Union County Pulse: July 29

Lying is “the law” in Indian Trail

One may think the title chosen for this article is strange, especially when the author is Indian Trail’s Mayor. As unsettling as the subject matter of the article may be to some, it is imperative that Americans, especially those who call themselves Christians, recognize that most of the internal problems we face are directly related to the level of corruption that exists in both government and society. Our founding fathers repeatedly warned that if the people began to tolerate dishonesty and the absence of character, morality and religious values among our leaders, we would lose what they called “the blessings of liberty” (the favor of God); the result of which would be the ultimate demise of America. True national liberty, justice and happiness can only be realized by a government that operates “under God” and His principles. Until recently, this has been the traditional American point of view for over two hundred years.

Indian Trail’s government is an example of what our founders warned about. The reason behind my conflict with the four “Brandon Oaks” Council members is that I want Indian Trail’s government to operate openly, ethically and honestly; and they don’t. I can cite many examples, but the following story is one of them. I received a phone call from a town resident who asked me to help him with a problem. I called our Planning Department and asked to speak with the appropriate employee, was told he was not there. Knowing that the Town Manager had directed staff not speak to me and wanting to resolve the matter, I immediately called my friend Rick and ask him to conference call Town Hall for me. My friend called and asked for the employee and within seconds he was on the line. Rick explained that the Mayor was also on the phone and needed to ask a question. As soon as he heard my voice, the nervous staffer started stammering and said that he couldn’t talk; he then put us on hold. Rick and I stayed on the line waiting to see what would happen next. After more than five minutes, someone else picked up the phone to tell me that I had to call the Joe Fivas, the Town Manager and speak to him. He then hung up. Mr. Fivas refuses to answer or return any of my phone calls.

I then emailed the following request to Mr. Fivas: “Please change your directive to the staff and instruct them not to lie to me or hang up on me when I call while carrying out my duties or as a tax paying resident. To not do so, encourages an environment of corruption and depravity among town employees. Thank you”.

Mr. Fivas’ responded in an email: “If you recall, in 2009, the Town Council set forth this directive in a resolution. If you have questions about this directive, please discuss with the Town Attorney or the Town Council. We’re just following the law. Therefore, your definition of corruption and depravity is actually following the law”.

Mr. Fivas has a law degree so for him to take that position was surprising. It is morally wrong to ask subordinates, who need the jobs, to violate their consciences and values. Another Council could very well conclude that the Manager’s actions to obstruct and disrespect a Mayor would be grounds for termination. Instead, this Council gave him a raise and an extension of his contract. I wonder how many American citizens living in Indian Trail are aware of the extreme measures the Town Council has taken to deny them their right to representation.

At this week’s Council meeting, Mayor pro tem Jeff Goodall (who is now running for Mayor) made a motion to exclude me from participating and to prevent my asking questions of candidates seeking appointment to the vacant Council seat. They threatened to have me forcibly removed if I “defied the will of the Council”. The Brandon Oaks Four voted unanimously for it.

Finally, it recently came to light that the Town Council appointed ABC Board was not complying with the State Statute that mandates that; “each local board shall hire one or more ABC enforcement officers”. There are now additional questions about their finances.

I hope our residents take notice and vote for candidates who have character this November.

John Quinn
Indian Trail Mayor

An open letter to Marvin residents from the Village Council

The Second quarter of 2011 focused on creating a balanced budget for the Village in 2011/2012 and designing, permitting, and building your park. We focused on increasing public safety and planning for the future of the Village. Here are some of the highlights for the Second Quarter of 2011:
Another balanced budget Delivered to the Village – with no tax increase.

Your Council is driven by your value of creating balanced budgets, living by them, and delivering the level of services desired by the residents of Marvin. Here are some of the highlights of the 2011/2012 fiscal year budget.

No tax increase: Marvin lives within its means. Our budget is balanced, funds desired services, and dedicated capital to current and future Village improvement projects. The Budget can be found on the Village web site.

Increase Public Safety: The Council recognized the increased pressure on public safety created by the commercial development and transient traffic passing through the Village. In this years budget we allocated additional funds to assure our community is safe. We will be evaluating options to increase sheriffs visibility for the park.

Road safety: For the first time, the Village of Marvin is dedicating a capital fund to improve our roads. We dedicated $245,000 to the fund. The funding is dependent upon the Village completing the incorporation of the area of Marvin that lies between Weddington Chase and Marvin Creek. This area of incorporation is presently part of unincorporated Union County. Our intent is to build a capital reserve and work with the NCDOT to obtain matching project funds to make our roads and intersections safer.

