Monthly Archives: December 2014

IF WE DO NOT WATCH OUR TAX DOLLARS – WHO WILL?

Thomas Jefferson Quote

As a firm believer of Open and Honest Government I believe every penny spent by our leadership must be accounted for.  If we do not question and ask how our tax dollars are being spent then we have no right to complain about the misuse and frivolous spending within Government.          

**UPDATE HIGHWAY 51 PARK aka PURSER PARK**   During the November 24, 2014 Board of Commissioners Meeting an update of the future park was presented.  This is only a presentation.  This has not been approved.  There was still no indication that Matthews will be honoring the naming rights as promised to Mr. Purser. Hwy_51_park_master_plan_presentation  

*SALARIES, BENEFITS AND REIMBURSEMENTS:   Town Manager Hazen Blodgett is the only employee that has a contract with the Town of Matthews.  On October 27, 2014 an increase of 2.98% was approved retroactive to 7/1/2014 and Mr. Blodgett’s annual salary went from $124,000.00 to $127,700.00.  He also receives a monthly vehicle allowance of $350.00, monthly cell phone allowance $85.00, Insurance $833.33 per month/$10,000.00 per year, 5% of salary contribution to 401K and 7.15% of salary contributed to retirement.  So, when the Town Manager is crunching numbers for the Town Budget and deciding if your tax dollars need to be raised or not, he is also budgeting a salary increase.  Do not forget in June our car fee tax was just increased from $15.00 to $25.00.   Hazen Blodgett-contract & salary increase   There are six department heads 1.Police  2. Fire/EMS  3.Planning Director  4. Public Works Director        5. Finance Director  6. Parks and Rec. Director and many of them are at the top of the pay scale.     Employee Salary, Benefits & Reimbursements   

Retroactive – pertaining to a pay raise effective as of a past date.     

*JULY 15TH FLOODING:    On July 15, 2014 Matthews received a massive amount of rain.  Within an hour or so we received 4.5 – 5 inches of rain which was labeled the 100 year storm.  Due to the storm there were many emails sent to the Mayor and Commissioners of desperation asking for help.  Property Damage Emails   I even spoke with and received emails from residents who had received damage to their property.   Whenever there is storm damage on private property clean up is the responsibility of the property owner.  But, unfortunately this does not apply to all here in Matthews.   On July 22, 2014  & July 23, 2014 $783.67 of your tax dollars were spent for cleaning up storm debris on private property for the well connected of Matthews.  Storm Clean up @ 1200 Home Place – 2014

* 2014 MATTHEWS BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS PLANNING CONFERENCE:    All expense paid weekend retreat at Splash Kingdom 50 E. 1st Street Ocean Isle Beach.  Arrival date February 27, 2014 thru March 2, 2014 costing the residents (according to receipts submitted) a total of $7,612.24.  

*TECHNOLOGY ALLOWANCE POLICY

Reimbursements to Commissioners since the beginning of 2014.                                    January 13, 2014 – Commissioner John Higdon  $ 888.33  Commissioner Kress Query           $380.00

January 27, 2014 – Commissioner Chris Melton  $772.18

March 10, 2014 – Commissioner John Ross   $1,578.98

April 14, 2014 – Commissioner Joe Pata  $1,273.36  Commissioner Chris Melton  $255.00  Commissioner John Ross  $167.56

June 23, 2014 – Commissioner Chris Melton   $198.23  

October 13, 2014 – Commissioner Chris Melton   $198.37

Newest Approval – November 24, 2014 –  Commissioner Joe Pata  $407.52                                   Commissioner Jeff Miler  $1,985.96

Technology Allowance Commissioner Pata – page 2 receipt submitted by Commissioner Pata, pages 2-9 product information.

Technology Allowance Commissioner Miller pages 2 – 34 receipts submitted by Commissioner Miller pages 35 – 38 product information.

Included in Commissioners Millers receipts is a request for reimbursement of $85.57 for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Software.  Since this program is for printing, filing, correcting and sharing of pictures and being a former Architectural Photographer I was a little confused as to how this would fall under the Technology Allowance Policy.  On 11/25/2014 I sent email to Commissioner Miller asking him to please explain.

Q. On 11/24/2014 the amount of $1,985.96 was approved according to the Technology Allowance Policy.  In this amount it included $85.57 for the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 program.  Could you please explain how the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 falls within the Technology Allowance Policy and how will this digital photography program be used in fulling your “duties by enhancing communication and information processing with each other, staff and constituents.

A. “I use photography in my role as a Commissioner a lot.  I’ve attached a few examples. Pictures speak a thousand words towards effective communication.”   

Some examples sent by Commissioner Miller:   Signage in Matthews Parking Downtown 002 

TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT TO DATE BY COMMISSIONERS ACCORDING TO THE TECHNOLOGY ALLOWANCE POLICY IS $8,105.49  ALL PAID IN FULL BY THE RESIDENTS OF MATTHEWS.  ALL ITEMS PURCHASED ARE KEPT BY THE MAYOR AND COMMISSIONERS.  

*STREET SWEEPER: On November 24, 2014 during the Board of Commissioners Meeting the Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved $236,963.00 to purchase a street sweeper.

* NORTH CAROLINA METROPOLITAN MAYORS COALITION:    On November 24, 2014 the Mayor and Commissioners approved a Budget Amendment to Appropriate Funding in the amount of  $4,164.00 for the NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition.  Budget Ordinance Admendment

The NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition was founded in 2001.  It is comprised of mayors from large cities with more three million citizens.  It is non-partisan organization that focuses on special interest to large cities and urbanizing.  Currently there are twenty-six members.

Member Listing   *member listing provided by NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition

SOUTH CHARLOTTE ALLIANCE: Start-up cost of $4,000.00.  There are three appointments, the first from Town Board, second Town Manager and third is an at-large selection.   

 AS ALWAYS PLEASE REMEMBER TO SUPPORT MATTHEWS WATCH BY TELLING YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

Christmas tree HAVE VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!