Homegrown Halloween: Tuesday, Oct. 31
The Town of Chapel Hill continues its preparation efforts for the night of Halloween (Tuesday, Oct. 31) with the focus on safety for people and property.
Council Meeting Summary
Council meeting summaries are issued from the Communications and Public Affairs Department following most business meetings. To sign up to receive these by email, please send a request to email@example.com. This brief summary is sent immediately following the public meeting. It should not be viewed as official minutes.
Would you like to view the Council video? (townofchapelhill.org/councilvideo - this should be ready for online viewing by Tuesday afternoon).
Resolution of Support: Paris Agreement
The Council adopted a resolution of support of the Paris Agreement.
Summer 2017 Street Resurfacing
The Council awarded a bid for street patching, milling and resurfacing on Town-maintained streets to Barnhill Contracting. The proposed resurfacing locations can be viewed at townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/departments-services/public-works/streets-and-construction/resurfacing-projects-2017.
Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget
The Council adopted the budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 with no tax increase. For more details on the adopted budget, click here or scroll down.
Fee Waiver: Limited Special Use Permit for Proposed Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool
The Council authorized the Town Manager to waive the application fees for a Special Use Permit Application for the Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool to increase its parking area.
2017-2022 Orange County Master Aging Plan
The Council received the 2017 Orange County Master Aging Plan (MAP) report. The MAP is the strategic plan for the Orange County Department on Aging and is based on the AARP Framework for an Age-Friendly Community.
Progress Report on the Chapel Hill Station Area Planning Project for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Initiative
The Council received a presentation on the Station Area Planning Project for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (DOLRT) Initiative. The Council approved a resolution providing policy direction for the project. The Council also provided feedback to GoTriangle staff and their consultants about important considerations and desired outcomes for the creation of appropriate station area plans and development standards.
2017-18 Town Budget – No Tax IncreasePlanning for the Future: Budget Funds Affordable Housing, Human Service Agencies and Strategic Initiatives
The Council adopted the Town Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 on Monday, June 12. For the fourth consecutive year, the budget mandates no tax increase, thanks to prudent financial planning and expected growth in sales tax revenues.
The Town is adopting a revenue neutral tax rate. While this will generate the same revenue for the Town, as collected in the prior year, individual taxpayers may see significant changes to their tax bill based on their new assessed valuation.
The Town’s proposed $107.3 million budget for all funds represents a net increase of 1.5 percent to maintain existing service levels and address Council goals and priorities. It also includes a 2 percent funding increase to human service agencies, for a total of $419,500. These funds focus on agencies with strategies that add to the diversity of jobs, choices and housing to create spaces in Chapel Hill for everyone.
The adopted budget includes no changes in core services, which are highly valued as reflected in the biennial community survey. The proposal also includes resources to advance the Councils strategic priorities and accomplish adopted Goals.
In the budget highlights presented to Council, Town Manager Roger Stancil said: “While we continue to experience positive growth in economy driven revenues, our property tax base, which is our largest revenue source, has not kept pace with our costs of providing services over the last eight years. Moreover, the Town now faces legislative threats on both the state and federal level. The state Legislature is considering actions, such as changing the distribution method of sales taxes that will reduce the Town’s revenues without providing options to make up the loss.”
What to Expect in Tax Bills
The Orange County County-wide revaluation of real property will go into effect for fiscal 2018 tax year. While individual taxpayers will see their tax bill change depending on the change in the valuation of their property, the Town is adopting a revenue neutral tax rate that is designed to generate the same revenue as the previous year. In other words, for the average tax-payer Town taxes will stay about the same. However, most taxpayers are not average and will see some change in their bill based on change in the assessed value of their property. The recommended revenue neutral tax rate is 50.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, reduced from 52.4 cents in the current year. The following table illustrates the calculation of Town taxes using the revenue neutral tax rate for a hypothetical average taxpayer.
The total amount Chapel Hill residents pay in property taxes also depends on the actions of the Board of Orange County Commissioners, which set the county tax rate, and the special schools tax for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. The property tax bill that Chapel Hill residents pay is divided among Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (54 percent), the Town of Chapel Hill (33 percent), and Orange County (13 percent). Residents who live in the Durham County portion of Chapel Hill see slightly different tax bills due to the actions of the Durham County Commissioners.
Commitment to Affordable Housing
The adopted budget continues the Town Council’s commitment to affordable housing programs with an amount equal to one cent on the tax rate or $688,395. In total, the Town spends about $5.2 million annually on affordable housing programs including management of 336 dwelling units in 13 public housing neighborhoods.
The Housing Fund Budget reflects a 5.6 percent decrease in capital expenditures and an expected 12.4 percent decrease in subsidies from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The President’s preliminary budget proposes elimination of the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program and a reduction in funds allocated for public housing maintenance and operations.
A $6 increase in the annual stormwater fee is included in the final budget. The increase will be used to fund operating costs and to pay for debt service on stormwater general obligation bonds that will be issued to fund priority infrastructure improvement projects including those identified in the Lower Booker Creek Subwatershed Study.
Planning for the Future
The Town Budget includes a number of initiatives to plan for the community’s future, including a rewrite of the Land Use Management Ordinance, beginning implementation of the West Rosemary Street Development Guide, developing the Mobility and Connectivity Plan, and considering the Ephesus-Fordham District Design Guidelines. Council committees are also reviewing the Town’s properties to make recommendations to the Council for future use of the Historic Town Hall, the American Legion Property, and a number of other Town properties and assets.
The Town believes that the excellent service that residents and visitors receive is dependent on attracting and retaining excellent employees. Town Manager Stancil recommended, and the Council approved, a 2.5 percent salary adjustment. The adjustment will be based on the market rate (mid-point) within each pay grade so that employees currently making less than market will receive slightly larger percentage increases than those currently making more than the market. Additional pay adjustments in the budget will meet the Orange County Living Wage standards for 2018 and also will implement the findings of a market survey for compensation primarily affecting Public Works and Transit employees. Anticipated is a 12 percent increase in the cost of employee medical insurance. The Town will continue its focus on improving employee health via the Wellness @ Work program, a partnership with the UNC Health Care Department of Family Medicine.
Budget Reflects Our Shared Vision
“The budget is the tool we use to allocate resources that move us toward a future based on our shared vision,” Town Manager Stancil said. “But, moreover, the budget is about choices. Choices dictated by factors both within and outside of our control. Our ability to understand, manage and anticipate these factors is greatly enhanced by our ability to build trust and respect through open communication and the participation of the public in our planning, goal setting and decision making processes.”
The Council sets its strategic priorities throughout the year, and especially in regular work session discussion and at the annual retreat in January. A complete list of budget-related materials and meetings are provided at townofchapelhill.org/budget.