Council approves budget, funds affordable housing
The Chapel Hill Town Council adopted the recommended $99.4 million budget with 1 cent on the tax rate going to affordable housing.
During its meeting last week, the council voted unanimously to approve the recommended budget as modified by town staff to address their concerns.
The approved budget has a $59.2 million general fund and more than $20 million designated for the transit fund.
The stormwater fee will be increased by 75 cents per the adopted budget, bringing it to $24.75 and there will be a 3 percent pay raise to town employees.
Town Manager Roger Stancil gave a brief presentation on the budget noting the 1 cent to affordable housing, $400,000 to finance the replacement of buses and a 1 cent tax increase to restore the town’s debt fund capacity.
During the initial public hearing on the recommended budget, several citizens spoke I favor of 1 cent on the tax rate going to subsidize affordable housing.
Susan Levy, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Orange County, said that “those of us in the affordable housing community are really heartened by the commitment on your part” prior to the board’s vote.
Councilwoman Sally Greene explained that despite the lack of discussion immediately preceding the vote, the council had been engaged in discussions during its previous work sessions.
“We’re not just rubber stamping this budget,” she said. “We’ve given it a lot of in-depth discussion.”
Stancil described some of the budget challenges that the board will face for the 2016 fiscal year including the ongoing concern with affordable housing, recycling costs, retiree healthcare costs, asset management decisions and budget policies.