Leaders celebrate Iredell’s success

By Bethany Fuller | Statesville R&L

Published: July 29, 2009

Despite the sluggish economy, Statesville business leaders still want to celebrate the city’s achievements this year and prepare for the challenges ahead, particularly with the United Way of Iredell County’s community campaign.

“We need to also remind people of the good in the community,” said United Way Executive Director Pat Stewart. “What a wonderful community we live and work in.”

Stewart and leaders from the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell Community College and the Greater Statesville Development Corporation highlighted the area’s achievements at the “State of Our Community … Celebrations and Addressing Our Challenges” community leaders forum Tuesday morning at the college.

The meeting highlighted Statesville’s recent All-America City award, Mooresville-Statesville again being ranked the No. 1 micropolitan by Site Selection magazine and Mitchell Community College’s recognition for “Exceptional Institutional Perform-ance.”

However, much emphasis was placed on the United Way and what successful campaigns can mean to a community. Agencies under the United Way umbrella will receive a total of $890,056 if the campaign goal is met.

Fundraising Chairman John Snow said the 2010 campaign season is going to be a challenge, but it is the perfect time for people to donate to help these agencies provide valuable services.

“Statesville has been recognized a lot over the past six months,” said Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Bradley. “We are doing things right. I think it’s a symbol of a collaborative effort that we are here.”

In addition to introducing people to area businesses, Bradley said the chamber focuses on local issues, such as the Troutman mixed-drink referendum, an upcoming shop-local campaign and creating a sense of community downtown with the Piedmont Healthcare Friday at Five concert series.

The chamber is also doing its part to prevent what some refer to as the “brain drain,” an idiom used to describe educated young people moving away from their hometowns after graduating from high school and college, Bradley said. The chamber holds Youth Leadership Iredell classes, which teaches leadership skills to outstanding high school juniors.

Mitchell Community College President Doug Eason said education will be the cornerstone of the economy once it is rebuilt.

GSDC Executive Director Mike Smith said Statesville is known around the state for doing a lot of things right.

For example, the partnership between GSDC and MCC to fund the existing industry program — Business Retention and Expansion Director John Marek’s job focus — is considered a best practice in the N.C. Community College System.

“That has been huge for our community,” Smith said.

Iredell County has also been able to maintain a steady tax rate because it has a solid base of residential, commercial and industrial property.

Among the GSDC’s achievements, Smith noted the recruitment of Doosan Infracore, which brought more than 500 jobs to the area, and Brazilian-based nonwoven fabrics manufacturer Companhia Providência, which chose Statesville for its first North American facility.

“What used to look like an empty football field is now full of people working,” Smith said, referring to the Doosan building near the intersection of U.S. Interstates 77 and 40


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Census has huge impact on Iredell

By Rob Hites

Published: April 6, 2009

One interesting process the founding fathers included in the U.S. Constitution is the requirement that “the government shall conduct a census of the people every ten years.” Little did they know that in 2009, the task of counting each and every individual in the United States would involve a tabulation of more than 350 million people in 50 states.

As we prepare for the 2010 census, I hope you recognize the importance of participating in the process. The census is one of the most important planning tools our community has. It is also used to determine the distribution of congressional seats to states and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.

Many federal and state programs are tagged to population. The results of the census may mean a gain or loss of real dollars to many Iredell County programs.

As population changes, communities are eligible for different federal and state programs. As populations increase, the public health sector may collect higher reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid. This significantly lowers the losses that hospitals take when providing indigent care. Cities and counties are eligible for urban programs not offered to smaller communities. One of the formulas for the state sales tax is based on population.

As you can imagine, it is extremely important for the community to work with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that each and every individual is counted.

On Friday, local mayors, county commissioners and city and county managers met for lunch and discussed forming a “Complete Count Committee” coordinated by the regional staff of the U.S. Census Bureau. The group discussed the importance of the census and the challenges we face in Iredell County in achieving a complete count of our residents.

Many people misunderstand the U.S. Census and believe their information will be shared with the IRS, the Department of Social Services or the Immigration and Naturalization Service. They are reluctant to respond to the census or cooperate with a door-to-door census takers for fear of being “reported.” The individual information received by the Census Bureau is protected by law from being shared with any other agency of the federal or state governments. It is a felony to release the individual information of a census participant.

