All posts in category Taxes

Economics of affordability

A council member told of going to dinner at a new restaurant in town and having to wait a half-hour for a table. Initially, he took that as a good sign of how well the new business was faring. But once he was seated, he noticed that several tables had been removed since the last […]

Fighting back for DACA

Donald Trump seems to delight in causing chaos, regardless of the consequences. Like a toddler in the throes of a temper-tantrum, breaking everything he can get his little hands on, Trump gets attention through the disruption he creates. And Congress, the only authority figure that can put him in time out, instead stands to the […]

Conflicting Priorities

Bonnie Hauser, founder of Orange County Voice, shares her insight into factors that affect housing affordability: Last month the N.C. General Assembly (NCGA) took away Orange County’s authority to collect impact fees on new home construction. It was a low blow by Raleigh politicians but brings new insights into the important topic of affordability. Thirty […]

Light Rail at Our Own Risk

Alex Cabanes, the founder of SmartTransitFuture.org, has done in-depth analysis of the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project and has explored its implications and transit alternatives. He shares his insight into the latest plot twist of the DOLRT saga. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved moving the 17.7-mile light-rail project into the engineering phase — […]

Better planning for affordability

Last year, when Orange County commissioners proposed a $5 million bond to be used for affordable housing, I pushed for a plan. The county commissioners instead offered a slogan — 1,065 homes for $5 million — that was so unlikely to be achieved that it didn’t rise to the level of a goal. Trying to […]

Paying our bills, and extras

You can craft a budget by starting with the money you expect to have in the coming year and determining how to spend it. Or you can envision the lifestyle you want and figure out how to afford it. Chapel Hill’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which starts July 1 of this year, does a […]

Use housing market forces to help

So much for the law of supply and demand. Council has approved a plethora of high-end market-rate apartments because a majority of council members believe that flooding the market with high-rent units will saturate housing demand and eventually inhibit rent hikes. These council members ignore the fact that in Chapel Hill, as in most cities, […]

Trumped in Orange County

The Trump Era has pierced Chapel Hill’s bubble. Last week five of the seven Orange County Commissioners voted for taxpayers to take responsibility for 18% of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit costs not covered by federal and state governments, plus 18.5% of the debt service, on top of 20% of the regular maintenance costs of […]

If we build it, they will park

We walked to our downtown E. Franklin Street church Easter morning to avoid a lengthy search for parking. The Morehead lot fills up quickly, as does Lot 2 on the corner of E. Rosemary and Columbia streets on a typical Sunday morning. Sometimes the Wallace Deck has no room, either. Bub O’Malley’s gravel lot used […]

Chapel Hill’s Central Park?

Dream first; set your sights; then figure out what you have to do to get there. That philosophy has worked for me over the years, and town staff used it, too, last Saturday by hosting a charrette to find out what value taxpayers believe the 36-acre parcel we bought from the American Legion could add […]