Let’s elect a local government that listens to and governs for all

By Bill Crawford

Pittsboro, NC – The voting season is upon us. These are some things I would ask you to consider in Chatham County:

Property taxes – The Democrat Board of Commissioners raised property tax valuations last year, before a mandated round of property assessments. Many property owners in proximity to Chatham Park found those assessments on the aggressive side, which had the effect of increasing the impact of those valuations. Y’all have had a look at your new property tax levels, how are you all with that?

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Sales tax increase – after the property tax increases, the Board fought to increase the sales tax in Chatham to 7%, which they swore was all for a good cause and you would hardly feel it (only a quarter of a penny, it said on their signs). This was rationalized by telling you that our sales tax level was lower than many surrounding counties, which sort of reminded me of trying to win an ugliest dog contest.

County wide zoning – Chatham is really two distinct counties. The more affluent, suburban North has been zoned completely for a long time, for good reasons. The more rural West was not, until recently. The rationale presented was, “because that’s how a modern county works”. If you don’t like being zoned on your farm like Chapel Hill, “don’t let us move here” (both quotes courtesy of Commissioner Jim Crawford). We need to acknowledge that Chatham is a diverse county and may not operate well under a one size fits all mentality.

Per capita debt – one of the reasons we finally got a Republican majority Board in 2010 was the decision to build a basketball arena sized Judicial Center that we would “grow into” for somewhere north of $20 million. The present Board seems to be fine with our per capita debt load being one of the highest of all counties in North Carolina, and that has to change.

The Confederate statue – The Democrat Board used a series of friendly judges to argue a loophole in State law to remove the statue that had been in Pittsboro since 1907, remove it in the dark of night and make us all pay for it’s storage in Greensboro for the duration. The closed meeting session notes from where they decided this should have been released to public record after those sessions ended, as “closed” is not “classified”, but despite many requests, those meeting notes are still not available to the public. That statue should stop being stored at public expense and private funding should be used to find a place to display it publicly somewhere in Chatham. It is part of our history. Those session notes need to be made public now.

The Democrat Board operates as if it is entitled to power. They don’t seem to be concerned with people who disagree with them. This has to change. Let’s show some compassion, and promote Mike Dasher and Karen Howard from public servant to private citizen. Let’s elect a Republican Board that will govern for all and manage the rural areas and the suburban areas the way that works best for both. Let’s get a government that listens to and governs for all.

Vote for all three Republican Commissioner candidates this month and get a government that works for all of us. Vote for and elect Jay Stobbs, Jimmy Pharr and Andy Wilkie.