Commissioners Delay Transit Vote Past Primary

The Orange County Board of Commissioners again considered transit earlier this evening at its biweekly meeting. After a litany of other agenda items, county planning director Craig Benedict outlined a timeline for placing the transit tax on the ballot. At the remaining work session and regular meeting in March, the commissioners will presented with information on the cost sharing for the regional transit program and agree to some conception of it. In April, the town will hold two public meetings and draft the official transit plan for the country. 

At its first meeting in May, the commission will officially approve a cost sharing agreement with Durham County and adopt the transit plan, and finally, at its second May meeting—one week after the primary—the commissioners will vote up or down on an agreement with Triangle Transit and whether or not a referendum will be placed on the ballot. The fact that the commissioners are delaying a vote on the referendum is disappointing as it allows to commissioners to go through the election without officially being on record on the transit tax.

In other notes, the commissioners approved the construction of two new fire stations for the Orange Grove Fire Department, discussed the implications of providing funds for the cleanup of illegal dumping around the landfill on Rogers Road, planned for the construction that will occur at the Walnut Grove Solid Waste Convenience Center and received two reports—one of the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (SAPFO) and another on the NC-54/I-40 Corridor Study.

As we move toward the election, it’s my hope that the commissioners show a little more leadership on the key issues that our community is facing and be wiling to boldly take the progression position on them. On almost every issue the commissioners discussed there seemed to be a general reluctance to take a position, and often the commissioners were simply correcting the grammar of staff reports. 

You can check the action of the meeting blow-by-blow by checking on out #BOCC on Twitter or see the Storify.



I support your position, and believe that the county will not grow and prosper in the northern areas until there is a strong reliable transportation system that serves those communities. It is expensive, however, and the county folks do not have the resources that Chapel Hill does. I'm hopeful that UNC and Durham Tech will get together and offer regular service to those north of their new facilities soon after the UNC Hospital opens. The lack of transportation reinforces the inequity in the different ends of the county.

At least they set a schedule. And hey, grammar is important. 

I'll give you that both the schedule and grammar are important and I'm glad that there is something out there, but I do think the commissioners' should be moving on past the discussions of semicolons and common splices and into serious discussions about the need for transit in our county and in our region and how we'll meet those needs.

If you read Jeff's tweets from the county commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, you know that the county has been working on a new GIS system known as ARIES. The system is now available at county issued a press release today:

Orange County Introduces New Property Information Tool - ARIESORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County maintains many public records associated with property.  In the past, there have been challenges for a property owner trying to view varying land records online.  The search just got easier!Orange County would like to introduce its latest GIS application, ARIES.  ARIES is an acronym for Address Related Information – Electronic Search. ARIES is designed to consolidate a wealth of information through a single interface.  Property address information ranges from tax and land records data, voting precincts, school districts, fire districts, soil data, zoning and environmental health to directions for the nearest libraries, nearest recycling centers, and more. The ARIES website is designed with a simple and easy-to-use Internet interface that requires only an address to begin searching.  Area realtors have already expressed excitement about the ease of use for individuals shopping for a new home in Orange County. Orange County is one of only three North Carolina counties to provide a tool this dynamic to its residents and future residents.  The public can test drive ARIES at Development is also underway for a mobile app for smart phones such as the Android and eventually Apple.  For additional information about ARIES, contact Steve Averett, 919-245-2501. ###

At the meeting, the IT director went into a fair amount of detail on the system. If you love GIS and data visualization like I do, you'll think this is awesome! 

I'm not especially impressed, given that nothing really comes up on the webpage at this time.  THe OC GIS is the clunkiest many of us who do environmental/land research encounter in the region. Even the staff dislike it. The easy access to parcels by address is the only notable advantage I can see in it, and that's good for realtors. 


 For a nearby system, check out: 


Ed Harrison 


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