The League has scheduled two post-legislative-session webinars, each to provide clarity on an item of high interest to cities and towns lately, following actions by the General Assembly. The first webinar, at 10 a.m. on July 31 (registration), will explain legislation concerning impact fees or capacity development fees. The second, at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15 (registration), will explain new small-cell wireless legislation and what it means for municipalities. The League covered the development of these bills in its weekly LeagueLINC Bulletin (impact fees here; small cell wireless here). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.
Register now for Connect CityVision 2017, the League's not-to-miss annual conference scheduled for Sept. 20-23 in Greenville. CityVision 2017 will offer engaging programming designed to help municipal officials absorb the latest ways to improve their cities and towns. Conference attendees will learn best practices for connecting to technology, to neighboring cities and towns, to regional projects and organizations, and to influential leadership skills. The annual conference also is where members elect officers and make any constitutional or bylaw changes. Join with fellow municipal officials from around the state and attend CityVision 2017. Pre-registration ends Friday, August 18. Register now!
Many municipalities have acted on the state's new allowance of early Sunday alcohol sales with local government approval. For any city or town interested, the League has prepared a model template ordinance. For background, the change came by way of a Senate omnibus alcohol laws bill signed by the governor on June 30. It includes language allowing a local government to pass an ordinance greenlighting sales of alcoholic beverages beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays (instead of noon). The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association is tracking local governments' passage or discussion of the 10 a.m. ordinances, and the News & Observer is publishing those updates.
Gov. Roy Cooper has taken action on a number of bills the General Assembly sent him before last month's adjournment. According to an official tally as of Friday morning, he's signed 60 bills, while 88 await action on his desk. Signings this week include HB 21 Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops, which would require the state Division of Motor Vehicles to include in its driver license handbook guidelines on appropriate driver actions and interaction with officers during law enforcement traffic stops. Additionally signed was SB 69 Local Gov't Comm/Finance Officer Training, which clarifies existing law to ensure that a local government’s finance officer or other employee and governing board receive notification from the Local Government Commission (LGC) of any required training. It also requires the employing local government entity to submit proof to the LGC of completion of those training requirements.
The governor also signed SB 8 Various Local Changes/Nonpublic School Bkg Ck, which in part would apply existing laws that restrict the state's stormwater program's regulation of airports (and land near airports) to local governments. The provision restricts the ability to require stormwater control measures that promote standing water due to safety concerns over attracting birds, and requires a local government to deem runways in compliance with water supply watershed management protection ordinances if certain measures of stormwater control are provided. It also includes a specific exemption to building code provisions that allows the City of Greensboro to complete a needed parking deck project.
Gov. Cooper is releasing information about bill actions on his website. That includes any veto, which HB 511 Game Nights/Nonprofit Fund-Raiser received this week. The governor explained that he thought the bill might unintentionally give video poker operations "a new way to infiltrate our communities" by acting as a charity.
Eager for a new episode of Municipal Equation? We've got one. This time out, we check in on the conversation around public art and agencies that invest in or support it (coincidentally the subject of several news headlines this week). What's the value? We ask the director of a municipal government arts office and talk with a notable public artist who together paint a picture of beautification, community pride, connection, attraction, inclusion, dialogue and big economic returns. They say public art also brings about an important conversation for growing municipalities whose identities may be changing or as new public challenges emerge. And can art be an outlet for government itself? Or a culturally significant communications tool? A lot to consider on this episode.
We've also got a preview of the next episode of Municipal Equation, which comes out every other Tuesday at nclm.org and at soundcloud.com/municipalequation. The July 18 episode will focus on the stigma of downtown alleys and the value of their beautification. It'll be a fun, blank-canvas type of episode loaded with ideas. Subscribe to the podcast for free on iTunes (where you can leave a friendly, five-star review). Is there something unique going on in your city or town that you think would make for a great episode? Email host/producer Ben Brown.
Thirty-nine North Carolina communities are celebrating accreditation for 2017 in the National Main Street Center program for meeting or exceeding performance standards in commercial district revitalization last year. A press release from the N.C. Department of Commerce lists them: Belmont, Boone, Brevard, Cherryville, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elkin, Garner, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Lexington, Lumberton, Marion, Monroe, Morganton, North Wilkesboro, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Roxboro, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva, Tryon, Valdese, Wake Forest, Waxhaw, Waynesville, Williamston, and Wilson.
The accreditations are announced annually based on measures met. "Strong, thriving main streets are a key in ensuring strong communities, especially in rural parts of the state,” said Anthony Copeland, the state's commerce secretary. “We’re proud that our Main Street communities have been recognized on a national level for their achievements. These local programs assist communities in bringing jobs and businesses to their downtowns, which helps overall communities enjoy a healthier, more robust economy.” (Separately, many more stories of local investment and subsequent economic success are found at herewegrow.org, where you can contribute stories from your town).