Budget time

I'll admit, I don't find finances very captivating. but it's through budgets that our local governments set priorities and dedicate the resources needed to get things done.

Chapel Hill held a budget hearing last night and heard requests from several advisory board including the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board asking for a road map for cyclists, the Chapel Hill Public Library for moderate staff increases, the Historic District Commission to reduce fees to homeowners, and the Public Arts Commission (which is actually independent of the Town) to hire additional staff and give raises to current staff. Also, I happen to know that the Planning Board made a request to hire a consultant to assist in implementing the new Tree ordinance, and for additional planning staff to handle the load of impending development including Carolina North.

Carrboro's recent budget hearing elicited only one public speaker: Robert Dowling to ask for additional money for Orange Community Housing and Land Trust.

Normally the town provides the organization $23,000 a year, but this year, said Dowling, it is requesting $26,000.

He said it was a "modest increase," but that the nonprofit was asking for additional sums from the Orange County and the Chapel Hill Town Council.
The remainder of the budget discussion was concise. Mayor Mark Chilton mentioned some concerns about the price of potentially expanding public transportation to Rogers Road in Carrboro.

He said it usually fell to whoever requested the expansion to pay for it, but he said Carrboro and Chapel Hill had both requested that particular expansion for years.
- heraldsun.com: Carrboro begins budget process, 2/27/07

Also, the Downtown partnership is asking for more money from Chapel Hill, downtown property owners, and UNC:

For the past three years, UNC has put in $70,000 a year for the partnership, while the council has allocated $70,000 from the town's general fund, and another $70,000 from the special tax on downtown property. The two parties agreed to that structure for a three-year period, which will end in June.

The partnership is asking for the council and UNC to sign up for another three years, and to bump the funding from the three streams to $80,500 each per year. The council and UNC officials still will have to decide on that funding request, although their support for the partnership in general remains strong.
- heraldsun.com: Downtown group wants to increase budget, programs, 2/28/07



I was called away unexpectedly but I did plan to ask for some transitional monies to move the only hands-on arts program, the Lincoln Center, from its current location.

If possible, I plan to join the budget discussion on human services allotments and tech improvements.


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