NEWS BRIEFS

Posted 3/8/19

March household hazardous waste event

Chatham County’s first Household Hazardous Waste event in 2019 is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 16 at the Solid Waste & Recycling Main Facility …

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NEWS BRIEFS

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Posted

March household hazardous waste event

Chatham County’s first Household Hazardous Waste event in 2019 is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 16 at the Solid Waste & Recycling Main Facility at 28 County Services Road in Pittsboro.

HHW events are a way for residents to dispose of hazardous materials safely. Decals are not required, but residents will need to show their N.C. Driver License with their current address. HHW is only for households; no hazardous waste from businesses will be accepted.

At HHW events, the county accepts such items as paints, solvents, stains, bleach, aerosols, cleaners, pesticides, brake fluid, fluorescent light bulbs, propane tanks, etc. For a complete list, please visit the Household Hazardous Waste webpage or contact the county’s Solid Waste & Recycling Division at 919-542-5516.

Latex paint can be safely dried out and put in with your regular trash instead of bringing it to the Household Hazardous Waste collection. When dried and solid, latex paint can be taken to any of the 12 Collection Centers (decal required) or put in with your curbside trash. To dry it out, take off the lid and let it sit outside in a covered area. Add cat litter or sawdust to speed up the drying process. Approximately 60 percent of the material brought to the HHW collection is liquid latex paint. It is the most costly item we collect. To save our budget for handling the more hazardous wastes, we encourage residents to dry it up for disposal.

HHW events are typically held the third Saturday of each month, March through November.

Pittsboro Elementary School Road bridge repair project updated

The Town of Pittsboro provided an update and timeline on the project to repair the Pittsboro Elementary School bridge and culvert which was washed out during a flash flood.

Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck obtained an initial assessment from an engineering firm and recently presented the Pittsboro Town Board with two options — to provide a basic repair of the bridge and road surface to allow traffic to resume as soon as possible or rebuild the concrete culvert structure to handle more stormwater flow.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the second option.

Though this will take longer to complete, the town’s hope is that the new larger culvert will prevent future flooding damage.

A firm has been selected and the survey work was completed. The design, environmental work are in process. The town expected the construction to be complete in December 2019.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity in Washington to advocate for comprehensive affordable housing policies

Representatives of Chatham Habitat for Humanity joined hundreds of other Habitat leaders, homeowners and volunteers in Washington, D.C., last week to encourage lawmakers to support policies that promote broader access to safe, decent and affordable housing to address the affordable housing crisis facing communities across the U.S., including Chatham County.

“With scarce affordable housing options available, many families in Chatham County are forced to decide between spending money on a safe and stable place to live and food to eat,” said George Bernhardt, Chatham Habitat’s business manager. “No one should have to make that choice, so we’re trying to make sure affordable housing is on Congress’ list of priorities.”

Bold action is needed to address the increasing costs of housing. Chatham Habitat is calling on federal lawmakers to support comprehensive legislation that addresses the housing affordability crisis across the rental and homeownership spectrum. Recent budget requests submitted by the current administration have proposed eliminating programs that are used by local communities to finance the development of new, affordable homes.

Habitat for Humanity and other affordable housing advocates have worked with Congress to reject those cuts in previous years.

Bernhardt and the North Carolina delegation met with staff of a number of members of Congress, emphasizing the need for HOME, SHOP, USDA 502 and National Service funding to advance the development of affordable housing. Chatham Habitat has used SHOP funds to help with purchase and development of land for 60 homes. Federal HOME funds are used by the NC Housing Finance Agency as they partner to fund mortgages for more than 130 Chatham Habitat homes.

Dania Rosales Gonzales moved into her Chatham Habitat home a few weeks ago. She and her husband, Hugo, applied after searching for a stable living environment to raise their young son. Dania received the Dick Forbis Scholarship two years in a row and plans to use the money to finish her nursing degree at UNC-Chapel Hill.

To foster more success stories like Dania’s, Chatham Habitat is calling on Congress to prioritize budget solutions that will invest more resources, not less, in programs that support efforts to build and maintain affordable housing.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works in partnership with God and people to create self-help opportunities for families to own affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities. To find out more about Chatham Habitat for Humanity and its other volunteer opportunities, please visit chathamhabitat.org.

Study: Chatham second most generous county in state

A recent study of 2016 donation amounts shows that Chatham County is a very giving county.

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, published the results of a study last week indicating that Chatham was the second “most generous county” in the state, falling just short of Wake County.

The company analyzed tax data from the Internal Revenue Service for 2016 and looked at two factors: donations as percentage of net income and percentage of population making charitable donations. According to the study, 30.7 percent of Chatham residents’ net income was redirected to charitable giving and 72.8 percent of citizens made charitable contributions. SmartAsset then indexed and weighed the factors equally to determine a “Most Charitable Counties” index.

