Name as it appears on the ballot: April Mills
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: www.aprilforcarrboro.com
Occupation & employer: Client Service Executive for Fox Rothschild LLP
Years lived in Carrboro: 10 yrs
1) In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the town council do differently or better over the course of your term?
I entered this race because I saw the dangerous position Carrboro is in when it comes to planning for climate resiliency, growth, and infrastructure for our community. I have new ideas. I have relationships across the state and can find solutions. Above all, I collaborate with others and can bring much-needed perspective to the Town Council.
My vision for Carrboro is climate resiliency and more equitable outcomes by focusing on Community and Infrastructure. I will help Carrboro by increasing the scope of possibility at a pivotal point in our evolution. I will think outside the box and ask different questions.
An improvement I would like to bring to the council is to talk to residents in their community before making decisions that affect them. I know we can find solutions to our greatest challenges by including voices from all neighborhoods. If we want the best for Carrboro, we must bring diverse strengths to the table and engage in that effort together collaboratively. Voters should know that accountability and service are extremely important to me!
2) Please identify the three of the most pressing issues Carrboro currently faces and how you believe the town should address them.
- Stormwater Management/Flooding
We need to take a birds-eye-view of stormwater inventory and issues across the town. By looking at this holistically, we can pinpoint where fixing a problem will have the greatest benefit and start checking items off the list. Since we will continue to grow, it’s important that we aren’t investing in ongoing problems, but looking ahead. We also must require surety bonds on all new developments to provide safety net for the community and the town to hold the developer accountable to the specifications of the site.
2. Community Infrastructure and Sustainability
Every community needs an open space where people can unite. If Covid taught us anything, it’s how important an outside space is to connect with others. New development should include more energy efficiency and solar options if we plan to reach sustainability goals and mitigate the climate crisis.
3. Public Transportation and Affordability
We need to advocate for public transportation now. It will take years to get it, and we are not currently advocating for this in North Carrboro. We also have to advocate for bus rapid transit to go past Southern Village to continue on HWY 54 to Old 86. This will hurt us exponentially as each new development comes online and has everything to do with facilitating more affordable living.
3) What’s the best or most important thing the town council has done in the past year? Alternatively, name a decision you believe the council got wrong or an issue you believe the town should have handled differently. Please explain your answer.
The Town Council has excelled in branding Carrboro as a diverse, welcoming and bike-centric community. However, I believe there’s room for improvement, particularly in terms of inclusivity in the decision-making process. The Carrboro Comprehensive Plan, developed during the challenging times of the pandemic, lacked sufficient input from all neighborhoods. I see the current bias towards downtown and incorrect assumptions made about neighborhoods.
4) What prior experience makes you qualified for and passionate about the town council and its duties? What made you seek this position?
- Leadership North Carolina graduate
- Seven Inter-City Trips with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
- North Carolina Economic Development Association member
- Service on multiple Nonprofit Boards, including the Red Cross
- Two decades of active involvement in the Triangle community and named one of the Triangle’s Top Women in Business.
- Four years serving Claremont HOA, addressing stormwater and compliance issues
- Possess an MBA
- Represent voices in a mixed-use design neighborhood
- Parent of children in CHCCS public schools
My professional background and connections are just one way that I can help Carrboro. Another is that I understand the importance of our public school system as an economic driver for why people relocate here, why employers are interested in our future workforce, and how things that affect our schools (like bus transportation) also deeply impact residents.
5) As with most places in the Triangle, Carrboro is grappling with issues related to affordable housing. How would you like to see the town approach affordability issues over the next few years?
The Triangle is growing, and more infill will continue in Carrboro. We need to be thoughtful and plan for development and growth, having a master plan and working to fulfill that vision. That includes identifying land for affordable housing by offering incentives for developers to include affordable housing or implementing a linkage fee and focus on mixed-use development.
6) What should the Town of Carrboro do to increase the community’s engagement with local government?
- We need to leverage technology-based engagement so that people can participate, not just watch.
- We need each neighborhood/community to have a point of contact that the neighborhood selects and knows that person will update or communicate with others.
- I plan to visit each community when a development is brought forward to talk to people where they live and see the land for myself.
- We need to reorganize the 20 advisory boards, honor term limits, add fresh perspectives based on work experience, and ensure that we have diversity.
7) For those who rent or own homes in Carrboro already, how should the town and county address tax revaluations that increase property taxes and rising rents, particularly for residents in public housing and those low-income residents who face displacement?
One way is to diversify our tax structure. We currently rely on property tax for the General Fund. If we increase businesses in Carrboro and new sales tax growth (people spending money in Carrboro), we can off-set property tax increases. One way to do this is to work with brokers and landlords and offer incentives to update buildings or pay a % percentage per sq foot for a new business to move into a commercial space to have it fitted (e.g. updating HVAC). We can work with EDPNC and other economic development groups to increase business in Carrboro. Beyond that, we could work with Community Home Trust and Habitat for Humanity to access affordable housing funds to pay for property tax if/when an increase goes up by a %.
8) Should Carrboro move forward with plans to develop a greenway running alongside Bolin Creek? Please explain your answer.
The town’s role is to listen, be thoughtful with growth, and understand the cost-benefit and other benefits to the community. Parents want safe school commuting, and I do want greenways and accessibility for all abilities. Current unknowns are: costs (capital and ongoing), OWASA’s timeframe to update pipes, and the environmental studies.
9) How should the Town of Carrboro encourage more walking, biking, and public transit use?
We must expand our bus system and improve all bus stops with consistent infrastructure and design so individuals feel safe riding the bus. We need to develop routes in North Carrboro, along Old 86, Homestead, and HWY 54—and include bus rapid transit (increase frequency). I want to ensure neighborhood traffic is safe and that infrastructure encourages walking and cycling. This means more sidewalks and bike lanes and simplifying the application process for neighborhood traffic calming. We need to fulfill the approved sidewalk project that has been promised on S. Greensboro Street from South Green to Main Street.
10) What role does Carrboro have in developing the Greene Tract in partnership with Chapel Hill and Orange County? How do you think that land should be developed? What are your priorities for the property?
The Greene Tract is 167 acres located on Rogers Road between Homestead and Eubanks Road, with 107 acres in joint ownership between the counties. It will be behind St.Paul Village and have 350 multifamily residential units, 100 independent senior housing units, and 93 affordable units. The first step is to increase public transportation and build bus stops. I would like to see a sports complex similar to Netsports, a splash pad, daycare, and a school. I want to preserve trees as well. We need additional ways to collect sales tax, and a facility that brings the community together through sports would drive additional retail shopping and lead other restaurants to Carraway Village. We need more daycare options, which would be a great location due to the proximity of current elementary schools.
11) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.
I am not part of the slate.
You can count on me for a vote that reflects research and consideration.
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