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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill Town Council approves 2024-25 FY budget, discusses bonds

Chapel Hill Town Council 2024.jpg

Photo of the Chapel Hill Town Council courtesy of the Town of Chapel Hill.

The Chapel Hill Town Council met on June 5 to discuss the FY 2024-25 budget, proposed 2024 bond referendum and the development of new housing. 

What’s new?

  • During the public comment period, community member Isaac Woolsey requested improved ADA accommodations in Chapel Hill.
    • “I have been denied basic jobs in Chapel Hill because I don’t have a driver’s license, and I can’t enjoy any of the nightlife or go to the UNC games because the buses stop running after 7:30,” he said. “And it's been like this for almost three years.” 
  • Chris Blue, the town manager, presented the final recommended budget for FY 2024-25, which the council unanimously approved.
    • The nearly $157 million budget is a 4 percent increase from last year, he said.
      • Some highlights of the budget include a tax increase of 2 cents, a property tax rate of 59.2 cents and a 6 percent cost of living adjustment. 
    • “I wanted to share support for making sure that we are always paying our public servants a competitive wage, because I think it's really imperative that, if we want to attract and retain quality talent to do the jobs that we rely on people to do, that we do that,” council member Elizabeth Sharp said

What’s changed?

  • Amy Oland, the town business management director, presented the proposed 2024 bond referendum, which includes five bond orders regarding affordable housing, public buildings, streets and sidewalks, parks and recreation facilities and open space and greenways.
    • Public approval, which would be gained through a referendum, is required in North Carolina for the issuance of most municipal general obligation bonds, Oland said.
    • The council unanimously approved resolution R-6, which would set a public hearing for each bond referendum for June 17 and authorize a filing of a sworn statement of debt by a finance officer.
    • “These bonds will allow us to invest up to $44 million and make progress in key areas that we all care about — affordable housing, greenways, public safety facilities and sidewalks — without raising taxes,” Jess Anderson, Chapel Hill's mayor, said.
  • The council unanimously adopted resolutions R-7 and R-8 as well, which will allow for the beginning of construction on the Tanyard Branch Trace affordable housing community. 
    • Resolution R-7 would authorize the town manager to execute a development contract with the Taft-Mills group. 
      • The development contract would outline the general terms and conditions of development, including the schedule and affordability requirements, Sarah Viñas, affordable housing and community connections director said.  
    • Resolution R-8 authorizes the town manager to execute a ground lease with the Tanyard Branch Trace for the town-owned land parcel at 110 Jay St. 
      • The ground lease would allow the property owner to lease the land for 99 years and restrict the land use only to plans allowed by the Conditional Zoning Permit approved in 2022, Viñas said
    • Construction is slated to begin in fall 2024 and complete in winter 2026, she said.
  • The council adopted the concept plan for East Lakeview Residential, a proposed residential development at 5640 Old Chapel Hill Road with a mix of 36-50 apartment units, 30-40 townhome units and a small amount of commercial space.
    • Concept plans are opportunities to provide initial feedback on a proposal before formal development occurs, Charnika Harrell, a planner for the town, said.
      • Once the plan is approved, it goes back to the developer to provide a response to the feedback they receive, she said
    • During the public comment period surrounding this plan, community members expressed support for the idea of housing at this site but noted concern for the proposed height of the building and traffic safety. 

What’s next?

  • The council will meet next on June 12 at 6 p.m. 

@DTHCityStatecity@dailytarheel.com

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