Current Goals

2011-2012 Legislative Goals
As adopted by membership during the January 20-21 Legislative Goals Conference. Read a conference recap.

Agriculture | Environment | Health and Human Services | Intergovernmental Relations | Justice and Public Safety | Public Education | Tax and Finance | Youth Issues

Priority Goals
  1. Oppose shift of state transportation responsibilities to counties
  2. Reinstate average daily membership (ADM) and lottery funds for school construction
  3. Ensure adequate mental health funding
  4. Preserve the existing local revenue base
  5. Authorize local revenue options

Agriculture
  • Fund agricultural research and extension services - Support legislation to increase agricultural research and extension services and maintain existing research stations at current levels.
  • Maximize availability of adoptable animals - Seek legislation to increase adoption opportunities for county animal control facilities by clarifying ownership proof and increasing shelter director discretion.
  • Support conservation of working lands and farmland preservation - Support legislation to promote and preserve working farmlands by including these lands in the state tourism plan by:
    • Authorizing counties to implement transfer of development rights
    • Maintaining funding for the Ag Development and Farmland Preservation Trust
    • Retaining the current authority for the present use value system
  • Support Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council recommendations - Support legislation to implement the Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council's recommendations, including a prohibition against municipal involuntary annexation or regulation of farm or forestry activities within a voluntary agricultural district or conservation district and support state funding to maintain and enhance the North Carolina Transition Network.

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Environment
  • Authorize county oversight of bio-solids disposal - Support legislation to authorize counties to regulate, but not prohibit, bio-solids application activities, including the acceptable "classes" of bio-solids for application and the prohibition of bio-solids application in certain environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Clarify yard waste facility runoff statutes - Seek legislation to clarify that runoff from yard waste staging areas at county landfills does not require wastewater treatment.
  • Create study commission on horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and uranium mining - Seek legislation to create a study commission on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for shale gas deposits and uranium mining.
  • Enhance river basin monitoring and streamline rule-making - Enhance monitoring for all river basins in North Carolina and review the rule-making process to enhance regional cooperation.
  • Streamline water supply reservoir permitting - Seek legislation to streamline local water supply reservoir permitting without sacrificing the scientific rigor of environmental impact assessment and ensure adequate opportunities for public and local official comment.

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Health and Human Services
  • Allow county flexibility to organize local human services.
  • Ensure adequate mental health funding:
    • Oppose legislation to close state-funded beds until there is adequate capacity statewide.
    • Seek legislation to ensure adequate capacity of state-funded acute psychiatric beds.
    • Seek legislation to maintain the existing levels of state funding for community mental health services.
  • Expedite North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology (NC FAST) automation and policy simplification - Seek legislation to expedite the implementation of NC FAST and ensure automation builds on program and policy simplification that includes interface protocols.
  • Increase state / county special assistance residency requirements - Seek legislation to increase the number of days to establish residency for special assistance from 90 to 180 days, except for persons who have entered the state to be supported by a close relative.
  • Maintain childcare subsidy funds and allocate to counties:
    • Oppose legislation that would reduce childcare subsidy funding.
    • Seek legislation to allocate all childcare subsidy funding directly to counties.
  • Maintain Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to counties - Seek legislation to maintain existing levels of county TANF funding to support and fund county Department of Social Services (DSS) programs.
  • Maintain childcare subsidy administration - Seek legislation to maintain the childcare subsidy administration funding at 5%.
  • Oppose legislation that would mandate consolidation of social services functions.
  • Organize human services based on community need - Seek legislation to allow counties to organize human services based on community need, including the removal of the population threshold in 153A-77.
  • Require back-up generators for adult-care homes - Seek legislation to require all new adult-care homes to have back-up generators prior to receiving certificates of occupancy and require all existing adult-care homes to be equipped with back-up generators within 3 years.
  • Retain "electing" counties' financial incentives - Seek legislation to retain financial incentives for counties to be "electing" counties.
  • Retain state aid to counties - Seek legislation to retain the state aid to counties to maintain federal matching funds.

