A summary of the April 26 work session (6:00 p.m.):
The mayor read a proclamation naming May 1-7 “Small Business Week” and encouraged our citizens to support our local small businesses.
• Commissioner Rodney Graham gave an update on the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation budget and inquiries from companies interested in our region. The political environment is not good for recruiting new businesses to the area.
• Commissioner Brian Jenest: Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC): North-south connectivity is a big priority in our region, and the LNTC is working on enhancing connections on NC 21 and NC 115.
Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO): It has requested the submittal of small regional/municipal pedestrian/bicycle/highway projects, and a 20% match would be required. The Kincaid trail greenway extension would be an excellent candidate for this type of funding; town staff will make recommendations and apply. The right-of-way for the Silver Line from Charlotte to Matthews is being preserved; there is no funding at this time.
• Commissioner Jim Fuller: The Ada Jenkins Center just hosted its “All That Glitters Gala” fund raiser. He encourages everyone to visit their website at http://www.adajenkins.org/.
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce: There are many events coming up to support Small Business Week during May 1-7. More information is available here: https://www.lakenormanchamber.org/item/662-small-business-week-2016-lunch-launch.html. The Chamber is experiencing difficulties in recruiting new businesses due to the political climate.
• Commissioner Stacey Anderson gave an update on the Arts & Science Council (ASC).
• Commissioner Beth Cashion: Visit Lake Norman (VLN): It manages many events that bring people to the area which benefits us in the form of room occupancy, restaurant visits, etc. Please visit www.visitlakenorman.org for the extensive list of events in our area.
• Mayor John Woods: Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC): The budget for FY 2017 includes a study and public input on mass transit for the north corridor of the county, investigating potential methods to improve transit in our area. While the managed lanes are being constructed, and also upon completion of the project, rapid-transit buses will be considered as a mode of transportation. They still have hopes for the creation of a commuter rail line, but for now buses will be used increasingly as part of our transit system.
• The mayor and Commissioner Jenest went with the Charlotte Center City Partners to Denver, CO to review Denver’s Union Station as a model for the new gateway station in Charlotte. The MTC received a $25 million grant that will begin to realign the interstate and rail tracks with the gateway station on a reserved 17-acre piece of land next to the baseball stadium in Charlotte. The plan is to have a station to house interstate buses, local CATS buses, interstate rail, local rail, and streetcar. Two dozen people went to investigate this as an example of what our station could be; this will transform downtown Charlotte.
Planning Director Jason Burdette discussed some text amendments (clarifying some language) to the Davidson Planning Ordinance. The Davidson Board of Commissioners approved these changes and a consistency statement required when changing the Davidson Planning Ordinance.
The mayor and commissioners discussed the Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC) and our role in it. In February, they voted to remove the Town of Davidson from the agreement. We do, however, recognize that Davidson needs assistance with transportation planning. Huntersville does not plan to participate in this regional group. Cornelius will vote on whether or not to stay with the LNTC at its next meeting. Mooresville plans to stay with the group. We value a regional approach and need someone with expertise in transportation planning since we do not have a full-time transportation planner on staff. Mayor John Woods and Commissioner Jenest will reach out to other towns in our area to gauge interest and options for being in a regional transportation group.
The Davidson Board of Commissioners have been considering the best way to complete the many capital projects to address our needs in Davidson. At the March 22 work session, I presented them with potential financing options for each project. The projects are divided into three buckets which generally correspond to the timeframe for completion. Bucket #1 includes a second fire station and the rehabilitation of the old water plant into a public works facility. Bucket #2 includes sidewalks, streets, greenways, and parks projects. Bucket #3 includes the second phase of the public works facility and our downtown municipal needs – police, fire station #1, administration, and parking.
As we look to complete these projects, we must consider the financing options that are available to us. The use of our fund balance (savings account) is a possibility; however, meeting all the needs of Davidson will take multiple years without the use of some form of financing. The two major types of financing are installment loans and general obligation bonds. Installment loans have several variations -- “bank” loans, Certificates of Participation (“COPs”), and Limited Obligation Bonds (“LOBs”) -- and they share the following characteristics:
• No voter approval is required
• The loan is secured (collateralized) by the asset being purchased
• Interest rates are typically higher than general obligation bond rates
General obligation bonds (also known as “GO Bonds” or “G.O. Bonds”) have some special characteristics as well:
• Voter approval is required through referendum during a general election
• Local Government Commission (LGC) approval is required to issue the debt
• Interest rates are typically the lowest cost option available to the town
• Requires the town to receive a bond rating
• If we go this route, after voter approval of the bond referendum, the town has seven years to issue bonds
• Bonds are secured by a pledge of the taxing power of the town, which means that the board of commissioners may need to raise ad valorem (property) taxes to pay for the debt.
The Davidson Game Plan prescribes the development of a long-term financial plan to provide guidance for expenditure decisions, which includes the financing of capital projects. The Davidson Game Plan also directs the engagement of a financial advisor. We have selected First Tryon Advisors to act in this capacity. With First Tryon’s assistance, we are developing a capital financing projection tool which will allow the board of commissioners to look at scenarios in which it can adjust the debt type, amount of debt, timing, and duration for each project. For more information, please visit www.townofdavidson.org/finance.
We invited Donald Ubell of Parker Poe Attorneys & Counselors at Law of Charlotte to share information on serving as our bond counsel if the Davidson Board of Commissioners were to select GO bonds to fund some projects. Don discussed timing, education of our citizens on the facts related to bonds and referendums, the potential referendum process, and potential ballot language.
Finance Director Pieter Swart and I reviewed the recommended budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. We presented a FY 2016-2017 budget summary reflecting estimated revenues and expenditures for the general fund (by category or department) as well as Powell Bill, Storm Water, Solid Waste and Affordable Housing funds. The budget is balanced at $10,521,214.
We also presented a FY 2016-2017 line item budget comparing FY 2015-2016 actual expenditures, FY 2016-2017 original budgeted expenditures, actual FY 2015-2016 year-to-date expenditures and requested funding for expenditures in FY 2016-2017. We also shared the “needs list items” document showing the recommended items to be included in the budget, as well as a listing of unfunded items.
Citizens are encouraged to participate in the public hearing on May 10 at 6:00 p.m. These documents are on our website at www.townofdavidson.org/finance.