During the April 24 Elon Town Council meeting, the council voted to change the tax rate for the fire district.
Discussions continued from the previous meeting on the funding for the fire department, specifically in regard to implementing a revenue-neutral tax rate. The council discussed the fire department needing more resources and firefighters.
“We’re already understaffed for the size of our town and types of buildings we have, even with an additional firefighter,” Mayor Emily Sharpe said.
Council member Quinn Ray said Elon, which serves as a fire district for Alamance County, has had to consider the impacts of inflation for their department. Alamance’s recent property revaluation would put a hefty burden on taxpayers if the tax rates stayed the same. As an alternative approach, the county’s fire districts are opting to have “revenue neutral” tax rates. Elon’s Town Council spoke about this in a previous meeting and passed the motion to create the revenue-neutral rate of .0865.
The council also discussed the time limits for public comments. Historically in the town of Elon, the limit has been three minutes. Sharpe said additional time can be granted at the discretion of the presiding officer as per section 5.1. However, there have been concerns about extra time not being given out evenly.
“Our town attorney encouraged us to not go with that, and instead be consistent to ensure that we’re not violating any first amendment rights,” Sharpe said.
The council members expressed the need for balance between allowing community members to have time while keeping meetings efficient. The main concern was with the subjectivity of who is granted additional time.
The council didn’t make any motions to change and tabled the conversation for another time.
Among the issues discussed was a request to have a designated skateboarding area in the town. Elon University sophomore Kai Whiteside has been at the center of skating culture at Elon and addressed the council in support of the proposal.
"Skateboarders are artists,” Whiteside said. “We have the need to express ourselves. When you take away our campus, we resort to painting on the walls. … Please help fuel this art and give this community a campus.”
No decision was made during the meeting. The next town council meeting will take place at 6 p.m. May 9.