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League Bulletin

December 20, 2019

WHAT HAPPENED: Generally, holiday shopping, volunteering, thinking of loved ones, baking cookies, and taking in the seasonal music.
WHAT IT MEANS: It's that time of year, and while we have a bulletin this week with news of importance to cities and towns, we won't next week, as we'll be spending time with family and friends and regrouping for a new year ahead.

ON TAP: We'll remind you that the legislature is scheduled to return to business early into 2020, on Jan. 14, but for now it's eggnog and gingerbread and other calories we'll resolve to work off in the new year. 

THE SKINNY: Skinny may be the wrong word, given what we just discussed, but we hope you find relaxation and happy times during your holiday break, while thinking also of our dedicated municipal workers who keep our communities running. Read on for this week's brief legislative and policy news. 

NCLM Executive Director Paul Meyer told members of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Broadband Task Force on Thursday that passage of HB 431 FIBER NC Act​ is critical if North Carolina is to close its digital divide. Meyer and N.C. Association of County Commissioners Executive Director Kevin Leonard were invited to speak at a monthly meeting of the task force, formed by Governor Cooper by executive order to examine ways to improve broadband access. Meyer, in his presentation, noted that a League policy goal focused on using public-private partnerships​ to improve broadband access was member-driven and reflected real needs across the state. He pointed out that public-private partnerships are working well in other states and that it makes sense that a range of policy groups – whether concerned about education, health care or housing – are supporting the concept and HB 431. Task force members asked a number of questions, including several focused on needs in rural towns represented by NCLM and missed economic opportunities due to a lack of reliable access.

Gov. Roy Cooper's office this week released a long list ​of his latest appointments to state boards and commissions, and municipal experience stands out for a few. Charlotte City Council's Victoria Watlington has been appointed to the N.C. Building Code Council, as she's a licensed professional engineer, general contractor and certified project manager, according to the governor's announcement. She fills a role reserved for a municipal official on the board. Meanwhile, Victoria Garrett, who is a recreation center assistant supervisor with the City of High Point, received an appointment to the State Youth Advisory Council, as did Wadesboro Mayor Pro Tem Frederick A Davis, who is the principal of Wadesboro Primary School. Kyle Sonnenberg of Southern Pines was appointed to an at-large seat on the N.C. Zoological Park Council. Sonnenberg is a public affairs columnist for the Southern Pines Pilot newspaper and, according to the governor's office, worked in city management for more than three decades.

Just in time for the holidays, the League has released its most recent Quarterly Revenue Report, available in an interactive Microsoft PowerBI format, as well as PDF. As always, both are housed on the League’s website. The latest report includes state-collected local revenues received by local governments for the first quarter of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, including local option sales and use taxes, utility sales taxes (on electricity, piped natural gas, telecommunications, and local video programming), and solid waste disposal tax. Direct questions to Chris Nida​.