Changes Coming to Credit

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Changes Coming to Credit Reporting

                Beginning July 1, 2017, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian plan to stop collecting and reporting information related to civil judgments and tax lien information.  The change, which will affect millions of American consumers and their credit scores, is said to be in response to a 2016 settlement with 31 state attorney generals over alleged problems with credit reporting accuracy and the correction of errors on credit reports.  Once civil judgments and tax liens are removed, lenders and credit analysists will have a less complete picture on the credit-worthiness of applicants.  According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions, individuals with civil judgments and tax liens are “5.5 times more likely to end up in serious default or foreclosure compared with borrowers who don’t’ have such items in their files.”  Without this important information, lenders must be more diligent in researching potential borrowers and should consider seeking supplemental information outside the three national credit bureaus when vetting borrowers.

PIPELINE AND LIENS: AN INTERESTING COMBINATION

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Politics and economics create interesting conundrums – this is not a news flash.  The Triangle Business Journal points this out in an article on the new Atlantic Coast Pipeline which is about to wind its way north to south across eastern North Carolina.  From the construction industry perspective (and without getting into either the politics or the economics), beware of this project.  As with anything that is long and underground, making certain you get paid for your work is difficult.  This is a private project so there may be a payment bond, but one is not required by law.  There may be “dirt” lien rights, but factoring those parcel by parcel will be nearly impossible.  So, a lien upon funds is the only relatively certain protection for subcontractors and suppliers.  Still, this project will provide a boon for the construction industry or at least those parts of that industry that install pipe.  Read the article here:  http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2017/05/05/atlantic-coast-pipeline-in-n-boon-for-some-burden.html

THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS

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THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS

As a law firm which works with start-ups, we are excited to hear that the Triangle area of North

Carolina continues to be a leader on so many “best of” lists. Today, WRAL Tech Wire reports

that Durham in No. 6 and Raleigh No. 12 on the list of best places to start a new business. If

you know an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business or forming a corporate

entity, reach out to the lawyers at Hannah Sheridan Loughridge and Cochran for assistance in

launching on the correct foot. For more information on today’s report, go to:

http://wraltechwire.com/durham-no- 3-ral- no-12- as-best- place-to- start-a- new-business-

/16675212/

Evaluating Employee Productivity in the Age of Millennials

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Who is worth more to your business?

A)  Employee who sits at his/her desk for 8 hours per day and generates $800 in profit per day.
B) Employee who works 4 hours per day at the office, the rest at home, and generates $900 in profit per day.
C) Employee who rarely comes to the office, works almost entirely at home, and generates $1000 in profit per day.
Managers who strictly favor the traditional office model would select option A, emphasizing the benefits of office morale, longevity, etc.  On the other hand, millennial managers reject the notion that productivity is measured by time at your desk and would lean toward option C.  Millennials stress efficiency over time spent.  Efficiency is measured by a company’s metrics.
Is your business considering a move toward workplace flexibility?  If so, what are the state of your business’ metrics to evaluate productivity?  What are the repercussions for a remote employee who does not meet their metrics?
If you or your business are considering these types of changes, we hope you find this article helpful: https://www.fastcompany.com/3052617/this-how-millennials-will-change-management.
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Proposed Changes to NC Lien Agent Statutes

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On April 4, 2017, Senate Bill 602 was filed, proposing massive changes to the lien agent statutes of North Carolina.  The purported purpose of the revisions was to provide for the cancellation of a Notice to Lien Agent by the potential lien claimant.  Interestingly, the proposed changes seem to indicate that any such cancellation by a potential lien claimant would be permissive, as opposed to mandatory.    Additionally, the changes would modify the relation-back of a subsequently filed Notice to Lien Agent and would create a situation where a Notice to Lien Agent would be automatically cancelled after 5 years.  As currently drafted, it would seem that best-practice would simply be not participate in the permissive cancellation of a Notice to Lien Agent.  Stay tuned; we will continue to monitor this legislation and provide subsequent updates.Roof

How is the North Carolina economy doing?

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The headline may have you thinking that this will be a political piece.  We hope not.  However, as we enter the last month of the first quarter of 2017, it seemed a good time to look at the numbers for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 as provided by the Federal Reserve out of Richmond.  Overall, the economy appears to be holding its own, growing at a sustainable rate.

The good news is that the construction sector continues to grow.  The challenge may be finding enough skilled labor in the trades to keep up with the growth. It will be interesting to see how the industry responds in the coming year as the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates to control inflation.  Also, watch to see if federal and state governments fulfill campaign pledges to undertake major infrastructure projects.  Such projects stand to be very beneficial to the construction sector.

If you want to see the detailed report from the Federal Reserve, open this link:

https://www.richmondfed.org/~/media/richmondfedorg/research/regional_economy/reports/snapshot/pdf/snapshot_nc.pdf

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North Carolina: From Landfills to Energy

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Buncombe County is the latest to broadcast its plans to utilize a landfill site for purposes of a solar energy farm.  To lessen the economic impact of such a project, the County says that, although it will make an initial investment of $26,000.00 for engineering and feasibility studies, the plan will be to partner with Duke Energy to illustrate the viability of the project, in hopes of bringing in a private company to be a long-term tenant of the site.  Buncombe County is not the first municipality to use landfill sites for solar farms; similar projects have recently begun in Gaston County and Charlotte.  The 25-acre tract in Woodfin, North Carolina provides Buncombe County not only a large parcel of flat land in an otherwise mountainous area, but also one that has little monetary value due to the trash below the surface.  This otherwise unappealing piece of land, which is located less than 2 miles from an existing power station, has created a unique opportunity to provide Buncombe County with yet another alternate energy initiative.

