Will Haynie For Mayor
The people of Mount Pleasant feel that the town is headed in the wrong direction. We are losing our quality of life due to overdevelopment and the current leadership is owns that record. I want to stop over-development, finish our road projects, protect our trees and buffers and preserve our natural beauty and natural resources.
I am the only candidate who has the education, leadership training, and proven record of developing jobs and a workforce for the 21st Century. As executive director of the Lowcountry Land Trust, I led a team that preserved 50,000 acres of Lowcountry land from development. While living out of state, I was involved at the state and federal levels in bringing hi tech jobs to Western North Carolina and received a rare citation for my leadership in strategic planning and funding of workforce preparedness for 21st Century jobs.
I not only say it, but I have the votes on council to prove it. At a recent meeting, I made the motion to have the state Attorney General scrutinize a late-night vote resulting from an executive session that occurred 3 hours prior (in which I refused to participate). My opponent was afraid of this scrutiny and voted against the motion, which failed. I have shown by example and action how much I value transparency. I also want the council agendas to much more clearly state the details of items that are placed on the agenda. This is what led to the approval of the parking garage on Shem Creek that riled the community.
I am proud that I proposed the recently passed 40% coverage limit for impervious surfaces in flood prone areas of town to help stop flooding. The expert study that was delivered to the committee I chair confirmed that increased development is contributing to the problem, which is another argument for slowing development. Our lack of adequate drainage systems also needs to be addressed and funding for this needs to be a priority.
In 2017, the town established a new debt service fund, taking this out of the general fund. Our debt service budget for this fiscal year is $6.8 million. Our debt limits are governed by state law and we have adhered to those. The last bond issue was in 2014 for $25 million for the new town hall and gym complex, and we are counting as debt the $11 million State Revolving Fund loan for the drainage fix in Snee Farm. At the end of our last fiscal year, the town had just under $37 million of bonded debt subject to the legal 8% limit, leaving an unused debt margin of $24 million. I intend to lead the new council in a re-prioritization of our capital needs and funding plans. Issues that affect the safety, health, and wellbeing of our citizens should be the top priority.
Without massive amounts of funding, which we don’t have, governments cannot “ensure” affordable housing because of market driven forces. The town would have to purchase and develop a subdivision the size of Carolina Park just to achieve 5% affordable housing in our town of 35,000 rooftops. In the past, developments like The Boulevard have been required to include a certain number of affordable housing units, and this should have been done on a large scale. As mayor, I will seek workable solutions like that. Also, a recent in-depth analysis cited in the Post & Courier shows that the massive proliferation of short term rentals robs communities of affordable housing. This issue also needs to be addressed in Mount Pleasant.
I fought to get impact fees to do what was promised when they were implemented in 1988, and that is to make growth pay for growth. The majority of council passed a new impact fee structure that does NOT fully fund the fire protection needs clearly shown in the independent study. That is a decision I strongly disagree with and will seek to change after we get a new mayor and new council in this election. We just expanded our police department by 12 officers – why? To keep up with growth, again taking taxpayers’ money to deal with the effects of too much growth. Currently in Mount Pleasant, growth is not paying for growth.
Yes, and we have a perfect example for us at Boone Hall, where the historical spectrum is accurately and informatively presented. We should follow their model.