Support is Building to Eliminate the Howell Site for the WTS
The WTS project continues. At their September 1 meeting, county commissioners discussed four options for handling the county's waste: the Howell Property on West 54, two sites on Millhouse Road, and using Durham's Waste Transfer Station.
The board hopes to make a siting decision by December 7th.
Four commissioners (Jacobs, Pelissier, Yuhasz and Hemminger) voiced opposition to the Howell/West 54 site, but declined to dismiss it as an option because there's no going forward alternative. The site is too expensive for Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, which prompted the Board's interest in alternatives. Plus the WTS would impinge on 4 acres of wetlands, which is a basis for exclusion in the Board's process.
The Board authorized the county to seek competitive bids for the design and development of the WTS and to secure a peer engineer to review the project. Olver, Inc. will not be awarded the contract on a sole source basis. It's unclear whether Olver will be allowed to bid at all. To date, the county has paid Olver over $450,000 for site selection and evaluation of the Howell Property.
The economics of the project remain unclear. Landfill revenues that fund much of the county's solid waste operations will be gone when the WTS goes into operation. The full fiscal impact of this change and its impact on fees and taxes has not been discussed in public meetings.
Prompted by our own Susan Walser, the Board is researching the inter-local agreement which defines the county's service commitment to the towns, including whether the towns are contractually obligated to use the WTS facility regardless of where it's sited and how much it costs.
|Bradshaw Quarry to Remain Open at least through January.
The Bradshaw Quarry Convenience Center (BQCC) will remain open at least through January 2010. Last Tuesday, September 15, the county commissioners agreed to leave it open on the same four day a week schedule as the other convenience centers. They will make a final decision no later than December 15th. (For convenience center schedule click here)
The decision was a gracious gesture to the community from the BoCC - based in part on corrected information provided by the community and OCV about the savings and impact of closing the center.
The BoCC's final decision will depend on the Solid Waste Workgroup Plan, which will recommend an overall strategy for convenience centers and other services for the unincorporated parts of the county. The plan is targeted for completion in October.
On Tuesday, the Board listened carefully as residents explained that Bradshaw Quarry is an inexpensive and important service that costs roughly $40 per family per year to operate. Curbside services are impractical for residents with large parcels, long gravel driveways and private roads. Rather than proceed with county plans to extend curbside recycling to BQCC users, residents suggested that the county use the additional $38 yearly fee to fund BQCC. (For more information, click here
This is an important first step. Special thanks to Kathleen Hoffman and Chief Tommy Holmes for mobilizing the community and comments to the board.
OCV will survey rural residents about their solid waste service needs and provide the results to the Board and the community. (See below.)
|Rural Residents Will Have Input into County Solid Waste Plans
OCV will survey the solid waste needs of residents throughout the rural, unincorporated parts of the county. This survey is the only source of citizen input into the BoCC and will be essential to their evaluation of the pending Solid Waste Work Group Plan.
The survey will be designed to understand preferences of rural residents for curbside services and convenience centers. The survey will also solicit attitudes about fees.
Today, curbside trash collection services from private vendors cost roughly $250 per year; residents with access to county curbside recycling pay $38 (a mandatory fee added to the base 3R fee). Convenience centers are funded by taxes and the base 3R fee ($37 per year).
The county is considering expanding curbside services and/or modernizing convenience centers. Ideas such as franchising fees and "pay to throw" fees are being considerd as part of the plan. Pay to throw fees can be as high as $2.50 per bag.
The survey will go out in mid-October. Results will be provided to the commissioners in early November - when they are planning to evaluate the Solid Waste Work Group Plan. The News of Orange has agreed to help publicize it.
Please keep an eye out for the survey including instructions on how to participate. There will be an online and paper version of the survey and residents from the south, western and northern parts of the county will be invited to participate.
We appreciate the interest from the BoCC and others in this unprecedented opportunity for rural residents to have a voice! If you want to help, please contact Kathleen
|Orange County has a New Website.
The county has updated the look and feel of its website.
Check it out: www.co.orange.nc.us
The county wants feedback if you have it. Just click on "Contact Webmaster" at the bottom right of each page and the email will be sent to the person who manages that page.
|OC Economic Development Commission Supports Solar/Wind Business
At the September 1, 2009 BoCC meeting, Brad Broadwell, the county's Economic Development Director, presented the Department's vision for solar and wind businesses. The plan would encourage economic development from businesses related to renewable energy. The vision includes opportunities for farmers to add solar panels and wind turbines to their land, and sell energy back to the grid. The county envisions stretches of solar panels along interstates; solar outreach and education for local businesses; and programs to attract solar/wind businesses to the county.
|Maple View Ag Center is Open for Business.
Flyer for Party/Business Info
In addition to classroom programs, the Center is available for private parties and events. It's also open on weekends in the Fall to visit the barnyard, including Don Quixote, the newborn foul of Sassy, the minature donkey; and to purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables, pumpkins and autumn mums.
For a preview of Don Quixote, check out the Center's website:
Maple View Ag Center website
|Orange County Business Expo
Orange County Economic Development, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, and the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce are hosting the 6th annual Orange County Business Expo, which will showcase Orange County businesses. The Expo will be held on Monday, October 5th, from 1pm - 7pm. For more information
|Paperhand Puppet Intervention Finishes its 10th Season!
Saxapahaw's Paperhand Puppet Intervention just finished its 10th season at the outdoor Forest Theater on the UNC Campus. Life sized puppets, stilts and shadow boxes were perfectly synchronized with music and sound effects. An unusual and creative telling of our collective story brought delight to young and old.
Keep your eye out for next year's show! To learn more
Small Area Plan for Bingham?
OCV is is pursuing a small area plan for Bingham Township. The plan would define land use, zoning, transportation, recreational and development priorities. It will be developed in concert with the County Planning Department and the Planning Board.
The first step is to define the scope and objectives for the plan and submit a proposal to the BoCC.
Michael Hughes will lead the effort for OCV. To learn more, please email Michael.
OCV has added a community calendar to our website
OCV now has a community calendar on our website. In addition to highlighting important events in the rural community, we will include links to other calendars - such as Harry's Market and BoCC meetings.
If you'd like us to post your event or link to our calendar, please contact Susan.