News Briefs

Posted 5/10/19

NEWS BRIEFS

Chatham County budget proposes property tax rate increase.

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne proposed a 4.19-cent property tax rate increase Monday night as part …

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Posted

NEWS BRIEFS

Chatham County budget proposes property tax rate increase.

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne proposed a 4.19-cent property tax rate increase Monday night as part of his presentation of the draft 2019-2020 county government budget.

The proposed budget totaled $125,027,012 in the General Fund taking into account a 67-cent property tax rate. LaMontagne proposed the tax rate increase while citing difficulties from Hurricanes Florence and Michael and continual rain throughout the year.

“Absolutely no one wanted to end up recommending a property tax increase, our first in three years,” LaMontagne said in a news release. “We held the continuation budget as flat as possible and only approved the most critical departmental expansion requests, knowing that we had a perfect storm of new growth-related expenses hitting at the same time we have seen several revenue streams level off or reduce. We also have three major capital projects recently added to the Capital Improvement Plan that require new funding. ”

LaMontagne said development services revenue was “still good,” but building inspections saw a 4 percent decrease and environmental health review revenue decreased by 15 percent. Coupled with new capital projects like expanding the Emergency Operations Center and a new Central Services building for Chatham County Schools, the tax rate increase was needed, he said.

Chatham joins surrounding counties like Wake (10 cents) and Alamance (8 cents) in proposing property tax rate increases.

Before the budget is finalized, the board will hold public hearings on May 20 in Pittsboro and May 21 in Siler City to get input and will hold work sessions on May 23 and May 30, if necessary. The county’s goal is to have the budget finalized by June 17, ahead of the state deadline of June 30.

The News + Record will explore the budget further in next week’s edition.

Siler City Pharmacy offers drug takeback program for leftover household medications

SILER CITY — Siler City Pharmacy has established a medication take-back program for easy disposal of leftover, unused and out-of-date prescription and over-the counter medications.

In an effort to help reduce the risk of drugs in the home that can potentially harm children, teens or adults, Siler City Pharmacy has set up a secure, safe drop-off location in its pharmacy at 202 E. Raleigh St. in Siler City.

Unused medications in the home are a source of drug abuse in millions of homes, with the opioid crisis in the United States fueled in part by that availability: More than 83 percent of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative. Overall, 192 Americans die every day from a drug overdose.

“We want to provide our community with a safe, secure opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets in addition to making their homes and communities safer. We are proud to be the only pharmacy in town to offer this service to our community,” said Angelynn Fox of Siler City Pharmacy. “We want to remind people that they should not flush drugs down the toilet. Traces of drugs can appear in community drinking water. Our drug disposal unit, which is easily accessible in the pharmacy, is a great answer to that problem and it’s simple to do. All you do is come in, look for the receptacle and take it from there. Drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked.”

Fox said there are some things that can’t be taken in the receptacle, such as inhalers, liquids, and needles, but pharmacy staff will be on hand to help patients determine what can and cannot be disposed of in the receptacle. The collection receptacle will be available in the pharmacy from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Siler City Pharmacy partnered with Inmar to manage the drug takeback program. The company has a long history as the industry leader in handling prescription and over-the-counter drug returns safely, securely and discreetly for major and regional chain drug stores and independent pharmacies and hospitals across the U.S.

Residents can learn about new voter ID requirements at upcoming seminars

The Chatham County Board of Elections will host two free public seminars this month to explain the new voter photo identification requirements that take effect in 2020 elections.

The seminars will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon and 6-8 p.m. on Monday, May 20, at the Chatham County Agriculture Conference Center, 1192 U.S. Hwy. 64 W. Business, Pittsboro..

Beginning in 2020, voters will be required to provide photo identification before they vote. This includes both in-person and by-mail voting, with some exceptions. In November 2018, North Carolina voters approved an amendment to the N.C. Constitution requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls.

As part of this education process under N.C. Session Law 2018-144, each county board of elections must hold at least two voter ID seminars before Sept. 1. Besides voter photo IDs, the seminar will cover the types of voting options (absentee-by-mail, one-stop early voting, Election Day voting, and provisional voting), the availability of free North Carolina voter ID cards for those without other options, and residency requirements for voting.

For more information on voter ID requirements in North Carolina, please visit www.ncsbe.gov/Voter-ID. If you have questions, please contact the Chatham County Board of Elections at 919-545-8500 or email elections@chathamnc.org

Chatham’s GIS mapping portal premieres new conservation viewing app

Chatham County’s geographic information systems (GIS) data portal now features a new application that allows users to see important conservation-related locations as features on county GIS maps. The tool will assist several county departments, but also will help county advisory boards, developers, property owners, and any groups involved with conservation.

The conservation viewer app adds to the existing tax and land records viewer an array of datasets, including:

• State-designated Significant Natural Heritage Areas, which are areas of land or water important to preserve the state’s natural biodiversity

• North Carolina’s Biodiversity & Wildlife Habitat Assessments

• State-managed areas, such as federal and state forests and parks

• Impaired waters, as determined by the Federal Clean Water Act

• Water quality monitoring sites used the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

• Designated wetlands, as determined by DEQ

• Riparian streams and related buffers

Chatham County GIS Manager Nick Haffele said, “The new viewer allows the user to visualize these conservation elements for any number of reasons. Combining state-collected data with our county data provides a more complete picture of potentially significant ecological features and impacts.”

