Larry Yoder, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, represented Alexander County as a voting delegate for the 2021 North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Legislative Goals Conference. During the virtual conference, county delegates across North Carolina came together to participate in a series of voting sessions to develop NCACC’s legislative agenda, which will guide county advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels of government. The full list of approved goals is available here.
Delegates finalized a slate of dozens of goals including longstanding priorities on expanding broadband access, funding for public school facilities, and efforts to preserve and expand local revenue for counties. Counties also voted to support new goals to address challenges that emerged as a result of the pandemic, including food insecurity. Counties adopted a new goal to support food supply chain initiatives and funding for North Carolina food banks as well as other equipment, supplies, and other nonrecurring expenses. This goal will further NCACC President Ronnie Smith’s yearlong Resilience Initiative to strengthen North Carolina’s food ecosystem.
The conference also featured remarks by Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore. Governor Cooper committed to supporting county needs related to vaccine distribution and announced that the state will begin vaccinating individuals 65 and older. He called for robust investments in broadband and other vital infrastructure and emphasized the importance of addressing gaps in healthcare coverage, especially in light of the pandemic. Cooper also discussed the state’s progress in implementing disaster recovery programs including the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery and Hazard Mitigation programs. Senator Berger expressed interest in hearing county priorities, including issues related to authority for local taxes. He also acknowledged the challenges counties are facing as a result of the pandemic and its economic impact. Speaker Moore pledged to continue to work for robust school capital funding and said the North Carolina House of Representatives is working to distribute more funding to local government and small businesses to address COVID-19 challenges.
The Legislative Goals Conference is the final step in the comprehensive, grassroots process, which began in July. Every county is invited to submit proposals, which are approved by their Board of County Commissioners. This year, NCACC received hundreds of goal proposals, which were initially reviewed and vetted by NCACC’s seven Steering Committees. Then, the Legislative Goals Committee reviewed and refined the goals and recommended the package to the NCACC Board of Directors. In December, the Board approved the goals package for consideration by voting delegates at the Legislative Goals Conference.
About the NCACC
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is a bipartisan organization, which represents the official voice of all 100 counties on issues 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. Learn more at www.ncacc.org.