Broadband, education funding top list of NCACC’s legislative goals for the biennium

Macon County Commissoner Ronnie Beale addresses the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners at its Legislative Goals Conference held Jan. 10-11 in Raleigh. Photo courtesy Chris Baucom/NCACC

Last week, Jim Tate, Ronnie Beale and Derek Roland from Macon County joined voting delegates from counties throughout the state to determine the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ (NCACC) legislative priorities for the 2019-2020 biennium session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Governor Roy Cooper delivered keynote remarks and thanked county commissioners for their commitment to public service. 

“From broadband expansion and capital needs in the school system to accessing mental health services, all counties in North Carolina are facing challenges similar to those that we are experiencing in Macon County.  This conference gives all North Carolina counties the opportunity to come together as one voice and make our challenges known to the North Carolina General Assembly,”  said Ronnie Beale, Vice Chairman, Macon County Board of Commissioners in an address to his fellow commissioners. 

Kevin Austin, NCACC President Elect and Yadkin County Commissioner presided over the two-day Legislative Goals Conference, which was held January 10-11. Macon County sent Ronnie Beale to serve as a voting delegate to the conference to debate, amend, offer new proposals and cast votes on the Association’s guiding principles and legislative priorities, which guide advocacy efforts at the General Assembly.

The conference is the final step in a comprehensive process, which gives each county a voice in shaping NCACC’s legislative agenda. NCACC President Elect Austin explained this inclusive approach. “Our process offers an opportunity for all our counties to participate. These goals come from counties all across the state and have been vetted by their boards before they come to the Association. It’s a grassroots effort, which involves all 100 counties,” President Elect Austin said.

“As we all know, the availability of broadband internet has been discussed here in Macon County for quite some time now.  It was interesting to see how many other rural counties across the state are facing similar issues with respect to broadband availability. I was very pleased to see that the expansion of broadband to unserved and underserved areas emerge as the top legislative goal for FY 19-20’.”  Jim Tate, Chairman, Macon County Board of Commissioners.

Below is the list of NCACC’s top five legislative goals for 2019-2020 as determined at the Legislative Goals Conference; visit to access the full list of goals for the biennium. 

NCACC’s Top Five Priority Goals for 2019-2020

1) Seek legislation, funding, and other efforts to expand digital infrastructure/broadband capability to the unserved and under-served areas and residents of the state. 

2) Seek additional revenue sources, including a statewide bond and lottery proceeds, to equitably address statewide public school and community college capital challenges.

3) Support efforts to preserve and expand the existing local revenue base of counties and authorize local option revenue sources already given to any other jurisdiction to all counties. Oppose efforts to divert to the state, fees or taxes currently allocated to the counties or to erode existing county revenue streams. 

4) Support provision of state resources to ensure county ability to provide essential public health, behavioral health and social services, with specific consideration to the challenges of incarcerated persons, the continued county role in behavioral health governance, and programs addressing substance use disorder, throughout Medicaid transformation.

5) Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under N.C. Gen. Stat. 115C-431(c) that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over appropriations to the local board of education’s capital outlay fund.

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.