When Orange County citizens voted for the 1/2 cent sales tax in 2014, they expected a variety of transit improvements including bus service, and funding for the Bus Rapid Transit service for Martin Luther King Jr Blvd that is planned to run from Eubanks Road to Southern Village. Unfortunately the agreements approved by the County Commission majority don’t provide the funding originally promised for a robust bus service including easy rider service for seniors and special needs individuals, and only 6 million dollars of the 13o million of the funding needed for the Bus Rapid Transit.
On April 27th the Council Commission approved a trasit plan and side agreements that do not support expansion of Chapel Hill and County bus service. The most immediate price for this ill-advised decision is that Chapel Hill taxpayers spend more of their town budget on bus service. The two drivers in this increased burden for the taxpayer are: (1) the minimal support for additional bus service specified in the agreements just approved by the County Commission, and (2) the diminishing federal support for local transit. We need look no further that the Town budget just presented by Chapel Hill Town Manager Stancil to the Town Council which will require more tax payer support for Chapel Hill Transit.
In this budget presentation, the Town budget director said 1.39 percent growth in property taxes isn’t keeping up with town expenses. Since this is true we can conclude that growth costs, e.g. net revenues don’t increase because after the Town increases property values by rezoning or redevelopment, the Town ends up spending more for services than the increased revenues coming in.