Recent Blog Posts

  • 2016 Disaster Recovery Relief – Special Session Legislative Update

    Authored by: on Thursday, December 15th, 2016

    During this week’s special legislative session called by gubernatorial proclamation, the General Assembly enacted legislation appropriating funds and authorizing programs to provide disaster relief to individuals, businesses, and local governments impacted by natural disasters that have stuck North Carolina this fall.  Beginning with Tropical Storm Hermine in early September, followed three weeks later by Tropical Storm Julia, and then with Hurricane Matthew striking just two weeks after that, eastern North Carolina was pummeled by winds, rain, and heavy flooding which in some areas equaled or exceeded that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  While the east was still watching flood waters subside, wildfires ravaged areas in the western part of our state.  Sixty-six counties were covered under a gubernatorial emergency declaration in Hurricane Matthew with 49 of those counties covered under a , and 47 counties were covered under a gubernatorial emergency declaration for the western wildfires.  In response to the devastating impact of these natural disasters, the General Assembly enacted the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016.  The act was approved unanimously by both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor.  This post summarizes the appropriations and programs authorized under the act.

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  • Reshaping Suburban Spaces

    Authored by: on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    There is no constant in community. Population ebbs and flows; market preferences shift; the economy fluctuates. Each community evolves. In many suburban places across North Carolina—indeed, across the U.S.—that evolution includes a move toward more density, more mixed uses, and more connected neighborhoods. Communities are grappling with questions about how these places will change. What is the local government’s role in this transition? How does a city or county encourage the redevelopment of suburban spaces? And what are the practical and political implications?

    A new School of Government report, Reshaping Suburban Spaces, considers these questions and explores how communities across North Carolina are responding. Read more »

  • Refunding Other Taxes and Fees

    Authored by: on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

    Time for a pop quiz: G.S. 105-381 governs refunds and releases (aka waivers) of which of these local government taxes and fees?

    A.  Property taxes.

    B.  Occupancy taxes.

    C.  Solid waste fees.

    D.  Water & sewer fees.

    E.  All of the above.

    The answer is . . . Read more »

  • The Future of the Affordable Care Act and the Future of My Guide to the ACA

    Authored by: on Thursday, December 1st, 2016

    As some readers know, I have been working on a guide to the Affordable Care Act for local government employers for the last year. That book manuscript was set to go to the printer on November 17th – the week after the presidential election. With the November 8th election of Donald Trump as President and of a majority-Republican United States Congress, the question naturally arises: what will happen to the Affordable Care Act? After all, both Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal the ACA. Must employers still observe the ACA’s employer mandate and file information reports on compliance with the employer mandate with the IRS in 2017? For myself and for the School of Government, an additional question arose: should we proceed with the publication of a book about a law that may shortly be repealed? To learn more about what might happen to the ACA and when, and about how to access my book manuscript while the ACA is still in effect, read on. Read more »

  • Donations to Local Governments

    Authored by: on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

    For many this is the season of giving. In that spirit, this post addresses frequently asked questions about donations to local governments. Read more »

  • What the Indefinite Suspension of the New Overtime Rule Means for Local Government Employers

    Authored by: on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

    For now, the new overtime rule that was scheduled to become effective on Thursday, December 1, will not go into effect. On Tuesday, November 22, a federal trial court judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing the new rule. Despite being issued in Texas, this is a nationwide injunction. Many employers had hoped that something would put the brakes on the upcoming budget-busting increase in the minimum salary required for an employee to be exempt for overtime. Now that wish has been fulfilled, but it brings with it an indefinite period of uncertainty. A preliminary injunction is only temporary. And no one quite knows what will happen next or when it will happen. So just what is a local government employer to do in the meantime? Read more »

  • Post-Election Questions? Blog Posts Have Answers

    Authored by: on Monday, November 28th, 2016

    Now that the votes are in, let the questions begin!

    When do new county commissioners get sworn in and who can administer the oaths of office? What are the requirements for the organizational meeting? What powers do the “lame duck” commissioners have prior to the changeover? Who is required to take the mandatory ethics training, and what other training is available for new and returning local government board members? Now that I’m elected, can I still contract with the county?

    Coates’ Canons Local Government Law Blog has the answers. This post directs you to some of our archived posts that deal with post-election issues.

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