Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Chamber hears presentation on Huntersville Bond Package

Business leaders and a few Huntersville residents had a first hand look at an issue Huntersville voters will decide this November. At stake is a $30 million dollar bond referendum. $17,850,000 of the bonds would be used to pay for the capital cost of transportation improvements. A second question on the ballot would be $7.15 million for public improvements in the town including firefighting and other public safety facilities with a third question on the ballot addresses $5 million for parks and recreation.

Gerry Vincent, Huntersville Assistant Town Manager, made a presentation on the bonds. Vincent gave an overview on what the bonds would likely cover with town finance director Janet Stoner answering questions regarding the financial impact to the town. Vincent told Chamber leaders, “If approved, the projects listed as priorities, are priorities of the Board that have been considered on the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for a number of years. Transportation issues have always been a number one priority of our taxpayers. With new or alternatives routes north/south, east/west and major improvements to intersections, traffic flow becomes less of a burden.” Vincent added, “With regard to public facilities, the need for additional fire stations was generated in a report years ago which will give the Town adequate service to all residents. The areas southwest and northwest would be the Town’s top priority. And lastly, Park & Recreation facilities are needed as the Town continues to grow, soon to be a population of 50,000 residents.”

Commissioner Charles Jeter makes his case for the Huntersville Bond Package that voters will decide this fall as Commissioner Danny Phillips, who spoke against the park and recreation bonds, looks on

Joining the discussion was Huntersville Town Commissioner and candidate for North Carolina House of Representatives District #92, Charles Jeter. Jeter pointed out that these projects were needed and that the bonds are the most cost-effective means to pay for them. Jeter stated, “The bonds being placed on this November’s ballot are worthy of approval and support for some very simple reasons. All the projects envisioned by the current Board and any new projects by future Boards are projects that are needed to provide the required and requested facilities and infrastructure for the residents of Huntersville. Since we know major capital projects need to be built, it is incumbent upon the Board to try and find the least expensive way to pay for these projects. Without question, voter approved bonds is the cheapest way for the Town to borrow money. Approval of these bonds will allow for Huntersville to fund these major capital improvements in the most fiscally responsible manner.”

Not everyone on the Huntersville Town Board agrees. Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips made it clear that he is opposed to the five-million dollar Park and Recreation Bond. “I do not think that this Bond is appropriate during our current Economic Climate. I would rather concentrate on essential town needs and services that benefit all citizens of Huntersville, such as Roads, Water, Sewer, Fire and Police.

I would also like to make it known that Citizens need to pay attention to the wording in the bonds, especially involving the Street Bonds, because they focus upon things like Non-motorized paths” Phillips concluded his remarks, “the three bonds continuously overlap in what they cover, so how is the money going to officially be allocated for these projects? I think the most important thing we do right now is to address the importance of each of these bonds and what exactly citizens will receive from them if they were to pass.”

Bill Russell, CCE
Lake Norman Chamber

Chamber president Bill Russell indicated that the Chamber Board of Directors would likely take up the issue at their September meeting. “At that time, the Board will weigh in whether to support some or all of the bonds. We take seriously our charge to advocate on behalf of our membership, and we will examine the bonds closely, particularly its impact on business and our quality of life in Huntersville and the Lake Norman region.”


Lake Norman Chamber President’s e-Brief for July 20, 2102


Bill Russell, President & CEO Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

Focus Friday examines Huntersville Bond Package July 27th

Join us next Friday, July 27th at 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. for the Chamber Focus Friday which examines the $29.5 million bond referendum on the ballot in November for Huntersville voters. The bonds would appear as three separate items on the November ballot. The first and largest is $17.35 million of bonds for transportation projects. Assistant Town Manager Gerry Vincent and Finance Director Janet Stoner will speak to the specifics of the package with Huntersville Commissioner Charlie Jeter speaking in support of the bonds. The Focus Friday is open to all members and participation by those who attend is encouraged.  Focus Friday is sponsored by and


