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Hot Orange News & Analysis - May 2008

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Situation Worsens Further as Local Orange Democratic Party Precinct Official Publicly Questions Methods of Chapel Hill Political Machine, Is a Fatal Political Diversity Virus Loose and Spreading?

Press the Image to Hear the Symptoms of the Spreading "Czajkowski Syndrome" Virus



A dangerous political diversity virus may be on the loose in southern Orange County and spreading, causing untold damage in opening people’s minds to alternative thinking patterns. Local political public health officials at the Center for Cosmetic Diversity & Thought Uniformity Control (CCDTUC) have been alerted and mobilized.

As reported in the Pulp (Czajkowski Off Political Medications Story) on 14 May 2008, Chapel Hill Councilor Matt Czajkowski revealed once again that he’s not taking his political medications. He confused local town financing of elections with a guaranteed means for subsidizing incumbent campaigns. A political mind control hazmat team was dispatched by the CCDUTC. A pandemic political virus was not thought to be behind the political confusion of Mr. Czajkowski.

However, one week later an Orange County Democratic Party Precinct Official has shown signs of what has now become known locally as “Czajkowski's Syndrome” by agreeing with Mr. Czajkowski. That official wrote the local media a letter saying the following.

Matt Czajkowski on the Chapel Hill Town Council is correct to point out that incumbents have an advantage to win elections here and that Chapel Hill candidates do not receive large donations from lobbying groups. However, when pressed, Czajkowski stated that incumbents demonstrated their greater influence in last November's election by running as a “bloc.”

Czajkowski did not state what many know: the Sierra Club, hand in glove with the Independent, chooses and promotes local candidates. Last November five local candidates ran for re-election together with one “campaign coordinator,” Tom Jensen, a Sierra Club activist by his own description. Public funding of elections will not change this.

The Independent usually rubberstamps the Sierra Club political endorsements and says they endorse the same. In our municipal election, the Independent published Tom Jensen's letter endorsing re-election of all the incumbents with no identification of Jensen as their campaign coordinator or a paid Sierra Club worker, nor as vice chair of the Chapel Hill Planning Board at that time.

The Independent does a fine job tracking down information about Raleigh and Washington, D.C., politicians, but has trouble getting information on locals. However, the list of editors at the Independent includes a family member of a Chapel Hill politico, so the information should be readily available.

We need a Town Council more representative of all Chapel Hill, but challengers must overcome an entrenched political machine. Without soliciting campaign contributions, Czajkowski received about as much as Sally Greene. But he had to spend more on his campaign.
” See CHN Chapel Hill Political Machine Letter.

Clearly, the political virus now identified by the CCDUTC as infecting Councilor Czajkowski is contagious and spreading. CCDUTC officials are concerned that this virus is communicated by respiratory pathways such as talking, which can lead to widespread, uncontrolled thinking if not quarantined and eradicated.

CCDUTC officials remind all citizens to let the Chapel Hill Orange Progressive political machine do all the political thinking for you, assuring that you will remain free from the ravages of performance based political analysis disease, otherwise known as “Czajkowski's Syndrome”.

Boa Wants Power to Limit Individual Campaign Contributions At a Whim, Outside Carrboro Election Money Not a Problem

Press the Image to Hear Ms. Lavelle's Views on Local Campaign Finance

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Last year, the Boa asked Senator Ellie Kinnaird and Representative Verla Insko to introduce legislation in March 2007 that would enable the Boa to strangle the rights of Carrburbans to make campaign contributions and to do so anonymously.

Representative Insko’s bill (H.465) and Senator Kinnaird’s bill (S.488) would have enabled the Boa to require the disclosure of any campaign contribution, no matter how small the amount. Even a one dollar contribution could have been required to be disclosed. Moreover, H.465 and S.488 enabled the Boa to limit campaign contributions to as little as one dollar as well.

Only after Ms. Sharon Cook and Ms. Katrina Ryan, candidates in the Carrboro 2007 municipal campaign for aldermen, raised an objection to these bills, were changes made in the legislation. S.488 was amended to raise the disclosure threshold to $20 in May 2007. In July 2007, S.488 was further modified only to require disclosure of instate residents who contributed more than $20. Out of state residents were excluded.

