Proclamations and Poet Laureates and Paving Projects, Oh My
Hillsborough Board of Commissioners meeting summary
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 8, at the Town Hall Annex. Following is a summary of noteworthy actions. It does not include all actions taken at the meeting and should not be viewed as official minutes. The meeting is available for viewing on the town’s YouTube channel.
The board held a public hearing on the draft Fiscal Year 2024 budget. Two community members spoke. One was affiliated with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County and spoke about the importance of funding affordable housing initiatives. The other, a Hillsborough resident, expressed concern about proposed increases in water and sewer rates.
Two proclamations were presented:
- LGBTQ+ Pride Month: June — Celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning rights movement and struggle for equality.
- Gun Violence Awareness Day: June 2 — Observed on the first Friday in June in honor of Hadiya Pendleton and other victims of gun violence and their loved ones.
The board discussed a request from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to work overnight on the section of West King Street between Churton and Wake streets for one night between June 11 and 20. The mayor requested input from board members, specifically Evelyn Lloyd and Mark Bell, who have a business or residence in or near the area of roadwork. Both agreed that Monday night would be preferred as nearly all businesses in the work area are closed then. Town staff agreed to check with NCDOT to see if it could accommodate the shift to another night. The board granted state’s request to perform work on this section of road overnight.
Budget Director Emily Bradford walked the board through the Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Following are highlights from the discussions.
- Community reinvestment — The Exchange Club and Hillsborough Arts Council submitted requests for funds for Fiscal Year 2024. The Exchange Club asked for $7,189, less than the $7,633 funded in 2023. The Hillsborough Arts Council requested $20,000, an increase of $4,000, to restart a poet laureate program. The board voted to fully fund the Exchange Club request and to approve $18,000 for the Hillsborough Arts Council, partially funding the poet laureate program.
- Affordable housing — The board discussed how to reach a contribution amount equivalent to 2 cents on the property tax rate. The board expressed support of a presented option that gradually brings contributions for affordable housing to $326,000 by Fiscal Year 2027. The board also approved funding the Fiscal Year 2023 request from the Partnership to End Homelessness, allocating $43,292 of uncommitted FY23 funds to the partnership. Inter-Faith Council’s FY23 funding request was not approved, and FY24 expansion funding requests from both nonprofits were not funded due to lack of additional funding available for those requests.
- Mayor and Board of Commissioners operating budget — Expense to attend the National League of Cities’ Women in Municipal Government conference will be added for FY24, and the Newly Elected Officials Course will be added in FY26.
- Water and Sewer: Unfunded requests — The water and wastewater treatment plants are each requesting funding for a work truck in FY24. Bradford said one request would be accommodated through fleet transfer when a new vehicle for another department arrives.
- Capital Improvement Plan — Bell asked why Waterstone Drive would need resurfacing when the road is less than 20 years old. The cost for resurfacing Waterstone Drive is $950,000. Public Works Manager Dustin Hill said the original construction of the road was poorly done. He said the road has a large number of cracks and potholes because it receives a heavy amount of traffic, has little shade, and is heavily salted in the winter.
- Merit and cost-of-living adjustments — The recommended budget initially called for a $1,000 cost-of-living adjustment per employee and average merit raises of 3.25%. After evaluating neighboring jurisdictions, the town manager and human resources manager provided an updated proposal to increase the cost-of-living adjustment to $1,500 per employee and the merit raise range to an average of 4%.
- Budget timeline — The board canceled the May 30 budget work session.