Land Preservation: The Village dedicated another $150,000 to the land preservation/acquisition fund,- bringing this capital fund up to $230,000. This money may be used to acquire more park land and athletic fields to preserve land.

Planning for the future

Marvin’s longterm Land Use Plan: The Planning Board has started to prepare the long-term land use plan for the Village of Marvin. This plan is being done mostly in-house by staff and Planning Board members with planning experience. The in-house effort will save the Village more than $80,000.

Recreation and Leisure

Increased Trails: The Village entered into contract to approximately double the length of the Marvin Loop Trail. This work is being done with State money so no Marvin tax dollars are begin spent to enhance this Village asset!

Marvin-Efird Park: The general plan for the park was completed and the Conditional Use Permit was issued. Two open fields were cleared, graded and planted with grass. An irrigation system was installed by volunteers to water the grass. A new barn/pavilion, which could be used for community events, and a unique playground are planned for our park.

Community Center: The house by the lake in the park will be converted to a Community Center with a full kitchen, meeting hall and children’s library. The center will be available for civic groups and for rent.
Park opening : The tentative planned opening day for the park is October 22. Visit the Marvin Village new website for park updates. http://www.marvinnc.org/

In closing, this Council is committed to providing the most transparent and responsive representation to all our citizens. We welcome your input and suggestions. As a reminder, a council member is available at Village Hall every Wednesday between 11 AM to 2 PM to speak with you in person.

Nick Dispenziere-Mayor; Ron Salimao-Mayor-Pro Tem
Anthony Burman- Council Member; Ross Overby-Council Member

Weddington, we have a problem … I think we might be just an illusion

What is Weddington? It offers no services… contracts for sheriff protection, is divided into three fire districts, and even borrows a postal code from Matthews. The town has no identity and seemingly no interest to develop one. What makes us think we are a town?

We look pretty on the outside, nice lamp posts, banners visible from Providence Road, a beautiful Town Hall, neatly landscaped and manicured. But take a look inside… a mayor and council that need an intervention, and so many residents blind to town issues unless those issues directly affect them. I was in this group and am here to announce that it does not hurt when the eyes are opened. It’s an opportunity to shift your perspective and give the town a checkup or analysis and decide how you rate the health of our town. I’ve done it, many of my neighbors that attended the town council meeting last month did it, and you can too… give the town a personal inspection. I expect a town to care. I expect that caring to begin at the top, between our town leaders. I expect my town leaders to be driven by a pride and vision for Weddington; for me and my neighbors. I want a reason to be proud of Weddington.

We do have several important issues right now that need the attention of our town leaders and the residents of Weddington. On August 8th, at 7PM both these issues will be on the agenda.

The Stratford on Providence neighborhood is very upset because of a planned water tower to be built next to them. They fear a drop in property values. This is the fourth proposed tower site over the past 1 ½ to 2 years; with each site a different group of residents organized to oppose the tower next to their neighborhood or church. In hindsight, earlier planning during the enormous growth development in and around Weddington should have included projections for future needs to our public works infrastructure, averting today’s site controversies and community stress.

Providence VFD fire district is almost entirely in the town of Weddington and struggling to support itself because its district size has shrunk and no longer provides the income to cover expenses. Of the three departments servicing Weddington, this department alone provides 24/7 staffed coverage. They respond to fire calls for all Weddington residents, but only residents in the Providence VFD district benefit from 24/7 staffed EMT coverage. Residents living in the Wesley Chapel VFD and Stallings VFD districts pay more for fire service without the benefit of 24/7 staffed EMT coverage. There are solutions available to eliminate the inequity with fire assessments and quality of service for all Weddington residents IF we start thinking as a town. I appeal to the town council to be open to listen to the solutions presented over the next few weeks. Go to: www.SaveProvidenceVFD.org for more details.

It should not be a surprise that currently most citizens do not think in terms of what is the best option for the town. We have no reason to think in terms of a town since, over the years, the town has not demonstrated an interest to protect our homes and families. Our council must aspire to lead in this regard. Let’s change the adversarial relationships and work as a collective unit to resolve issues, focused on the betterment of resident lifestyle. We must place value on our property and infrastructure for property and infrastructure to remain valuable. Otherwise the town of Weddington really is just an illusion, albeit a pretty one.

We aspire to inspire our children. Let us offer our town the same encouragement as it evolves. Show up to the next town meeting on Aug. 8th, 7PM at Town Hall.

Judy Johnston
Weddington

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