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Cornelius News

Your 2019 Town Board Candidates Guide Part 3 of 3

Tuesday is Election Day, the last day to vote. Polls are open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. In addition to Town Board, voters will pass judgment on a referendum to raise the Mecklenburg County sales tax by .25 cents. If approved, this quarter-cent sales tax would provide approximately $50 million annually for parks, arts, and education.

Ava Callender’s name will appear on the local ballot, but she has dropped out of the Town Board race.

What are your Top 3 goals as Commissioner?


My priorities as a Town Commissioner are derived from the feedback I receive from our citizens.  I regularly hear about the following important issues:

Keep our Town safe

• Improve our infrastructure

(roads, greenways, bike paths and parks)

• Keep our property taxes as low as responsibly possible

It is my goal as a commissioner to be mindful of these issues as they have a direct, significant impact on our quality of life.  While we enjoy a relatively low crime rate, it is important to maintain an efficient and effective team of first responders. I will continue to support our fire and police departments as we move through a comprehensive review of their operations. Improved cross walk safety is also high on my list of priorities. Over the next few years, several road and greenway projects will improve connectivity throughout our Town. During construction, minimizing traffic disruption is a key priority. While two important road projects may be delayed, progress will be made by opening new crosstown road connections. I will continue to place high importance on our Town’s budget management. I value every hard earned  dollar contributed to our Town’s expenses and investment. Growing our commercial tax base while restricting high density residential is a priority.   I support the Cain Center for the Arts as the catalyst for economic development and a growing downtown arts district. I would greatly appreciate your vote and support to keep Cornelius moving forward!



Work with the Mayor, Town Manager, and Commissioners to develop consistent policies to reduce debt to manageable levels and to build resources to accommodate unplanned or unanticipated fiscal demands upon the Town.  When the Town Manager declared that we are “tapped out” when it comes to borrowing capacity it meant that we have relied too long upon borrowing to pay for equipment and projects.  I believe that many purchases of equipment can be made with cash or postponed until cash is readily available.  This also means that we purchase for needs and not wants.

Ensure that the Town delivers on its promise to citizens to address transportation problems and provides optimal amenities that make our streets safe, accommodating, and attractive.  In the face of rising costs for projects it is tempting to cut back on amenities or improvements to cover predetermined costs.   We need to ensure that all road improvement projects are complemented with long planned for walking paths, lighting, and appropriate landscaping.

Work with our PARC Department to ensure continued improvements to park and leisure amenities.  We need to ensure that every neighborhood has reasonable access to parks and greenways to accommodate our active population.   We need to complete the Emerald Necklace embracing our Town, create an Arts District around the coming Cain Center for the Arts, and ensure that all citizens are given accesses to affordable camps and special events.  All amenities must be properly maintained.



Slow residential growth (especially high density, down-market multi-family projects). One good example is finding the best long-term answer for the picturesque 55 acres of Alexander Farm. We can do better than the proposed 214 high density residential units and strip-center, ho-humm retail. We can conserve and protect, or at the very least, allow much lighter and less visible residential or economic development on the interior while preserving the rural look and feel from the roads.

Avoid yet another tax increase like the 12% increase passed for this year by 3 current candidates. Contain excess town spending (Personnel & Operating spending growing 3-4X faster than Cornelius population every year).

Mitigate the damage done by I-77 Tolls. Use the shoulders as two new free lanes ASAP (as approved by NCDOT). Eventually buy-out the contract and make all lanes General Purpose

Complete near/medium term key transportation projects (Highway 21 /E. Catawba roundabout; Torrence Chapel roundabouts; Bailey Rd straightening to Highway 21; W. Catawba widening to Sam Furr; Northcross extension to Westmoreland; Smithville connector to Highway 21)

Leverage our approved bond to redevelop our Town Center to make the east side of Cornelius more attractive, commercially successful, and recreationally vibrant.



No more property tax increases: Many Cornelius residents were unpleasantly surprised when they received their property tax bills recently. I will honor their cries to keep spending under control and not increase property taxes. I will carefully review our budget and work to eliminate any waste. Any unnecessary consulting projects will be eliminated.

No more high-density housing: Our current infrastructure does not support any more high-density housing. Alexander Farm represents an opportunity to preserve the land and keep Cornelius beautiful. I will vote against any proposal that will include more apartments, condos, and retail. I will work hard to help find a creative solution. This could involve land trusts and non profit organizations. Also, a corporate campus that protects the land and offers high paying jobs is a very desirable outcome.

Attract New Business Development and Support Local Businesses: I am the only candidate who represents the Charlotte working commuter. With a daily 2-hour round trip commute, it is critical to attract businesses that provide lucrative salaries so that our Cornelius residents do not have to commute to Charlotte. Davidson has attracted MSC Industrial and Ingersoll Rand. I will also make sure that our police and fire departments are paid competitive wages so that they do not have to commute to other places for work.

Also, supporting our local businesses so that they thrive is extremely important. Small businesses are vital to the economic well being of our community. We need to make it easy to do business in Cornelius. Voting against ridiculous traffic patterns such as “no left-hand turns” is of paramount importance as well.



Transportation Improvements: My goal is to continue to work with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) to benefit Cornelius. With major projects coming to our Town, we will need to minimize the construction disruption. We also need to plan now for  future needs. I will continue to fight for Cornelius, for our North Mecklenburg neighbors, and for our share of funding from the State and subsequently from CRTPO.

Education: We all want a quality education provided to our offspring. Currently I’m representing Cornelius on CMS’s Municipal Education Advisory Committee. As CMS passed their notorious “Municipal Concerns Act” which excludes any new schools/facilities in our Town for the next 15 years, I will fight for Corenlius to get what we deserve. The issues are complex and aren’t always related to the main goal of educating our youth.  I will continue stand up for a quality education for each of our children in whatever way is best.

Workforce Housing Policy: The increased cost of housing has exceeded many family’s increases in income. Teachers, police, firemen, service employees and others in Town have trouble living locally. Constituents have shared that their children cannot afford to live in Cornelius. While not just a local issue, we need to explore and develop new and affordable options for living here. Forums like the Smithville Community discussions are a good start, but workforce housing needs to be addressed in our future development plans. Community takes care of community.



First, and foremost I want to continue our town’s fiscal discipline, making sure that our taxes are the lowest possible and at the same time maintaining our quality of life. I will continue to support our fire and police departments, making sure we are safe.

Secondly, I will continue to look at things from a regional approach that would bring economic development to our town, helping to diversify and expand our tax base. Also, continue supporting the Cain Center Arts as a regional attraction and as an economic engine for downtown Cornelius.

Third, continue working on our infrastructure improvements with roads and greenways.

Having served on the Town Board the better part of 20 years, I know how to work with fellow board members, staff and the mayor as well as our partners in state government.




1. Relentless focus on Infrastructure improvements:

a. Work with NCDOT to re-prioritize and move the Cornelius projects up, with a special focus on the widening of West Catawba and intersection improvements on HWY 21 and HWY 115

b. Ensure road projects do not impede mobility through our region as they are in progress

2. Work with town staff and the board to find ways to improve the current budget and further reduce the tax rate and the burden that has been placed on Cornelius residents and businesses following the county wide-revaluation, while also maintaining our town’s excellent quality of life and the impeccable safety and security we enjoy due to our outstanding Police and First Responders.

3. Strict assurance that property owner rights are protected.  Cornelius residents properties in almost all cases are their more valuable assets, and it is imperative their ownership rights are protected and held in highest regard.