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Author: tproctor

Pender County tax office extends hours, offers Fast Pay Window

BURGAW – As the deadline for tax payments come due in January, the Pender County Tax Office has created a Fast Pay Window as well as extended office hours.

Office hours on Tuesdays will be extended until 7 p.m. at the tax office beginning Dec. 1, through Jan. 5, 2021.

“We will remain open until 7 p.m. to better serve our residents,” said Justian Pound, Pender County Tax Administrator.

In addition to extended Tuesday hours, the tax office will offer a Fast Pay Window for taxpayers who come prepared with a check or credit card with a single-pay statement. This express window is available for anyone who wants to pay the full amount and doesn’t have questions regarding the tax bill.

“We urge residents who want to use the Fast Pay Window to skip the line and pay without delays,” said Pound. “For citizens who wish to pay in person, we want to make this easy and safe during the pandemic.”

For safety’s sake during the pandemic and upcoming colder weather, the tax office personnel urges residents to conduct tax business soon to avoid long lines.

The Pender County tax office is located at 300 E. Freemont St. in Burgaw.

Information is also available online at


Pender Commerce Partners to Continue Investment in Region

Winston-Salem-based Pender Commerce Partners 1 LLC is now in the process of acquiring additional land at Pender Commerce Park in order to develop its second speculative industrial building there in two years. Fresh off the completion of its 127,356 sq.-ft. spec facility at Lot 2 in the park, the company, which consists of Ramm Capital Partners LLC and Taylor Development Group LLC, is now in the due diligence period for 20 acres on Lot 6 to construct a 180,000 sq.-ft. building.

“We are very excited to continue investing in Southeastern North Carolina,” says Chris Ramm, Manager of Ramm Capital Partners, LLC and COO of Taylor Development Group. “There is significant interest in our initial project thanks to Cape Fear Commercial and Wilmington Business Development. We want to leverage this momentum into our next project on Lot 6 in Pender Commerce Park. We have assembled a fantastic development team that we are extremely proud of, led by Landmark Builders. All of us are looking forward to our next Wilmington project and sharing more details in the near future.”

Pender Commerce Park has become one of the state’s most active industrial parks. With Ramm’s planned investment on Lot 6, Pender Commerce Park will boast nearly $115 million of capital investment, 800,000 sq.-ft. under roof and more than 600 jobs. As important, the investment puts Pender County and its partners at Wilmington Business Development (WBD) in a better position to recruit additional industrial employers to the region.

“We enthusiastically welcome the continued investment by Chris Ramm and his partners in Pender Commerce Park,” says WBD CEO Scott Satterfield. “There was a time when industrial inventory was a weakness for our region, but thanks to the vision of developers like Chris that is changing. Demand for and now availability of ready-to-go industrial space has energized our recruitment of major employers to Greater Wilmington.”

In the mid-2000s, Pender County leaders partnered with WBD in charting a vision for the Commerce Park as regional infrastructure upgrades began to take shape. “With plans for I-140 and utility improvements along US 421 in the works, we saw the potential of that property as a destination for a variety companies,” said George Brown, chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “This latest investment by Chris Ramm and his partners keeps the momentum going and enhances the park as a regional economic engine.”

The new building can also be considered by existing industry in the region as companies look for readily available industrial space to expand. That’s why both this facility and the initial investment by Pender Commerce Partners 1 LLC are built to be flexible. The buildings are designed in a way that can accommodate single users or multiple tenants.

“The industrial market in Greater Wilmington is as strong as I’ve ever seen it,” says Paul Loukas, broker-in-charge at Cape Fear Commercial. He cites a 5% to 6% vacancy rate once the former Vertex Building is taken out of the mix. Loukas and colleague Will Leonard will continue their brokerage relationship with Chris Ramm at Lot 6. “We are seeing a large amount of interest from tenants in the 30,000 to 60,000 sq.-ft. range, as well as much larger users. WBD has done a fantastic job assisting us in generating several of our larger prospects,” Leonard says. “Being able to potentially house both puts us in a prime position to attract industry.”

Ramm with Taylor Development Group, LLC put a stake in the ground of the region’s real estate market nearly four years ago with acquisitions of Class A office buildings at Landfall Park and Third and Grace in downtown Wilmington. After noticing a scarcity of available industrial space equipped with today’s amenities, Ramm began working with Cape Fear Commercial on opportunities to build high-quality spec space. Pender Commerce Park was the ideal place.

