by Mike Parks
INDIAN TRAIL – Voters in Indian Trail may see another parks bond package on their ballot when they go to the polls in November.
Town leaders started preliminary discussions at their meeting Tuesday night, April 10, about adding a general obligation bond to the ballot to fund quality of life improvements in the town, like a park or recreation facility. The vote would come just a year after taxpayers narrowly turned down – by 90 votes – a $4.5 million bond to pay for a park on 51 acres of town land.
Town manager Joe Fivas made a presentation Tuesday showing the parks and recreation facilities at nearby towns similar to Indian Trail in population and growth. Towns included Huntersville, Mooresville and Wake Forest. And while all the towns had a number of different facilities, they also all had a much higher tax rate, ranging from 20 cents to 50 cents. Indian Trail’s current tax is 14 cents, so paying for these projects would fall squarely on residents in the form of a tax increase.
That’s something a few commissioners are hesitant to embrace.
“I see us going in a lot of directions here; every one of them will impact the budget a little bit,” Commissioner David Waddell said. “How much is the town (and) people willing to bear?”
Waddell said he’s interested in “taking care of law enforcement, taking care of the roads, safety issues… from that point on, we’ll talk.”
But Commissioner Darlene Luther said giving locals more places to spend family time is vital for Indian Trail.
“Young families, most of them want those things,” she said, referencing parks facilities. “Most of the council wants those things … good, family-type things to be able to do. … I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Added Mayor Michael Alvarez, “(Let’s) keep the ball rolling on our quality of life here.”
The board voted to have Fivas prepare some basic information on what a bond would support, and how much that would cost taxpayers. Commissioners are likely to discuss it at their next meeting.
A bond question would have to be prepared by the end of May or early June to get on this year’s November ballot.