State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_143B > GS_143B-431

§ 143B‑431.  Department of Commerce – functions.

(a)        The functions of the Department of Commerce, except asotherwise expressly provided by Article 1 of this Chapter or by theConstitution of North Carolina, shall include:

(1)        All of the executive functions of the State in relation toeconomic development including by way of enumeration and not of limitation, theexpansion and recruitment of environmentally sound industry, labor forcedevelopment, the promotion of and assistance in the orderly development ofNorth Carolina counties and communities, the promotion and growth of the traveland tourism industries, the development of our State's ports, energy resourcemanagement and energy policy development;

(2)        All functions, powers, duties and obligations heretoforevested in an agency enumerated in Article 15 of Chapter 143A, to wit:

a.         The State Board of Alcoholic Control,

b.         The North Carolina Utilities Commission,

c.         The Employment Security Commission,

d.         The North Carolina Industrial Commission,

e.         State Banking Commission and the Commissioner of Banks,

f.          Savings Institutions Division,

g.         Repealed by Session Laws 2001‑193, s. 10, effectiveJuly 1, 2001.

h.         Credit Union Commission,

i.          Repealed by Session Laws 2004‑199, s. 27(c),effective August 17, 2004.

j.          The North Carolina Mutual Burial Association Commission,

k.         The North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority,

l.          The North Carolina State Ports Authority,

all of which enumerated agencies are hereby expresslytransferred by a Type II transfer, as defined by G.S. 143A‑6, to thisrecreated and reconstituted Department of Commerce; and

(3)        All other functions, powers, duties and obligations as areconferred by this Chapter, delegated or assigned by the Governor and conferredby the Constitution and laws of this State. Any agency transferred to theDepartment of Commerce by a Type II transfer, as defined by G.S. 143A‑6,shall have the authority to employ, direct and supervise professional andtechnical personnel, and such agencies shall not be accountable to theSecretary of Commerce in their exercise of quasi‑judicial powersauthorized by statute, notwithstanding any other provisions of this Chapter,provided that the authority of the North Carolina State Ports Authority toemploy, direct and supervise personnel shall be as provided in Part 10 of thisArticle.

(b)        The Department of Commerce is authorized to establish andprovide for the operation of North Carolina nonprofit corporations for any ofthe following purposes:

(1)        To aid the development of small businesses.

(2)        To achieve the purposes of the United States Small BusinessAdministration's 504 Certified Development Company Program.

(3)        To acquire options and hold options for the purchase of landunder G.S. 143B‑437.02.

(b1)      The Department of Commerce is authorized to contract for thepreparation of proposals and reports in response to requests for proposals forlocation or expansion of major industrial projects.

(c)        The Department of Commerce shall have the following powersand duties with respect to local planning assistance:

(1)        To provide planning assistance to municipalities andcounties and joint and regional planning boards established by two or moregovernmental units in the solution of their local planning problems. Planningassistance as used in this section shall consist of making population,economic, land use, traffic, and parking studies and developing plans basedthereon to guide public and private development and other planning work of asimilar nature. Planning assistance shall also include the preparation ofproposed subdivision regulations, zoning ordinances, capital budgets, andsimilar measures that may be recommended for the implementation of such plans.The term planning assistance shall not be construed to include the providing ofplans for specific public works.

(2)        To receive and expend federal and other funds for planningassistance to municipalities and counties and to joint and regional planningboards, and to enter into contracts with the federal government,municipalities, counties, or joint and regional planning boards with referencethereto.

(3)        To perform planning assistance, either through the staff ofthe Department or through acceptable contractual arrangements with otherqualified State agencies or institutions, local planning agencies, or withprivate professional organizations or individuals.

(4)        To assume full responsibility for the proper execution of aplanning program for which a grant of State or federal funds has been made andfor carrying out the terms of a federal grant contract.

(5)        To cooperate with municipal, county, joint and regionalplanning boards, and federal agencies for the purpose of aiding and encouragingan orderly, coordinated development of the State.

(6)        To establish and conduct, either with its own staff orthrough contractual arrangements with institutions of higher education, Stateagencies, or private agencies, training programs for those employed or to beemployed in community development activities.

(d)        The Department of Commerce, with the approval of theGovernor, may apply for and accept grants from the federal government and itsagencies and from any foundation, corporation, association, or individual andmay comply with the terms, conditions, and limitations of such grants in orderto accomplish the Department's purposes. Grant funds shall be expended pursuantto the Executive Budget Act. In addition, the Department shall have thefollowing powers and duties with respect to its duties in administering federalprograms:

(1)        To negotiate, collect, and pay reasonable fees and chargesregarding the making or servicing of grants, loans, or other evidences ofindebtedness.

(2)        To establish and revise by regulation, in accordance withChapter 150B of the General Statutes, schedules of reasonable rates, fees, orcharges for services rendered, including but not limited to, reasonable fees orcharges for servicing applications. Schedules of rates, fees, or charges mayvary according to classes of service, and different schedules may be adoptedfor public entities, nonprofit entities, private for‑profit entities, andindividuals.

(3)        To pledge current and future federal fund appropriations tothe State from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for use asloan guarantees in accordance with the provisions of the Section 108 LoanGuarantee program, Subpart M, 24 CFR 570.700, et seq., authorized by theHousing and Community Development Act of 1974 and amendments thereto. TheDepartment may enter into loan guarantee agreements in support of projectssponsored by individual local governments or in support of pools of two or moreprojects supported by local governments with authorized State and federalagencies and other necessary parties in order to carry out its duties underthis subdivision. In making loan guarantees and grants under this subdivisionthe Department shall take into consideration project applications, geographicdiversity and regional balance in the entire community development block grantprogram. In making loan guarantees authorized under this subdivision, theDepartment shall ensure that apportionment of the risks involved in pledgingfuture federal funds in accordance with State policies and priorities forfinancial support of categories of assistance is made primarily against thecategory from which the loan guarantee originally derived. A pledge of futureCDBG funds under this subdivision is not a debt or liability of the State orany political subdivision of the State or a pledge of the faith and credit ofthe State or any political subdivision of the State. The pledging of futureCDBG funds under this subdivision does not directly, indirectly, orcontingently obligate the State or any political subdivision of the State tolevy or to pledge any taxes, nor may pledges exceed twice the amount of annualCDBG funds.

