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Local leaders: Triangle best place for riding out recession

Posted January 30, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Despite the downturn in the economy, managers for Durham, Raleigh and Cary maintain the Triangle is the best place to ride out the recession.

"I know the numbers – whether it's unemployment, whether it's decline in revenues, whether it's development activity – we are better off than so many other places in the state, other places in the country," Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield said Friday at the annual meeting for the Triangle Community Coalition.

Raleigh skyview Triangle budget cuts possible

That's not to say the Triangle hasn't take a hit in growth.

For example, Raleigh's residential permits are down 38 percent within the past six months compared with the same period from the previous year. Construction value is down 62 percent.

"We're not experiencing negative growth," Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said. "We're still experiencing growth. It's just not as large as it was in the past."

That could change the economic strategy in the Triangle, Chris Sinclair, with the Triangle Community Coalition, which is dedicated to balancing growth and economic development.

"I think the conversation has gone from, 'How do we manage our growth to how do we stimulate our growth," Sinclair said.

Decreased growth means decreased revenue, which means tough budget decisions ahead.

"Although revenues are going to be down for all of us, they're not going to be devastating, because we budget conservatively for them," Allen said.

Raleigh might have to trim 5 to 7 percent of its budget; Cary is looking at a 7 percent cut; and Durham could be looking at closer than a 10 percent cut.

Allen and Interim Cary Town Manager Ben Shivar say they will not propose an increase in property taxes. Durham cannot say as it is still looking at budget options.

They all want to cut expenses without layoffs and by eliminating vacant positions.

"We have to work very closely with our citizens to kind of re-evaluate completely what are our priorities for what we do," Bonfield said.


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  • tobis19341 Jan 30, 2009

    well we would have a few more options if all you fools in granville county (and surrounding areas) didn't whine and complain about the homeland security bio defense lab they wanted to build here. think of how many jobs (short term and long term) that would have created.

  • WRALSUCKS Jan 30, 2009

    "Negative growth"...

    Love that doublespeak!

  • lbl3373 Jan 30, 2009

    great article WRAL. Local leaders said Triangle is the best place to ride out the recession. I am sure they arent biased or anything... do you really think they are going to come right out and say "yeah it sucks here" no they are going to say exactly what they said and lie to everyone. It stinks here like it does everywhere else, maybe even more so. Have these not seen the business in this are fire hundreds of people over the last 6-8 months... really hard hitting journalism

  • kursk Jan 30, 2009

    These people must be out of their minds.
    There is a story on CNBC about top ten states with the highest unemployment rates... as I recall, North Carolina was #8 or something... just a percentage point behind Michigan with 10% unemployment.

    When the new numbers come in for claims, NC will be 10% or higher too. Look at the local layoffs that just hit: IBM, Lenovo, Nortel, Eaton, Caterpillar.
    Once the severence benes run out & these folks start claiming unemployment, then what will our local leaders have to say?

    I'm among the ranks of the recently unemployed, and there are not a lot of options here locally...

  • wolfpacker93 Jan 30, 2009

    "We're not experiencing negative growth," Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said. "We're still experiencing growth. It's just not as large as it was in the past."

    Obviously he must be talking about the government. Can you say, delusional?

  • davidgnews Jan 30, 2009

    Of course it's easy for them to say, they're still getting PAID(off).

  • bs101fly Jan 30, 2009

    If Russell Allen says it then it must be so.
    Thanks Russ. I feel much better with you on the job telling us how everything will be just peachy.
    How's the convention center bookings and attendance working out!

  • Bob3425 Jan 30, 2009

    "Managers for Raleigh and Cary say they will not propose an increase in property taxes" with all the homes being lost like this would ever be a good options.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 30, 2009

    Another group of people who are full of it.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 30, 2009

    I agree whole-heartedly with their comments. I have lived in a couple of metro areas that relied much more on blue-collar workers. If you were born and raised here, you may not realize it. But the Triangle ranks up there pretty high when you look at the percentage of white-collar jobs versus blue-collar jobs. And the residents, percentage-wise, are more educated than the bulk of the country. So yes, its a great place for companies and skilled, educated workers to ride out the recession. As good as just about anywhere else.