Feb 132012

The 2012 election season began began in earnest today as candidates began filing to run for office. A few surprises made it a little more interesting.

Weddington’s Dan Barry began the day by calling a 7:30 AM news conference at the Weddington town hall, to announce that he was a candidate for the ninth congressional district, looking to replace Sue Myrick whose retirement announcement caught everybody except perhaps Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Pendergraph by surprise. Ms. Myrick announced her retirement on Tuesday, February 7 and Mr. Pendergraph announced his candidacy the next day.

Dan Barry is a Weddington council-member who initially had planned to run in the eighth congressional district, but in light of the opening in the ninth chose to run there instead. At some point we will have examine Barry’s ability to win that race, though the more Mecklenburg Republicans that jump in, the better are Dan’s chances — numbers wise.

Charlotte council-member Andy Dulin announced his candidacy for the ninth late this afternoon, as did Jennifer Roberts another Charlotte council-member, a Democrat in this case.

The following statistics are from the redistricting data for the 9th District:

County County Pop District Pop Cnty District Pop % County in District % of District in County
Iredell 159,437 733,498 111,736 70.082% 15.233%
Mecklenburg 919,628 733,498 519,677 56.509% 70.849%
Union 201,292 733,498 102,085 50.715% 13.918%
County Fillings:

The local Board of Elections office in Monroe had very little action as only four people signed to file. Dean Arp, current School Board Chairman filed for the re-drawn NC House District 69, Mark Brody filed for the new NC House District 55, Richard Helms filed for County Commissioner and the inimitable Crystal Crump filed for re-election as Registrar of Deeds.

Jan 252012

Let the spin begin!

By Scott Buzzard

On January 9th, 2012, the new Weddington Town Council decided that building community spirit and helping to brand Weddington (which goes a long way to help with property values) was no longer a priority.  For the past two years, our Town has hosted Weddstock.  While other communities pay event planners or staff that handle parks and recreation events, Weddington was lucky enough to have a team of dedicated volunteers, who, in just these two short years, built a huge success.  As Vice-chairman of the Weddington Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, I attended a local workshop with staff from Wesley Chapel, Monroe, Stallings and Indian Trail.  All were in awe of Weddstock and amazed by the fact it was a volunteer effort.  To be fair, Weddstock is presented by Kids First of the Carolinas, a local charity that every December has a month long radio fundraiser on WBT.

Because the event is in Weddington, was initiated by our Parks and Rec board, and the volunteers are concerned mothers in our community, the Town of Weddington was afforded the “title sponsor” spot.  The first year of the event, our Town kicked in about $11,000.  The second year, it was increased to $20,000.  This is part of the, approximately $250,000 it cost to actually have the event, and if you break it out per resident, we are talking about approximately one dollar and sixty-seven cents…$1.67 per resident.   Attendance this past year was around 6000, with Weddington businesses, Providence Volunteer Fire Department, and numerous local churches and school clubs participating.

While all indications are that this event will continue to grow, with the cost to the Town dropping, by a 3-2 vote our Town Council said the cost was too much for the Town (Mayor Walker Davidson broke the tie in concert with Pam Hadley and Barbara Harrison).  In these tough economic times, I would normally side with that being a reasonable decision, even though the Town received immeasurable benefits that likely exceeded the cost to the Town.

So, here is where the spin comes in.  Mayor Davidson, later in the meeting, described the deficit of the Wesley Chapel Volunteer Fire Department, projected at $18,673, as a “rounding error in accounting”. So, given that the WCVFD budget and the Town budget are very similar, which is it?  Will the Town of Weddington run itself into bankruptcy trying to support OUR community, OUR schools, OUR businesses…Or, is $19,000 just an accounting blip that doesn’t need to be worried about?  Oh… and the Weddington Town Council is about to spend money to send you a mailer asking for your input on why you should support raising your taxes, but that is another story ;-)


Oct 252011

Scott Buzzard Weddington Town Council District #2 Candidate

Who am I?

I was born and raised in small-town Pennsylvania, so family, neighbors and community were a large part of my upbringing. After graduating in the top 10% from Pen Argyl High School, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Wake Forest University. (Go Deacs!) I settled into the southeast Charlotte area in 1995. That is when I met my wife, Sandy. We were married in 1998 and moved to Weddington shortly after our son, Scottie, was born in 2000. Our daughter, Anna, was born in 2003.

I have worked in the electronic automation industry for over 16 years. I have been fortunate to be with the same company for 14 of those years. I am the Customer Service Manager for Sterling Services which allows me to serve businesses across the United States but also allows me to be at home with my family at dinner time.

In August of 2003, I was nominated by former Mayor Ed Howie, and appointed by the Weddington Town Council, to finish a term for a vacant seat on the Weddington Planning Board. At that time, being a member of the Planning Board also meant serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; the Historic Preservation Commission; and for me, an alternate on the Board of Adjustments. This was the start of nearly eight years of my service to our community.
In addition to these Town Boards, in 2004, I was asked to head a new committee, tasked with studying and making recommendations for our Town Center. Through many name changes, I am currently Chairman of Weddington’s Downtown Core Committee.

I am active in area sport leagues, both playing and coaching (yes, I still find some time to get out and play baseball). I started coaching my son at the YMCA in 2005, and have spent many a night there, at WCWAA or with Legacy Sports trying to do my best to help boys and girls get better at soccer, baseball, football, basketball, and life in general. Outside of my family, this is the most rewarding for me.
As you can see, while I have moved my roots, I have not left them. I have been, and will continue to be committed to our community.

Why am I running?

I have been very active in the community for eleven years. The Town of Weddington has worked hard to keep its rural character while being part of one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. I think it’s important to have proven leadership to continue to move Weddington forward without losing our past.

Continue reading »

Oct 172011

Weddington’s Municipal Fire District Resolution

I am very pleased with the strong wording of Weddington’s Municipal Fire District Resolution. It is my hope that the Union County Board of Commissars will endorse the resolution at their November 7th meeting.

Weddington has taken a historic step forward in providing a realistic fire and medical service for its citizens. It is my understanding, a Municipal fire district, has never been created in the state of North Carolina, this is a first. By this action, Weddington will become the model for all other townships who desire to provide the same emergency services within there communities.

We will now enjoy local control of our emergency services and the tax rate. Some of Weddington’s citizens pay a fire tax and some a fire fee. The new fire tax will be equable for all of our residence. We will no longer pay a fire tax/fee and then have some of our property taxes dollars used to augment emergency services. Or in other words, No double taxation.

Weddington will be in a position to redraw the emergency service lines. This will enhance response times, where as, the closes fire station will now respond. This is not the case today. The Providence Volunteer Fire Department, at the present time, is under utilized. By the council’s action, this very valuable asset will now be fully utilized.

Providence VFD provides 24/7 service and will now be in a position to offer this vital coverage to the vast major of Weddington citizens.

When, I am elected to the Weddington Town Council, I will work very hard to insure that we have the best trained emergency personnel with the best equipment. I will also do this at lowest possible cost to the tax payers of Weddington.

Again, I would like to thank the Weddington Town Council for their bold action.

Ken Evans
Candidate – Weddington Town Council

Ken Evans
704 846-2087

Weddington Resolution to cede from County controlled Fire District

Editors Note: The resolution (click link above to read) approved by the Weddington Council on October 10, accomplishes two things. One it rescinds Weddington’s agreement to be included in the Union County Fire Protection District and declares a Weddington municipal fire district, which will be administered by the town of Weddington.

Oct 162011

STEPHANIE BELCHER for Weddington MayorStephanie Belcher recently announced her candidacy for Mayor of Weddington, North Carolina. Stephanie and her family reside in the Weddington Hills subdivision of Weddington. The Belcher family has been in Weddington for close to 10 years and are passionate about living there. The entire family is actively involved in their neighborhood, schools, sports, Scouting and the town.

Stephanie has been an active volunteer her entire life. She is a life-long girl scout and has led troops for fifteen years, including an active troop in Weddington for 8 years; that meets at Weddington United Methodist Church. For the past year, Stephanie has served as the Chair of the Weddington Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Prior to that, she was the Vice-Chair and an active member of the committee. Over the past three years, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has dramatically increased community presence and activities. Additionally, Stephanie has lead an effort via P&R to meet all area schools, businesses, churches and organizations to increase communication, mutual support and cross-promotion. Additionally, Stephanie is a member of the Weddington Hills Home Owner Association and has worked at all of the schools as a parent volunteer.

