Friday, May 5, 2017

Davidson Public Facilities vote moved back...could stymie voter input

Another vote on a controversial subject has quietly been pushed off by the Davidson Town Hall.  This time it is the vote on the $17 million in public facilities spending to redo town hall.

At the April 25th Board work session meeting Commissioners received an update from the project's consulting team that included that price tag.  At the end of that discussion it was mentioned that a financial review would happen on May 9th with a vote tentatively scheduled on May 23rd for moving the project forward.

That schedule now appears delayed.  On Thursday the town sent out a notice that included more public information opportunities such as a booth st the Farmers Market on May 6th and a presentation at DUMC on the 11th.  The notice also said this.

"Town Manager Jamie Justice and Finance Director Pieter Swart will provide a financial feasibility plan at the Davidson Board of Commissioners’ meeting on May 23 at 6:00 p.m. The Davidson Board of Commissioners will consider making a decision on the public facilities project this summer."  (Emphasis added)

aShortChronicle followed up with the town to find out the impacts of this delay, particularly on the possibility of putting this funding on the November ballot in the form of GO bonds.  When Davidson considered GO bonds in 2016, they were told by their bond counsel, the Parker Poe law firm, that June was the deadline to get started for a November vote.  See this post from last year on that

When asked about this Town Public Info Officer, Christina Shaul, responded with this.

"Under the board’s current meeting schedule, the Davidson Board of Commissioners would have to adopt a resolution at the June meeting."

We also asked if this new tentative schedule of a "decision on the public facilities project this summer" effectively takes GO bonds off the table?

The response?  "This is yet to be determined."

That of course raises a question.  Is the town intentionally boxing itself in to not allow voters a say on this project?  Remember, Town Manager Jamie Justice is on record saying that giving voters a say in this is "not recommended."

If the Board does not vote in June one can easily see them going forward with this plan and not seeking voter input.  The lack of time to get it on the ballot will be the excuse.

Sometimes delaying a decision is a good thing.  Sometimes it could just be one more maneuver in the ongoing chess game between Davidson Town Hall and the public.

Only time will tell which one this is.

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