RALEIGH — The North Carolina Local Government Commission (LGC) approved over $1.5 billion in financing for local government projects across the state during the commission’s May 3 meeting.
The approved financing is around $900 million for infrastructure improvements for airports in Asheville and Charlotte. Included in that total was the approval of a request by the City of Charlotte to issue $425 million in bonds for the Charlotte Douglas International Airport for improvements, a new terminal and other construction projects.
The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority’s request also received approval from the LGC to issue up to $185 million in revenue bonds. The funds will be used to modernize and expand multiple areas including the main terminal and TSA security screening zones as well as the baggage claim and ticketing areas. Additional improvements include building a new air traffic control tower and a centralized energy plant.
The LGC approved $274 million in bond sales for infrastructure projects in Cabarrus County for a number of projects such as a courthouse, an elementary school, a library, a senior center and various school and recreation facilities.
Other items approved by the LGC included $12.6 million in financing for projects in Carrboro a large three-story building and parking deck servicing multiple entities such as the parks and cultural programs, a branch library and the Orange County Skilled Development center.
In Davidson County, the city of Lexington was approved for up to $14 million to build an administrative building to help streamline and consolidate services for utility customers. Rockingham County received approval for $21.1 million in financing to build a Workforce Development Center at Rockingham Community College.
In a separate press release, Folwell’s office highlighted the LGC was working to resolve legal issues related to a $1 million loan that the Cumberland County town of Spring Lake “accepted without proper authorization” and was used to build a fire station.
“South River loaned the money to the town, with an original 10-year term, deferred for two years, and eight $125,000 annual installments,” according to Folwell’s statement.
The release also says the LGC directed staff to enter into negotiations on loan payback options with South River Electric Membership Corporation.
Spring Lake, a community in Cumberland County of just under 12,000 residents, is located close to Fort Bragg and sits northwest of Fayetteville. The town has had numerous financial issues and the LGC assumed control of Spring Lake’s finances last year.
A March 2022 audit published by State Auditor Beth Wood’s office found more than $430,000 in taxpayer funds were spent for personal use in the town of Spring Lake. In April, the LGC issued a letter to the town expressing concern with the town’s apparent lack of compliance with state laws and reluctance to work with LGC staff.
The LGC is made of nine members that include the State Treasurer, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor, the Secretary of Revenue, and five others by appointment (three by the Governor, one by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore and one by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House).
The LGC is chaired by N.C. State Treasurer Dale Folwell and is staffed by members of his department.