• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019

Commissioners attend NCACC Legislative Goals Conference and meet with local lawmakers

Last week, Forsyth County Commissioners attended the Legislative Goals Conference for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) in Raleigh.

The Jan 10-11 conference was the final step in a comprehensive process that gave all 100 counties a voice on what the NCACC will advocate for. County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt was the voting delegate from Forsyth.

“Typically the goals we pass affect all 100 counties,” said Whisenhunt. “I think it’s a great process. I think it’s good, not just for Forsyth County, but also for North Carolina.”

After deliberation and voting, the NCACC set the following as its top five legislative goals for the 2019-2020 session of the N.C. General Assembly:

1) Expanding digital infrastructure and broadband capabilities to the unserved and underserved.

2) Seeking additional revenue sources to equitably address public school and community college capital challenges.

3) Preserving and expanding the existing local revenue base of counties and authorizing local option revenue sources already given to other jurisdictions while opposing efforts to divert revenues from counties.

4) Ensuring counties can provide essential public health, behavioral health and social services during Medicaid transformation, especially to the incarcerated, those with mental illness and those with substance abuse issues.

5) Repealing the statutory authority that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over appropriations to the local school board’s capital outlay fund.

While they were in Raleigh, Commissioners Don Martin, Fleming El-Amin and Tonya McDaniel also met with State Representative Debra Conrad and State Senator Joyce Krawiec, who represent Forsyth County. They discussed Forsyth County’s own legislative goals, which included supporting statewide school bonds, aligning public school and community college calendars, refining how schools are graded for performance, authorizing pari-mutuel horse racing in Forsyth County and exempting government buildings and facilities from stormwater fees.

“They were very receptive,” said Martin “I thought we had a good exchange about all our goals.”

McDaniel said she felt her first NCACC conference and lawmaker meeting was successful and informative.

“As a new commissioner, I was grateful to be a part of this process because it allowed me to get more eyes and ears in terms of what our legislative goals were going be to from the county aspect and in alignment with the state,” said McDaniel.

El-Amin, who serves on the NCACC legislative committee, said that the conference is a good networking opportunity for Commissioners. He said counties, no matter their size, have similar challenges, such as funding and maintaining their schools.

“That’s always the greatest part to me about attending a session like that, just listening and learning what they’re concerned with and how they’re solving their problems and how we can learn from each other,” said El-Amin.

The conference also included keynote remarks from Governor Roy Cooper, who thanked the Commissioners for their service.

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