[LFC Comments: We received this article from a new Kirtland resident. We offer a platform to Mayor Potter or City Council to answer the concerns of the frustrated taxpayers of this beautiful city. It is past time for the Mayor to face reality and acknowledge he cannot keep his campaign pledge not to raise taxes. Perhaps his vision for Kirtland has changed, and he no longer wants development, However, he should be transparent with the residents.
In our opinion, reducing needed services and selling city assets are acts of desperation.]
Kirtland Crumbling Right Before Our Eyes
Written by: A Kirtland resident
February 17, 2021
My partner and I are new to Kirtland. We moved here because it seems to be a quaint little town with wonderful people. It also seemed to be a growing town with many new and positive additions (Mike’s Meat Market – Our fav, the New Vet Center, The Creamery, etc.). We are now concerned things are going South in Kirtland.
We supported Mr. Potter is his Mayoral Run. We met him several times and he seemed an honest, genuine, down to earth nice fella. We believe in his agenda of fixing the roads without raising taxes. We are excited about the many new development ideas floating around town (real or imagined). Finally, we thought it was time to get the Mayor’s Office and Council working together which seemed broken in the last years of the Davidson Administration. After one year, it appears Kirtland is headed in a very wrong direction.
The roads are simply a mess. We regularly travel down many of the side roads and they are getting so bad we now have to go in different routes out of concern for our safety. When I have listened in on Council and Mayoral sessions, there does not appear to be a coherent strategy to raise the $14-17 Million the city engineer is stating is needed to bring our roads up to snuff. The snow plowing seems to be significantly less than any other winter before. When it snows, it seems to take hours before many of the roads are even touched. I learned this is because the number of road crews under Mayor Potter has been cut in half to save money. Finally, if the citizens will not support additional taxes to fix the roads how exactly is Mayor Potter going to fix our roads?
We have close friends who work in the City. They say morale is at an all time low. The Service Department recently voted in a Union to represent them because they no longer trust this administration. Unions mean higher wages and higher costs to the city. Long standing Kirtland employees have either quit or been fired at the Service Center, Senior Center, and now City Hall. I learned yesterday that several more have or will be turning in their resignations shortly. I am told that in Kevin Potter’s first year as Mayor he has had more resignations than in the prior 8 years! I am also told Mayor Potter is attempting to outsource much of these jobs to low wage rate contractors. How does a city service its citizens without continuity of good people?
While out recently with friends at Rt. 6 Tavern (a local favorite of ours; love the Meatballs), we learned the top three developers have all walked away from Kirtland.
- Apparently, Madeline Cocoa has placed her senior housing development on indefinite hold out of frustration with the never ending and ridiculous demands from the Potter Administration.
- Kevin Eilerman was to move his Corporate Headquarters from North Carolina to Kirtland with significant payroll and much needed taxes but is now looking at other communities given how difficult building is in Kirtland.
- And our friends know Tom and Paula Christopher personally. Apparently, things have gotten so bad with the Tall Oaks Complex, we were told they suspended the movement of their Corporate Headquarters to Kirtland, are staying in Willoughby, and are now buying land on the West Side and in Charlotte for their next projects.
Combined, these three developers would have generated enough payroll taxes to fund the repairs of over 50% of our roads! Finally, we learned Mayor Potter actually approached Madeline Cocoa in the Spring of last year to buy City Hall and combine it with her development! Is Kirtland this desperate for cash that it now is selling its properties to fix the roads?
What is most alarming is the messaging out of City Hall. Kevin Potter ran on a platform of honesty and transparency. He said he would run his administration openly and visibly for all to see. Lately, we have noticed a marked increase on suspiciously positive and self promoting messaging coming out of City Hall.
The Potter Administration has taken to social media, the Kirtland Gazette, and Kirtland Website with a vast amount of stories and reports which paint a most positive and Rosie picture. They claim to have a growing reserve of cash and that all is going swimmingly. And yet, when we listen to the many current and former employees and the businesses trying to build here, we hear a completely different and most unsettling story.
There seems to be a vast difference of opinions between the published stories of the Potter Administration and those who are working directly with and in it. These individuals paint of very dark and disturbing story. Most importantly, the results (or lack thereof) and The Mayor’s desperate attempts to raise cash seem to suggest the Potter administration is failing!
We hope this Administration can turn things around. Kirtland deserves to have its roads fixed and positive and beautiful development. Lets us hope and pray it gets better.