Professionally, Stephanie has held various executive leadership positions in her 24 plus year career in healthcare. She is currently Vice President of Payer Solutions for Enclarity, Inc., a software company that focuses on data and services for the healthcare sector. She is responsible for product strategy, market analysis and business development. She has more than 20- years of experience as a senior executive for health plans such as CIGNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Horizon BlueCross BlueShield, specializing in operations, service, project management, product development, Six Sigma and information technology. Stephanie has had numerous published articles and speaking engagements as a subject matter expert on healthcare data, current trends in healthcare and business case analysis.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Delaware. Stephanie is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) and a Lifetime Girl Scout.

As a senior executive, Stephanie believes that the vision, leadership and strong fiscal management that have led to her success in the private sector are the same skills that are needed in the public sector. Stewardship of a town’s public safety, property value and reputation require a strong combination of vision, leadership and fiscal management.

For further information and to volunteer to help Stephanie Belcher, please check www.StephanieBelcher-WeddingtonMayor.com Call: 704-443-7042 or Email: info@stephaniebelcher-weddingtonmayor.com

Jul 082011

An Updated County Fire District Map Will Help Save PVFD
By Walker Davidson

The Providence Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD) station is not in compliance with safety regulations regarding the overnight stay of fire fighters. PVFD estimates it will cost $450,000 to make the building compliant. Until PVFD gets funding for the improvements, fire fighters will not be allowed to stay at the station overnight. This will lead to longer response times to emergency calls during the overnight hours in the Weddington area.

For many people this increase in response time is unacceptable. These people understand the consequences of help arriving too late on a 911 call. Judy Johnston is one of these people.

Judy Johnston lives in Weddington. Her son is a volunteer firefighter at PVFD. After the Weddington town council denied PVFD its request for $450,000 for the building improvements, Judy began a campaign to inform citizens of the situation. She has talked with a lot of people, created a web site (saveprovidencevfd.org), and distributed literature.

I can appreciate Judy’s frustration with the town council. The town council has accumulated $2.5 million over the years with no long term plans for the use of the excess funds. The council recently approved $20,000 for a festival and spent $200,000 on decorative streetlights. Given these other spending items, it is difficult for some to accept the council’s decision regarding the $450,000.

However, even if the town council approved the $450,000, that action alone would not address the main problem. PVFD does not generate enough fire fee revenue to pay its annual operating expenses. The town council cannot fix the problem.

The county is the taxing authority for the fire districts.

Some people feel that a merger between PVFD and Wesley Chapel Volunteer Fire Department (WCVFD) would solve the funding problem. While this seems like an easy solution, the path of least resistance often leads to a dead end. The merger will effectively wipe out PVFD. All control of the station would reside with the board of the WCVFD. I prefer to have people who live in Weddington serving on the board that controls fire service for the people of Weddington. I feel confident having Weddington citizens such as Jack Parks, Heather Perryman, Scott Robinson, and Ken Evans on the board at PVFD. I would like to see Judy Johnston on the board one day.

The funding problem at PVFD may be alleviated by an update to the county fire district map. The fire district map is out of date and inefficient. The map should be updated based on response times. School district maps and voting district maps are updated periodically as the county changes. The county fire district map should follow the same process.

Weddington is one area of the county that would benefit from an updated map. There are many neighborhoods in Weddington that should be assigned to PVFD. The Williamsburg neighborhood is one of the most obvious.

Williamsburg is in the WCVFD district despite the fact that it is much closer to PVFD. The property owners in Williamsburg pay taxes to WCVFD. When a 911 call comes in from Williamsburg here is what happens. If it is a call for a fire, both PVFD and WCVFD will respond. Odds are that PVFD will arrive first. If it is a medical call, for some reason that I don’t understand, PVFD is NOT allowed to respond. Only WCVFD is allowed to respond. This protocol will likely result in a longer response time than is necessary.

The same situation applies to the following neighborhoods: Beulah Oaks, Waybridge, Weddington Heritage, Greystone, Weddington Downs, Gatewood, and Hadley Park.

An updated map will improve response times in the Weddington area, may allow PVFD to collect enough tax revenue to pay its annual operating expenses, and allow the citizens of Weddington to maintain control of PVFD. Citizens who want to save PVFD should ask Union County Fire Commissioner Jonathan Thomas to take action to update the county fire district map.