In My View - Jim Duke

"In My View"

By: Jim Duke


 Hello Everyone,
 A Tale of Two Commissioners:   We have two very talented Town Commissioners who work hard to connect with our citizens through on line newsletters or blogs.  Both of these folks are bright and thoughtful and each has my respect.  While I don’t always agree with their points of view, I respect their process and dedication.  That said, we have two special commissioners in Dave Gilroy and Kurt Naas who take the time to communicate with you, as do I.   Let’s look at each from an outsider’s perspective.

Dave Gilroy:  In his recent June epistle, Dave defended his stance on a number of issues and to his credit defined his thinking regarding resource allocation.  I stand with Dave regarding Police and Fire Services.  I believe that our public safety arm is fully mature and provides far better service when compared to any town our size. Both police and fire departments employ modern technology and partner in sharing coverage with the three northern Town.  I believe that we are well covered.  Retention level salaries will remain an issue, particularly for our police, for some time.  While not overpaid, I believe our first responders are respected and adequately compensated. 

Where I part ways with Commissioner Gilroy is the notion that spending should track growth rates rather than tracking burgeoning needs.  Our growth stats are sometimes three years old, yet he would seek to limit spending based on old numbers.  It is a fact that growth is already here and making demands upon our service system.  Tying current spending to old growth rates ignores real and current needs; is simplistic and in my view juvenile; but far worse, it is “political”.  Instead of adjusting revenue to meet real need, this Town has relied upon the Town Credit Card far too often.  We are quickly being boxed into a corner with debt for which a tax increase might be our only salvation. [Yes, yes, sheer heresy for a Town with the lowest tax rate on the planet].

Kurt Naas:  Kurt’s recent blog “Cornelius Corner” laid out the budget process in surprisingly understandable terms. Commissioner Naas “gets it” and for a new commissioner this is good news.  Hopefully, he will take the lead on budget allocations and tax rates to obtain the appropriate balance of revenue, debt, and outside sources.  I am hoping that he will take a close look at historical tax rate braggadocio and find a sustainable revenue model that doesn’t bob up and down with the political winds.  I believe that Kurt Naas is the first analyst and communicator to come along is quite some time who can balance politics, economics, and common sense for the best outcome for Cornelius.

Here is where I should point out where I part company with Commissioner Naas [as I did above with Dave], but I am still looking.  It seems that he is pretty much on track for a rookie.  I look to Kurt to dig into the Machinery Act.  The “Act” is the State Law that governs how we deal with our coming property revaluation.  Finding a way to make “revenue neutral” work for Cornelius will be a daunting task.

Cornelius Comes through Again:  As I have mentioned in past letters, I am working with Dave Yochum and his Big Day at the Lake Team to help Big Brothers and Big Sisters to bring disadvantaged young people and their mentors to a fun day on Lake Norman. In addition to the event we raise funds for BBBS and help the find new “Bigs” to mentor these young folks.  This partnership is in its 14th Year and in my mind defines the character of our region.  I wish I could list the dozens of good folks and businesses that have donated generously to Big Day.  We started raising money several months ago and have exceeded our funding goal thanks to the incredible generosity of our citizens.
You Can Help:   In addition to donations, Big Day needs Boat Hosts to take the “Littles and Bigs” out on the Lake on July 21st.  To sign up to be a Boat Host, go to the Big Day at the Lake web site and click on the link.  It will be a day you’ll remember for a very long time and a precious gift to those young people less fortunate.

If you would like to make a donation, just email me and I’ll record your pledge as a Big Day at the Lake Sponsor.  Quick and easy, go to
A couple of reminders:
                Mayor Washam’s “Connecting Cornelius” normally held on 1st Monday’s has been cancelled due to the 4th of July Holiday.  However, the Nighttime version of Connecting Cornelius will be held at Eleven Lakes Brewery on Thursday, June 28that 6:30 pm. [19228 Bailey Road].


01 Jul 2018

By Jim Duke