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Archive for May, 2010

Tax increase for W-S

The Winston-Salem Journal reports:

Winston-Salem’s property-tax rate would increase 1.6 percent and its tradition of backyard trash pickup would end under the budget being proposed by City Manager Lee Garrity.

The increase would add $11.25 a year to the tax bill for a house with a tax value of $150,000.

Garrity’s proposed $362.4 million budget represents a 6 percent decrease from the current year’s budget.

Comments beneath the article are warmed up and ready to go.

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G’boro budget: Same old song

You may wonder why I’m looking elsewhere for news when the City of Greensboro presented its budget this week. That’s because it’s the same old song:

The big surprise in the proposed 2010-2011 city budget – presented by Greensboro City Manager Rashad Young at a special City Council meeting in the council chambers on Tuesday, May 25 – was that there were no surprises.

It is a tired old budget that could have easily been presented by former City Managers Mitch Johnson, Ed Kitchen or the late Bill Carstarphen. Greensboro went out and hired a young new manager, and although he has made some impressive changes, his budget reads like it comes from the notes for the course City Manager 101.

A couple million here, a couple million there, all to hold to the line on a budget that’s a 0.3 percent reduction from the current budget. I admit that Rashad Young is a welcome change from Mitch Johnson, and he handles himself well during council meetings. But somehow I’m not surprised that he “doesn’t appear to have brought any new budget ideas with him from Dayton.” There’s no better example of groupthink than municipal government.

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Jax Daily editorial against public broadband

In contrast to the recent Winston-Salem Journal editorial on public broadband, the Jacksonville Daily News says cities should stay out of broadband:

Cities shouldn’t be getting into the Internet and cable-TV business. A proposal being pushed in the state Senate to require municipalities to get voter approval if they borrow money to pay for broadband infrastructure doesn’t seem like an unreasonable demand.

…..Cities take a big risk if they must borrow money to pay to run fiber-optic cable lines. If cities decide to take those risks, the people of those cities, who will eventually pay the bills, should at least be asked whether or not such risk is worth it.

Via Commander Hood down at Squall Lines.

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Meanwhile, down in Raleigh……

Take note of Tony Foriest’s bill and read what’s going on down in Raleigh, where sales of a downtown condo project have stopped:

Hue, the multicolor building that is the largest condo project ever attempted in downtown Raleigh, closed its sales office without ever selling a unit.

Signs posted on the building’s doors, as well as a message left on the sales office’s answering machine, say Hue will be closed until further notice.

Neither the developer nor Hue’s sales manager returned calls seeking comment Thursday.

Note also the ” project was developed by Trammell Crow Residential along with CityView, a Los Angeles group whose executive chairman is Henry Cisneros, President Bill Clinton’s secretary of the housing and urban development.”

You know how I feel about anybody or anything having to do with HUD.

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Incentives for high-density development…

….In Burlington.

JLF’s Joe Coletti alerts me to state Sen. Tony Foriest’s bill allowing the Burlington City Council to “make appropriations and authorize economic incentives for purposes of aiding and encouraging residential development within the city in a municipal service district.”

Translation—- economic incentives for high-density, transit-oriented development.

In Burlington.

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Carrie and the gang on the Muslim world

I found it interesting that the McClatchy review of ‘Sex in the City 2′ in today’s Go Triad wasn’t really a review, taking pains to quote a Columbia University ‘fashion historian’ to avoid the painful truth — it’s a stinker.

Ed Cone rounds up some reviewers who pull no punches.

We’re operating a family blog here, so I won’t quote the first paragraph of this scathing review. But if you feel like indulging in some naughty bits this morning, have at it.

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Your editorial roundup

The Winston-Salem Journal editorializes on Fibrowatt’s failed bid to build a chicken s**t plant in Surry County:

In two editorials on this page in 2008, we supported the plans of Fibrowatt, a Pennsylvania company, to build a plant in Northwest North Carolina. We liked the potential for economic development, and that the plant would produce an alternative form of energy — electricity from chicken litter, a mix of chicken manure and wood shavings from chicken houses. But we also said that the project would demand a careful eye on environmental safeguards. Several citizens and community groups, including the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, supplied that scrutiny.

Now the county’s stuck with a $2 million tract of land. Meanwhile, the N&R says Sen. Kay Hagan is “on the seat” as a vote on requiring states to allow public employees to collectively bargain comes up —- sometime.

The N&R highlights Hagan’s relationship with High Point Mayor Becky Smothers, who says Hagan’s relationship with Dingy Harry “isn’t my problem.” Yeah, but it’s our problem.

That said, Hagan insists she will not vote for Reid’s bill.

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Go Pack

gopack

No doubt the owners of this RV are across the street at New Bridge Bank Park pulling for N.C. State in the ACC Baseball Championship, where they’re not serving beer, at least not so the average dude can seat in his seat and drink a cold one while watching the game.

Note the ‘For Sale’ sign. It’s good to see someone’s finally making good use of the old North State Chevrolet property.

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Time for Hagan to put up?

Lots circulating out there about Dingy Harry’s bill that would force states to allow public employees to collectively bargain.

It was uncertain when there might be a vote, but sister blog Right Angles reports there could be some action as early as this week.

Of course we here in North Carolina –which forbids collective bargaining in the public sector —- are wondering how Sen. Kay Hagan will vote. An interesting side note to this story is the ad being run by the NC Coalition for Jobs that uses Hagan’s voice in a conversation with the N&R’s Doug Clark and Mark Binker. Hagan seemed confused about the issue and indicated she might support such a law. But she called Binker back to say she would not support any law that overrides state laws on public employees collectively bargaining.

As of now, Binker reports that Hagan –through a spokeswoman —- would vote no on a cloture vote. North Carolina will be watching.

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G’boro opposes broadband bill

Capital Beat reports:

(O)n the Senate Finance’s calendar is a bill that would require municipalities to go to a vote before borrowing in support of a publicly owned broadband system. Some of the strongest opposition to this bill comes from Greensboro.

Mark Binker doesn’t elaborate on the who or why behind G’boro’s opposition, but evidently municipalities are marching lockstep in opposition to the bill in order to give them the option of borrowing to provide broadband service.

The Winston-Salem Journal editorialized last week, arguing that “communities can’t wait until it will be profitable for a private company to serve them adequately….. (s)o, using the democratic process, they are asking their local governments to establish service for them.” Evidently leaders in G’boro hold the same view of the ‘democratic process.”

Bottom line remains the same, however —- government broadband is a money-loser. But that just doesn’t seem to matter to some people.

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