October 2015 Updates
· Member announcements continued this week with three more legislators announcing they will not be seeking reelection. Rep. Paul Tine (U-Dare), Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston), Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) announced that they will finish their current term, but will not seek reelection for the 2017-18 General Assembly. Additionally, State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson (D-NC) has announced she intends to run for re-election in 2016. However, Treasurer Janet Cowell (D-NC) announced on Tuesday she would not be seeking reelection next year.
· All Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) fees will increase under the 2015 Appropriations Act, the first time in a decade. The increase in the fees will be used toward funding additional Strategic Transportation Investment projects and DMV modernization. On Monday, Governor McCrory announced that online driver license renewal will be available statewide. The service is one of the changes implemented by the Governor’s “Driving Change” initiative.
· Included in the Appropriations Act, HB 97, was a blueprint for the $2 billion infrastructure bond for capital projects, later included in HB 943, Connect NC Bond Act of 2015. The finance portion of the state budget was contingent on HB 943 passing both House and Senate chambers before January 1, 2016. NC voters will have a chance to vote on this issue on the 2016 Presidential Primary ballot in March.
· Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill into law called the North Carolina Data Center Infrastructure Act, which offers property and utility sales tax exemptions to data center providers and their occupants that have collectively invested at least $75 million in private funds in a given facility.
· Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 117, the North Carolina Competes Act, into law. This bill will provide our state with the tools necessary to recruit and retain businesses in our state. Key provisions of the NC Competes Act include:
· An expansion of the Job Development Investment Grant program to $20 million per year
· An additional $15 million in JDIGs for high-yield projects that produce 500 jobs or more
· Tax incentives for data centers, aviation jet fuel and motor sports
· Continues the ONE North Carolina that provides assistance to businesses or industries that create high quality jobs in high value-added, knowledge driven industries
· The Chatham County board of commissioners has chosen to promote from within in finding a replacement for outgoing longtime Chatham County Manager Charlie Horne. The board voted to promote Renee Paschal, Horne's long-time assistant county manager, as the county's new chief executive officer.
- Orange County is the third best place in the United States to retire. A new report by real estate research site Find The Home rated the retirement index in Orange County as one of the highest in the country at more than 98. Counties are measured on quality of hospital and health care centers, entertainment, convenience and transportation, community, and housing.
- Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space are considering improvements for its eight park locations and needs your help. From now through the end of October, residents and park visitors are being asked to share their thoughts on potential improvements and enhancements. The survey provides an opportunity to share feedback on each park individually. It can be completed online or in person at any park location. Staff will also be on hand at many upcoming events seeking public input. To take one or more surveys, visit the survey page, select a park location and follow the survey link.
- Election Day Bond: $15 million bond referendum for streets and sidewalks. Two-thirds of that amount would go toward completing the Apex Peakway, which would act as a bypass to N.C. Highway 55. Officials said the bond wouldn't require a tax increase.
- Just days remain for citizens to share their priorities as the Town of Cary begins building its Fiscal Year 2017 annual budget, which will identify services and infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the Town from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. In addition to speaking directly to the Cary Town Council at the October 22 Town Council meeting, citizens can share their budget priorities via email at email@example.com or voicemail at (919) 469-4307. Feedback is accepted on the Town’s social media accounts: www.facebook.com/TownofCaryNC and www.twitter.com/TownofCary(#TOCbudget). All comments must be received by 11:59 p.m., October 31, in order to be reviewed during development of the Town Manager’s FY 2017 Recommended Budget to be presented to the Cary Town Council for consideration this spring. Citizens can review the current year’s budget at www.townofcary.org or in hard copy at the Cary Library in downtown Cary or the West Regional Library. For more, search “Budget Development” at www.townofcary.org or call (919) 462-3911.
- The two most controversial discussion items at the most recent council meeting were the Chapel Hill Road at Lake Drive rezoning and the Westhigh South rezoning. Both of these had valid protest petitions which require five out of six affirmative votes for approval. The applicants asked that these be postponed until the November 19 meeting, which was unanimously granted by council.
- Land Use Management Ordinance Amendment: This amendment addressed concerns previously expressed by town council members. The key issues outlined by this amendment included recreation space, transportation management plans, mechanical equipment screening and step backs. The amendment clarifies the enforcement, requirements and other ambiguous elements of the transportation management plans. A recommendation for further research on step backs was also included in the amendment.
- The council approved the development application for Grove Park Apartments, which would replace Townhouse apartments on Hillsborough Street with 235 additional apartment units.
- Chapel Hill kicked off the development of a $123 million renovation to University Square on Franklin Street. The updated, live-work-play space is being re-christened Carolina Square and is set to open in August 2017.
- Election Day Bond: Chapel Hill residents will vote on five separate bond issues totaling just over $40 million. Projects include downtown streetscaping, building recreational facilities, expanding greenways and trails, providing more solid water services and making improvements in stormwater collection.
- Please join us in welcoming Steven Hicks to the City of Durham! Steven is the new director of the City's General Services Department and has significant capital improvement experience with transportation, buildings, utilities, and parks projects. Read more about his background and experience at http://bit.ly/1F4H9vv.
- Election Day Bond: $26 million in transportation, water and sewer bonds. The bulk of that would go toward relieving traffic congestion, including improvements at busy intersections along Main Street. Officials said the transportation bond could lead to a tax increase of up to about $140 a year on a $200,000 home.
- Though snubbed by Google Fiber, Holly Springs is still getting high-speed Internet, thanks to Toronto-based Ting Internet. Ting, a division of Tucows Inc., hinted this summer that parts of the Triangle were under consideration for its gigabit download speeds. As it turns out, its company officials have been having conversations with the town since late spring, introduced by Holly Springs’ fiber network consultant, CTC Technology & Energy.
- According to Mayor Stohlman: Two I-40 interchange projects (at Aviation Parkway and at Airport Boulevard) are coming in the next 5-10 years to alleviate congestion at both interchanges. Construction on a section of 54 down to Airport Boulevard has been moved up to a 5-10 year window as part of the NC-54 study program. Feasibility studies are going on right now.
- Officials from Cary and Morrisville anticipate increased traffic on N.C. 54, but they also expect it will be about a decade before the already crowded road gets any major improvements. Cary wants a six-lane highway, Morrisville wants four lanes. State funding for the widening is likely about a decade away. Traffic will keep growing due to new development, like Weston Corners.
- Morrisville Town Council approved the construction of 250 apartment units – Lake Crabtree Apartments – at the intersection of Aviation and Evans Road. There have been concerns about traffic and congested roads as the Town has estimated 1,336 vehicles travelling in and out of Morrisville each day. Click HERE to read more about this project.
- The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department seek public input for the Crabtree Creek West Greenway project. The department has scheduled two open house meetings to engage the public on trail alignment and community connections to the Crabtree Creek West Greenway Corridor. Open House meetings are scheduled for November 5 and November 10, 2015 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Laurel Hills Community Center located at 3808 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. Participants are welcome to stop by at any time between 5:30 and 7:30 PM on either meeting date.
- Upcoming Public Hearing: November 3, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plan (Held open from 9/1/15 meeting).
- The Council is still working on the UDO remapping at their Work Sessions on Monday afternoons at 4:00. Upcoming meetings will be held on November 9th and 16th.
- The town has yet to hear from RST about its repeated fiber promises. He explains that his team is looking for help in writing a formal business plan for a public-private partnership for fiber.