Archive for the Taxes and Managment Category

Pro Train Tax Forum at UNC

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Transit, Uncategorized on October 9, 2012 by seaweavermarine

It snowed last Monday night in Howell Hall on the UNC Campus. Light Rail Proponents ( former students), sought to bond with the meager crowed assembled for an “overview” of the proposed light rail tax noted it was wonderful the school finally installed AC in the hall. It was not required last night. It was below 50 degrees outside and the snow job broadcast to the audience to sell the Light Rail Tax to students was enough to put a chill into any real taxpayer of Orange County.
Only the happy aspects were presented. The Triangle Transit Treasurer doubling as the Orange County Commission Chairwoman, the Leader of the Sierra Club, Chapel Hill’s Chamber of Commerce Director, and an Author of a book on the Triangle were present.

Each had about a fifteen to twenty minute power point presentation touting all the wonderful things the Tax could do. Only the rosiest projections were cast except for when fear was required to make a pitch.

That fear came in the form of a projected 1.7 million new people moving to the “Triangle” and how best to cope with their transportation needs. The problem for me, was the Triangle Transit wiz and author of the “everything you want to know about the Triangle” book, could not tell the crowd what was going to draw this mass of humanity to Orange County.
What rate of growth in Orange is projected to accommodate this mass? He could not answer. Orange County has been run by one party for 122 years. It is historically hostile to any private development or industry. What sea change in philosophy could possibly occur to allow for industry and housing to build on a scale to accept or even attract this projected influx of people? Again, the guy who wrote the book had no answer. I can only suppose he had not taken into account the political history of the county or the election structure that allows a “Progressive” district to dictate the course of the entire county. Perhaps he had not considered a 700 page Unified Development Ordinance(regulations) that is 100 times larger than our neighboring county.The Chairwoman for Orange County said nothing about this massive regulatory hurdle being amended for the Economic development districts…what’s the point short of location?

My question as to the 200% increase in Tag Tax in relation to a populace that votes for the Transit Tax (and thus the Tag Tax) and their ability to avoid not paying the Tag tax as the bulk of students have cars registered out of state… was met with no satisfactory answer, but I did note the Triangle Director giving instructions to the “moderator” to shut down the meeting after the weak attempt.

I’m still not certain who proposed this meeting this meeting; it was published electronically 23 hours before it occurred. Beside the cast I mentioned, the Director and Planners of Triangle Transit were also present as well as at least two reporters and one  Pro Rail campus organizer. As far as I could tell I was the only opposition to the Rail Plan in attendance. Other County Commissioners I spoke to were not aware that it was taking place neither was a great portion of the public.

This was a targeted sales pitch to one select group of voters and in the interest of “transparency” it was released to one electronic media outlet at 8pm on a Sunday. Triangle Transit had enough notice to have 3 of their top brass in attendance. The Treasurer of Triangle Transit and Orange County Board Chair Bernadette Pelissier had notice to pull together a power point presentation as did Aaron Nelson, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

This is how Government works in Orange County. When a tax is needed, it knows where to curry votes. Drop some snow on the steep slopes of any lecture hall on UNC Campus… blow it around to hide the pitfalls and only invite your “friends”.
I am not anti-public transit. I am anti Light Rail. The Federal Transit Administration Data shows it is a failure and a burden to every local economy that implements it and to our In Debt Nation as a whole that foots the greater portion of the bill.

Government “transparency” makes the snow job hard to see in this picture

Orange County Residents pulling the Light Rail Load for the greater “Triangle”

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Reply to Eno Economic Rezoning

Posted in In the media, Taxes and Managment on September 10, 2012 by seaweavermarine

http://chapelboro.com/Commissioners-Clash-Over-Economic-Development-Dist/14193169

This County is SO far behind in diversifying its tax base. The only thing that seems to take root here are Non Profits. As this county loves to spend money and acquire land it must find alternate revenue streams and relieve the burden on the property owner.  The best way to do this is to encourage and build into economic districts.

That said, the NIMBY or in this case Not In My Yard…effect is strong and understandable…but equally as strong is the harness that cuts into the shoulders of the bulk of the citizens of this county as they toil for District One dreams.

The EEDD has been on the table for some time, perhaps the citizens of the area have not been fully aware or perhaps living under the idea that the type of political/economic structure of the county is ( magic word) sustainable…

It is not, and even the most obtuse to development have finally looked down the road and seen the bleak future under the spending habits vs. the revolting (leaving) tax base.

The citizens in the west EDD and east do have the comfort that the Republican General Assembly passed a new State Law that forbids unwanted Annexation so the thought of bearing a Durham or Mebane tax in addition to the soon to be 4th highest County tax in the state (if Chapel Hill transit tax passes) may be dispelled.

