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Cornelius News

Newest commissioner took the long route to Town Hall


Dr. Michael Miltich will be sworn in as a member of the Town Board  Dec. 7. He won a hard-fought battle for a seat on the five-member board Nov. 3, but his campaign actually began two years ago when he first ran for the board and came in sixth place in a 10-way race.

Anti-toll before most other candidates, he was skipped over twice despite being the next-highest vote-getter when vacancies came up on the board. He credits his wife Ann, “my Campaigner-in-Chief,” for his successful run this year. Nevertheless, he spent almost $13,000 of his own funds on this campaign, about double what he spent in 2013.

He is a doctor with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates. Cornelius Today caught up with Miltich after the election and asked these questions

CT: What are your top 2-3 goals for your first year in office? 

MM: The reason I ran is my desire to be of service and to give back. So that is my overwhelming goal. It is very obvious that the No. 1 concern is our traffic, not only on I-77 but also the surface roads. Previously elected officials voted approval of the HOT/toll project for congestion relief, but now that the actual details of the project have been disclosed by grassroots efforts, it is obvious to most everyone that this project will be detrimental to the Lake Norman corridor. Unfortunately, when NCGA passed the STI in 2014 changing the funding formula, our leaders didn’t go back to CRTPO to rescind their approval of the toll project. Also the whole approval process appears to be flawed. Appropriate projects are held hostage as inappropriate projects cannot be extracted from the “all-or-nothing” vote. So not only do we need to change the decision on the HOT/toll project, we also need to examine how this occurred. We will then need to move forward on funding a proper solution for I-77 as well as work with our neighboring municipalities to support a more robust transportation infrastructure including alternatives to cars. Long term—10-15 years—I am interested in the effect self-driving/coordinated vehicles will have on the efficiency of our roads. In the meanwhile, sensitive appropriate development will need to be exercised until improvement.

CT: Will you make a motion to join the WidenI-77 lawsuit? Why or why not?

MM: Once sworn in as Commissioner, I will be eligible to review communications between the Town’s legal counsel and the Board on this matter. I feel this would be a cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars considering the economic losses that will occur if the project continues. But there may be some legal aspects of the Town joining the suit that I’m not aware of. I will also be advised of other confidential information such as economic development efforts.

CT: What was the hardest part about this campaign? 

MM: The hardest part was dedicating the necessary hours in addition to my practice and maintaining a household. I had hoped to do more door-to-door, but we had two very wet weekends early on, so we were pretty busy the weeks before the election. What was gratifying were the people that actually sought me out to support my campaign—to them many thanks! During early voting and on Election Day working the poll, I was getting a much more positive “vibe” than two years ago. It was very gratifying when the final precinct results came in.

CT: In light of Michael Waltrip Raceworld closing, and Curtis Screw moving, what are your concerns about where Cornelius is heading right now? 

MM: For the first time in 20 years I’m hearing of people wanting to leave Cornelius because of the traffic. With the announcement of two prominent businesses leaving that only confirms my concern. Hopefully we can encourage businesses to locate here that don’t bring additional traffic such as internet based and tech firms by the Town promoting infrastructure support such as very high speed internet backbone along with a tech trained work force.