property owners beginning Jan. 23, 2019. Values are available online.
Look up your real estate property value (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg). Type in your parcel number, your full name, or the address printed on your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value. When the result appears, select your property to review the information we have on file. If you notice any of this information is incorrect, please email AssessorQuestions@MeckNC.gov or call us at 980-314-4226.
If you feel that your property value is too high or too low, now is the time to communicate with the County Assessor’s Office. Contact the office online (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg), by phone (980-314-4226), by mail or in person (Valerie C. Woodard Center, 3205 Freedom Drive, Suite 3500, Charlotte, NC, 28208). The sooner you contact the Assessor’s Office, the better.
The total listed under "Deferred Amount" applies to property that is agricultural, horticultural and forestry related.
Your property value will be adjusted based on what was completed as of Jan. 1, 2019. This method also applies to new additions to existing buildings, outbuildings and detached structures. All improvements started after Jan. 1, 2019 will be valued using the same Uniform Schedule of Values applied to property built prior to that date.
Yes, the assessed value could change if new construction or a change in zoning occurs. When that happens, market value is adjusted using the rates developed for the most recent year. For example, if a house is built in 2018 on a lot that was vacant in 2016, the new house and lot will be appraised using 2016 market values, as approved in the Uniform Schedule of Values.
Once you receive your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value in late January, you have a couple of options if you disagree with your value:
After you receive your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value, you can file a Formal Appeal online or with a paper form before May 20, 2019.
Your appeal will be sent to the Board of Equalization and Review (BER). You can file a Formal Appeal until May 20, 2019. After your appeal is heard by the BER, you will receive written notification of your property value in the mail. If you disagree with the BER's decision, you have 30 days to file an appeal with the N.C. Property Tax Commission in Raleigh. Instructions on how to appeal to the N.C. Property Tax Commission will be provided in the letter you receive from the BER.
Informal reviews could take anywhere from 30-120 days and largely depend on how many appeals are filed in a given neighborhood. If there are multiple appeals in a particular neighborhood, then the process may take longer. The County Assessor will respond to appeals as quickly as possible.
You can appear in person before the Board of Equalization and Review (BER), but it is not required. If you are unable to attend on the date and time set, your case will still be heard. The BER will review all submitted documentation regarding your case and mail you a decision.
There are three ways to find out what your property is zoned:
Yes. If any one side of the shed is 12' or greater you will need to complete a Building Permit application. If the shed is less than 120 square feet, you will need to complete a Zoning Use Permit application. Both permits are Mecklenburg County forms but must have zoning approval by the Cornelius Planning Department before taking the permit to Mecklenburg County.
Yes. You must complete a Mecklenburg County Building Permit application and obtain zoning approval by the Cornelius Planning Department before Mecklenburg County will issue a permit.
A water quality buffer is a naturally vegetated area adjacent to a water body to protect water quality. Find out more information about water quality buffers.
Conditional Zoning Applications
The conditional zoning (CZ) process typically takes a minimum of four (4) months and on average, six (6) months. Due to requirements for a community meeting, TIA evaluation, NCDOT review (when applicable), plan review, etc. the timing of the CZ process is complex. Upon submission of a complete application, staff will coordinate with the applicant(s) to establish a board review schedule. The CZ review process is detailed in Chapter 12 of the Land Development Code.
Due to advertising requirements, variance applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the next regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting.
The most common reason people do not receive notices from the Town is due to an invalid mailing address. Addresses are assigned and managed by Mecklenburg County. The Town uses Mecklenburg County's address list to mail notices, so make sure you mailing address is correct. If your mailing address has changed, please change it as soon as possible with the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor's Office.
Another issue we see is when people have an urgent situation and, out of habit, call our seven-digit number instead of 911. This can actually hinder our response, because the Telecommunicator does not get the information into their CAD console automatically unless the call comes in on 911.
Due to COVID-19, the Cornelius Police Department is temporarily suspending the service of taking pre-employment and other non-criminal fingerprints for the public.