Council Meeting Summary (with Budget Adoption)
The Chapel Hill Town Council met on Monday, June 13, and considered an agenda http://bit.ly/25S6B0n, that includes these highlights.
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). It also will be replayed throughout the week on Chapel Hill Gov-TV (townofchapelhill.org/GovTV).
Mayor’s Statement to Community: Solidarity with Orlando
“As a country and as a community, our strength comes from standing together and, so, tonight we stand in solidarity with the City of Orlando as well as the LGBT and Muslim communities.” Read the Mayor’s full statement at http://bit.ly/1UacdBa. A community gathering of solidarity will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Carrboro Town Commons.
Proclamation: Breastfeeding Family Friendly City
Chapel Hill was proclaimed a Breastfeeding Family Friendly City. This proclamation is a continuation of work toward BFF City designation that was begun by Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at UNC in August 2015. Achieving the designation involves other community organizations including the IFC, Orange County Department of Health, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, and several local Rotary Clubs. More information is available https://sph.unc.edu/files/2015/08/labbok_breastfeeding-friendly-city-criteria.pdf
2016-17 Town Budget – No Tax Increase
Addresses Bike & Ped Safety, Stormwater Improvements, New Buses and Affordable Housing Initiatives
The Council adopted the Town Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. For the third consecutive year, the budget calls for no tax increase, thanks to a modest increase in overall revenues and prudent financial planning.
The Town's proposed $103 million budget for all funds represents a net increase of 0.62 percent to address Council goals. It maintains a 22 percent fund balance, or $11 million.
The budget includes $688,395 for affordable housing development and preservation and $967,000 for the financing of bus purchases. The budget also provides funding for human service agency nonprofits (a funding increase of 22 percent to $411,500), added swimming hours at Chapel Hill Community Center, and various Council planning initiatives. An additional $100,000 may be appropriated in fiscal year 2017 for a loan pool-incentive fund, pending development of a program that meets Council’s economic development goals. Planning for a multi-agency complex that could include Police, Fire, Parks & Recreation Administration and other Town Offices is currently in progress.
The bond referendum passed in November 2015 will support additional community goals, including $5.9 million for stormwater improvements, $7.8 million for bike and pedestrian safety projects, $2 million for sidewalks, and $5 million for trails and greenways.
Property taxes now are projected to make up just less than half the Town budget revenues – at 49 percent. And sales tax revenues are increasing – about a six percent increase. There is a 21 percent increase in State Shared Revenues, which includes a growth in utility sales taxes due to a change in the state's distribution formula.
Under the spending plan, tax amounts supporting the Town remain unchanged and total 52.4 cents per $100 assessed value. The Town tax bill for the owner of a property valued at $350,000 would remain at $1,834. 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.
In 2017, the County will conduct a revaluation of all real property in Orange County. The revaluation will update all property to its current market value. The new values will be reflected in the Town’s 2018 fiscal year budget.
There is a 17 percent increase in the cost of employee medical insurance. The budget includes an increase in employee compensation (to be split into two parts, with a 2 percent increase in July and another 1.5 percent increase in January). Another change affects primarily seasonal, part-time and temporary workers in the Parks and Recreation Department. New employees in the effected positions will have a minimum starting wage of $10 per hour. After 90 days on the job these employees will be subject to a $12.75 per hour minimum pay rate – to comply with the Orange County Living Wage standard.
Town Manager Roger Stancil said: “We continue to live in a time of economic uncertainty and ongoing debate about the vision for the future and the refinement of that vision. Our unlimited ideas, new projects and initiatives are balanced by limited resources. The process of policy choice is difficult. As we struggle to meet high expectations with limited resources we are constantly challenged to prioritize new strategic initiatives while maintaining core services at the high level expected in Chapel Hill. In FY17 we will be working on creating stronger connections between Council Goals and the measures we use to gauge our progress.”
The Council began its discussion about the upcoming budget at its annual retreat in January. A complete list of budget-related materials and meetings are provided at www.townofchapelhill.org/budget.
Pedestrian Bridge Over Morgan Creek at Ashe Place and Arboretum Drive
The Council authorized Town staff to proceed with a plan to install a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Morgan Creek near Ashe Place and Arboretum Drive using 2015 Greenways bond funds. The bridge will connect Ashe Place on the north side to Arboretum Drive on the south side of the creek. The project stems from a recommendation from the Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission that held public forums on the bridge proposal in April and May 2016. Chapel Hill features more than 25 miles of interconnected trails and greenways. The Bolin Creek Trail has been recently renovated and connected with the Tanyard Branch Trail. More about Chapel Hill Greenways: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/departments-services/parks-recreation/facilities-greenways-parks/greenways
Changes to Land Use Management Ordinance – Development Agreement
The Council enacted text amendments that eliminate the minimum 25-acre land requirement; and also eliminate the maximum 20-year permit term limits associated with a Development Agreement. These amendments are in response to recent changes in State Statutes. Learn more at www.townofchapelhill.org/legislative-updates
Fire Station Revised Business Agreement
The Council authorized a revised proposed business agreement for a public-private development opportunity for the Fire Station #2 property at 1003 Hamilton Road. The revision includes provisions to allow the Town to retain title of both the fire station and the land comprising the footprint of the building and associated workspaces. These meet key interests including an interest expressed by Council in maintaining maximum control and flexibility in use of the fire station property in perpetuity.
Development of The Station at East 54, 1003 S. Hamilton Road
The Council approved rezoning and a proposed Station at East 54 Development Agreement related to the redevelopment of an aging fire station and its property into a new expanded fire station and accompanying office building and parking structure. The agreement will meet multiple Town goals, including the provision of public facilities and services, while supporting economic development in Chapel Hill. The 1.1-acre site is located at 1003 S. Hamilton Road on the southwest corner of Prestwick Road and S. Hamilton Road, adjacent to the Aloft Hotel and East 54 and site of the existing Fire Station #2. The development agreement will authorize EastWest Partners to construct a new fire station, office building, and parking deck at 1003 S. Hamilton Road, the current location of Fire Station #2.