AN ACT TO FOSTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR BROADBAND EXPANSION AND RESOURCES IN NORTH CAROLINA BY AUTHORIZING COUNTIES AND CITIES TO INSTALL AND LEASE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE TO INCREASE ADEQUATE BROADBAND SERVICES TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT IN LOCAL ECONOMIES, PROVIDE FOR EDUCATIONAL AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, MODERNIZE FARMING TECHNOLOGIES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR IMPROVED HEALTH CARE.
Enacts GS 153A-458 and GS 160-499.5, authorizing counties and cities to construct facilities or equipment of a broadband service for the purpose of leasing the facilities or equipment in accordance with GS 160A-272, to one or more lessees who are not a governmental unit. Authorizes boards of commissioners and cities to use ad valorem taxes, grants, or any other unrestricted funds in exercising authority granted under the statute. Details four requirements that a county or city must satisfy before beginning construction, including: conducting a feasibility study; adopting a resolution at a regular meeting, which had 10 days' public notice, stating the intent to construct and lease the facilities or equipment; notifying the Local Government Commission of any commitment to expend funds for construction over more than one fiscal year; and notifying the State Chief Information Officer, or their designee, of the location and type of facilities or equipment constructed. Adds building facilities and equipment of broadband services to the purposes for which counties and cities may levy property taxes under GS 153A-149 and GS 160A-209. Effective for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS 159-81 to authorize facilities or equipment of broadband services for the purpose of leasing the facilities or equipment in accordance with GS 160A-272 to be revenue bond projects.
Amends GS 160A-272, concerning the lease or rental of city property. Current law limits the term of such lease or rental to 10 years, with leases for terms of more than 10 years treated as a sale of property. Removes the specification that the notice of a city council's intent to authorize the lease or rental of city property state that the proposed resolution will be at its next regular meeting. Now provides for a city council to approve a lease beyond ten years without treating the lease as a sale of property if the lease is for the operation and use of any facilities and equipment of a broadband service for a term up to 25 years (previously, for the operation and use of components of a wired or wireless network for a term of up to 25 years, and provided certain restrictions). Further, now provides for any lease by a city of any duration for facilities and equipment of broadband service to satisfy four requirements, including inviting and advertising proposals by newspaper or electronically, as specified. Authorizes proposals to be rejected for any reason determined by the governing body to be in the best interest of the city. Additionally, does not require a city to submit to its voters the question of whether to enter into a lease of part of a city-owned public enterprise to be operated and used as facilities or equipment of broadband service. Maintains and reorganizes the provision requiring periods that can be added to the original term of the lease or rental period by options to renew or extend to be included in determining the term of a proposed lease for purposes of the statute. Makes clarifying changes. Applies to leases entered into on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS 160A-340.2 to exempt facilities and equipment of a broadband service constructed by a city for the purpose of leasing the facilities and equipment in accordance with GS 160A-272 from the provisions of Article 16A, Provision of Communications Service by Cities.
Adds to GS 143-128.1C concerning public-private partnership construction contracts, to specify that public-private project includes a capital improvement project undertaken for the benefit of a city or county that includes construction of facilities or equipment of a broadband service in conjunction with, or as part of, another construction project undertaken by the city or county.
Effective July 1, 2019.
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