October 2010

New back door for OC spending?

There was a mention of this on CHL the other night; Did anyone else catch this public hearing popping up? 


The net net as far as I can tell is that the manager wants to refinance our debt (sounds like a good thing), saving $4.6m over the life of the debt.  And then he proposed $2m in new spending right along with it. 


We were told over and over again this past budget cycle that everything had to be cut because there's no money.  Now, instead of balancing all those things which were cut against this new proposal, some glitzy technology thing gets to jump to the front of the line with little public input to gobble up a large portion of savings that are found.


What I really don't understand is how we can cut basic services in the county and then go spend large amount of $ on "nice to have" like a better property info system (I have no idea if the radios are really needed or not).  I've certainly used the current property info system enough to know it isn't the best.  But can we really afford right now to buy a better one?


CVS Planning Major Development in Downtown Carrboro

CVS is in the process of buying up properties in downtown Carrboro across from Weaver Street Market to potentially build a 2 story building that would house a retail tenant (presumably CVS) on the 1st floor and office space and/or apartments on the second floor.

Ruby talked a little bit about the new development on the corner of Greensboro and Weaver Street in a previous post.  To recap: Weaver Street Market needed money to help pay for debt they have incurred the passed few years and they sold 3 downtown properties to CVS. (See Map) They sold the property on the corner of  N. Greensboro and Weaver Street (where WCOM and Community Realty used to be), the parking lot next to that building and 104 Center Street.  The house on 104 Center Street is an historic Mill House built around 1910.  This house will most likely be torn down in the near future.   The developer working for CVS is close to purchasing 203 N Greensboro St (Debra Seaton’s Dental practice) and the hair shop on the corner of Short and Center Street.  This would mean CVS will own all but one the property on the block.

CH Transit hearing

@chtransit seeking input on routes & schedules.Thanks to this flyer I spotted on the bus last week, I went to the first of two public hearings held by Chapel Hill Transit this week. The second one is tomorrow (Tuesday) at Chapel Hill Town Hall.

I was running in and out of the meeting after my son who also likes buses, but isn't very patient with meetings. I did get a chance to say my piece, which included advice about making the time between buses ("headways") more consistent and supporting longer service hours. But it wasn't until chatting with Loren Hintz after the meeting that I learned that part of the purpose of the meeting is to get feedback for a major study that Chapel Hill Transit is undertaking,

The town website says that "The Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA), a joint effort of CHT and its funding partners, Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Carrboro and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will lead to recommendations for service improvements for overall system efficiency and effectiveness." Apparently this includes major realignment of the routes, which is probably a good idea. Many of the routes haven't been updated for over a decade, and I think the community might be better served by rethinking how to create a web of service that includes more of a service grid (think: east-west connector along Estes Drive and linear routes on Greensboro, MLK, and Franklin, for example) and reduces the number of franken-routes like the J bus where you could ride for half an hour to go a distance that could be walked in 20 minutes.

Apparently this week's meetings are just the first in a series of events to collect and share information. If you can't make the hearing tomorrow, Chapel Hill Transit would still like your input via one of these methods: 

1. Call CHT at 919-969-4900, press 1
2. Email us at coa@townofchapelhill.org 
3. Fax to 919-968-2840 (Attn: COA)
4. Mail to CHT, Attn: COA, 6900 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-8175 

What will you tell them?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 2:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill

Public input session on CHPD


Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 12:30pm


Extraordinary Ventures, 200 S. Elliott Road, CHapel Hill

The cost of Homegrown

I was looking for some information on the Town of Chapel Hill web site about Halloween logistics yesterday, and I came across some interesting data. It seems that since the town instituted the new "Homegrown Halloween" rules in 2008 to keep the the downtown party more manageable, they have greatly reduced the size of the party, but the cost to the Town is about the same!

I don't doubt that the evening is a much safer and probably healthier one for most of Chapel Hill, but I worry that the clamp down may also put a damper on the fun.

McKee swatting a fly with a shotgun

I was surprised to read on the OrangeChat blog this week that Democrat Earl McKee, running for an open County Commissioner seat in District 2 (northern and western Orange) has raised and spent well over $10,000.  He already won the primary in May, in which he narrowly beat Renee Price, and promises to be the kind of (relatively) conservative voice that the not-so-new-anymore county commission districts were designed to elicit.

McKee is running against a Republican who has raised less than $3,000, most of which is a loan to his campaign.  Oh, and did I mention he's a Republican? He is not going to win a county-wide seat around these parts. Like that fact or or not, it hasn't happened in decades, and even if Karl Rove's PAC starts buying ads on WCHL, it's not going to start now. (I'm not saying never, though.)

Durham Tech's Orange County Campus hosts special FREE Small Business Seminar featuring Mayor Tom Stevens 11/4

New! Edge of the Box Thinking
Date: Thursday, November 4
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Orange County Campus, Hillsborough, NC

Resist mediocrity, overcome complacency, cultivate creativity, foster innovation - and make your small business or organization exceptional. It all starts with how you think! This presentation is designed to stimulate insight, practical ideas, and creative thinking about strategy, marketing, innovation, and performance – exploring how small business scale and agility can be leveraged for success.

Keynote Seminar featuring: Tom Stevens

A leadership advisor, professional speaker, and seasoned facilitator, Tom’s experience spans business, non-profit, and public organizations. He was a teacher and therapist before serving a dozen years as the top executive of a growing family service agency. In 2001 he founded and continues to grow Think Leadership Ideas, a boutique consulting firm helping leaders create and sustain exceptional organizations. In 2005 Tom was elected Mayor of Hillsborough, and is now serving his third term.

Tom is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, Tom’s articles on leadership have appeared in numerous business magazines as well as his own publication, THINK!, and Tom is the creator of the 7 Ideas Coach podcasts on Apple iTunes. In addition, Tom is an artist, an enthusiast of antique woodworking tools, a casual gardener, and fan of local history.

There is no prior registration required (first come-first serve). For more information about this event check out the event web page.

Interested in learning more about our Small Business Center programs, seminars, and services?  Check out the OCCnews blog. 

I am here to help create opportunities that meet the needs of Orange County residents and businesses as you pursue your education, workforce training, and lifelong learning objectives.  If there are topics or programs that you wish we were offering (or that you could offer) please let me know!

For more information, contact Carlo Robustelli, Director of Orange County Operations, at carlo@durhamtech.edu, 919-536-7238, ext. 4202, or Dub Gulley, Director of the Small Business Center at Durham Tech, gulleyd@durhamtech.edu, 919-536-7200, ext. 4501. 

Click here for directions. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm


525 College Park Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278



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