CHAPEL HILL – With the closing of the Orange County landfill in June, our local governments must develop both short-term and long-term solutions for waste disposal. The question remains as to what extent the three municipalities will collaborate in this process.
At WCHL’s Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum last week, moderator Aaron Keck asked hopefuls to what degree should Carrboro work with Orange County to find solutions for solid waste and recycling disposal.
The five candidates competing for three open seats on the Board include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum last Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.
Haven-O’Donnell said she hoped to work with both Orange County and Chapel Hill to address the area’s solid waste needs. She added that the Board should reassess Carrboro’s Comprehensive Plan and update the Town’s long-term vision for waste disposal.
“The recycling is something that we need to form partnerships to solve. We cannot do recycling on our own; solid waste as well,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “I’m really hoping that we can work with the Town of Chapel Hill to find solutions that will address our issues in Southern Orange [County].”
Gist said that local elected officials should not divide solid waste responsibilities by municipality, but work as a collective unit.
“We need to remember that Orange County, Chapel Hill and Carrboro are not separate entities,” Gist said. “Carrboro is in Orange County. Carrboro taxpayers pay Orange County taxes. It is the largest part of our tax bill. Carrboro voters vote for Orange County Commissioners, so we are really not completely separate entities. We have a lot of skin in that game.”
Stolka proposed that Carrboro look to regional collaboration and pull together resources from neighboring counties.
“In collaborating with Orange County in the future, somebody is going to have to lose for us to find a new landfill site,” Stolka said. “Maybe there are certain things that we can put on the table to convince a rural area to be open to it.”
Orange County’s recycling program is one of the top programs in North Carolina. It reached a State high rate in waste reduction with 59 percent, nearing its goal of 61 percent for the year. Slade said this was an major accomplishment but that more could be done.
“It’s been a great collaboration. Our recycling is a leading example, and we have set a goal of 60 percent reduction, and we’ve achieved that through recycling,” Slade said. “It’s past due time to ramp that goal up toward zero waste.”
Slade added that Carrboro should explore composting. Town residents have brown bins for yard waste collection. Slade said these bins could very easily accept other organic materials, such as kitchen waste.
Since the landfill’s closure this summer, Orange County’s solid waste is being taken to the transfer station of the Waste Disposal and Recycling Center transfer station in Durham until County Commissioners can develop a long-term solution.
June 29 was the last day that waste was accepted in the Orange County Landfill. The site’s shutdown marked the end of 41 years of activity in Orange County.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/post-oc-landfill-a-carrboro-perspective-on-waste-disposal-solutions/
CHAPEL HILL – Carrboro Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle is running unopposed for mayor this election season. Presuming she’s elected, a seat on the Board will then be open. It will likely be filled through an appointment process; however, the Board could instead pass a resolution calling for a special election.
At WCHL’s Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidate Forum Monday, hopefuls were asked if they weren’t elected, would they consider putting their name forward to replace Lavelle.
***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***
They were also asked what characteristics they would look for in finding a new Board member.
The five candidates competing for three open seats on the Board include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.
Haven-O’Donnell said she would want a possible appointee to have served on a Town advisory board. She added that she hadn’t considered the “what if?” of not being re-elected.
“If I’m not elected, would I put my name in? Well, you know, if I’m not elected, it really makes a statement. I hadn’t been thinking about it. I’m a competitor,” Haven-O’Donnell said.
Gist said she wanted a person who would bring a fresh perspective to the Board. She said a person with a different background and a diverse skill set would be beneficial.
“Somebody who really loves and gets Carrboro, I guess for me that is the bottom line,” Gist said. “If I didn’t win, would I put my name in? I don’t know.”
Slade said he wanted someone with a passion for Carrboro, with a history of involvement in Town issues. As to throwing his name in for appointment if he weren’t re-elected, Slade said he would likely not out of respect the voter’s decision.
“I agree with Randee, I probably would take this to be a sign that if I lost, maybe I’m not the right person,” Slade said.
Stolka suggested that Board members would consider appointing the candidate that was in fourth place with vote totals to replace Lavelle’s empty seat. He was the only candidate to firmly state that he would seek to be appointment if he were not elected.
“If there’s a chance that I am not in then yeah I probably will throw my hat in the ring because I really want to help change this Town and make a positive impact,” Stolka said.
In the case of an appointment process or a special election, theoretically a new batch of hopefuls seeking a seat on the Board could put their names forward.
CHAPEL HILL – Quite often it’s hard to find parking in downtown Carrboro. With new development coming to the area, it might grow scarcer, and there are only a handful of free public lots. Some think Carrboro should charge people to use the lots, but some think parking should remain free.
It’s an issue that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen hopefuls tackled during WCHL’s Candidate Forum on Monday, though all were not in agreement over a solution to this complex parking problem.
The five candidates competing for three open seats include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.
***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***
Stolka was the lone candidate fully in favor of charging for parking. He said it could generate revenue for the Town to use for other projects and would encourage people to use alternative methods of transportation.
“I think when we start charging for parking, that will pay for someone to enforce the parking,” Stolka said. “It will be a continuous revolution of feeding that system. That will discourage car use, and we will become a real livable city for the next generation. Cycling won’t become known as an alternative means anymore; it’ll be the main means.”
Slade, who is on the fence about the issue, said that the Town staff was currently assessing the parking situation downtown—that study is expected to be completed sometime next year.
“There’s an opportunity to really understand what the reality is about parking downtown,” Slade said. “In the same way that we were talking earlier about solid waste, [we need to] set goals for finding measures that we can implement to start ratcheting down our dependency on cars in Downtown because our ultimate goal is to get off of cars.”
Gist and Haven-O’Donnell were firmly against charging for parking and agreed that free parking helped the local economy.
Gist said that much has already been done to address the parking situation, including the Town’s purchase of the lot on the corner of Carr St. and Greensboro St., as well as the addition of 500 spaces as part of the parking deck in the 300 East Main development.
“I am not saying turn downtown Carrboro into a parking lot. I’m not saying no bikes, no buses, no feet,” Gist said. “I’m saying this has to be addressed as a whole. Our downtown businesses would be devastated if we started charging for parking.”
Haven-O’Donnell said she feared that if the Town began charging, it would decrease accessibility to residents who can’t bike or walk to the downtown area.
“We need a plan that hears the voices of the folks that live beyond the two-mile parameter. One of the things that is really important to folks that live beyond that two miles is to be able to make multitask stops,” Haven-O’Donnell said.
You can check-out our 2013 Election Central page featuring articles and audio from all the candidates, as well as forums for the Chapel Hill Town Council and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/should-carrboro-charge-for-parking-downtown/