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Chatham county's "waste not, want not" policy makes room for expansion

By Tom Glendinning
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County population growth has been well documented and accommodations for it well planned.

1990-2013 growth was 72.4%, from 38,759 to 66,817, or 3.15% per year.
2010-2013 growth was 5.2%, or 3323 increase. (US Census Bureau)

Forecast for 2033 is 94,085, or a 41% growth. (Office of State Budget Management)

The Department of Public Instruction (Dept of Education) determined in 2011 that we did not need new schools, since Margaret Pollard was built and other schools had added capacity. This department will inform Chatham when the population demands more schools. While some schools had temporary classrooms without building additions, the facilities were adequate. In Silk Hope, temporary classrooms had been added without plans for bricks and mortar additions in 2007.

The 2040 forecast is 105,275, or a 58% increase of 38,458, according to the Chatham County projections. This does not match national forecasts of growth and would have to be expanded to 2043 and 2050 to be relavant for including Chatham Park's proposed build out time.

The forecast population growth is calculated and facilities will be planned to provide education for the additional students. Our fine and experienced financial staff has, I am confident, allowed for future facilities in planned budgets. Plus, I would place our staff planning and abilities at least equal to any other county or city in the state. For our size and budget, we have one of the best.

All in all, I would not panic because Chatham Park is coming. Our growth projections without the Park allow for the same number of people migrating in. And our present fiscal management is strong. We do not spend more than we take in and are working on debt reduction, albeit slowly. Capital expenditures are included in the budget as part of the line items and we have the 6th largest teacher salary supplement in the state.

So we are practicing "waste not, want not" policy and have made room for future expansion. The town of Pittsboro will have to grow its staff and capabilities to manage the development and its population. The revenue from the development should allow for that expansion.

I would love to say the Henny Penny does not live here. but that would be a false statement.

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Chatham county's "waste not, want not" policy makes room for expansion