All posts in category County business

Brass tacks, not bronze plaques

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by deadlines, I’ll make a list of all I have to do, then slip in something that’s so easy to do it’s almost a given. “Wash hair,” I might write, or “check email.” I do that first, then I can feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I’ve managed to procrastinate […]

Know the numbers

Orange County’s annual budget for 2014 is around $220 million. Chapel Hill’s is about $95 million. Owasa’s is another $43.5 million. Add those up – $358.5 million, even without Carrboro and Hillsborough – and divide by 365 (the number of days in a year), and you come up with the startling fact that our local […]

Sorting out recycling

Does Wake County get a volume discount for recycling? It seems to be able to handle recycling at half the cost as Orange County. Then again, Wake County is a little more than twice the area of Orange County (857 square miles compared to Orange’s 401 square miles), yet it has nearly seven times the […]

Who can we blame now?

Chalk up what I’m about to say to jealousy, pure and simple. I’ve irritated a lot of people in my lifetime, but no one has ever agreed to pay me to stop. So when I learned that Orange County manager Frank Clifton walked away from his previous job as manager of Onslow County with $121,000 […]

Business as usual?

Bonnie Hauser, the president of Orange County Voice, sheds light on Orange County Commissioners’ budget deliberations. Here’s what she has to say about the commissioners’ season finale: On Tuesday, the BoCC will approve increased taxes and fees for 2013-14. On top of Chapel Hill’s 2 cent tax increase, the county will add 2 cents for […]

Price vs. value

When I heard about the 120 or so taxpayers who showed up at the County Commissioners meeting on May 23 pleading to pay more in taxes to fully fund the schools budget, I recalled a scene from Crocodile Dundee wherein New York City street thugs brandish a switchblade in an attempt to rob the protagonist […]

Transit takes a curve

Bonnie Hauser, speaking for “Smart Transit for Orange County” ( provides a transit update. Just as the county is getting ready to start collecting its new half-cent transit tax, new questions are swirling about the plan and state and federal funding. It was predictable, and the politics are especially entertaining. First state lawmakers signaled their […]

Heated exchange over fire district

I got a hint of the complexity of the relationship between town and county governing bodies after watching Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt address the Orange County Board of Commissioners not long ago about the matter of Chapel Hill becoming the official first-responder to fires in the extra-territorial jurisdiction. At its Feb. 11 meeting, Town Council discussed […]

Mayor backs Planning Board

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt addressed the Planning Board meeting last night to clear the air over the brouhaha ignited when former council member Penny Rich wrote an official letter in her role as an Orange County commissioner to Kleinschmidt asking him to fire Del Snow as chair of the Planning Board. His timing forced us to […]

Taking citizens hostage

Here’s what rural community advocate Bonnie Hauser has to say about Town Council’s proposal to annex some neighborhoods on the southern edge of town: After a year of deliberation, the County’s Emergency Services Workgroup recommended forming a new fire service district in the area just south of town off Mount Carmel Church Road. The workgroup […]