August 23, 2019

In My View – Jim Duke

Lake Norman


“In My View”

By: Jim Duke

Hello Everyone,

Please Know Before You Read On:   I focus much of this newsletter upon Commissioner Dave Gilroy, for whom I have a good deal of respect; but I part ways with him on his interpretation of “facts” and his tactics.

Let the Squabbling Begin!  Hot dang!  The campaign hasn’t really begun yet and the insider fighting among incumbents has started in earnest.  Commissioner Gilroy is rattling cages and poking barbs at his fellow commissioners looking to oust at least one of them to make room for two like-minded newcomers.  If you thought it was coincidental that a husband-and-wife team is running in this election, you’d be mistaken.  In his latest news blast he even took a shot at me [see below].  What we have is one commissioner attempting to define the election on his terms and trying to stack the deck against the three other incumbents.   It’s going to get ugly fast folks and I am steering clear.

Where’s The Beef?  In his latest shot at me, Commissioner Gilroy told his readers that my support of the Town Manager and three sitting commissioners was “inextricably” supporting higher rates.  Not true!  During the budget process, commissioners were exploring ways to find the “right rate”, one that didn’t leave the Town in perpetual debt.  Debt may be no problem for Dave, but it is to me!  The Board voted with the Town Manager to lower the tax rate substantially [3.3 cents lower], but Dave is implying to folks that the Town raised rates.  He’s raising a stink because the Board didn’t lower the rate enough to suit him.  In truth, tax bills went up for some, but for others the levy went down.  We are still well below the rates of our neighbors and lowest in the region.  Not good enuf?

Note to Self & Dave:  You can’t continually vote for debt and not for the revenue to pay for it!  Economics 101 doesn’t go away when you are playing to your base!  In my view, Dr. Debt can rant and quote percentages, but he can’t keep us solvent with rhetoric.  All I am saying is that we must pay our way, keep spending under control, and provide for the needs of our citizens.  I call it PAYGO!

Cornelius Scores a Big $ 22 Million Win:   One of the issues that I harped on during the budget cycle was the danger of increasing costs of road projects and the lack of revenue to address them.  This is when it is really good to have real leadership at the helm, a highly competent Town Manager, and a first rate staff.  With increasing costs in mind, Cornelius asked for more transportation dollars and got ‘em!  Funds in the amount of $ 22 million will be made available for 4 road projects by the CRTPO.  While other municipalities vied for the funds, Cornelius made its case and won the day.  Three other road projects and a greenway project are not included in the allocation, so we are not out of the woods on those, but this is a big step in the right direction.  It should be noted that if cost increases exceed the available add-on monies, it may be up to the Town to make up the difference.

What is at Stake?   Many of the long standing issues are being addressed through the use of bond funds to pay for matching road project requirements and road betterments.  I fear that should projects cost well over estimates [those four uncovered projects] there will be pressure to cut back on walking paths, lighting, and landscaping.  I believe that a promise is a promise and our citizens voted for the bonds on the promise that more than basic roads, we’ll get road improvements befitting our growing community.  Scaling back these long-planned improvements is a complete disservice to our citizens.

Campaign Issue #1:   With the last newsletter I promised to take a look at those issues facing the candidates running for commissioner.  Well-managed growth is likely front and center this year.  The Alexander Farm project is working its way through the approval process.  The project is located on 54 acres at the corner of West Catawba and Westmoreland Road.  The proposal is a mixed use commercial and residential development that would be complemented with the widening of West Catawba Avenue and improvements to Westmoreland Road.  The project would bring commercial tax dollars to the Town, provide additional park acreage, and likely bring public use property into the Town’s land inventory for public safety.  What it will evolve into is yet to be determined, but I am guessing that the #“grass land” concept as an option won’t fly.

Commissioner Gilroy and wife oppose the project for differing reasons.  This will be debated loudly in the months ahead.  Generally, I find that the least persuasive the argument, the louder will be the rhetoric.  Hopefully, common sense will prevail over hyperbole and facts will trump opinion.   Where do I stand?  I’ll let you know when all the facts are in and reasonable people have their concerns addressed.  This isn’t a cop-out, it’s just common sense.

Thank You!    As I pointed out last time, a robust campaign requires both financing and strong support at the polls.  I wish to thank those of you who have donated immediately to the campaign. You are the best!  Within just one week, we’ve made a strong start.  If you would like to help, you can use the address below to send a check or you can go to my webpage at and use the Donate Button.

The Committee to Elect Jim Duke
17401 Staysail Court
Cornelius, NC 28031
[Be sure to include employment/retirement info with your contribution as required by BOE]

I hope many of you can attend the September 3rd Connecting Cornelius at Harvey’s.  The event starts at 8:30 am.   The program brings together the Mayor and Commissioners for updates and answers to citizen question.  Topic:  Non-profits that provide service to the Cornelius community.

Please let me know what YOU think! Feedback keeps me going.


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