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Intergovernmental Relations
  • Authorize counties to offer broadband through partnership or direct service - Seek legislation to authorize counties to provide high-speed internet through direct county service or public-private partnerships.
  • Authorize electronic notice of public hearings and other legal notices - Seek legislation to provide counties with options for notice of public hearings, notice of delinquent taxpayers and other legal notices, through electronic means.
  • Eliminate second primary and run-off elections - Seek legislation to eliminate second primary and run-off elections.
  • Implement combined motor vehicle registration and property tax collection system - Seek legislation to ensure that the combined motor vehicle registration and property tax collection system is implemented within the statutory deadline.
  • Modernize annexation laws - Seek legislation modernizing the annexation laws as follows:
    • Allowing the Board of Commissioners to request a referendum on any proposed involuntary annexation
    • Increasing the degree of urbanization required to annex property
    • Prohibiting municipalities from annexing across county boundaries without prior consent of the Board of Commissioners of the affected county. In an instance where a municipality has already annexed across county lines, further annexation cannot occur without consent of the affected county
    • Providing that counties have the option of continuing to provide utilities to annexed areas
    • Requiring cities to reimburse counties for the loss of sales tax due to an annexation
    • Requiring the development of joint utility service plans for urbanizing areas
    • Requiring the direct provision of municipal water and sewer services to customers within 3 years of an annexation
    • Setting the effective date for involuntary annexations to be June 30 following the date of adoption or final resolution of an appeal
  • Modernize public records retention - Seek legislation to modernize public records retention to permit records storage in digital format.
  • Oppose collective bargaining for public employees - Oppose legislation to authorize local governments to enter into collective bargaining agreements with public employees or to mandate dues check-off programs.
  • Oppose contributory negligence tort reform - Oppose tort reform legislation that would overburden county budgetary constraints, unfairly shift fault to counties or increase demand for court facilities.
  • Oppose shift of state transportation responsibilities to counties - Oppose legislation to shift the state's responsibility for funding transportation construction and maintenance projects to counties.
  • Promote utilization of 9-1-1 centers by protecting confidentiality - Seek legislation to promote the reporting of criminal activity by protecting the confidentiality of callers by using either transcripts or voice-altered recordings to prevent recognition and to make appropriate amendments to public records laws.
  • Protect local control of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) system - Seek legislation to protect local control of the local ABC system, including all local revenue streams generated through local ABC store operations.
  • Protect privacy of citizen email notification and distribution lists - Seek legislation to protect the privacy of email notification and distribution lists of citizens who have requested electronic communication with their local governments.
  • Reform workers' compensation - Support legislation to reform North Carolina's workers' compensation system to reduce disability findings and open-ended streams of payment, to address the trend in favor of long-term disability findings, to diminish control over these findings on the part of claimants and their legal representatives and to curtail adoption of rules that limit return-to-work efforts.
  • Repeal public employee personnel record changes - Repeal HB 961. Seek legislation that will better clarify issues regarding privacy of public employee personnel records and release of other public records.
  • Support Rural Transportation Planning Organizations (RPOs) - Support legislation to maintain the funding for RPOs.

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Justice and Public Safety
  • Allow court facility fee flexibility - Seek legislation to allow counties to collect additional fees to support specialty courts and help fund capital, operational and other needs associated with increasing demands on our judicial system.
  • Authorize inmate electronic monitoring cost reimbursement - Seek legislation to authorize counties to seek reimbursement from defendants for electronic monitoring; based on ability to pay.
  • Improve inmate medical care cost containment - Seek legislation that would authorize medical care providers to charge the state and counties no more than the rates set in the Medicaid or Medicare schedule of charges for inmate medical care.
  • Maintain funding for gang and adolescent substance abuse programs - Maintain funding for gang prevention and adolescent substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
  • Protect the county jail system.
    • Oppose legislation to increase time counties are mandated to house state misdemeanants.
    • Seek legislation to protect the fiscal viability of the county jail system by reinstating the reimbursement rate for state inmates housed in county jails and increasing the reimbursement rate for state inmates awaiting post-trial prison transfer.

