September 2011 Newsletter
This past month, one of earthquakes and hurricanes, has also brought with it cooler weather and the delights of late summer evenings in rural Orange County.
In this issue, we'll discuss new rules for the 2011-2012 hunting season, upcoming elections, annexation, and other topics worthy of attention
- Maple View to Honor 9/11. On September 11, Maple View Farm will host a community event at their country store on Dairyland Road. Starting at 3:00 PM, come listen to music and meet our rural firefighters, first responders, other local heros while you enjoy a "hero sundae". To honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Maple View will donate 10% of sales from all three stores to the North Carolina USO.
- Orange County's 9/11 Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 AM at the Sheriff's office at 106 East Margaret Lane
- Public Hearing on Duke/Progress Energy Merger. You are invited to comment on the proposed Duke/Progress Energy Merger, September 20, 9 AM, Dobbs Building, 435 Salisbury Street, Raleigh. Expected rate hikes, nuclear plants, renewables, and other topics will be discussed. If you plan to attend, please contact NC Warn.
- Crime Watch Meeting on September 20. The Sheriff's Department is hosting a Crime Watch meeting at the Cedar Grove Ruritan Club, September 20, at 7:00 PM. Learn how to work with local law enforcement to set up your own Community Watch group.
- Outdoor Cultural Affair on September 24. Free Spirit Freedom is hosting an outdoor cultural affair on September 24, from 2:00-6:00 PM. Music, theatrical performances on the lawn at Historic Moorefields. $10 adults, $6 children/seniors. Rain date: September 25. More more information, click here.
- Justice United's Fall Festival at Maple View on October 1. Orange County Justice United is hosting a fall festival at the Maple View Agricultural Education Center on Saturday October 1, from noon to 4:00 PM. Family fun activities include hayrides and make your own sundaes. Admission is free.
- Fracking Summit on September 10. Clean Water for NC's Fracking Summit is full, but you can stay involved by signing up for their newsletter.
Hunting Season Begins with New Rules
The 2011-2012 hunting season starts on September 10, as follows:
- Archery (bow hunting): September 10 - October 28
- Muzzleloader: October 29 - November 11
- Gun: November 12 - January 2
The new Landowners Protection Act makes it easier for landowners to work with hunters. As an alternative to posting signs, landowners can now paint a vertical purple stripe on trees to let hunters know written permission is needed to hunt on your property. In addition, Wildlife Resource Officers can enforce trespassing laws directly (rather than the courts). For more on the Landowner Protection Act, go to the Wildlife Resource Commission website. To report a hunting violation, call WRC at 1-800-662-7137
The Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) is now considering laws for 2012-2013. If you'd like to voice your view, please contact the WRC.
Orange County Voice supports hunting for recreation and culling the deer population. We support practices that are humane and respect private property. We support a ban on dog deer hunting in Orange County. For more, visit our website
|New Annexation Law Gives Rural Residents a Choice |
A positive outcome of the recent legislative session is that rural residents now have a voice in annexation decisions. North Carolina laws on forced annexation have been replaced with voluntary annexation. Communities now need to show majority support for annexation--which means receiving town services and paying town taxes. In addition, upon annexation, the town must provide water and sewer infrastructure within 3 years. For more, click here.
Mark Your Calendars and VOTE on November 8th !
Rural residents of Orange County are encouraged to vote in November. There may be no county seats up for election, but the sales tax referendum is back. Yes, it's the same referendum that failed in 2010, a quarter-cent increase, which translates to 25 cents on a $100 purchase. For more, visit the county's web site.
Because the sales tax is a countywide issue, every voting precinct will be open on Election Day from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM (at a cost of $84,000 to taxpayers). Three of our commissioners (McKee, Foushee and Gordon) attempted to defer the referendum to the May 2012 primary, a countywide election, but were unsuccessful.
There are good arguments for and against the sales tax. To OCV, it's most important that the voice of the rural community be heard.
Early Voting has changed. There will be four Early Voting sites: University Square, at 123 W. Franklin Street (Suite 133-G) in Chapel Hill; the Seymour Senior Center, at 2551 Homestead Road, in Chapel Hill; the Carrboro Town Hall, at 301 W. Main Street, in Carrboro; and the Board of Elections Office, at 208 S. Cameron Street, in Hillsborough.
Early Voting sites will be open on October 20-21, October 24-28, and October 31-November 4. Hours are as follows:
All four sites will be open for two Saturdays: October 29 and November 5, from 9 AM - 1 PM.
- University Square and Carrboro Town Hall, from 9 AM - 4 PM
- Seymour Senior Center, from 12 noon - 7 PM
- Orange County Board of Elections Office, from 9 AM - 5 PM
How to Read Your Property Tax Bill
Orange County residents received their property tax bills last month, so it's a good time for a little refresher.
Your taxes are based on the appraised value of your property, which is shown on the bill. Orange County revalues property every four years--with the next revaluation scheduled for 2012. If you find that your valuation is too high, you can petition the county to review it. For details, click here.
- Orange Tax, your basic property tax, is based on the total assessed value of your land and buildings.
- Fire Tax is a separate tax that goes to your local rural fire department for firefighters and first responder medical services. The tax funds the local firehouse, firefighting and safety equipment, and a few salaries. For more about your local fire department and the fire tax, click here.
Depending on where you live, your tax bill includes two or three mandatory Solid Waste Fees.
- Orange 3R Basic, a flat $37 fee, funds the county's recycling program.
- Orange Curbside Recycling, a flat $38 fee, funds bi-weekly curbside recycling-whether you use it or not. About 60% of rural residents pay this fee. The county wants expand the service to more rural residents.
- Orange Waste Center Fee, a new $10 fee for convenience centers, is a charge that is likely to gradually increase over the course of the next few years. This fee is in addition to the portion of your property taxes that funds convenience centers.
These taxes are in addition to personal property taxes.
For more about taxes, contact the county tax department.
The Pros and Cons of Fracking: a Controversy both Local and National in Scope
Despite newfound risks about Fracking, some revealed by the recent hurricane and earthquake, the NC legislature appears poised to overturn the governor's veto of S709, a bill that allows fracking and off-shore drilling in North Carolina.
The latest news reports suggest that:
- The benefits of Fracking have been overstated. For more, click here.
- The White House Advisory Board appears to have close ties to the natural gas industry. For more, click here.
NPR's Diane Rehm moderated a balanced discussion on the issue of
Fracking, allowing both sides to air their views before the public. Like many of her shows, it's well worth a listen. Click here for a link to this broadcast.
The legislative session reconvenes on September 12. We encourage you to contact your representatives in the state legislature and voice your views. For phone numbers and e-mail addresses, click here
Court Rules that Duke Energy Can Burn Trees as Source of "Renewable Energy"
A North Carolina Appeals Court recently ruled that Duke Energy can burn entire trees as a feedstock for renewable energy. It's an unfortunate ruling that was opposed by leading environmental groups. To read more, click here.
|We genuinely hope that you and your family, along with your friends, were untouched by recent storms that have left their mark on the eastern half of the country.
In their wake, we are committed to speaking louder than ever for the safety and protection of our communities.
Thanks you for your support to Orange County Voice and the rural community.
Bonnie Hauser, President
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead