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Kinnaird to Orange Co.: We need a Costco in the southern part of heaven

The N&O's Mark Schultz must feel like a double-super-secret agent, editing and writing for The Durham News and The Chapel Hill News. Why, two separate papers, both generated out of the Franklin St. offices owned by the Nando folks.

A weekend story in Schultz's lighter-blue paper this weekend is worth a read -- as much as anything else, for recognizing (and maybe chortling a little bit over) the ongoing economic benefits we get from having Chapel Hill and Orange County to our south.

We covered this ground here recently, but to sum up if you missed it: Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents are typically quite well off, comparatively. And guided by their beliefs, many of them choose to live in a community that, among other things, eschews big-box shopping. But then, the have no big-box shopping in their community, meaning that when they need Target... or Best Buy... or Costco...

They come our way.

[State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird] sees Costco as a way to keep sales tax dollars in Orange County, reduce homeowners' tax burden and provide jobs.

As The Chapel Hill News reported last Sunday, Orange County will depend on property taxes for 76 percent of its operating revenue this year. In Durham County, property taxes make up 58 percent of general fund revenue; in Alamance County, just 49 percent. [...]

Just last week, for example, Orange County Commissioner Pam Hemminger, lamented how she made three trips to Target in Durham to outfit her son's college dorm room. Hemminger did buy a carpet at Lowe's in Chapel Hill but said local shopping doesn't offer the convenience most shoppers need. [...]

[CH/C Chamber of Commerce head Aaron] Nelson and others have long complained about sales tax dollars "bleeding" out of the local economy as Orange County residents drive to New Hope Commons, The Streets at Southpoint and elsewhere to do their shopping.

County residents spend $1.5 billion a year on retail purchases and they spend $1 out of every $3 in another county, he said.

"That's way out of whack," Nelson said, estimating that Durham consumers spend only 10 to 15 percent of their retail dollars outside Durham County.

Well, southerly friends, until and unless you bring a Costco to Chapel Hill -- please, feel free to continue patronizing ours!

While you're here, have you considered visiting our terrific waste transfer station? No need to build one of your own; for the right price, we'd welcome you to use that too!

Comments

M

Hey Kevin, not that it matters in terms of the point of your excellent post, but I can't wrap my head around Chapel Hill (and certainly not Orange County as a whole) being "to our south." More like southwest or just WEST of most Durhamites. The county line goes along a diagonal, SW to NE, such that no part of Orange County lies south of any part of Durham County....
(http://www.durham-nc.com/visitors/maps/durham_county.php)

M.K. Ramm

Loved Schultz's reference to TWEETER in the Costco story. I hope this was some sort of automatic spell check correction that failed.

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