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Mowing the Grassy Strip

June 20, 2011

A recent discussion among local government attorneys concerned whether a city may adopt an ordinance that requires abutting property owners to mow or otherwise maintain the grassy strip that often lies between a public sidewalk and the curb.  The discussion … Read more

De Facto Officers Versus Intruders

October 22, 2010

Last November the voters elected a new town council, and to celebrate the victors invited their local congressman to administer the oath of office.  Several months later some pedant pointed out that North Carolina law doesn’t permit congressmen to administer … Read more

City Services to Split Lots

December 18, 2009

I’ve received three phone calls in recent months from cities wondering about their service responsibilities to properties that are bisected by the city’s boundary.  My answer is that it depends on where the house – or other building, for nonresidential … Read more

Who Needs Minutes?

December 10, 2009

Some weeks ago I posted a blog about a mayor’s failure to sign minutes or an ordinance, noting that even when statutes clearly require such a signature (which is not the case in North Carolina), the courts have refused to … Read more

Proxy Voting

December 4, 2009

A recurrent question is whether one governing board member may give his or her proxy to another, when the first member cannot attend a meeting, allowing the proxy holder to vote on behalf of the proxy giver.  (The proxy might … Read more

Competing, Making a Profit

November 20, 2009

UPDATE August 2013: For additional limitations regarding the provision of cable and broadband services by municipalities, click here. I have recently received several phone calls asking me about the statute that prohibits local governments from making a profit on operations … Read more

Oaths of Office: How Many and By Whom?

November 13, 2009

Article VI, section 7 of the State Constitution sets out an oath of office that is to be taken by any person elected or appointed to a public office, basically swearing to uphold the constitution and laws of the United … Read more

Can Cities Keep Ordinance Penalties After Shavitz?

November 6, 2009

Article IX, section 7 of the State Constitution directs that the clear proceeds of all fines and penalties collected for “any breach of the penal laws of the State” be given to the public schools.  Cities have been avoiding this … Read more

Signing Minutes and Ordinances

October 30, 2009

We occasionally get phone calls from local government officials who are concerned that the mayor – or in the case of a county, the chair of the board of commissioners – has not signed an ordinance or has not signed … Read more

When can a flag be flown at half-staff?

October 16, 2009

After the death of Dale Earnhart, I received a phone call from a local government attorney asking whether it was permissible for the local government to fly its American and state flags at half-staff as a tribute to the NASCAR … Read more