In an emergency meeting Tuesday evening, the Cornelius Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to pass a resolution of no confidence of Mayor Chuck Travis.
It’s unclear what the resolution really means. Is it just symbolic? Or does it open the door for the board to take other actions?
The mayor said that as far as he knows, there’s no meat to it.
The move comes after Travis met with leaders in the North Carolina Senate last week to discuss a bill that could cancel the I-77 toll lanes project.
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Travis said the point of the meeting was to discuss his observation of Cintra’s track record during a trip to Texas. During his trip, Travis said, he was convinced the region needed to move forward with the toll lanes project.
The town’s board and many residents oppose the 50-year contract the state signed with the private company, Cintra, to build managed lanes between Charlotte and Mooresville.
Mayor Travis’ meeting with legislators to voice his support angered many in town.
“Because it was ridiculous that a man who represented all these people and the town board went behind our backs,” said local businessman Joel Pfyffer, who started the Facebook page “Fire Chuck Travis.”
Pfyffer was among the residents who packed the meeting room to see what town commissioners would do with the resolution, which also asked Travis to resign.
The mayor refused to resign.
“It was unanimous, yet this gentleman feels like he can still represent a community that does not support him. How? I have no clue,” Pfyffer said.
The mayor told WBTV he has been listening to the complaints. “I’ve read the emails. I’ve listened to the phone messages they left me,” Travis said. “I know that they’re upset and I fully understand it, but I also have people on the other side of the equation. They’re saying a different thing. What’s our plan? You cancel the contract – how are we gonna get our interstate fixed?”
Travis expressed concern for a potential loss in property values.
“We are already seeing real estate sales in larger homes going to other locations based on conversations with local leading Realtors. Our quality of life has been affected by long and unpredictable commute times to and from Mooresville to Charlotte.”
Travis stood by his meeting – and his opinion that the toll lane project should continue – in an interview with WBTV Monday afternoon.
“What I would say to my critics is that I was doing what I think is best for our town and our region,” he said. “Obviously there’s a lot of opposition to toll roads. I don’t want to pay a toll either. And I’ve had that consistent message all along. But canceling a contract is not a plan. We need a plan. Our interstate is broken and we got to get it fixed.”
WBTV is the Observer’s news partner.