2018 Bonds
What is a bond referendum?
A bond referendum gives voters the power to decide if the Town should be authorized to borrow funding for capital projects with General Obligation (G.O.) bonds that are backed by a pledge of the full faith and credit, the taxing power, of the Town. G.O. bonds are debt instruments authorized by the public that can be issued by the Town during a 7-year period (which can be extended to 10 years). The Town will pay back the principal and interest over time, similar to a home mortgage, from the general funds of the Town.
For what purpose will the bond funds be used?
Under North Carolina law, a local government holding a referendum for the purpose of issuing general obligation (G.O.) bonds must specify general categories of capital projects for which bond proceeds may be used. Within these categories, a local government may identify specific projects that are intended to be funded by the bond proceeds. The Town has identified potential transportation projects that will have a significant impact on safety, congestion and travel time, in addition to projects that allow the Town to leverage its funds to advance the construction of these projects.  However, due to the lengthy process involved with identifying, designing, and implementing transportation projects, as well as the lack of finalized cost and other project information available at the time of the bond referendum, the specific projects identified in the bond proposal may change over time. The question that the actual bond referendum therefore asks of voters is whether the local government is authorized to use the G.O. bonds as a financing tool for the general category of projects up to the amount specified in the question.
How much will the Town issue in bonds?
If citizens vote in favor of the bond financing question on the November 6th ballot, the Town will have the authority to issue up to $24 million in general obligation (G.O.) transportation bonds over seven years. If the Town is not ready to issue bonds within seven years, the Town may ask for a three-year extension from the North Carolina Local Government Commission.
Why doesn't the Town just use cash or pay-as-you-go financing instead of bond debt to pay for these projects?
The Town of Cornelius is in good financial health. However, the Town does not have enough cash available to pay for all of these capital projects while still sustaining the high level of service our citizens expect, and while maintaining fund balance levels that are in line with the Town’s Fund Balance Policy. Using a debt instrument, such as bonds, allows citizens to pay for substantial capital projects over the useful life of the assets. Another consideration for using multi-year financing instead of cash is the equity factor: future citizens of Cornelius pay for a portion of the new projects that they will benefit from.

Also, since all of the identified potential projects are partnerships with NCDOT and occur within NCDOT right-of-way, the Town does not have any collateral to obtain pay-as-you-go financing.  This means that bond debt is the only financing available for these projects.
What is the value of one penny on the tax rate?
In the current fiscal year, one penny on the tax rate is worth about $540,000 in tax revenue annually for the Town.
How will the Town pay back the bonds?
The Town is required to adopt an annual budget that is balanced, meaning estimated expenses cannot exceed estimated revenues. The Town Board approves an annual budget including revenues and spending plan, including making annual debt service payments. That annual budget document will provide for repayment of the bonds. The Town’s largest revenue source is property taxes; therefore, approval of these bonds could directly impact the Town tax rate.
What are the property tax rate implications of these bonds?
According to the Town’s financial forecast, if the bond proposal is approved and is issued as currently anticipated in two phases, the Town estimates that the property tax rate may increase by 1 cent as a result of the bonds starting in FY20. However, many factors influence if and how much the tax rate might change, such as future interest rates and timing regarding exactly when the bonds are issued. Additionally, revenue and expenditure changes, legislative changes and operational decisions will impact the Town’s tax rate in future years regardless of whether the bonds are approved.

View the chart below to see what a penny increase at the Town’s current tax rate would cost based on different property values.

