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Cornelius News

Voters say thumbs up to Cornelius transportation bonds

Nov. 7. Cornelius voters have overwhelmingly approved a $24 million bond referendum for transportation improvements. The official results show the bonds won 70.4 percent of the votes cast.

$24 million in bonds means $112 million in improvements

“The passage of the bond referendum is excellent news for the Town” said Town Manager Andrew Grant. “The bonds will have a game-changing impact on transportation for Cornelius.”

Specifically, the bonds will help fund seven large-scale NCDOT projects worth $112 million. Every town dollar will generate almost $4 from NCDOT for major road projects and accelerate seven road and intersection projects by as much as 20 years. Some of the projects include widening West Catawba Avenue as well as Hwy. 21, which will reduce congestion and improve safety. The bond issue will also fund pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, including new sidewalks, bike lanes and multi-purpose paths.

According to the town’s financial forecast, the property tax rate may increase by 1 cent as a result of the bonds, starting in FY 2020. Town officials are quick to note that many factors influence if and how much the tax rate might change, such as future interest rates and timing regarding exactly when the bonds are issued. A penny tax increase for a home valued at $300,000 would equate to a $30 tax hike annually.

The town will have at least seven years to sell the bonds and it can receive an extension for an additional three years, if necessary. Current expectations call the first phase of the bonds to be sold in 2020 to allow funding to be in hand for the commencement of the targeted road and intersection projects.