Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Think that your vehicle tax was increased to address critical transportation needs throughout Raleigh? Think again.

According to the city of Raleigh, the tax will bring in about
$1.4 million a year. What is that paying for? It appears for the extenstion of Fayetteville Street. The cost for that is $1.46 million. And that's just the beginning on costs for the Phase II extension.

From the minutes:
"Mayor Meeker moved approval of the recommendation as outlined and asked Administration to provide the budget information as requested by Ms. Taliaferro. His motion was seconded by Ms. Taliaferro and a roll call vote resulted in all members voting in the affirmative except Mr. Craven who voted in the negative. "

And we note once again Taliaferro's complaint about the lack of transportation dollars for items in her district. This would have more than covered the items mentioned in a previous post.

Priorities are what you pursue, not what you profess.

Hope you enjoy the upcoming potholes on your street as fall and winter approaches. You likely won't see them on Fayetteville Street.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


In Friday's N&O, the paper highlighted Raleigh's plans to finally move forward with planning a park from land purchased in 1973. The article notes that "In 2003, voters approved $2 million as part of a bond package to begin development of the park. It's likely not enough to complete the entire plan."

We approved a park bond in 2003 for this and it takes this long to get moving? Why is it that we seem to be able to tear up and replace downtown in half the time it takes them to get a public meeting held just for the master plan on this park? While the N&O quotes a $2 million figure, the
City of Raleigh's website says that $130,000 was allocated for planning of Timberlake Park.

Still, it has taken four years to get to this stage of planning?

And apparently we don't have the funds allocated to finish the park at present.

They have moved forward on redesigning City Plaza after the Plensa fiasco and finding $16 million in about a year and we've only come this far on a neighborhood park that at one point was plagued with drug dealers?

Will Jesse Taliaferro push for as expeditious movement on this as Raleigh has done with City Plaza? She should. It's in her district. She could scale back City Plaza even more to make funds available for projects such as this that the lower-middle class residents of that area of her district could enjoy.

Or she could just raise taxes and fees to cover more plush renovations of downtown Raleigh that voters have not been given the chance to vote on.

Wanna bet which project gets done first? I know where the smart money is.

One more thing:

Location - Outside the Beltline

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Here's a news release from the City of Raleigh:

City Council Approves Increase In Motor Vehicle Tax

The Raleigh City Council voted 7-1 today to raise the City’s motor vehicle fee to $25. The motor vehicle fee had been $20. The N.C. General Assembly voted to give the City of Raleigh the authority to raise the fee by $5. The extra revenue generated from the fee increase must be used for transportation purposes. The increase will result in an estimated $1.4 million a year for the City of Raleigh.

At least the PR folks got the terminology correct. It's a tax. Note how the City of Raleigh wants to call it a fee. Well, it feels so much better knowing it's only a $5 fee and not a $5 tax being taken out of my wallet.

Now here's Orwell personified:

The City of Raleigh PR folks announce
approval of the new budget:

City Council Approves Budget; No Property Tax Increase

The Raleigh City Council approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 (FY08) that enhances services to a rapidly growing city while maintaining the ad valorem or property tax rate. The City’s fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30.

The vote was 4 to 3 with Council Members Philip Isley, Thomas Crowder and Tommy Craven voting in opposition. Council Member Russ Stephenson was unable to attend the meeting.

Note the headline doesn't mention all the fee increases included in the budget. They are buried further in the document:

A $2 per month increase in the solid waste fee to cover costs for additional staff and equipment needs needed to serve an increasing population, additional landfill and transfer station costs and to increase overall recovery costs. The City Manager projects that the fee increase would enable Solid Waste Services to recover approximately 68 percent of its costs in FY08 compared to 61 percent two years ago;
Nine (9) percent increases in the water and sewer rates. These increases are in keeping with the water and sewer rate model approved by the city council in FY2005 to fund a significant capital improvement program;

Thank you Raleigh for raising my fees and not my taxes. What a difference. The only difference is tax-deductibility.

One final note in the document:

A projected 5 percent increase in property tax revenues and a 6.4 percent increase in sales tax revenues, both primarily due to growth;

Anyone want to point that out to Russ Stephenson since he apparently wasn't there to vote on the budget. Growth increases revenue which can be used to pay for growth, that is if you don't spend
$16 million on downtown projects.

Plensa may not have been all that pretty. It did have one thing going for it - a willing private financier.


Jessie Taliaferro complains in today's N&O about the lack of state funding for Capital Boulevard - a state-level responsibility. She states:

"Just like with everything else, the state has not been investing in the city of Raleigh," said City Council member Jessie Taliaferro. "They're not doing it, and we have to step in."

Maybe Taliaferro can find $420,000 out of the
$16 million she supported in funding the city plaza project in downtown Raleigh.

One thing to note about the Capital Boulevard improvements. They are all outside the Beltline.

One final thing on spending - The N&O also righfully notes that:

"Put in perspective, the money for Capital is less than 7 percent of the $6.3 million the city plans to spend on its largest pedestrian safety project on Hillsborough Street, a street with nowhere near the deaths of Capital Boulevard. "

Which is, of course, inside the Beltline. Taliaferro supported that also.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


"Raleigh has never considered giving a massive subsidy to a private developer, and now is not the time to start doing so," Mayor Charles Meeker said Tuesday. "This [type of financing] just shouldn't be used in this area of the city. Period." (Raleigh News & Observer)

But, I guess a
million dollars to fund competition to restaurants like Cafe Luna in DOWNTOWN Raleigh is not a subsidy.

What's the difference? Is a million dollars not a massive subsidy? What about the millions that have been spent around the location of the restaurant and other venues in downtown Raleigh with public dollars.

How would Raleigh respond if Kane had this going on downtown?

Much of the private development in other areas of Raleigh does not have the benefit of millions of dollars in amenities that the city of Raleigh and other governmental units provide that benefit downtown private projects. Thus developers in other areas of Raleigh have to pay for these themselves.

It's just hidden under the guise of general downtown revitalization. I see how much the folks on Bragg Street and other blighted areas have benefited.