Property Value    Cost per Month    Cost per Year

$150,000                  $1.25                          $15.00

$300,000                  $2.50                          $30.00

$450,000                  $3.75                          $45.00

$600,000                  $5.00                          $60.00
What happens if the bond proposal doesn't pass in November?
The Town has identified several potential transportation projects proposed with the bond that voters are being asked to consider.  If the voters do not approve the bond proposal, then the majority, if not all, of these projects may not occur and may be delayed for as much as 20-plus years.  If the bond proposal does not pass, the Town will determine which projects, if any, it can proceed with.  As these projects are partnership projects with NCDOT, it is highly likely that NCDOT will also not proceed with the majority of these projects and project elements, as well.
If voters don't approve the bonds, does this mean that the Town Board will be prevented from raising property tax rates in the future?
No. The bond vote is a vote on whether the Town may specifically use general obligation (G.O.) bond financing; it is not a vote on the property tax rate. The Town Board may raise or lower the property tax rates each year depending on the amount of revenues the Board believes is necessary to meet the operational and capital needs of the municipal government.
If these bonds are approved by the voters, how will the additional debt be viewed by bond raters in light of Cornelius' existing debt?
Bond rating agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s issue a debt rating on each bond issue. The Town currently has a rating of AAA from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on its current bonds. In Standard & Poor’s current opinion on the Town’s ability to repay this debt, S&P notes Cornelius’ financial strengths, including how quickly existing debt is paid off. Based on Cornelius’ overall financial condition, debt rating agencies are expected to recognize the Town’s financial ability to continue to make its debt service payments.
If the bond referendum is approved, how quickly could the projects begin?
The potential projects are partnership projects with NCDOT.  NCDOT estimates that construction for some of these projects could begin as early as 2020.
Where can I obtain additional information?
Email additional questions to Assistant Town Manager, Tyler Beardsley.
Historic Preservation
Can my property be designated for historic landmark status?
Maybe. There are 3 initial criteria tests:

  1. The structure must be at least 50 years old.
  2. Is it on the Cornelius Historic Survey list?
  3. Is the structure historically significant to Cornelius either architecturally or by ownership?
What is the benefit of historic designation?
The main benefit of historic designation is an automatic deferral of 50% of property (Ad Valorem) taxes on those portions of the property which have been designated as an historic landmark.
What is the designation process?
  1. Meet with a Preservation Planner to determine if the property meets the minimum requirements for designation.
  2. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) Survey Committee meets and directs the Preservation Planner  to conduct/not conduct the required survey and research report on the property in question.
  3. The Preservation Planner presents a Designation Report to the HLC. The HLC conducts a public hearing and votes on a designation recommendation.
  4. The Preservation Planner presents the Designation Report and HLC findings to the Cornelius Historic Preservation Committee (HPC). The HPC makes a recommendation to the Town Board.
  5. The Town Board conducts a public hearing to determine final designation status.
Once designated, can I make any changes?
Yes. However, any significant changes to a historic landmark must be reviewed and approved by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg historic Landmarks Commission through a Certificate of Appropriateness.
Can I demolish an historic landmark?
The demolition of an historic landmark may be delayed for up to 365 days by the Historic Landmarks Commission.
How Do I...
Obtain a permit?
The Cornelius Planning Department needs to provide zoning approval on building and sign permit applications before Mecklenburg County issues a permit. Learn more about building permits. You may email signed permit applications to us for zoning approval. Permit fees may be paid online.
Obtain a certificate of occupancy?
Visit the Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement website or call 980-314-CODE for assistance.
Register my alarm system?
In an effort to reduce the number of calls for false alarms, Ordinance Chapter 99 requires any business or residence with an alarm (monitored or unmonitored) to have a permit. Online registration is available at www.crywolf.us/oss/corneliusnc/.
For additional information on the False Alarm Reduction Program click here.
Know what the setbacks are for my property?
The first place to look for setback information is your recorded plat. Plats are recorded with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds. If you do not know the map book and page number for your property, check your Deed of Trust for the map book and page number. Detailed instructions for accessing data on the Register of Deeds website. If the information you are looking for is not on the recorded plat, please contact the Planning Department.
Mecklenburg County Revaluations
What is revaluation?
Revaluation is a process where all property (land and buildings) within a taxing jurisdiction (in this case Mecklenburg County) is revalued to its current market value as of an established date. State law requires the County to conduct a property revaluation at least every eight years to determine its market value.
How are properties assessed?
All property (homes, commercial and land) is visited and observed by a County Assessor to:

