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Scenes from the budget hearings

The year of hunkering down
Not a lot of fireworks at any of the budget hearings this year, but most of what did take place was over items dear to Carrboro in the county budget. The town and its residents continue to press their case for not closing the Carrboro Branch Library while those with students at Carrboro High joined with Chapel Hillians from the school to advocate for their arts wing.

Budget hearings for the towns, which usually see a few advocates for various items, were practically ghost towns this year sans the tumbleweeds.

We’re not sure if this is a signal of resignation, frustration, or both. Our best guess is that the citizenry knows that the economic forces playing havoc with government budgets are going to be hard to overcome no matter how persuasive the comments offered.
They also know that how things play out at the state level and how much federal stimulus money ultimately becomes available are the big factors, and for the most part the outcome is not in the hands of local officials.

In this climate, officialdom and the citizens appear to have reached the same conclusion: Hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

Jaguar pride on display
Kudos to the inventive boosters of Carrboro High’s arts wing, and not just for those snappy purple T-shirts. They managed to convince the school board to back a plan to move forward on the wing. And they made their case with the participation and attendance of a good number of students.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the CHS students received a particularly good seminar in democracy. Not only did they have the opportunity to make their points, but they also stuck around and observed that theirs was not the only case being pressed Tuesday night. They heard from supporters of pre-school programs, public libraries, social services and residents hurting from the recession while facing a 100 percent jump in sewer fees.

A few Jaguars melted away as the night wore on, but most stayed and took it in. We hope they gained a little deeper understanding of the phrase “all politics is local” and take to heart that, especially in years when money is tight, their interests compete with the interests of others.

Someone’s got to say it

Ben Lloyd has been and remains a one-man tax revolt. Since his days as a commissioner, and pretty much at every budget public hearing since, Lloyd, who has about 700 acres west of Hillsborough, rises to preach for living within one’s means and against taxing life-long residents off their land.

When Mr. Lloyd should leave us, hopefully no time soon, the county would do well to hire someone to deliver a similar message at every budget hearing hence.

Year after year, Orange County has been one of those unique places where those queuing up at budget hearings are doing so to ask the county to spend a little more money. Mr. Lloyd has long been among the minority advocating the opposite, and some years, it seems, he’s that argument’s sole representative.

This year, he had a couple more comrades. But given the enormous organizing and turnout capabilities of the nascent Orange County Tax Revolt, you’d have thought there would be a few more people there. It was, after all, a very teachable moment, considering the number of young people in the audience Tuesday night.

  1. Kay

    By the tone of this article,
    one might glean that nothing much is happening to CHCCS citizen’s children,teachers, CHCCS system’s education on any significant level~ one that involves showing at least a bat of an eyelid of awareness of the personal and developmental effects on our children, with reductions and elimination of arts programs within our rightfully respected CHCCS system.

    The state of education budgets are beyond outrageous..and this is the best coverage this emerging newspaper provides?

    There is a good bit more at stake here than applauding tee shirts, buildings and bucks…or the lack thereof.

    This article reads as a superficial comment on human rights matters effecting the lives of so many in our public education system.

    Consider if you will,the
    Carrboro citizens (students) we serve to educate for our community’s future families, businesses, schools

    What good is an arts wing in any school without teachers and programs to house them?

    Arts programs are and have been in funding-only jeopardy for many years in spite of ongoing government funding. The Arts are, in fact designated “core curriculum” long before NCLB.

    Which arts teachers and parents (resorting to promote their awareness, support, training, profession and experience) wearing unicolor tee shirts, will be wearing them next year?

    Where money, education and children are concerned in N.C., I expect worthwhile news media to reflect deeper: about the investments in human worth, potential, cultural diversity and ethics. As citizens in teaching and communications, aren’t we obliged to do that?