Economic alliance still in beginning phases

Leaders from Matthews, Mint Hill, Stallings and Indian Trail came together in October 2012 to discuss a possible economic partnership. One year later, the group is still in the beginning phase of talks.

The purpose of the group, known as the Alliance of South Charlotte Communities, is for all the towns to partner on issues that will affect each individual municipality, such as bringing in money for road projects and attracting new businesses that would help each town’s tax base. The group may not reconvene until new officials take office in December following the election, but board representatives and town staff in Matthews, Stallings and Indian Trail say there is currently support to continue working to create a partnership that would benefit all parties involved.  A representative from Mint Hill did not respond to the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly prior to press deadline.

“I think everybody is on board,” Matthews Commissioner John Urban said.  “I think the question is going to be getting the buy-in from new members in November if this is going to be a reasonable thing to pursue.  I think it is.”

Indian Trail Town Manager Joe Fivas recently drafted proposed bylaws for the group that leaders in each town have been reviewing. Stallings Town Council discussed some possible tweaks to the bylaws at the town’s meeting on Oct. 14, but nothing major was decided, Stallings Councilmember Paul Frost said.

Frost has been instrumental in keeping the group together and moving forward, according to Urban, but come December he will no longer be a Stallings representative.  The largest challenge for the group thus far is getting every party together for discussions, Urban added.

“The real big hurdle is getting four different towns to agree and come to the table,” he said.

Leaders in Indian Trail also have shown support for continuing with the partnership, in addition to the Monroe-Union County Economic Development partnership the town also is involved with.

“The current council supports both the Monroe-Union Economic Development team they have, but they are also interested in having this partnership with Stallings and Matthews and Mint Hill,” Fivas said.

Discussions for the Alliance of South Charlotte Communities began a year ago with a meeting to throw around the idea of coming together for a joint project that would benefit all four towns, something similar to what Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville have done with a business complex funded by all three entities.  Those towns now split the tax revenue from the complex in proportion to how much funding they put into the initial

Matthews, Mint Hill, Stallings and Indian Trail may not have taken the same route as the towns in north Mecklenburg, but have thrown around the idea of teaming up to lock in a better sanitation contract or create a joint police, fire or EMS force and support the overall goals of each town.  Initial discussions focused on the residential to commercial tax base of each town and the need to bring in more commercial development.  Proponents for the new partnership say a joint effort will better the towns’ chances of bringing in new commercial partners. A business park in Indian Trail near U.S. 74, for example, would benefit all four towns because residents would live near by and contribute to the tax base, while the four towns speaking as one could help bring in money for road projects such as East John Street/Old Monroe Road.

Towns in Union County also have been working to create a partnership with the Monroe-Union County Economic Development group.  The group’s main focus is to advertise the opportunities in Union County and bring in additional commercial development throughout the county.

“The overall message is that right now is really an unknown in what is going to happen with the alliance, but we certainly want to make sure that they know the town council is supportive of the Monroe-Union Economic Development partnership … and the council has advantaged in having multiple partnerships,” Fivas said of that partnership.

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