In August 2007, the Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the old Adelphia cable system for $80 million (plus an additional $12.5 million one year later), without voter support, thereby setting Davidson on a financially devastating trajectory for the next decade. MI-Connection has been a proverbial albatross hanging around our town’s neck. Our budget is struggling. It is time to develop an exit strategy.
I was elected to the town board in November 2007 after the purchase was completed. While I did not vote for MI-Connection, I personally spent over five years (2008-2013), along with my fellow board members, working to ensure MI-Connection did not bankrupt our town. Since 2010, MI-Connection has required financial support from both Mooresville and Davidson. Each year we pay at least $1 million in subsidies to MI-Connection (the total for the past eight years is over $12 million) which has drastically reduced our ability to fund much needed projects. Even though the company is now performing well and covering its operating expenses, the large debt service will require Davidson to continue to pay the $1 million subsidy for the next three to five years.
Had Mayor Woods (then Commissioner Woods) and the other board members not voted to support our government’s involvement in the cable/internet/phone business, we would have been able to fund a multitude of critical projects. In fact, if we’d used that extra $1 million/year to service capital projects, we would have been able to borrow $8.5 million in 2007 ($12 million in today’s dollars) and have paid it off over the past 10 years! Imagine all we could have accomplished and the improvements we could have made to our quality of life.
I propose the following:
- Develop and pursue an exit strategy for MI-Connection so Davidson no longer owns any portion of the company.
- Continue to support efforts to improve service, add program offerings and grow the business.