As this crisis of Taxation is reaching a critical level, it is important to understand this did not occur overnight. It is strictly the result of 122 years of one party domination and the added insult of environmental extremism topped off by guidance of the United Nation under County and city (CH) membership. Had this county had a balance approach to development and diversification we would not be at this junction. I feel for the residents of the EEDD, I know what encroachment feels like, but I also see the deep strap marks in the shoulders of property owners around the county who have borne the load of county excess and they need relief as well.

I also know FULL WELL there is NO guarantee that should Private industry decide to relocate here… with the massive amount of regulation and Taxation….that the county COULD ease the burden on the property owners of the county. But, they may deem the current exorbitant rates as… (magic word) “Sustainable” and then proceed to spend the revenue generated from any industry as “found” money.

I would remind the citizens of the EEDD that given the History of Orange County, the hostility to Development and the Taxation…It could be a great while before the EEDD begins to build out. If Economic power houses like Cabalas, Wal-Mart, Tanger Factory Outlets and South point Mall can see the writing on the wall should they venture into Orange, you can bet others will too. These industries compete in the real world and are not prone to making bad decisions as the money they spend is their own.

The nature of Orange illustrated, I would recommend following the Planning Boards prescription of less than Half be rezoned.

Bureaucratic Incumbents, the Elite to guide our Lives

Posted in Important Voting Information, Taxes and Managment on August 29, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Bureaucratic Incumbents, the Elite to guide our Lives

There is a growing idea that the mechanism of Government is too complex for the average citizen. This has been proposed by Democratic candidates for public office. They suggest the intricacies of Governance are too complicated for the regular people to attempt to undertake. This idea yields entrenched Bureaucrats who are consistently promoted and championed by other bureaucrats and media.

At some point the notion that Governance requires special people to lead results in the idea that we as regular citizens cannot manage our own affairs. If the average citizen can no longer manage their own affairs, then the result is that we must have Experts to do it for us.  This is madness.

It is Conceit which has marginalized District Two. Look at the backgrounds of those running for office and those on the County Board now. They all have been brought up through the ranks of Bureaucrat development. They were all Bureaucratic Incumbents prior to actually being elected.
There are only two people running for Orange County Commission that are not   Bureaucratic IncumbentsMary Carter and me, Chris Weaver.

In 2006 the County expanded the seats on the Commission from Five to Seven supposedly to offer the rural voter more input. This was a ruse. The marginalization of District Two is pronounced in intentionally skewed method of election of representatives.

District Two has 2 Representatives specific for the district. BUT, Rural voters in District Two are not told that the Chapel Hill/Carrboro voters of District One get to vote on District Two’s Representative. Further, the District One voting count is far greater than District Two (remember all those students?). This means that District One (Chapel Hill and Carrboro) will always choose the representative that suits the interests of District One, not the interests Rural Voter. District Two also may vote on District One Representatives but can only marginally affect the outcomes due to their less significant voting population. Added insult comes when sitting District Two representatives curry favor from this larger voting population in their Board voting.

This is no mistake. This method was chosen specifically to place the rural voter under the “care” of District One and Bureaucratic Incumbents. It is embedded in the idea that we as  regular citizens cannot manage our own affairs. Government large and small has come to view the Citizen as servants, we must correct this. Government is to serve the Citizen, and Representatives are to vote according interests and values of their district.
Regular Citizens can manage their own affairs, however if they do not participate in the political process they will soon come to be governed by their inferiors.

Mike Rowe of the TV show Dirty Jobs wrote a letter to Mitt Romney on the loss of stature for skilled labor…and in the comments was this gem…

Mike, there is another reason that skilled tradesmen (and women!) have been diminished in the eyes of the public.

In the last century, we have gradually replaced a healthy respect for wisdom and experience from any source, with the blind worship of the mere appearances of intellect … credentials, position, the ability to articulate one’s views in ways that are considered “intellectual” by our popular culture.

We have placed these “experts” who embody those mere appearances, on pedestals as though they are omniscient … forgetting that they still have the limits of human perception and capacity for human error … while devaluing the capabilities of MILLIONS of people who are far closer to the “dirty jobs” of living free and pursuing happiness than the high-and-erudite; millions who might just have better answers for the problems in their midst than such geniuses.

http://www.mikeroweworks.com/2012/09/the-first-four-years-are-the-hardest/

OC Employee Benefits and Commissioners Free HC for Life?

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Note: A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum and I was not able to attend and read this letter to the BoCC.

