Board of County Commissioners
200 South Cameron St.
P.O. Box 8181
Hillsborough,
North Carolina 27278
(919) 245-2130
Fax: (919) 644-0246


Contact: David Hunt
Information Specialist
(919) 245-2126
Fax: (919) 644-0246
e-mail:

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News Releases

March/April 2008

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Past News Releases

Manager 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 24, 2008

Contact: Laura Blackmon, Orange County Manager, 245-2300 

Steve Averett Graduates County Administration Course

Steve Averett, Land Records/GIS Director, Orange County, has successfully graduated from the 2007-2008 County Administration Course of the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The program in County Administration is designed for managers, department heads, and officials whose responsibilities require a broad understanding of functions beyond individual areas of specialization.  The course is approximately 150 hours in length, and more than 60 instructors participate in leading the program.  Course instruction covers North Carolina local government law, organization and management, finance and budgeting, employment law and administration, planning and regulation of development, and the delivery of specific city or county services.

Steve Averett was one of 32 officials who graduated the course this year and is one of over 1,200 officials who have completed the course since it began in 1964.

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BOCC 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2008

Contact: Vicki Boyer, President - League of Women Voters, (919) 419-1650 or Rod Visser, Project Manager - Orange County, (919) 245-2302

Public Information Sessions for the Land Transfer Tax Referendum

The League of Women Voters will host two public information sessions on the Land Transfer Tax Referendum that is the last item on the May 6, 2008 ballot in Orange County. 

  Wednesday, April 23, 2008
  7:00 p.m.
  Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers
  405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  Chapel Hill, NC

  Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  7:00 p.m.
  F. Gordon Battle Courtroom
  106 East Margaret Lane
  Hillsborough, NC

The sessions will start with a presentation of the facts about what a land transfer tax is and how it would work.  Speakers, representing each side of the issue, will provide an overview from their perspective.  The moderator will also take questions from the audience for the speakers. 

The sessions are open to the public.  The April 23 session will air live on Chapel Hill TV-18, cable channel 18. 

For additional information, see the Orange County Land Transfer Tax website.

http://www.yourchoice-oc.com/

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BOCC 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2008

Contact: Rod Visser, Project Manager - Orange County, 245-2302 

Land Transfer Tax Informational Website

A website has been created to provide information on the Orange County Land Transfer Tax. 

www.yourchoice-oc.com

The website, developed by Ballen Media for Orange County, provides information on history, legislation and financial projections, and also provides links to perspectives from each side of the issue.  A Frequently Asked Questions section lists some of the more common questions related to the Land Transfer Tax, along with answers. 

The site provides contact information, both by phone or email, for individuals who have additional questions. 

The site will evolve with additional information, including updates to the Q&A section, through Primary Election Day, May 6, 2008.   

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NCACC 

(The following is a news release from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 15, 2008

Contact: Laura Blackmon, Orange County Manager, 245-2300 or Todd McGee, (919) 715-7336

Orange County programs win statewide award

Orange County has won two statewide awards from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. The Orange County Inspect Plus program and the Orange County Spanish Language Assessment Tool were two of 12 county programs from around the state to win a 2007 Outstanding County Program Award from the NCACC.

The Inspect Plus program is an in-house developed software program. In November, the program enabled Orange County building inspectors to go paperless in the field, reducing by more than 1,000 the sheets of paper used each week for inspections requests and documentation. The program enables inspectors to spend more time in the field each day by eliminating the need for return trips to the office to enter data and print reports.

Inspectors now process inspections results in the field on laptops. The laptops are docked in the inspector’s vehicle and also provide electronic maps to properties using the county’s GIS. The laptops also are installed with all of the N.C. State Building, Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical codes. An inspector can attach the relevant code to the inspection if further explanation is needed.

With a growing Hispanic population, Orange County leaders recognized several years ago that the county needed a way to assess the abilities of its employees and volunteers to speak, write and translate Spanish. Working with the Chapel Hill Institute of Cultural and Language Education (CHICLE), the county developed a Spanish Proficiency Assessment Tool.

