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 May 22 

This week's developments

Congratulations to Senator Dan Blue

Our congratulations to Senator Dan Blue, who was sworn in as a senator this week. He joins the Senate after a distinguished career in the House which included service as House Speaker. We look forward to working with Senator Blue.

Broadband Study Bill to be heard in House Public Utilities Wednesday

SB 1004 – The “Level Playing Field” Broadband Bill , which has passed the Senate, will be heard in House Public Utilities Committee next Wednesday. Currently, SB 1004 calls for a study of local government owned and operated communications services, including a comparison of communications services by private providers. We will continue to follow this issue very closely.

Cities can object to location of ABC Stores (on 2009 League Advocacy Agenda)

The Senate has approved HB 186 -- Local Government Objections to ABC Stores . This bill, now approved by both bodies, prohibits a local ABC board from locating an ABC store in a municipality if the municipality adopts a resolution objecting to the location that is based on information and evidence presented to governing board at a public hearing. The ABC board, however, may ask the state ABC Commission to approve the location despite the municipality's objection.

Local government ethics

The House has approved HB 1452 - Local Government Code of Ethics , and the bill is now in the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The bill requires all cities and towns to adopt a code of ethics by resolution or adopted policy and specifies what items are to be addressed in the policy or resolution. All elected municipal officials would be required to complete a minimum of two hours of ethics education within 12 months of election or appointment. The requirements would also apply to counties, local boards of education, unified governments and sanitary districts.

Public financing of municipal campaigns

HB 120 --Public Municipal Campaigns , which has passed the House, will be considered by the Senate next week (on calendar for May 27). The bill establishes a pilot program for publicly financed municipal election campaigns. It would apply to the Town of Chapel Hill and any municipality above 50,000 in population that request to participate and are selected by the State Board of Elections.

Heard in the legislative halls

We thank John Gray and Lexington citizens for coming to Raleigh May 13 to support fairness in annexation. Their contacts with 14 legislators made a very strong case for reasonable annexation policy. We appreciate their time and support.

Federal Stimulus Spotlight

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) deadlines:

Notice of information regarding applications for the State's non-entitlement CDBG funding was released this week by the N.C. Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance (DCA). The State received $12 million in ARRA funding. Application information will be made available on the DCA website May 29, 2009 at www.nccommerce.com/en/CommunityServices. Applications will be due to DCA on June 12, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

Due to the short turn-around time on these non-entitlement CDBG applications, the League urges non-entitlement cities to revisit prior unfunded applications for submission, noting whether those projects fit ARRA criteria. DCA encourages applications that would fund (1) infrastructure providing basic services to residents or (2) activities promoting energy efficiency through rehabilitation or retrofitting of existing buildings. DCA has proposed to allocate $3 million of its allocation for housing, $5.87 million for infrastructure, $2 million for special projects, and the remainder for administrative cost.

Water/sewer program deadlines

Water and sewer program applicants whose projects appeared on the State of North Carolina's Intended Use Plan (IUP) and did not receive funding in the first round of ARRA funding awards have until June 3, 2009 to submit their full applications to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Two programs received ARRA funding: the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. In February, both programs solicited projects to be listed on the IUP. Only projects listed on the State IUP are eligible for funding, and only after applicants submit a full application to DENR.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) programs still “in play”

Since the passage of the ARRA legislation, the League has identified and tracked 43 programs of interest to municipalities. Of those 43, the League estimates that seven programs remain open to application. The first is the CDBG program, discussed above. Look for deadlines and guidance for these remaining programs in the coming weeks and months: Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing, State Energy Program, Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant, Assistance to Firefighters Grants, Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, and Rural Utility Service (RUS) Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program.

Get updated ARRA information

The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government has established a listserv for elected and appointed officials to share ARRA information. To register for the listserv, please visit http://www.sog.unc.edu/listservs.html...

Please visit http://www.nclm.org/stimulus.htm for updated information.

 

Regulatory Update

Water Shortage Response Plan webinars and workshop

The League has partnered with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources (DWR) to offer training and assistance for communities in preparing their Water Shortage Response Plans (WSRP). These plans are required of all local water supply systems and are a result of last year's drought legislation.

Even if you have already submitted a WSRP to DWR, the League urges you to participate in one of the training opportunities. DWR has not completed its review of all plans, and if a plan is disapproved, the repercussions are stiff. In times of drought, a local water supply system with a disapproved plan must follow strict state default rules for water use. There is still time to amend and re-submit a WSRP if necessary.

