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.”
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.”
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.”
Filed under: Chamber of Commerce, Taxes | Tagged: Bill Russell, Charles Jeter, Danny Phillips, Focus Friday, Gerry Vincent, Huntersville Bond Package, Janet Stoner, Lake Norman Chamber, Town of Huntersville | Leave a comment »