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The Daily Tar Heel

Carrboro aldermen evaluate potential budget difficulties

State may shift spending responsibilities to local governments

Due to reporting errors, this story incorrectly stated the effect a shift in responsibility for maintaining the road from state to town would have on Carrboro. It would affect funding from the Powell Bill. The story also misstated the operations budget for Community Home Trust. The budget for the upcoming fiscal year is just more than $650,000. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors.

Carrboro could face serious financial difficulties if the state reduces the budget deficit by shifting more responsibilities to local governments, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen said at a meeting Tuesday.

Aldermen discussed how the current federal and state budgets could impact Carrboro in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and town manager Steve Stewart began the discussion with a presentation about Carrboro’s economic future.

“I don’t normally do presentations, but these are unusual times. I want to set the tone,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, the severe federal and state budget cuts could trickle down and affect the town financially.

The additional cost of road maintenance to the town is the biggest concern for aldermen if the state transfers the responsibility to local government.

“Needless to say, this would have a big effect on our power bill,” Stewart said. “It could become 50 percent of what we spend.”

Although the town is financially sound, Stewart said it would be difficult for Carrboro to take on new financial responsibilities without a trade-off.

The meeting also served as the first public hearing for community input in Carrboro’s 2011-2012 fiscal year. Future meetings will also be open to public input on the budget.

Anita Badrock, the only citizen to speak at the hearing, represented Community Home Trust, a nonprofit organization that helps families who live in or work for Orange County find affordable housing.

With the addition of three or four new homes this year and 17 next year, the total budget for the trust will be just more than $650,000, Badrock said,

She said the trust plans to ask for $34,000 from Carrboro in order to continue creating affordable housing.

“We will seek assistance from the state first for subsidy funds,” Badrock said. “Those homes are ones that families want, but we need sufficient funding.

Mayor Mark Chilton said there will be many more opportunities to discuss financial options for the trust in the future. No decisions were made about funding to the program.

On a lighter note, aldermen also discussed the town’s birthday celebration scheduled for March 3.

“There will be music, cupcakes and we will be ringing the town bell 100 times,” said Aldermen Jacqueline Gist. “So I apologize in advance to anyone going to sleep early that night.”

The aldermen unanimously agreed to allocate about $2,400 for the creation, installation and removal of 25 centennial banners.

“This only happens every hundred years or so,” Chilton said. “We want to do it right.”

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