Published: Apr 21, 2012 11:40 PM
Modified: Apr 23, 2012 10:28 AM
Improvements to N.C. 54 and upgrades to the fitness center topped residents’ wish list at a public input session for a proposed fall bond referendum.
The Morrisville Town Council has about $37 million in capital projects that need funding and is using public feedback to whittle down the list and determine how much residents are willing to pay.
If the council decides to move forward with a bond referendum on the November ballot, it would come with a property tax increase.
Several property owners at Thursday’s meeting said they would be receptive to a nominal increase between $33 to $50 a year for better roads and parks facilities.
Property owners will have the next two weeks to weigh in on the town’s website, www.townofmorrisville.org
, before staff presents its report to the town council.
The project appearing to gain the most public support was road Option B, which extends McCrimmon Parkway from N.C 54 to Evans Road and is estimated to cost between $7.2 million to $9.9 million. Two additional lanes and shoulders would be installed between Airport Boulevard and Aviation Parkway/Evans Road.
Option A is the extension of McCrimmon Parkway for N.C. 54 to Airport Boulevard and from Airport Boulevard to the International Drive Extension.
Greg Johnson, who lives near the often-backed up Savannah Drive, said he preferred option B.
“The traffic backs up so far past Savannah. It takes about 10 minutes to get through the traffic,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he would like to see all the projects – which included a public services building and park land acquisition – make it to the fall ballot. But he was unwilling to see his tax bill jump too high.
“I’d be willing to go for about half the cost,” Johnson said. “To me, the most important projects are the road projects and the fitness center. Those projects could also generate revenue.”
Councilman Steve Diehl said it’s likely three of the six projects would be funded with a $20 million bond issue.
“My personal choice is the McCrimmon Parkway extension from Aviation to Evans,” Diehl said. “Twenty percent of the traffic on N.C. 54 would be diverted.”
He said he also supported the $2.5 million completion of Phase III of Morrisville Community Park and the $2.5 million expansion at the Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center.
Under the proposal the park would get five new tennis courts, picnic shelter, horseshoe pits, Frisbee golf course and greenway extension. The aquatics center renovations would include adding pool lanes, converting it permanently to an indoor pool, expanding weight room and fitness classroom.
Resident Rick Vivolo said he support the roads and recreation projects. But said the project to build a recreation/senior center in the proposed downtown core district was lower on the priority list.
“I’m only against it if it takes money away from some of these other projects,” he said. “I’ll be furious if we have this main street and we don’t get the improvements to N.C. 54.”
As far as increasing the tax rate, Vivolo said wasn’t completely anti-tax.
“I don’t mind paying a few more dollars if you’re improving services for me and my family,” he said.