About this time alderman candidate and self-described “level-headed” establishment annexee Ms. Lydia Lavelle started revealing her campaign contributions. While publicly for S.488, Ms. Lavelle didn’t release publicly the names of her individual contributors of at least $20. Instead she stuck to the statewide mandate of $100. While publicly wringing her hands on the influence of money in Carrboro elections, Ms. Lavelle turned out to be the largest receiver and spender of money in the Carrboro 2007 election. Showing her concern for keeping local elections local, well over half of Ms. Lavelle’s listed individual campaign contributions came from those living outside Carrboro. See Pulp Lavelle Big Spender Outside Influence Story.

Neither H.465 or S.488 passed in the 2007 legislature.

However, a bill did pass the legislature that limited the campaign disclosure limit to $50 statewide (H.1743, SL 2007-391).

Fast forward to the short legislative session in May 2008. The Boa is pushing for S.488 to become law, again seeking to reduce the rights of Carrboro citizens with regards to any other North Carolina citizen.

In an effort to tighten the Boa coils on diversity of thought, biggest four color glossy mass mailer and outside influence receptacle Aldermen Lavelle and choo-choo line cutter, vehicular weapons expert, political anarchist, apology challenged perp, and anger management specialist Alderman Dan Coleman met with Ms. Cook recently and told her the following:
1) the $20 disclosure limit by town ordinance (as opposed to the $50 statewide limit) is no longer part of S.488, the only active bill that can be amended and passed in this short legislative session;
2) the express exclusion of out of state residents from the disclosure limit by town ordinance is required by “federal law”; and
3) the Board can by ordinance cap campaign contributions to any amount less than the current $4000 state limit at any time.

Unfortunately, the Aldermen's statements aren't all accurate. No house or senate bill (including S.488) currently active in the legislature has removed the $20 disclosure limit. Moreover, SL 2007-391 (formerly H.1743) removed the distinction between out of state and in state residents for statewide campaign disclosures (excluding the language regarding Carrboro that was in that bill). According to the committee chairman, members objected to this artificial distinction that gave out of state residents more rights than in state residents. Yet, Aldermen Coleman and Lavelle remain adamant about being forced by “federal law” to have an artifical distinction.

Moreover, Aldermen Coleman and Lavelle couldn’t provide any examples of any excessive campaign influencing in Carrboro regarding campaign contributions except by those few candidates (such as Alderman Lavelle) who brought in most of their campaign monies from outside Carrboro (as revealed by disclosed individual campaign contributions). S.488 doesn’t address the problem of out of Carrboro monies influencing Carrboro elections. The Boa ignores a real issue to address a speculative issue.

Discerning herpteologists see further reasons to beware the Boa constrictor mentality. S.488 allows the Boa to change campaign contribution and disclosure limits at any time and as often as it desires. The Boa can wait until after candidates have filed to slither about with these limits.

Situation Worsens as Chapel Hill Councilor Czajkowski Remains Off Political Medications, Confusing Public Financing of Local Political Campaigns With Taxpayer Subsidies for Incumbents

Press the Image to Hear Town Councilors Sing the Praises of Orange Progressive Cool-Aid

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On 14 May 2008, Chapel Hill Town Councilor Matt Czajkowski revealed once again that he’s not taking his political medications. He confused local town financing of elections with a guaranteed means for subsidizing incumbent campaigns.

Councilor Czajkowski got into a tussle with guardian of the civil right to micturate publicly, guardian of the civil right to expose genitalia publicly, and executive director of yet another local tax-exempt organization Councilor Mark Kleinschmidt. According to the stellar logic of Mr. Kleinschmidt, ensuring a candidate’s viability by requiring an unknown challenger to get a large number of contributors before receiving public money will increase the chances for a diversity of opinion on the town board. Mr. Kleinschmidt (an incumbent up for re-election next year and anticipating recipient of a taxpayer campaign subsidy) didn’t address the difference in difficulty between an unknown challenger reaching this goal and a well-known incumbent reaching this goal.

Town Councilor Laurin Easthom (also up for re-election next year and anticipating recipient of a taxpayer campaign subsidy) backed up Mr. Kleinchmidt in his circular thinking. Ms. Easthom, an apparently self-described not-as-privileged licensed realtor, licensed dentist, and amazingly low $460,000 assessed value, 4000 square foot homeowner in the Larkspur subdivision, raised the politics of envy by charging Mr. Czajkowski as being ”luckier” financially than most Chapel Hill citizens.

No word on whether or not the rest of the council will seek judicial authority to administer medications forcibly to Councilor Czajkowski.

