Durham County Advises NCACC on Legislative Goals for Short Session
Durham, NC – Last week, Durham County Government’s elected officials advised the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) on legislative issues that impact counties. Chair Wendy Jacobs and Commissioner Ellen Reckhow are members of the NCACC Legislative Goals Committee, which met in Raleigh on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, to review the Association’s legislative priorities. As a member of the Legislative Committee Jacobs and Reckhow were tasked with making recommendations to the NCACC Board of Directors for the upcoming short session of the North Carolina General Assembly.
“NCACC is a strong voice for us here in Durham County, helping state legislators understand the issues facing our counties and the impact of legislation at the local level,” said Chair Jacobs. “Joining with county commissioners from across North Carolina, the Legislative Goals committee reaffirmed our commitment to priorities that protect local decision making and local sources of revenue so that we can address the needs of people in our communities.”
During the meeting, which was led by co-chairs Gloria Whisenhunt, Forsyth County Commissioner and Trevor Fuller, Mecklenburg County Commissioner, members discussed several county priorities. Funding for public school construction, maintenance and renovations continues to be a critical need for counties. The Committee also discussed efforts to expand local revenue flexibility and broadband access, particularly in areas that lack the infrastructure to deliver high-speed internet. In addition, they discussed the need to provide flexibility to align K-12 and community college calendars and the impact on counties of the new K-3 class size mandate.
According to Commissioner Reckhow a takeaway from the recent meeting was the focus on the challenges of class size reduction and its impact on already tight school budgets. “We discussed the fact that the kindergarten to grade 3 class size reduction mandate not only exacerbates school capital needs but also substantially increases annual school operating costs,” she said. “In Durham County alone, we would need 63 additional classrooms next year and 90 additional teachers, resulting in large budget impacts for the upcoming year.”
School construction remains the number one legislative priority for the Association. NCACC recently joined a coalition of stakeholders to encourage the passage of the Public School Building Bond Act to get a school construction bond on the ballot in November 2018. The coalition recently unveiled a new website, www.ncschoolbond.com to educate the public and build grassroots support for the effort.
Editors: Print quality photos may be downloaded from https://ncacc.smugmug.com/Legislative-Goals-Committee-January-2018/ . Photo should be credited as follows: Photo courtesy Chris Baucom/NCACC.
About the NCACC
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.