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County may increase funding for Chapel Hill library services but not building expansion

After years of pressure from the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Orange County commissioners acknowledge that county residents aren't paying their fair share to fund the town library that serves them. County Manager Frank Clifton suggested a potential doubling of the county's contribution toward operating expenses, which would tally about $500,000, approximately 22 percent of the library's annual cost. Clifton will work with Town staff to bring back a specific proposal by the end of January, but it's not likely to include a county capital contribution to the town's $16 million library expansion plan.

"We just don't have that flexibility," Commissioner Mike Nelson told the Assembly of Governments, which brought together elected officials from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the county tonight. "I don't want anybody to leave the room with false hope."

About 40 percent of registered patrons at the Chapel Hill Public Library live in Carrboro or other parts of Orange County outside Chapel Hill. 

"This is just more of the same," said Town Council member Jim Ward. "It has been the same discussion for the better part of two decades."

His colleague Matt Czajkowski said the town may need to start charging non-Chapel Hill residents $100 a year in order to offset the costs of serving them. 

"That's the decision we're going to have to make if we're going to decide to go forward with the expansion this spring," he said. 



Applications for funding sought

Putting your saltwater license money to work

Uncertain coaching and AD positions

The hiring uncertainty with the terminating-contract employees is having an impact on high school athletics as well.

As noted in today's article by Tim Stevens, quite a few athletic directors and coaches are on terminating contracts. They, like all 1,496 terminating-contract employees, don't know if they'll be rehired after their contracts expire June 30.

"No one knows. Everyone has questions, but no one has many answers," said Bob Catapano, Sanderson High's athletic director and a person on a terminating contract, in today's article.

Because the county is not hiring new teachers, some athletic directors wonder where next year's coaches will come from if any current coaches decide to not coach.

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