by Mary Hopper
Every two years or so, the City of Charlotte places various bond issues on the ballot to pay for needs identified by a combination of staff, City Council and citizen input. Once City staff helps compile and cost out the list (CharlotteFuture.com), they remain neutral, leaving funding for, and the running of, the campaign to a citizen committee.
The Bond Committee runs the campaign with the help of the Chamber of Commerce and an advertising or public relations firm. This year’s campaign co-chairs are Jesse Cureton, chief consumer officer and executive vice president for Novant Health, and Carol Hardison, who is chief executive of Crisis Assistance Ministry. Here is a link that will give you a feel for how broadly drawn that committee is.
Because they have planned the debt service ahead and the City jealously protects its AAA bond rating, these General Obligation bonds will not require a tax hike. While space is limited in this post to list what each package includes, details are just a click away. We urge you to study up so your vote will be an educated one. As you will see, the projects are widely dispersed throughout the city.
NOTE: Because to date there is no organized opposition and the list of projects is spelled out on the bond campaign website, we have used that link. That does not infer that CWM has taken a position – we are just providing access to information. Study and decide.
Charlotte Transportation Bonds – $118 Million
The largest request is for transportation improvements. Because competing for state funds remains precarious, Charlotte voters have often funded what should be state projects rather than wait for money that might never arrive. You’ll note below that Cornelius is doing the same.
As the needs of pedestrians and cyclists intensify, Charlotte DOT has also been providing bikeways and trails – the most ambitious of which is the Cross Charlotte Trail. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police note that vehicular fatalities often involve pedestrians. The bonds will fund sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. The extensive list of projects in this request is spelled out in the link.
Charlotte Housing Bonds – $50 Million
The work of the Opportunity Task Force that highlighted Charlotte’s abysmal record on providing upward mobility for its citizens has intensified discussion on this need. And that concern has spilled over to the corporate sector with pledges of a $50 million funding match. Money would come into the Charlotte Housing Trust Fund “to provide affordable and well-maintained housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in the Charlotte area.” It would include:
- Multi-family new construction and rehabilitation
- Homeownership development in targeted neighborhoods
- Housing for seniors, disabled and homeless populations
- Acquisition of properties for developing mixed-income communities
Charlotte Neighborhood Improvement Bonds – $55 Million
Infrastructure improvements will provide older Charlotte neighborhoods as well as emerging high-growth areas with fundamentals including curbs and gutter, storm water drainage, landscaping, pedestrian crossings and lighting. This package also includes some funds for the long-delayed Eastland Mall project.
For Mint Hill Voters
If you live in Mint Hill, you are being asked to approve two bonds. $3 million would provide what is being described as a “facilities for exhibitions, cultural events. shows and public gatherings.” Another request of $15 million would acquire and construct parks and recreation facilities. The Matthews- Mint Hill Weekly reports, “ The construction of a 2,500-seat baseball stadium at Veteran’s Memorial Park is the centerpiece of the bond that would also build multi-use athletic fields, a playground and a walking trail for the athletic park on Brief Road. “ The paper added that the $3 million request would, if passed, “ renovate the Bain Academy building.”
Cornelius Transportation Bonds
Cornelius is requesting $24 million for transportation improvements. Their town website says, “At least 7 large scale NCDOT projects are being considered to receive funding if this bond is approved.”