Leadership Lake Norman now accepting applications

The Chamber is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Leadership Lake Norman program.  Now entering its 16th year, 287 business leaders have graduated from the program which examines the quality of life, history, governance, business and commerce, and infrastructure of the Lake Norman region.  Whether you are new to the area, a native of North Mecklenburg, a young employee, or a seasoned business professional – The Leadership Lake Norman program gives you a unique look into our community and region. Tuition for Chamber members is $425.  Individuals or small businesses absorbing the cost can contact the Chamber for payment options.  All applications must be received by August 24th.  Visit the Leadership Lake Norman page on the website for more information and the application.

Revaluation reviewers plan public meetings

Pearson’s Appraisal Service, Inc., the firm selected by Mecklenburg county to conduct a review of the 2011 Revaluation, plans public meetings to receive feedback from citizens. Five meetings have been scheduled.  Locally, a meeting will be held Tuesday, July 31, 7-9 p.m. at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave.  The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners in May voted in favor of an independent review of the county’s 2011 property revaluation, after months of back-and-forth with county officials and complaints from citizen-led community groups and town leaders who believe the county violated state statutes and made assessment errors during the 2011 revaluation.

HFFA Needs volunteers for the AAU Diving National Championships

Visit Lake Norman is proud to announce that divers from across the US will be coming to Huntersville to compete for their chance at a National Championship at HFFA from July 25th to July 30th, 2012.  HFFA needs your help in making these National Championships one to remember for these hard-working athletes.  Hospitality workers, scoring table assistants, ticket takers and parking attendants and others are needed to help the event run smoothly.  When you volunteer, you receive an event T-Shirt and general admission tickets to the event(s) of your choice. Earn HFFA Membership CREDIT when you Volunteer.For more information on volunteering for this event email their AAU Volunteer Coordinator Teresa Bock at and sign-up online HERE.

Can’t Volunteer?  Join as a spectator.  Tickets are available online at   Simply click on the AAU logo to purchase your tickets.  Limited VIP seating is available.  Buy your tickets early. 

Final Thoughts

At the Chamber’s Education PowerLuncheon featuring new CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath

Adam Boatsman, Boatsman Gillmore, PLLC

Morrison, Chamber Board Member Adam Boatsman gave his time as a sponsor (Boatsman Gillmore PLLC) to Georgia Harris, Executive Director of the Ada Jenkins Center.  Georgia talked about the Ada LEARN Works program.  When Georgia stated the program needed business support in the form of contributions, Adam stated his CPA firm of Boatsman Gillmore PLLC would match whatever the room raised. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, also in attendance, asked how much was needed and made the first $1,000 pledge himself. In minutes, $8,000 was raised for LEARN Works.

Tomorrow (Saturday, July 21st), Big Day at the Lake 8 will allow 144 kids from largely single parent families with Big Brothers / Big Sisters to enjoy Lake Norman.  What started as a dream for Business Today founder and publisher Dave Yochum has become a lifetime memory that many Charlotte regional kids will never forget: an afternoon on the Carolina’s greatest lake – LakeNorman.  In the process, local businesses and individuals have contributed $62,000 blowing away this year’s goal of $50,000   

Just last month, our Chamber of Commerce raised $71,500 for a new Habitat home for a single mother and her two kids.  Every day I see the generosity of local business owners and citizens as they turn dreams into reality.  Allowing words to speak boldly of their intentions and actions to speak louder than the words.

When companies like MSC decide this is the new home for their operations, I’m sure it is influenced in part by the outstanding workforce we have in place and the ideal transportation corridor to move their product.  However, it is also because the Lake Norman and Charlotte region is home to business leaders who step up to the plate for those who need a helping hand, elected officials who understand leadership is taking a bold stand and setting the example, and a people who settle for nothing less than their very best.

