Weekly Updates

USCG Photo
Flooding and heavy surf hits the Cape Fear 😉
Be careful. Drive around and don’t drown!!

Small-scale solutions to eroding streambanks
Do you have a stream on your property that is eroding land during or after storm events? Maybe the stream has started cutting deeper into the channel, creating more of a gully. What kind of solutions are available?  Small-scale Solutions to Eroding Streambanks gives you the tools to choose the best option for your situation. Created by the NC Cooperative Extension Backyard Stream Repair team and funded through the Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the North Carolina Forest Service, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Small-scale Solutions to Eroding Streambanks  What’s inside the guide?  Options including: Do nothing; Plant vegetation without grading; Grade banks to a stable slope and vegetate!  Step-by-step instructions for the option you choose.  Who to call for advice.  Materials needed and where you can get them.  What plants are proven to work.  Example planting design.  Maintenance tips.  Need more than just a guide to help you decide what to do? We’ve got a hands-on workshop that further enhances your understanding of how to deal with an eroding streambank. Visit the Backyard Stream Repair website to see when the next workshop will be in your area!

New NC Law HB 44 addresses pre-audit requirements—applies to local governments
According to Gov. McCrory’s office, the Governor signed HB 44 Local Government Regulatory Reform 2015 into law yesterday. That law contains several provisions of interest to local governments, but those most interested in the fact that this means that reform of the preaudit process is now law, effective Oct. 1. Kara Millonzi has written blog posts that (linked below) that go into all the details of the new law, but overall the goal was to modernize the preaudit statute so that local finance officers were able to comply with the law. This law will go a long way toward doing that. Disbursement process reforms: http://canons.sog.unc.edu/?p=8230  Preaudit process reforms: http://canons.sog.unc.edu/?p=8143   HB 44: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2015&BillID=h44&submitButton=Go
Increase your happiness—increase your performance - ICMA
With the energy and conviction of an evangelist and the humor of a standup comic, Shawn Achor kicked off the 101st ICMA Annual Conference with his message that individuals and communities fueled by happiness and optimism have more successful outcomes “by every measure that we know how to test for.” Achor is a behavioral scientist and author of The New York Times’s best-selling books The Happiness Advantage (2010) and Before Happiness (2013).Achor wrapped up his presentation by sharing the behaviors that he said have been proven to increase happiness in even the most entrenched, pessimistic brains. Taking a few minutes a day, every day for 21 days, to practice these behaviors will create positive brain changes.  1) Identify 3 news things each day for which you are grateful and describe why. 2) At the end of a day, choose a positive thing that happened and write about it in detail for 2 minutes. 3) Find a fun cardio activity to do for 15 minutes. 4) Meditate for 2 minutes.  5) Perform a conscious act of kindness. Achor suggested making the first task in the morning a 2-minute e-mail thanking someone for something that they have done.   Achor will provide detailed research links and more information by e-mail at [email protected].  Click here to read article…
AARP Releases New Publication on Livability Initiatives and Economic Performance
A new report from AARP Livable Communities demonstrates how livable communities initiatives can provide a host of advantages that enhance the quality of life of residents, the economic prospects of businesses, and the bottom lines of local governments.  “The Livability Economy: People Places, and Prosperity” shows how livability initiatives contribute to improved economic performance and a more vibrant, desirable, and competitive environment for housing and commercial investment.  The report’s framework focuses on design factors that feature the following livability outcomes that benefit older adults and people of all ages.  Click here to download the report
Watershed Academy Webcast
Topic:  Implementing Low-Cost Modifications to Improve Nutrient Reduction at Wastewater Treatment Plants Please join us for a webcast on October 15 at 1:00pm to 3:00pm Eastern on a recently released draft report on "Case Studies on Implementing Low-Cost Modifications to Improve Nutrient Reduction at Wastewater Treatment Plants."  As many studies have shown, nutrient pollution is one of America's costliest and most challenging water quality problems. However, many of the nation's wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were not designed for nutrient removal and major retrofits may be a significant hurdle. The recent EPA draft report showcases a number of communities that were able to achieve better nutrient treatment at WWTPs through relatively low-cost modifications without requiring costly infrastructure upgrades. Nitrogen discharge levels in 12 case study plants were reduced by about 20 to 70%. Two case studies also documented low-cost phosphorus reduction of 40 to 58%. In many cases, these facilities also reduced energy consumption and lowered operational costs. The webcast will give listeners a broad overview of the report, and will highlight two of the case studies in Crewe, VA and Victor Valley, CA.  EPA is also interested in learning of additional communities' successes and intends to update this document to help more of the nation's WWTPs make progress towards additional nutrient reductions. Comments and additional case studies can be submitted by December 15, 2015 to [email protected]. The draft report is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/reports-and-research#reports. Click here to register.
The Administrator’s Guide to Data Drive Decisions
Public administrators need clear, timely and updated information to manage their departments and advise decision makers. Better-informed officials make better decisions. Operational reporting and analytics solutions deliver key insights to your entire organization by automating key reports, saving your organization time and fostering collaboration in the process. What are the essential ingredients of a successful operational reporting and analytics solution? Download the guide to learn about how operational reporting and analytics can help your organization make better decisions.

