Featured Posts on Budgeting

Public School Funding Dispute Resolution Process Revisited

Public School Funding Dispute Resolution Process Revisited

In Union County Board of Education vs. Union County Board of Commissioners, ___ N.C. App. ___, No. COA14-633 (Apr. 7, 2015), the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed a trial court judgment in favor of the Union County Board of Education in the amount of $91,157,139, holding that the trial ...

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Determining Local Board of Elections Director’s Salary

Determining Local Board of Elections Director’s Salary

A county’s board of commissioners is required to provide “reasonable and adequate funds necessary” to support the functions of the county board of elections, “including reasonable and just compensation of the director of elections.” G.S. 163-37. In Gilbert v. Guilford County, No. COA14-523 (Dec. 16, 2014), the North Carolina Court ...

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Interim Budget

Interim Budget

Each North Carolina local government and public authority (local unit) must adopt an annual balanced budget ordinance. G.S. 159-8. The Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act, G.S. Ch. 159, Art. 3 (LGBFCA), provides a basic framework for the preparation and enactment of the budget ordinance. It specifies, for example, that ...

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Budgeting Under “Tag & Tax Together”

Budgeting Under Tag & Tax Together

It’s almost budget time again for local governments across North Carolina, and tax collectors need to be involved.  Collectors have the responsibility of estimating the property tax collection rate for the current fiscal year (2013-2014), which is the maximum collection rate a local government may use when budgeting property tax revenues ...

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Recent Blog Posts

  • 2016 Public Health Legislation Highlights

    Authored by: on Thursday, July 28th, 2016

    The SOG will host its 2016 legislative update webinar next Monday, August 1 at 10:00 a.m. This annual tradition is your opportunity to learn about significant legislation affecting North Carolina local governments. The webinar will cover current hot topics such as law enforcement body cameras and House Bill 2, as well as providing a timely update in areas ranging from criminal law to the environment. You can register for the webinar here.

    Unfortunately, I will be out of town and unable to participate in the webinar. Fortunately, my colleague Aimee Wall has offered to summarize this year’s public health legislation highlights, so if you tune in you will get the critical updates. This post provides some background and more details about some of the 2016 legislation affecting public health and local health departments. Read more »

  • Interpreting the Zoning Ordinance

    Authored by: on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

    Interpreting the zoning ordinance—like interpreting any legislation—can be tricky business. Ordinances may be imprecise, development continually evolves, and terms are not always clear.  Reasonable minds may disagree over the correct interpretation and application of a particular provision of the ordinance.  Still, the zoning official must make hard determinations about the meaning of the ordinance.  A recent decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Long v. Currituck County, offered reminders about the rules of thumb for interpreting the ordinance.  This blog discusses the case and highlights those rules of thumb. Read more »

  • Rabies Prevention and Control: Integrating Recent Research into North Carolina’s Legal Framework

    Authored by: on Monday, July 25th, 2016

    Your dog, Duke, is outside in the yard and has an unexpected encounter with a raccoon. The raccoon bit Duke and there is a small break in the skin on his leg. At this point, the public health system’s rabies prevention and control laws and programs are set in motion. This post briefly walks through the legal framework for responding to suspected rabies exposures, including issues such as booster shots, euthanasia, and confinement. It also addresses a recent development in the public health veterinary research community that may result in local health directors authorizing shorter confinement observation and quarantine periods in certain circumstances. Read on to find out what will happen to Duke.

    Read more »

  • Must Travel Time to Training and Conferences Be Paid?

    Authored by: on Monday, July 25th, 2016

    In a previous blog post, I explained the Fair Labor Standards Act rules that govern paying for nonexempt employees for training time. Much of an employee’s training, of course, is done on-site. But what happens when an employee travels to attend a training or a conference? Is the time spent driving to the training event compensable? Does it matter whether the employee is the driver or is a passenger in a vehicle driven by another? You bet it does. The rules governing the compensability of travel time are among the most confusing that the U.S. Department of Labor has issued under the FLSA. Read more »

  • Counting the Mayor in Quorum Calculations

    Authored by: on Friday, July 22nd, 2016

    Scenario 1: A city council has six members and no vacant seats.  Three of the members fail to show up for this month’s regular meeting, leaving only the mayor and the other three members in attendance.

    Scenario 2: The same council, but four of the six members attend the meeting, and the mayor is absent.

    Is a quorum present in either scenario? Read more »

  • Answers to Questions About North Carolina’s Body-Worn Camera Law

    Authored by: on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

    On July 11, 2016, Governor McCrory approved new legislation that creates rules for access to law enforcement recordings, including body-worn camera and dashboard camera records. Following a national trend, North Carolina’s law enforcement agencies have adopted these technologies, and the status of the recordings they create under the state’s public records law has been unclear. Legislators considered several approaches over the course of the 2015-16 session, ultimately arriving at an approach that allows a limited right of access only to individuals who are depicted in the recordings (and representatives of those individuals), and places with the courts the primary responsibility for allowing disclosure to the public. This blog post provides an overview of the new law, S.L. 2016-88 (HB 972), and some answers to questions about it. Read more »

  • Confidentiality of Taxpayer Income Information

    Authored by: on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

    The General Assembly avoided messing with the Machinery Act during their session that just ended, which means that you don’t need to worry about any big property tax law changes this year.  The only ratified bill relating to local property taxes worth mentioning is one that affects the confidentiality of taxpayer income information contained in local tax records.  The new law presents a nice opportunity to review the rules concerning this important category of non-public information. Read more »