TCC & Wake County Coffee Chat Summary March 18, 2015

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the Wake County Elected Officials and Staff on March 18, 2015.  

Joining our members in an informal chat were Wake County Commissioner John Burns, Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria, Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann, Chris Snow - Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director, Tim Maloney - Planning, Development and Inspections Director and Clerk to the Board of Commissioners Denise Hogan.

We provided the Wake County leadership with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The County appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

  • Commissioner John Burns
    • Balance issue is the most important with growth. Believes sustainability is a product of balance
    • Encourages access that allows availability to transit options among others
  • Commissioner Matt Calabria
    • Believes commission is committed to digging into details, data driven answers
      All-values board of commissioners
    • Defining character of Wake County is growth
    • Need to figure out how to pay for tomorrow’s infrastructure with today’s budget
  • County Manager Jim Hartmann
    • Foundation of the County is growth. The County needs to get ready for the next million people over the next 40 years
    • Transit plan is huge – must provide mass-transit plan for the community
      Report to be issued in late April. waketransit.com
    • Schools – 155,000 current students. Growing by 3,000 per year
      • Half of the County’s $1.1 Billion budget goes to the schools
      • County has good relationship with School Board
    • 52 projects currently with Economic Development. One that exceeds $1 Billion investment
  • Lack of local control – County has no influence with State legislation. Redistricting could affect County budget by $20 million.
  • Parks & Recreation
    • $10 million left to purchase land
      • RFP process to purchase land
      • Sent 50 letters to property owners last week
    • Strategic plan includes 30% of land to be open space in Wake County. Currently at 1/3 of that goal
    • Tim Maloney
      • Little River Reservoir is one of the future sources of water supply in 30-40 years.
        Most restrictive watershed.
    • Tim Minton asked the Commission to rank the needs of County dollars
      • Commissioner Burns – Education, transportation, and mental health facilities
      • Commissioner Calabria agreed with Burns
    • Suzanne Harris asked if school performance or capacity was the issue at hand
      • Hartmann – performance is key
      • Commissioner Burns – instead of using money for renovations, make the schools more efficient
    • Tom Anhut
      • Not currently using the capacity in schools
      • Says many people including himself would like to see a capacity study
      • Commissioner Burns agrees and said he was for year-round schools
    • Tim Maloney
      • Wanting to collect ordinances into a new comprehensive plan. Current document is 15 years old. Transportation plan is 10 years old. Believes both documents need updates and would work with municipalities when compiling the updates

If you are interested in participating in future meetings with Wake County or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot!

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.