"Partnerships are always healthy animals, healthy organisms if you will, and I've long believed that you work better if you have some sense of conversation and at least some give and take," she offered.
It will likely take some compromise from both sides in coming months. Perdue may have to withhold some money intended for local governments to balance the budget. It's a move that's been used in the past -- and is not popular amongst cities and counties.
"I was very direct and very honest. I can't make any promises about anything," said Perdue after Wednesday's meeting.
That message was heard, and some local leaders say they appreciated her honesty.
"The Governor-Elect, in my opinion, was very straightforward, setting the expectation that times are tough, and that we're all gonna have to be part of that solution," said Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan.
"I think it was a good start and an opportunity to really move the state forward," offered Durham Mayor Bill Bell.
Discussion at the meeting also focused on the expected federal stimulus package that should come early next year. Perdue urged local leaders to work with her on preparing lists of projects that could be partially funded with stimulus money.
She also suggested traveling with some local leaders to Washington to lobby for North Carolina's share of those funds together.