New and renewal memberships are being received for 2014-15.
Please take a moment to read the attached information; become a member of this innovative organization for the first time, or renew your ongoing membership and continue your participation! Be sure to encourage your co-workers and colleagues to update their registration in the next few weeks as well.
The NCLGBA’s main goals and benefits include:
Strengthening communications and provide opportunities for professional growth and development through the exchange of ideas. For example, the NCLGBA’s website offers an analysis round-up, economic updates, relevant articles, and a Career Gateway where members can post and learn about career opportunities
Investigating, studying, discussing, and recommending innovation in the application of budget and evaluation methods. For example, membership includes access to the NCLGBA ListServ where local government employees can share and request information from municipalities and counties across the state
Providing training and education programs through our events and meetings. For example, the NCLGBA hosts two state-wide conferences annually (discounted rate for members) and offers the North Carolina Budget & Evaluation Officer certification program
Whether you are a city or county manager, budget or finance director, budget and management analyst, financial administrator, or serving in an operating department with budget and evaluation responsibilities, the NCLGBA may offer significant value to your municipality, county, or North Carolina authority or cooperative. The cost of NCLGBA membership remains only $50 for FY2014-2015.
Additional information regarding the organization, including conference announcements and the budget and evaluation officer certification, can be found on the Association’s Web site – www.NCLGBA.org. You can also learn more about becoming a member of the NCLGBA through the website by going to NCLGBA.org/Membership.
Also, don’t forget to mark your calendars for these upcoming conferences:
2014 Winter Conference at the Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC, December 10-12, 2014
2015 Summer Conference – To Be Announced
The NCLGBA board members and planning committee are hard at work developing the winter conference program in Pinehurst. If you are interested in helping to plan the Winter Conference or you have topic or speaker suggestions, please contact Josh Edwards(email@example.com) or Mark Matthews (Mark.Matthews@wakegov.com). The planning committee will meet on Friday, September 26th at 12:00pm at the Wake County Justice Center (301 S. McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC) for the Winter Conference Planning meeting.
These stats were published early last week and reflect the impact of summer transition for education and other academic year-oriented workers. Prior to the recession, these employment reductions would be offset by increases due to summertime employment, often by high school and college students. While that is still the case in selection locations (often tied to resorts and vacation destinations), much of North Carolina does experience employment decline in June, though the unemployment rate remains relatively unchanged due to a corresponding decrease in the active labor force (they’ll be back in the fall, or have retired).
Take a look at the following charts to see how things are going right now for North Carolina Counties and MSAs:
As you can see, despite the June adjustment, most North Carolina counties have experienced employment growth since the start of 2014, and the majority are ahead of their counts from last June.
The following notes are pulled from a variety of sources, including multiple Wells Fargo Economics reports. You also might want to take a look at the following reports and updates published this summer by prominent NC economists:
National: 2nd Quarter up 4% (year-to-year), real GDP 2.4% (up less than 1% compared to revised 1st Quarter); 1.8% growth in 2013; strong export growth, stable trade deficit
Statewide: +2.3% in 2013 (first year outpacing National growth since recession); Manufacturing -0.4%
Employment (BLS & NC Commerce, 8/1/14)
National (July): Up 209,000, 12-month average at 214,000 (still below break-even), participation still at 63%; increase in health benefit costs still outpacing total benefits, 50% more growth than wages
North Carolina (June): Down 26,700 for month, up 57,000 year-to-year; 2013 +1.8%,-0.2% in Manufacturing; Since 2010, strongest growth in Professional/Business Services, weakest in Manufacturing and Construction; private sector real hourly wages declined 4 of last 5 years
Short-Term Economic Outlook (Leading Economic Indicators, Walden)
National: Increased 0.3% in July, up 3% in 2014
North Carolina: No change for July, up 4.5% year-to-year; unemployment claims down 50%, permits down 13%, employee hours up 5.6%, earnings up 3.5%
Business & Consumer Confidence (Multiple Sources)
Small Business Optimism improving, but still below growth point; hiring plans improving; most concerned about impact of regulations
Consumer confidence improving, up for July but still below pre-recession levels
Spending growth still outpacing income
Retail Sales (Census & NC Department of Revenue)
National: +4.3% year-to-year, driven by vehicle sales; +3.6% for 2014
North Carolina: Up 3% for 2014
Loan Demand (Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey)
Home loan demand back up to summer 2013 levels (cycle restored), more banks loosening standards
Strong demand for auto loans and revolving debt
Stronger cyclical demand for commercial & industrial loans (still not at pre-recession levels)
Construction (US Department of Commerce)
Total current activity value still below $1 Trillion (pre-recession high, $1.2 Trillion)
Residential construction fell slightly in June, still up 7% compared to last year
Non-residential construction down nearly 3% in June, still up nearly 5% compared to last year
State & local government activity still sluggish (no growth since end of recovery)
Analysts consider this a “significant drag” on economic activity
Industrial Output (ISM; Richmond Fed)
Nationally: Factory orders up 3%, shipments up 4%, composite index recovering from winter slump
Mid-Atlantic (IncludesNC): Strong outlook across all indicators
Non-Manufacturing Output (ISM; Richmond Fed)
National: Composite, new orders and employment indices up to pre-recession levels, outlook positive
Mid-Atlantic (IncludesNC): Positive movement across indicators, strong expectations for future demand
Carolinas: Positive outlook, though softening some; challenge finding qualified workers
Consumer Spending (BLS)
4% growth in personal income and personal expenditures
Significant inflation impact on expenditures
Core: +2.5% pace
Total: +3.0% pace
Strong growth in durable growth sales, up 14% in last 3 months, 5.8% year-to-year
Vehicle Sales (Wells Fargo, ESRI)
Annualized rate up 1 million in 2014 (16.5 million)
Housing (Multiple Sources)
Starts improving, but NOWHERE near pre-recession levels
Multi-family > Single-family
National and State prices up 5%
Millenials aren’t buying house (and maybe won’t)
An Agricultural State (Wells Fargo, Connaughton)
1.6% of GDP (significantly greater than neighboring states), $7.7 Billion in Output (9th largest in US)
28,800 employees (6th highest in US)
2013 saw 16.4% growth in National Output, continued growth expected in 2014
North Carolina: 21.6% growth in 2013; forecast 10.9% growth in 2014 (strongest of sectors)
The Fed’s Strategy (Wells Fargo)
Eliminate QE asset purchases in October (estimate $2.5T in Treasuries on books EOY, $1.8T in MBS)
Need to raise interest rates (inflation, GDP growth); current environment detrimental to security and liquidity-focused investors (savers, Seniors, local governments)
Growth in asset purchases mirrors stock market performance since 2009
Summary: Condition & Predictions
Wells Fargo: Growth impact with broaden beyond strong present sectors (energy, technology, motor vehicles)
Walden (NC State)
Total household wealth improving on financial side, housing wealth stagnant
Anticipate 2.5% inflation in 2014 (highest since 2011)
Localized growth disparities likely to persist
John Connaughton (UNCC)
2014: +1.9% GSP Growth , +0.8% in Manufacturing; +1.5% Statewide employment growth (59,700 jobs), +2.6% in Manufacturing
Don’t forget! If your jurisdiction has budget or finance-related opening, please forward them along to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting on the Gateway. If you want them posted on a national site, please let us know so we can include the announcement on the Job Opportunities page for ABFM.
NCLGBA is excited to announce the opening of the application period for our Conference Scholarship Program for current Master of Public Administration, Public Affairs, and Public Policy students.
The scholarship program provides registration fees and 2 nights hotel stay for a deserving student or first-time conference attendee to attend the upcoming Summer Conference at Grandover Resort July 16th-18th.
One of the many benefits to students who attend conferences is the potential to network with more than 100 local government officials from cities and counties across North Carolina. Encouraging them to participate in associations like ours is an excellent way to develop professionalism and continue their education throughout their careers. Additionally, students are eligible to register for the entire conference at a reduced rate of $75! With Grandover’s central location, we encourage students local to the area to consider driving in.
The deadline for applications is May 2nd. A winner will be announced May 9th.
In their quarterly meeting this morning, the Local Government Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS) Board of Trustees voted to rescind its January recommendation to increase the employer contribution rate and grant a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for current system retirees. Following today’s action the employer contribution rate for general employees and fire fighters will remain at 7.07 percent for FY2014-15. The January vote, which you can read about here, called for an increase in the FY14-15 employer contribution rate from 7.07 to 7.17 percent, which would carry an estimated cost to local governments of $5.5 million. Offering the motion to rescind that recommendation, Board member Jerry Ayscue cited several other new financial burdens local governments currently face as well as his concerns with the LGERS Board taking a different position than the Teachers and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) Board of Trustees, which voted in January not to grant a COLA. His motion was seconded by Mayor Grady Smith of Elm City and supported by remarks from Morganton City Manager Sally Sandy and general public Board appointee John Aneralla. After Ayscue’s motion to rescind prevailed in a 7-5 vote, the Board approved his subsequent motion to keep the employer contribution rates unchanged for FY14-15 in order to meet the Annual Required Contribution (ARC) for pension expenses in the system. The League thanks Ayscue and the other Board members who agreed to support the League’s position to protect the fiscal health of local governments by voting in favor of the motion.
In his legislative preview presentation to both boards, State Treasurer’s Office Policy Development Analyst Sam Watts provided an overview of the Pension Spiking Prevention Act of 2014 that the Treasurer’s Office, League of Municipalities, and Association of County Commissioners have been collaborating to create over the last several months. If enacted, the legislation would help curb the effects of pension spiking on the state and local retirement systems by employing a Contribution Based Benefit Cap (CBBC) formula to identify employees whose contributions do not sustain their forecasted pension benefits. In his overview, Watts explained his office’s intent to possibly raise the proposed average final compensation threshold for running the CBBC formula from $50,000 to $100,000. We will continue to update you on our collective efforts to safeguard the fiscal integrity of the pension system through pension spiking reform. If you have any questions on any of these issues, please contact League Government Affairs Associate Whitney Christensen.
Upcoming policy discussions in the General Assembly and ongoing upheaval in North Carolina politics resulting from the State’s ongoing economic and demographic transformation reflected the focus of comments from a diverse group of Raleigh policy experts during the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Legislative Forum, held April 17th.
Leading off, Joe Stewart highlighted the “fundamental shift” taking place with respect to North Carolina’s electoral map, influenced by continued, concentrated growth in urban areas along the Charlotte-to-Raleigh corridor (“Charleigh”), voter anger and disgruntlement with current incumbent office holders, mobilization in response to negative opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act, and traditional poor results for the party of the incumbent Present during the mid-term election of their second term. Stewart anticipates the general election results staying close to current political party distribution, though several incumbents may suffer defeat in their primaries against strong opposition and voter dissatisfaction.
Alex Sirota followed up with an overview of current state budget and economic conditions, emphasizing the challenges many parts of North Carolina are facing with “too few jobs, and too few consumers.”
Sirota’s presentation included mention how North Carolina’s state budget as a percentage of the overall state economy is at its lowest level in 40 years, reflecting decreased investments for infrastructure, schools and programs focused on economic accessibility. She does not anticipate policymakers doing much in the coming legislative session, as leadership blames the impact of Medicaid entitlement spending for limiting budget options.
Sirota disagreed, arguing Medicaid expenditures have shown lower rates of growth than other state programs. While recent legislative forecast of state revenues shows overall growth slightly above budgeted projections, Sirota express concern about the impact of tax reform plans adopted in prior sessions, including last year’s significant reforms which will reduce revenues from the state income tax by approximately $655 million per year.
Similarly, Chris Fitzsimon emphasized how limits in available state revenues impacted funding for education. The veteran journalist started off retelling a story provided by Mooresville School Superintendent Mark Edwards, who encountered one of his teachers working an evening shift at Food Lion as a janitor in order to earn extra pay and cover family living expenses.
Fitzsimon did note Governor Pat McCrory’s proposal for increasing starting teacher pay as a positive step, but expressed deep concern regarding the lack of pay increases for veteran teachers, as well as limited funding for student textbooks and additional essential programs, including the state’s Pre-K initiative.
Fitzsimon also mentioned approximately 20,000 families in North Carolina are on the waiting list for childcare subsidies, a program he argued is critical to helping parents move off other entitlements and successfully reenter the workforce.
In closing, Fitzsimon concluded that the current “list of priorities” comprising the state budget is backwards and requires significant consideration in the coming session.
Becki Gray closed the presentations with some counterpoints to Fitzsimon’s claims, providing a summary of actions taken by Governor McCrory and the General Assembly to achieve economic growth and job growth through restructured and reduced taxation, as well as addressing business concerns with the costs and impact of regulation.
Gray noted the reduction of sales taxes in 2011, as well as personal and corporate income tax rate reductions taking effect earlier this year. In defense of regulatory reform, she mentioned how several entrepreneurs informed her how they did not believe they could start their current businesses in today’s environment of rules and bureaucracy.
Gray also discussed the importance of effective investments in infrastructure, emphasizing the strategy of moving away from past focus on patronage and toward greater consideration of actual need. On education, she discussed current reforms centered on standards and accountability, while noting how teacher pay has been identified by the General Assembly as their top issue for the upcoming short session.
Gray concluded that while economic response to reform takes time, early indications show improvement with respect to new job creation and growth across multiple sectors of the state economy. She does not believe we are “out of words,” though she feels we are “moving in the right direction.”
Subsequent discussion following the presentations focused on current job growth, especially confusion over statistics and conflicts in reporting. Panelists agreed on the challenges dealing with confusion. Joe Stewart used the opportunity to discuss observations of how economic evolution and the impact of globalization are having significant impacts on workforce expectations.
Stewart noted the potential for growth of Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport, which will likely become the State’s third major port following construction of additional runways and a multimodal rail cargo distribution facility. Stewart also mentioned how North Carolina is home to the largest concentration of German-owned businesses in the United States, as well as how companies like Siemens, with funding assistance from the German Government, are working to train employees for their North Carolina plant, as well as trying to deal with the challenges of a multi-cultural workplace.
When asked about the importance of local infrastructure investment, all panelists agreed that local governments would help themselves to make strategic investments in local roads, bridges. They also acknowledge challenges facing the state with respect to transportation funding and growing demand for transit in densely-populated urban areas.
Registration Deadline &
Hotel Reservation Cutoff Date – June 24th
Come Celebrate our 25th Anniversary!
Join colleagues from across the state in celebrating a quarter century of NCLGBA professional development. Join us in honoring our past presidents, Jack Vogt, retired UNC School of Government professor, and other key people during the Thursday, July 17 luncheon. Plenary and concurrent sessions will include capital financing, Department of Revenue updates on the Tax and Tag program, and practical tips for how to streamline next year’s budget process. The speaker line up also includes UNC School of Government professor David Ammons speaking about performance management with the NCLGBA’s first president, Ellen Liston, who recently retired as deputy manager of Coral Springs, Florida.
Ethics Workshop Opens Conference
The Summer 2014 conference will kick off with ICMA’s Director of Ethics Martha Perego who will lead a workshop on ethics. With North Carolina roots – she was a budget intern in Durham in 1979-80 and University of North Carolina MPA alum – and decades of local government management experience, Martha will facilitate an interactive discussion of ethical leadership within the budgeting profession.
The NCLGBA will be offering one scholarship to the Summer NCLGBA conference, which includes registration and two nights hotel reservations. This opportunity will be open to any open to Masters of Public Administration students or first time conference attendees. Please share the news with colleagues and summer interns, and be on the lookout for the application to be posted to the listserv. For more information, contact Lesley Reder at RederL@concordnc.gov
Reserve Your Hotel Room
The Grandover has generously donated a free room night to one NCLGBA conference attendee. Make your hotel reservation ($163 per night, call 336-294-1800 for a reservation, group code “NCLGBA”) before May 15 to be entered into the drawing!
Call for Pictures
As a part of the 25th Anniversary celebration, the Board is putting out an all-call for member photos from the 1980s to today! If you have photos from past conferences, other budget-related events, or other fun 1980s/1990s/2000s personal photos to share, would you send them to RederL@concordnc.gov? Big hair, stone-washed jeans, tapered leg khakis, neon colors, crazy-collared suits, shoulder pads – we’d like them all!