The budget would be his No. 1 priority if elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners, Southern Village resident Gary Kahn said, followed by economic growth and affordable housing.
Kahn is running for one of two open District 1 seats, representing southeastern Orange County (See map, bit.ly/245bP91). His opponents are Commissioner Penny Rich, Commissioners Vice Chairman Mark Dorosin and former Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board member Jamezetta Bedford.
Only District 1 residents can vote for District 1 candidates in the primary. Two winners, since no Republicans are running, will be selected March 15. Early voting starts March 3.
Kahn, 59, who ran unsuccessfully for Chapel Hill Town Council in 2013, a commissioners seat in 2014 and Chapel Hill mayor in 2015, said the county needs to “make these agencies who are receiving money accountable on how the money is being spent and how much.”
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“Last year, when I was running for mayor, I said some kind of voluntary advisory board of people who want to have greater input can advise on where the money should be spent. It didn’t get much attention, but that’s the same concept I’m thinking of, on a countywide level.”
See the full interview at chapelhillnews.com:
The $125 million November bond includes money to address about a third of the repair and renovation needs in both school districts. How would you address the remaining needs?
Kahn: It is an awful fact that it has come to a bond vote to raise taxes to help make repairs and renovate our neglected schools all these years. In our budgets, the school boards should have made time for the needs of the buildings themselves, so that the current conditions could not happen. It is poor budget planning that has caused this problem. We need conservative, not liberal budget planning. I'm a fiscal conservative.
What should the county’s role be in making sure there’s affordable housing for lower-income and working class families? Would you be willing to relax the rural buffer rules?
Kahn: The county and town should work with developers, banks and mortgagers to find ways to make housing affordable. The rural buffer should be (part of) a continued discussion to solve this issue. Keep property taxes low, so the poor and lower class don’t leave our county.
Address: 703 Copperline Drive, Unit 306, Chapel Hill
Contact: email@example.com; 919-240-7435
Party affiliation: Democrat
Career: Retail merchandiser, Foster Grant
Political activities: Candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council (2013), Orange County Board of Commissioners (2014); Chapel Hill mayor (2015)
Community activities: Vineyard Square Homeowners Association (past president), Copperline Square Homeowners Association Board of Directors