The League’s newly formed Broadband Task Force kicked off its work this week with an initial discussion of the state’s broadband policy. Task force members also learned about legal changes needed to give local governments the ability to build and lease broadband infrastructure as part of a public-private partnership. Several dozen local officials belong to the group, where they serve as strategic advisers and leaders in the effort to bring community-led broadband to North Carolina. For an overview of broadband policy in North Carolina, the League has produced several resources, including this webinar and slide show presentation and a report, “Leaping the Digital Divide.” Contact: Erin Wynia
Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday signed an executive order to establish a commission to ensure 2020 Census results reflect North Carolina fully and accurately. He also named members, including Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, to the body, called the North Carolina Complete Count Commission. The executive order notes that the decennial headcount will "determine how the federal government distributes $400 billion in funding, including an estimated $16 billion for critical community services, housing, economic development, as well as other needs and services in North Carolina." It adds that "planning, outreach, local government involvement and community education are required to ensure that the census is as accurate as possible." The commission is tasked with, among other things, helping the U.S. Census Bureau recruit North Carolinians to be census workers, developing public and private partnerships that help the cause, and strategizing ways to connect with "historically hard-to-count populations," which may include members of the military, rural residents and non-native English speakers. Joining Mayor Hemminger on the 24-member commission are state legislators and leaders from various public and private entities.
The League of Municipalities continues our fundraising campaign to get help directly to municipal employees who have suffered significant losses in the recent disasters affecting North Carolina. The Hometown Care Disaster Relief Fund will provide grants for municipal employees. To fund it, the League has made an initial donation of $25,000, and is soliciting donations directly from the League’s business partners, other state municipal leagues, and the general public. If you are able, please make a personal donation to the Hometown Care Disaster Relief Fund by clicking here and share the campaign on your social media accounts to better our chances of success. If disaster has affected you and you wish to learn more about the grant program, including information about how to apply for a personal grant, please see our Hometown Care page or contact Michael Naylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the General Assembly’s passage of $800 million in additional state hurricane assistance, the Golden LEAF Foundation has been provided $20 million for grants to local governments to repair and replace vehicles, equipment, facilities, and water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. You can find the online application form and information about the program here and answers to frequently asked questions here.
The N.C. Department of Commerce has also announced that the state has received a federal grant to provide temporary employment to address hurricane damage and administration needs as a result of that damage. The grants for those jobs may last up to 12 months, and municipalities are among the entities eligible. There is no match required for organizations that meet eligibility requirements. The department says interested entities can contact their local Workforce Development Board of local NCWorks Career Center to learn more, and also visit www.NCWorks.gov.
You can also find additional meeting dates for FEMA Public Assistance applicant briefings here, meetings that are considered crucial to receiving information necessary for federal reimbursement for debris removal and emergency protective measures. North Carolina and FEMA are now providing the first temporary housing units to households displaced by Hurricane Florence, and you can find information about that assistance here.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service is accepting requests for assistance to help communities protect eligible infrastructure such as roads, bridges, housing and businesses from erosion and watershed hazards caused by Hurricane Florence. The deadline to request assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program is Nov. 15. Learn more about the program here.
Plan to attend the Advocacy Goals Conference not only for the important debate and voting on the issues that the League will prioritize during the upcoming state legislative biennium, but also to learn about available disaster-related resources for immediate recovery needs related to the hurricanes and preparation for future events. Lunchtime keynote speaker will be past National League of Cities president Melodee Colbert-Kean, a member of the Joplin, Mo., City Council and former mayor, who will discuss her city's resiliency after being struck by a devastating tornado in 2011.
Join the League and Duke Energy for a webinar on street lighting strategies and rate updates. This webinar is set for Thursday, Nov. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. and will serve as a continuation of discussions that began after the League in 2013 intervened in the utility’s rate cases before the N.C. Utilities Commission. In addition to offering technical expertise about the new rates for outdoor lighting, Duke’s outdoor lighting team will discuss the process and overview for converting lights to LED and give an update on their small attachment capabilities. For more information and to register, click here.