WHAT HAPPENED: Work continued to address revenue shortfalls local governments are experiencing under the COVID-19 crisis and drops in economic activity. Congress began considering a new round of relief
legislation that currently includes $375 billion for local governments. Phase 1 of restrictions-easing on the public and business began across North Carolina as public health officials monitor the data and trends.
WHAT IT MEANS: On the revenue front, the League, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition issued a joint statement urging Congress to address the shortfalls with both new direct and flexible funding and by making earlier CARES
Act appropriations more flexible. Your help in reaching out to state
legislators and your congressional representatives remains a crucial part of
ensuring local needs are addressed. See the below article for information you should share.
ON TAP: The N.C. General Assembly is set to convene for regular business starting Monday, but regular is a relative word. COVID-19 safety measures will affect the legislature's interactions, with House members continuing their course of meeting remotely. An article in this bulletin will prep you for what else is different this time around.
THE SKINNY: Even though we're caught in a sort of limbo against our usual way of interacting, you can and should still advocate for important issues, chiefly the revenue shortfalls in local government budgets that, if not addressed, will complicate North Carolina's efforts to restore a healthy economy. Read on for more on that.
Major funding shortfalls at the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will lead to cuts that will impact city and town budgets in the next fiscal year, according to information shared this week with the League by agency leaders. In a meeting with NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Bobby Lewis on Thursday, League staff received updates on the extent of the agency's fiscal constraints. Lewis said a preliminary estimate was that the agency would lose $670 million due to the COVID-19 crisis, a number that compounded the agency's preexisting financial woes.
As a result, Lewis said, the agency would likely propose across-the-board cuts to its budget ranging from 15 to 25 percent cuts to all areas of its operations, including Powell Bill funds. Further, the agency already stopped most road projects and all routine maintenance activities. City officials may want to consider the extent to which they would pick up the state's maintenance responsibilities in the coming fiscal year, including the following activities on NCDOT right-of-way in town limits: