Folwell: Growing number of NC’s local governments facing financial problems


The state’s local governments have been surviving for years on pass-through payments from Raleigh and DC. Quite often, these payments are not “forever” gifts.   They often have an expiration date — leaving the recipients at the local level scrambling to find a replacement for said money when the spigot gets turned off.

According to the state treasurer’s office and the Local Government Commission,  the chickens may be finally coming home to roost (as far as that practice goes):

At the April meeting of the Local Government Commission (LGC) members voted to recommend that the General Assembly repeal the charter of East Laurinburg. […]

Treasurer Folwell chairs the LGC, an appointed body staffed by Department of State Treasurer employees. The commission monitors 1,300 units of local government. It oversees independent audits, and provides resources, guidance and oversight on topics ranging from annual budgets, internal controls and debt management to financial guidance related to pension and?other post-employment benefits funds.

After 10 years of attempting to help the tiny Scotland County municipality of East Laurinburg resolve a series of difficult problems, the LGC, by bipartisan, unanimous vote, concluded the former mill town was no longer viable. The vote asking the General Assembly to decharter the town was taken after consultation with the Scotland County legislative delegation, the N.C. League of Municipalities and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.

Treasurer Folwell and other members of the LGC have been warning for years that a growing number of local governments are in violation of state financial reporting laws and at risk of insolvency. A Unit Assistance List (UAL) contains more than 100 local government units that are being closely watched for a variety of weaknesses regarding internal controls and financial concerns related to their general funds and water and sewer funds. […]