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Orange County Commissioners to discuss 2011 legislative agenda tonight

The Orange County Board of Commissioners will discuss a potential legislative agenda for the state general assembly at a public hearing tonight.

Issues on the agenda include topics ranging from broadband service and agriculture to bio-solids disposal and energy efficiency.

Here’s a breakdown of three of the issues that could dominate the meeting:

Orange-Alamance boundary

Two proposed bills concerning the Orange-Alamance County line will be discussed by commissioners.

Board vice chairman Steve Yuhasz said the first bill will ask the state legislature to reaffirm the current county line for 91 percent of the current boundary.

The second proposed bill would allow Orange and Alamance counties to come up with a mutually agreeable way to settle the remaining 9 percent, which includes regions that both counties agreed needed some adjustment, Yuhasz said.

Some parts along the straight portion of the line may have been taxed or served by Orange County although they lie within Alamance’s border, or vice versa. Such is the case with the Ninth Street area in Mebane.

“We have to be in agreement for the legislators to be willing to change the line,” said commissioner Pam Hemminger.

Hunting deer with dogs

Another item slated to be discussed is a bill banning the practice of hunting deer with dogs.

The bill has already been presented to commissioners, but the restrictive measure failed to gain unanimous approval by one vote.

Commissioner Barry Jacobs said the issue is likely to strike a chord with hunters.

“Dogs don’t know property lines and tend to violate people’s privacy and private property rights, and many of the people doing it aren’t from Orange County,” Jacobs said.

Yuhasz said hunting deer with dogs is already banned in Orange County south of Interstate 85, and the board is trying to get a consistent law across the county.

Ethics policy

The board also plans to discuss whether they will repeal an ethics policy mandated for Orange County by state law in 1987, Yuhasz said.

He said North Carolina required all county commissioners to adopt a similar ethics policy by December 2010. Being under two sets of policies is unnecessary, he said.

“That ethics policy requires essentially the same disclosures that this state law requires, so what this bill would do would eliminate that or rescind that local bill,” Yuhasz said. “It doesn’t seem reasonable to require Orange County to do twice what every other county has to do once.”

As a part of the board’s regular agenda, commissioners will discuss a fee reimbursement request from Habitat for Humanity of Orange County and address the peddlers and solicitors ordinance.

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