There is a town board meeting tonight at 6:30pm – the pre-meeting starts at 5:45pm. You can view the agenda or download the full agenda packet here. You can watch a live stream of tonight’s meeting at the town’s Ustream page here. I can’t cover every agenda item so I always encourage residents to review these agendas and discuss any items of interest with the mayor or a board member because even a single motivated resident can make a difference on how the votes turn out on some of these.
It’s not formally on the agenda, but it will be interesting to watch for any discussion related to the recent reports of the former mayor receiving benefits from a local country club and whether any benefits received violated the town’s code of ethics.
– Conduct a public hearing to receive public comments on the proposed budget for FY 17/18. Hopefully a few residents will show up to remind the mayor and board it’s been a year since they voted down a tax cut proposal. [See the June 6, 2016 minutes here.] When the mayor voted against lower taxes last year he said we just need another year to work towards the goal of lower taxes and that it would be his goal to cut the tax rate over the course of the next year. Well it’s next year and the proposed budget doesn’t lower taxes. Let’s see if the mayor can still reach his goal before the board votes on the budget next month.
– Renew motion approving first amendment to the Carolina Rapids agreement. It’s only been two weeks since this item was voted down at the last board meeting, but it has already been placed back on the agenda at the request of Commissioner Boone. No changes at all have been made to the language of the agreement, but apparently the questions Commissioner Boone had about the agreement have all been answered since the last meeting so he requested it be brought back for a vote. I look forward to Commissioner Boone sharing the answers to the questions he received since last meeting with the taxpayers who will continue to subsidize soccer in Huntersville when this agreement is approved tonight.
Even though Commissioner Boone may have had his questions answered, I still have a few unanswered questions since I last wrote about this issue here.
– Why hasn’t the town board requested clarification of the vague and ambiguous language in the Rapids agreement and the town’s co-sponsorship policy?
– If the Rapids are already paying more than they are obligated to as a co-sponsor to secure a right of first refusal on the fields at Barry Park, why not find out what the true value of their right of first refusal is by re-negotiating the terms of the 2008 contract instead of simply accepting the first offer from the Rapids?
– The Rapids reported revenues of over $1.9 million and paid their executive director $112,889 last fiscal year according to their most recent Form 990. Why exactly does an organization with close to $2 million in revenues need taxpayers to subsidize their field usage?
– Since one of the justifications for subsidizing soccer is because it’s for the children, how many of the approx. 1,700 Huntersville “residents” the Rapids claim as members are over the age of 18?
– How many other “non-profit” organizations using town park facilities pay for a right of first refusal?
– Does a right of first refusal violate the objective of the town’s co-sponsorship policy ensuring all citizens equal opportunity and participation opportunities?
– Can the town guarantee the Rapids aren’t abusing their right of first refusal as outlined in their 2008 contract with the town [see below] which, according to paragraph four, states that other co-sponsors and general public users of the [Barry Park] field space must be accommodated and the [Rapids] shall not exercise its right of first refusal for the purpose of excluding or substantially excluding other co-sponsors or the general public?
– How much does the town lose every year respectively on each park (or, is there a park that actually makes money?) and what, if anything, is being done by the Parks and Recreation Dept. to minimize these losses?
– Finally, why are recommended salaries for the Parks and Recreation Dept. up $121,885 over last year’s adopted budget when we have a Parks Director who isn’t merely ambivalent about his department generating revenue, but who is actively hostile towards the notion?
– Discussion on Old Jail renovation project. There is no clear indication in the summary about what the discussion will focus on; the only thing included in the agenda packet are two invoices totaling $31,725 apparently related to renovating the Old Jail so it will be safe for tours. Surely the discussion isn’t going to be a request for taxpayer funding for these renovations? Let me suggest to anyone interested in learning more about the Old Jail visit this informative page at the CharMeck Historic Landmarks Commission’s website, or just watch any episode of the Andy Griffith show featuring Otis to get a sense of what a day in the life of the Old Huntersville Jail was like.