  • Verify the accuracy of characteristics on record for the property, 
  • Compare similar property sales, and
  • Consider improvements or changes that have been made to the property. 
What is the benefit of revaluation?
Property taxes are based on property values. Without periodic revaluations, some property owners would pay more than their share of property tax while others would pay less. Revaluations reset property tax values to their current market value so that the property tax burden is spread fairly among all taxpayers.
How does revaluation affect my taxes?
Revaluation and taxation are separate. Revaluation determines the market value. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and Town of Cornelius determine tax rates during the annual budget process in late spring. Budgets will be adopted by June 30, 2019. The value of your property combined with the tax rate determines your property tax bill, which is mailed in late July. The County makes up the majority portion of the taxes you pay (76.4%), and the Town of Cornelius is the balance (23.6%). 
Who assesses my property? How are they trained?
Assessor's Office staff are certified to perform property revaluations by the NC Department of Revenue. They are well-trained with decades of experience. Appraisers must meet certification requirements. The Assessor's Office also has an internal quality control division that monitors all aspects of the process. 
Is the County inflating property values to raise money?
Revaluation is required by state law and is supported by 75,000 sales across the County. The County and Town will publish a revenue neutral tax rate for review during the budget cycle this spring.  
Does the County only do revaluation at the peak of the market?
The County is moving to a four-year revaluation cycle and studying how to get to a two-year cycle.
When will I get my Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value?
These were mailed to Mecklenburg County property owners beginning Jan. 23, 2019. Values are available online. 
How can I find my property information?
Look up your real estate property value (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg). Type in your parcel number, your full name, or the address printed on your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value. When the result appears, select your property to review the information we have on file. If you notice any of this information is incorrect, please email AssessorQuestions@MeckNC.gov or call us at 980-314-4226.
What do I do if I feel like my property value is too high or too low?
If you feel that your property value is too high or too low, now is the time to communicate with the County Assessor’s Office. Contact the office online (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg), by phone (980-314-4226), by mail or in person (Valerie C. Woodard Center, 3205 Freedom Drive, Suite 3500, Charlotte, NC, 28208). The sooner you contact the Assessor’s Office, the better. 
What does the "Deferred Amount" refer to on the Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value?
The total listed under "Deferred Amount" applies to property that is agricultural, horticultural and forestry related.  
What if my house was still under construction on Jan. 1, 2019?
Your property value will be adjusted based on what was completed as of Jan. 1, 2019. This method also applies to new additions to existing buildings, outbuildings and detached structures. All improvements started after Jan. 1, 2019 will be valued using the same Uniform Schedule of Values applied to property built prior to that date. 
Can property values change before the next revaluation?
Yes, the assessed value could change if new construction or a change in zoning occurs. When that happens, market value is adjusted using the rates developed for the most recent year. For example, if a house is built in 2018 on a lot that was vacant in 2016, the new house and lot will be appraised using 2016 market values, as approved in the Uniform Schedule of Values.
How do I know if I should file an appeal?
Once you receive your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value in late January, you have a couple of options if you disagree with your value: 

  1. Informal Review--You have 30 days from the date you received your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value to request an Informal Review. An Informal Review allows you and an assessor to review the property record and supporting information together. If an error is found, it can be corrected without having to go to a Formal Appeal. Informal reviews are encouraged. Request an informal review by visiting the property information portal (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg), completing the form included with your Notice, in-person or by calling 980-314-4226. 
  2. Formal Appeal--If you believe your 2019 Notice of Real Estate Assessed Value is not a reasonable estimate of what your property could sell for on Jan. 1, 2019, you also have the right to file a Formal Appeal by May 20, 2019. If you're considering requesting an Informal Review or filing a Formal Appeal, visit our property information portal (https://property.spatialest.com/nc/mecklenburg) to verify the information we have on file for your property and to review sales information for similar properties. Q: How do I request an Informal Review? A: Request an Informal Review by visiting the property information portal, in-person or by calling 980-314-4226. 
How do I file a Formal Appeal?
After you receive your Notice of 2019 Real Estate Assessed Value, you can file a Formal Appeal online or with a paper form before May 20, 2019.
What happens after I submit my appeal?
Your appeal will be sent to the Board of Equalization and Review (BER). You can file a Formal Appeal until May 20, 2019. After your appeal is heard by the BER, you will receive written notification of your property value in the mail. If you disagree with the BER's decision, you have 30 days to file an appeal with the N.C. Property Tax Commission in Raleigh. Instructions on how to appeal to the N.C. Property Tax Commission will be provided in the letter you receive from the BER.  
How long do informal reviews take?
Informal reviews could take anywhere from 30-120 days and largely depend on how many appeals are filed in a given neighborhood. If there are multiple appeals in a particular neighborhood, then the process may take longer. The County Assessor will respond to appeals as quickly as possible.
Do I need to attend my appeal hearing?
You can appear in person before the Board of Equalization and Review (BER), but it is not required. If you are unable to attend on the date and time set, your case will still be heard. The BER will review all submitted documentation regarding your case and mail you a decision. 
Parks & Recreation
Can I reserve a field, court or park shelter?
Fields and park shelters are available for reservation at Bailey Road, Legion, Robbins, Smithville, and Torrence Chapel Parks, among others. Before you practice on the fields or have your party, family reunion, or business retreat, you should make a reservation. Please visit our Rental Information webpage for more information, including fees and necessary forms.

