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Cornelius News

Town Hall: A month for the record books


Renegade Mayor
A Cliffs Notes view

Chapter 1: Travis says he is on Bradford’s and Tarte’s side, against the tolls.

Chapter 2: The business community seeks to ensure there is an anti-toll candidate in the mayor’s race.

Chapter 3: Travis said he was.

Chapter 4: There is no opposition, therefore, to Travis and he wins re-election.

Chapter 5: Travis speaks out against efforts to stop the tolls.

Chapter 6: The collective head of the business community explodes.

Chapter 7: The Town Board votes 5-0 in December to censure the mayor.

Chapter 8: House Bill 954 passes 80-27 in the NC House of Representatives.

Chapter 9: Travis and Mayor John Woods of Davidson visit Raleigh on Town Hall Day and argue against HB954.

Chapter 10: The collective head of the Town Board explodes.

Chapter 11: Censure and No Confidence Vote in Travis goes 5-0 against Travis

Chapter 12: It looks like HB 954 will not proceed in the Senate

Epilogue: According to official June 20 Town Board notes, Commissioner Dave Gilroy says “a designee should be made in areas that the mayor represents the Town to minimize any negative impact he might have on future issues that impact the Town. Commissioner Washam acknowledged that the citizens are upset right now but it’s time to move on and heal, it’s time to focus on representing the people as the Board was elected to do. Commissioner Duke agreed with Commissioner Washam’s comments.”

June was an interesting month at Town Hall, to say the least. In the wake of Mayor Chuck Travis’ visit to Raleigh where he argued against HB954—and, in essence, the efforts of NC Sen. Jeff Tarte, NC Rep. John Bradford and key players in the business community—members of the Cornelius Town Board unanimously passed a no-confidence resolution against the mayor and voted 5-0 to ask him to resign.

But at the testy emergency Town Board meeting June 15, Travis refused to step down. Two days later a convoy of Lake Norman business and political leaders traveled to Raleigh for a press conference to make it abundantly clear the mayor was out there on his own, and on thin ice. 

A Cornelius Today online reader poll went 94 percent against the mayor, suggesting he should resign. There were 363 total votes.

Apparently no prior Town Board in Cornelius has censured a mayor, called on him or her to resign and voted 5-0 for a resolution of no confidence.

All this is happening in a Republican-dominated municipal government. It reflects deep divisions in the GOP over the massively flawed toll plan and the 50-year contract with Cintra.

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“Please know that I strongly oppose tolls on I-77, and so indicated in my 2015 campaign and again at our Davidson Board of Commissioners meeting last night. That goes as well for the 50-year contract with Cintra. Our constituents’ taxes here in North Meck have helped to pay for good roads all across our state, and, as a matter of fairness, they should not now be asked to accept double-taxation by absorbing the bulk of the cost of having good roads in our region. We deserve the good roads; we do not deserve the double taxation. It is my sincere hope that your colleagues will vote to cancel that onerous document, and then work with our local leaders to come up with a fair plan to relieve our terrible traffic woes.”

Commissioner Jim Fuller

Town of Davidson

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“At the least, Mayor Travis’ actions in sending this email was dishonest and disrespectful to the community he serves.  At the worst, Mayor Travis executed this misdeed and intentionally disrupted the election process for his own personal gain.  It is shameful and wrong!  Resigning would be the only honorable thing he could do for the community.”

John Hettwer

Hettwer is CEO of Payroll Plus, a former chairman of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and a leader of the I-77 Business Plan, a high-level anti-toll strategy group that includes NC Sen. Jeff Tarte and NC Rep. John Bradford

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Many Cornelius residents are upset by the Mayor’s actions and desire some accountability. Since the mayor is elected by the town, which supersedes the authority of the Board of Commissioners, the board cannot remove him. I remain concerned that Mayor Travis will continue to advocate his position for the tolls in spite of several unanimous resolutions against.  His role as mayor is in conflict with his individual advocacy. He should acknowledge this and voluntarily resign. In the meantime, I will work with my fellow Commissioners to continue to minimize this distraction while we continue to advocate for Cornelius.

Dr. Michael Miltich, commissioner

Town of Cornelius

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“I have looked into it for myself as I still regard myself as from Cornelius and have multiple family members there and numerous friends.  I reviewed the other locations in the country where this type of toll has been  implemented  in the U.S. and based on the outcome of those would not support this type of toll in north Mecklenburg. Specifically, the financial projections seemed unrealistic compared to other cities that are much larger. I was also disappointed to learn the contract was not awarded to an American company…It does seem however, unfortunate that once again many elected officials refuse to listen to the tax payers. The whole project for some reason seems somewhat suspect. I sincerely hope someone of integrity is going to watch the money closely as this project moves forward!

Jan Beasley

Mayor of Cornelius 1999-2001

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Sent: Monday, June 15, 2015

To: Jim Puckett

Subject: Re: Tolls

Jim, in response to your question of where I stand on tolling, I remain firmly committed to Senator Tarte’s legislative solution to our current predicament. I stand behind the resolution calling for the cancellation of the tolling project that my board passed, and I signed, last week.

Chuck Travis, mayor of Cornelius

Travis ran unopposed in the November election