AN ACT TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TOOLS FOR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION TO ASSIST LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS AVOID AND CORRECT FISCAL DISTRESS THAT REQUIRES THAT THE IMPACT OF CHANGES TO SALES TAX DISTRIBUTION FORMULAS BE DELAYED UNTIL THE FISCAL YEAR FOLLOWING THE INITIAL DECISION; TO MANDATE THAT A STATEMENT FROM THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION BE INCLUDED IN THE PETITION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHEN A NEW MUNICIPALITY IS PROPOSED; TO ADD OPTIONAL SOURCES FOR TRAINING FOR FINANCE OFFICERS; TO ALLOW THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION TO MANDATE SPECIALIZED TRAINING FOR CITY AND COUNTY MANAGERS WHEN A UNIT IS EXHIBITING FISCAL DISTRESS; TO ESTABLISH A PROCESS FOR A MUNICIPALITY TO INITIATE A TRANSITION TO RECOVER FROM FINANCIAL DISTRESS; AND TO ESTABLISH A PROCESS FOR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION TO TRANSFER THE ASSETS, LIABILITIES, AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS AND DISSOLVE MUNICIPALITIES DETERMINED TO BE IN FINANCIAL DISTRESS.
Senate committee substitute deletes the content of the 1st edition and now provides the following.
Amends GS 105-472, which provides for the allocation and distribution of local sales and use tax proceeds to taxing counties by either the per capita method, or the ad valorem method, at the election of the board of county commissioners in each taxing county. Requires each board to determine which method will be in effect in the county during the fiscal year following the succeeding year (was the next succeeding fiscal year), by resolution adopted annually in April.
Amends GS 120-163, adding to the requirements of a petition of a proposed municipality to be reviewed by the Municipal Incorporations Subcommittee, inclusion of a statement from the Local Government Commission (Commission) regarding the proposed municipality's prospects for financial viability and effective fiscal management.
Amends GS 153A-82 (concerning counties) and GS 160A-148 (concerning cities), adding identical duties to the duties of county and city managers as follows. Requires the manager to receive a minimum of six clock hours of education, which incorporates fiscal management and the requirements of the respective GS Chapter, when any of the following events occur, within six months of the occurrence: (1) if the Commission is exercising its authority under Article 10 of GS Chapter 159 (Assistance for Defaulting Units in Refinancing Debt) with respect to the county or city; (2) the county or city has received a unit letter from the Commission due to a deficiency in complying with the respective GS Chapter; (3) the county or city has an internal control material weakness or significant deficiency in the most recently completed financial audit; or (4) the county or city is included in the most recently published Unit Assistance List issued by the Department of State Treasurer. Identifies entities which can provide the education, including the Commission itself. Requires the clerk of the governing board to record receipt of the education and make the information available upon request of the Commission.
Amends GS 159-25(d), which authorizes the Commission to require any finance officer or other employee with similar duties to participate in specified training if one of four circumstances exist. Now provides a list of entities which can provide such training, subject to Commission approval, rather than allowing the Commission to collaborate with specified institutions to develop and deliver the training (entities aligned with those listed that may provide required training specified in new GS 153A-82(9) and GS 160A-148(9)).
Enacts Article 31, GS Chapter 160A, establishing a process for a city in financial distress to transition out of that distress either on its own initiative or with assistance from or under the direction of the Commission. Provides distinct processes for transition initiated by the Commission (Part 2) and transition initiated by the city (Part 3).
Part 2 provides as follows. Directs the Commission to establish criteria for evaluating a city for financial rehabilitation and apply the criteria to each city which the Commission has exercised its authority under GS 159-181(c) and each city which the Commission has received a referral from the State Auditor, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), or the city's auditor for the current or most recent annual audit. Requires the Commission to notify the city upon making a determination of whether the city is subject to Part 2 of the new Article. Details procedures under Part 2, including an assessment of the city's financial affairs upon initiation; the city preparing (or the Commission preparing, if it finds preparation presents substantial hardship on the city) a report for its citizens and the Commission regarding the status and specified data of certain services provided by the city, submitting the report to the Commission and presenting the report to the city council within specified time periods following initiation, and providing a copy to the respective board(s) of county commissioners; the Commission assuming full control of the city's financial affairs if the Commission has not exercised such authority under GS 159-181(c), with cooperation by the city in specified remedial options, subject to one exception regarding certain contractual obligations in a debt instrument; and annual reassessment of the financial status of the city, with the Commission relinquishing control after finding that the city's financial affairs are sufficiently stable to continue operations for three fiscal years of reassessments, or, the Commission beginning to identify local government partners for merger or dissolution of the city upon finding that the city's financial affairs are not sufficiently stable to continue operation. Details procedures to determine the distribution of services, assets, liabilities, and other obligations of a city upon a determination by the Commission that the city's financial affairs are not sufficiently stable to continue operation, which includes authority for the Commission to adopt a resolution to dissolve the city, effective as specified. Further details the effect of merger or dissolution, and grants the Commission the authority to take the actions and execute the documents necessary to effectuate the provisions and intent of these provisions. Deems a resolution of dissolution by the Commission effective until specifically disapproved by the NCGA by a bill enacted on or before the effective date of the resolution.
Part 3 provides as follows. Allows any city to initiate administrative dissolution by adoption of a resolution of intent, with a copy sent to the Commission and respective county or counties. Requires the city to release an impact statement to city residents that includes notice of a public hearing within 90 days of the adoption, filed with the city clerk for public inspection, with the clerk required to make a copy available for relevant news media and publish a copy in the clerk's office. Details required content of the impact statement. Requires both the resolution and the impact statement to be published to the city's website. Requires the city to hold at least two public hearings at regular council meetings on the matter within the time periods specified, and permits additional public hearings; details notice requirements for the hearings. Requires the city to develop a plan of action to distribute all assets and liabilities of the city and obtain plan approval by the Commission before adopting a resolution to dissolve, and requires the approved plan to be presented at a regular council meeting; provides for Commission assistance in developing a plan of action. Authorizes the Commission to modify the plan of action prior to approval. Requires a public hearing to be held on whether to adopt a resolution to dissolve the city pursuant to the approved plan, subject to specified notice requirements, separate and apart form the regular meeting in which the council can adopt the resolution following the required hearing. Allows the people to initiate a referendum on the resolution to dissolve the city by submitting a petition to the city clerk that meets specified criteria within 45 days after adoption of the resolution to dissolve the city, which requires the city to halt implementation of the plan of action and call a special election. Provides that a majority vote against the ballot question of whether the city should be dissolved voids the resolution to dissolve, and a majority vote in favor sustains the resolution. Provides for implementation of the dissolution following the time for submitting a petition expiring with no petition filed or the referendum required resulting favorably to the dissolution. Provides for the effect and final notifications to the Commission regarding completion of the plan of action.
Makes conforming changes to the act's titles.