Facility Rental Information
How do I find out if a field is closed or an activity has been cancelled due to weather?
The rainout hotline number is 704-896-2460 ext. 290.
How do I register for a Parks & Recreation program?
We offer online registration for almost all of our programming. We encourage you to visit the webpage for the program in which you are interested before proceeding to the registration site, because we often post more details on the program's webpage than we have room for on the registration site. However, if you would like to go directly to the registration site, the link follows: CPRD Registration

Online Registration
What are the Parks & Recreation Department office hours?
The Cornelius Parks & Recreation Department's office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. The office is located in Town Hall at 21445 Catawba Avenue.
Planning & Zoning
How can I find out what my property is zoned?
There are three ways to find out what your property is zoned:

  • Use the County property owner and land records website, Polaris. Enter your street address and on the right side of the page, click “layers”. Select the box labeled, “zoning-towns” and refresh the map. Your zoning district will be displayed on the map.
  • Refer to the Land Development Map
  • Come by the Planning Department and staff will be happy to assist you.
  • Contact the Planning Department by email or call 704-896-2461.
Why do I need to get a building permit?
Obtaining a permit helps ensure that your project is safe and is up-to-code.
If you don't get a permit:
  • You must disclose work was done on your home without a permit, when you sell your home.
  • Your house will have more square footage than indicated on tax records and you will likely be assessed for back taxes (also an appraiser will deduct the market value for the illegal space you added, which will hurt you when selling your home).
Do I need a building permit for a shed?
Yes. If any one side of the shed is 12' or greater you will need to complete a Building Permit application. If the shed is less than 120 square feet, you will need to complete a Zoning Use Permit application. Both permits are Mecklenburg County forms but must have zoning approval by the Cornelius Planning Department before taking the permit to Mecklenburg County.
Do I need a permit to build a deck?
Yes. You must complete a Mecklenburg County Building Permit application and obtain zoning approval by the Cornelius Planning Department before Mecklenburg County will issue a permit.
How can I find out if a permit has been issued?
Mecklenburg County issues permits and performs inspections for the Town of Cornelius. You can find out what permits have been issued on a property on the county permit system.
What is a "watershed"?
The Land Development Code defines a watershed as the entire land area contributing surface drainage to a specific point. Most of Cornelius lies in either the Lake Norman Watershed or the Mountain Island Watershed. View the Watershed & Environmental Features Map to determine if your property lies in a watershed as additional restrictions may apply, such as a maximum impervious area.
What is impervious area?
Impervious area is the amount of surface area that water cannot penetrate. Examples of impervious surfaces include sidewalks, driveways, roofed areas (houses, porches, etc.), patios, pool decking, etc. Pollutants such as oil and other chemicals runoff from impervious areas directly into our creeks, streams and lakes which negatively impacts water quality.
What is a water quality buffer?
A water quality buffer is a naturally vegetated area adjacent to a water body to protect water quality. Find out more information about water quality buffers.
Who maintains my street?
Reference the Powell Bill Map to determine if your street is privately owned, town owned (municipal), or state owned. Please contact the Public Works Department at 704-895-5212 with any questions on street maintenance.
Who do I contact regarding high grass?
High grass is defined as grass in excess of 12". The Code Enforcement Officer will investigate your complaint upon completion of the online Code Complaint form.
How do I file a Code Enforcement complaint?
You may now file a complaint 24/7 by using the new online Request Tracker Form.
What does a yellow zoning sign mean?
Zoning signs are one way the Town lets you know what is going on in the area. To know what project a specific sign references, take note of the case number and public hearing date. You can then find information about the case on our website.
What are the submittal deadlines?
Conditional Zoning Applications

The conditional zoning (CZ) process typically takes a minimum of four (4) months and on average, six (6) months. Due to requirements for a community meeting, TIA evaluation, NCDOT review (when applicable), plan review, etc. the timing of the CZ process is complex. Upon submission of a complete application, staff will coordinate with the applicant(s) to establish a board review schedule. The CZ review process is detailed in Chapter 12 of the Land Development Code.

