At its May 19 meeting, the Holly Springs Town Council approved motions to attempt to influence State legislation that could dramatically impact Holly Springs.
In one motion, the council endorsed writing a letter as part of a move to oppose a State Senate bill to redistribute $1.6 million in sales taxes away from Holly Springs. The Senate bill takes a locally levied sales tax, converts it to a State sales tax and distributes it on a per capita basis around the State.
“We would be faced with either dramatically cutting services or trying to take up that shortfall in revenue,” said Town Manager Chuck Simmons.
Holly Springs could face a loss of $1,617,369 if Senate Bill 369 Sales Tax Fairness Act is passed into law as written, according to a report by the North Carolina League of Municipalities. The lost revenue translates into roughly a five-cent property tax increase for Holly Springs residents.
Simmons said the Town will reach out to elected representatives in the legislature. He urged residents to learn more about what is being proposed and to also communicate thoughts and concerns to delegates. View a webpage with additional information about what the State is proposing and how residents can contact their delegates.
Also at the meeting, the council adopted a resolution that supports repealing or trimming the State’s certificate of need law, a process for approval of a hospital or clinic that includes a lengthy appeals process.
Councilman Tim Sack discussed the chronic need for a hospital in Holly Springs. Novant, though willing to invest in a hospital, was not awarded a certificate of need by the State, but it later was awarded the ability to open three operating rooms. Recently Rex was awarded a certificate of need to build a 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs, but Rex may not build the hospital for a few years.
“We're still waiting for progress on that to come,” Sack said. “One of the things that really irks me is, once a certificate is issued to the holder, they have that, but there seems to be no recourse for the Town to get them to act.”
Sack said another entity could come in and build the hospital and operating rooms, if only the certificate of need process wasn’t preventing it.
“The citizens need to have access to reasonable and adequate and sufficient healthcare,” said Councilman Jimmy Cobb.
Backyard hens discussed
The council discussed the pros and cons of allowing backyard hens to be kept inside Town limits. While no decision was made, the council planned to discuss the topic again.
Councilman Hank Dickson proposed allowing two hens in a coop 12 feet from a property line.
Sack suggested contacting Cary and Raleigh, two cities that allow backyard chickens, to gain insight into their experiences with their programs. His concerns included the nuisance hens could create, people who become disinterested in the hens after getting them, pollution and wildlife that could be attracted to hens.
“It does come back to the homeowner, the person who is going to take care of the chickens,” said Councilwoman Cheri Lee.
Lee said she spoke with an acquaintance who lives in Raleigh, keeps hens and enjoys the fresh eggs. Lee said she was concerned about the extra resources that would be needed to respond to backyard chicken complaints.
“It does merit some additional study,” Cobb said.
Other meeting news
The council approved $100,000 in funding from limited obligation bond proceeds for land acquisition and related costs in the Avent Ferry Rd. / N.C. 55 intersection improvement project, $84,364 for repairs to the Fire Department’s ladder truck, and $61,160 for installation of audiovisual systems in the Law Enforcement Center.
The council approved entering a 20-year lease agreement with Clarity Communications Group, Inc. for a single strand of dark fiber in the Town’s fiber optic network. The company is to pay a one-time fee of $4,810 and $250 per mile per year for maintenance of the cable.
The council approved a wholesaler agreement with Momentum Telecom for the North Main Athletic Complex project, allowing the Town to provide itself telephone service online.
The council also approved a development plan for an Eagles gas station and car wash at Southpark Village.