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Courts Revisited

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Recently, Judge Marion Warren, the Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, addressed a civic group providing an overview of the North Carolina Court System and a preview of a much-anticipated report from the Chief Justices Commission on the Administration of Law & Justice (NCCALJ).  In his remarks, Judge Warren referred to the judicial branch as the “silent co-equal branch of government.”  Shortly thereafter, national issues shown a spotlight on the United States Constitution, the separation of powers, and the system of checks and balances the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution.

In the next few days, the NCCALJ will issue its final report after nearly two years of study, research, public meetings and forums in which the members of the Commission sought to thoroughly review and understand the judicial system of this state.  Though many citizens will remain oblivious to this report for any number of reasons, it is truly critical that the citizens of North Carolina take the time to review at least the executive summary of the report, if not read the full report.  More citizens directly encounter the judicial system in their day-to-day lives than encounter the other two branches of government.  While all three are critical to our system of government, the judicial branch is often misunderstood in terms of the fact it is designed to be the “non-political” branch and is tasked with reviewing the work of the other branches in terms of enforcing the rule of law and the tenets of both the state and federal constitution.

To find the full report upon its release and to review the work of the Commission to date, visit www.nccalj.org.

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North Carolina Court of Appeals Begins En Banc Hearings

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In the closing days of 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly passed several bills during emergency legislative sessions.  One such bill created a new court procedure whereby a petitioner may now move a case before the entire Court of Appeals.  This is called an en banc hearing.  Typically, North Carolina Court of Appeals cases are decided by three judge panels.  The new law allows exceptional cases to now sit before the entire 15-judge court.  The rushed legislation left practical questions for North Carolina attorneys, such as how to mechanically petition for an en banc hearing.  The North Carolina Supreme Court issued rules to establish the procedure:  http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/html/pdf/Rule-31.1.pdf.  Attorneys also wonder where en banc hearings will take place as no one can identify a large enough North Carolina courtroom.  Rumblings amongst the judges suggest that a new courtroom is in the works.  Regardless of the location, the first en banc hearings should be interesting to say the least.

HIGH-SPEED INTERNET WORKSPACE OPENS IN RALEIGH

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Google Fiber’s communal work space, Fiber Space Raleigh, opened its doors on February 3, 2017.  Located in the famed 518 West location, off Glenwood Avenue, the space is designed to showcase Google Fiber’s superfast Gigabit internet and TV, which is now available in select areas of Wake County, and provide a common work space for local entrepreneurs.  Already available in select portions of Raleigh and Morrisville, the upgrade of Google Fiber internet cabling is currently one of the largest infrastructure in the Triangle.

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NORTH CAROLINA HOGS TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY

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Ground was broken in December on a nearly $100m facility in Warsaw, North Carolina which will utilize swine waste and other byproducts to generate natural gas.  The process, known as Carbon Cycle Energy, will pump the methane gas to Duke Energy power plants throughout North Carolina.  In 2007, North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy mandate for electric utilities which included the utilization of hog waste and poultry droppings.  If all goes well, the new Duplin County plant should satisfy the 2007 mandate and provide approximately 2/3 of the hog waste natural gas required by its first-year goals.  Better late, than never.

New Year, New Rules for Taxes for North Carolina Businesses

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Those reading the headline may anticipate a political commentary, but we will leave that for those invested in politics.  For our business clients, the new guidelines issued by the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) have immediate impact for businesses and for consumers.  The main focus of the changes related to the construction industry is the need to be able to distinguish between a “capital improvement” and a “repair or installation”.  More importantly for most, individuals and businesses which perform repair, maintenance or installation services on real property (residential or commercial) need to communicate with the Department of Revenue and make certain you are collecting and paying the requisite taxes.  The two links below connect you to directives issued by NCDOR which provide detailed guidance and website and telephone links for those needing to register with NCDOR or having additional questions.

http://www.dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/contractorletter2016.pdf

http://www.dornc.com/practitioner/sales/directives/SD-16-4.pdf

2017 – A Construction Boom in Raleigh

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Raleigh regularly represents one of the fastest growing cities in the country.  The growth brings both good (improved parks, better music events, etc.) and bad (traffic, longer cashier lines, etc.) to those of us that have live here for years.  City planners have steadily increased densities around town to house new residents.  For better or worse, the growth is here to stay.

The N&O just issued an interesting article detailing the most vocal growth around town.  Check it out:  http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/raleigh-report-blog/article123179429.html

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Professionalism: Does it matter?

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Whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, or in any position with a business, you may find yourself asking what has become of professionalism.  “Professionalism” is a term we hear in the world of sports as players talk about how other players conduct themselves on and off the playing surface.  What is “professionalism?”

To most, professionalism involves treating the person on the other end of the phone or other side of the table with dignity and respect.  It is listening to another’s view and politely responding even when you vehemently disagree with the other’s position.  Professionals understand that each transaction is not a discrete event, but rather a building block in a career.  The old saying that a reputation takes years to develop but can be lost in an instant should be taken to heart.

Most successful professionals enjoy a good working relationship with friends and competitors alike, but more importantly are respected by most (rarely “all” as absolutes are rare in life).  To successfully represent your clients, your employer or your “brand,” consider the image you present to the world.  Are you a professional?

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