AN ACT TO FOSTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR BROADBAND EXPANSION AND RESOURCES IN NORTH CAROLINA BY AUTHORIZING COUNTIES AND CITIES TO BUILD AND LEASE FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT OF BROADBAND SERVICES 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 new GS 153A-458 and GS 160A-499.5 giving counties and cities, respectively, the authority to enter into agreements with qualified private entities to construct facilities or equipment of a broadband service, to be leased to lessees who are not a governmental unit. This authority is subject to voter approval; the referendum may be held at the same time as any other state or county primary, general election, special election, or referendum. Allows the use of ad valorem property tax levies, grants, and other unrestricted funds in exercising this authority, but caps the funds that can be used at 50% of the total funds expended to construct the facilities or equipment. Sets out actions that the county must do before beginning construction, including conducting a feasibility study to determine needs and available resources and adopting a resolution, after 10 days notice, stating its intent to construct the facilities and equipment for the purposes of leasing it.
Makes conforming changes to the allowable uses of property taxes under GS 153A-149 and GS 160A-209. Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS 159-81 to allow facilities or equipment of a broadband service for the purpose of leasing the facility or equipment to be revenue bond projects.
Amends GS 160A-272 making changes to the requirements of the notice to be given when city property is to be rented or leased by no longer requiring that the authorization be done at the next city council meeting. Allows the council to approve a lease without treating it as a sale of property for the operation and use of any facilities and equipment of a broadband service for a term up to 25 years (was, for the operation and use of components of a wired or wireless network for a term up to 25 years, subject to specified requirements). Adds requirements for inviting and advertising such leases. Provides that voter approval is not needed for the lease of part of a city-owned public enterprise to be operated and used as facilities or equipment of a broadband service. Applies to leases entered into on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS 160A-340.2 by exempting from Article 16A, Provision of Communications Service by Cities, facilities or equipment of a broadband service constructed by a city for the purpose of leasing it.
Amends GS 143-128.1C, concerning public-private partnership construction contracts, by defining public-private project for the purposes of the statute to also include a capital improvement project undertaken for the benefit of a city or county that includes construction of facilities or equipment of a broadband service that is in conjunction with, or part of, another construction project undertaken by the city or county.
Effective July 1, 2019.
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