Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President’s Message

Lake Norman Chamber Members and Stakeholders:                                                    

CMS BondsChamber Backs Bonds
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to endorse several bond packages before North Mecklenburg voters on November 5th.  The Chamber is encouraging its members to
VOTE YES for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Bonds and the Central Piedmont Community College Bonds before Mecklenburg County voters in the upcoming referendum.  Chamber members who are registered voters in the Town of Cornelius are also encouraged to vote for the three municipal bonds on the ballot.  These bonds will be the topic of the next Focus Friday on October 18th at the Chamber.  Current CMS school board representative Rhonda Lennon (District #1) and Carrie Kester, Chair at Community of Huntersville Education Collaborative will provide more information regarding the bonds.   Read more about the Bonds and the Chamber’s position here. 

Forums held in Davidson and Huntersville give voters a chance to meet the candidates
The Chamber will host a candidate forum in Davidson and Huntersville next week.  A forum was held in Cornelius October 1st.  The two-hour forum will be held at the respective town halls. The forum for Davidson is Tuesday, October 15th and Huntersville, Thursday Oct 17th. All forums are 7:00 – 9:00 pm. The events are moderated by Jerry Hancock, General Partner of Alexander Hancock Associates. Hancock is well known in Charlotte as a guest commentator on “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio, and the publishing of numerous journal articles. For over 25 years he hosted programs on public television including FINAL EDITION on Channel 42, a weekly roundtable discussion of current news topics with local reporters.

The forum in Davidson is co-sponsored by and the Huntersville Forum is co-sponsored by the Lake Norman Political Association.  For more information, read about it here.

Public Safety Luncheon Salutes our First Responders
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will host the eighth annual salute to North Mecklenburg Public Safety officers and volunteers at a special luncheon Thursday, October 17th at noon at the Peninsula Club (19101 Peninsula Club Drive) in Cornelius. The event, Presented by Wells Fargo Bank, is sponsored by Central Piedmont Community College – Merancas Campus and The Herald Newspaper. An officer from the Cornelius, Davidson, and the Huntersville Police Departments will be honored as well as members of the North Meck Rescue, and the local fire departments.

In addition to honoring the officers, the Guest Speaker will be Tamara Williams, the new Dean of Central Piedmont Community College – Merancas Campus. Dean Williams will touch on the role CPCC plays in training public safety officers and first responders.
Join us as we salute our first responders!  RSVP by calling the Chamber at 704-892-1922 or online.  The cost is $16 for Chamber members. 
Read more about this event here.

Final Thoughts
While the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan organization and we do not endorse candidates for elected office, we do believe in the principles of good government.  We strongly encourage our members to actively engage themselves in the political debate in their local community, state, and nation.  It is a shame that typically, only 13% of the electorate turn out to select elected leaders which will govern our communities and schools.

The Lake Norman Chamber encourages you to get to know the candidates running for office at all levels and vote for those who best represent your values and that of your business.  We would also ask that if you are a Mecklenburg County voter, you Vote FOR the CMS and CPCC Bonds.  If a Cornelius resident, Vote to SUPPORT all three Cornelius Town Bonds.  These important bonds will provide the financial resources for our roads, school, and quality of life and will be critical components for our economic development efforts and the business growth of our region.

Perhaps Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

Let’s all hope looking back from the days ahead, we don’t regret the community and region we could have been simply because we didn’t take time to be informed and take advantage of our right to vote on election day.


W.E. “Bill” Russell, CCE, IOM
President & CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce
704-892-1922 (o)


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.”

Tax Freedom Day – 2009

     This week marks an annual anniversary that Americans from coast to coast would rather not celebrate.  No – I’m not alluding to April 15th – but close.  This year, on April 13th we will celebrate Tax Freedom Day.  According to the Washington, DC based Tax Foundation, that marks the day of the year when Americans have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.  In essence, every day you have worked through that date has been for Uncle Sam.  I have often wondered, if taxes were not taken out of each check throughout the year, what would the average American’s expression be when they wrote that check to the federal government covering the first four months of the year?

          When I was in second grade, I went trick or treating with two of my neighborhood friends – Mike and Jerry.  Mike’s mother, Mrs. Tucker, volunteered to drive us around the neighborhood.  I was never sure why it was necessary as we ran from house to house.  But looking back now, I now know it was to keep an eye on us mischievous little tikes.

         I have always been fond of candy and I will say without shame that I dashed madly from one house to the next.  I’m sure the legendary Secretariat would have had a difficult time keeping up with me as I rang bell after bell, announcing my “Trick or Treat” war cry as loudly as possible to be rewarded with handfuls of hard candy.  I was also mighty proud of my “Batman” costume that my mother had sewn by hand.  Mike and Jerry had a difficult time keeping up with me as I tore through the neighborhood in my quest to fill my bag to the brim.  Mike did his best but he fell far behind as did Jerry who never seemed to have his heart in it. Perhaps it could have been the clown mask instead of the gallant super hero but Jerry shuffled slowly from one porch to the next uttering his faint if not feeble “Trick or Treat.”

Jerry, me, Mike and Brent - Brent was the smart one who didn't go with us!

Jerry, me, Mike and Brent - Brent was the smart one who didn't go with us!


     The competition ended with the loud honk of Mrs. Tucker’s horn and we all headed back to the car.  When we arrived she gushed how successful we all had been but when she carefully examined the bags she noticed while mine was nearly overflowing, and Mike’s contained a plentiful stash, Jerry’s little brown sack was extremely meager.  Mrs. Tucker gave a look only mothers can give, when she exclaimed, “Why Jerry, you hardly have any candy at all.”  With that, and much to my chagrin, she took healthy handfuls from my bag and a portion from Mike’s and gave us all equal amounts.”  “There now,” she said.with satisfaction, “Now you have as much as Billy and Mike.”  I remember to this day the dejection I felt riding back home as Jerry sat in the back seat eating my candy with a smug look on his face.  In a single act, Mrs. Tucker had taken a real swipe at American capitalism and crushed my incentive system.

      As we celebrate April 13th this year – Tax Freedom Day – it still surprises me as a nation we take pride in the great strides we have made yet we do little to protect incentives that reward those who work harder and take more risk than the rest of the country.  Mrs. Tucker opened my eyes to the concept of redistribution of wealth.  It was an important lesson to learn.  On another note, I also learned never to go Trick or Treating with her son again.