Mt. Holly Identity

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Topic review

Expand view Topic review: Mt. Holly Identity

Re: Mt. Holly Identity

Post by Bob D » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:23 pm

Carmen, I agree. I've lived in Mt. Holly all my life and have absolutely no problem with what we have. I've got a grocery store that has everything I need within 2 miles of my house. I can go to Gastonia or Charlotte to get a eat, shop etc. You aren't ever going to get higher end shopping here. They will always be in the malls and the malls are always going to be in the center of a very high population area which doesn't not include Mt. Holly with 14,000 residents. If there was a Publix, Ingles or Fresh Market here, I doubt I'd ever set foot in them because they are too high for what you get. A steak for $8.99 a pound from Food Lion is just as good (and exactly the same thing) as the one you pay $12.99 for at the upscale stores. "Upscale" comes with a price.

Re: Mt. Holly Identity

Post by Carmen » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:39 am

Maybe it's just me and maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like all of this desire for "growth" is coming from transplants and not the ones who have lived here all of the better part of their life. I am perfectly happy with MH staying the way it is - actually, I think it's too big now. I don't understand why people feel like it's necessary to have a housing development every other mile and pack more people in this small space. I am perfectly fine with driving to Gastonia, Belmont, and across the river to eat, shop, and buy groceries. I'm sorry, but Ulta, Gander Mountain, and a movie theater have no business sonewhere like MH. I'd like to know what it is about MH that drew or draws people here.

Re: Mt. Holly Identity

Post by Scott L » Thu May 14, 2015 8:35 am

Read this supporting article from a NC legislator on how growing a tax base is a strategy to grow government:

"...when cities would become financially overextended or they would seek to fund projects beyond their ability to pay for them, essentially they had three avenues of action: increase property taxes, cut spending, or annex high-value properties.

Increasing property taxes is politically unpopular and can even be counterproductive by driving residents and businesses out of the city. Lowering spending is sometimes difficult for city politicians — who regularly get elected on the promise of favors, handouts and grandiose feel-good projects. All too often, the least painful option for a city became forced annexation: state law allowed it, the voters weren’t able to stop it, and the cost-benefit ratio was favorable — to city governments."

This is a reason why citizens have councils to oversee government. Government naturally (perhaps not inappropriately) wants to help themselves to the all-you-can-eat buffet (growth by annexation or by drawing more people into town limits) and the mechanism to keep that in check is the city council - as much or as little as the citizens want to grow or keep small the town.

Mt. Holly Identity

Post by Scott L » Thu May 14, 2015 7:57 am

As we consider strategies, policies, and development ideas, let's ratify or clarify our town's image. As a 2-year newcomer to town from Charlotte, before I moved to town I was aware of the giant green billboard that promoted Mt. Holly as a "great place to play". I must admit when I saw that billboard for the first time I thought "waste of money". But when I started looking for a home in Belmont, I found myself easily able to expand my looking area into Mt. Holly where I always had that "great place to play" slogan tattooed in my mind. Having moved here, I appreciate Tailrace marina, the great parks we have, and the children's sporting organizations. I also notice the "professional-looking" cyclists that ride our streets usually on weekends.

I raise this topic because I've heard some town leaders suggest we need to "grow our tax base" while considering more and bigger development. I think it might be appropriate to challenge the "more and bigger" philosophy and task our leaders with a strategy that keeps our town small and quaint. Perhaps quality over quantity is a better strategy.

There are only 2 valid reasons to "grow" in quantity: (1) growing helps you market your existing offerings, or (2) growing is a way to fund irresponsible spending.

More described, if you are like Charlotte and you have business like the Democratic National Convention or a national sporting event coming to town because Charlotte is BIG and has lots of people to support that business, it's in Charlotte's interest to continue to be as big in the region as part of their "attracting business" strategy. They can't fall behind Raleigh or regionally much more behind Atlanta. But Mt. Holly is decidedly not big. We cannot ever beat Charlotte in big-ness. And from what I can tell, we are not competing with other small towns like Belmont to be "bigger" than them. So there's no advantage for growing our town just for the sake of growth.

If our town spends more than it takes in, then adding more to the tax base would give the town more to spend. If raising taxes isn't a good idea and cutting services is not a good idea, then the only way left to "get more money" is to add people or businesses paying taxes. Having seen the reviews of the town's finances, it seems we are fiscally responsible and do not regularly spend more than we have to spend. So as a matter of normal life, growth for increasing tax revenue is not required. It could be that some town leaders have pie-in-the-sky ambitions to make bigger and greater public works -- but then, someone needs to keep that in check to say that bigger and better public things come at a price. One way to pay that price could be to compromise our small town in attempts to pay for it.

So I ask, what do the citizens of Mt. Holly want in our town's identity? More/Bigger? Or small-town and walkable? If we don't want more/bigger, how hard should we make it to grow? For example, when someone asks us to re-zone residential to Heavy Industrial, under what conditions would we support such a request? Recently, citizens protested a Heavy Industrial request and it was not approved -- which at least says we don't want that kind of growth proposed in the way that it was.

Mt. Holly is a walkable small-town. It will take effort to keep it that way next to such a large and growing city. How much effort should we make?