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League Bulletin

February 23, 2018

The state Department of Commerce is looking for your input as it moves on a component of the recent federal tax legislation that could aid distressed parts of the state. The tax law authorizes each state to designate up to 25 percent of its total low-income census tracts as qualified "Opportunity Zones," according to a detailed news release​. The program is meant to give tax incentives to qualified investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into low-income areas. North Carolina has a little more than 1,000 qualifying low-income census tracts, and the commerce department is currently reviewing data to make a list of recommended tracts to the U.S. Department of the Treasury by the March 20 due date. A new state website​ provides more information on the program and invites recommendations for both its development in North Carolina and the designation of specific census tracts. Interested parties can also contact Business Link North Carolina at (800) 228-8443.

The League this week released its most recent Revenue Report, examining state-collected local revenues received by local governments for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18. This month’s Revenue Report also includes an update on Local Government Employees Retirement System employer contribution rates for fiscal year 2018-19. These reports are intended to be an update on the status of state-collected local revenues and a supplement to the League’s annual revenue projections memo. That memo is expected to be available by the end of March. If you have any questions regarding the Revenue Reports or revenue projections, please contact League Research Strategist Caitlin Saunders.

​The National League of Cities' (NLC) Congressional City Conference is ahead March 11-14 in Washington, D.C., and registration for individuals and groups is open. "The National League of Cities strategically and effectively positions local government priorities to key representatives in Congress," says the organization, which also at the conference provides public service tips, collaboration opportunities and training for productive meetings with federal officials. Focuses this year will include NLC's Rebuild With Us campaign calling on Congress to "invest in our vision to rebuild and reimagine America's infrastructure." Learn more about the conference at https://​​.

A new issue of the League's bimonthly magazine, Southern City, is out with a wealth of advocacy and programming articles for cities and towns across the state. This time, we include a focus on broadband, the evolving Internet needs of communities, and the importance of a local voice in the conversation about improving connectivity. We also look at police use-of-force training, the conversation about crime as a public health issue, the revolution of smart cities, and the success of the recent New Mayors Orientation sessions. Our cover feature this outing is Albemarle Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall, who makes for a memorable first-impression as driven by her honest will to serve the public. And don't miss our Q&A with Rep. Darren Jackson, who discusses his philosophy on leadership (Jackson being the House Minority Leader​), working across political lines, and keeping close with local government officials in his district. It's a robust issue of Southern City, which is available (with back issues as well) online at

Local governments in 20 coastal counties can apply for newly available funds for the improvement of public access to beaches and waters. The state's Division of Coastal Management (DCM) is accepting applications for the approximately $1 million available in the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, which provides matching funds and has awarded more than $46 million for roughly 450 public waterfront accesses since the program's 1981 beginning. “We are happy to be able to offer this funding on a continuous basis to improve our state’s beach access sites,” said Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan in a news release that includes application details. “Availability of this funding provides a public service to our state’s residents and visitors and will help strengthen our economy.” Eligible local governments interested in appliying must send DCM a pre-application by 5 p.m. April 9. Local governments selected to submit a final application will be notified by May 9, according to DCM.

There's a lot of exploration on part of local government for better community engagement. With such a diversity of communication and preference out there, it seems pretty complex. But what if it isn't? What if the simplest idea -- even one that hasn't been tried before -- is the key? On this episode of Municipal Equation, the League's biweekly podcast, we check out Detroit, Mich., and its novel creation of a "chief storyteller" who has editorial autonomy to tell otherwise overlooked stories from within the city and its neighborhoods, on behalf of its government. And then we check in with the City of Salisbury to learn about its award-winningly simple answer to feedback from residents who viewed the city's government as disconnected from the people. Don't miss this episode. It's got ideas. Find past episodes of the podcast at or subscribe on iTunes. Have an idea for an episode? Contact host Ben Brown​.
Filing continues for county, regional, state and federal offices across North Carolina until noon Wednesday, Feb. 28. A regularly updated list of names in the hat is available from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement (PDF or CSV). The agency's website offers complete details​ for anyone interested in running for seats open this year.