The purpose of the assessment tool is to further accessibility to all county services for Spanish-speaking residents by helping assure that County employees have sufficient knowledge of the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking community to communicate effectively. In the first year of the program, 36 county employees volunteered to go through the assessment.

The intent of the Outstanding County Program Awards is to recognize and share information with other counties about programs that involve a uniquely innovative process, solution or idea to address a county or multi-jurisdictional issue and/or to prevent a future problem from developing. More than 50 programs in three categories – Public Information/Participation, General Government and Human Services – were nominated for the 2007 awards. These programs were two of five General Government winners.

“Counties in North Carolina are facing many challenges, and this awards program is a great way to highlight some of the outstanding work being done by our counties,” said NCACC Executive Director David F. Thompson. “As the demands being placed on county governments become more complex, counties are forced to find new solutions to old problems. This awards program is a way to bring attention to excellent programs that other counties might want to emulate.”

For more information, contact Orange County Manager Laura Blackmon at (919) 245-2306. For more information on the Outstanding County Program Awards, contact Todd McGee, NCACC Communications Director, at (919) 715-7336 or todd.mcgee@ncacc.org.

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The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of lobbying, fiscal and legal research, communications, intergovernmental relations, information technology, field visits and risk management services.


Manager 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 11, 2008

Contact: Laura Blackmon, Orange County Manager, 245-2300 

Frank Montes de Oca To Lead Orange County Emergency Services

Laura Blackmon, Orange County Manager, announced the appointment of Frank R. Montes de Oca, Jr. as Director of Emergency Services for Orange County Government starting April 21, 2008.

As the Director of Emergency Services, Montes de Oca will be responsible for 9-1-1 Communications, Emergency Medical Services and the office of the Fire Marshal. 

Montes de Oca started his career in 1972 as a firefighter and emergency medical technician in Orange County, Florida.  He advanced through the ranks to Assistant Chief.  In 1997, he accepted a position as Fire Chief for the City of Springfield, Ohio, a position he held until returning to Florida in 2000.  He later served as Fire Chief for Osceola County, Florida. 

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Barry University, as well as multiple professional certifications including National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), Hazardous Materials (HazMat) and Executive Fire Officer designation from the National Fire Academy, Department of Homeland Security. 

“Frank’s experience in emergency services, from front-line to management, will be a great asset to Orange County,” Blackmon said. 

Montes de Oca is excited about the new challenge.  “It is an honor to be selected as a member of the Orange County team.  I look forward to working with the outstanding personnel of the Emergency Services Department, regional partners and the community,” Montes de Oca said. 

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Library 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2008

Contact: Andrea Tullos, Orange County Public Library, 245-2529 

Cybrary Closed April 5

The Cybrary in the Carrboro Century Center will be closed on Saturday, April 5, 2008. 

The Town of Carrboro has planned an electrical shutdown of the Century Century this Saturday, April 5th.  The shutdown is scheduled for 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.   According to the Town Staff, the purpose of this shutdown is to connect a Main Transfer Switch being installed for the soon to arrive Emergency Generator.  There will be no lights, restrooms, etc for the building.  The Cybrary will not be open for business during this time. 

The Cybrary will operate on Monday at normal hours. 

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Housing 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3, 2008

Contact: Tara Fikes, Director, Orange County Housing and Community Development, 245-2490 

Dean Joins Housing and Community Development

On Monday, March 31, 2008, Carson Dean joined Orange County as the Coordinator of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.  Carson will work closely with the Partnership, a collaboration of community partners and service providers, including Orange County and the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough to facilitate the implementation of the County’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. 

Carson’s previous work experience includes managing Wake County’s homeless shelter for men, as well as developing and managing programs for homeless and runaway youth.  He was also involved in the development and implementation of Wake County’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.  Chapel Hill Councilmember Sally Greene who serves as Chair of the Partnership to End Homelessness says, "Carson brings a remarkable depth and breadth of experience to this position. I applaud his enthusiasm, and I look forward to working with him."

