by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – The residents have spoken.

Local residents, by a large margin, passed all three town bond measures on the ballot in the Nov. 6 election.

Work on the trio of general obligation bonds – for streets, public improvement and parks and recreation – is expected to begin within the next five years, Town Manager Greg Ferguson said.

Mayor Jill Swain said there was something for everybody in the referendum.

“We were thinking about the total picture,” she said. “For the most part, the people of Huntersville have looked at our past few town boards and realized we’ve given them no reason not to trust us.”

General obligation bonds share similarities with home mortgages. According to a fact sheet on the town website, there’s expected to be no more than a 5-cent tax increase to pay for the bonds. The town will repay the three bonds’ loan amounts with interest.

Ferguson said the 5-cent increase would be a “worst-case scenario.”

“We don’t have a rate yet, but (if it were a 5-cent increase) it would be staggered over a period of seven years,” he said.

Swain said she expects road and street improvements to occur first, and that there should be marked improvements within a year’s time.

Residents voted 67.8 percent to 32.1 percent to allow $17.85 million to be spent on construction or improvement of local streets. Ferguson said the intersection at Gilead Road and U.S. 21 should receive a $3.3 million improvement.

“The initial process of selecting a design team will happen by January,” he said, “but there will be multiple projects (related to the bond).”

The $7.15 million public improvement bond, which passed by a 68.1 to 31.8 percent margin, will help pay for town improvements.

Ferguson said part of the public improvement bond is expected to include funding for two new fire stations, a relocated Station 2 at an as-yet unknown site, and the development of Station 4, to be located in the southwest part of town.

The $5 million parks and recreation bond – which passed 65 to 34 percent – goes toward the construction of a new town indoor recreation center and improvements to the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics center.

The passage of the three bond measures sends a message to the town board and the governing body, Ferguson said.

“They see the need to continue the investment in (town) infrastructure,” he said. “(The vote shows) they believe that there are (necessary) facilities to take care of our needs as we continue to grow.”

Swain agreed.

“We have a very astute citizenry. I’m impressed the numbers were so positive,” she said. “It looks like people have done their research and realize what kind of quality of life we have here and how we want to (make it even better).”