Ramm’s continued investment also fits nicely into WBD’s product development strategy and helps further execute the vision Pender County leaders have set for Pender Commerce Park. In less than a decade, the property has attracted food processing, assembly, distribution and corporate headquarter operations. “Chris Ramm’s investment on both projects is timely – the region will have attractive, available industrial space just as U.S. industry looks to re-shape supply chains and tailor their expansion strategies for the post-pandemic economy,” Satterfield says.

Wilmington Business Development oversees business recruitment and industrial retention for the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County and Pender County. A private, non-profit organization founded in 1956, WBD supports members, partners and allies through an array of technical expertise, leadership resources and value-added business services. Visit to learn more.

ATMC awarded USDA ReConnect grant to bring high-speed internet to Pender County

ATMC announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the cooperative a $21.6 million dollar grant to help fund its ‘Faster Pender’ project which will allow the Shallotte-based company to expand high-speed internet access to over 7,000 addresses in rural Pender County. Gigabit broadband internet access will be made available to 6,853 residential addresses, over 285 businesses, 19 educational facilities, nine healthcare facilities, 15 critical community facilities, and 209 agricultural operations. ATMC will contribute $7.2 million dollars in matching funds to bring the total project investment to $28.9 million.
“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
In December of 2019, the USDA announced the availability of a second round of funding under the ReConnect Program. Through the ReConnect broadband program, the USDA has over $600 million available for grants, grant/loan combinations, and low-interest loans. Applications for the second round of funding were accepted between January 31, 2020 and April 15, 2020.The funds awarded must be used to cover the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
“It is a huge honor for ATMC to once again be a recipient ReConnect funding from the USDA,” said Keith Holden, ATMC CEO. “This grant will make a considerable impact in Pender County for many years to come by helping us bring high-speed internet to thousands of residents that have been without it for far too long. We would like to extend our gratitude to the UDSA, Congressman Rouzer, the Pender County Board of Commissioners, and all the residents, farmers, business owners, and community leaders who provided letters of support for the Faster Pender project. That support was key in helping us win this critical funding.”
With a project of this size, there is a great deal of preliminary work that must be done before actual construction can begin. ATMC anticipates construction of the new fiber-optic network to begin during the middle part of 2021 after all necessary program paperwork and environmental studies have been completed.
The network will cover approximately 538 square miles, including underserved communities west of Interstate 40 to the Bladen County line, including Atkinson and Currie, and unserved areas east of Burgaw and Rocky Point. The network will enable the delivery of high-speed internet speeds of up to 1Gigabit per second as well as telephone and home security and automation services.
“Once upon a time it was the interstate system, water and sewer that was key for commerce, and quite frankly today if you don’t have broadband, none of that matters,” commented Congressman David Rouzer. “Broadband is the infrastructure of today and of the future.”
Chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners, George Brown, also spoke at Friday’s event saying, “Imagine not being able to use a computer or phone because of a lack of high-speed internet, that’s a reality for many in our county. It’s not about congratulating the folks that made this grant happen, today congratulations are in order for the people of Pender County who will benefit tremendously from this grant.
We are so thankful to Secretary Perdue, Congressman Rouzer and ATMC for this gift they’ve given to Pender County.”
While this will be the first time ATMC has served residents and businesses in Pender County, the cooperative has been serving rural North Carolinians for more than 65 years. ATMC has a great track record of using grant funds to provide high-speed internet to rural areas. In 2010, ATMC received $16 million dollars through a USDA grant to build a fiber-optic network to the unserved communities of Nakina, Guideway, and Old Dock in Columbus County. In May of 2019, ATMC was awarded $1 million dollars in grant funding from the NC GREAT Grant program which is allowing the company to bring fiber-optic service to underserved homes in the Beaverdam community. Last December, ATMC won a $7.9 million dollar grant from the USDA ReConnect Grant program to serve Columbus County residents near Tabor City, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton, and areas north of Whiteville. And, in the last few weeks, the cooperative announced that it had been awarded $3.7 million dollars from the NC GREAT Grant program to provide fiber optic internet services to approximately 2,600 residents and businesses in rural portions of Columbus, Robeson, and Duplin counties.
For more information about ATMC’s progress on the ReConnect Grant, visit or call 910-754-4311.
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