The Orange County Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness was finalized in March 2007.   Ultimately, the plan “makes systemic changes to and integrates the homeless services system in order to end chronic homelessness in Orange County and raises awareness of issues related to homelessness among all residents.”  The complete plan is located on the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness website at http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/homelessness/.

Carson Dean can be reached at 919-245-2496 or cdean@co.orange.nc.us.

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Elections 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3, 2008

Contact: Tracy Reams, Director, Orange County Board of Elections, 245-2351 

Public Demonstration of Voting Machines

The public is invited to see a demonstration of the voting process and the procedures in place to ensure all ballots are counted accurately. 

The Orange County Board of Elections wants to ensure that the voters of Orange County have complete confidence in the voting system.  The Board of Elections will demonstrate the voting machines on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Orange Enterprise Building located at 500 Valley Forge Rd, Hillsborough, NC. 

For additional information, please contact the Orange County Board of Elections (919) 245-2350.

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Human Rights 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3, 2008

Contact: Pam Reynolds, Office of Human Rights and Relations, 960-3875 

Fourth Annual Fair Housing Fair

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Orange County Office of Human Rights and Relations will host its 4th Annual Fair Housing Fair on Saturday April 19, 2008, from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Food Lion Store at 602A Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro.

The fair is designed for anyone seeking to rent or own a home in Orange County, and provides information on fair housing regulations and housing opportunities. Information on housing policies, federal rules, regulations, and laws prohibiting housing discrimination will be available. Participants will also learn about housing options, financial assistance and other issues related to fair and affordable housing.

Many banks and community based organizations have been invited to participate and will provide information on everything from buying a land trust home to forming an Individual Development Account to assist individuals in saving for a down payment on a home. 

“Several studies have identified that lack of information on programs supporting fair housing is a significant barrier to residents’ accessing affordable housing programs,” notes Shoshannah Smith, the Office’s director. “This Fair will provide people from a range of economic circumstances with an opportunity to learn how they can exercise true housing choice.”

The fair is the main event for Fair Housing Month, and is designed to raise awareness and understanding of fair housing issues. “For example, most people think that the only people eligible for affordable housing programs are those with extremely low incomes,” Smith notes. “Not true! Affordable housing programs are programs which can and should be used by the people who are the foundation of our community; police officers, teachers, and civil servants at the state and local level.” An individual with an income as high as $39,950.00 can qualify for first-time home buyer programs and families of four can earn as much as $57,050.00 and still qualify. 

For more information, contact the Orange County Office of Human Rights and Relations at 919-960-3875.

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Manager 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2008

Contact: Gwen Harvey, Assistant Orange County Manager, 245-2307 

Celebrating County Government Week

Across the nation, April 6 – 12 of 2008 will be recognized as County Government Week.  Multiple events are scheduled to celebrate services provided by Orange County Government. 

 

- Scenic By-way Sign Dedication

Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 11:30 a.m.

In front of the Link Government Services Center,

200 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough

Orange County and the Department of Transportation will unveil the Scots-Welsh Heritage Scenic Byway sign. 

 

- State of the Local Economy Luncheon,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 12:00 noon

                        The Carolina Club, UNC Campus, Chapel Hill

Orange County Economic Development will host this annual presentation on the economic progress of Orange County.  (There is a cost for the meal.)

 

- Public Reception and Guided Tours, Gateway Center,

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

                        Gateway Center, 228 South Churton St., Hillsborough

Visit the new location for Register of Deeds, Tax Assessment and Revenue. 

 

- Orange County Farmers Market,

Saturday, April 12, 2008, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Behind the Sheriff’s Office, 144 E. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough

Master gardeners will be on hand to share their expertise in agriculture. 

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Fire Marshal 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 31, 2008

Contact: Mike Tapp, Orange County Fire Marshal, 968-2050 or Jacob Pressley, Orange County Forest Ranger, 732-8152

Burning Ban for Orange County Lifted

The statewide and Orange County open burning bans were lifted at noon on Monday, March 31, 2008. 

It continues to be illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials. 

For additional information, contact the Orange County Fire Marshal, 968-2050 or the Orange County Forest Ranger, 732-8152. 

