The first one hundred days
Posted Monday, March 28, 2011
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Pittsboro, NC - Around this time last year Pam Stewart, Walter Petty, and I made a commitment to bring much needed change to Chatham County. We had fantastic support from folks all across the county helping us get here so that we could make these changes, and I'd like to take a moment to let all of you know what we have done in just our first 100 days.
Furthering Open Government:
- We are now posting our resolutions on the county website prior to voting
- We have started the work to provide video of meetings (we are testing equipment now)
- Expenditures will be posted on the county website
- We held four town-hall meetings in March; East, West, and Central with more to come.
- We honored a previous agreement to pay our employees a "pay for performance" payment for work performed in the previous year.
- Gave notice to Chapel Hill Transit and riders that the county would not continue to fund the little used Pittsboro/Chapel Hill bus past the expiration of the current contract.
- Clearly identified budget items that are mandatory and those that are discretionary in order to give the manager's office clear guidance when preparing the next budget.
- Identified public education and public safety as top priorities with little to no targeted reductions in those budgets.
- Rescinded the requirement for our buildings to be LEED certified while confirming our commitment to energy efficiency. LEED certification does not guarantee energy efficiency, yet would costs the county millions.
- Eliminated 4 director level positions saving $275,000 this year and almost $2 million over the next 4 years.
- Suspended a contract that would have paid a land use planning consultant $300,000 over the next two years.
- Developed a comprehensive plan to reduce spending in other areas without requiring an "across the board" cut in core functions.
Protecting Property Rights:
- Won an agreement from Cary and Apex to formalize in the form of legislation and local agreements that neither municipality can annex into Chatham without approval from the Board of Commissioners or a property owner.
- Restarted land planning sub-committee work with Cary to develop a comprehensive plan for the eastern portion of the county that will protect Jordon Lake and prevent excessively dense or congested development.
- Halted the landfill site location process that would have resulted in hundreds of rural acres being converted from private use to a county owned landfill. Invariably property owners would have had their land taken by eminent domain for use as a garbage dump. The property rights issue was just one of the reasons to halt this process.
Promoting Economic Growth:
- We have voted to streamline the sub-division process in order to give our professional staff more authority to make decisions and eliminate unnecessary delays. This will help bring the approval process back to a time-frame of months rather than years.
- The planning board has been tasked to audit all regulations and ordinances in order to identify overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations put in place over the past few years.
- We changed the make-up of the Economic Development Corporation to be more representative of the private sector and to include new members with business and economic growth experience.
- Appointed a new majority to the planning board that has a clear understanding of the importance of property rights.
Brian Bock is chairman of the Chatham County Commissioners.