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Outside the Office

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By manalk, on June 15, 2011

Just as school children love movies, guest speakers, and other activities that deviate from the normal routine of their classes, I love opportunities to leave my office and attend a variety of events related to Wake County’s government. This past week I had the opportunity to attend a few more events that have strengthened my appreciation for the underlying interconnectedness of government.

One event was a Commissioners’ budget work session. This three hour meeting was primarily intended to iron out changes that need to be made to County Manager David Cooke’s proposed 2011-2012 budget before it can be approved next Monday. The work session played out as a conversation between Mr. Cooke, the Commissioners, and certain staff members. Topics discussed included expenditures that Mr. Cooke had accidentally left off the proposed budget, feasibility of significant Board of Elections funding requests, and how to appropriately fund the Communities in School program.

Towards the end of the work session, the Commissioners calculated an extra $500,000 to $600,000 that would be needed to fund a few activities/programs that they had identified as being important enough to be included in next year’s budget. Since the proposed budget had no surplus that could be used, Mr. Cooke suggested that the county’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board may be able to provide grant funding to fill the gap. If the ABC Board agrees, residents can thank the county’s drinkers for getting a few more services without paying more taxes.

Wake County ABC Store
Wake County ABC Store

Another event I attended was a preliminary meeting between private citizens interested in rezoning a piece of land from ‘residential’ to ‘heavy commercial’, and county staff. Since the citizens wish to operate a contractual trucking company on land currently zoned residential, county staff organized a meeting to discuss how they would need to proceed. Representatives from the company, the planning department, environmental services department, the fire department, and building inspections were able to talk about the intended plan for the land and what types of regulations, technical specifications, and public opinion concerns would go into rezoning the land and subsequently building/operating the company on it.

In terms of the rezoning itself, one of the county planners told me that a major consideration in these requests is the contextual setting of the surrounding areas, and how the proposed project would look there. Basically, you want a request to not only meet regulations and other laws; you also want to make sure that the proposed building/project would avoid something like this:

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!

Tags: ABC Board, Budget Work Session, Rezoning | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments
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