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Random Thoughts From Huntersville

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My family relocated to Huntersville from south Charlotte in late 2013 so I’ve not quite been here two years. Below are a few Huntersville-focused random thoughts (à la Thomas Sowell) because I haven’t yet taken the time to turn any of these into full-length articles.

– I recently completed Huntersville 101, a nine week civics course run by the town, and would recommend it to any resident interested in learning more about how the town operates and its history. Each session was very informative and allowed for direct interaction between course participants and local town leaders, e.g., the town manager, planning director, transportation director, etc. It also gives you an opportunity to meet other engaged residents, many of whom may end up in leadership positions – five members of my class were recently appointed to the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment.

– The Huntersville Herald used its front page last week to promote the vague new religion known as “sustainability” and the arrogant notion that somehow recycling and growing a community garden will save the planet. Make-work recycling programs already cost millions in tax dollars every year, but at least residents aren’t yet being forced to “sustain” and recycle.

– Why are elected officials and town employees so often heard espousing the need to “revitalize” Huntersville’s small downtown area? Is this just an effort to force development to fit a specific vision of how a town should look despite individual choices to live and work elsewhere? Who benefits from this forced development other than planners and adjacent property owners?

– Since when did it become a bad thing for elected officials to ensure taxpayer monies are being spent efficiently? Mayor Swain was quoted in this week’s Lake Norman Citizen publicly apologizing to the Exec. Director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission because two Town Board members had the audacity to question whether Huntersville tax dollars should continue to fund this organization. It used to be considered an elected official’s job to regularly question the use of taxpayer monies, now I suppose it’s considered election-year grandstanding.

Visit Lake Norman is the local “non-profit” visitors bureau created by statute and funded by taxpayer dollars; the FY 2015 budget came in right under $620,000 – approx. $209,000 of which was alloted for salaries and wages for four full time employees.  Why exactly does the Lake Norman area require a taxpayer funded visitors bureau? I wasn’t aware this area was having difficulty convincing people or businesses to visit or relocate.

– Would the taxpayer funded Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics have been forced to close like the former Fitness Center at Birkdale but for the taxpayer funding it requires every year to keep the lights on? How many years are Huntersville taxpayers going to be forced to subsidize this gym/pool and how is operating such a facility a core function of local government?

– How exactly did Mayor Swain and Board Members Julian, Neely, and McAulay arrive at four percent when deciding to give the Town Manager a raise at the March 16 Board meeting? This figure seems rather arbitrary, especially considering our taxes were raised last year.

– Finally, it used to be companies like Forbo Siegling, LLC weren’t rewarded with “incentives” or tax rebates for being “good corporate citizens,” rather, they were simply content to sponsor a local youth baseball team or 5K run. Obviously the full Town Board feels otherwise as evinced by their vote on March 2. What exactly is the objective criteria a local business has to meet to now qualify for town incentives? And should every local business who the Board deems to be a “good corporate citizen” receive a break on their taxes?

Did I mention it’s an election year in Huntersville?

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