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League Bulletin

December 11, 2020

WHAT HAPPENED: Firstly, let's point out the Action Alert below. It follows up and down conversations on Capitol Hill on whether any new relief package should include aid for cities and towns. We know the need for comprehensive, flexible aid; you know the need as well. But members of Congress have said they haven't heard it from municipal leaders. 

WHAT IT MEANS: Contact your members of Congress, including Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, to express this need. We've provided points below that you should share in your communications with them. The time is now to do it. 

ON TAP: A new statewide executive order is taking effect today (Friday) to try and rein in the new record numbers health officials are seeing in the COVID-19 pandemic. With a few exemptions, the new stay-home order sets a 10 p.m. curfew. 

THE SKINNY: Thank you for your diligence in addressing these pressing issues for cities and towns. Read on for details, starting with that Action Alert

​Over the last several months, NCLM and its member cities and towns have worked tirelessly advocating for the need for flexible and direct assistance to cities and towns as part of a new round of federal COVID-19 relief. With that action, and that by the National League of Cities, fellow state leagues and their members, advocates for cities and towns in Congress have made such assistance a priority in the on-again, off-again negotiations since spring. But other voices in Congress have questioned our needs, even stating that they have not heard from municipal leaders. 

The earlier efforts of cities and towns could now be close to fruition. A relief package being negotiated by a bipartisan group in Congress and supported by key leaders contains $160 billion for state and local governments.

Please contact your members of Congress, including Senators Burr and Tillis, to urge them to support this funding! Urge them to support funding for municipalities that is direct, flexible and comprehensive. Tell them about how the pandemic and the resurgence of the virus is hurting your city or town in specific ways. 

Let them know that:

-Direct and flexible assistance is required if cities are to receive the needed funding to fill pandemic-caused revenue gaps and prevent a larger economic downturn.

-All cities and towns, regardless of size, are suffering; all need help.

-Cities and towns did not cause the situation that they now find themselves in and the resulting shortfalls; a global pandemic did.

-Roughly 30 percent of municipal general fund dollars go toward public safety, and without help, cuts to these services are inevitable.

-Municipalities are the primary providers of water and sewer service to North Carolinians, and those utility funds are suffering due to bill non-payments even as they have fixed costs that must be paid.

For North Carolina to emerge strong from the economic effects of COVID-19, the financial health of cities and towns is crucial. Contact your members of Congress now and urge them to support direct, flexible and comprehensive funding for cities and towns!  

You can find contact information for your member of Congress here:

​A "Modified Stay at Home Order" requiring people to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. comes into effect today (Friday), and it'll be in place until Jan. 8 at a minimum. It's the latest executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper as state health officials chart new high records in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the nation watches the movement on vaccine availability. The new EO means restaurants, bars, entertainment establishments, personal care businesses and more will have to close by 10 p.m., but it will be permissible to travel to and from work, get food and fuel, access medical care and social services, and take care of family. Anticipating various questions about the new order, the governor's office has prepared a FAQ. “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said in a press release.

State officials are reporting record high COVID-19 numbers daily -- cases, hospitalizations, and percentage of tests coming back positive. The number of North Carolina counties in "critical" status in the ongoing pandemic has more than doubled in the past three weeks -- to 48, up from 20. These are the main data points supporting the state's latest executive order, setting a 10 p.m. curfew as of today (Friday). You'll recall the state's rollout of the COVID-19 County Alert System, including a statewide map of counties each color-coded as either yellow ("significant"), orange ("substantial") or the most severe red ("critical."), being updated every other week. The latest update arrived Tuesday with recommended actions for everyone, including public officials. In all counties, they are asked to: 

-Role model and actively promote 3Ws.

Always wear a mask when you are with

people you do not live with

-Post signs about the 3Ws in all

public buildings

-Work with local media to share

messages about the importance of

wearing a mask and practicing the 3Ws

-Have all public employees download

and use the SlowCOVIDNC app.

Public officials in orange and red counties are asked by the state to consider further measures, including adoption of ordinances. Read the state's latest update for details