SOG Coates' Canons: 'New Public Records Exceptions for Security and Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) Information'
Concern about the safety of law enforcement officers (LEOs) and their families has led the North Carolina General Assembly to consider, over the past several years, various proposals to protect from public disclosure personal information of LEOs and other officials who are involved in the criminal justice system. A proposal from last year (mentioned in my blog post here) would have authorized law enforcement personnel to request that their personal information be removed from city and county websites. That bill did not pass, but the legislature revived the issue this session, eventually settling on a provision that protects certain specific information about sworn law enforcement officers. It also creates a new exception to the public records law for the government-issued mobile phone numbers for law enforcement and certain other employees. The state appropriations act (the state budget) also creates new exceptions in the public records law for certain security information. Read on to learn more about these new exceptions.  You may view the latest post at  http://canons.sog.unc.edu/?p=8233
Using grazing goats for weed control
"Goats will eat for eight to 12 hours a day if you let them," adds Alix Bowman, owner of Durham, N.C.-based Goat Patrol (thegoatpatrol.com). Bowman takes her herd of 18 goats to urban properties in need of tending for about $250 per day. Many goatherds stay overnight with their flock, but Bowman takes them back to the farm and returns in the morning to comply with urban livestock laws. (Even ordinances that prohibit ownership of goats generally allow for short-term rentals, says North Carolina State's Luginbuhl. Bowman and others add that neighbors are typically interested in the novelty of the goats, and don't mind, as long as they have been warned in advance.) Might be an alternative to mowing in cemeteries where headstones are prone to damage.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-26/classified/sc-home-0725-garden-goat-20110726_1_goats-invasive-plants-gardeners  Ordinance from Rocklin CA:  https://www.rocklin.ca.us/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=11602  Article--Salem, NC--Pringle Community--using goats for weed control http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/03/13/goats-city/70294966/  Prescribed goat grazing in urban settings https://www.thecela.org/pdfs/lrr-pdf/PRESCRIBED%20GOAT%20GRAZING%20IN%20URBAN%20SETTINGS.pdf   "Goats In Your Neighborhood" Program”  http://www.publicceo.com/2012/05/roseville-hires-goats-for-fire-safety/  http://www.roseville.ca.us/civica/press/display.asp?layout=1&Entry=1405
SOG Coates' Canons: 'New Exclusions for Residential and Commercial Real Property Improvements'
In my last post I discussed S.L. 2015-204, which creates new authority for counties to waive interest on old registered motor vehicle taxes.  Today I analyze the second major property tax law passed this session, S.L. 2015-223, which is much more likely than S.L. 2015-204 to have a substantial impact on local government finances.  S.L. 2015-223 creates new exclusions for improvements to real property being held for sale.  For years home builders have been pushing to exempt their real property inventory from property taxes in the same fashion that personal property inventory held by traditional merchants and manufacturers is exempt under G.S. 105-275(32a), (33) and (34).  Home builders got their wish, sort of, for a few years.  In 2010 the General Assembly created a deferral for taxes attributable to the construction of new, unsold residential homes.  That deferral “sunsetted” (in other words, disappeared) as of 2013.  But now it’s back and stronger than ever.  Instead of deferring taxes, S.L. 2015-223 excludes them entirely. And the new law covers non-structural improvements and commercial properties, neither of which fell within the scope of the old deferral.  Here’s a summary of the new law:  You may view the latest post at http://canons.sog.unc.edu/?p=8210

Budgeting in Local Government—SOG course
Will be held November 10-13, 2015 at the School of Government.  This new four-day course covers the legal and management framework of budget preparation and enactment in North Carolina local government.  Participants will discuss the numerous processes and techniques used to produce an annual operating budget and capital budget. Program Topics: Local Government Fiscal and Control Act *Only for participants who have not attended Introduction to Local Government Finance*, Tax Efficiency & Equity, Economic Development, Revenue Forecasting, Resource Allocation, Budgeting for Schools and Human Services, Budgeting for Enterprises, Fund Balance, Citizen Engagement, Capital Improvement Program, Financial Condition Analysis, Budget Presentation, Revenue-Neutral Property Tax Rate, and Budget Award & Course Evaluation.  Who Should Attend: This course is intended for city and county managers, budget and finance officers, budget and financial analysts, and other officials who have significant responsibilities for annual budget preparation and enactment.  Cost:  $475.  Registration:  Register for this course online at http://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/budgeting-local-government

Workshops/Meetings/Events/Deadlines coming up soon
10/10-13  Winston-Salem, NCLM CityVision event Click here
10/16        Cape Fear Regional Clerks’ Forum CFCOG Office 11-1 PM [email protected]
10/19-13  SOG Effective Supervisory Management—Morehead City. www.sog.unc.edu/node/3136
10/20        SOG Webinar on new DOL FLSA regulations at Leland Town Hall 10 to 11:30 AM [email protected]
10/27        CFCOG X-Bd meeting CFCOG Office 3:30 to 4:30 [email protected]
10/30        Cape Fear Regional Managers’ meeting [email protected]
11/10-13  SOG Budgeting in Local Government http://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/budgeting-local-government
11/11      Veterans Day—CFCOG office closed
11/11-13  AARC annual meeting in Charleston http://the-aarc.org/?page_id=382
11/20        Deadline for NC DOT Municipal Bike & Ped Planning grant application click here
11/20        Deadline for the EPA Urban Waters Small Grants click here
11/24        Application due for 100 Resilient Cities Challenge click here
11/26-27  Thanksgiving holiday—CFCOG office closed

Note:  The material contained in this bulletin is a compilation from a number of electronic and print sources.