Edenton Mayor Roland Vaughan (left) with Fullsteam Brewery Chief Executive Optimist Sean Lilly Wilson, one of CityVision 2017's featured speakers.
CityVision 2017, the League's annual conference held in Greenville this year, concluded on Saturday after unforgettable presentations, recognitions, networking, idea-sharing, swearings-in and good laughs. The theme this year was Connect -- connecting to technology, new modes, and each other -- which the hundreds of attendees quickly took to heart. Watch a video recap.
At CityVision 2017, members installed a new board of directors along with a new League president, Jacksonville Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lazzara, and vice president, Washington City Council Member William Pitt, as they gave a warm thanks to Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny for his past year of League presidency. Mayor Matheny will stay on in the role of immediate past president.
President Lazzara congratulated all members for making 2017 a milestone year for cities and towns, both with legislative successes and in the support they gave their League after the March fire that displaced the organization's entire staff from its Raleigh offices. Said President Lazzara, "This organization has continued without missing a beat, and it's a testament to the staff's dedication. But it was also a testament of your involvement and your engagement. We were successful because of the partnership that we have."
The League also gave Community Champion awards to legislators -- Rep. Chuck McGrady and Sen. Paul Newton -- who gave standout service to cities and towns this year. Both Representative McGrady and Senator Newton said the League's achievements in the General Assembly this year are a credit to the positive relationships and communication that its members developed with lawmakers. "We do better when we understand how state and local governments work together," Representative McGrady said. He added: "And we would do better if more of you would run for the state House and the state Senate." Senator Newton likewise commended the League's membership and staff. "It was my honor and privilege to help," he said.
Last week's LINC'ed IN included other coverage straight from CityVision. The conference, held at the Greenville Convention Center, since came into focus in a Greenville Daily Reflector editorial about the value of the city's investment in that facility. The League and its members thank the City of Greenville for their work in hosting a tremendously successful conference.
Next week will bring another legislative session in Raleigh, starting Oct. 4 with potential to carry over subsequent days. Outlets including the Insider State Government News Service cited an email that House Speaker Tim Moore sent House members telling them to expect more than one day of session. Activity during the session, scheduled to start at noon on Wednesday, could include veto overrides and judicial redistricting. LINC'ed IN reported earlier this month on what the session's rules allow.
In preparation for the 2020 Census, municipal officials are encouraged to take part in upcoming training sessions for the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. Local governments are "invited to review the U.S. Census Bureau list of addresses for their area through the LUCA program. LUCA training sessions will be held across the North Carolina to demonstrate the LUCA process, and local government management are encouraged to attend the most convenient session," says an announcement with complete details. Sessions are set for Oct. 23 in Boone, Oct. 25 in Sylva, Oct. 30 in Rutherfordton, Oct. 31 in Asheville, Nov. 1 in Charlotte, and Nov. 2 in Hickory. Additional dates will be added. Workshops are presented by the U.S. Census Bureau's Atlanta Regional Census Office staff and hosted by N.C. Councils of Governments.
"Beer is the beverage of community," says Sean Lilly Wilson, a Durham-based brewer who played a role in changes that brought exponential growth in the number of breweries in North Carolina -- with happy extras for their surroundings. On the latest episode of the Municipal Equation podcast -- recorded live at CityVision 2017 -- we hear Wilson discuss how breweries have played major roles in downtown and warehouse-district revitalizations and re-energized a sense of community. Good, local beer is economic development, hometown pride, craftsmanship and more, he says, and the brewers making it aren't known to hold back on civic involvement, either. Oh, and who's that other guy we're hearing, here? Is that .... Sinbad? Listen now and subscribe on iTunes (where we'd appreciate a friendly review).
City leaders from around the country are decrying the "Big 6" tax reform plan released this week for its potential elimination of the state and local tax deduction, commonly referred to as the SALT deduction. National League of Cities President and Cleveland, Ohio, City Council Member Matt Zoned weighed in on Wednesday via news release: "America’s cities agree that our tax code is overly-complicated and in need of reform. We are glad to see Congress and the administration willing to streamline the tax system and lower tax rates, but this reform effort cannot eliminate the critical tools that enable cities to strengthen communities, make infrastructure investments and keep residents safe." Route Fifty has a full news story about the local government reaction to the plan.
Get involved at herewegrownc.org
You heard about the value of Here We Grow at our annual conference last week in Greenville. Now it's time to get involved. Here We Grow -- which is free to our members -- is the League's storytelling economic development campaign, and you're its fuel. On Here We Grow, you can submit your town's homegrown economic or growth success stories: business recruitments, public-private partnerships, municipal investments that have led to private investments and jobs, or what have you. We know you have stories to tell. And when we share them all as one, we show the collective value of the work municipalities are doing across the state. We're already doing that at herewegrownc.org, the hub of Here We Grow -- where you can browse stories from cities and towns across the state -- and we're looking forward to more. Haven't signed up? What are you waiting for? Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting login credentials and we'll set you up. It's easy, and the value you add is huge.
The N.C. Association of Resort Towns and Convention Cities (RTCC) has elected new leadership, with Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden now as chairman. "I’m looking forward to building on the strong foundation of positive relationships city leaders from around North Carolina have made with each other and our legislators at the state level,” said Mayor Holden. RTCC, a League affiliate, focuses on strengthening towns' abilities to serve visitors and on the issues that travel and tourism communities face. “Regardless of whether we focus on accommodating visitors drawn by the natural beauty of our state, sporting events, concerts, festivals, conventions, or other conferences, we can all benefit from working together side by side with our state leaders," Mayor Holden said. Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure will stay aboard RTCC in the role of immediate past chair. A news release provides additional detail about the group and its 2017-18 board of directors.
Nearly $20 million from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund is headed to communities around the state. "The new grants awarded last week will be used to protect 10,286 acres, including western waterfalls, maritime forests, historic forts, greenways and trails and buffers around military bases," a press release said. "More than 8,200 acres will be open to the public for hiking, birding and other recreational uses. Funds were also granted for 10 projects to restore more than 13 miles of the state’s waterways and five projects designed to introduce innovative techniques for managing stormwater." The fund's website has a full list of recipients and projects.