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Cities, Towns Approve Priorities for 2019-20 Legislative Session

​Transportation, Broadband Infrastructure Top Focus of Municipal Leaders​

​​November 30, 2018

(RALEIGH) – Member cities and towns of the North Carolina League of Municipalities have approved priorities for the 2019-20 legislative biennium, focusing on transportation and broadband investment, as well as solutions to create more affordable housing.

In all, more than 200 municipal officials representing over 100 cities and towns approved 17 legislative goals during Thursday's Advocacy Goals Conference held in Raleigh. The approval of these legislative priorities marked the culmination of months of work by the League's three policy committees, as well as the organization's Board of Directors, as municipal officials considered, debated and refined dozens of proposed goals submitted by member municipalities.

“This effort and this process is so important because it allows us to speak with a unified voice," said NCLM President and Jacksonville Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lazzara. “By working as one, and speaking as one, we advance all. And it is that process – coming together today and working on these goals collectively through our representative committees – that gives these goals power."

The approved legislative priorities include one that calls for state distributions for city-maintained roads, known as Powell Bill funding, to be sustained and grow over time, and another more general goal calling for additional funding for public transit and transportation programs. In recent years, Powell Bill distributions have been flat, even as road maintenance costs have increased.

A separate goal approved by municipal representatives calls for legislation granting local governments the authority to build broadband infrastructure and to partner with private internet service providers using long-term infrastructure leases. That measure falls in line with recent League efforts focused on creating better broadband access for residents and businesses.

Other legislative priorities approved by League member cities and towns addressed affordable housing, sales tax distribution and authority, the repeal of a school funding provision in last year's budget, the state historic tax credit and other economic-focused incentives, public safety funding, stormwater infrastructure, maintaining the fiscal integrity of the Local Government Employees' Retirement System, the public release of law enforcement recordings, and preserving local authority and local revenue streams related to the sale of liquor.

The conference included Gov. Roy Cooper speaking to municipal officials about hurricane recovery, with the governor noting that Republicans and Democrats set aside partisan differences to approve a comprehensive recovery package. Cooper predicted further cooperation as a result of the November elections, and pointed out that as Senate majority leader in the late 1990s – when the Senate was controlled by Democrats and the House by Republicans – he has already worked in a political environment where party cooperation was necessary.

He also praised municipal officials for being on the front lines of hurricane response and recovery. And Cooper endorsed the idea that municipalities need more flexibility to set their own course. “I am not just saying this. You will see this in my actions," the governor said.

Other speakers at the event were Melodee Colbert-Kean, past president of the National League of Cities and a City Council member from Joplin, Missouri, who spoke about her city's recovery from a devastating 2011 tornado, and State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who addressed his efforts to ensure the fiscal integrity of the state and local government pension system.

You can find the full list of NCLM's approved Advocacy Goals here.

About the League

The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a membership association of 540 great hometowns – representing nearly every municipality in the state. The League advocates for its members, from the largest city to the smallest village, on the full range of legislative issues that affect municipalities.

For more than 100 years, the League has promoted – and continues to promote – good government by offering non-partisan advocacy, insurance and other services – as directed by its membership.​