Mar 222011
 

Public Comments concerning the Rea Road “Extension” which would connect a road between Rea Road and NC 84 (Weddington Road), coming out at near the Twelve Mile Road intersection.

Present at the MUMPO meeting were Weddington’s Mayor Nancy Anderson, Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Barry and Councilman Werner Thomisser.

Part -1

Part -2

Part -3

Part -4

Mar 092011
 

Mayor Anderson supports higher taxes… again
by Walker Davidson

During last year’s Weddington budget meeting I asked the Weddington Town Council to reduce the tax rate for the upcoming year. Councilmen Dan Barry and Werner Thomisser voted for a motion to reduce the Weddington tax rate. However, the motion failed because Mayor Nancy Anderson voted against the motion.

A few weeks ago it became apparent that County Commissioners Jonathan Thomas, Todd Johnson, and Jerry Simpson were going to stop the 2012 county property revaluation.

I support the 2012 revaluation because the county’s property assessments are significantly different from current market valuations. Accurate property assessments by the county are essential to an equitable county tax system.

I asked the Weddington Town Council to send the county a resolution in support of the 2012 revaluation. The motion failed in a 2-2 tie. Councilmen Dan Barry and Werner Thomisser voted in favor of the motion.

While Mayor Anderson was out of town for that particular meeting, she never showed any public interest in supporting the 2012 revaluation.

On Monday night County Commissioners Thomas, Johnson, and Simpson voted to stop the 2012 revaluation. How will this action affect Weddington taxpayers? The county assessed value of taxable Weddington real estate is $1.95 billion. However, recent real estate sales data suggests that the market value of taxable Weddington real estate is only $1.65 billion.

The revaluation would have raised the county tax rate by 8-cents to remain revenue neutral. Despite the 8-cent tax rate increase Weddington taxpayers would have reduced their total county tax bill by $600,000 per year had the 2012 revaluation taken place.

Mayor Anderson strongly supported Thomas, Johnson, and Simpson in the 2010 Republican primary for the Board of County Commissioners.

Mayor Anderson and I both agree that elections have consequences. The Weddington taxpayer continues to suffer the consequences of her decisions.

Walker Davidson

Weddington

Sep 102010
 

By Walker Davidison

Weddstock – The “Free” Concert Series

(Reader note: This is the complete and unedited version of part 2)

continued from the previous post
Mayor Anderson called another special meeting. At this point some of the council members were pushing back. The council wanted to know if the events were drawing enough people to warrant spending more money. The organizers declared the project a success because 750 to 1,000 people had attended each event. They just weren’t spending enough money. Just as Fannie Mae was a huge success because it allowed many people to move into houses, they just weren’t going to pay for them.

It looked like the $6,000 might not be granted as the concept of fiduciary responsibility was finally brought up by a couple of council members. One of the organizers became a little indignant as she explained how hard the group had worked in such a short period of time. She was counting on the town council’s continued support. She made the comment, “You came to us!” All of the council members except Mayor Anderson looked confused by this comment. Apparently council members Barry, Thomisser, McKee, and Gilmartin had not sought out the organizers nor had they made any promises to them. This comment was clearly directed at Mayor Anderson.

For the town council it came down to a choice between the taxpayer or the charity. One party was going to lose.

Two citizens at the meeting had questions about where the proceeds from the events were going. The promotional signs led people to believe that proceeds would go to Kids First charity. Was this a town event or a charity event? It was not clear.

During public comments I asked the organizers what would happen if they did not get the $6,000. They said that the final two events would be canceled and they would be obligated to pay for some of the costs anyway. The charity, Kids First, would lose money on Weddstock. The $6,000 was simply going to the make Weddstock a break-even project for Kids First.

The Weddstock project was a financial mess. It had now turned into a political mess. The town council was left with the choice of compromising their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers by approving the request or allowing a hard working charity to lose money by denying the request. Mayor Anderson had done a great job of leading the town council and the event organizers to this point.

