This #FiveForFriday Morning Minute News Round Up is for the week of January 27 through February 1, 2019.
News About Town: Tonight at 5:30 there is an additional Board of Commissioners meeting prior to the regular meeting at 7. Of note at the early meeting is a presentation on affordable housing in Matthews. The regular 7 PM meeting doesn’t have much on the agenda, so citizens with general topics to speak on may want to take this opportunity to have the Board’s undivided attention. Proposed Planning Conference items will be discussed and provide insight into Board concerns. Some of these items include implementation of four-year staggered terms (following public input), the use of 27 acres at McKee Road and Pleasant Plains, rezoning “by-right” properties in town, visual plans for the future Entertainment District, and an invitation to charter schools to explain their business model. The draft Vision Statements are also worthy of a read.
We asked our intern, Sterling, to summarize Monday’s Town Council meeting from a student’s perspective. This morning’s News About Town is her view of small-town government in Matthews (Or BOC meeting):
I walked into a room with a large crest of Matthews, NC at the head with flags adorning each side. The mayor, Paul Bailey, was seated in the middle of a large dais with the board of commissioners circling around; I never knew that all of this was right above the Matthews library, where I had been going my whole life. The crowd included everyone from firefighters who were there in support of Kerry Ernsberger, Matthew’s Employee of the Year, to a boy scout troop, who were working on their communications badge. I was surprised that the atmosphere of the meeting was both formal and casual being that it followed an ordered agenda but with the occasional joke from one of the commissioners. It was thought-provoking to see what topics were being discussed, even if most were passed unanimously; it ranged from the general issue of the effects of traffic on Matthews to the more abstract approval of Matthew’s new “vision statement” for the future. From the concerns raised here in Matthews, I could make a connection to environmental, safety, and political concerns locally as well as nationally, despite it only being considered a small town government. At the end, I shook hands with the mayor and the assistant town manager, which is something I never envisioned myself doing as a high school student.
News About Town: At the Council meeting this past Monday, Chief Clark Pennington asked the Board of Commissioners to approve the Police Department’s pursuit of additional funding through the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) grant program. In recent years the growth of the department hasn’t kept up with the growth of the town, and valuable police resources are being allocated to crash response rather than crime prevention. Currently, the department has 61 full-time police officers and two reserve officers (one school resource officer serves full-time at Carmel Christian School that is budget neutral). The grant would provide significant budget relief for the addition of three patrol officers and one corporal. The Board of Commissioners approved applying for the GHSP Grant.
News Around Town: Property tax valuations are a hot topic all over the county. If you’re still in sticker shock, you’re in good company: the median rate increase for residential property is 43 percent while commercial property owners saw a median increase of 77 percent. Yesterday Norah explained the who, what, and when of the new numbers. County Manager Dena Diorio posted a video to explain what the new values mean.
News Around Town:The Environmental Advisory Board presented at Monday's Board of Commissioners meeting. EAB Board Chair Gordon Miller provided several updates to Commissioners, including the introduction of an EAB created a pamphlet for builders and landowners with suggestions for more environmentally friendly development. Some examples include strategically planted trees, re-use of rainwater, and on-site composting.