Towns examine options as clock ticks
To get Monroe Road widened, residents of Indian Trail and Stallings would probably have to approve a tax increase, town and state officials say. In recent months, the towns of Stallings and Indian Trail had considered moving the money currently allocated to widen Stallings and Indian Trail roads and to pay for widening Old Monroe Road from the county line to its intersection with Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road.
The problem comes when looking at how the project would be financed. Together, the two towns have $32 million in state road money, with new North Carolina Department of Transportation estimates saying the full project will cost between $55 to $60 million. That means the towns would need to hold a bond referendum, asking citizens to authorize around $28 million.
“In order to pay it back, we would have to raise taxes,” Stallings town manager Brian Matthews said. “The citizens would be voting for a tax increase.”
Matthews said Stallings doesn’t have enough left in its general fund to pay back such a bond, without increasing the amount of money collected by the town. The other question would be how such a bond would be split between the towns, either divided on Regardless of what decision the town makes however, Matthews said it needs to be soon.
“For quite some time, we’ve been talking round and round (about this),” Matthews said. “The state DOT (wants us) to show the state what it is we want to do. Basically the state is saying you’ve had this money long enough, either use it or lose it, they’re tired of the money just sitting there.”
Matthews said state officials want to see something before the local transportation board meets in March.
“As much as I would love to see this project done, I can’t support a 30 million bond,” Stallings town council member Wyatt Dunn said.
Fellow council member Renee Hartis also took issue with the fact Stallings has more state transportation money at risk in this project. Stallings has over $14 million allocated, while Indian Trail’s allotment is closer to $9 million.
“We’re giving more money initially and getting less road,” Hartis said.
The Stallings portion of Old Monroe Road is 2.5 miles long, compared to the full 6.5 miles of the project.
Matthews cautioned the board however that if they don’t do something with the money, Stallings may not see another state funded project for a while.
“If you don’t do something, it’ll be a long long time before any more projects (get funded),” Matthews said. “Money is competitive.”
The towns have more time to determine if they can afford building Monroe Road, since the Stallings and Indian Trail roads project funds have been pushed back to 2025.