Published: Mar 16, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Mar 15, 2013 02:26 PM
Alderman vote Tuesday CARRBORO
Damon Seils looks like a shoo-in Tuesday for an open seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.
All Carrboro precincts will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Early voting results Thursday showed Seils with three votes.
Seils, the first vice chairman of the town’s Planning Board, is the only candidate running in the special election for former Alderman Dan Coleman’s seat. Seils is a health services researcher at Duke University.
The aldermen voted to hold the election now rather than as part of the November municipal elections. It will cost the town about $12,000.
Following Coleman’s controversial 2006 appointment to replace newly elected Mayor Mark Chilton, the board voted in 2007 to amend the town charter. The amendment requires a special election to fill future vacancies if the departing member’s term has a year or more left.
Coleman resigned from the board in December to move with his family to Melbourne, Australia, where his wife accepted a teaching position at Monash University. His term runs through December 2015.
This is the first – and possibly last – time the charter amendment will be used. The board is asking the N.C. General Assembly for another charter change so the aldermen can choose to fill future vacancies by special election or appointment.Mayor tallies town wins CHAPEL HILL
The town is seeing the fruits of its labors and its partnerships but has not yet met all its challenges, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said last week in his State of the Town address.
“We are going to have to make tough decisions and tough compromises around the level of services that we expect, the level of services we can afford, the tax rate that we can tolerate, and we need to be thinking about what kind of town we want,” he said.
Important steps were taken last year on multiple fronts, from the completion of a $16.2 million public library expansion to the development downtown of 140 West, 123 West Franklin and the Launch Chapel Hill business incubator, he said. The town also maintained its excellent bond rating in a tough economy, while avoiding tax increases and layoffs, and continuing or improving services, he said.
Other milestones include the passage of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan, a guiding document for town growth; revised food truck and taxi ordinances; parking improvements; and the revival of the town’s annual July 4th fireworks, he said. Work on the 2020 Plan will continue for several years through the six small focus area discussions, two of which are underway.
The town’s partnerships with the county and the university will continue to play a vital role, as they have in the development of Launch Chapel Hill, a business incubator that opened this fall on West Rosemary Street, he said. Launch provides residents and students with a place to develop new business models and ideas, while downtown development could keep growing businesses at home, he said.
The town also is working with local and regional partners to create high-speed community Internet access through the Gig-U Project, he said.
Meg McGurk, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said she agreed with and appreciated Kleinschmidt’s remarks about downtown, particularly when he set aside his prepared notes.
“His words were very heartfelt and meaningful,” she said.$209M in county projects HILLSBOROUGH
The Orange County Board of Commissioners got its first look last week at a plan for $209 million in capital improvements over the next five years.
The commissioners will consider the CIP budget again April 11. It was drafted with slow economic growth and the county’s limited ability to take on new debt in mind, county officials said. It calls for spending $18.7 million next year on multiple projects, including EMS communication systems, county landfill closing costs and technology upgrades.
Major projects over the next five years include: a Southern Human Services Center expansion, including a dental clinic; a $30 million county jail; four EMS stations at $875,000 each; and the $8 million Southern Branch Library.
The commissioners will discuss options for the new library during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Southern Human Services Building, 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill. The Reporter’s Notebook is an occasional summary look of local government news compiled by staff writer Tammy Grubb. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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