Commissioner Jim Puckett: We must work together on economy

Jim Puckett

By Dave Vieser. North Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett says that the towns in North Mecklenburg and the Golden Crescent must work together in order to “fully demonstrate the economic power that we possess.” Puckett made his comments before a crowd of more than 50 people who braved record cold temperatures to attend the Feb. 19 Business Today Newsmakers Breakfast at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius.
“Make no mistake about it. …today, our region brings a lot of economic clout to the table,” Puckett said. “It hasn’t always been that way. Years ago, everything went through Charlotte and there was a lack of appreciation for the strength in this region.”

Puckett says the key to maintaining that strength will be to advance the area’s positive qualities on a regional basis.

NMB_Puckett_4Puckett is a long-time player in Mecklenburg County politics. The Huntersville Republican won back his old District 1 seat back in November 2014, after former Commissioner Karen Bentley chose not to run for re-election. He also has deep roots in Mecklenburg County. He’s a descandant of two signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.

Nevertheless, he decried the lack of appreciation for the area’s history. Puckett said that schools should spend more time teaching local history. He also said that the structure of the education system throughout the state “is one of the biggest problems we face today and must be addressed.”

Before serving on the county board between 2000 and 2006, Puckett served on the Mecklenburg County Board of Education. He describes his political style as being “brutally honest” but says even his opponents respect him for “telling it like it is.”

Puckett, who owns an industrial painting company, fielded a variety of questions, some of which dealt with economic development incentives. He said he is not a big fan of economic incentives. “We need to say no and be much more selective on what is granted.” He expressed concerns in particular about giving incentives to existing industry.

NMB_Puckett_11Puckett acknowledged that it is difficult for any one elected official to make an impact on a staff-driven government. He said the county budget is by far the major policy document which the commissioners and department heads must work with on an annual basis. “Ninety-nine percent of decisions are driven by the budget,” he said.

Puckett had kind words for Dena Diorio, the new Mecklenburg county manager. “She has a financial background and seems to have an appreciation for the financial issues facing the county.”

He also urged state legislators to help the county address the revaluation issue. “They especially need to find a way to cap those huge increases some of the property owners are facing.” One good thing about the recession, he said, was that government shrank. “Now that the economy is on the rebound, we need to maintain that streamlined profile.”

Newsmakers Breakfasts are open to everyone. The Newsmakers Breakfast with Commissioner Puckett was sponsored by Carolina Trust Bank, Donna Moffett Accountants and Consultants, The Knox Group, Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home and Davidson Wealth Management.


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