Economic Development

Economic Development Officer: PA advocated for dedicated staff to the Economic Development Commission. As a result, the position of an Economic Development Officer was created to concentrate on re-developing less affluent neighborhoods. PA also successfully advocated for reserving two seats on the Economic Development Commission for residents of less affluent neighborhoods in Durham.

Durham Economic Development Summit: PA was a major organizer of an economic summit in 1995 which brought together leaders in economic development in our community to talk about economic strategies to reduce the high level of poverty in our City.

Bonds: In 1996, PA and City Council members Lorisa Seibel and Frank Hyman played leading roles in putting together and passing an $86 million bond package that was so progressive the Chamber of Commerce balked at supporting it. The successful bond package allows Durham to build affordable housing, the downtown rail, bus and taxi center and other transportation improvements as well as rehabilitating inner city parks.

Major Projects Ordinance: Finding that Durham, unlike most NC cities, had no ordinance regulating major commercial development, PA successfully worked for passage of such an ordinance. The ordinance requires City Council to examine setbacks, traffic, height of building, and impact on surrounding neighborhoods before approving such projects.

Small business lending initiative: This ordinance passed in 1996. PA was part of a coalition of groups which wrote and advocated for the plan for the City of Durham.

Progressive water and sewer rates: PA successfully fought City Council efforts to substantially lower rates for big property owners who would benefit more than the population as a whole. In 1982, PA canvassed residents of East Durham regarding fair water and sewer rates. Also succeeded in getting flat sewer rates that would benefit all. PA has a long history of successfully fighting to keep down water and sewer rates for the residents of Durham as residential rates have continued to go down. A PA member on the City Council orchestrated Durham’s only water bill reduction. The reduction was calculated to favor small businesses and home owners over large industrial water users.

Electricity rates: PA helped organize rate payers associations in Wilmington, Goldsboro and Winston-Salem to protest increases in electric rates (1982).

Livable wage: PA was an early and successful proponent of Durham City’s livable wage ordinance (enacted in 1997) that requires companies who win City contracts to pay their workers a wage (to support a small family) above the Federal poverty level. The City’s livable wage is currently $7.55/hour. As a member of Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (Durham CAN), PA is worked to support a county living wage ordinance as well as moving living wage issues to the private sector.

Welfare reform: PA is part of a coalition of groups which has advocated to the County Welfare Reform Task Force and County Commission for more humane welfare “reform,” including provisions to increase people’s access to child care, job training and transportation.

Good working conditions: PA has provided ongoing support for fair treatment, good wages and benefits for City and County employees.

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