What does $2.3million look like?

MoneyThe reports of the $2.3 million missing cash from the Wake County Register of Deeds office raise as many questions as answers. $2.3 million over nine years is an average of $21,000 a month which for some people could be yearly earnings.
Reports tell us the who, what and the how.
We do not know the why or where the money has gone.
As a former Bank Chief Inspector I would always look for motivation in gambling, drugs and extra marital dalliances. Where has all the money gone? It can’t all have gone on riotous lifestyles? Has it gone to family, colleagues or financing elections? It can’t all have been frittered away, can it?
For more details please see Charlotte Observer of August 28th

Clearly, we are doing something right!

Last Friday (3rd March) Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered the annual State-of-the-City address.
Key front-end points for residents and potential residents were:
Raleigh continues to be recognized nationally and internationally. Some of Raleigh’s accolades from the past year include:
#3 Best Large City to Live In
#2 Best City for Young Entrepreneurs
#6 Best-Performing Large City in 2016 : Miliken Institute
#2 Area with the Highest Number of Tech Jobs-
NY Times Forbes Magazine has ranked Raleigh:
#2 Hottest Spot for Tech Jobs
#3 Best Place for Business
#3 Best City for Young Professionals
#4 Best City for Mid-Career Professionals in 2016
#4 Easiest City to Find a Job #5 City of the Future
#9 in the Top Ten Cities Americans are Moving to Right Now
#9 Best City for Jobs.
And just last month, U.S. News & World Report named Raleigh the #4 Best Place to Live.
The population continues to grow by about 2.3% annually. We had some big announcements by businesses of new locations or expansions. Citrix is adding 400 jobs; Optum 200; WalkMe 100; and Ateb announced an investment of $3 million with the number of jobs still to be announced. All together in 2016 we saw a 4.3% increase in employment numbers.
Last year, 138 permits were issued for new commercial and industrial development; this was valued at over $800 million dollars. We continue to proactively position ourselves as a city of the future. The recent additions to our market of high speed gigabit fiber offer our residents more options in high speed internet service than New York City or San Francisco.
The city is working to provide more opportunities to make sure that Raleigh’s success is enjoyed by everyone that lives here.
Raleigh has always been and will always be an open, welcoming community to everyone that comes here.
The address can be seen YouTube: Mayor’s State of the City address
As the Mayor said “Clearly, we are doing something right!”

Ignorant, Naïve or just Plain Wilful

coronado-dr-5211-20170212-bMy neighbour Tom Parker is tackling the City Board of Adjustment tomorrow (Monday) at 1 p.m. regarding the  construction of two houses on what was 5211 Coronado Drive.
The sub division ordnance has not been followed and the purpose of the meeting is to protest and deny the City of Raleigh the opportunity to legitimise their actions in permitting this development.
This is not just a Coronado Drive matter.
It affects us all in North Hills as developers destroy our environment in the pursuit of unwarranted profits.
The hearing takes place at 1 p.m. at 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh in Room 201.
The Raleigh Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body which acts on appeals for variances, special exceptions and interpretations in the zoning regulations. The meeting with the Board is important because City Planners are paid by us (tax payers), are governed by our elected officials and they are meant to serve us.
The designation of Raleigh being the seventh most attractive city to live in the U.S. will not be sustainable if we become a developer’s paradise where rules are flouted and not enforced.
Our City Representative (who does not sit on the Board of Adjustment) is Dickie Thompson. His email is: dickie.thompson@raleighnc.gov
See you there tomorrow.
http://www.raleighnc.gov/government/content/BoardsCommissions/Articles/BoardofAdjustment.html

