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League Bulletin

July 13, 2018

WHAT HAPPENED: The League opened up pre-registration for CityVision 2018, the year's greatest event for cities and towns. This year, our host city will be Hickory, and the programming will be loaded with takeaways you can apply in​ your municipality. 
WHAT IT MEANS: You can sign up now and avoid the elevated walk-in registration fees. Pre-registration ends August 24. Continue reading this Bulletin for more on this year's CityVision. 
ON TAP: T​​he League's Public and Government Affairs Team continues to unpack and line up legislative details from the 2018 short session for a comprehensive but digestible document -- the End of Session Bulletin, coming soon. 
THE SKINNY: ​The legislature may be out of town, but the times are busy as ever, and there's plenty to report. Read on. 
Get ready for CityVision 2018, the League's premier annual event! Join us for two days full of engaging keynote speakers and informative sessions that will give you the tools you need to face challenges in your hometowns head on. This year, CityVision will offer roundtable discussions following each general session to address shared challenges, connect with regional partners and engage in facilitated discussions to gain practical information that you can use immediately.

CityVision 2018 will be in Hickory and offer the best opportunity for municipal officials from around the state to dive deep into issues like broadband and technology, infrastructure, branding your municipality and, most of all, grants -- finding the money you need to prepare your municipality for tomorrow. 

The annual conference also is where members elect officers and make any constitutional or bylaw changes. We encourage you to join with fellow municipal officials from around the state and attend CityVision 2018! Don't miss this opportunity to better prepare for the challenges that lie ahead for all North Carolina cities and towns. Pre-registration ends Friday, Aug. 24, so register early​ to avoid increased walk-in registration fees.

The League is accepting proposals for 2018-19 Advocacy Goals through Aug. 1. Discuss ideas with your municipal elected officials and staff, and click here​ to submit your ideas for advocacy goals. Every two years, you -- the cities and towns of North Carolina -- develop legislative and regulatory goals for the upcoming legislative biennium. These goals serve as the guide to the League's advocacy efforts here in Raleigh. More than that, they are a collective statement of the priorities of North Carolina municipalities, big and small, urban, suburban and rural. The process of setting the Municipal Advocacy Goals is an opportunity for each municipality to have a voice in telling state legislators and other state policymakers what is important to them.

The advocacy goals also propel us towards two of the Vision 2030 Operating Principles: (1) municipal governments exercise greater control of their revenues, structures and functions, and (2) municipal governments engage in productive partnerships with other levels of government and the private sector.
Legislative and regulatory goals should include a clear ask, and should have an impact on municipal governments statewide. According to League bylaws, you must indicate on your goal proposal whether it was voted on and approved by your local council or board. Proposals will be considered by NCLM policy committees, the NCLM Board of Directors, and the entire membership during the Advocacy Goals Conference. The League may also request that you visit one of our policy committees​​ to further explain your suggested goal, as a part of the goals selection process.
This is your policy process, so please give this thoughtful consideration and participate. Don’t miss this opportunity to submit your proposals by Aug. 1.

The three major bond rating agencies in the U.S. have each reaffirmed North Carolina's AAA status, according to a news release​ this week from the office of State Treasurer Dale Folwell. The rating agencies -- S&P, Moody's and Fitch -- cited "the state's strong economy, growing reserves and conservative fiscal management," the release explained, adding that North Carolina is one of just 13 states holding AAA titles from all major rating agencies. It also noted that the ratings landed in preparation for the second issuance of bonds from the voter-approved Connect NC​ public improvement package, totaling $2 billion for projects including infrastructure, local parks and higher-education institutions. “Having these ‘AAA’ ratings ensures that we can borrow money at the lowest possible rates, which results in the state having more buying power,” said Treasurer Folwell. 

Budget officers and analysts from across the state gathered in Atlantic Beach this week for the N.C. Local Government Budget Association's 2018 Summer Conference​, featuring with it a legislative recap from League Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives Chris Nida and a live recording of the League's podcast, Municipal Equation. The three-day event covered topics such as innovation in the profession, downtown business growth, data visualization and budgeting for information technology. Nida, alongside N.C. Association of County Comissioners Associate General Counsel Paige Worsham, updated attendees in the grand ballroom on the conference's opening day about legislation of interest to local government from the recently concluded short-session of the General Assembly. Past editions​ of this Bulletin gave you week-by-week updates on the legislature's activity. Look for a comprehensive report in the League's forthcoming End of Session Bulletin.   

Thursday afternoon, attendees gathered in one of the conference venue's session rooms to hear about the quirky-to-massive challenges for beach towns to prepare for and deliver services to the thousands upon thousands of additional residents and visitors who converge there in the summer months. The League's Ben Brown, host of Municipal Equation​, led a panel featuring Pine Knoll Shores Town Manager Brian Kramer, Pine Knoll Shores Police Chief Ryan Thompson, and Carteret County Shore Protection Manager Greg "Rudi" Rudolph. From keeping Pine Knoll Shores safe and sound amid a 525 percent summer-population increase, to maintaining the beach strand like a piece of infrastructure, the panelists walked the audience through the complicated dynamics with surprising facts and figures that kept the talk fun and interesting. The League soon will release that discussion as part of a special live episode of Municipal Equation, which you can find at​. Our latest installment is a rebroadcast, with updates, of one of our most popular episodes, focusing on what cities around the country are doing to revitalize alleyways for public and business use. ​

By now, you may be aware that the N.C. Utilities Commission has issued an order in the rate case affecting customers of Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC), which includes many cities and towns in the western half of the state. The order should lead to substantial benefits for municipalities and follows the League intervening on a number of issues before the commission. We are very pleased with the outcome and that commission members carefully and thoroughly considered our arguments. At the same time, the order provides for more input from NCLM and its members going forward on a number fronts. Click here for highlights and details.
RIght now, we need your help and your ideas. Within the next six months, DEC will be filing details regarding the proposed new time-of-use, critical peak pricing and other dynamic rate structures called for in the order. While many customers will be able to take advantage of these new rate structures, the League was the main intervenor to make the requests, so we want to ensure that what is proposed is of the most use and benefit to our members. NCLM will also continue to participate in the stakeholder process for grid modernization and continue to meet with DEC on lighting issues. Please provide any input you have regarding these issues to League Legislative and Regulatory Counsel Sarah Collins at​​.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at N.C. State University wants to showcase your municipality's civic engagement efforts. If you think your city has done a good job and could help others by sharing the details statewide, let IEI know and apply to be one of only five groups that will be showcased at the Emerging Issues Forum​ on Sept. 17 in Asheville. A PDF provides details on how to apply by the July 22 deadline. 

The forum is focused on making communities stronger through civic engagement. Many cities across the state, large and small, rural and urban, already have excellent civic engagement programs in place. Some have town hall forums or "youth solutions" chats. Others have sparked collaboration between entrepreneurs and local government. Many have used technology to engage citizens, like through apps and soliciting input via electronic voting. Let IEI know​ what's working in your town for the chance to be featured.