Chamber of Commerce business leaders get briefing on Huntersville Bond Package

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will convene a special business briefing on Friday, July 27that 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. for the monthly  Focus Friday which examines a $29.5 million bond referendum on the ballot in November for Huntersville voters. The bonds would appear as three separate items on the November ballot. The first and largest is $17.35 million of bonds for transportation projects. While the ballot language doesn’t include any specific projects, the request is tied to projects outlined in the town’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Residents may vote on $7.15 million of bonds for public facility construction and improvement. That money would be used for two additional fire stations, one for the southwest quadrant of town in the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department service area, the other to serve the area north and west of I-77.

Commissioner Charlie Jeter will speak on Huntersville Bond Referendum

The final item would be $5 million of bonds for park and recreation facilities. The bulk of this – more than $4 million – would likely go toward construction of a recreation center, with another $500,000 currently earmarked for improvements to the farmer’s market downtown.   The Focus Friday, which is intended to inform chamber of commerce members, is also open to interested non-members of the chamber and participation by those who attend is encouraged. Speaking on the bonds is Huntersville Assistant Town Manager Gerry Vincent along with Janet Stoner, the town’s Finance Director.  Also speaking supporting the package is Huntersville Commissioner Charlie Jeter.  Focus Friday is sponsored by and  The meeting takes place at the Chamber at 19900 West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius (second floor Randy Marion Conference room).  For more information see the Chamber’s website at

Learning from Experience

ImageThe poet Archibald MacLeish once said, “There’s only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that’s not learning from experience.”  How many times have we seen people who have made mistakes in the past, turn around and make the same ones again.

This past month, the Chamber graduated one of its largest Leadership Lake Norman classes.  Created in 1996, with the first class in 1997, Chairman Scott Lawrence and his Board saw the need to create and nurture future community, elected, and business leaders of our region.  The program was developed to expose these individuals to the resource agencies, history, and community infrastructure of our communities, county, and state.   The program has seen graduates emerge as town elected officials, a North Carolina State House representative, Civic Club presidents (Rotary and Kiwanis), and Chamber Board Chairs as well as members of the Board of Directors.  Several of our key town staff including two town managers, assistant managers, police chiefs, parks and recreation, and planning staff  have graduated.  Not to mention the many business leaders in both corporate and small business.

If Leadership Lake Norman focuses on one thing, it is to learn from your experiences.  Those experiences begin with the team building exercises, continue with the sessions, and culminate in graduation.  Those who make it a practice to reflect on personal experience, evaluate those experiences, and learn from them, distinguishes those who lead and those who will follow.     It reminds me of the parable of the fox, the wolf, and the bear.  One day they all went hunting together, and after each caught a deer, they discussed how they would divide their spoils.

The bear asked the wolf how he thought it should be done.  The wolf said everyone should get one deer.  Suddenly the bear ate the wolf.  Then the bear turned to the fox and asked him how he proposed to divide the rewards.  The wise fox offered the bear his deer and said the bear should also take both his own and the wolf’s deer as well.

“Where did you get such wisdom?” asked the bear.  “From the wolf,” replied the fox.

After facilitating fifteen leadership classes there are a few take aways that I have:  First, an effective leadership class has members who complement each other and leaders always emerge in every group.


Leadership participants at the Raptor Center in Huntersville – April 2012

At every leadership retreat a leader will appear, sometimes several, with a couple of common characteristics: they know exactly where they are going and they persuade others to follow.  A great leader earns your trust and inspires confidence in their followers  It’s been said, a good leader inspires their followers to have confidence in them.  But an outstanding leader inspires their followers to have confidence in themselves.

At this past graduation, a friend attending a later reception of current and past graduates noted the enthusiasm and chemistry of the class members. This particular person, a chamber member themselves remarked, “it must make you feel really proud.”

Yes it does, …intensely.  Knowing that in 1997 a group of people developed a program based on a vision of the community we could become – and in the process – 287 people have participated and today each play a vital role in leading our communities and its businesses.  Yes, I’m very proud!

Download the Leadership Lake Norman application from the chamber’s website at