Polk approves NCACC legislative goals
Published 11:14 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019
Goals include expanded broadband; revenues for schools and substance abuse
COLUMBUS—The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved new legislative goals for 2019-2020 during a meeting last week.
Commissioners approved a resolution in support of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioner’s goals. The NCACC’s top five goals include seeking legislation to expand digital broadband; seeking additional revenues, including a statewide bond and lottery proceeds to address public school and community college challenges; supporting local option revenue sources already given to any other jurisdiction to all counties; supporting state resources to ensure counties are able to provide essential public health, behavioral health and social services, including addressing substance abuse disorders and seeking legislation to repeal the statutory authority that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over appropriations to the local board of education’s capital outlay fund.
In discussing the goals, Polk County Commissioner Jake Johnson said his only hesitation is seeking a statewide bond. He said while that sounds great, if there ever is a statewide bond, Polk County would need to be very careful where that money goes. Johnson said he would like to make sure there’s language in there about the rural divide, to ensure the money goes to small counties such as Polk.
“It has to be very specific where the money is going,” Johnson said.
Following are the legislative goals for 2019-2020 approved by the NCACC and Polk County:
Tax and Finance Goals
- Support efforts to preserve and expand the existing local revenue base of counties and authorize local option revenue sources already given to any other jurisdiction to all counties. Oppose efforts to divert to the state, fees or taxes currently allocated to the counties or to erode existing county revenue streams.
- Support legislation to remove inequities and inconsistencies in the current state economic tier system.
- Support reinstatement of affordable housing tax credits.
- Seek legislation to maximize remote sales tax collection for counties, including sales tax collection from third-party online sellers.
- Seek legislation to increase funding for the state’s current film grant program and review existing legislation to allow tax incentives and other measures that would encourage expansion of the statewide film industry.
General Government Goals
- Seek legislation, funding and other efforts to expand digital infrastructure/broadband capability to the un-served and under-served areas and residents of the state.
- Support increased state funding for transportation construction and maintenance needs and support legislation to ensure that the Strategic Transportation Investments funding formula recognizes that one size does not fit all and that projects in both rural and urban areas are prioritized and funded.
- Seek legislation to authorize counties to require developers to post maintenance bonds on new construction for subdivision roads.
- Support maintaining county authority and revenue streams associated with the current ABC system, including the flexibility to determine locations of sales and number of outlets.
Health and Human Service Goals
- Seek funding to increase access to high quality childcare and early childhood education.
- Support legislation and state resources for social service reform efforts as identified by the Social Services Working Group to improve outcomes for individuals, families and children and to continue the NCACC’s opposition to mandated regionalization.
- Support continued state funding of Medicaid and support legislation and state funding to close the Medicaid coverage gap.
- Seek to revise the provision in G.S. 108A-74 requiring counties to enter into annual written agreements for all social services programs other than medical assistance.
Public Education Goals
- Seek additional revenue sources, including a statewide bond and lottery proceeds, to equitably address statewide public school and community college capital challenges.
- Support legislation to provide exceptions to the K-3 class size mandate, including but not limited to lack of school facility space and availability of qualified teachers.
- Support legislation providing flexibility to align K-12 and community college calendars.
- Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under N.C. General Statute 115C-431(c) that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over appropriations to the local board of education’s capital outlay fund.
Justice and Public Safety Goals
- Seek legislation to reinstate funding for drug treatment and mental health courts.
- Support legislation and state funding to provide early intervention services for juveniles and fully fund the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.
- Support efforts to provide greater flexibility to local governments in expenditure of 911 surcharge funds and ensure adequate funding for next-gen technology.
- Support state funding and staffing for agricultural research, cooperative extension services and other agriculture-related efforts, including community conservation assistance program to support the largest economic driver in North Carolina.
- Support legislation to protect farming operations from nuisance lawsuits, including those as defined by the state and small farms in rural counties.
- Seek legislation to restore county authority over solid waste management and oppose any further shift of authority away from local governments.
- Support legislation to help improve water quality in the state, including increased funding and resources for state agencies to develop health advisory levels for emerging contaminants and increased funding for water and wastewater expansion as well as capital projects.
- Support additional funding to assist local governments in managing electronics recycling.
- Support increased funding for disaster preparation, assistance and mitigation as well as legislation that expedites and expands county use of federal disaster assistance funds.
- Support funding for behavioral health programs and services to address the opioid and substance abuse epidemic and support flexibility for counties to use funds for prevention and recovery.
- Support funding and legislation to expand high speed broadband access.
- Support measure to reduce the number of people with mental illness in county jails, such as those identified in NACo’s Steppping Up Initiative.
- Support funds for health, human and economic services programs, including temporary assistance for needy families, food and nutrition services and federal block grants.
- Support funding for payment in lieu of taxes, agricultural, conservation, workforce, economic development and infrastructure programs that help counties meet public needs.
- Support coordination with state and local governments when a federal agency, such as EPA, seeks to regulate emerging contaminants and other discharges into drinking water sources.
- Oppose unfunded mandates and changes in eligibility for federal programs that shift costs to counties.
- Support timely reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, including greater flexibility and increased funding to fully restore programs to pre-sequestrian levels.
Resolution in support of the 2019-2020 NCACC legislative goals
Editor’s Note: following is a resolution the Polk County Board of Commissioners adopted last week in support of the 2019-2020 North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ legislative goals.
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners was founded in 1908 as a membership organization to represent the interests of counties before the General Assembly;
WHEREAS, all 100 counties are voluntary members of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, making the NCACC the official voice of North Carolina counties;
WHEREAS, every two years, the membership of the NCACC develops and approves a package of legislative proposals designed to protect and enhance the interests of county governments and the citizens who live in our 100 counties;
WHEREAS, the process to generate this package of legislative goals is deliberate and inclusive and provides extensive opportunities for counties to be involved;
WHEREAS, Polk County is an active participant within the NCACC and participated in the process to develop these legislative proposals, and the attached proposals represent the collective wishes of all 100 counties;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Polk County Board of Commissioners adopt this resolution in support of the legislative proposals adopted by the NCACC membership at its Legislative Goals Conference held in Wake County, North Carolina on Jan. 10 and 11, 2019.