Tonight the BoCC will address the looming costs of it’s benefits and compensation packages that in comparison to private industry, as well as the current healthcare bill is extremely generous. The current benefit packages offered by Orange County are not self sustainable for future growth and vitality.  Fortunately everyone understands the tenuous position this places us in and tonight the County Manager and the BoCC are attempting to address these increasing liabilities.  There is a change being proposed to mitigate some of the costs by changing the employment criteria from 10 years to 20 years to be eligible for retirement benefits.  I’m pleased the Manger and the Board have sought to curtail costs and ensure responsible spending of our tax dollars, however, please consider there are some interesting highlights of this proposed action and of the existing plan itself.

First, in the new plan the dramatic increase of doubling employment requirement from 10 years to 20 may be conceived by employees as unfair and excessive. This is not a moral booster to new hires. The County is currently benefiting from a down economy when there are fewer options for employment opportunities. Realistically however, many could look for new opportunities as the economy recovers leaving gaps in our county roster that will be costly to fill. In speaking to a board member of the North Carolina Business Group on Health, there are a number of structural changes that could be made to save the county and the tax payers money and at the same time reduce present and future liabilities that will be better received by current and future employees and not partition them as drastically in terms of their benefit package

Another interesting feature of the old and new plan is the provision for health benefits to part time employees who are receiving the same benefits as full time employees. This doubles the cost to the county and exceeds the requirements set forth in Obamacare. (if deemed constitutional at the time of this reading( it was as a Tax)). This is very generous feature that must be paid for by the county and thus the taxpayer.

The last and personally most interesting feature of both the new and old plan is the exclusion of County Commissioners from the same requirements. Currently the Commissioners may work one day to receive benefits for life much like the US Congress and this is not slated to change. This is a rich feature for any company much less a government in any economy.

The Commissioners should really address this issue tonight. The BoCC should at minimum consider adopting the new employment eligibility standard offered to the county employees for themselves and grandfather in only those members no longer on the board.

Serving the citizens in the capacity of a representative should not come with a parachute. To be able to vote on major changes to any county employee’s benefit package and not address the comfortable security in which the voting members of the Board are wrapped in is a considerable conflict of interest as well as unconscionable to both the employees of the County and the taxpayers harnessed to bear this cost.

Note:

The new rule passed with out a mention of the Commissioners Parachute. There was however great emphasis placed on the Generous Plan and how new hires who serve 20 years will enjoy this “significant benefit”, this  “generous benefit”, this …“(one of) the best benefits packages out there…”

But no one touched the benefits package of the Commissioners themselves.

Commissioners Pkg Link (pg11-12)

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:PZ3-u8gC8UEJ:www.co.orange.nc.us/finance/documents/budgetordiance11-12.pdf+orange+county+nc+commissioner+health+insurance&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgzcM22BFFOUNisr1bCtfDW_T-KmCrX5TdMHidMJSSN9NNqmKz3NOAMxmMzaJC6bnaMqJoj5xSMmCzJ4IQacOlh-Iac_cxf5Z8WJPE-kXV8z-noc9g-SPrObh49I9jtQw5-S_bK&sig=AHIEtbQ4acIsx9msn75ZXekwxb31YnaCiQ

Signs of recovery from the BoCC!!!!

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Uncategorized on May 16, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Last nights BoCC meeting(5/15) had two promising indicators of economic recovery!

First, the BoCC  plans to kick the revaluation of property down the road to 2015. There was no talk of what would happen if the current trend nationally continues another 4 years….that would result in home values plunging even further, resulting in astronomical rate increases that would send the people into the streets screaming….or packing for Alamance County…

Instead of doing the reval now, with two members seeking election in the fall potentially facing the music early…the option of pushing it out into the future seemed the safest choice….NOT the toughest….Fairest choice.
We HAVE to assume the Commissioners project the future to be better for home values…as no one asked ….what if they are not?  From this I can only conclude they foresee a dramatic change in the course of the nation.( tongue in cheek) this is a good sign! This will surely make being overcharged for our home values worth while………r

Commissioner Alice Gordon said there’s no point expending the time and money to conduct a revaluation if the result is greater inequity for property owners.

“My concern has to do with the equity,” says Gordon. “The reason you revalue is because you want to be fair, and what you are saying is you do not feel you have the data to do that.”

Let us look at this statement. This implies it is the county’s job…to manage the equity in our homes. Really?
To be fair is the reason you revalue …But if our home values are down…what is fair about “being over charged?”

What of the Truth? The Truth being…Values have Gone Down . Truth is…we are being assessed a Tax on Inflated (untrue) valuations. The reason you revalue…IS to be fair and that mean being Honest and dealing with reality.
Reality says that no matter what the County assesses our property at, THE MARKET will determine it value and Thus the REAL equity. The “inferred” equity due to inflated assessment has …is not reality, it is not honest and should not be protected for political insulation.