Variance Applications

Due to advertising requirements, variance applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the next regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting.
A recent rain caused a lot of mud from a construction site to flow into the lake (or street). Who do I contact to report this issue?
Contact Mecklenburg County customer service at 311 (or 704-336-7600). Be sure to provide the address of the property causing the runoff.
Do I need approval to operate a business out of my home?
Yes. Certain conditions and restrictions apply to operating a business out of your home and a Home Occupation Permit is required.
Do I need a business license in Cornelius?
The Town of Cornelius does not require a separate business license. Please contact Mecklenburg County (704-336-7600) to determine what other licenses may be applicable to your business.
Where can I find floodplain information for homeowners insurance purposes?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides floodplain information on their website.
What methods of payment do you accept?
You may use Visa, Mastercard, check or cash.
What is LUESA and where is it located?
LUESA is the Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, which is located at 2145 Suttle Avenue in Charlotte. LUESA provides land development plan review and inspection, zoning, residential building permits and water quality inspections. More information on LUESA.
Why don't I receive mailed notices from the Town?
The most common reason people do not receive notices from the Town is due to an invalid mailing address. Addresses are assigned and managed by Mecklenburg County. The Town uses Mecklenburg County's address list to mail notices, so make sure you mailing address is correct. If your mailing address has changed, please change it as soon as possible with the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor's Office.
When is it appropriate to dial 911?
We strongly encourage our citizens and visitors to dial 911 at any time they need assistance, even if they are not sure about the urgent nature of it. One of the many benefits of having a local 911 Center is our flexibility in providing a much improved level of service. We do not want our citizens hesitating over the decision to call 911 or our seven-digit number. When in doubt, call 911.
An issue we see is when people have an urgent situation and, out of habit, call our seven-digit number instead of 911. This can actually hinder our response because the Telecommunicator does not get the information into their CAD console automatically unless the call comes in through 911.
Does the Cornelius Police Department offer the service of fingerprinting?
Fingerprinting is available by appointment only. Please call 704-892-1363 to schedule an appointment.
Does Cornelius have an animal control officer?
The Town of Cornelius has two full time animal control officers. These officers are responsible for managing the Cornelius animal shelter and responding to all calls for service related to animals in the town limits.
Does the Town of Cornelius have a Magistrates office?
No, all of the court offices are located in Charlotte on East 4th Street. None of the individual towns in Mecklenburg County have their own court system.
What is the noise policy for Cornelius? When is it a problem?
The Town's "Noise Ordinance" covers a wide range of different sound reproducing devices that could be perceived as excessively disturbing and unreasonable. Some of the areas covered by the ordinance are mechanical devices, animals, any sound amplification device such as radios or public address systems, discharging of firearms or other exploding devices. Upon receiving a noise complaint, the police department sends an officer to evaluate the cause of the disturbance. After determining whether or not a violation is occurring, the officer will take action to correct the problem. This may include a written warning or Town citation for the offense.
Are fireworks legal in Cornelius?
It is unlawful for anyone to discharge fireworks or pyrotechnics within the corporate limits of Cornelius unless you have obtained a permit from the County and supplied a copy to the Town Clerk.
What happens to lost and found property that is turned in to the Police Department?
The police department will try to contact the owner of the property and will hold it for at least 90 days. After that period of time passes, generally, the person turning in the property can claim it back.
Do you conduct tours of the Police Department?
Due to COVID-19, tours have been temporarily suspended. In the future we will offer tours during the year for school children, civic groups, and interested citizens. We enjoy that interaction and feel our citizens learn from it as well. 
How do I register my alarm system?
In an effort to reduce the number of calls for false alarms, Ordinance Chapter 99 requires any business or residence with an alarm (monitored or unmonitored) to have a permit. Online registration is available at https://www.crywolfservices.com/corneliusnc/. For additional information on the False Alarm Reduction Program click here.
Does the Cornelius Police Department charge for responding to alarm calls?
Alarm users are allowed two false alarm responses at no charge during permit year. Additional charges will be assessed as follows:

False Alarms 1, 2: No charge for registered alarms
False Alarms 3, 4, 5: $50 per response
False Alarms 6, 7: $100 per response
False Alarms 8, 9: $250 per response
False Alarms 10+: $500 per response
Audible Alarm over 15 minutes: $100 per response
Failure to register: $100 per false alarm 

For more information, please click here.
Does the Cornelius Police Department have any employment opportunities?
The Cornelius Police Department is hiring for Police Officers as well as Full Time Telecommunicators. Interested in applying? Complete an Interest Card to send your information to our Recruiter. Cornelius Police Department is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Police Officer Interest Card 

Full-Time Telecommunicator Interest Card 
How do I file a complaint against an officer or the Police Department?
If you need to file a complaint against a police officer please view complaint procedures for how you can go about reporting your concerns.