Orange County Board of Commissioners At-Large
The Orange County Board of Commissioners is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners, elected by district and at-large in partisan countywide elections. Commissioners serve four-year terms and elections are held in November of even-numbered years. The primary duties of the board include adopting an annual budget, establishing the annual property tax rate, appointing various officials and representatives to advisory boards and commissions, enacting local ordinances, and assessing and establishing priorities on the many community needs, especially those related to health, education, aging, social services, transportation, and the environment. The board also has the authority to call bond referenda, enter into contracts and establish new programs and departments.
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Identify your top three (3) issues that you wish to address during your tenure in office and rank them in order of priority.
What is the most effective role the county commission can play in improving the local schools? What policies or funding will you suggest when elected?
What policies will you propose to improve the economy of Orange County?
Do you believe Orange County's social services are sufficient? If not, what three (3) ways would you improve them?
What county environmental policies would you like to implement or change, if any, during your term of office?
I aim to provide good governance, i.e. critical oversight and careful analysis in decision making, prioritizing education, equity, & the environment
1. Education: Addressing the $265 M backlog in currently unfunded school renovation needs and expanding Pre-K.
2. Economic development that is equitable and environmentally friendly
3. Affordable housing, preferably as mixed income housing that also includes housing for seniors and disabled citizens
In our county, we have $265 M of unfunded renovation construction needs, whereas there is no such backlog of non school public facilities. We need to properly use the school planning tool (SAPFO) and plan accordingly to provide adequate school facilities. Rather than limiting school funding to a certain percentage, funding should be based on actual needs assessments, considering all county and school needs together and planning for funding accordingly. Renovating schools will improve student safety, while also improving energy efficiency to make them more environmentally friendly. While ideally pre-K should be funded at the state level for children across the entire state, I believe in the mean time, the county should work to expand public pre-K here in Orange County.
1. I would continue the current tax incentive packages.
2. I would also work with various university related entrepreneurial incubators to determine their needs and how the BOCC help retain such businesses within Orange County as they grow.
3. I would consider rezoning in certain areas near I-40 to accommodate location of businesses.
4. Provide incentives for new businesses that build sustainably and are low stress on water supply and low polluting.
5. Support sustainable farm enterprises.
6. Expand or replicate the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center.
7. Support infrastructure for businesses related to visual and performing arts.
6. Support increased class offerings at the Orange County campus of Durham Tech to prepare citizens for jobs in the trades and tech industry.
The BOCC prioritizes funding to DSS. Much of the department's revenue is flow through from the state and federal governments. The county provides additional funds for child care subsidies, diapers, food, utility bills or partial rent when not met by other sources. I support all these endeavors. Friends of DSS also sponsor Christmas gifts for over 5,000 children, a program my work office has supported for several years. However, rather than charity, I advocate for addressing the core problems of poverty, racism, disability, mental health issues, and undocumented status so that our residents would not need these services routinely. These, systemic issues require attention at the state and federal level, but we could also address in terms of supporting affordable housing, education, mental health services, and economic development.
1. Align all county and school buildings to AIA 2030 standards ("build for sustainability")
2. Consider adding solar to school and county buildings as they are renovated
3. Facilitate purchases of electric buses when time for replacement or additions
4. Encourage bus ridership for schools and commuters
5. Ensure transportation planning minimizes impact on environment
6. Allocate funds to winterize and renovate homes
7. Educate Orange County citizens on steps they can take to help fight climate change
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