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League Bulletin

November 15, 2019

​WHAT HAPPENED: After a brief pause, the legislature reconvened in Raleigh this week with redistricting​ the marquee task, though doors were open for additional topics. Resolving N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) funding issues​, in a bill now on the governor's desk, along with teac​​​​her pay came up. Lawmakers also approved a disaster recovery bill we'll examine in this Bulletin. 
WHAT IT MEANS: Lawsuits and arguments and policy questions have clung to redistricting for a long time and can flame-up party lines like little else, which may give this session a certain inescapable tone. But it's meant to be quick, with lawmakers soon heading home for the remainder of 2019 (and coming back shortly into 2020). 
ON TAP: All the same, some lawmakers opposed leaving the current session without passage of a comprehensive state budget, which has been a lasting donnybrook for North Ca​​rolina. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson and his party protested an adjournment resolution on that basis. As of this writing, bills including the NCDOT funding​ and the storm recovery pieces were on the governor's desk awaiting action. 
THE SKINNY: The Senate is scheduled for a voting session today at 2 p.m., with a UNC Board of Governors vacancy on the agenda. The adjournment resolution passed the House on a 58-42 party liner and is now in a Senate committee for consideration. Currently, it doesn’t specify an adjournment date; it only says it’s effective upon ratification.

Lawmakers have placed on Gov. Roy Cooper's desk a package bill with more infusions in the state's recovery from recent years’ heavy seasonal storms. HB 200​​ would allocate $70 million in nonrecurring funds to the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund as a source of matching dollars for assistance programs; allocate more than $33 million to a separate fund for ugly storms Matthew, Michael and Dorian; and nearly $18 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. 
Of specific interest to municipalities, the bill allocates $15 million to Golden LEAF for grants that local governments unsuccessful with past relief-aid deadlines could access. Local governments could also use the state's list of pre-qualified contractors for bidding on recovery contracts to speed things up. It gives the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency $10 million for flexible local government loans to help with cash flow while they await reimbursements. The same office gets $5 million for local government grants related to Dorian. 
While it received nearly unanimous approval across the legislature, it hadn't received a verdict from the governor as of this writing. (News outlets had reported on a provision in the bill that wasn't well received​ by Governor Cooper's office. It stated that "all funds received by the State, including cash gifts and donations, shall be deposited into the State treasury," which the governor's office reportedly saw as a power grab.) 

A draft plan​ for spending nearly $170 million from the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation fund for better resiliency is ready for public comment. Rebuild NC, a state program under the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, says comments -- due Dec. 23 -- should go to, or by mail to Attn: Mitigation Action Plan, P.O. Box 110465, Durham, NC 27709, or in person at a public hearing. Two of them are planned for early December; Rebuild NC says details will be announced. The bulk of the funding eyes property buyouts in floodplains. “North Carolinians who have seen unprecedented storm damage over the last couple of years know we must rebuild stronger and smarter," said Gov. Roy Cooper. "I encourage storm survivors to weigh in during the public comment period so we can continue to get assistance to those who need it." A fact-sheet​ about the program offers specifics for anyone wanting to better understand mitigation and how the funding could be used.

The community of Archer Lodge, which dates to the 1800s, is certainly not new. Even the feeling of being a town is a relatively old one, according to Town Administrator Mike Gordon, as the area had maintained a loose organization for the past several decades. The tale is detailed on Here We Grow, the economic development storytelling website from the League and WRAL TechWire​ for North Carolina municipalities. The reality of incorporation, however, has far surpassed what was previously only an idea at Archer Lodge. And only 10 years in, the new local government has produced great successes for the people of Archer Lodge. "I'm glad we did what we did," said Gordon. "We've given ourselves self-governance and a say in what happens in our community." Read Archer Lodge's full story​ on Here We Grow. Have a local success, project, or initiative you'd like to share? Reach out to NCLM Communications Associate Jack Cassidy.