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Fire Marshal 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 27, 2008

Contact: Mike Tapp, Orange County Fire Marshal, 968-2050 or Jacob Pressley, Orange County Forest Ranger, 732-8152

Open Burning Ban for Orange County

The Orange County Fire Marshal has issued a countywide ban on open burning. 

Today, March 27, 2008 the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued an open burning ban for all 100 counties in North Carolina.  The state ban prohibits all open burning 100 feet or more from an occupied dwelling.  Orange County expanded the ban to all open burning regardless of the distance from a structure.  The ban on open burning will remain in effect until conditions improve. 

Open burning includes burning leaves, branches and other plant material.  In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials. 

For additional information, contact the Orange County Fire Marshal, 968-2050 or the Orange County Forest Ranger, 732-8152. 

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BOCC 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 25, 2008

Contact: Bob Sallach, Olver, Inc., 704-527-3227

Transfer Station Siting Process Public Information Sessions

Transfer station siting public information sessions are scheduled for Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom, 106 E. Margaret Lane, in Hillsborough and on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Rd., in Chapel Hill.

The public information sessions will include a presentation describing the function and operation of a solid waste transfer station.  The transfer station siting process will also be discussed in detail focusing on the purpose and use of technical and community-specific criteria and weighting factors in the evaluation and final selection of a recommended site.

·              Exclusionary Criteria include the stipulation of areas where development is prohibited by federal, state, or local laws or regulations.  Exclusionary criteria also include consideration of transportation distance, land use, zoning requirements, watershed protection, and other factors that may significantly impact the environment, facility costs, or project implementation.

·              Technical Criteria include specific engineering, operation, and transportation parameters that should be considered to assure that sites are feasible from a technical design, environmental, and economic prospective.

·              Community-Specific Criteria consider the impacts that the facility will have on the surrounding community.

The primary objective of these public information sessions will be for Olver, Inc. to provide the public at large with information regarding the operation of a transfer station; to provide the public at large with information regarding the site selection process; and to receive broad public input and comment on the preliminary set of site selection criteria and weighting factors, so that the needs and concerns of the residents of Orange County can be integrated into the final decision-making process.

These public information sessions are being conducted by Olver, Inc. on behalf of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. A summary of session proceedings will be provided to the Board and posted to the website being maintained by Olver, Inc. as part of the Orange County Transfer Station siting project.

For more information, go to http://www.olver.com/orangecounty/

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BOCC 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2008

Contact: Angela Thompson-Rocket, Orange County Board of Commissioners' Office, 245-2125

BOCC Boards and Commissions Appointments

At the March 6, 2008 meeting, the Orange County Board of Commissioners appointed the following citizen volunteers to County Advisory Boards and Commissions.

Volunteer Name

Volunteer Board

Anita Thompson

Adult Care Home Advisory Committee

Howard McAdams

Agricultural Preservation Board

Larry Wright

Orange County Planning Board

Barbara Prear

Commission for Women

Antonia Guadalupe Barbosa

Commission for Women

Stephanie Holmes

Commission for Women

Rashida Fearrington

Commission for Women

Ana Hacic-Vlahovic

Commission for Women

Carl Edward Sain

Hillsborough Board of Adjustment

Carla Sparrow Lunsford

Hillsborough Board of Adjustment

Jason Baker

Local Revenue Options Education Advisory Committee

Barry Katz

Local Revenue Options Education Advisory Committee

Jon DeHart

Local Revenue Options Education Advisory Committee

Ed Flowers

Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee

Pat Revels

Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee

Willie Best

Transportation Services Board

Pamela Rich

Transportation Services Board

Vanessa Neustrom

Transportation Services Board

Wayne Sherman

Transportation Services Board

Ardra Webster

Transportation Services Board

Donna Musson

Transportation Services Board

Jim Hotelling

Transportation Services Board

Dan Barker

Transportation Services Board

Amelia Strope

Transportation Services Board

James White

Transportation Services Board

Randee Haven O’Donnell

Economic Development Commission

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