by Josh Lanier
HUNTERSVILLE – Despite earlier protests, the Huntersville Town Board will pay the management company of Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic center a $42,917 bonus after coming to a compromise to better measure the firm’s performance.
The decision, which passed unanimously Monday, Dec. 20, came after votes at the board meetings this week and Dec. 9 to pay the money were shot down. At issue was the price tag and how Town Manager Greg Ferguson, who suggested the bonus, came to it.
Ferguson listed several criteria for the payout structure, including maintenance of the Verhoeff Road facility, customer surveys and marketing produced by the company.
Commissioners Ken Lucas, Charles Jeter and Danae Caulfield, who had formed the previous nay blocs, wanted better measurements of how bonuses were doled out to Health & Sports Works, Inc.
“I don’t think you can say that this number ($42,917) was picked with any real metrics,” Lucas said.
A compromise was reached after Jeter said he’d approve the near-$43,000 bonus if a task force was established comprised of Caulfield, the outspoken critic, Commissioner Ron Julian, who originally backed the bonuses, and Ferguson.
“Let’s fix the metrics,” Caufield said, “because this contract isn’t fair” to town staff, who have to make the decision on the bonuses, and Health & Sport Works, that has to wait on the town board to make decisions based on inferior data.
The task force is to meet and present its findings early next year.
The vote came after a meeting filled with several high profile topics. Those issues included:
• Commissioners approved a rezoning plan to allow a new Catholic high school called Christ the King Catholic High to occupy an empty warehouse at 13728 Statesville Road across from auto dealer row. Commissioners have feared that allowing the school to take over what is currently available business space would set a bad precedent and cut into potential business tax revenues.
“We don’t have a lot of corporate business land as it is,” Jeter said.
Commissioners passed a resolution that would allow a school to take over a former business facility for up to five years while constructing or finding a permanent and appropriately zoned facility, having no more than 300 students, taking up less than 50,000 square feet and occupying a building built before Dec. 20, 2010.
• Commissioners approved the conditional rezoning of 133 acres of land sold to Metrolina Greenhouses in March by developers of the Parkside at Skybrook North community that will be converted into 1.5 million square feet of greenhouse space.
As part of the rezoning, Metrolina will commit 30 feet of land along the creeks for greenway easement.
• Commissioners approved a code of ethics before Jan. 1 as was required by state law, but expect to reopen the issue for further debates after the New Year.
• Commissioners approved spending $60,000 of non-appropriated funds to widen the Bud Henson Road bridge to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.