Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Knightdale voters agree to tax increase

From staff reportsNovember 16, 2012 

Knightdale voters last week overwhelming approved a town-wide property tax increase as part of a bond referendum to help complete a 70-acre downtown park. Now town officials must decide when to put the hike in place.

The bond, which passed 78.6 percent to 21.4 percent, allows Knightdale to borrow $3 million and pay for it by raising property taxes by up to 2 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Approval of the bond doesn’t increase property taxes automatically. Knightdale has seven years to implement the tax increase, but it’s unclear when Town Council will.

Town Councilman Mike Chalk has said that, despite the strong public support for the tax, he wants to postpone implementing it until the economy is stronger. Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen said he thinks Town Council will wait until it deliberates over the 2013-2014 budget next year. But others, such as councilmen Dustin Tripp and Jeff Eddins, say the time to act is now.

“With the overwhelming support like this, you want to implement the tax sooner rather than later while enthusiasm is high,” Eddins said.

The next Knightdale Town Council meeting is Dec. 3.

Not all lost for one candidate

Omar Beasley failed to win a Durham County commissioner’s seat in last week’s election, but if he decides to try another run he’s got some money to get started.

Beasley’s third-quarter finance report listed a cash balance of $3,715.86 as of Oct. 29. On Election Day, the Committee to Elect Omar Beasley received a $1,050 donation from developer Neal Hunter.

Hunter is a financial backer of the controversial 751 South development near Jordan Lake. Beasley took no position on the project during the campaign.

The City Council unanimously rejected the 751 South developers’ request for a water-sewer extension earlier this year. Three council seats and the mayor’s chair are up for election in 2013, and the project could become an issue in next year’s city campaign.

Lawyer rails at Raleigh rules

Members of the Raleigh City Council’s budget and economic development committee got an earful this week from Tom Worth, a land use attorney who represents developers in negotiations with neighborhood groups and city planners.

Known for his blunt, hard-charging style, Worth lived up to the persona – and perhaps added to it – with his comments in a crowded conference room at City Hall.

Worth said the city’s development services office has become a maze of rules and regulations. He invoked a comparison to the town of Chapel Hill, historically known for setting strict standards on development.

“I do not want my hometown to end up with the same reputation,” he said. “If it becomes too difficult to get things done, people are going to go elsewhere. There are neighboring communities that are very attractive.”

City Manager Russell Allen, who listened to Worth’s comments, strongly defended the office in an interview. Worth’s objections have already been addressed, Allen said, thanks in part to the work of a citizens advisory committee that queried developers and recommended changes to make the office more customer-friendly.

If Worth or anyone else has specific complaints, committee members who attended the meeting said they would be glad to listen.

Political trails

• Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman Paul Coble will deliver the State of the County address at the regularly scheduled board meeting on Monday at 2 p.m. in Room 700 of the Wake County Courthouse on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.

• Duston Ingalls, assistant director of Public Policy Polling, will analyze the 2012 election results in North Carolina and beyond at the Wake County Senior Democrats meeting on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. A dutch lunch will begin at 11 a.m. followed by the program. The meeting is open to the public.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to metroeds@newsobserver.com. Send items by noon Thursday.

Compiled by Paul A. Specht, Jim Wise and Matt Garfield.

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