Prior to issuing a Section 108 Loan Guaranteeagreement, the Department of Commerce must make the following findings:

a.         The minimum size of the Section 108 Loan Guarantee is (i)seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) for a project supported by anindividual local government and (ii) two hundred fifty thousand dollars($250,000) for a project supported as part of a loan pool; and the maximum sizeis five million dollars ($5,000,000) per project.

b.         The Section 108 Loan Guarantee cannot constitute more thanfifty percent (50%) of total project costs.

c.         The project has ten percent (10%) equity from thecorporation, partnership, or sponsoring party. "Equity" means cash,real estate, or other hard assets contributed to the project and loans that aresubordinated in payment and collateral during the term of the Section 108 LoanGuarantee.

d.         The project has the personal guarantee of any person owningten percent (10%) or more of the corporation, partnership, or sponsoringentity, except for projects involving Low‑Income Housing Tax Creditsunder section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code or Historic Tax Credits undersection 47 of the Internal Revenue Code. Collateral on the loan must besufficient to cover outstanding debt obligations.

e.         The project has sufficient cash flow from operations fordebt service to repay the Section 108 loan.

f.          The project meets all underwriting and eligibilityrequirements of the North Carolina Section 108 Guarantee Program Guidelines andof the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations, except thatprojects involving hotels, motels, private recreational facilities, privateentertainment facilities, and convention centers are ineligible for Section 108loan guarantees.

The Department shall create a loan loss reserve fund as additionalsecurity for loans guaranteed under this section and may deposit federalprogram income or other funds governed by this section into the loan lossreserve fund. The Department shall maintain a balance in the reserve fund of noless than ten percent (10%) of the outstanding indebtedness secured by Section108 loan guarantees.

(e)        The Department of Commerce may establish a clearinghouse forState business license information and shall perform the following duties:

(1)        Establish a license information service detailingrequirements for establishing and engaging in business in the State.

(2)        Provide the most recent forms and information sheets for allState business licenses.

(3)        Prepare, publish, and distribute a complete directory of allState licenses required to do business in North Carolina.

(4)        Upon request, the Department shall assist a person asprovided below:

a.         Identify the type and source of licenses that may berequired and the potential difficulties in obtaining the licenses based on aninformal review of a potential applicant's business at an early stage in itsplanning. Information provided by the Department is for guidance purposes onlyand may not be asserted by an applicant as a waiver or release from any licenserequirement. However, an applicant who uses the services of the Department asprovided in this subdivision, and who receives a written statement identifyingrequired State business licenses relating to a specific business activity, shallnot be assessed a penalty for failure to obtain any State business licensewhich was not identified, provided that the applicant submits an applicationfor each such license within 60 days after written notification by theDepartment or the agency responsible for issuing the license.

b.         Arrange an informal conference between the person and theappropriate agency to clarify licensing requirements or standards, ifnecessary.

c.         Assist in preparing the appropriate application andsupplemental forms.

d.         Monitor the license review process to determine the statusof a particular license. If there is a delay in the review process, theDepartment may demand to know the reasons for the delay, the action required toend the delay, and shall provide this information to the applicant. TheDepartment may assist the applicant in resolving a dispute with an agencyduring the application process. If a request for a license is refused, theDepartment may explain the recourse available to the person under the AdministrativeProcedure Act.

(5)        Collaborate with the business license coordinator designatedin State agencies in providing information on the licenses and regulatoryrequirements of the agency, and in coordinating conferences with applicants toclarify license and regulatory requirements.

Each agency shall designate a business licensecoordinator. The coordinator shall have the following responsibilities:

a.         Provide to the Department the most recent application andsupplemental forms required for each license issued by the agency, the mostrecent information available on existing and proposed agency rules, the mostrecent information on changes or proposed changes in license requirements oragency rules and how those changes will affect the business community, and agencypublications that would be of aid or interest to the business community.

b.         Work with the Department in scheduling conferences forapplicants as provided under this subsection.

c.         Determine, upon request of an applicant or the Department,the status of a license application or renewal, the reason for any delay in thelicense review process, and the action needed to end the delay; and to notifythe applicant or Department, as appropriate, of those findings.

d.         Work with the Department or applicant, upon request, toresolve any dispute that may arise between the agency and the applicant duringthe review process.

e.         Review agency regulatory and license requirements and toprovide a written report to the Department that identifies the regulatory andlicensing requirements that affect the business community; indicates which, ifany, requirements should be eliminated, modified, or consolidated with otherrequirements; and explains the need for continuing those requirements notrecommended for elimination.

f.          Report, on a quarterly basis, to the Department on thenumber of licenses issued during the previous quarter on a form prescribed bythe Department. (1977, c. 198, s. 1; 1987,c. 214; 1989, c. 76, s. 25; c. 751, s. 2; 1991, c. 689, s. 153; 1991 (Reg. Sess.,1992), c. 959, s. 49; 1995, c. 310, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 575, s.1; 2001‑193, s. 10; 2004‑124, ss. 6.26(c), 6.26(d), 13.9A(c); 2004‑199,s. 27(c).)