Board of Commissioners Meeting Summary
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 9. Following is a brief summary of noteworthy discussion and actions. It does not include all actions taken at the meeting and should not be viewed as official minutes. The meeting took place in person. A video is available for viewing on the town’s YouTube channel.
Mayor Jenn Weaver read proclamations in recognition of:
- The Hedgehogs robotics team, which includes almost 40 students from Orange and Cedar Ridge high schools. The team built a robot and won the FIRST North Carolina State Championship (FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology).
- May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week of May 15 as Police Week.
Revisions to the Orange County Transit Plan were presented by a consultant working on the update. It was noted that while most of the revisions will benefit Chapel Hill, the transit plan has included and continues to include improvements for Hillsborough, including bus shelters, a future TriangleGo park-and-ride lot, a train station, the Hillsborough circulator route and the reverse circulator route.
A brief Comprehensive Sustainability Plan outreach update was presented by a consultant. Candice Andre with VHB told the board she will be organizing summer pop-up events to give Hillsborough residents opportunities to give feedback on the draft plan goals as they become available.
The board reappointed Cathleen Turner to the Tourism Board for a term ending May 9, 2024.
The annexation request for more than 100 acres with frontage on Waterstone Drive and N.C. 86 would be a contiguous annexation. Water and sewer service runs through the site. The Future Land Use Plan shows much of the land is designated Mixed Residential Neighborhood. A portion fronts Waterstone Drive and is zoned Entryway Special Use. A small portion is in the rural buffer. The developer’s ideas for the property include middle-income and affordable housing, a daycare, multi-family apartments, townhouses, a park, medical office and commercial alternatives. The board expressed concern about the large size of the residential part of the project and interest in seeing more commercial development proposed before directing staff to move forward with a fiscal analysis.
Town Manager Eric Peterson presented some highlights from the Fiscal Year 2023 Manager’s Recommended Budget, which will be available Friday on the town’s website and at the town clerk’s office. He said developing this year’s budget is challenging in part due to:
- A late town audit (anticipated to be complete by the end of June).
- The unknown status of significant water and sewer grants and loans.
- Difficulty in projecting the timing and amount of System Development Fee revenues from new development for water and sewer connections.
- The unknown cost of implementing recommendations from a compensation and classification pay study to remain competitive in the market.
- Significant inflation and skyrocketing construction costs.
Peterson said no increase is expected for the property tax rate or stormwater fees. Utility rates are expected to rise 4.5% for water and 2% for sewer. The minimum monthly usage charge for water and sewer services is expected to decrease from 2,375 gallons to 2,250 gallons. This is the second year of a four-year plan to provide relief for low-volume residential and commercial customers. The minimum is being lowered by 125 gallons per year, ultimately going from 2,500 gallons to 2,000 gallons as the minimum usage.
The draft budget will be available on the town website once it is available to the board. The budget schedule is as follows:
- May 23 — Budget workshop and public hearing
- June 13 — Board of Commissioners regular meeting with tentative budget adoption
- June 27 — Board of Commissioners work session with budget adoption (if needed)
Amplified Noise Ordinance update
Lt. Chip White reported that the ordinance has been working well for the Hillsborough Police Department since changes were made in fall 2021. The changes have reduced the amount of time officers spend responding to complaint calls.