Greensboro did not have a good year in Raleigh, which means Greensboro’s paid lobbyist McGuireWoods Consulting didn’t have a lot of success to report to the City Council at the work session on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
Greensboro had a legislative agenda of 11 items; of those Greensboro got two or three. City Councilmember Justin Outling at the work session narrowed it down to two.
One of the items that Greensboro requested was a change to the land use laws that would allow a city to adopt a good repair ordinance for the Central Business District. The legislature passed this but it was after Greensboro had already given up on getting the bill through the legislature and passed the good repair ordinance citywide.
The bill that passed was statewide legislation that was first introduced in 2017.
Then there is the question of having the $500,000 in transportation funding restored to Greensboro and other cities that lost the funding in 2017. Mayor Nancy Vaughan informed the McGuireWoods consultants that this funding had been restored. Since McGuireWoods didn’t list it as a win in its 27 page report and didn’t mention it as a win, it certainly appeared they were not aware this funding had been restored. Vaughan said the NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition had made getting that funding restored a priority.
Then was the question of healthcare benefits for life for former city councilmembers. According to Vaughan, the representative introducing this legislation understood that the City Council wanted to be included in the state healthcare plan, which would be an additional expense to the state. But all the City Council wanted was the authority to offer healthcare for life to former city councilmembers in Greensboro’s healthcare plan, where the city would pick up the additional cost and which wouldn’t cost the state a dime.
Vaughan said that when she found out the wrong bill had been introduced, it was too late to have the correct bill introduced.
Vaughan said that since it had been straightened out, she hoped a local bill could be introduced in the short session.
Jonny Tillett of McGuireWoods said his team was working hard on revising the police body-worn camera legislation, but no bill was passed; likewise with a bill requesting funding for a fiber optic network along the I-40/85 corridor. A bill to allow Greensboro to set up a program to give preferential treatment to local small businesses when awarding contracts was also introduced but not passed. No bill to give firefighters disability for repeated exposure to hazardous chemicals was introduced but Tillett said they were working on it.
A bill to have the NC Department of Motor Vehicles assist Greensboro in collecting parking fines was also introduced but not passed.
On the plus side, Greensboro did receive additional funding for the fire department search and rescue operation but it was in the budget which Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed and the veto has not been overridden.
Greensboro did get the $1 million to repair damage caused by the tornado in April 2018. This was in the budget and then passed in a minibudget bill signed into law in September.
Funds for Guilford County for the new mental health facility was also on Greensboro legislative agenda and is included in the budget that has not passed.