Molly De Marco's blog

School Board Cutting Custodian Salaries to Reduce Budget?

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During budget discussions last night, some members of the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board indicated that they would support a strategy to cut their budget that would affect some of our lowest income workers. A proposal was made to move 15 custodians from being school district employees making $11/hour to contractors making only $9.60/hour. This would save $30,000, but is it really the way we want to save money? Not me.

What Are We Doing About Affordable Housing?

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Addressing affordable housing so that all people can afford to live in our community is an extremely important issue to many in our community. It has been given as a reason to develop and redevelop our towns and as a reason not to. Many organizations including the Community Home Trust, EmPOWERment Inc., Habitat for Humanity, the InterFaith Council, CASA, Orange County Justice United, and The Marion Cheek Jackson Center have been working with the towns and county to provide and/or advocate for housing at prices attainable across all spectrums of income.

Process for Providing Sewer to Historic Rogers Road Moves Forward

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On February 10, 2014 the Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously to pay their share of the preliminary engineering and surveying necessary to extend sewer to the historic Rogers Road Community (this would include 86 home lots). These activities are required for the extension of sewer regardless of whether the Chapel Hill Town Council moves forward with a utility district or ETJ.

Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project Gets Federal Go Ahead

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The news much awaited by transit supporters in Orange and Durham Counties finally came yesterday when the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) announced approval of Triangle Transit's request to enter Project Dvelopment phase on the 17-mile Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project. More details can be found in this press release:

DURHAM-ORANGE LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT PROJECT
GETS FEDERAL GO AHEAD FOR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
 
Research Triangle Park, NC (2-25-14) – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced today that Triangle Transit’s request to enter Project Development on the 17-mile Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project has been approved. 
 
“We are pleased with FTA’s decision,” said Fred Day IV, Chair of the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees.  “This represents an important milestone in the course of this project.”
 
Triangle Transit General Manager David King said, “We can now proceed to complete the environmental process, advance our engineering and make final alignment decisions.  We will also use this time to strengthen our financial plan and work with our municipal and university partners on land use and housing issues around stations.  We appreciate FTA’s vote of confidence in our work on this project.”
 
Triangle Transit asked the FTA for entry into the New Starts program in December 2013.  A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 will be completed by January 2016.
 
The light rail line would run from Chapel Hill to East Durham with proposed stops as UNC Hospitals and UNC, Mason Farm Road, Friday Center, Hillmont, Leigh Village, Patterson Place, South Square, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, the VA Medical Center, downtown Durham and Alston Avenue/NC Central University.
 
The Project Development phase is scheduled to take two years. Project Development is followed by a three year phase called engineering.   Construction would follow the engineering phase and would likely take four to five years before light rail service could begin.  More information is available at ourtransitfuture.com.
 
The project cost is estimated at $1.34 billion dollars (in 2012 dollars).  Voters in Durham and Orange counties have approved a one-half cent sales tax to fund the local share of the rail project along with new and expanded bus service. 

Justice United, Renters call on Towns and County to Support Tenants' Rights

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Over the last two years, Orange County Justice United has been working with renters to address discrimination and wrongs they have faced as tenants. These efforts spurred Justice United to work with renters in our community and the UNC Civil Law Clinic to develop the Declaration of Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities. The document, available in both English and Spanish, outlines renters' rights based on state statutes. 

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