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Cornelius News

Debt will help fund roads, parks

Cornelius will prepare a $6.7 million bond sale in late July, with the proceeds being used for transportation/road improvements and upgrades in the town’s park system. Commissioners authorized the sale of the bonds, approved by voters in 2013, at their May 7 meeting. At the same meeting, the board authorized staff to start preparing a new bond sale authorization, to be known as Phase III, on the November ballot.

Bond counsel will also prepare a bond resolution that is expected to be approved by the board in July.

The $5.6 million in street bonds will be primarily used to finance the straightening and extension of Bailey Road which will allow  motorists to avoid going through the Oakhurst community and near the stores housing 131 Main. Under the plan, the intersection with Hwy. 21 will be approximately 1/3 mile south of the current Bailey Road/US 21 intersection and will be controlled by either a traffic signal or circle.

Additional road bond proceeds may be used for other road improvements.

$1.05 million in park bonds will be used to build the Smithville Park/JV Washam Elementary Greenway.

The voters approved a total of $20.4 million in bond sales in 2013 and the remaining $4 million will be used for the new Cornelius Arts Center.

Meanwhile, Town Manager, Anthony Roberts and Assistant Manager Andrew Grant recommended that a new referendum be held in November for an additional $24 million in bonds. “This would preserve our capacity for increases in project costs beyond current estimates, as well as allow for funding of other projects if changes occur.”

Grant also noted that a November referendum would line up well with NCDOT projects scheduled to begin construction in Fiscal Year 2020. At the meeting, commissioners directed the staff to start planning the required resolutions.