No word on when the Councilors will file full financial disclosure statements to show just “how lucky” each has been in life.

See Pulp Czajkowski Transfer Tax Story.

OWASA Reservoirs Almost Full, Board Asks for a 25% Basic Residence Increase To Keep UNC Bill From Rising As Growth Slows

Press the Image to Hear OWASA's Board Thank You For Subsidizing the UNC Bill

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On Thursday night, May 22nd, the OWASA Board of Directors will receive recommendations regarding the proposed budget and rates and regarding current water use restrictions. The Board’s Budget and Financial Planning Committee will recommend that the water rates for a typical residential customer using 5,000 gallons be increased monthly bill from $58.18 to $72.69. That’s a 24.9% increase.

OWASA’s explanation for this record increase is threefold. First, responding to OWASA demands, consumers put in conservation measures. Second, growth has slowed in the OWASA service boundary. Third, OWASA didn’t plan for inflation in health insurance, energy and treatment plant chemical costs.

OWASA now predicts that water demand in FY 2008-2009 will be about 13% less than past projections, and that “connection fees” will decrease from less growth within the service boundary.

The proposed OWASA FY 2008-2009 operating budget is about $18.4 million, an increase of 2.3% over the current 2007-08 budget. According to OWASA, “the small increase in proposed operating costs reflects freezing of the vacant positions and other proposed cost reductions for the coming year.

So if the operating budget is only going up by 2.3%, then why do your fees have to go up 24.9%? Let’s look closer.

On the revenue side, a comparison of Water & Sewer Operating Revenues (which includes the proposed rate change this year) reveals that in last year’s budget, these revenues were ($15,423,000 and $10,785,000) versus ($16,317,700 and $13,949,849) for this year. That’s an increase of 15.5%, recognizing that the 24.9% increase for the “average OWASA consumer” is not such an increase across the board, in particular for customers such as UNC. OWASA conveniently doesn’t tell you what UNC’s increase will be.

Likewise, a comparison of Service Initiation (connection) Fees reveals that in last year’s budget, these fees were $145,000 versus $148,952 for this year. That’s actually an increase (not a decrease) of 2.7% in revenues.

Curiously, in last year’s budget, there were listed revenues of $3,229,000 in ”Availability Fees”. The availability fee is applicable to each new connection to a water or sewer main, regardless of who may have paid for the installation of the main to which the connection is to be made. This year’s budget doesn’t use that term but does provide for an “Other“ revenues category of only $1,140,100, over $2,000,000 less this year or a decrease of about 65%.

On the expense side, a comparison of Total Operating Expenses (which includes all increases in energy, chemicals and healthcare costs) reveals that in last year’s budget, these expenses were $17,314,382 versus $18,407,951 for this year. That’s an increase of only 6%, not even close to 24.9%.

So what does this mean?

Once again reduced growth is the key element in municipal tax increases (although technically your water bill isn’t a tax but a use fee.), but in a different way from the role of growth in creating other municipal burdens (schools and parks) that must be covered by debt.

In this case OWASA used new growth-based tap connections to soften your water bill. In other words, connection fees from growth went into an OWASA operating revenue account and not into a capital accounts. By doing this, OWASA reduced operating expenses, thereby reducing UNC’s water bill. (You didn’t think that OWASA was as concerned about your water bill as UNC. UNC representatives show up at every public meeting concerned about the UNC bill.) Someone had to make up the $2,000,000 (or about 10%) in revenue shortfall in tap fees, hence a 24.9% increase for the “average OWASA consumer”.

See OWASA Proposed Budget.

Carrboro Goes Into Debt to Avoid Winning Local Tax Rate Increase War With Only a 5% Tax Increase, But Debt Goes Through Roof

Press the Image to Hear Citizen Reaction to Indebtedness Solutons

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The town of Carrboro claimed victory in bringing the lowest tax rate increase for a proposed municipal budget for FY 2008-2009. How did they do it with town revenues growing less than 2%?

The red white and blue way, Carrboro plans to go into debt in a big way. While the Boa pats itself on the back for the town manager proposed budget being only 5% higher in FY 2008-2009, the non-profit, tax-exempt financial whizzes forgot to look at the “credit cards”.

