CityVision 2017 is just ahead! And the League has released a special app for smart devices that will help you maximize your experience. Search for "NCLM Events" in the App Store (for iPhone or iPad) or Google Play Store (for Android). Windows phone users can access the app on their mobile browser via nclmevents.org. This easy-to-navigate app includes a simple menu of conference speakers, the daily schedule, general info, social media, an area map, exhibitors and more. Users can also create profiles and connect with fellow conference-goers. It also features a portal to NCLM Go!, a brand new game with great prizes available to conference attendees. All CityVision 2017 attendees will have free WiFi access throughout the convention center. Get the app now and we'll see you in Greenville!
League Executive Director Paul Meyer encourages you to apply for leadership positions with the National League of Cities, which is still accepting applications. Available leadership slots include officers, board members and seats on its Advocacy Committee. Instructions to apply are on the NLC’s website. Meyer points out that serving on the NLC’s Board of Directors or in another NLC leadership role provides an important means of bringing perspectives from your town or city, and from North Carolina, into policy-focused discussions and initiatives at the national level. The NLC notes that these positions allow local municipal officials to "join an elite group of local leaders who are guiding and shaping the future of cities ... A position on our board of directors offers unparalleled opportunities to effect change at the national level while raising your profile as a city leader." Should you apply for one of these positions, please let NCLM know for endorsement purposes. You can do so by contacting Jennifer Webb here. Applications are due Oct. 13.
In good news out of the infrastructure talks in Washington, federal transportation grant programs with direct pipelines to cities and towns are now accepting applications. They are the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program; and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or INFRA, program. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently announced $500 million in discretionary grant funds available through TIGER, "a highly competitive program whose winners will be awarded with the funding they need to rebuild the infrastructure of their communities,” said Secretary Elaine Chao. INFRA, meanwhile, is a competitive freight-focused program accepting proposals for its $1.5 billion in funding, with awards of at least $25 million for large-scale projects and at least $5 million for small-scale projects. The National League of Cities recently pointed out USDOT's statement that it would "give full consideration to the unique needs of rural areas" under this program. Application information is available online.
NHC graphic current as of 5 a.m. Friday
On the heels of Irma, Tropical Storm Jose is threatening a return to hurricane status on a track that may carry it just east of the Outer Banks, according to news outlets Friday morning. The Associated Press reported that the storm's maximum sustained winds at the time neared 70 miles per hour and could become a hurricane today. It was about 360 miles northeast of the southeastern Bahamas headed west-northwest. The National Hurricane Center is frequently updating its graphic of Jose's probable path.
Meanwhile, parts of North Carolina that Hurricane Irma impacted are cleaning up, the governor's office reported this week. Prevalent effects included downed trees, flooding and power outages in western counties. It came as the state was lending a hand to Irma's victims in states farther south. "All things considered, most of North Carolina has been fortunate in the wake of Hurricane Irma," Governor Cooper said in a release. "Some of our neighbors to the south have not been as fortunate, and we stand ready to help."
Media outlets are reporting that the Trump administration may revise or abandon the federal overtime rule that a federal judge threw out at the end of August. The now-rejected rule, which came under the Obama presidency, would have dramatically relaxed the criteria regarding employee eligibility for overtime pay. The League and partners voiced concern with the rule as it would have added milions of previously exempt workers and put government budgets under a new strain, as we reported upon the rule's release in May 2016. (The rule was set to take effect Dec. 1, 2016 before a court granted challengers an injunction.) One Washington, D.C. media outlet is reporting that the Trump administration may clarify what it intends to do on the matter within the coming weeks, with speculation that it may go with the pre-Obama version of the rule and adjust it for inflation. A related public comment deadline is Sept. 25. A post by the National League of Cities has more information.
A majorly successful social engagement program with a yearlong waiting list. Pianos left in the urban outdoors for any random person to play. And a totally mysterious city data collector. We plunge into their mutual concepts -- creative or playful ways of connecting people and their town -- and how they might work where you live on this latest episode of Municipal Equation, the League's podcast about cities and towns in changing times.
There's a lot of hectic stuff going on out there, so take this episode as a bit of fun (though our warmest and most immediate thoughts are with everyone impacted by the many recent or active natural disasters and other hardships). We also call upon you to help us solve what ranks as one of the weirdest downtown mysteries out there today. Listen now to hear about it. And don't forget: If you like the show, the best way to support it is with your ideas and thoughts (one form of which is a friendly iTunes review). You can contact host/producer Ben Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Date for the next joint meeting between League members and Duke Energy to discuss issues surrounding the modernization of municipal street lighting. The meeting will take place Oct. 19, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Duke Energy offices in Raleigh (410 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh). Registration information and an agenda will be available soon.
This webinar will serve as a continuation of discussions that began after the League, in 2013, intervened in the Duke Energy Carolinas rate case before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. It's an opportunity for Duke to check in with municipal customers to discuss outdoor lighting strategies, its upcoming rate cases, and other initiatives. Contact: Sarah Collins