Communities Thrive on Trees

oak-treeYou would think that this is a statement of the blindingly obvious. But when you see the lot clearing that takes place when developers prepare land for building – then you do wonder where their brains are.
Trees reduce stress by filtering unwanted noise and replacing it with bird song and rustling leaves. Domestic abuse, including child abuse, is lower in homes near trees.
So why clear the land of trees?
We can all see that it is easier to lay out plot lines and install drainage if the land is clear. Yet one of the key things that makes our urban environment attractive is trees. Whether they be oaks, ash, London planes or even the sycamore they soften the impact of urban living.
Trees remove harmful gases, such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and  ozone. In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina trees remove 17.5 million pounds  of air pollutants each year.
Trees capture sediment  and toxins that lower water quality, which reduces the  need for costly storm water control measures,
Urban trees reduce the “heat island effect,” cooling  our cities by as much as 9ºF. One tree can cool as much as five air conditioners running  20 hours a day.
There are some conscientious developers in North Hills, Raleigh. They can be identified by their instinctive retention of the arboreal character of their lots. Others exemplify the slash and burn mindset of the 18th and 19th centuries when North American pioneers such as Daniel Boone cleared land in the Appalachian Mountains.
In the industrialized regions of
Europe and North America, the practice was abandoned with the introduction of market agriculture and land ownership. Land tenure systems  help focus on long-term improvement and discouraged practices associated with slash-and-burn agriculture.
Community responsibility does not begin and end with voting every couple of years. If the price of liberty requires continual vigilance, so does ensuring our environment does not deteriorate beyond recall.

Budget Opportunity & Flytippers

seagullHappy New Year to all my readers.
The new year starts with me being like Private Frazer insofar as it seems that “we are all doomed”. I saw the news yesterday (Daily Mirror and Daily Mail) that councils will be using powers to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400 and seize and destroy vehicles used by offenders as part of a “zero-tolerance” nationwide initiative on fly-tipping.
How long before a simple case of littering or perhaps a poorly closed dustbin will attract these new powers?
The cost of clearing up fly-tipping in England has reached almost £50m, with councils having to deal with almost 900,000 incidents a year Authorities indicate that, to date, only 40% have made use of powers given by the Government in May to issue on-the-spot fines.
So expect more fines and perhaps more draconian attitudes because fines can fill the holes in the budget. In 2007 Ipswich Borough Council fined a fourteen year old £50 for throwing a chip to a seagull. Despite the gull eating the evidence, the Council insisted upon its powers and even (I recall) pursued the child into his school in order to obtain his identity.

Peterborough Evictions

Foto: SMK Foto Statens Museum for Kunst Sølvgade 48-50 1307 København K  DANMARK e-mail: foto@smk.dk www.smk.dkOnce again local government proves that you do not need to be an imaginative writer to make up true but unbelievable stories.
Last month it was reported that Stef & Philips (a leading provider of social housing solutions in London and the Home Counties) had recently won a contract to provide  Peterborough Council with accommodation for people in need.
In order to create the space needed Stef & Philips are evicting 74 families so it can accommodate the homeless.
Six months down the road I can see a situation whereby a Council spokesperson will tell us that the strategy was successful but in the meantime the homeless numbers have increased and Stef & Philips’ contract will be renewed and extended because they have done such a good job!

Not only could you not make it up – but you don’t have to!

Meanwhile on Planet Babergh – Job Losses Loom

Park and RideThe EADT recently carried a report that Headlam Flooring planned to build a distribution centre on land adjacent to the Anglia Retail Park (on the A14 opposite Asda). Headlam are investing £15million and the new facility will include a 125,000 sq ft warehouse with loading and customer collection areas, offices and out-buildings.  The construction and fit-out period is expected to take around a year and the new facility should be up and running by 2018. The building be built on green space adjacent to the former Park and Ride site. The new facility will support the development of Headlam’s regional floorcovering business which includes the Hadleigh-based Faithfull’s Flooring. The existing  80 employees in Hadleigh will be relocated to the new premises. For  Headlam Flooring it all makes good sense – a purpose built facility with access to the A14. For Babergh it is a potential disaster. A significant business and 80 jobs move out of Hadleigh. Headlam had previously sought to build in Hadleigh on land alongside the Persimmon housing development off of Lady Lane. The problem with that proposal was that it was cheek by jowl with housing and the 24/7 operation was unsuitable for that location – on sloping ground with noise that could have been heard across half of Hadleigh. The question we must ask is how have Babergh allowed this development to slip through its fingers. There are plenty of former airfield sites ripe for development. There is even one in Raydon almost within sight of the A12. Ipswich has its own questions to ask. Why are there no existing sites (like the former Park and Rides) which might be suitable? Why isn’t Headlam taking space on the Ransome’s Europark? Once again, I fear Hadleigh is being let down by the people who should be serving it. If local government is not looking after the people it serves and those who pay their wages, who are they looking after?

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/have_your_say_on_plans_to_build_a_distribution_centre_for_headlam_flooring_company_in_land_next_to_anglia_retail_park_1_4607239
http://www.headlam.com/investor-relations/investor-information/investment-proposition