The FY2008-2009 budget appropriates $546,904 in fund balance reserves, on top of the $582,553 appropriation last year. Town debt payments will increase according to the following schedule: from $1,473,925 this year to $1,777,173 next year to $2,400,404 the year after. That means that this year’s debt payments (which increased 14% from last year) will increase 20% next year and 35% on top of that for FY2009-2010. In sum, Carrboro town debt payments will almost double (86%) in just three years.

Of particular interest to Pulpsters is the continuing saga of the Hanna Street sidewalk. Originally, the town was supposed to pay only $50,000 for this sidewalk gift to the Pacifica developer, friends of the Boa and planning board chair. As of the new proposed budget, this town giveaway to special friends sidewalk will now cost you over $284,000. The town staff and Boa only missed the mark by over 500%.

Please note that local media watchdogs continue to snore on top of the Hanna Street giveaways stored outside the Carrboro public works department.

Days After Chapel Hill Announces 11% Budget Increase, Hillsborough Follows with 10% Increase, Town Manager Cries Out for More Growth

Press the Image to Hear the Praises for GrowGaine

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The proposed FY 2008-2009 town of Hillsborough budget of $7.14 million is a 9.6% increase over this year, as town ad valorem property taxes are proposed to rise from 63.5 cents to 68.5 cents per $100 valuation, an additional $100 on a $200,000 home.

But taxes aren’t the only thing rising. Water bills will further soak town citizens. Town customers face a $3 per month increase (if a minimum 3,000 gallons per month user). Non-town customers face a $5.84 per month increase.

According to town manager Eric Peterson, there was virtually no growth in Hillsborough's tax base over the past fiscal year. In fact, John Smith, the county's tax assessor is predicting a decrease. Turns out when the county purchased the privately owned Triangle Sportsplex, it removed millions of dollars of tax base and about $38,000 per year in property taxes.

Showing a true addiction to growth, Manager Peterson cries out, ”“The fact is we just haven't had any growth [and] we haven't had any development approved – and that exacerbates the situation.” See Herald Sun Hillsborough Tax Story.

No word on why the town didn’t anticipate the loss of tax revenues by the public purchase of private property.

State Select House Committee Votes FOR Forced Annexation Moratorium. Local Orange Progressive Committee Member Judith Wegner Votes Against, in Support of Financially Mismanaged Local Growth

Press the Image to Hear House Speaker Hackney Praise Forced Annexation Proponents

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No better demonstration can be given of how the local steno pool (local press and other media) works than the failure to report on restraints of annexation abuses practiced by the town of Carrboro in 2006 . The abuses have been well chronicled in the Pulp. Carrboro made a forced (involuntary) annexation of about 400 homes that violated seven aspects of the law (all missed by 2007 elected Carrboro Alderman Lydia Lavelle who lives in the annexed area and was in favor of the annexation as performed).

Annexation illegalities included:
1) Annexation was through a vacant half mile, non-urban area;
2) Annexation was without upgrading inadequate water pressure to the annexxed area;
3) Annexation was without providing road annexation much less road maintenance;
4) Annexation was without providing access to bond improvements (sidewalks);
5) Annexation was without providing adequate public safety protection (fire, police, and EMS) with a promised completed second fire substation not even under construction;
6) Annexation provided no value to annexed citizens; and
7) Annexation unduly burdened, without notification, the existing municipal citizens by not calculating all municiapl costs to bring all annexed citizens up to par in service levels.

Despite the embarrassment surrounding the annexation and a subsequent attempt to deannex some of the area annexed (through a petition to State Representative Bill Faison), the steno pool slept through the House Select Committee decision. No local paper presented the outcome of the committee vote with any weight or explanation.

After holding a series of public hearings across the state, a special House select committee on annexation moratorium voted Wednesday April 24th to recommend that a temporary moratorium be placed on all involuntary and satellite municipal annexations. If adopted after the General Assembly goes into its short session on May 13, the moratorium would be in place until June 30, 2009. The proposed moratorium was approved 10-2 by the committee. One of the two dissenters was UNC law professor and former Carrboro alderman Judith Wegener.

Amazingly, Professor Wegner told the house select committee that another blue ribbon committee paid for by your state taxes (with her also as a member of that committee, of course) is needed to study state annexation laws, water resource availability, and the role of counties. Although there have been some abuses, Professor Wegner felt that a three month legislative session was enough time to form the blue ribbon committee and to address any problems. She was more concerned about enabling municipalities to “face” major growth armed with annexation statutory weaponry.

