Improving Infrastructure Q&A

Q: In addition to projects already included in Village plans, do you see a need for other projects directed at improving infrastructure?

A: My entire consulting business is built around how to make business owners more efficient and productive. Basically, I show them how to save time and save money.

When it comes to serving the residents of Whispering Pines, my mindset shifts to “How can we be more efficient while saving time and money, as well as having a minimal impact on the environment?” Let’s face it, there are constraints, namely the size of our town, the budget, and land constraints.

It would be great to have sidewalks! But at a $30 million dollar price tag, torn up streets, and losing public right-of-way (10 feet of front yard) to accommodate the widening of the streets, it’s just not feasible.

Let’s get rid of septic systems and upgrade to a sewer system! Again, the cost to the Village would be prohibitive, not to mention the cost-share to each resident to the tune of $8,000 – $10,000, torn up streets, ongoing maintenance, risk of environmental damage, increased cost… And that’s if we joined up with Southern Pines. Should we decide to have our own system, then we’d have to invest in a wastewater treatment plant, more staff, etc.

Actually, the two biggest complaints that I hear when it comes to infrastructure are unreliable internet connectivity and sub-par cell phone range.

I heard at a recent council meeting that Brightspeed is planning to add fiber to the area next spring, that’s exciting!  Usually, the company bears the cost of laying the fiber, labor, etc. and the Village only provides access so there is no cost to taxpayers. I would imagine they are going to get a lot of new business given the low competition and maybe we can partner or do some type of joint venture to provide Wi-Fi around the Village and to existing cell towers. For example, we can add a hotspot to Hardee Lane Park so that older kids can do homework while mom enjoys playing with littles.

As more people use home offices and/or work from home, having reliable internet and better cell phone range will become more important and this is just one area in which we can have a major impact at little cost.