We’d like to address our concerns to the Cornelius Board of Commissioners in response to a recent article in Cornelius Today “Election season springs up.”  Frankly we are appalled at the audacity of Jim Duke with the Peninsula Property Owners Association and Mayor Tarte’s seemingly tacit agreement with Mr. Duke, even though he does not have authority to sanction a change in board policy nor does he have the ability to vote on the issue unless there is a tie. We encourage board commissioners to adhere to the $1,000 per streetlight policy and require the Peninsula Property Owners Association to incur any additional costs in their selection of decorative streetlights.

Mr. Duke’s argument that Peninsula homeowners provide more tax revenue to the town so they should be able to get more money out of the town than everyone else is beyond arrogant and frankly insulting to all other Cornelius residents. They pay property taxes at the same rate as everyone else. The only reason they pay more is because they choose to live in a larger house on the lake that is more expensive.

Also, in this economy, it is imprudent to ask the town to spend more than $60,000 simply because they want a more decorative streetlight. We are sure there are less expensive alternatives they could make do with, if the costs are really too much for the Peninsula group to handle on its own. We also feel there are more important areas where the town could spend the money. While the safety of pedestrians and vehicles traveling Jetton Road is certainly important, we don’t think it is imperative to implement such a costly extravagance at this time. Especially since the Peninsula Property Owners Association doesn’t consider a 45-mph speed limit on Jetton Road unsafe.

Finally, if the board does approve a change in policy and contributes more than $1,000 towards each $6,500 streetlight, does this mean that they will do so for all other communities going forward or retroactively? Could we then encourage our homeowners association to pursue better streetlights in the interest of getting more money from the town? Would there be a new flat contribution rate? Or will you decide a different rate for each community solely based on how much tax revenue it brings in?

We strongly encourage you to adhere to your current policy.

– Joanna Burgess and Jason Sematoski,

Editor’s note: The town’s policy actually provides for the utility serving a community to provide the basic pole and streetlight, and the town pays the electric bill. One provision in the policy regarding thoroughfares and collector streets where underground wiring currently exists, the town “may provide decorative pole fixtures at the town’s expense, subject to the approval of the town board.”