March 7. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board voted to support state legislation which would permit the town to annex 93 parcels west of Old Statesville Road/Hwy. 115, which are in the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, or unincorporated territory. These property owners currently pay taxes to Mecklenburg County not the town.
The state bill is being introduced by NC Rep. John Bradford, a former town commissioner, and is similar to legislation introduced in the Senate by Jeff Tarte, a former mayor.
“We had actually discussed doing this legislation last year, but it got hung up in the timing of a short session in Raleigh,” said Town Manager Anthony Roberts. “If approved, this will actually result in a cost savings for taxpayers while clearing up any ambiguities about police and fire coverage.”
Roberts cited the property between Knox Road and West Catawba Avenue, across from Starbucks, as a prime example. “Currently this is in the ETJ, so the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, rather than the Cornelius Police, would technically cover police services needed there. This bill would eliminate these ‘doughnuts’ throughout the Town’s jurisdiction west of 115.”
“It’s a great idea!” said Robbie Lowrance of Lowrance Properties. “There are a lot of commercial buildings now and ones being built that aren’t currently being taxed by Cornelius.” Lowrance noted the Circle K convenience store at Highway 115 and Bailey Road as one example.
Unincorporated property owners in the ETJ’s currently pay Mecklenburg County a total of $0.2684/$100 of assessed value for police and fire protection, while the town provides all town services for $0.255 per $100 of assessed value.
For a home valued at $250,000 the annual tax savings would be approximately $35. If the bills pass and are signed by Gov. Cooper, the change would take effect June 30.
The town board set Monday March 20 for a public hearing to consider an economic development grant to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB). The Charlotte based brewery plans to open a new brewery in Cornelius, occupying the 51,000 square-foot building on Zion Avenue formerly occupied by MacLean Curtis, which moved its manufacturing facilities to Mooresville last year. In a related development, the commissioners also approved a home rule message supporting the lifting of the 25,000 gallon production cap currently in effect statewide for local breweries after which they must hire independent distributors.
The board also accepted the following streets for Town maintenance in the Preserve at Robbins Park: Portions of Robbins Ridge Road, Preserve Pond Road, Robbins Preserve Road, and all of Pennington Drive.