The annexation moratorium still faces long odds before being implemented. The all powerful city and town lobbying group, the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM), whose efforts are paid for by city and town taxes without voter approval of NCLM policies. The NCLM says that forced annexation is needed to maintain strong growth and economic vitality for many of the state's municipalities., an admission that many municipalities live beyond their means.

Chairman Goforth disagreed with the appraisal of the NCLM, ”So many cities are doing a good job with annexation in a calm, timely fashion, but so many are abusing the people of North Carolina.”

Several state representative committee members suggested that the annexation laws be changed to give more public input for annexation. The incredibly non-progressive idea of allowing people who own land slated for incorporation to receive more reliable service installation schedules, members said, and have an easier time getting city taxes deferred or refunded if timetables aren't met threatens existing NCLM autonomy to treat citizens as economic wage slaves.

House Speaker, developer, and bourgeoisie rentier Joe Hackney is against the idea of a moratorium.

Four Days After Home Sales Based Transfer Tax Fails, Local Media Announces Home Sales Decline in Orange County of 38% from Last Year…

Press the Image to Hear Cosmo's Advice to Local Media Editors

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Four days after the local tax transfer vote fails in the primary election (see Pulp Local Transfer Tax Vote Story), the local media announces that home sales in the first quarter of Orange County for 2008 are 38% less than that of one year ago. That decline is triple that of one quarter ago (13.4%).

Conveniently, the local steno pool doesn’t report numbers that bear out the fact that revenues from transfer taxes are variable and depend upon the economy until after the primary election. Transfer tax variability was not reported to voters during the primary election by either Carrboro Mayor Chilton’s ad hoc developer shilling machine ,“Orange Citizens for Schools and Parks”, the city board of education members, the Chapel Hill town council members, the Carrboro Boa, or any of the County Commishes. Yet, over $100,000 in taxpayer money was spent on voter education.

See Herald Sun Home Sales Story.

Orange Progressives Trip on Transfer Tax... Will Schools Be Fully Funded Without Local Transfer Tax?

Press the Image to Hear the Commishes Educate You on the Next Local Funding Option

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The Orange County Commishes spent Wednesday May 7th toweling egg off their face as a record voter turnout defeated the land transfer tax option in a referendum vote of 2 to 1 against the tax. Pulp readers remember that the Commishes spent $10,000 to poll citizens. See ( Pulp Commish Poll Story).

That pricey poll revealed that 53% of the people polled opposed the local transfer tax. But the Commishes went forward with a $100,000 “educational” campaign to push the tax. They recruited every city school support organization (school board, PTA boards, et cetera) with the “promise” (a non-binding board resolution) to use the estimated $3,000,000 in local transfer tax funds for schools and parks. The implied threat was that without the tax, you can forget about full funding. The Commishes recruited political allies such as Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton to organize Orange Citizens for Schools and Parks to spread propaganda and not to tell the full story about the tax, how renters didn’t pay the tax and how developers such as Mayor Chilton took profits while leaving a $300,000,000 capital burden for you to pay.

Despite every major Orange Progressive openly supporting the tax, it was turned down. The two thirds opposition was higher after the educational campaign than before. The $10,000 poll revealed 53% opposition with many undecided. The undecided apparently decided to oppose the tax after being educated. Even after rigging the vote to be during what many believed would be a poorly attended May 2008 primary election, as opposed to the better attended November 2008 general election, the Commishes couldn’t get their tax.

Now the big question is, will the Commishes provide $3,000,000 in funding for schools and parks through raising the county property tax. If the school and park need was so great that a new tax was mandated (as Commishes and their supporters represented), does that need remain so great that they will raise property taxes?

Local media-described ”newly elected” Democratic commissioner at-large and local transfer tax advocate Bernadette Pelissier (running against Kevin Wolff in Novmber) showed her complete lack of financial understanding by saying ”I think the land transfer tax was put on too late in the whole process. I wish that the General Assembly had actually made it a tax more on new homes because there's a misperception that it's only for the seller to pay it, when it really can be in the closing costs and paid by the buyer.” Amazingly, Ms. Pelissier was against a fully burdened impact fee during her election campaign and for the transfer tax. Pulpsters, unlike Ms. Pelissier, know that the transfer tax was put on the primary election at the behest of the Commishes. Pulpsters also know, unlike Ms. Pellisier, that the Commishes could have asked, but didn’t, for the option of a higher impact fee from the General Assembly. Clearly, lack of knowledge is not a barrier to being elected in Orange County, so long as the candidate makes you feel good.