She was so confident that the town council members would approve the request that she was willing to put the charity at risk of losing money on the Weddstock project. For the town council it came down to a choice between the taxpayer or the charity. One party was going to lose.

I let the council know that I didn’t think the taxpayer should be responsible for the expenses for Weddstock. I consider it bad form for citizens of Weddington to go to town hall and ask the town council to use its taxing authority to force taxpayers to support their causes. It is better form to knock on your neighbor’s door and ask for the money.

I also told them that the people at Kids First had worked extremely hard on this project. I did not want them to be discouraged. I did not want the charity to lose money. I suggested to the council members that those who voted against funding the project the first time should vote no and that those who voted yes the first time should vote yes. I volunteered a donation of $100 to Kids First.
I suggested that the council members who vote yes to give taxpayer money should make a $100 personal contribution as well.

The motion to give an additional $6,000 toward Weddstock passed 4-0. No financial statements were submitted to the town council.

After the meeting I wanted to see if I could raise money for the Weddstock project on a voluntary basis. I also wanted to help make Weddstock a profitable project for Kids First. Including the contributions from council members Barry and Thomisser, we were able to raise $775 for Weddstock and Kids First.

By their action of contributing on a voluntary basis the following people want to make it clear that they support Weddstock and Kids First. However, they do not support the use of taxpayer money to fund either one.

I want to thank Ken Evans, Phyllis Pincus, Barbara Harrison, Paul DeJong, Nico Iannelli, Heather Perryman, and Janice Propst for their contributions.

The future of Weddstock is uncertain. Mayor Anderson announced during the August regular town meeting that Weddstock could not be held at Hunter Farm next year because she is going to plant more strawberries in the areas of the farm that were used for Weddstock. This makes sense. After all she will need more strawberries to meet the increased demand generated from the promotion of her business through Weddstock.

$11,000 of the promotion costs came from the Weddington taxpayer.

Sep 042010
 

By Walker Davidison

Weddstock – The “Free” Concert Series

Early this summer, a group of people including Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson, decided to host a “free” concert series called “Weddstock.”

Mayor Anderson volunteered to provide the location for the concert series at her business called Hunter Farm. Hunter Farm is her agri-tourism business that sells strawberries, Christmas trees, and pumpkins. Holding Weddstock at Hunter Farm is a good way to promote the business given that Weddstock could attract hundreds of people to the farm who may return in the future as paying customers.

Kids First of the Carolinas offered to provide volunteers for the event. Kids First is a local charity that does a great job of organizing charitable events.

Kids First also agreed to raise the $18,000 in capital for the production and promotion costs of the event through private donations with the exception of a request for $2,000 from the town (a.k.a. the Weddington taxpayer).

At this point I was fine with everything this group was doing, except for the $2,000 from the taxpayer. I don’t consider music festivals to be part of the town’s “essential services.” However, as the Weddstock project progressed more taxpayer money was spent, corners were cut with town council procedures, and people were left confused about the purpose of the events.

The planning of the Weddstock project was rushed. For some reason this concert series was deemed necessary and urgent. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome in a short period of time. Mayor Anderson was determined to make it work. She used her position as mayor and her skills of persuasion to “fast track” the project. She also did a very good job of creating a difficult political situation for the town council.

No financial statements were submitted to the town council regarding Weddstock. Apparently the council felt that its responsibility to provide free music festivals was greater than its fiduciary responsibility.

First Mayor Anderson called a special meeting of the town council. She needed to get approval from the council to allow the sale of alcohol at Weddstock, so that Kids First could raise money by selling beer and wine at the events. She needed approval to have the town buy more liability insurance in case the town was sued over an alcohol related issue. She also needed the council to approve the $2,000 from the town. The $2,000 actually came out of the Parks and Recreation budget, but the Parks and Recreation Committee was never given the opportunity to vote on the matter.

