159-108. Agreements with property owners.

(a) Authorization. - A unit of local government that issues project development financing debt instruments may enter into agreements with the owners of real property in the development financing district for which the instruments were issued under which the owners agree to a minimum value at which their property will be assessed for taxation. Such an agreement may extend for the life of the development financing district or for a shorter period agreed to by the parties. The agreement may vary the agreed-upon minimum assessed value from year to year.

(b) Filing and Recording Agreement. - The unit shall file a copy of any agreement entered into pursuant to this section with the tax assessor for the county in which the development financing district is located. In addition, the unit shall cause the agreement to be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of that county, and the register of deeds shall index the agreement in the grantor's index under the name of the property owner. Once the agreement has been recorded in the office of the register of deeds, as required by this subsection, it is binding, according to its terms and for its duration, on any subsequent owner of the property.

(c) Minimum Assessment of Property. - An agreement entered into pursuant to this section establishes a minimum assessment of the real property subject to the agreement. If the county tax assessor determines that the real property has a true value less than the minimum established by the agreement, the assessor shall nevertheless assess the property at the minimum set out in the agreement. If the assessor, however, determines that the real property has a true value greater than the minimum established by the agreement, the assessor shall assess the property at the true value.

(d) Effect of Reappraisal. - If an agreement entered into pursuant to this section continues in effect after a reappraisal of property conducted pursuant to G.S. 105-286, the minimum assessment established in the agreement shall be adjusted as provided in this subsection. After the issuing unit of local government has adopted its budget ordinance and levied taxes for the fiscal year that begins next after the effective date of the reappraisal, it shall certify to the county tax assessor the total rate of ad valorem taxes levied by the unit and applicable to the property subject to the agreement. It shall also certify to the assessor the total rate of ad valorem taxes levied by the unit and applicable to the property in the immediately preceding fiscal year. The assessor shall determine the total amount of ad valorem taxes levied by the unit on the property in the immediately preceding fiscal year, based on the tax rate certified by the issuing unit. The assessor shall then determine a value of the property that would provide the same total amount of ad valorem taxes based on the tax rate certified for the fiscal year beginning next after the effective date of the reappraisal. The value so determined is the new minimum assessment for the property subject to the agreement.

(e) Agreement Effective Regardless of Improvements. - An agreement entered into pursuant to this section remains in effect according to its terms regardless of whether the improvements anticipated in the development financing plan are completed or whether those improvements continue to exist during the duration of the agreement. However, if any part of the property subject to the agreement is acquired by a public agency, the agreement is automatically modified by removing the acquired property from the agreement and reducing the minimum assessment accordingly. (2003-403, s. 2.)