INDIAN TRAIL – Town leaders will have a lot of big projects to deal with in 2013, but first on Mayor Michael Alvarez’s list is public safety and renewing Indian Trail’s agreement with the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Safety is Alvarez’s main priority, and working out a new agreement with the sheriff’s office is key to that. Twenty-one sworn deputies currently protect the town as part of the soon-to-expire agreement, as Indian Trail does not have its own police force like towns such as Monroe and Stallings. Town leaders have met multiple times over the last month to review the expiring agreement and discuss where to go from here.
“Getting to (the sheriff’s contract) in the first quarter of 2013 is most important (as is) getting the council up to speed and understanding of what is in the current contract and negotiate through that,” he said.
Alvarez hopes to secure a new agreement with the office without having to compromise safety but while still getting the most value out of residents’ tax dollars. The agreement expires this summer.
Other key issues Alvarez sees town council focusing on in 2013 are business growth, improvements to traffic and infrastructure and producing a balanced budget. Alvarez says the council is on track to complete all of these goals.
Focus for business growth should not be only in Indian Trail but in all of Union County, the mayor said. He hopes to see all of the towns work together to bring business to their communities, with a focus on corporate businesses.
“Hopefully we can move ahead with other towns in our county to strengthen Union County as a whole,” he said. “Being neighbors of Charlotte, we need to take advantage of that and bring jobs to our area.”
Other areas Indian Trail can improve the quality of life for their citizens lies in traffic and infrastructure improvements, both of which Alvarez thinks the town has fallen behind in. Two main traffic areas he thinks need work are U.S. 74 and Monroe Road, saying any changes need to keep improving the safety of drivers in mind.
Updating the current infrastructure also is a way Alvarez feels the town can improve the quality of life for citizens. “I think the county fell behind keeping up with infrastructure and now we have to go back and bring it up to a modernized level,” he said.
Alvarez says the town fell behind in updating their infrastructure because of the “necessary evil” of having to make budget cuts due to the recession. He hopes the town can stay on track and work to create a new balanced budget for the future that allows for the necessary improvements.
Also important in 2013 will be the design and construction of two new parks. Indian Trail voters passed a bond referendum in November to set aside $8.5 million for the park projects. The designs of both parks, and a timeline for when construction could take place, should be developed soon. With the parks could come some economic development, especially with the larger of the two parks, which will include a number of sports fields large enough to host regional baseball and softball tournaments.
In addition to items he knows will be on the town’s agenda this year, Alvarez has a couple of personal goals: the main one being leaving Indian Trail better than it was when he took office in November 2011.
“Not that (Indian Trail) was a bad place, but nothing in this world is perfect. I want to set a good example for the residents,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place and let’s just keep it that way.”