Council members Barry and Gilmartin supported Mayor Anderson’s requests. Council members McKee and Thomisser voted no. Mayor Anderson broke the tie, and everything was granted. No one on the council proposed that the mayor recuse herself from the vote. Does requesting $2,000 of taxpayer money for a project which could help promote the mayor’s private business qualify as a conflict of interest? I think it at least warrants discussion by the council.

It has also been the practice of the council in the past to require financial statements before an organization receives town money. This was the case with Wesley Chapel-Weddington Athletic Association and the Providence Fire Department. No financial statements were submitted to the town council regarding Weddstock. Apparently the council felt that its responsibility to provide free music festivals was greater than its fiduciary responsibility.

After the first Weddstock event was held, the organizers discovered that the citizens who attended the event did not buy enough alcohol to cover the costs of the event. So, as with many failed business plans these days, the taxpayer was asked to give more. In this case, $3,000 more. When the request for the additional $3,000 came in, Mayor Anderson was out of town. The responsibility fell to Mayor Pro Tem Dan Barry. Dan Barry did not bother to have a special meeting. He simply made phone calls to the other council members to get their approval to give the additional $3,000. He got their approval and the check was sent. No financial statements were submitted to the town council.

After the second Weddstock event, organizers disclosed that Weddington citizens were still not buying enough alcohol at the event to cover the expenses and that two pledges from private donors had been withdrawn. Now the organizers wanted another $6,000.

To be continued…

Aug 062010
 

An Open Letter To Western Union County Residents:

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Waxhaw Board Of Commissioners meeting and listen to a presentation concerning a proposal for a western Union County Library located in Waxhaw.

The presentation was given by a Ms. Jan M. Ringeling, SFR of RE/Max Executive Realty. I believe the developer she was representing was in attendance. I listened to Ms. Ringeling’s positive variables concerning this Waxhaw location,and when she was finished she requested that the Waxhaw Board meet with her in closed session to discuss the financial aspects.

The Board was unsure about meeting with her in closed session, but then agreed to meet with Ms. Ringeling and the group she was representing. My immediate thought was, where is the transparency concerning further discussion on this matter?

It was my understanding that the Union County Board of Commissioners were the decision makers concerning funding and where and when a western Union County Library would be built. At the conclusion of Ms. Ringeling’s presentation, I had the opportunity to address the Board during public comments. I attempted to point out that the western Union County library should be in a location with more county residents.

The total population of western Union County (U.S. Census 2008, deemed correct) is 27,770. The break down is as follows: Wesley Chapel: 6,299, Weddington: 11,400, Marvin: 4,096, Waxhaw: 3,975, and Mineral Springs: 2,000.

Yes, only 14 % of the Western Union County’s population lives in Waxhaw! Where would you locate the library?

I think you would support building this library in a location which would provide access and convenience to all western Union County residents.

Finally, there is a Western Union County Coalition composed of leaders of the above towns. In 2009, these leaders came to an agreement concerning future transportation needs (they won an award from the Centralina Council Of Governments for their efforts). This would be an excellent issue for this coalition to reach an agreement relative to a library location. They could then pass their recommendation on to the Union County Board of Commissioners.

Werner Thomisser, Councilman
Weddington Town Council
704-654-6100

May 292010
 

A
fter the primary election earlier this month, I needed some time off to recharge my batteries sort to speak. Enjoy a respite, work on my yard and kill weeds with wild abandon. You know a trickle charge in battery parlance.

Unfortunately, events of the last two weeks have generated too much electricity to ignore — besides the weeds are winning.

The front page woes of Union County Republican Party gave me a good jolt, as did the recent letters to the editor concerning CHS by Donnie Baucom and Darren Greene where reality has apparently set upon them, but the zap I got from reading Union County Weekly story yesterday about the WCWAA and Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson {Who will pay for WCWAA?} was the last surge I needed to bring me back to the keyboard.

