FAQs - Public Facilities General Obligation (GO) Bond
What does the $14 million actually pay for?
The $14 million General Obligation (GO) bond for public facilities covers all costs associated with renovating and restoring the main school building at 251 South Street to create a new Davidson Town Center, as well as upfit the current town hall to meet the needs of our police and fire departments. The Town Center project includes renovating the 300+ seat auditorium as well as dedicating half of the space at 251 South Street for community use. The bond covers all soft and hard costs across both projects.
How will this affect my taxes? If this is contingent on Continuum, what if it doesn’t sell?
If the referendum does not pass or the Board of Commissioners decides to allocate the $1 million for other projects, there would be a $.02 increase to the tax rate. If the referendum to sell Continuum passes and the $1 million from the annual budget currently dedicated to Continuum is instead dedicated to public facilities, there could be no tax increase for citizens.
Isn’t the school building a historic landmark? Will the plans protect everything that should be protected?
The school at 251 South Street is indeed a historic landmark. The interior, exterior, and gym are all part of the landmark designation. In fact, this is a large part of the reason it was chosen as the location for our new proposed Town Center. The architects are developing plans that would meet all the needs for administrative and community use, including adhering to all ADA requirements, while still being able to respect and preserve the historic structure.
What will happen to the site around 251 South Street?
The 251 South Street Steering Committee will be launching again in the next few weeks, with a particular focus this time on the site plan of the 5 acres surrounding the school building. This group will help determine what the community desires for the use of the acreage around the proposed Town Center. Their charge includes:
- Sponsor public forums to solicit community input for the use of the 251 South Street site
- Identify and evaluate all assets on-site
- Investigate various public service elements for the site that meet community values and goals as well as align with the town board’s strategic plan
- Consider ancillary uses as appropriate, respecting historic character of surrounding parcels
- Develop planning level cost estimates for the various options to help in setting priorities and developing financing plans
- Evaluate each option on the basis of capital and operational costs, potential impacts on the natural environment, and potential revenues
- Meet with the Davidson Board of Commissioners for review and comment before making final recommendations
- Make recommendations for the consideration of the Davidson Board of Commissioners
What will happen to other town-owned properties if this project moves forward?
If the referendum passes, the town will seek citizen input for these spaces beginning in the first quarter of 2020. The Sloan House next to the current town hall, which currently is used for a few town offices, is a historic landmark and must be protected as such moving forward. The Pump House on South Street, which currently houses Parks & Recreation, is of great use to citizens as a restroom and water fountain facility open from sun up to sun down along the greenway. Its proximity to Davidson Elementary could also make it ideal for continued use by Parks & Recreation for programming. These factors, as well as community input, will be considered before a final determination for use will be made on both properties.
Why can’t the police and fire department expand where they are now? Will this solve the problem for them for good?
The police department has already passed capacity and exhausted all creative solutions in terms of their use of space. As a part of the public facilities plan, once the administrative staff has vacated space in the current town hall and the needed indoor and outdoor renovations are completed (such as including a sally port for a secure entrance), the police department will have the capabilities they have lacked and anticipate this solution will last for up to approximately 50 years. Within this plan, the fire department’s updates are minimal but greatly enhance the functionality of the fire station for all firefighters and EMTs. Although a new solution will be needed for the fire department within the next several years, these updates significantly increase the usability and longevity of Fire Station One.
How do the 2017 GO Bonds fit into this?
One of the scenarios the Board of Commissioners is considering assumes that Continuum sells and the Board dedicates the $1 million in annual funding to public facilities. If this were the case, the town would be able to issue another $6 million of the 2017 GO bonds for approved projects and there would be no tax increase to citizens. It is not in the Board of Commissioner’s current plans to issue more debt than this figure, but if they maximized the potential bond and issue the full $15 million, that would amount to a $.01 tax increase for residents in 2025 under this scenario.
How have citizens been involved in the process? Where will there be room for more input going forward?
In 2016 and 2017, citizens were involved in a steering committee and public input was solicited regarding the town's space needs and the best ways to go about addressing them. There is a long history of the town, with citizen involvement and support, looking to acquire the 251 South Street site for public use. When Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools let the town know they were willing to lease or sell the property, there were several citizen input opportunities through that process. After the town acquired 251 South Street, there was again additional public input sought regarding whether to move forward with 251 South Street or to go back to the original public facilities plan contemplated in 2017.
More recently, as the town board considered the public facilities plans, citizens have had the opportunity to provide feedback all through that planning process. In addition, as the town board considered whether to issue general obligation bonds to fund the public facilities project, citizens had the opportunity provide input in regards to that process. Finally, the usage of general obligation bonds require of vote of approval by the registered voters in a referendum before the town can move forward with general obligation bonds, so citizens will have the opportunity to provide feedback at the referendum.
Moving forward, citizens will be asked for their input with regards to the use of the acreage of land surrounding the 251 South Street main building, as well as the intended use of other town-owned properties if the project is approved.
How do I vote on this general obligation (GO) bond?
Early voting begins on October 16 and Election Day is November 5. More information on how to register, where to vote, and early voting dates and locations is available here:
In Mecklenburg County: https://www.mecknc.gov/BOE/Pages/default.aspx, or call (704) 336-2133
In Iredell County : https://www.co.iredell.nc.us/162/Elections, or call (704) 878-3140
Where can I learn more about general obligation (GO) bonds?
More information about GO bonds (not specific to this project) are available here.