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Talk of our Towns 

Debt Setoff recovers more debts than ever for local governments

Between Feb. 4 and June 3, the Debt Setoff Program collected more than $31 million in local government debts – the program’s best start to a year yet!

Each year hundreds of local governments participate in the program, a service jointly provided by the League, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and Five Star Computing, Inc. Counties, municipalities, joint regional agencies, metropolitan sewage districts, public housing authorities, sanitary districts, housing and regional solid waste management authorities can all submit any legal debt of more than $50 to be recovered from debtors’ tax refunds and education lottery winnings.

Most of the debts submitted are utility debts, but other examples of eligible debts include: property taxes, parking fees, traffic citations and fire district taxes. Governments are able to submit any debt that has been delinquent for more than 60 days and active in the past three years, in most cases. An “active” debt is anything that has been billed within the past three years, with a 10-year requirement for taxes.

The Clearinghouse has collected more than $190 million since its inception in 2002. It’s simple to get started, and the sooner debts are submitted, the better. Monies are repaid on a first-come, first-served basis, so, if a debtor owes money to another government as well, the first-filed debt will be paid in full first.

The Clearinghouse website has complete instructions on how to get started. The website has all of the forms necessary, including the participation form that all participating municipalities need to submit early for tax season.

Five Star Computing makes it easy to participate by providing conference calls to answer questions and review file submissions; computer support to install, configure, and test with secure remote software; and data entry for 100 or less debts of any kind at no charge.

For more information about the Clearinghouse, municipal governments can contact Wanda Veasey, League administrative specialist, at (919) 715-2218.

Spanish pharmaceutical giant opens world’s largest facility in Clayton

Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod helped play host to a crowd of international, national and state dignitaries as Spanish pharmaceutical giant Grifols celebrated the grand opening of what will be the world's largest and most technically advanced plasma fractionation facilities. The plant will soon produce 6 million liters of life-saving plasma every year to help treat rare, chronic diseases such as neurological disorders, immune deficiencies, hemophilia and genetic emphysema.

"We are incredibly honored that Grifols chose to make a $370-million capital investment here in Clayton," said McLeod.  "They were already our largest private employer in Johnston County with more than 1,600 jobs. Now this state-of-the-art facility will add 200 more. The Town of Clayton looks forward to continuing our wonderful relationship with Grifols and are proud that we can now boast being home to one of the most innovative medical plants on the planet."

Grifols President and CEO Victor Grifols, and Greg Rich, CEO of Grifols Inc., accompanied McLeod and other Town of Clayton leaders on a tour of the new facility. They were joined by the President of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas; His Excellency Ramon Gil-Casares, Spanish Ambassador to the United States; and Sergi Mingote, Mayor of Parets del Vallès, Barcelona, where Grifols has one of its three manufacturing plants for plasma fractionation.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was on hand as well and touted the relationships established between the two countries and the company to expand pharmaceutical production.

"The reliance on manufacturing here in North Carolina is very strong," he said. "We cannot live off the service sector alone."

The new 155,000 square-foot North Fractionation Facility is one of the largest capital projects in Johnston County history and will contribute to Grifols retaining 2,300 jobs statewide. Grifols' North Fractionation Facility will be the world's largest and one of the most technologically advanced plasma fractionation facilities, almost doubling production capacity in Clayton from 3.2 million liters of plasma annually to 6 million liters in 2015.

Municipal staff graduate from Leadership North Carolina program

Topsail Beach Manager Tim Holloman and Holly Springs Director of Economic Development Jenny Mizelle are among fifty civic and community leaders from across the state who completed the Leadership North Carolina program and celebrated their graduation in the North Carolina Capitol. 

Each year, through a rigorous selection process, the program chooses a class of established and emerging leaders to participate in its acclaimed program. Leadership North Carolina’s Class XXI comprised top leaders from the government, business, nonprofit and education sectors.

Leadership North Carolina’s mission is to inform, develop, and engage committed leaders by broadening their understanding of and involvement in issues and opportunities facing North Carolina. The Leadership North Carolina Program cultivates a network of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences who share a deep commitment to their state. There are more than 950 graduates of the program whose continued ties to the program and one another provide them with rich opportunities for serving North Carolina.

Over the course of six two-and-a-half day sessions, graduates learned about issues critical to the state through discussions with top officials and professionals, field trips, and experiential learning activities. The sessions focused on five key areas: economic development, education, environment, government, and health and human services, and are held around the state, highlighting the social, geographic, and economic diversity of North Carolina.

The members of Class XXI visited Boone, Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, New Bern, and Asheville.

Through the program, participants gained insight into North Carolina’s strengths and challenges and developed their own priorities for ways they can improve and empower their communities and the state as a whole.