Wednesday, 10 May 2017 06:30

It might be time to clean house again

Written by  Lori Helms

“Honey, what’s this?”

It’s a question I’ve asked my husband several times throughout our nearly 30 years of beloved togetherness, but never more than in the last few weeks. We’re getting ready to list our Huntersville house for sale, and the mind-numbing task of sifting through 15 years of life’s accumulations is under way.

Moving was a lot simpler when my husband was still on active duty — when the Navy insists on sending you off for yet another adventure every two to three years or so, you get pretty good at traveling light. But once Ray retired and we moved here in 2002, a mild case of hoarding gradually set in.

From 1990 until his retirement in 2001, we made two transatlantic moves as well as some domestic ones. But since our 2002 arrival in Huntersville, there’s not been that good, deep purge — a purge that would have negated my need to question some of the strange and long-forgotten things I’m finding in cupboards, closets and corners.

“Honey, what’s this?” I say, more than a few times a day, and it’s a question my husband answers with increasing exasperation tinged with more than a bit of hostility.

“I don’t know, but I probably need it,” he’ll snap without looking up from his home repair project of the moment. “Just put it back and I’ll look at it later.”

Problem is, later is now. We’re trying to time our home’s sale with what is a pretty seller-friendly market at the moment, and time spent sorting through what’s-its and widgets is time wasted. My rule is that if I haven’t touched it in the last two years, I clearly don’t need it.

Two years passes quickly, though, and a lot can happen in 24 flips of the calendar. Never has that been clearer than now, as we two empty-nesters look to where our downsizing move will take us. We plan to land somewhere in the Lake Norman area, but with what has transpired in Huntersville’s town hall since the 2015 municipal election, we’re essentially crossing that option off the list.

What a litany of lunacy has unfolded since this current board of commissioners was voted into office almost two years ago. There was a significant change of composition to Huntersville’s elected body in November 2015, as the then-mayor and two commissioners lost their re-election bids, and one commissioner decided against another run at office.

Nature and politics abhor a vacuum, so some new faces joined the municipal mix — some that I voted for and some that I did not. I’m not a change-averse creature, but what started out as a few chin-scratching decisions made by a board with a mix of political leanings and ideologies has morphed into a series of actions that have few logical explanations.

For a board whose majority claims the high ground on fiscal conservatism and leveraging local assets, its actions show it’s had some apparent split with that reality.

In accepting the “resignation” of their long-serving town manager in January, commissioners stroked a check to the tune of more than $400,000 to legally part ways with him and now have to struggle to replace the corporate knowledge and depth of experience he took with him to Waxhaw.

In addition to some questionable manipulations in ultimately approving one commissioner’s request for a rezoning of his own property, in spite of the recommendations by the town’s planning board and staff not to approve it, this board has potentially put itself in the position to have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (again) to buy out the perfectly sound management contract already in place for the town’s aquatics center. And just last week, commissioners discarded a very lucrative partnership agreement with one of the largest soccer clubs in the state, saying they think they can get a better deal ... better than $500,000 over 10 years that could go toward park upkeep and improvements.

In applying my two-year rule about something’s usefulness, it looks like it might be time to clean house again.

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