The training calendar includes two webinars : (1) Wednesday, May 27 from 10:00-12:00 p.m., and (2) Wednesday, June 3 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Webinar participants will receive power point slides as an email attachment prior to the webinar. The other training will be an in-person workshop on Tuesday, June 2 from 10:00-3:00 p.m. at the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant, 8500 Battlebridge Road, Raleigh. To register for any of the training opportunities, email League@nclm.org. Put “WSRP registration” in the subject line and include your name, system name, and date of the workshop.

 

Action Items

Contact your legislators in the next few days about these issues

Support HB 727 / SB 472— Annexation Changes
Update: The Senate Finance Committee has appointed an Annexation Subcommittee (see below for members). Annexation bills in the Senate have been referred to the Finance Committee. This week an attempt to petition for SB 494 -- Annexation/Meaningful Services and Oversight to be removed from that committee and sent to the floor was not successful. The League opposes SB 494 but supports continued dialogue toward a reasonable resolution.

Please make an extra effort to contact your legislators and members of the Senate Annexation Subcommittee and House Judiciary II Committee over the Memorial Day weekend concerning
SB 472 and HB 727.

What the bills would do: Enact 20 changes to address legitimate concerns of citizens while retaining fairness of annexation for in-town residents and annexation as tool for managing growth.
Sponsors: Reps. Love, Starnes, Allen, K. Alexander
Status: House annexation bills, including HB 727, are in House Judiciary II Committee. A new Judiciary II Chair to replace Dan Blue has not yet been announced. Senate annexation bills, including SB 472, are in Senate Finance Committee.
Actions Needed:
Contact members of the Senate Annexation Subcommittee to ask them to support SB 472.
Chair: Sen. Daniel Clodfelter (919.715.8331 Danielc@ncleg.net); Members: Senators Hartsell (919.733.7223 Fletcherh@ncleg.net), McKissick (919.733.4599 Floydm@ncleg.net), Purcell (919.733.5953 Williamp@ncleg.net), Shaw (919.733.9349 Larrys@ncleg.net), Stein (919.715.6400 Josh.Stein@ncleg.net), and Stevens (919.733.5653 Richards@ncleg.net)
Contact members of the House Judiciary II Committee to ask them to support HB 727.
Vice Chairs: Reps. Glazier (919.733.5601 Rick.Glazier@ncleg.net), Love (919.715.3026 Jimmy.Love@ncleg.net); and Weiss (919.715.3010 Jennifer.Weiss@ncleg.net); Members: Reps. Blackwell (919.733.5805 Curtis.Blackwell@ncleg.net); Bordsen (919.733.5820 Alice.Bordsen@ncleg.net); Burr (919.733.5908 Justin.Burr@ncleg.net); Crawford (919.733.5824 Jim.Crawford@ncleg.net); Folwell (919.733.5787 Dale.Folwell@ncleg.net); Hurley (919.733.5865 Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net); Jackson (919.733.5974 Darren.Jackson@ncleg.net); Johnson (919.733.5861 Linda.Johnson@ncleg.net); Jones (919.733.5825 Earl.Jones@ncleg.net); Moore (919.733.4838 Tim.Moore@ncleg.net); Parmon (919.733.5829 Earline.Parmon@ncleg.net); Rhyne (919.733.5782 Johnathan.Rhyne@ncleg.net); and Spear (919.715.3029 Tim.Spear@ncleg.net)

 

Oppose HB 750 / SB 427 - Restore Contract Rights to State/Local Government Employees
Update: The Hear Our Public Employees Coalition (H.O.P.E.) is holding a collective bargaining rally day on Tuesday in Raleigh. This coalition includes the State Employees Association of North Carolina (Now S.E.I.U. Local 2008), the N.C. Association of Educators, the N.C. AFL-CIO, and other labor unions.
What these bills would do: Repeal the long-standing prohibition against collective bargaining between cities and towns and public employees. Also ends the prohibition on payroll deduction for association dues collection if the association engages in collective bargaining.
Sponsors: Reps. Coates, Harrell, Glazier; Sen. Kinnaird
Status: SB 427 in Senate State and Local Government; HB 750 in House Judiciary II
Actions needed: Please contact your senators and members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee over the Memorial Day weekend and ask them to oppose these bills. We do not need an adversarial process to determine salaries, benefits and working conditions. Municipal officials take very seriously the responsibility to provide fair salaries and safe workplaces.

 

Bill Summaries