Setting Up in Your New Hometown
Besides finding a place to live and employment, certain things absolutely must be done when relocating to a new town. The basics and resources are boiled down here. Education and Health are featured separately. Refer to Things to Do for fun stuff.
Childcare Resources Inc. (CCRI) | www.childcareresourcesinc.org | 704.376.6697
Provides a wide variety of information to help parents and families find early learning and school-age child care services.
Charlotte Parent magazine | www.charlotteparent.com | 704.344.1980
The magazine's Web site offers a family resource guide with everything from family friendly employers to a directory of summer day camps.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles | www.ncdot.org | 919.715.7000
Driver’s License Info
Newcomers must obtain a North Carolina driver’s license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence. You will be required to provide proof of your full name, age and social security number; proof of liability insurance coverage; and proof of residency.
N.C. has a graduated licensing program for drivers age 15 to 18. Licenses for ages 18 to 53 are renewed every eight years. After age 54, licenses are renewed every five years.
For a list of acceptable documentation (for proof of identity, liability coverage and residency) and DMV locations, please visit the DMV’s Web site or call the number above.
Auto Registration & License Plates Info
Newcomers must obtain an N.C. driver’s license before registering a vehicle. There are some situations under which you can use a driver’s license from another state.
Newcomers must register motor vehicles. Vehicle registrations from other states usually remain valid for 30 days, but this time period varies depending on your prior state of residence. You must provide the title (unless the title is held by a lien holder) and a valid registration card from the state of prior registration. Fees for private passenger vehicles include a $40 title fee and a $28 registration fee. Registration must be renewed annually.
Vehicle must also receive an annual safety and emissions inspection that costs $30. Inspection stations are usually found at service stations, car dealerships and auto repair shops.
Driving Rules & Regulations
Charlotte citywide speed limit is 35 mph unless otherwise posted. Speed limit in school zones is 25 mph. Statewide speed limit is 55 mph unless otherwise posted.
Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers.
Child restrain devices are mandatory for children less than eight years old and lighter than 80 pounds. Children between 40 and 80 pounds can be secured with a belt-positioning booster seat. They must also sit in the back seat if the vehicle has an active passenger-side air bag and a rear seat. Children under age 16 must use a seat belt or child passenger restraint system at all times, whether in the front or back seat. Placing the shoulder belt under the child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is illegal.
Vehicles must stop for school buses loading or unloading.
Drivers must burn their headlights when using windshield wipers.
Motorcyclists must wear helmets and burn head lights at all times.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines and the loss of driver’s license.
Visit the N.C. DMV Web site (linked above) for additional rules and regulations.
Emergencies & Related Services
Police/Fire/MEDIC | Emergencies…911 | Non-emergencies…311
Power outages | 800.Power.On
All Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Agencies | www.charmeck.org | 311
Charlotte-Mecklenburg government agencies include Animal Care and Control, Department of Social Services, Domestic Violence, Emergency Management, Fire Department, Health Department, Mental Health, Police Department and more.
Children & Family Services Center | www.childrenfamily.org | 704.943.9400
The Children & Family Services Center is a highly efficient nine-agency source of assistance. The agencies at this central location collaborate with each other and with agencies throughout the county to offer comprehensive services.
Crime Stoppers | www.charlottecrimestoppers.com | 704.334.1600
Federal Bureau of Investigation | charlotte.fbi.gov | 704.377.9200
N.C. Highway Patrol | www.nccrimecontrol.org | 919.733.7952
Poison Center | www.ncpoisoncenter.org | 800.222.1222
North Carolina | www.ncgov.com
North Carolina government is based on the federal structure, with executive, legislative and judicial branches located in the state capital, Raleigh.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg | www.charmeck.org | 311 or 704.336.7600
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are each governed by councils elected every two years in partisan elections – the Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The city manager is appointed by City Council and oversees day-to-day operations of the city. The city’s mayor works with City Council to establish general city policies. The county manager is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and oversees the day-to-day operations of the county. City Council and Board of County Commissioners meetings are open to the public and televised live on cable channel 16.
Newcomers must obtain animal licenses for their dogs, cats and ferrets within 30 days of establishing residency. All dogs, cats and ferrets more than four months old must be vaccinated for rabies, and proof of vaccination is required to purchase a license. License fees are discounted for pets that have been neutered or spayed, and a discount is available for senior citizens. Pet owners must keep pets on a leash or within a fence, and dog owners are required to clean up after their pets. More information is available at www.charmeck.org/Departments/Animal+Control/Home.htm or by calling 311.
Call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or go to www.usps.gov to fill out a change of address form or to find the post office nearest you.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Tax Collections | www.charmeck.org/Departments/Tax+Collections/Home.htm | 311
Real property tax rates are based on 100 percent of the fair-market value and are due on September 1 each year. Interest accrues beginning January 1. Property values are reassessed every four to eight years. Property located within the corporate limits of the City of Charlotte is taxed by both the city and county. The state does not levy a property tax.