Showing her non-profit, tax exempt financial acumen, Ms. Pelissier says ”I'd really like the commissioners to look at increasing the impact fees, though that wouldn't solve all of the problems.” Kenan business school professors are still pondering the meaning of this statement.

Developer Dream Team water carrier and Chief Commish Barry Jacobs, speaking through a yolky beard and albumen facial mask, said, “I'm appreciative to the people who tried to take up the ball for the notion that local government needs more funding options. And in this case we only got to arrange for this option, which had the deepest pockets available opposing it. The notion that local government should have local alternatives is still important and still needs to be pursued.”

No word on the next tax to be brought to you by the Commishes.

Two Days After Transfer Tax Fails, County Announces $1,500,000 Sales Tax Shortfall by September

Press the Image to Hear Cosmo's Advice to County Financial Whiz

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Orange County bureaucrats have discovered that the local economy has been slowing and isn’t recession proof, just like the national economy. Waiting until two days after the local tax transfer vote (see Pulp Local Transfer Tax Vote Story), county staff told the County Commishes that the county has received $12,500,000 in sales taxes through February.

Unfortunately, that figure is $1,000,000 shy of the projected amount. In the words of County Manager Laura BlackmonAs the economy continues to slow, a lot more [money is spent] on gas and food. So spending that would generate sales tax for us would not be as great as we thought it would be.” By September, Ms. Blackmon estimates a $1,500,000 deficit on county sales tax revenues.

No word on why this shortfall wasn’t discovered and announced before the election for county commissioner positions two days earlier.

See Herald Sun Deficit Story.

Chapel Hill "Stancils" In 11% Increase in Town Taxes, Will Town Council Ask for Town Property Transfer Tax?

Press the Image to Hear Citizen Reaction

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After two years of raising debt and raiding a “rainy day surplus” fund (asw well as enjoying rising property values) to avoid raising ad valorem property taxes, Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil has nowhere else to turn and now proposes raising the town ad valorem rate by 11% for FY 2008-2009 (adding 5.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, for a town total of 58.1 cents) to keep existing services intact. This 11% increase includes sucking $2,800,000 out of the town “rainy day” fund balance.

Demonstrating keen foresight in municipal management practices, Mr. Stancil said ”I don't think we will stand alone this year. Tax increases of 3 to 10 cents in local jurisdictions will not be uncommon.

The town fund balance stands at $18,000,000 but only $6,300,000 has not being previously committed. Upon seeking to spend $2,800,000 of the $6,300,000, Mr. Stancil says ”At this point, it is depleted as low as it can get.”.

Meanwhile, town debt payments are at an all-time high and climbing, doubling in the last three years. The town will pay more than $6 million toward principal and interest in each of the next two years, and over $7 million for FY 2010 through FY 2012. Town debt is being applied to pay for the new Town Operations Center, the planned underground parking at 140 West Franklin Street, the Aquatics Center at Homestead Community Park, the new Southern Community Park, and the public library expansion.

ADditional ad valorem property tax increases will be needed to be applied to pay for the operational costs of these capital projects as some of them come on line.

Of note, Chapel Hill will spend $14,600,000 for the Chapel Hill Transit Fund to support UNC.

The proposed budget includes the following: - $611,000 for a 3 percent pay raise for employees - $363,000 for cover a 10 percent increase in medical insurance - $400,000 for retiree medical liability (Other Post-Employment Benefits Fund) - $41,000 for groundskeeper at Southern Community Park - $546,000 for retiree medical insurance - $295,000 for Police Separation allowance - $478,000 for operating costs of the new Aquatic Center - $812,500 for contributions to social agencies - $125,000 for web hosting project - $233,000 for vehicle replacement increase

The proposed capital program includes the following: - $400,000 for parks light pole replacements - $106,000 for capital maintenance to Fire Station No. 3 - $100,000 for emergency repairs - $100,000 for Fire House Mobile and GIS System for response units - $60,000 for small park improvements - $50,000 for fiber optic cable - $50,000 for greenways - $50,000 for parking lots, paths, and trails - $20,000 cemetery beautification

No word on whether or not retired town manager Cal Horton foresaw the coming tax storm.

No word on how Fayetteville has recovered from the loss of Mr. Stancil as town manager there.

No word on whether or not the town council will seek a town property transfer tax like the county commishes have.

See N&O Chapel Hill Budget Story.

