Local municipalities only have a few months to enact a new requirement being placed on towns and counties across North Carolina.
The General Assembly passed a House Bill 97 earlier this year called the Government Budgetary Transparency/Expenditures Online Act. It requires all local government agencies, including counties, cities and local education agencies, to post their fiscal year budget on their website no later than April 1, 2016.
Archer Lodge Town Attorney Chip Hewett explained the bill to town officials at their Monday night meeting. Hewett said the online budget must be user friendly and easy for anyone to search.
All local agencies must work with the State Chief Information Officer and Office of State Budget and Management to make sure all the requirements are met.
Town budgets web pages will be required by law to link to the State of North Carolina’s transparency website page.
Archer Lodge Administrative Consultant C.L. Gobble said budgets have always been public. “This is nothing new.” However, towns like Archer Lodge must place their budgets on the internet so anyone can view them instantly.
Archer Lodge Commissioner Carlton Vinson questioned why the start date was April 1, 2016 and not with the new fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2016. “That’s bizarre,” Vinson said.