Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monday's Council Meeting

The council meeting Monday was an interesting one to say the least.

I expected impact fees and the mayors agreement on climate change to be an issue for discussion - but not our state's legislative agenda. That language was worked out weeks in advance, and all councilors had plenty of opportunity to air their concerns. So much for not blind siding folks I guess.

Council raised water and sewer impact fees - but we held the line on transportation impact fees (TDF's); fees that in my opinion are already too high when compared to neighboring municipalities. How high you ask? Here are a few examples of Cary's TDF's versus other municipalities. (source 4/7/2008 staff report - )

TDF's for a 150,000 square foot office building in the following muni's:
Cary: $274,950
Raleigh: $112,950
Holly Springs: $2,000
Durham: $928 (no that's not a typo)

TDF's for a 2500 sq. ft. home in the follwing muni's:
Cary: $1243
Raleigh: $528
Holly Springs:$1000
Durham: $590

In this councilor's opinion, our commercial fees are way out of line, and I have concerns that Cary is pricing itself out of the market. If I were a business owner (which I am) looking to build in the region, would impact fees be a factor in my decision of which municipality I chose to build in? Absolutely. Commercial development does not impact our schools, provides a healthy tax base to our town, and provides jobs for our citizens. We should be - to quote one councilor - "incentivising" commercial development, not discouraging it.

My concerns with the US Mayors Climate Change Agreement have nothing to do with being good stewards of the environment. Cary has been, and will continue to be a leader in this regard. My concerns deal with the agreement's endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol - legislation that the US congress voted 95-0 against out of fear of crippling the US economy. Kyoto also gives "developing countries" such as China (China seems pretty developed to me) a free pass to continue to pollute, while it could cost the U.S. 400+ billion dollars and 4.6 million jobs. China is the world's largest polluter and emits more greenhouse emissions that the U.S., the EU, and Japan combined.

Cary is already doing most everything the Mayor's agreement calls for - we're even doing things it doesn't. So signing this agreement - in my opinion - was nothing but feel good political fluff.

Oh well, ya win some, ya lose some.