This November, Chapel Hill residents will be able to vote on four Town Council positions. These seats are currently held by Jessica Anderson, Tai Huynh, Michael Parker and Amy Ryan.
The Chapel Hill Town Council is made up of nine members, including the mayor, who serves a two-year term. The other eight members serve staggered four-year terms, which means there is an opportunity for turnover on the council every two years.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the main job of town council is to set a path for the town as well as take care of other local issues like zoning. She said local government elections are extremely important because they affect the community in a more direct way than state and federal elections.
“Local elections affect you the most,” she said. “We set your property tax rate, we set the vision for the community, we are in charge of zoning, we set the priorities of whether certain streets get paved.”
Though candidate filing has not officially opened for town council or any other local positions, some candidates have already announced they will be running.
Melissa McCullough, who moved to Chapel Hill in 2011, was one of the first candidates to announce her campaign for a town council seat. McCullough, who earned a Master’s degree from Duke’s School of Environment, has spent over 30 years with the EPA in a variety of positions.
She said her work experience in environmental management and community sustainability gives her a unique perspective that inspired her to run for town council.
“Communities are very much like ecosystems, so my background in community sustainability gives me that opportunity to bring something new and the desire to apply it here where I live,” she said.