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League Bulletin

October 9, 2020

​WHAT HAPPENED: North Carolina’s 2020 Census participation numbers jumped, thanks to your hard work in the homestretch of this vital operation. Meanwhile, President Trump signaled a halt on COVID-19 relief package work through Election Day.

WHAT IT MEANS: Both concern access to funds in difficult times for our communities. The prospective relief package, currently paused in development, would ideally avail funds for immediate needs, depending on negotiations when they resume, while the Census directly impacts communities’ access to billions and billions of dollars in the next decade. You’ve taken that seriously and have demonstrably impacted the outcome of the latter.

ON TAP: Your voices and involvement can affect the shape of things to come, which is why you should make sure to register for one of our policy and legislation goals-setting sessions, which we’re conducting in accessible, virtual fashion – starting Monday. This is your opportunity to directly build the list of priority goals of cities and towns for the next legislative biennium. Learn more and register online today. In other upcoming events, more info sessions from the N.C. Pandemic Recovery Office on the CARES Act and spending and reporting requirements are planned.

THE SKINNY: We break it down here with brief articles that go straight to the point, with links to outside reading and other information to help you navigate further.

​The League in the coming weeks will host several policy discussion sessions – the first scheduled for Monday -- for members to share their ideas for legislation and policymaking in the 2021-2022 biennium. Choose from one of six, live web-based meetings and fill out a registration form to attend. (No in-person meetings will be held.)

We need your participation to make sure cities' and towns' voices are heard and the issues that matter to you are included in our legislative goals package. Space is limited -- make sure your city or town is represented by registering today. Cities and towns may also submit their goal suggestions in writing via our online form by Nov. 5.

This is a chance to have a direct role in the process. Thank you for your participation. We look forward to interacting with you.

​North Carolina’s participation in the 2020 Census has climbed to 99.6 percent -- a nearly 20 percent increase over the last month, according to a state-by-state ranking of response rates. Time is running out for the decennial headcount, but the Census Bureau is still accepting responses. North Carolina's remaining uncounted percentage still equates to millions of dollars, so if you haven't responded or know of community members that haven't responded, make that final push now. The state has a website of resources to help – – and offers strategies for hard-to-count populations, such as young children. The League thanks you for your diligent efforts on this critical count. Cities and towns across the state responded to the call and put in true, on-the-ground work to make sure our state receives the funding and representation it deserves. 

​Federal politics are always in flux, but President Trump early this week ordered a halt on negotiations toward more COVID-19 relief funds through Election Day, Nov. 3. The Associated Press reported that the president cited U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dollar figure for state and local government aid – more than $400 billion, which is much more than Trump’s team called for -- in the stoppage. Part of a tweet thread that was critical of U.S. House leadership included the following statement: “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.” He did, however, a short time later, again on Twitter, call upon Congress to quickly approve new stimulus checks, money for airline companies and funds for the Paycheck Protection Program toward small business.

​Southern City, the League’s quarterly glossy magazine celebrating and sharing stories from North Carolina’s cities and towns and leadership, has come out with its third-quarter edition, this time taking on some of the difficult issues 2020 has brought municipalities. League President Jennifer Robinson, the Cary Town Council member, sets the tone with an introductory message calling it “unquestionably the most challenging time facing local governments and locally elected officials in decades.” President Robinson continues: “As my term as president of the North Carolina League of Municipalities begins, I know that many of you struggle with the huge questions of the day: how do we emerge from this global pandemic and best help protect our residents’ health and their economic future; and, how do we best address calls for social justice and more equitable approaches to policing? These are not easy questions, and will not be solved with a single or a simple answer. Solutions will require a lot of hard work, listening and all segments of our society pulling together.... The COVID-19 crisis and its economic effects are creating hardship and tragedy. It’s not easy for any of us. But a silver lining is that we can and are reimagining the ways in which we do business. And we can continue doing so, bringing services to our residents in more effective and cost-efficient ways that last beyond this pandemic and are part of a brighter tomorrow.” Read the full issue online now.

​The N.C. Pandemic Recovery Office, or NC PRO, will hold another round of calls with local governments next week to provide updates and Q&A opportunity. These calls – 11 a.m. to noon on both Wednesday the 14th and Thursday the 15th – will share the same general information, with updates on the CARES Act and spending and reporting requirements. Stay tuned: Members will receive invitations for both calls. Please attend the session that works best for your schedule.