Local tax rate just part of the eco-devo sales pitch


By Dave Vieser. ​With local tax rates set for the new fiscal year, will the lowest municipal rate help recruit the most new businesses? Not necessarily, say local economic development officials.

“Municipal tax rates are, for sure, one of the factors in determining the cost of operations for businesses” said Russ Rogerson, ​e​xecutive director of Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development. “However, each prospective business has specific cost factors related to their operations so raw material, utility costs, transportation costs, proximity to customers, workforce availability and costs, are also important. A low tax rate is not the only answer.”

With a tax rate of 25.5 cents/$100 assessed value, Cornelius has the lowest ​municipal rate in Mecklenburg County. Huntersville’s rate is 30.5 cents, while Davidson’s town tax rate is 35 cents. ​In Iredell County, ​Mooresville is 58 cents​; in Cabarrus, Kannapolis is 63 and Concord, 48.​

​Rates vary, based on services and other factors.

Iredell and Cabarrus ​don’t provide the same level of services as Mecklenburg​, but Concord and Mooresville are exceptional performers when it comes to business recruitment.​

​Davidson has scored big-time with companies like MSC Industrial locating on shovel-ready property adjacent to Exit 30 on I-77. Similarly, Lowe’s corporate headquarters ​is adjacent to I-77, while plenty of distribution centers have migrated to sites near exits on I-85 in Cabarrus.

​Local t​axes represent ​between a quarter and half of the​ property ​tax bill with the remainder set by ​counties. That reduces the differences between towns.
​In Cornelius, ​Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam ​has been on an EDC board for the past 25-plus years.

“Cornelius has consistently had over 50​ percent​ of the local Lake Norman EDC total projects for the majority of my term on the town board. However, there are over a dozen factors which companies consider when they evaluate where to locate their business. Things like transportation and access are at the top of the list too​,” he said.​

Other factors which business executives often evaluate include available work force, appearance and desirability of an area, cost of living, local education system and the overall quality of life.

​T​here’s also ​a positive​ ​“​spillover​”​effect among municipalities​ when a company moves into the town next door.
​Office and industrial parks in Huntersville are an economic engine for Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville, ​“​and actually for North Charlotte as well​,​” said Ryan McDaniels, Lake Norman Economic Development ​e​xecutive ​d​irector.

“The important factor is to be overall cost competitive with the other communities vying for a project​,” Rogerson said.


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