I went to a meeting last night about the Town of Cornelius putting together a group to support Cornelius businesses. This is the same program that I put together over a year ago with about a dozen business owners requested by Mayor Jeff Tarte. This effort cost those business owners thousands of dollars, yet we got little support from the town after we got the program running. Our program, Discover Cornelius, was shut down by the town after I was asked to do the same thing they are asking for again.

The Discover Cornelius Project website got about 45,000 hits from interested parties in about four months. Our group brought three businesses into our community in less than four weeks. What has the Economic Development Commission done?

When Discover Cornelius was started, there were about 50 vacant buildings on Catawba Avenue. No one has helped with the task of filling these building or helping business in our community.

The Economic Development Commission still gets about $500,000 each year but does very little for Cornelius businesses. This is a waste of time for citizens, if again they are not supported by town government.

I was on the mayor’s task force to get to the bottom of problems with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department. Our committee did what was requested by Mayor Tarte. About 15 dedicated citizens responded to the mayor and a stinging rebuke to the City of Charlotte was delivered. The town commissioners were largely silent about the work and the effort failed to obtain the momentum it needed to generate real change.

A few of us have met with Mayor Tarte, asking that he send a letter to Mayor Anthony Foxx demanding changes and an investigation of the business practices and political influence that appeared to be steering Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities on a disastrous course and seriously jeopardizing the interests of county water customers. Even with the fact that the letters were drafted for the mayor, they were never sent and the ball was dropped.

We are not better off today than we were two years ago, and only a few of the minor issues raised by the task force have been addressed.

We need leaders that will step up and sare not afraid to deal forcefully with the utility, the Economic Development Commission and Mayor Foxx.

– Bob Watson, Cornelius