Teacher pay, coal ash, road funding – if there’s an issue in Steele Creek, someone wants to hear about it.
Several opportunities are scheduled within the next week for Steele Creek residents to give their thoughts on topics concerning them. One is a town hall planned for 6 p.m. Monday, July 21, at the Berewick Recreation Center. State Rep. Charles Jeter, Dist. 92, and Rep. Mike Hager, NC House District 112 (Burke and Rutherford counties) and Republican Majority Whip, will field questions on whatever residents want to discuss.
“My job is to listen and to give a responsible answer, and if I don’t have an answer, to find one,” he said.
Jeter expects state budgeting, particularly as it relates to teacher pay, to be a main topic. He’s also concerned with coal ash, the storage of coal power generation by-product by lakefront facilities. Jeter sees the Riverbend and Allen plants in North Carolina as concerns not only in Steele Creek, but also South Carolina.
“We’ve got to get that coal ash away from the water supply and the water table very quickly,” Jeter said.
Other issues like new stormwater legislation could arise, too. But Jeter’s meeting isn’t the only call for public dialogue.
Two opportunities for input on Steele Creek road funding come this week. Two projects – a widening of N.C. 160 from Shopton Road West to South Tryon Street and intersection improvements at N.C. 160 and Hamilton Road – are being considered for funding by 2016. Statewide data makes up 70 percent of the scoring to determine which roads get funding. The final 30 percent comes from state and local input points, each group getting to weight scores for 15 percent of the total.
The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization makes up the local 15 percent in Steele Creek. That group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, in room 267 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. The meeting includes a public comment session, and comes within a public input phase for road improvement funding through Monday, July 21.
NCDOT’s Division 10 includes Mecklenburg County. A Division 10 public meeting runs 4-7 p.m. July 15 at the Metrolina Regional Transportation Management Center in Charlotte. The full public comment period runs through Aug. 14.
Planners say the new rankings process can be confusing for residents, but it should alleviate many road concerns. The new system comes from a state law change last year. In May, NCDOT released data on 3,100 projects as candidates for funding.
“The initial data show the formula is doing exactly what it was designed to do – allowing us to build more projects across the state, which will ultimately create more jobs in North Carolina,” NCDOT secretary Tony Tata said then.