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Board of Commissioners' annual planning summit

Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005

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Our summit took place on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan 5-6) in the Dunlap classroom.

We made our first reviews on budget, real property reappraisals, and capital improvement needs. It was a very busy and productive two days and the BOC and staff worked well together.

Additional topics included:

Grant writer: we will be looking at the pros and cons of hiring a full time grant writer or use of a grant writing service. We recognize the importance of making a full proactive effort in this area.

West Chatham Senior Center: we approved initial steps to lease and outfit a senior center in a residential/business park in Siler City by a 5-0 vote.

Insurance for paid firefighters: they are not considered county employees and therefore are not eligible for county health insurance. North Chatham has 22 paid firefighters who have purchased their own group insurance. Pittsboro has 3 paid firefighters who have also purchased their insurance from the same provider (Blue Cross). That leaves Moncure with two and Siler City with one uninsured. Our fire marshal, Tom Bender, is looking at ways to include them and will advise.

1% land transfer fee: This was discussed at length and has full board support. We will meet soon with state senator Atwater and state representative Hackney to work out a proposal for the legislature this year.

* This idea is not new -- a few counties currently use it successfully. The Builder and Real Estate lobby has been totally successful in blocking General Assembly approval for any other counties, since 1989.
* Chatham County is facing a particularly heavy development period and we must be successful! Something has to give.
* Without this land transfer fee, our needs and requirements for schools, libraries, fire, EMS, offices space, furnishings, personnel, equipment and select support infrastructure will fall squarely on the backs of our current citizens in the form of higher taxes and county loan debt. I do not care for this option as it affords no consideration or protection for those of us with low or moderate income families.
* These new developments are generally not being built for current Chatham residents, and with this land transfer fee the bulk of the fee would be paid by the people developing and buying into all these new developments, sparing longtime residents a large part of the burden.

Central Carolina Community College: Dr. Matt Garrett, president, presented a proposal to add building 3 to the Pittsboro campus with a 23,000 square foot public library, and a new campus in our up and coming industrial park in Siler City, also to include a 23,000 square foot public library. This is very exciting -- wonderful news and its benefits will be enormous. I believe support will be there!

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Board of Commissioners' annual planning summit
County Commisioner Mike Cross

Related info:
County Commisioner Mike Cross's Blog

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