Negative Charge

As you read the opening paragraph of the Union County Weekly story, it seems apparent that Mayor Anderson was offended that the County expected Weddington to honor their agreement to split the costs finding a solution to the WCWAA floodplain issue.

Quoted from the story: “It’s the town’s position that the floodplain issue is a county problem. The county issued the permit for construction; they issued the citation, they should pay for the attorney.” said Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson.

The issue with the park was ongoing when Weddington annexed the ‘Park’ properties. Every municipality knows that once annexed land is appropriated, the town takes over zoning responsibility. In the end — there can be only one.

“Possession is 9/10th of the law”, so says English common law and in a court case between the County and Weddington over jurisdictional responsibility, I would find it difficult to believe that a judge will find different.

The May 4th primary is barely history and already support for the Park has lapsed.

Quoting again from the story: ““There was stuff put out during the campaign, where people were told the park would close,” said Anderson. “That’s not the case.

Weddington’s action has certainly not aided WCWAA’s plight, in fact Weddington’s support is crucial to keeping the park viable.

Taking action in a closed session

The primary topic of the Union County Weekly story was Weddington’s decision not to participate in the joint funding of the FEMA experienced lawyer. This issue was not on the agenda for the Weddington’s May 10 meeting, but there was however a closed session and I can only surmise that the decision was made then. I’ve asked and been told that the board did not take any votes after the closed session.

Considering that the County just recently received an official communication from Weddington notifying them of the town’s decision, it’s apparent that Weddington violated the open meetings laws governing North Carolina boards that prohibits the taking of a vote in closed session. A decision to fund participation with the County does not fall under the narrow list of exceptions and one can only conclude that the Weddington Council failed to follow the law.

The Future of the Park

Mayor Anderson likes to tout fact that park will not close this year and while it may not happen tomorrow, the fact still remains that there are members of the County staff whose actions to date appear biased against the park and park members should heed the warning of non-support that Weddington’s actions indicate.

Who can you really count on? Is it not abundantly clear?

Letter from Weddington to the County declining further participation: {Click to view}

Weddington versus WCWAA

What is Weddington really saying to the WCWAA?

It’s seems obvious to me that Weddington’s actions say that there are only two options — Pick One, we (Weddington) are not interested pursuing another course of remediation, if the County does it, well it’s their dime.

If the Park issue was solely up to Weddington, WCWAA would have to choose:
DOOR #1: WCWAA rebuild the ball fields and remove 7 feet of dirt; Cost $2 Million – actual result: CLOSE THE PARK!
or
DOOR #2: WCWAA build a bypass channel to move water away from the neighboring backyards; Cost $1 Million – actual result: CLOSE THE PARK!

WCWAA has plainly stated that all volunteer park cannot afford either option and would have to cease operations.

The County has hired a specialist in FEMA regulations as noted in the letter above from Weddington’s attorney, to look for a third alternative; a DOOR #3 that doesn’t end with CLOSE THE PARK.

Different Issue — Different Anderson

It is an amazing contrast when we recall Nancy Anderson’s emotional campaign against the “possible” sale of Union County’s CMC Hospital, where she went from town to town and told anyone who would listen, that Union County didn’t need a return on it’s investment; that the CMC Doctors would desert the County if the hospital was sold; that the quality of health-care was the only important issue. Instead, she worked against the County, in favor of corporate giant CHS.

Let’s not forget that Nancy Anderson, is an appointed member of the County’s Hospital Trustee Committee (CTC), the same board who recommended the lease extension that would have given Union County’s Hospital franchise away for 50 cents on the dollar to CHS after 48 years.

Did CTC Member Anderson raise any public concerns in 2008! – No!

Even more recently, Nancy Anderson again a member of the CTC, when they approved the WAXHAW Emergency Department that would have forced Union County to pay for without benefit ownership over 72% of the cost in 10 years.

Ms. Anderson didn’t raise the ALARM then either!