Property tax statements for car owners are sent out with registration renewals and are due by the first day of the fourth month following renewal. Call 311 if you do not receive a statement within that time.
Property taxes fund police protection, public transportation, parks, public schools, libraries, restaurant inspections, and health and welfare programs.
State and Local Sales Tax
A 4.25 percent state tax plus a 3.0 percent local tax makes up the 7.25 percent Mecklenburg County sales tax. Prepared food purchases carry an additional 1 percent tax, and hotel room occupancy rates carry an additional 6 percent tax.
The 2009 North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation that temporarily increases the state sales tax rate by 1 percent effective September 1, 2009 and expiring on July 1, 2011.
State Personal Income Tax
N.C. Department of Revenue | www.dornc.com | 877.252.3052
All N.C. residents are subject to personal income taxes. The state’s individual income tax rate is based on the taxpayer’s taxable income as determined under the Internal Revenue Code.
The 2009 North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation that will temporarily require individuals who meet certain income requirements to pay a surtax on the amount of taxes they owe before any withholding, payments or credits through taxable years 2009 to 2010. Visit the N.C. Department of Revenue’s Web site to see the surtax qualifications.
State Corporate Income Tax
N.C. Department of Revenue | www.dornc.com | 877. 252.3052
North Carolina’s corporate income tax rate is 6.9 percent. The franchise tax rate is $1.50 per $1,000. Many businesses can qualify for state funded tax credits and incentives. The 2009 North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation that will temporarily require all corporations subject to corporate income tax to pay a surcharge of 3 percent on its North Carolina income tax due before deducting any tax credits or payments through taxes owed through January 1, 2011.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport | www.charmeck.org/Departments/Airport/home.htm | 704.359.4000
Our airport provides nonstop service to 142 destinations, including 37 international destinations, to approximately 41 million passengers a year. The Wilson Air Center serves corporate and general aviation needs. The airport offers shuttle and taxi service, public transit service, courtesy vehicle pick-up for motels, hotels and rental cars.
For the most part, Charlotte was not built on a grid system, and several streets change names multiple times. A good street map is a vital tool for newcomers to the city. One is available by calling the chamber at 704.378.1300 or by visiting Info! Charlotte.
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) | www.ridetransit.org | 704.336.RIDE
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has an extensive transportation system in the Charlotte area. Local fare is just $2.00, while fares for express routes are $2.75 within the county and $4.00 to neighboring counties.
The LYNX Blue Line, Charlotte’s first light-rail transit system, extends from 7th Street in Center City Charlotte to I-485 at South Boulevard. Additional lines to Lake Norman, UNC Charlotte and the airport are planned for the future.
The Gold Rush, a free shuttle service, operates within the uptown area during weekday office hours.
While the entire fleet is wheelchair accessible, CATS Special Transportation Services provides additional services for those with certified disabilities. Visit the Web site or call for additional information.
Making arrangements for utility and other services for your new home is a fairly simple process. A letter of credit or information about your former utility services may help you avoid paying deposits.
Duke Energy | www.duke-energy.com | 800.777.9898
ElectriCities (parts of Cornelius and Huntersville) | www.electricities.com | 704.948.0550
EnergyUnited (parts of Cornelius) | www.energyunited.com | 704.892.0278
Union Power Cooperative (serves several area counties) | www.union-power.com | 800.922.6840
Pineville Electric Company | www.pinevillenc.net/utilities_ electric.html | 704.889.2291
Water and Sewer
Mecklenburg County | 311 or 704.336.7600
Piedmont Natural Gas | www.piedmontng.com | 800.752.7504
PSNC Energy (Cornelius and Davidson) | www.psncenergy.com | 877.776.2427
AT&T | www.att.com | 888-757-6500
Pineville Telephone Company | www.pinevilledsl.net | 704.889.2001
Time Warner Cable | www.timewarnercable.com | 877-566-4TWC
Windstream (Matthews) | www.windstream.com | 704.847.4828
Trash & Recycling
Charlotte CURB IT! | www.charmeck.org/Departments/Solid+Waste/CurbIt/home.htm | 311
Mecklenburg County Solid Waste and Recycling | www.charmeck.org/Departments/LUESA/Solid+Waste/Home.htm | 311
BFI (Davidson) | 704.393.6900
R.C.S. Inc (Mint Hill) | 704.376.9359
Town of Matthews (in town limits) | 704.847.3640
Town of Pineville | 704.889.2291
Waste Management (Cornelius and Huntersville) | 800.927.8362
The following companies provide residential recycling services for unincorporated areas of the county:
Allied Waste Services | 704.393.6900
Republic/GDS of Charlotte | 704.596.2077
Signature Waste Systems, Inc | 704.714.9400
Waste Management | 704.824.2011
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections | www.meckboe.org | 704.336.2133
You must be a resident for 30 days and must register to vote 30 days prior to the next election. North Carolina also provides for same-day registration during early voting, which typically is available for two weeks prior to an election.