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League Bulletin

December 18, 2020

WHAT HAPPENED: The League called on its member cities and towns to review and vote on 2021-2022 goals. The advancement of racial equity was in conversation among state leaders. And the vaccine made it into North Carolina.

WHAT IT MEANS: If there's a thread running through it all, it's the future -- what the standout experience of life and work in the year 2020 means for us as we head into a new year.

ON TAP: And in January, groups eyeing the state's predicament with transportation funding -- a headline issue in recent times as sources like the gas tax decline -- are expected to produce recommendations to turn things around. 

THE SKINNY: After such a tumultuous 2020, motivation is on. For our member cities and towns, the action to take now is to review and vote on the slate of proposed advocacy goals the League sent out by email this week. We thank you for all you do.

​State leaders on both a House working group and a task force convened by Gov. Roy Cooper finalized recommendations this week meant to advance racial equity. Of interest to cities, many of the recommendations concerned policing practices and culture. Legislators would need to pass bills—and Governor Cooper would need to sign them into law—before many of the recommendations would be effective. Each group produced extensive reports with dozens of suggestions for change, and the governor’s task force also included historical and cultural background to contextualize its recommendations. The legislative report did not include draft legislation.

City officials had a seat at the table in both groups that formed these recommendations. League Board of Directors member Nicole Steward of the Raleigh City Council served on the legislative working group, as did Charlotte Council Member Tariq Bokhari. Meanwhile, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin led many of the discussion groups for Governor Cooper’s task force, which also counted Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis, Apex Police Chief John Letteney, and Raleigh Police Sergeant Billy Gartin as members.

Municipal leaders, thank you for your attention and diligence as the League's legislative policy goals planning process is almost complete. All that remains is for member cities and towns to review the proposed goals sent to them via email this week and cast their votes. We need your help and participation in this last, and most important, step in the process.

Thank you for the work you have already completed; we have received over 450 ideas from 165 individuals representing 114 municipalities. After the dedicated work by the Legislative Policy Committee to compile and refine the submitted goals, the NCLM Board of Directors has reviewed, approved and submitted 17 proposed advocacy goals for consideration. 

Your job now is to review and vote on the proposed goals so that cities and towns have a focused state and federal advocacy agenda for the 2021-2022 legislative biennium, which begins in January at the N.C. General Assembly.

Each municipality will cast a single vote by selecting 10 of the 17 proposed goals.

To vote, your municipality must:

  1. Designate a single Voting Delegate who will cast the municipality's vote by January 14, 2021. If your municipality has not yet designated its Voting Delegate, please do so using this form. Official voting instructions and the ballot will be sent directly to the Voting Delegate.
  2. Review, discuss and determine which of the proposed advocacy goals your municipality supports. Each municipality may select 10 of the 17 proposed goals.
  3. Submit the online ballot by January 15, 2021. The Voting Delegate will receive voting instructions and the online ballot directly.
Thank you for your continued participation in this legislative goal planning process, which is so critical to our advocacy efforts. Establishing these Municipal Advocacy Goals with wide participation by all cities and towns allows our organization to speak with confidence and sincerity as we pursue each with state and federal policymakers. It truly allows us to live up to our motto, “Working as one, advancing all."

​The League will host one more meeting with the N.C. Pandemic Recovery Office (NCPRO) on Monday in advance of the current Dec. 30 deadline for Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) expenditures. Staff from NCPRO will provide local governments with recent information related to the CRF. The call will feature a Q&A session to allow our members to pose any specific questions they may have. 

  • MONDAY, Dec. 21 | 2 p.m.
If you've missed previous calls and would like to catch up, recordings of all calls can be found on the right-hand side of the webpage here. Login information has been emailed directly to members. For questions, please contact NCLM's Chris Nida.

​Updates on potential long-term revenue solutions for the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are expected next month as groups meet to discuss the matter. The NC FIRST Commission, whose roster includes Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly and Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eislet, plans to release its final recommendations on future transportation funding at its Jan. 8, 2021 meeting, a final gathering for the group that formed in early 2019. Meanwhile, the NC Chamber is leading Destination 2030, a coalition of businesses and statewide groups, including the League.

Transportation funding troubles are a long-monitored matter in North Carolina, in part with tapering gas tax revenues -- NCDOT’s primary supply -- per weaker sales and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. Recent headlines about the agency have focused on financial difficulties related to natural disasters and big legal settlements, among other factors. But discussion at a Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee last week did raise news of a temporary rebound for NCDOT. Committee members learned of a nearly $1 billion cash balance at the agency, credited to reduced spending and project delays along with additional funds from the early sale of Build NC bonds and better-than-expected revenues in the pandemic. But when summer returns, spending will increase and project costs will continue to grow beyond planned levels mostly due to higher-than-expected construction and land acquisition costs. By fall 2021, officials expect a cash decline below the target range for the agency. 

​Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), witnessed some of the first of the state’s COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday. The Pfizer vaccine went to health care professionals working with infected patients at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, according to a press release. It was one of 11 hospitals that received vaccines earlier this week; more than 40 additional hospitals in the state received the vaccine a couple days later. “With the Moderna vaccine expected to receive authorization soon, even more health care providers throughout North Carolina will begin receiving vaccinations,” the release said. What comes next? Health care workers are the first priority for the governor’s team, followed by residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The DHHS Vaccine Plan has more on the distribution ahead.

The League is thrilled to unveil its newly designed Southern City. This new issue provides key updates from the League offices and on the legislative front. We also feature a successful economic development approach from several of our towns, a profile of Durham Councilmember Mark-Anthony Middleton, a review of a chaotic census, and more.

Check out those stories at, or read the entire issue here.