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Commissioners table tax exemption appeal for Creedmoor nonprofit

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OXFORD — The complex case of a nonprofit organization operating in a purported for-profit building has been postponed until next month.

The matter, which was discussed at Monday’s Granville County Board of Commissioners meeting, concerns The Centre For Homeownership and Economic Development Corporation, an organization headquartered in Hillsborough but with a regional office at the Creedmoor Small Business Center on 109 S. Elm St.

In its application for property tax exemption received by the county in January, the organization’s executive director, James Stroud, described the organization as a 501(c)(3) education facility that serves low-income households as a charitable organization.

Officials at the county’s tax administration recommended denial of the application in October due to the organization owning the property and providing activities such as renting office space for $200 per month and advertising for business loans, activities that officials view as for-profit, according to reference materials provided to the commissioners and press in attendance.

“You can go and rent office space with amenities,” said tax administrator Sharon Brooks-Powell in remarks to the board. “A similar type of space was opened up in Person County (Business as Unusual). I call that office to see how they did that and it’s for-profit and wasn’t granted an exemption for this type of activity.”

Business as Unusual is unrelated to CHOEDC.

Stroud was in attendance and rebutted the tax office’s finding by citing N.C. General Statutes that say if a charitable organization serves low-to-moderate income individuals, it is exempt from property taxes.

“Yes, the assumed name of the property is Creedmoor Business Center, but we do operate as a nonprofit. Inside the building, we have served 1,800 people in Granville County that are homeless and need financial literacy,” Stroud said. “I understand the dynamics. The backside of the building is rented out as a (business) incubator. But the front side, the main part of the building, is used for nonprofit services.

The Butner-Creedmoor News currently rents an office space in the building which is located in the rear section of the property.

“I’m serving the community and in fact we are part of the NC360 coming forward which we will be doing nonprofit services,” Stroud added. “Our funding is very limited, we are a HUD-counseling agency, and we don’t have a lot of money. I just don’t think this is a process we need to go through and I think we should be exempt.”

Board chairman Zelodis Jay recommended tabling the matter until the board’s December meeting to give time for county administrators to look into the matter further.

In other Creedmoor matters, the board unanimously approved an interlock agreement with the town for an eight-acre parcel of land located at 3215 Cannady Mill Road in Franklinton, which the town of Creedmoor owns, to jointly develop the property as a public park. According to the agreement, which was approved by Creedmoor’s Board of Commissioners earlier this month, the town will provide the land at no charge, while the county will be responsible for developing, operating and maintaining the property.

In purchasing matters, the board approved the purchase of new scales for the county’s landfill in Oxford for $70,925 from American Scale Company LLC, which also maintains the scales at the location. The new scales would replace the current ones which are 25 years old and are suffering from severe metal degradation due to age and the elements. The old scales will be kept as backup equipment so long as they can be properly calibrated, according to County Manager Michael Felts.

The next meeting of the Granville County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center, 4185 U.S. 15, Oxford.