The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Board to discuss sewer plan

The Orange County Board of Commissioners will discuss economic development initiatives, regional transportation issues and uses for the quarter-cent sales tax increase at its meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners will hear two design options for a water and sewer economic development plan in the Buckhorn-Mebane area. The plan includes building sewer and water infrastructure, allowing future buildings to connect to the services and encouraging growth.

ATTEND THE COMMISSIONER MEETING

Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill
Info: www.co.orange.nc.us

The first option would open about 300 acres for construction, while the second option would serve about 700 acres, said Craig Benedict, planning and inspections director.

“In the long run it would be a faster way to develop in these areas,” he said of the second option.

But the cost for constructing the second option is about 23 percent higher than the estimated $3 million for the first, according to the proposal.

“We know that the cost of construction is lower because of the economy,” Benedict said. “If we get the money we might get more
construction out of it.”

The board will also hear a report on a plan for the regional and local transportation plans, including a more comprehensive transportation system between Wake, Durham and Orange counties.
The development could include a light rail system and buses supporting it, said Bernadette Pelissier, commissioner chairwoman.
The proposal includes a bill supporting a half-cent sales tax increase and a $10 vehicle registration fee to fund the plan, she said.

The project requires cooperation between the three counties, but Wake County has announced it will postpone the tax for at least for a year, Benedict said.

Pelissier said the county is still looking to move forward with Durham County because the highest number of riders go between Orange and Durham.

Despite the failure of a quarter-cent sales tax increase in November, Pelissier said many residents have responded favorably to the half-cent tax increase for the transportation system. Funding for the development would be shared between federal, state and local governments, she said.

Commissioners will also hear a resolution reassigning revenue from a re-proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase.

The revenue would be split evenly between economic development and the county’s two school districts, whereas formerly 15 percent of the revenue would have been shared between emergency services and the county’s library system.

“It is a straightforward message for economic development and the schools,” commissioner Alice Gordon said.

Contact the City Editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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