In Orange County, stereotypes often clash.
There are many high-income residents, but also high poverty rates. Quality of life is high, yet so is the cost of living.
But being unfriendly to business is one stereotype county officials are actively working to combat in hopes of attracting larger, more diverse companies to the area.
“There are pros and cons to Orange County’s image,” said Steve Brantley, economic development director for the county. “We have a high quality of life and high-income residents, but taxes are high and there’s a lot of regulation.”
Brantley said there are many factors that affect where a business chooses to locate — including tax rates, existing infrastructure and regulations.
Orange County often loses out to nearby Wake and Durham counties when recruiting businesses.
At 85.8 cents per $100 of property value, Orange County has the highest property tax rate in the area. Durham County’s rate is 74.4 cents, and Wake County comes in at 53.4 cents.
And real estate in Orange County is limited, especially in downtown Chapel Hill.
Dwight Bassett, economic development officer for Chapel Hill, said the town does not spend a lot of time recruiting businesses because of the shortage of space.