Wake finished first with 33.5 percent contributions as income and 70.8 percent of the population as contributors. Union County followed in third, while Orange, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Durham, Polk, Davie and Chowan rounded out the top 10.

Chatham County appraisers visiting properties

The Chatham County Tax Office reports that over the next 18 months property appraisers will visit properties across the county and may be knocking on doors.

“We have updated information about the appraisers visiting Chatham communities,” said Tax Administrator Jenny Williams.

Williams said the identification of appraisers visiting properties includes the following:

• All will have a county ID badge, including contractors hired to help with the appraisal.

• County appraisers will drive a county vehicle with the county seal on it, while contractors will drive personal vehicles with a county seal decal added to it.

At this time, contracted appraisers are driving the following vehicles: gold Honda SUV, red Ford C-Max, blue Honda Civic, silver Nissan Altima, blue Chevy Malibu and blue Hyundai.

The property appraiser visits are part of preparing for the 2021 revaluation, which does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2021. The appraisers will take measurements, photograph improvements and may knock on doors.

If residents are unsure that a person visiting their community is a county-affiliated appraiser, they can verify the appraiser’s identity by calling either the Tax Appraisal office at 919-542-8211 or 919-545-8476.

Chatham County Utilities’ new online customer portal and billing system

Chatham County Utilities has implemented a new billing and online payment system, with important changes and improvements coming with this conversion.

Online Terminal: Customers will have the ability to pay their bills on a new Citizen Self Service (CSS) terminal starting March 13. Another notice will be sent with bills issued April 1 as these will be the first bills issued from the new billing software and viewable on the online terminal. The online terminal will also show up-to-date balances, not just the amount billed at the beginning of the month. There also are links under the resources tabs to our online forms (transfer service application, termination request form, bank draft authorization, or leak adjustment claim form)

There will be a link on the main website to the terminal, or you can find the CSS terminal website at: https://ess.chathamnc.org/MSS/citizens/UtilityBilling/Default.aspx

Account Number Changes: With the conversion to the new billing system, account numbers have been reformatted. Previously, the account number was a combination of a customer ID (first 4-5 digits) and a location ID (last 4-5 digits) separated by a dash. Those numbers are staying the same but will be reversed and one will be noted as an account number (previously location ID) and one will be noted as a CID (previously customer ID) for payment purposes.

Bills Reformatted: The bills issued on April 1 will also show a new and improved billing format. The mailed bills will now match the bills emailed to customers who setup e-notification billing. These bills from April forward will also be available on the online CSS terminal. If you wish to setup e-notification billing that can also be done on the new CSS online terminal.

The Chatham County Utilities Department is always working to improve its customer service processes. For questions or concerns, message watershop@chathamnc.org or call 919-542-8270.

Chatham Community Library offering computer classes

The Chatham Community Library is offering a series of free computer classes in March and April. Classes include:

• Drop-in Computer Assistance from 4 - 5 p.m. on March 13

• Computer Basics, Part 1 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. on March 19

• Computer Basics, Part 2 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. on March 26

• Finding Reliable Health Information Online from 3 - 4:30 p.m. on April 4

• Drop-in Computer Assistance from 4 - 5 p.m. on April 10

• Internet Basics, Part 1 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. on April 16

• Internet Basics, Part 2 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. on April 23

The Drop-In Computer Assistance sessions (March 13 and April 10) do not require registration. For all other classes, space is limited and you must register in advance if you wish to attend. Click here to register online. For more information, call 919-545-8086 or email reference@chathamlibraries.org.

All classes take place in the computer lab at Chatham Community Library, 197 N.C. Hwy. 87 North in Pittsboro on the campus of Central Carolina Community College.

Employment Assistance

Looking for a job? A member of CCCC’s Career and Employment Training program will be available to assist you during a one-on-one session with employment skills and related questions. Visit the computer lab at Chatham Community Library any time between 12:30 and 3:30 pm on Fridays to receive help:

• Creating a resume

• Strengthening your job interview skills

• Searching for jobs

• Applying to jobs

• and more!

No appointment necessary. Participants will complete brief registration paperwork on their first visit.

Assistance is free if you are unemployed, underemployed, working & eligible for the federal earned income tax credit, or if you have received notice of a layoff.

Special Forces participate in Robin Sage Exercise

FORT BRAGG — Special Forces candidates will participate in the Robin Sage training exercise this month, held within multiple North Carolina counties as the final test of their Special Forces Qualification Course training.

