CORNELIUS – The Town of Cornelius is drafting $20.4 million worth of bond projects that could appear on the November 2013 ballot.

Jackie Huffman, Cornelius’ finance director, said that the referendum would equate to about a one- or two-cent tax increase if approved.

The bonds will likely be broken down into three separate votes, funding streets improvements and sidewalk construction ($9.15 million); parks and recreation needs ($7.25 million); and an art center ($4 million).

The votes are all independent, meaning they will pass and fail on their own.

Scott Leo, a partner with Charlotte-based Parker Poe, is helping the board discuss wording, options and legal issues for the potential bond package.


“What gets voted really does provide the parameters of what future boards can do with the money,” Leo said. “The idea is to draft it broad enough to allow for flexibility.”

Commissioner Chuck Travis voiced concern during the June 3 town board meeting for the amount proposed for parks and recreation compared to street and sidewalk improvements.

“If $20 million is the true number – if I was voting as a resident – I would probably question why we are spending $11 million on (parks and redevelopment) when we know roads are our number one priority,” Travis said. “$9 million on the surface looks like a lot of money but in road money that is not a significant number. I would advocate that we would actually shift more money into public works out of parks.”

The board will likely finalize the bond package at its next board meeting on June 17.

If the bonds make it to the ballot and are approved by the voters, the town is planning on issuing half of them in 2015 and the other half in 2019. The numbers are subject to change pending the board’s final decision.

Here is the breakdown:

2015 issuance

• $3.5 million for street improvements  

• $500,000 for Spray Park

• $1 million for sidewalks 

• $1.5 million for greenways 

• $3.5 million for an art center 

2019 issuance

• $4 million for street improvements  

• $650,000 for sidewalks 

• $2 million for neighborhood park development, renovation and expansion 

• $2 million for Robbins Park 

• $1.75 million for greenways