Skip to Main Content

New session brings new opportunities 

 League President and Goldsboro Mayor Al King.
The 2014 General Assembly short session began in May, and its outcomes depend on your involvement. The session brings municipal officials the opportunity to speak on behalf of their towns and citizens to ensure North Carolina local governments are able to maintain the quality of life they are known for. 

Because we had engaged elected officials and a hard-working League staff, last year we were able to stop legislation that would’ve cost cities and towns more than $164 million each year. When you represent your town’s interests, legislators take notice. They want to hear from you and need your suggestions.

We had some great successes last year, but some troubling legislation passed as well. Though not for a lack of effort, Asheville’s water system and Charlotte’s airport were forcibly transferred from the city last year through legislation. Without annexation, control of municipal utilities is one of the few ways our cities have to manage growth. We don’t want to let this happen to more of our hometowns. Our cities and towns may lose the same authorities that make them great places to live and do business.

It’s our job as elected officials to reach out to legislators – to form meaningful relationships and ensure the best decisions are made. During the short session we face more issues. At press time, cities are in danger of losing the Privilege License Tax, which could cost cities statewide $25 million; a property tax cap, which would greatly affect revenues available and would severely limit the services cities can provide to businesses; and their tree ordinance authority, an authority that allows municipalities to preserve their unique personalities and sense of place. If this ordinance passes, all 78 North Carolina Tree City U.S.A. cities would lose their designations because a local tree-care ordinance is a requirement.

The changes proposed at press time would result in crippling revenue loss that would force cities to reduce the services its businesses and citizens desire. In order to accomplish our goals, we need to be present with solutions and recommendations for alternative ways to simplify the tax that are beneficial to everyone involved.

These are just a few of the most pressing issues of the short session that need your attention. If you’ve never spoken to your representative before, now is the time to start. There’s no better way to get started than calling one of the League’s governmental affairs team members and asking how you can help. This month hundreds of us will attend lobby days and Town Hall Day, the League’s largest legislative event. We’ll attend issue briefings and have meetings with our respective legislators to talk about these important issues.

By attending, we will show strength in numbers and unity in our cause. This is your time to gather with your colleagues from across the state and make your voice heard at the General Assembly. Bring your staff members, business owners, church groups, citizens – anyone who wants to live in a thriving city – to Raleigh and tell your representatives how important our local authority is to business creation and retention, good schools, well-preserved, lively downtowns and so much more. There’s a lot of work to be done in Raleigh, and we need your help.