Legislation affirming local governments' authority to collect water- and sewer-growth related fees for community and economic development -- a key advocacy goal of cities and towns -- received the governor's signature on Thursday. HB 436 Local Government/Regulatory Fees went through several changes over the course of the legislative session, initially filed as a proposal to ban the fee collection altogether. The League worked tirelessly with all stakeholders to create new, compromise language that ensures North Carolina's path to growth is not imperiled. Not only does the signed version guarantee cities' and towns' authority (within a more uniform structure), it also limits potential liability from any further adverse court rulings on the matter. Click here for background on the court action that preceded the legislation. The League will explain the new law in a webinar scheduled for 10 a.m. July 31. Additional details follow in this newsletter.
Gov. Roy Cooper this week signed into law a number of important pieces of legislation, including the Disaster Recovery Act of 2017. SB 338 lays out how the relief funds for Hurricane Matthew and other disasters will be distributed for such things as housing, repairs and flood insurance subsidies, with $100 million allocated. The governor also signed HB 26 Workers' Comp/Approval of Disputed Legal Fees, legislation passed in response to a problematic recent Supreme Court decision impacting the workers' compensation system, before the League and partners worked on a fix. Additionally, he signed HB 252 Building Code Regulatory Reform, which directs local governments to create an internal review process of local building inspectors' decisions.
The governor's office is posting on its website periodic roundups of bill actions, including vetoes. Gov. Cooper on Monday vetoed HB 205 WC for Inmates/UI & WC/Newsprint Employees, a bill that included a pilot program in Guilford County for the electronic publication of government notices in lieu of newspaper publication. The governor explained his veto in an accompanying message.
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!
On behalf of the State Demographer in the North Carolina Office of State Budget & Management, the League is reminding its members that the deadline for the completion of the Annual Demographic Information Survey is today, July 21, 2017. The State Demographer sent out an email to all municipalities earlier this summer directing them to access and complete online the Annual Demographic Information Survey regarding boundary and annexation changes, group quarters populations, and new residential construction. In past years, this survey was completed on paper. The information collected in these surveys is critical to the population estimates that are used in the distribution of state shared revenues. Please complete the survey as soon as possible. Any questions regarding the survey should be directed to State Demographer Mike Cline at (919) 807-4756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's time for a new episode of Municipal Equation. The rundown: When you think of downtown alleys, what comes to mind? Bad associations, maybe? The place to avoid at night? Ever since childhood, Americans have had the general impression that alleyways are dark, dirty, dangerous -- the right setting for noir crime stories. And that might often be the case. But many U.S. cities, including some in North Carolina, are starting to embrace their alleys like assets -- as places to be -- with art, lighting, planters, seating and cleanliness. They're inviting spaces that pedestrians can use to cut from block to block or to access businesses. Some alleyway owners even hold weekend events in them. There's a lot you can do to sweep out the bad associations and boost charm and use, if you want to. What could you do with your downtown alleys? You'll hear tons of ideas and considerations on this intercontinental episode. Municipal Equation is the League's biweekly podcast at soundcloud.com/municipalequation and on iTunes. 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. Listen to past episodes for inspiration.