Local leaders have turned their focus to the new year with a variety of different priorities and goals on the horizon.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemming says near the top of her list is working with town staff to bolster environmental efficiency.
“[We’ve been] getting a lot of pressure, which I encourage, from the community about having a climate action plan,” says Hemminger. “We have the components and the pieces, but we haven’t pulled it all together in one place for people to be able to be part of that. So we’re going to be looking at that.”
Chapel Hill is slated to put the town’s first electric bus in use in 2019.
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle says other than the opening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park this month and the eventual groundbreaking at 203 S Greensboro, she hopes the town leaders can work together on a wide array of more long-term priorities.
“I think it would be really beneficial for our town to come together and have a conversation about where we want to continue to see dense growth, where we want to have some historic preservation of some sort, where we want to target commercial, where we want to look for affordable housing opportunities, and really think through those values, put them to paper and follow through on them,” says Lavelle.
In Hillsborough, Mayor Tom Stevens says he wants to continue supporting his town’s small but hard-working staff so they can keep doing their jobs.
“The important thing for us to make sure that they have the right facilities and that they have the tools so they can continue to work hard and bring value to our citizens,” says Stevens.
On a countywide level, new chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners Penny Rich lists affordable housing, transportation and bringing broadband to rural areas as some of her top priorities.
She also mentions wanting to encourage communication and teamwork among all the different local governing bodies on matters such as housing and economic development.
“I think the overarching theme is how do we all start working together,” says Rich. “We joke around about silos, but if all the government bodies don’t work together, we’re just going to keep butting up against each other.”
Local government meetings start back on Tuesday night with the Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting 30 minutes earlier than they have for years. The Chapel Hill Town Council has a work session scheduled for Wednesday, January 9. The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners will meet on Monday, January 14. And the Orange County Board of Commissioners have a business meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 22.