Through March 23, students will participate in this exercise before graduating the course and moving on to their first assignments in the Army’s Special Forces community. Robin Sage is a two-week culmination exercise. The participants are students at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, based out of Fort Bragg.

The exercise’s notional country of Pineland encompasses Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly, Union and Wake counties. Throughout the exercise, military and civilian support personnel, as well as community volunteers who serve as auxiliary, will participate in and/or provide support during each of these exercises. Military service members from units across Fort Bragg will also support the exercise. These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland’s resistance movement. These troops play a critical role in the training exercise. To add realism of the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role-players. Participation by these volunteers is crucial to the success of this training, and past trainees attest to the realism they add to the exercise.

All Robin Sage movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns and counties hosting the training. Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares. Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property. Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials.

For the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, safety is always the command’s top priority during all training events. The following measures have been implemented:

• Formal written notification to the chiefs of law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow-up visit from a unit representative.

• All civilian and non-student military participants are briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.

• Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a distinctive brown armband during these instances.

• Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.

Robin Sage is the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a year’s worth of training for aspiring Special Forces Soldiers. Candidates are placed in an environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing Soldiers to analyze and solve problems to meet the challenges of this “real-world” training.

“We appreciate the support and consideration the citizens of North Carolina extend to the Soldiers participating in the exercise and thank them for their understanding of any inconveniences the training may cause,” an Army spokesperson said.

Questions concerning the exercise should be referred to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-9394, or by e-mail at pao_swcs@socom.mil.

In the event of an emergency, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Public comment opportunity for NCDOT Division 8 Projects

CARTHAGE — Area residents will get a chance to learn more about the N.C. Department of Transportation’s draft 10-Year transportation plan for 2020-2029 at a week-long open house in Moore County this week.

The department unveiled its proposed funding and construction plan in January with more than 1,600 transportation projects across the state.

The list includes 19 new projects and one accelerated project for Division 8, which covers Chatham, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond and Scotland counties. Projects were selected based on technical data and input from local officials and the public. A list of the projects in the draft plan and additional information is available on the NCDOT website.

The transportation plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first five years are considered committed, while projects in the final five years of the draft 10-year plan will be re-evaluated again as part of the development process for the 2022-2031 plan. That will start later this year.

Each of the department’s 14 highway divisions are hosting a week-long public comment opportunity on the projects in the current draft plan. In Division 8, it will be held through March 8 during normal business hours at the division office located at 121 DOT Drive in Carthage. The contact is Bryan Kluchar, who can be reached at 910-773-8021.

The sessions will serve as opportunities for interested residents to review maps and handouts about the projects, ask questions of local NCDOT staff and submit comments.

Those who can’t visit the division office next week can submit comments online through April 15.

The Board of Transportation will consider adopting the plan this summer.

Volunteers needed for statewide spring litter sweep

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation needs volunteers to help clean up trash along roads during the Adopt-A-Highway Spring Litter Sweep from April 13-27.

Each April and September, NCDOT calls on volunteers from across North Carolina to help remove litter from roadsides. Volunteers from local businesses, schools, non-profits, churches and community groups play an important role in keeping North Carolina’s roads clean.

“North Carolina is a more beautiful place thanks to the thousands of volunteers who donate their time every year,” says David Harris, State Roadside Environmental engineer. “We cannot do this alone, and their efforts ensure our state is a great place to visit and live.”

Volunteers are provided with clean-up supplies such as reversible orange and blue trash bags, gloves and safety vests from local NCDOT County Maintenance Yard offices.

Last year, volunteers, Adopt-A-Highway groups and NCDOT employees removed more than 500,000 pounds of litter during the spring litter sweep.

Visit the Litter Sweep webpage for more information. Questions can be directed to Kim Wheeless at (919) 707-2974.

CAM Site Readiness Spring Litter Sweep

Siler City, NC - Community involvement is a key element as the area continues to work to attract and retain residents, visitors, businesses, and industry. It is time to prepare for the spring litter sweep in Siler City. This year, we hope to have a greater impact on the appearance of Siler City by identifying more projects and recruiting more help. The Siler City Development Organization (SCDO) invites you to participate by:

• Volunteering as a coordinator or team member for one of the identified projects;

• Identifying a new project and volunteering as the project coordinator; and/or

• Sharing this effort with family, friends, neighbors, churches, schools, civic groups, businesses, local industry, etc.

The proposed spring litter sweep dates are the April 13-27. This litter sweep period is consistent with the NCDOT spring litter sweep. NCDOT provides safety vests, gloves, and trash bags during this period. Previous cleanups have been facilitated by SCDO annually since 2014.

Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this community service opportunity. If you have questions, contact Jack Meadows @ 919-742-2323 or jmeadows@silercity.org.

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