Lake Norman & Mooresville

Town seeks input on budget

Mooresville town staffers want residents to tell them which services and amenities should be protected in next year's budget.

Since the end of September, staff members have asked residents to fill out online surveys or attend one of four community meetings to share their ideas and opinions.

The deadline to fill out a survey is Oct. 31.

Last year, Mooresville commissioners decided to switch to a priority-based budget, a method that anticipates budget shortfalls.

Previously, the town had used an incremental-based budget, which simply adjusted numbers from the previous year's budget.

The survey lists 28 services, including crime response, street lighting, availability of drinkable water, garbage collection, town parks and more.

It then asks residents to rank the importance of each service on a scale from one to five.

The survey asks residents about how frequently they use certain town resources as well as how they feel about the quality of services provided by the local, county, state and federal governments.

As of last week, about 300 residents had sent in completed surveys, said Town Manager Erskine Smith.

About 33,000 people live in Mooresville.

Smith said he is hoping at least 1,000 residents respond.

The more residents respond, he said, the more confident town staff can be that the results truly represent the whole town.

"There's a large sense of apathy that I hope Mooresville moves beyond," said Commissioner Mac Herring. "I hope surveys like this help people to get engaged. They need to realize they do have a voice but they need to make it heard, and this is one way that they can do that."

Both Smith and Herring acknowledged the survey has flaws. For instance, Herring said, it doesn't verify that respondents live in Mooresville.

"In that aspect, I think the process is a little flawed. We'll certainly take that under consideration, but we still greatly value the feedback of the citizens and residents of Mooresville," said Herring.

Still, Herring said the town staffers were thorough about making sure the survey reached residents.

Besides the online surveys and community meetings, surveys also are available at the Mooresville Public Library and at the town hall, he said.

"They're available. I just hope citizens will respond to the survey and make their opinion heard," said Herring.

"Otherwise, it's the six of us doing the best we can with the input we got from the ones who responded to us."