Has the Visit Lake Norman controversy and mayors tourism task force gone over the top?
This past Monday, the mayor of Huntersville invited the mayors of Cornelius and Davidson (the tourism task force) to meet with a state house member to discuss impending legislation in the N.C. House to codify the funding for Visit Lake Norman. This meeting was called because the mayor of Huntersville was stunned that such legislation was being proposed, without consulting the mayors. This public – and what should have been an open – meeting was closed to the residents, and the media, too.
Why? What is going on behind closed doors? I reached out to our town board members to find out what the reason was for the invitation-only meeting and was told they did not know because they were not allowed to attend either.
So much for open government! The laws in the State of North Carolina are clear as far as open meetings. The mayors’ tourism task force is an advisory committee to each town board, and under state law, their meetings are required to be open, especially when meeting with a state-elected official and asking that elected official to not file a bill. What is Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain trying to hide? Has she found out that the town is having financial problems, and the funding from the hotels and motels is needed to fund the spending binge the town of Huntersville has gone on over the past five years? Will more hotel-motel funding be illegally used for intersection maintenance?
Answers would be great, but closed doors and removing the president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance is no way for the public to know what goes on behind the mayor’s doors. I guess you could ask the town board, but they seem to be as in the dark as the rest of us!
– Brian Sisson, Huntersville,
Former town board member
Editor’s note: None of the announced members of the tourism task force attended the meeting at Huntersville town hall. None of the mayors serve on the task force, which has never met.