Stallings, Indian Trail push economic development

STALLINGS – Leaders in four local towns are still working to decide what role, if any, they will play in a proposed economic pact.

After almost six months of discussions, town representatives working on the Economic Alliance of South Charlotte Communities committee – which includes Stallings, Indian Trail, Matthews and Mint Hill – have put together information to consider before moving forward.

Talks of creating an economic effort between the four towns began in October. The committee, which exists but hasn’t been granted any power to work on behalf of the towns yet, will focus on bringing more commercial development to the area. Stallings, Indian Trail, Matthews and Mint Hill were all selected for this joint effort because of their similar demographics, population size and close proximity to one another.

Leaders from each of the towns say the residential-to-commercial tax revenues are off balance, putting more stress on residents in each of the towns. The towns are looking at a scenario where, in order to fund the growing need for services and amenities, they may have to increase property taxes. And that burden mostly falls on residential property owners due to the lack of commercial development in the area.

“If you look at (the four towns) together, it’s about 100,000 people and very similar demographics, so our feeling is if we could collaborate with one another instead of each of us going at it alone … it could help develop the commercial tax base,” Paul Frost, the Stallings representative on the committee, said.

But despite talks going on for nearly half a year, towns aren’t yet sold on whether to join together through the proposed committee.

“This document that came, the alliance proposal, was good information but it wasn’t enough.  They weren’t asking for a decision (on joining), they were just giving us information,” Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton said.

Stallings leaders are waiting on more information, but Paxton and Frost are confident the town will have some role in the push for more economic development.

“I think the council is still positive about it, but we want to make sure before we make any commitment,” Paxton said.

Although Stallings has heard a proposal about the alliance, Indian Trail, Matthews and Mint Hill will not discuss the possibility of joining the committee until later meetings. Indian Trail was scheduled to discuss the matter at the town’s Tuesday, March 12, meeting, but Councilwoman Darlene Luther – Indian Trail’s representative to the economic development committee – did not attend.

Indian Trail Councilman Chris King is eager to learn more about the issue, and said this week he is on board for any plan that will bring more economic development to his town and other towns in the area.

“I encourage any type of multi-jurisdictional partnerships,” he said.  “I think it’s a great idea. If there’s something there all four municipalities can work together on to create something special, I’d be all for it.”

The Economic Alliance of South Charlotte Communities committee also could partner with the Monroe Union County Economic Development committee recently created with all of the towns in Union County.  The Monroe Union group is still meeting with towns throughout the county to see which will have members on the board.  The group meets the third Thursday of every month at different locations in Union County.

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