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Public Education
  • Authorize county use of lottery funds for technology - Seek legislation to authorize counties to use lottery funds to address school technology needs.
  • Increase high school graduation rates - Support legislation that encourages students to complete their high school education by recognizing alternative graduation methods and by excluding from the definition of dropouts those youth enrolled in high school equivalency programs at community colleges.
  • Reinstate ADM and lottery funds for school construction - Seek legislation to fully reinstate the ADM funds and lottery proceeds to the Public School Building Capital Fund.

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Tax and Finance
  • Allow hospital authority access to setoff debt collection - Seek legislation to authorize hospital authorities to participate in the setoff debt collection program.
  • Allow solid waste authority access to setoff debt collection - Seek legislation to authorize solid waste authorities to participate in the setoff debt collection program.
  • Authorize local revenue options - Seek legislation to allow all counties to enact by resolution or, at the option of the Board of Commissioners, by voter referendum any or all revenue options from among those that have been authorized for any other county.
  • Clarify centralized listing and assessing of cellular and cable companies - Seek legislation to implement the central listing and assessment of cellular and cable companies.
  • Clarify definition of charity eligible for property tax relief - Seek legislation to clarify the definition of charity and set a cap amount for hospitals, facilities financed through Medical Care Commission bonds and continuing care facilities, and require that any property valuation exclusion formula provide for a higher test of charity.
  • Manufactured home taxes paid before transfer - Seek legislation to require that all taxes levied on manufactured homes be paid before the home may be moved, repossessed or sold on site.
  • Preserve the existing local revenue base.
  • Recover costs through in rem foreclosure fee - Seek legislation to increase the reimbursement rate for in rem foreclosure collection efforts to recover actual costs, including legal expenses.
  • Require sales tax reported at 9-digit zip code - Seek legislation to require that large vendors report sales tax by the 9-digit zip code.
  • Set property tax relief application deadline at June 1 - Seek legislation to establish June 1 as the statutory deadline for exemption, deferment and other property tax relief applications.
  • Simplify register of deeds fees - Support legislation to require that all real estate recording fees charged by the register of deeds be set at appropriate flat rates, with a single rate paid to a single state agency, provided that implementation of this legislation not reduce any revenues to any county.
  • Standardize local vehicle fees - Seek legislation to require that all local vehicle fees be adopted at the time the tax rate is adopted and impose the fees on all registered and unregistered vehicles.

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Youth Issues
  • Dropouts - North Carolina's drop-out rate is at 1-third; more dropout prevention programs are needed.
  • Education issues / school funding - Schools need money to provide more classes and extracurricular activities. Young people need to prepare for and find money to help pay for college. Youths want to think their needs are recognized, and they want more opportunities at school.
  • Health issues - Obesity, healthy lifestyles education, healthy food in school cafeterias, and chronic disease reduction are important to young people.
  • Lack of things to do - There should be more safe and effective activities for youth to participate in. There should be a partnership between youth development programs with constructive and positive activities.
  • Lack of youth voice in community - Youths need to have their voices included in political decisions; youths should take the initiative with governmental officials to have opportunities to express their opinions.
  • Recreation - This includes community activities, intramural sports, funding for youth centers and other facilities and safe places, and unstructured activities. Re-evaluate current parks and recreation programs. Paying for sports can be expensive.
  • Socio-economics - Adults and teens need jobs; unemployment is getting worse. Poverty and hunger are problems, especially in small counties with low economic ratings; family income is below average. Other issues are identity theft, and family money management; many grandparents with low incomes are raising grandchildren.
  • Substance abuse - This includes illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs. Younger children are trying tobacco.
  • Teen pregnancy - Prevention, sex education and related health issues; It starts a chain reaction and teenagers face tough decisions.
  • Violence - This includes bullying, gangs, crime and physical harm. Education is needed on safety issues, recognizing that "unsafe" actions impact others, such as friends and family.

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