UNC Expands Northward, Renting Land for Homeless Shelter in Exchange for Keeping Prime Land Off Tax Rolls and Available for Unspecified Use

Press the Image to Hear Praise for Town Gown Backscratching

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UNC is set to buy about 13 acres from Duke Energy at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Homestead Road, adjacent to the United Church of Chapel Hill.

UNC has selected about 1.5 acres as the site for a new homeless shelter to be leased at $1.00 per year. In turn Chapel Hill will make the site available to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) for the construction and operation of a new homeless shelter.

Chapel Hill has a long history of caring about the homeless and supporting the Inter-Faith Council,” said Mayor Kevin Foy. ”This in-kind contribution has been a public-private partnership that enables the IFC to help countless numbers of homeless people to get back on their feet.

No word from Mayor Foy on what UNC plans are for the remaining 10 plus acres of prime real estate.

Government Employment Reaches New Levels... Orange County Helps Lead the Way

Press the Image to Listen to a New Local Government Hire

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The employment numbers are out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for April 2008.

Nationally, private full time employment in non-agricultural industries has improved slightly from a low in February of 112,972,000 to 113,394,000 in April (all seasonally adjusted). However, the increase in the April figure from March 2008 is down from the December 2007 figure of 113,872,000 by 478,000 jobs, or about 0.4%. For perspective, employment in this sector is about at the same level as reached in July 2007. The current employment level in this sector is about 6.3% higher than that of five years ago.

Meanwhile, national government full time employment engine keeps chugging along. In 2008, government full time employment in non-agricultural industries has steadily increased from 20,805,000 in December 2007 to 21,333,000 in April 2008 (all seasonally adjusted). That’s an increase of about 2.53% in one quarter versus the private employment drop of about 0.4% in the same time. Again for perspective, employment in this government sector is at an all time high. The current employment level in this sector is about 9.1% higher than that of five years ago. That increase is about 50% greater than that of private industry.

So has local government been doing its part?

Local government (state, county, city, towns, et cetera) full time employment in non-agricultural industries has increased from 56,400 in December 2007 to 57,200 in March 2008, an increase of about 1.4% in one quarter. The Town of Chapel Hill has hired a full time public arts administer at a salary of $63,000 per year. This person oversees 50 works of public art. Apparently, Chapel Hill, with a university program in fine arts and plenty of fine arts graduate students can't hire a part time employee to “administer” those 50 works of art. For the past five years the increase in the Durham MSA has been from 50,400 to 57,200 or a rise of about 13.5%.

Congratulations are in order, as local Durham MSA governments have outdone the national growth in government jobs, achieving an increase of 13.5% in government jobs locally as opposed to 9.1% nationally.

Chapel Hill Councilor Czajkowski Remains Off Political Medications, Confusing Politics With Financial Accountability

Press the Image to Hear Mr. Capowski Implore Councilor Czajkowski for His Vote

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On 28 April 2008, Chapel Hill Town Councilor Matt Czajkowski revealed once again that he’s not taking his political medications. He’s immune to bozo tax shilling.

Former Chapel Hill Councilperson, Orange Progressive propagandist, and Carrboro Mayor political attack surrogate (akaWeaver Guy” on local political blogs and forums) Joseph Capowski spoke at the town council meeting for the home equity tax/local land transfer tax vote on 6 May 2008. (See Hot Orange Capowski Shill Story.)

Councilor Czajkowski cast the lone dissenting vote against the local transfer tax resolution. Unbelievably, he claimed the home equity/land transfer tax was just a way for politicians not to be held accountable for the financial consequences of their growth policies. Again showing disturbing logic, he said, ”We need to put greater restraints on property taxes. To me, this is a backdoor tax that allows politicians to avoid higher property taxes.

No word on how the rest of the council intends to administer medications to Councilor Czajkowski.

No word on what additional full time employee the town manager will now hire to address the Councilor Czajkowski “crisis”.

No word on whether or not the next state Bozo convention will be held in Chapelboro.

See N&O Capowski Shill Story.

Chapel Hill Loses Tax Paying Art Gallery to Durham, Compensates by Spending Taxes on New Public Arts Administrator

Press the Image to Hear the Town Council Address Citizen Reaction to Public Art in Chapel Hill

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Unfortunately, small business owners who rent space can forget to negotiate with the landlord on a lease extension before the lease is close to running out and they have few options. After 18 years in Eastgate Shopping Center, Joe Rowand learned in February 2008 that his Somerhill Gallery's lease wouldn’t be renewed with 45 days to vacate.