I would like to see this idea of county action/inaction and it’s implication on property equity be applied to all County rationalizations…especially taxes and fees. I have met many more people since I started running for office who are leaving Orange because of the taxes and politics…which they feel directly affects the EQUITY in their property.ht?

Kudos to Former Hillsborough Mayor Joe Phelps for trying to share information to warrant the reval taking place next year. Information that shows the amount of DATA used to do the last reval...is  near the same what we have now… That information was simply not compatible with November elections and thus it was ignored.

The fallout of a revaluation in which property values have dropped is tough on budgets and must be dealt with, but that is the way it works in the real world. By ignoring this truth we stray into inflated budgets, reckless spending and general bad habits that come back to bite us in a recession. It is unfortunate the Board chose not to deal with this fact.

Mr. Jinks was quite prescient in his remarks last winter when he first warned the Board of the pending shorts in valuation and the conjunction of elections…He was certainly speaking the truth then.

Second, the vote on the principle of the Transit plan….while close, was another indication of good things to come Nationally. As the greatest source of funding for the Light Rail that will serve UNC/Duke will come from Federal monies, and everyone knows of the abysmal condition of the National debt, and that the entire lifetime tax revenues to be generated by ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren has already been spent….Those that voted FOR this tax plans MUST see great thing on the horizon.
….or…they simply know where their votes come from.

http://www.chapelboro.com/BoCC-Narrowly-Approves-Transit-Plan/13138629?commentId=6461174&PHPSESSID=6fa59174ff3c8d7efe934c0d7e9511e4

I have no desire to make “safe” votes. I will vote to keep the citizens treasure in their pockets and compel the County government to live with in it’s means and reality… and when times get tough, reduce the budget accordingly…and will vote against any project that serves a select minority at the expense of other citizens…including the citizens of the nation.

Another overlooked aspect of the Transit Plan/Tax?  The tag fees. Who has more tags in their possession? The farmer w/ 3 trucks and 4 trailers? Or the UNC student/Employee?  Who will be riding the Train and who will be paying for it?

I will do and vote for those hard things that affect Government first before I compel majorities of citizens to do hard things for the few. I have no future political ambitions other than to see more citizens like me who will rise and assume control of our course.

Home Revaluations kicked down the road

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Uncategorized on May 11, 2012 by seaweavermarine

Here is the back ground in an earlier post.  https://weaver4bocc.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/surprise-revaluation-hurts-revenue-taxes-go-up

Well it will be official by Tuesday night…. Home owners with depressed home values will continue in essence to be overcharged via inflated values… so the county and municipalities will not have to deal with the lost revenue.

When we did not save enough money, we do not go on vacation.

When we did not save enough money , we ate beans and rice.

When you are the County and you did not save enough money and you discover your what you are taxing the property more than you should be….the option is…. keep it up.

Note in here  http://www.co.orange.nc.us/OCCLERKS/1205157a.pdf  that the County Manger did include the cost of a revaluation process in the next budget…but did bother to make cuts (beans and rice) to negate the 9.9 million the county will overcharge the taxpayer..

 

On Government Transparency…

Posted in Taxes and Managment, Uncategorized on May 10, 2012 by seaweavermarine

There have only been a few BoCC sessions I have missed since I decided to run and I am always appalled at the lack of citizens that attend. But As I noted in my post Deserts First… there seems to be a reason for this.

I truly believe that if the Proceedings of the County reached 10% of the citizens, participation would increase and thus form better government.

I and many citizens were lead  by the BoCC to believe we were going to be included in crafting the Weapons Ordinances. We have not been. And I have continually asked for community participation in this, and continually have gotten the run around by the Board and the County Attorney

I have stood on intersections of the county with home made signs to alert citizens of pending meetings that affect taxes and then have railed at the pathetic community outreach by the board… before the board on substantive issues.

I have demanded and received public information sessions so the community could be better informed as to plans and designs to spend future taxes to be imposed.

I have asked for and as yet received only an answer of NO in regard to live video streaming of BoCC work Sessions (where the sausage is being made)…So I will be providing that stream myself to the community.

My Conservative running mate Mary Carter and her Husband Dave and myself have started a community bulletin board on Face Book to help keep citizens connected as to what is happening with their Government and Community.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/orangecountylocal/

The BoCC is planning to do something….they intend to hire a “Communications specialist”. Top Salary?  $106,000.

The Commissioners are OUR employees, they ARE our liaison to County Government. If they require and additional position to augment they one they have….in ADDITION  to themselves….and simple, common technology then they are not really interested in community involvement in Government.