Aldermen approve official town bank

Contract awaits federal changes

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved a local bank as its official depository Tuesday, pending a federal office’s recommendation.

Aldermen voted 4-2 in favor of working with Chapel Hill-based Harrington Bank instead of BB&T. The decision was made on the condition that the Office of Thrift Supervision remove the restriction it placed on Harrington Bank after it lost about $1 million in the 2008 economic downturn.

The office is a federal bank regulator and oversees savings associations across the country.

If the office does not remove its restriction by Dec. 31 — the last day of the town’s contract with Bank of America — the town will enter into a contract with BB&T.

“If this black mark isn’t taken off, I would hope that we would definitely consider Harrington (Bank) in the future,” said Alderman Sammy Slade. “I hope the decision will demonstrate the kind of support we give local businesses and banks to establish themselves.”

Harrington Bank President and CEO Larry Loeser said he hopes his bank will receive its approval in a timely manner.

“It’s good news,” he said. “It’s somewhat out of my hands.”

Smith Level Road

Although improvements to Smith Level Road have been discussed for several years, Alderman Joal Hall Broun said it should be possible to come to a decision by the end of the month.

“Barring any insanity, we should all have the capacity to make a decision,” she said.

Carrboro Transportation Planner Jeff Brubaker said between 13,000 and 17,000 cars pass straight through the intersection of Smith Level Road and Willow Oak Lane per day. Brubaker presented the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plans to introduce a directional crossover left turn, which would make a left turn onto Smith Level Road from Willow Oak Lane impossible.

The department considered a limited left turn that would only illegalize left turns at the intersection during peak hours. But Brubaker said the department later dismissed the idea because it would be difficult to enforce.

Because a directional crossover turn would require paving the middle of the road, a pedestrian lane would not be an option.

“If you make something friendly for alternative transportation, you’re naturally going to make it more inconvenient for motor vehicles,” said Charlie Hileman, chairman of the Transportation Advisory Board, who spoke as a Carrboro resident.

Aldermen unanimously passed a motion to move the discussion about Smith Level Road to their next meeting on Sept. 28.

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