Monday, June 9, 2014 —
In the midst of the budget cuts, tax changes and policy overhauls of the legislative short session, state representatives got a visit from several of Stanly County’s municipal leaders.
More than 15 elected officials from Albemarle, Badin and Norwood joined about 600 other municipal representatives in Raleigh Wednesday as part of Town Hall Day, an event sponsored by the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
“It is a time for local government officials to go to Raleigh as a group and essentially, though this may not be the right word for it, lobby against what we don’t want,” Albemarle Councilwoman and long-time League leader Martha Sue Hall said.
To start, the League gave a presentation outlining several of those issues of interest in this year’s legislative session. Issues ranged from the elimination of business privilege licenses to potential restrictions on municipal authority to regulate building aesthetics within its limits.
Municipal representatives then had the opportunity to hear from Gov. Pat McCrory and to speak with their respective state representatives.
“We did hear from the governor and we were able to speak with Sen. (Gene) McLaurin (D-Richmond),” Hall said.
However, due to changes in the General Assembly’s schedule, they were not able to talk with Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly.
“It went well though, we had a good delegation there,” Hall said.
“And every time you go to the General Assembly you learn new things,” Hall said.
This year, though, those new things are looking rather rough for municipalities, she added.
The General Assembly has already approved legislation that will eventually eliminate business privilege, a major source of revenue for many N.C. municipalities, including several in Stanly County.
The Senate has also proposed heavy cuts to education funding that may not directly affect cities, but do affect the counties they are in.
Albemarle councilors have also heard that a cap on how much and how quickly municipalities can increase property taxes has been considered as well.
“So much of this seems to revolve around the state trying to direct [municipalities], particularly through their revenue sources,” Hall said.
In a statement to the press, League President and Goldsboro Mayor Al King said that this is one of the main reasons the organization was glad to see so many local government officials come out for Town Hall Day.
“It’s necessary that our municipal officials are present in Raleigh,” he said.
“Our job as elected leaders is to represent our citizens and ensure the passing legislation is helpful to them.”
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