The job of the “Complete Count Committee” is to help the community become comfortable with the census process and to quell fears that different groups have that the census is a means of “keeping track of them.”

The Census Bureau is extremely interested in an accurate count and asks localities to help them reach all segments of society — from the single family homeowner to the homeless person living under a bridge. This attitude is very helpful to communities because many times the groups that are hardest to count are also the groups that require the most expenditure of public money for care.

In the coming months all of the governments in Iredell County will begin an effort to educate the county’s residents in the purpose of the census, its confidentiality and especially, the benefits to the community when everyone voluntarily participates. Through the work of the “Complete Count Committee” we hope to reach all segments of the Iredell County community and prepare them for the upcoming census.

The Census Bureau has streamlined the process for this decade and will no longer use the cumbersome “long form” that confused and threatened many citizens in the past. The new form is quick and easy to fill out and is intended to count people rather than intrude into every facet of their personal life. Officials say it will only take 10 minutes to complete.

The opportunity for higher federal reimbursements, grant opportunities afforded to larger communities, and the knowledge that the proportion of our sales tax dollars is commensurate with our population will aid our local elected leaders in keeping the local tax burden as low as possible.
On April 1, 2010, our nation will be counted — every person, whoever they are, wherever they live.

Statesville and Iredell County depend on you to not only take part in the census, but to encourage others to fill out their forms. For some, the census may just be numbers, but these numbers actually tell our story — about who we are and how we are changing.

Rob Hites is Statesville’s city manager.

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Welcome to Iredell County

Just above Charlotte, at the heart of the beautiful North Carolina Piedmont, is a unique County- Iredell County. Our List of  Well known city’s are Barium Springs,  Harmony,  Mooresville,  Mount Mourne,  Olin,  Statesville, and Troutman.

Combining the good graces of the South with the proper amount of city savvy, Iredell County  has character and personality envied by many, but enjoyed by few. The past is alive along shady streets where majestic Victorian homes take their rightful place among the oaks, magnolias and dogwood.

Agriculture thrives along the hillsides and throughout the valleys, yet makes way for modern technology found among thriving manufacturing concerns. Neighborhoods are warm and welcoming with the familiar sounds of family and friends.

The air is clean. The streets are safe. The living is easy.

Iredell County offers opportunity unparalleled by cities of similar size. A medical mecca, a recreational haven, a commercial center – all these things describe the Greater Iredell  area.

We welcome you to our community and hope you find good fortune at every corner, success at every turn, and fun along the way.

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Attn. Sellers

Sellers Wanted

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Two Lake Norman realty firms set to merge

By Doug Smith

Two real estate firms with a major presence in the Lake Norman area – Coldwell Banker United, Realtors and Century 21 Hecht – will merge, creating a combined operation with about 165 agents.

Mergers and cutbacks are becoming more common in the local industry as residential brokerages struggle to survive the housing downturn.

Tom Martin, senior vice president for Coldwell Banker United, Realtors characterized this announcement as “pushing forward” with expansion.

“When two powerhouse brands combine market share and streamline resources, we are able to expedite our plans for growth in the greater Lake Norman area,” he said.

Century 21 Hecht founder Bob Hecht said, “In today’s market and with real estate in general, you need every tool and support system possible.”

Among the belt-tightening locally, Allen Tate, the Carolinas’ largest real estate firm, said about two weeks ago that it will close 12 offices.

Earlier this year, Cottingham-Chalk & Associates merged with Bissell-Hayes Realtors, and two Sperry Van Ness franchises merged.

Hecht will become part of Coldwell Banker United, which operates in six states, including the Carolinas.

Century 21 Hecht was founded in 1971.

The firm has 55 agents in the Mooresville/Cornelius office and 59 in the Denver office. Coldwell Banker has 49 agents in two Lake Norman locations.

Coldwell Banker United, Realtors will keep its new Lake Norman-South office in Cornelius and move its Mooresville office from Williamson Road to the Century 21 Hecht building on River Highway.

The Denver office will remain at its current Century 21 Hecht location.

The merged offices will serve communities in Catawba, Mecklenburg, Iredell and Lincoln counties and increase Coldwell Banker United, Realtors’ total number of locations in the Carolinas to 25.


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