GIS staff worked with the county’s Planning Department, Watershed Protection Department and other partners to implement the conservation viewer. Planning Director Jason Sullivan said, “We initially started this project as an evaluation tool for developments that qualify or want to qualify as conservation subdivisions. However, the tool also will be very helpful to several county and town departments.”

As an example, Sullivan said that planning and watershed protection staff can use the tool to screen proposed developments by identifying areas with unique environmental qualities that may require additional review. Local government advisory boards, environmental groups and residents will find the tool helpful when researching specific policies or best practices.

Local educators can use the conservation viewer for science instruction and other classes, while property owners or those looking to buy land in Chatham may want to know about significant ecological features on or near the property in question.

To access the Chatham GIS Conservation App, visit http://gisservices.chathamnc.org/conservation The viewer offers several filter options and also has a search function.

Walker named Chatham Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter

Connolly Walker has been named the Ambassador of the Quarter by the Chatham Chamber of Commerce.

Walker has been part of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Team since June 2018. She is also a member of the Chamber’s Young Professional Group and a participant and soon-to-be graduate of the Leadership Chatham Program.

Walker came to Chapel Hill in 2010 as an undergraduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was an intern for Pam Herndon State Farm in her freshman year and became a full-time team member in 2014. She currently serves as the team leader, agent aspirant and office manager for Pam Herndon’s Chatham County office.

Library system announces early literacy initiative

Chatham County Public Libraries has announced the launch of its early literacy initiative, called Chatham Babies READ!.

The program is designed to reach parents of babies up to 12 months of age, and engage them in the importance of early literacy for their children. A reception and celebrating the launch is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro, followed by a workshop for parents called “Every Child Ready to Read.”

New parents visiting libraries in Pittsboro, Goldston and Siler City, as well as the Chatham County Health Department’s Clinical Services Division, will receive a package comprised of a tote bag, a booklet containing early literacy tips and reading recommendations, a bib, a nursery rhyme themed growth chart and a board book for families to read together. The set was put together thanks to grant funding from the Women of Fearrington and donations from Friends of Chatham Community Library and the Artist Studio Project.

The workshop will cover basic concepts of early literacy, school readiness, and early literacy activities for families to do every day.

Parents and caregivers of babies and young children are encouraged to attend this free event. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Katy Henderson at (919) 545-8085 or katy.henderson@chathamlibraries.org.

County extends deadline for applicants to serve on Social Services board

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Department of Social Services still seeks applications for one vacancy on the County Board of Social Services. The deadline to apply to serve is May 31.

Applicants for the Board of Social Services must reside in Chatham and be willing to do the following:

• Serve as an advocate for the interests of the Department of Social Services and its employees and clients.

• Promote better public understanding and support of social services programs and serving as a liaison between DSS, public officials and the general public.

• Promote closer working relationships between the Social Services Board and the Board of County Commissioners.

• Provide the time and effort needed to actively participate and constructively fulfill board duties.

• Attend board meetings and other related meetings as needed. The Social Services Board typically meets monthly at 3 p.m. on third Wednesdays at the County Social Services office in Pittsboro.

This appointment will fulfill the remainder of a term ending June 30, 2021 and could then be eligible for reappointment. The appointment will be made by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners.

To complete an online application, visit: https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/2018-Social-Services-Commission-Nominee-Appointment.pdf

Any questions may be directed to Jennie Kristiansen, Social Services Director, at 919-642-6976 or jennie.kristiansen@chathamnc.org.

May household hazardous waste event set for 18th

The May Household Hazardous Waste event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. HHW events are a way for residents to dispose of hazardous materials safely at the county’s Solid Waste & Recycling Main Facility, 28 County Services Road, Pittsboro.

Decals are not required, but residents will need to show their NC 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 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 kitty 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.

County Collection Centers to be closed Memorial Day

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling division has decided to add Memorial Day and Labor Day to the Collection Center holiday schedule.

Starting this year, all twelve Collection Centers will be closed for Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 27 this year.

“Most of the businesses that our drivers haul the trash and recycling to are closed on Memorial Day and Labor Day,” says Kevin Lindley, Environmental Quality Director. “This causes the drivers to be behind the rest of the week as they work to get all the containers they would normally pull on a Monday. Plus, it causes centers to get full and stay full longer.”

In addition to Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Collection Centers are closed on the following holidays each year: New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and close at 2 pm on Christmas Eve.

Visitor our website for details at www.chathamnc.org/recycle or contact the Main Office at 919-542-5516.

Ships named North Carolina to be focus on library presentation

The Chatham County Library is hosting a presentation later this month on the history of ships named after North Carolina.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Sion H. Harrington III, a nearly 40-year veteran of the U.S. military, will discuss the ships at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, at the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro. The program will cover the five warships that have borne the State’s name; Ship-of-the-Line (1823), the Confederate ram (1863), the Armored Cruiser (ACR-12), the Battleship (1941), and currently, the nuclear submarine SSN777.

Harrington’s military service included duty with the 82nd Airborne Division; XVIII Airborne Corps; 1st Special Operations Command (Airborne); the United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command; as well as, hostile fire area deployments to Grenada and Bosnia. Colonel Harrington dedicated his final working years to the collection and preservation of North Carolina military history as the Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina, retiring in 2011.

Colonel Harrington’s presentation honors the men and women of North Carolina who have served in the military in defense of their state and nation. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at (919) 545-8084.

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