Latest Annual Report: Bright Spots in Hard Times

Ben Brown, NCLM Communications & Multimedia Strategist

Challenge is what defines success, the saying goes.

Covering part of what would become one of the most difficult periods in modern American (and world) history, the League’s recently released Fiscal Year 2019–2020 Annual Report puts forth an impressive sequence of accomplishments and supportive data to prove, once again, that we can face the challenges successfully together.

In considering the hardships, the League’s Communications team strove to make this edition of the Annual Report (covering the July-to-July fiscal year) as warm and accessible as possible—turning it into an interactive online document with catchy infographics, videos and summaries to provide clarity on the work the League performed for its members over the fiscal year, the second half of which was the unprecedented ramp-up of COVID-19 awareness, spread, and subsequent policy.

There’s even an audio version of the report—a podcast edition—found at (The interactive report links to the podcast.)

Here are some highlights from the report:

The work of the League’s Communications team garnered more than half a million social media impressions, wrote, or edited more than 60 in-depth articles for Southern City Magazine, and kept municipalities informed about the growing pandemic as new information came to light.

The League’s Government Affairs team saw more than 250 appearances in print media promoting the goals and welfare of cities and towns. That included many op-eds on the importance of stable local revenues during the pandemic, which affected revenue sources including the vital sales tax, a big subject of League lobbying and grassroots work this year that led to important financial relief specifically for municipalities.

This was also the subject of several roundtables that the Government Affairs team arranged with members of Congress, as well as direct calls between municipal officials and Governor Roy Cooper. You’ll find more information about the work of the Government Affairs team in this report.

The League’s Risk Management Services recorded an important year of work with members. The Workers’ Compensation staff covered 464 towns and managed more than 1,800 claims. Its Risk Control unit held more than 1,650 consultants and conducted critical classes on timely subjects like cybersecurity and law enforcement use of force. More than half a million dollars in body armor and wellness grants went out to League members through the Risk Control unit.

The Health Benefits Trust, the League’s self-insured, member-governed insurance company specializing in the needs of cities and towns, covered the lives of more than 8,500 people. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, HBT waived copays and deductibles for the telemedicine service Teladoc and for primary and urgent care visits with COVID-like symptoms. The Property & Casualty insurance division covered 401 municipalities, and managed more than 2,400 claims during the fiscal year.

It was a busy calendar for the League’s Business and Membership Development Services department, which held nearly 150 meetings and trainings, including Essentials of Municipal Government classes. The department helped to collect delinquent debts totaling beyond $41.2 million for more than 350 cities and towns.

The Legal Department also clocked a busy year. In one important case, in February 2020, the Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled in favor of the Town of Oak Island to allow it to continue collecting certain sewer fees under a local act. This decision marked another great success in the League of Municipalities’ longstanding amicus program, where the League performs direct judicial advocacy with legal briefs filed in support of the municipal position.

As you can tell by now, it was a successful fiscal year for the League and the cities and towns that make it. Thank you for sharing in this hard but vital work for the state as a whole. We are truly working as one to advance all.