Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
Chatham property tax bills coming this month
Chatham County property owners can expect to receive their 2019 property tax bills by mid-August, according to Chatham County Tax Administrator Jenny Williams. The deadline to pay 2019 property taxes without penalty is January 6, 2020.
The fiscal year 2019-2020 county tax rate is $0.67 per $100 of value. Three fire districts (Central Chatham, North Chatham and Parkwood) did request and receive a small increase in their tax levies for properties located in and served by those fire districts.
Williams said that it is important for taxpayers to carefully review their tax bills after receiving them. If they identify problems or do not receive their tax bills by August 30, they should contact the Tax Office as soon as possible at 919-542-8250 or 919-542-8260.
Taxpayers are billed for any personal property they owned as of January 1, 2019. Real estate property taxes also are billed based on January 1 ownership. However, if the property is sold a few months later, the attorney handling the closing usually requires the seller to pay a prorated share of taxes, with the buyer paying the remaining balance.
The tax office offers several methods to pay taxes, including the chance to pay in installments. The public can pay taxes in partial payments by either mailing them to P.O. Box 697, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312 or by visiting the tax office in Pittsboro in the Courthouse Annex. If making a partial payment, please include your tax ID account number found on your tax bill on all payments.
For more information on tax payment options, including payment by credit card, e-check or bank draft, contact the Tax Collections Office at 919-542-8260 or visit: www.chathamnc.org/TaxPaymentMethods.
Chatham County Court Programs offer array of services
In 2018, Chatham County took steps to consolidate several programs providing court-related services into one department, Chatham County Court Programs, to ensure better overall coordination. The programs cover such diverse areas as support for domestic violence victims, pretrial release, a safe place for family visitation, and special help for certain minor offenders.
“Many residents will never need our services, but we want folks to know they are available if the need arises,” said Renita Foxx, who leads the new Chatham County Court Programs Department. “Some programs serve those already involved with the court system, while others provide support for victims and family in crisis.”
The court-related programs offered through Chatham 360 help individuals have better outcomes, such as getting them much-needed help for substance abuse and helping them avoid criminal charges if they complete requirements. However, Foxx noted that each program has other benefits for the community and taxpayers.
The programs include:
• Misdemeanor Diversion Program: This program directs qualified youth ages 16 and 17 to programs related to their charges. If the MDP is completed, the charges can be dropped.
• First-Time Offenders Program: First-time drug offenders can have cases dismissed by seeking treatment ranging from six months for misdemeanor charges to 10-12 months for felony charges.
• Pretrial Release Services: This program assists the courts in making release-and-detention decisions, including screening defendants, completing a risk assessment and contacting resources the defendant needs.
• Family Violence Prevention Services: This program offers assistance with safety planning, protection orders, legal assistance and referrals for shelter and resources for families and individuals impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.
• Child Victim Services: This program provides outreach, education and case management to abused children and their non-offending family members impacted by felony crime. This includes crisis counseling, court support and referral to needed community resources.
• Family Visitation Services: This program provides a safe and comfortable environment for supervised visits and monitored exchanges of children by and between parents in situations involving domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault or stalking. No fee is charged for either parent if they are residents of Chatham County.
If residents are interested in more information on these programs, they can contact Chatham 360 at 919-642-1212.
Chatham Extension Agent Roos wins Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s has announced that the list of winners of the 56th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards includes Chatham County Extension Agent Debbie Roos, who will receive the statewide Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Award.
The award, which will be presented in September, recognizes Roos for her support of small farmers in the area and hosting educational seminars and field days on sustainable agriculture. The group added, “In her early work to support beekeepers, Roos became aware of the more than 500 native bee species in the state, changing her career trajectory. Her position has grown to include support for the wider audience of gardening and wildlife enthusiasts, which culminated in the establishment of the Pollinator Paradise Garden in Chatham County.”
Roos serves as the Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Production Extension Agent for the NC Cooperative Extension – Chatham County Center. Based in Pittsboro, Roos celebrated 20 years of service with N.C. State in May 2019.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the 2019 winners are “exceedingly notable conservation devotees who work for wildlife, habitat, and those who cherish natural resources. They are land stewardship champions, water advocates, and leaders in the preservation of unique ecosystems. The award winners include agency professionals, elected officials, dedicated volunteers and organizations rising to the challenge.”
Award winners are nominated by the citizens of North Carolina and decided upon by a committee of scientists, environmental educators, and conservation activists.
The state’s Wildlife Federation first presented its conservation awards in 1958. “Each year we are amazed at the commitment and creativity of North Carolina citizens in protecting wildlife and wild places,” said Awards Committee Chairman T. Edward Nickens. “Many of our award winners tell us their Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award represents the high point of their career, whether they are full-time scientists or full-time volunteer conservationists.”
These awards are the highest natural resource honors given in the state, with the goal of inspiring all North Carolinians to take a more active role in protecting the natural resources of our state.
NCDOT wants public input on drones
RALEIGH – The N.C. Dept. of Transportation is seeking public feedback on the use of drones, which are quickly becoming an important part of the state’s transportation landscape.
NCDOT’s Division of Aviation launched an online survey this week to gather peoples’ comments on drones, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
“Public input has been an important part of our program from the beginning and will be even more important as we move forward,” said Basil Yap, UAS program manager for NCDOT. “We want to make informed decisions based on what people in our state want and what they are concerned about.”
NCDOT has been at the forefront of finding new and innovative ways to use emerging drone technology to benefit people. This includes using them to inspect bridges, monitor storm damage and deliver life-saving medical supplies.
The survey will ask peoples’ thoughts and concerns about the current and future applications of drones. It will include questions on noise, privacy and safety issues, and the way drones can improve peoples’ lives through the delivery of medical supplies, and assistance with search and rescue operations. The survey can be found online at www.ncdot.publicinput.com/3139 and takes only a few minutes to fill out. It can be answered by anyone, even someone who has never seen a drone.
CCCC offering scholarship for Chatham residents
Central Carolina Community College is offering a Chatham-specific scholarship for individuals seeking Continuing Education credits.
The Pittsboro Area Health Initiative Scholarship is available for the 2019-2020 school year. According to the college, the scholarship covers the cost of registration for citizens of Chatham County who plan to enroll into a short-term medical career training program through Continuing Education. Funds are awarded until exhausted.
Applications are available at the CCCC Continuing Education Office on the Pittsboro campus and online at cccc.edu/ecd/scholarships. For more information about these and other Continuing Education Financial Assistance opportunities, please contact Latoya Brower, Scholarships Coordinator, at 919-545-8033 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.