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Chapel Hill Town Council discusses budget; authorizes search for new Town manager


Chapel Hill Town Hall sits on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. 

After commending former Congressman David Price for his service to District 4, the Chapel Hill Town Council discussed the annual budget and potential updates to the Administering Concept Plan and conditional zoning applications at its Feb. 15 meeting.

What’s new?

  • The meeting began with a recognition of former congressman David Price for his service to District 4 and gave him the key to the town. The Council also proclaimed Feb. 16, 2023, to be David Price Day in the Town of Chapel Hill. 
    • The proclamation acknowledged Price’s record of service to the 4th District over 34 years.
    • Price’s accomplishments over the course of his career were listed, including Lifetime Champion by the North Carolina Justice Center and Legislator of the Year by the Sierra Club of North Carolina.
    • In his final term in office, Price secured $35.9 million in Community Project Funding for the 4th District. 
    • “It’s been such a privilege to represent this community,” Price said.
  • Matt Brinkley, assistant director of business management for the Town, introduced a discussion for the initial budget public forum on the annual budget, the Capital Program, use of grants and related items and potential legislative requests. 
    • The Town’s 15-year Capital Program is made up of the annual budget, debt & grant-funded projects, the Town’s financing plan and debt fund.
    • 2023’s Community Development Block Grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development amounted to $421,755.
    • The second public forum will be held on April 19. The amount of Public Housing Capital Grant Funds for 2024 is not known at this time.
    • After this meeting, the Council will hold work sessions in the spring to develop the recommended budget.
  • In an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town received $194.81 million in tourism spending for 2021.
    • Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of Visit Chapel Hill, gave a presentation on the improvement of tourism in Chapel Hill since the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions. She also spoke to the values of the Town and how they can attract more visitors.
    • “We’re not just speaking to the local market, we’re speaking to a mid-Atlantic market, and reminding them of our LGBT, of our diversity, of everything that Chapel Hill stands for,” Paolicelli said.
  • The night’s final discussion item was an update on the Administering Concept Plan and conditional zoning applications.
    • The updated Concept Plan Review Process will remove the Stormwater Management Utility and Housing Advisory Boards from the concept plan review process. Advisory boards will also be removed from the Conditional Zoning Application and Review processes.
    • The final plan review process will remain unchanged. 
    • Council Member Amy Ryan expressed her support for the updated processes but said that it should be implemented after the reorganization of the planning board is complete and another role can be made clear for board members.
    • “To do this overnight, to do this quickly, to do it administratively, to me, is a slap to our boards,” Ryan said.

What decisions were made?

  • The Council unanimously approved a petition by the Cultural Arts Commission to request name, membership and charge changes.
  • The Council unanimously approved the meeting’s consent agenda, including:
    • Granting a Paved Walkway Easement and a Natural Gas Easement on Town-owned Property at 130 E Rosemary St. 
    • Authorizing the HOME-ARP Allocation Plan as an amendment to the 2021-2022 HOME Investment Partnership Program plant to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan.
    • Approving the employment contract of Interim Town Manager Christopher Blue. 
    • Authorizing the mayor to start the process of hiring a new Town manager.
  • The Town also made two appointments to the Town's Planning Commission: Theodore Nollert and Erik Valera.

What’s next?

The Chapel Hill Town Council will meet next on February 22. 

@DTHCityState | 

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