From the implementation of a Climate Action Plan to the approval of the Greene Tract resolution after decades of discussion and local businesses bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels, 2021 was a formative year for the Town of Chapel Hill.
Allen Buansi, a Chapel Hill Town Council member who is now running for the N.C. House, said one of the biggest accomplishments of the year was becoming the third North Carolina municipality to pass an LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination ordinance, which was passed in January.
“The ordinance protects from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Buansi said. “The ordinance was a great signal to folks around North Carolina that we are an inclusive place and that we embrace folks of all different backgrounds.”
Mayor Pam Hemminger said she was particularly proud of how the Town overcame challenges posed by the pandemic.
“We had such good compliance from the vaccination rates which reduced outbreaks,” she said. “I think we worked really well together to keep us safe and feed our kids and keep people housed.”
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Parker said without community cooperation, the town would have experienced significantly more COVID-19 clusters.
“Our county and our town residents who follow mass mandates who went out and got vaccinations are now going out and getting boosters,” Parker said. “So, I think Orange County and Chapel Hill have been really a testament to what can happen when the government and our residents are working collaboratively for the greater good.”
Hemminger also said Chapel Hill is ending the year with a budget surplus, a major achievement despite the economic strain COVID-19 placed on the community.
She said this money should be used to fill the budget deficit and developing the community moving forward.