Under the Dome

Poll: NC voters want local government to have more power

A poll from the N.C. League of Municipalities found that voters want local governments, such as the Raleigh City Council pictured here, to have more authority.
A poll from the N.C. League of Municipalities found that voters want local governments, such as the Raleigh City Council pictured here, to have more authority. jhknight@newsobserver.com

About 75 percent of North Carolina voters support giving more authority to county and municipal governments through a “home rule” law, according to a poll released this week by the N.C. League of Municipalities.

The league, which represents the state’s 540 municipalities, hired the firm McLaughlin & Associates to poll 600 likely general election voters.

Local governments have been fighting efforts in the state legislature to limit their abilities to control zoning, construction standards and local elections. But because North Carolina isn’t a “home rule” state, the legislature often has the final say.

“These results should come as no surprise,” league board member and Cary Town Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said in a news release. “People want government decisions to be made locally because they feel like they have more control over those decisions.”

Here’s how the league’s poll phrased the question: “In North Carolina, the state gives cities and towns limited authority. In some states, known as ‘home rule’ states, local governments have authority independent from the state, and locally-elected officials have more power to make decisions that cannot be overruled by state legislatures. Would you support or oppose North Carolina adopting these ‘home rules,’ giving local governments more authority independent from the state?”

The poll also found that 78 percent of those polled were “satisfied” with the services and amenities provided by their local governments, and that 79 percent preferred local governments – not the state – have control over billboard regulations.

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