Statesville Council Candidate Profile: William Morgan
BY HALEY JONES
William Morgan, a Statesville native, was first elected to an at-large seat on the Statesville City Council in 2013. Now, Morgan is seeking another term in the Oct. 10 elections.
“It is an honor to serve my hometown,” said Morgan, 54. He is married to his wife, former Tina Laws, and has a daughter, Margaret, who is also a Statesville resident.
Morgan is the owner and CEO of Capital Management Group of the Carolinas, Inc. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 1985, completed post-graduate courses at the America College/Wharton School and is a graduate of the UNC School of Government.
In his interview with SVL Free News, Morgan spoke of employment, financial challenges, home ownership, infrastructure, and the city’s crime rate.
Employment in Statesville
According to Morgan, the city’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8 percent to just over 4 percent since 2013.
“We have sent a strong message that the City of Statesville is open for business and ready to support 21st century industries and jobs,” said Morgan. “Numerous industries have located here and existing ones have expanded. During my next term, I will continue to push for increased economic development and job creation which will improve the quality of life for our citizens, all while keeping our tax rates low.”
Morgan feels that one of the city’s biggest financial challenges is an ever-increasing budget needed to provide services to the city’s residents.
“We must be good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars, recognizing that if one area of the budget is cut to add to another, the area that was cut suffers in some form or fashion,” said Morgan. “We must also look for ways to become more efficient and continue to watch each dollar to make sure it is being spent wisely and effectively.”
As the city expands through economic development and increased housing starts, Morgan says these items will add to the city’s tax base and ease the pressure on raising the Ad Valorem rate. He also warns that funds that were previously provided to municipalities from the state are becoming scarce.
“When the legislature did away with business privilege licenses in 2015, (the City) lost over $600,000 in funding,” said Morgan. “There are also several proposed bills in state committees that, if passed, would redirect sales tax receipts away from cities like Statesville and give it to ‘less economically fortunate’ areas. By that definition, due to demographics, we stand to lose almost a quarter of a million dollars, while Charlotte would see an increase of almost $1 million. Hopefully, these bills will not be passed into law, but we must be prepared in case they are.”
Morgan says that federal grants are also an issue.
“A city used to be able to qualify for various grants with a low matching contribution around 5 to 1 percent,” said Morgan. “Now, it is pay to play. The city’s match on the soon to be built connector road between Sullivan Road and Brookdale Drive was 50 percent.”
Morgan also mentioned his trip to Washington with Mayor Pro Tem Michael Johnson, in which the pair secured a $485,000 SAFER grant for the city’s fire department.
“We were are also fortunate, with the help of our state legislative delegation, to secure $8 million for our airport,” said Morgan.
When it comes to renters in the area, Morgan doesn’t see an issue exclusive to Statesville.
“According to the national census bureau, 95 percent of new households created in the US in the last 10 years were comprised of families that were renting, 8.13 million new renter households out of 8.56 million new households,” said Morgan. “Nonetheless, new home construction in Statesville has begun to explode, and homes are being sold before they are complete. Take Hidden Lakes subdivision for example. When I was running for council four years ago, none of those homes existed. There must be over 200 new homes there now with more being built every day. This is the key to our city’s growth. The more rooftops, the more industry, the more commercial and retail and the lower we are able to keep our tax rate.”
“My first term on council has been marked with much progress,” said Morgan as he recalled all the projects that have begun during this time.
According to Morgan, during the last four years, hundreds of jobs have been brought to Statesville through the business community; household electric rates have been lowered by 7 percent; and the largest industrial project the city has ever seen has been announced, for the Larkin Regional Commerce Park. When fully complete, the park will have over 5 million square feet of industrial space, approximately 1 million square feet of commercial and retail space, employ 3,000 people and add almost a billion dollars to the city’s tax base.
Council has also set in place the process of revitalizing the Shelton Avenue corridor and the new city municipal services building.
“There has been much talk during this election of the challenges facing south Statesville – an increase in crime, economically being left behind, etc. While I do agree we have issues that must be addressed, I believe, while there is more to do, we have begun addressing these challenges,” said Morgan, as he spoke of the area’s proposed projects. “The plans for the new city’s municipal services building, which will house the police patrol division, Fire Station 1, and EMS vehicles, have been completed and I am looking forward to construction beginning. The final phase of the streetscape included plans for the Shelton Avenue corridor, and this too, will begin in my next term. We must have citizen and resident involvement in this process in order to make it effective, and I will encourage an open dialogue in order to do just that.”
The City’s Crime Rate
Morgan quoted the FBI’s own statistics, stating that the violent crime in Statesville has been on the decline since 2010.
“One violent crime is too many,” said Morgan. “I will continue to support the efforts of our police department in this task, and encourage the involvement of other law enforcement agencies if it warrants it.”
In his field, Morgan’s accomplishments include:
- member of the International Association of Registered Financial consultants
- member of the Financial Planning Association
- member of the National Association of Philanthropic Planners
- member of the National Ethics Bureau
- named to Who’s Who in Finance and Industry
- named a Top Wealth Manager in North Carolina by Bloomberg Magazine
- nominated for “Outstanding Advisor” by Registered Rep magazine
Morgan is also a member of:
- The NC League of Municipalities Tax & Finance Committee
- The NC Freight & Transportation Committee
- The NC Financial Literacy Commission, appointed by Governor McCrory
- Current President of the Fourth Creek Rotary Club
- Board Member, Lake Norman Regional Transportation
- Board Member, Charlotte Regional Partnership
- Board Member of the NC League of Municipalities Risk Management Services
- Past Deacon of First Presbyterian Church
- Past Youth Soccer Coach
- Appointment to the Iredell County Adult Care Advisory Board
- Past member of the Statesville Civil Service Board
- Past Vice Chairman of the Statesville NC Planning Board
Locally, Morgan has also held several leadership positions in the following organizations: American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Arthritis Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Brookwood School, Campaign Committee for United Way and Dove House.