Trying to stay in Chapel Hill, Mr. Rowand needed 9,000 square feet, a lower rent pricing, a vehicular traffic location, and accessible. Finding that combination in Chapel Hill is like finding a shrine to Jesse Helms in Chapel Hill. See N&O Somerhill Gallery Story 1.

So, the gallery is moving to Durham in the old American Tobacco complex. See N&O Somerhill Gallery Story 2.

In the words of the crackerjack Chapel Hill municipal tax paid ED manager Dwight Bassett (who works in close coordination with the crackerjack Orange County municipal tax paid ED manager, who works in close coordination with the crackerjack Carrboro municipal tax paid ED manager, who works in close coordination with… well, you get the picture) “there wasn’t enough property selection for Somerhill to consider in relocating in Chapel Hill and that there were specific needs that could not be accommodated with our existing inventory”.

Having lost this premier art gallery, Chapel Hill compensated by hiring a Public Arts administrator for the 50 pieces of Chapel Hill public art, yet another full time employee added onto the swelling public job rolls, with a salary of $63,000 annually.

Feeling Heat on Anemic Economic Development and Imbalanced Growth, Commishes Discover Source of Problem… People’s “Misperceptions”

Press the Image to Help Local Officials With Your Perceptions!

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On 21 April 2008, the Orange County Commishes had their annual legislative breakfast with local state representatives to talk about issues of interest. One of the big topics was economic development, or rather the record of a lack of economic development by the commishes over the past two decades. State Senate candidate, retired tax-exempt publicly funded organization executive, real estate investor, solid waste site expert, school merger advocate, and Commish Moses Carey is quoted as saying, ” ”People seem to think we don't want the money that [economic development] brings in”. Commish Carey apparently doesn’t understand how this “misperception” came about.

The commishes have looked into the political looking glass and don’t see themselves and their record of underachievement and imbalanced growth as the source of the “misperception”. Rather, they look forward as to how they can spin a new “reality”. In the words of Commish Valerie Foushee, ”The new message needs to be that [being against economic development]] is not what we should be characterized as”.

Again in the words of Commish Carey, the taxpayer subsidized Buckhorn Village project is all he wants to talk about, ”People like the Buckhorn idea”. Of course, he doesn’t seem eager to talk about the role of county officials in forcing the Buckhorn Village deal on a landowner and the property into the hands of a selected developer Dream Team. (See Hot Orange Buckhorn Village Story.)

While chowing down, the commishes didn’t miss the opportunity to propagandize about the local home equity/land transfer tax. Ignoring the neutral position of education required by law, Commish Foushee says, ”It's important for us to get the message from our side out there. I'm not sure that the message is balanced at this point.

Commish Alice Gordon feels that the woefully under-informing commish campaign that cost you $100,000 is a neutral campaign that ”erase[s] the confusion”. Ms. Gordon doesn’t see any reason to mention facts that would persuade you not to support the tax. (See Hot Orange Chilton Transfer Tax Story.)

See Daily Tar Heel Commish Story.

Dense Urban University Planner Proclaims US to Hit One Billion People by 2100, No Worries, Parking Lots Will Provide Housing Space

Press the Image to Chapelboro Planners Reaction to the News

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Showing the glory of smart growth urban planning, Arthur Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech and future director of the Center for the New Metropolis at the University of Utah, proclaims that the USA, third most populated country in the world at over 300,000,000 people today will reach 1,000,000,000 people by 2100, a glorious future for your grandchildren and great grandchildren in a country that has no limits on sustainability, according to university urban planners.

Advocating for more dense infill, the cause de jour in Chapelboro, planner Nelson states, “We have a surprising amount of space in existing urban areas. We can easily triple the population in our urbanized areas with much of that growth occurring on, of all things, parking lots.” Mr. Nelson wants to convert parking lots in commercial and residential buildings and extend light rail lines and rapid transit to get people out of cars, just like Chapelboro planners.

No word on who wants one billion people in the USA.

No word from any university planner in North Carolina on the national crisis of continued growth.

No word on either Chapel Hill or Carrboro hiring a new full time, parking lot-to-affordable housing conversion administrator.

See Virginia Tech Planners.

ho/may_2008.txt · Last modified: 2008/08/27 11:54 by editor
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