On Saturday September 20, 2014 the Board of Commissioners Mid-Year Planning Conference was held at Matthews Town Hall. This was a five hour meeting only costing the residents a total of $30.67.
In attendance : Mayor James Taylor; Mayor Pro-Temp Joe Pata; Commissioners John Higdon, Chris Melton, Kress Query and John Ross; Town Manager Hazen Blodgett; Town Clerk Lori Canapinno; Asst. Town Manager Jamie Justice; Fire & EMS Chief Dennis Green; Police Chief Rob Hunter; Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Director Cory King; Planning & Development Director Kathi Ingrish; Public Works Director Ralph Messera; Town Engineer CJ O’Neill; Finance Director Christine Surratt; Finance Specialist Lindsey Wiggs
2014 Mid-Year Conference Notes You will notice stamped on every page “CAUTION – UNAPPROVED UNOFFICIAL NOTES DRAFT ONLY”. These are the actual notes written during the mid-year planning conference, the Approved Minutes are posted at the bottom of this page. When minutes are approved by the Board the items that are not wanted for public viewing are deleted from public record. So much for Transparency.
** FYI ** The remarks on pages 23 and 24 concerning the 2015 Planning Conference, Bow Hunting and Deer Feeding have been omitted from the approved Mid-Year Planning Conference Minutes.
On page 23 of the draft notes Commissioner Melton is noted as saying “this meeting was fully advertised and no public showed indicates going out of town wouldn’t negatively affect the public”.
In the comment made by Commissioner Melton “going out of town wouldn’t negatively affect the public”, in the first place the Planning Conference is a public meeting that is to be open to the residents of Matthews. Let’s assume they spend $7,000.00 which was amount spent for the 2014 planning conference and add the $3,500.00 increase that was just approved in June, this is a total of $10,500.00 for a weekend. I would definitely make the assertion that; this type of reckless spending will definitely affect the public.
How can thousands of dollars be taken from the Town Budget for a ocean front meeting with Matthews residents unable to attend be positive for the public? Why not have the planning conference here in Matthews? What urgent need is there to go to another state? When the planning conference is concerning town matters shouldn’t it be held in a town forum? As a public servant how does traveling out of state serve the citizens of Matthews? With taxpayer dollars being spent, how does this benefit the residents? I am sure our local businesses and restaurants would love to see our tax dollars go back into our local economy. Give me one good reason why we (residents of Matthews) should pay for an all expense paid weekend retreat for the Mayor and Commissioners? Whether the citizens attend or not we have a Grand Town Hall paid for by the residents for these meetings.
Just an Idea. During the 2014 Planning Conference a total of $7,037.64 was spent. With Thanksgiving and Christmas soon upon us there will be many families in need here in Matthews. Instead of the Mayor and Commissioners traveling out of state, why not use the Planning Conference Budget to stock the shelves of Matthews Help Center and Matthews Free Medical Clinic? Can you imagine food, clothing, toys, medicine or what ever is needed for the health and welfare of our very own citizens? Just think of all the families here in Matthews that our tax dollars would be helping. This past June Mayor Taylor and Commissioners approved a $3,500.00 Planning Conference increase. This would mean a bigger budget to help those in need here in Matthews.
FRIVOLOUS SPENDING = GOVERNMENT WASTE
In my opinion the Planning Conference is just an excuse for an all expense paid weekend retreat.
Mid-Year Planning Conference Agenda & Documents
General Fund & Tourism Fund – 5-year Financial Plan – pages 2-5 include: Loss of Privilege License Revenue and County 2011 Evaluation Refunds.
CIP Items – pages 6-75 include: Fires Trucks, Greenway Connector/Matthews Elementary School, Rice Road Park, Proposed Connections/Kalewood and Bloomwood, Butler Greenway Project, Police Department Expansion and Community Center Roof.
Road Updates – pages 76-88 include: Paving Plan and Buckley Way
Pay, Classification and Job Description Update, Town Budget, 2015 Planning Conference, Bow Hunting and Deer Feeding – pages 89-91
Approved Mid-Year Planning Conference Minutes – this is what was approved for public record. Approved Mid-Year Conference Minutes
Want to learn more about the 2014 Planning Conference? It is posted in the archives for March. Remember to help in supporting MATTHEWS WATCH by telling your friends and neighbors.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!