CARRBORO — Sammy Slade said hes learned a few lessons in his first four years as alderman.
The 39-year-old energy activist said hes been frustrated with how little power municipalities have to make local rules without state approval.
Slade said he wanted to change the building codes in Carrboro to make buildings more energy efficient, but that was watered down. He pushed for a bill that would let Carrboro become a pilot town for higher energy efficiency standards, but that needed state approval, he said.
Even that was denied, Slade said.
So Slade began working on ways to work within the confines of what he could do without state approval. One of the first resolutions he got passed was to make sure the town was being as energy efficient as it could be.
Slade, a member of the Affordable Housing Task Force, is trying to identify ways for people of all incomes to live in Carrboro.
We do all these great things, and Carrboro becomes more attractive, he said. We have to make sure as we implement things that make Carrboro more attractive, we also have to make sure to make it accessible to all income levels.
Slade regrets that Carrboro wasnt prepared to purchase some of the Collins Crossing (formerly Abbey Court) condominiums when they were put on the market.
We missed a significant opportunity to purchase some of those apartments, Slade said.
Instead a private buyer bought most of the condominiums, made improvements, raised the rents and has been pushing assessments on those who still own condominiums there. Some residents had to move because they could no longer afford to live there.
Slade also spoke out about fracking, and gathered 30 signatures on a letter opposing fracking from local officials to send to the state. He participated in the Moral Monday events at the General Assembly to let legislators know how their actions were affecting local governments, he said.
At a recent meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Slade said his vision of Carrboro was to be autonomous. When asked what he meant by that, Slade said that when Carrboro has been a member of regional groups, it has not had much of a voice. One example was the decision to run a future light rail line between Chapel Hill and Durham, leaving Carrboro out of the plan.
We were vocal about it, but we were not heard, Slade said.
Slade wants to encourage localization, not globalization.
Food is one example, he said.
So much comes from outside of our community, he said. Theres an opportunity to localize food.
That would increase employment in the area and keep money spent on food within the community, he said.