Part 2. Community Development and Redevelopment.

160D-1311. Community development programs and activities.

(a) A local government is authorized to engage in, to accept federal and State grants and loans for, and to appropriate and expend funds for community development programs and activities. In undertaking community development programs and activities, in addition to other authority granted by law, a local government may engage in the following activities:

(1) Programs of assistance and financing of rehabilitation of private buildings principally for the benefit of low- and moderate-income persons, or for the restoration or preservation of older neighborhoods or properties, including direct repair, the making of grants or loans, the subsidization of interest payments on loans, and the guaranty of loans.

(2) Programs concerned with employment, economic development, crime prevention, child care, health, drug abuse, education, and welfare needs of persons of low and moderate income.

(b) A governing board may exercise directly those powers granted by law to local government redevelopment commissions and those powers granted by law to local government housing authorities and may do so whether or not a redevelopment commission or housing authority is in existence in such local government. Any governing board desiring to do so may delegate to any redevelopment commission, created under Article 22 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, or to any housing authority, created under Article 1 of Chapter 157 of the General Statutes, the responsibility of undertaking or carrying out any specified community development activities. Any governing board may by agreement undertake or carry out for another any specified community development activities. Any governing board may contract with any person, association, or corporation in undertaking any specified community development activities. Any county or city board of health, county board of social services, or county or city board of education may by agreement undertake or carry out for any other governing board any specified community development activities.

(c) A local government undertaking community development programs or activities may create one or more advisory committees to advise it and to make recommendations concerning such programs or activities.

(d) A governing board proposing to undertake any loan guaranty or similar program for rehabilitation of private buildings is authorized to submit to its voters the question whether such program shall be undertaken, such referendum to be conducted pursuant to the general and local laws applicable to special elections in such local government. No State or local taxes shall be appropriated or expended by a county pursuant to this section for any purpose not expressly authorized by G.S. 153A-149, unless the same is first submitted to a vote of the people as therein provided.

(e) A government may receive and dispense funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Section 108 Loan Guarantee program, Subpart M, 24 C.F.R. 570.700, et seq., either through application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce or directly from the federal government, in accordance with State and federal laws governing these funds. Any local government that receives these funds directly from the federal government may pledge current and future CDBG funds for use as loan guarantees in accordance with State and federal laws governing these funds. A local government may implement the receipt, dispensing, and pledging of CDBG funds under this subsection by borrowing CDBG funds and lending all or a portion of those funds to a third party in accordance with applicable laws governing the CDBG program.

A government that has pledged current or future CDBG funds for use as loan guarantees prior to the enactment of this subsection is authorized to have taken such action. A pledge of future CDBG funds under this subsection is not a debt or liability of the State or any political subdivision of the State or a pledge of the faith and credit of the State or any political subdivision of the State. The pledging of future CDBG funds under this subsection does not directly, indirectly, or contingently obligate the State or any political subdivision of the State to levy or to pledge any taxes.

(f) All program income from Economic Development Grants from the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program may be retained by recipient cities and counties in "economically distressed counties," as defined in G.S. 143B-437.01, for the purposes of creating local economic development revolving loan funds. Such program income derived through the use by cities of Small Cities Community Development Block Grant money includes, but is not limited to, (i) payment of principal and interest on loans made by the county using CDBG funds, (ii) proceeds from the lease or disposition of real property acquired with CDBG funds, and (iii) any late fees associated with loan or lease payments in (i) and (ii) above. The local economic development revolving loan fund set up by the city shall fund only those activities eligible under Title I of the federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended (P.L. 93-383), and shall meet at least one of the three national objectives of the Housing and Community Development Act. Any expiration of G.S. 143B-437.01 or G.S. 105-129.3 shall not affect this subsection as to designations of economically distressed counties made prior to its expiration. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)