By Dave Yochum. A little more than a year into his first term, Commissioner Mike Miltich says it’s not so much what he’s learned on the Cornelius Town Board, but what he’s “now seeing: how land is being used/developed, how the traffic flows or doesn’t, how the utility lines have been run, etc. The things that I can have an impact on as a Town Commissioner to preserve and improve Cornelius.”
It’s a complex job, helping direct this town.
Miltich won a tough battle for a seat on the five-member board in November 2015, having placed sixth when he first ran in a 10-way race in 2013.
Mentor: His father, Dr. Anthony Miltich, who is 101. ”He taught me what it meant to care for others, and how to be a professional—put your client’s interest before your own.”
Family: Wife Ann Miltich, and two boys, as well as three daughters with a previous wife and six grandchildren.
Little known fact: Miltich, a self-proclaimed computer nut, still has a slide rule
Goal on Town Board: “Bringing in businesses that doesn’t bring in a lot of traffic…internet-based businesses.”
Biggest issue facing Cornelius: “Traffic. Is it traffic or is it growth? I can see this as the same answer. We don’t like what has happened here.”
He had announced his anti-toll sentiments well before most other candidates, yet he was skipped over twice when openings occurred on the Town Board.
Anti-toll sentiments were not necessarily the thing back in 2014, when then-Commissioner John Bradford was first elected to the NC House of Representatives. Bruce Trimbur was appointed to fill Bradford’s term; Trimbur has since moved away.
Dr. Mike—he is a doctor with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates—said the I-77 toll issue is by no means over and done with: “Not until the contract is cancelled and this area gets the General Purpose lanes it deserves. That is the only way we can achieve parity with the remainder of Mecklenburg County and the other metropolitan areas of North Carolina. Until then, North Mecklenburg will be adversely economically burdened.”
He and other commissioners are at odds with Mayor Chuck Travis who traveled to Raleigh on his own to support the tolls, even after the Town Board passed resolutions opposing the current toll plan.
“The Widen I-77 lawsuit is still in play judicially, Gov. Cooper has commented that he will look at options—administrative—and it is anticipated that legislation will be filed during the current long session of the General Assembly. This means there are events occurring in all three branches of state government to change this onerous contract,” says Miltich, who lives on Nantz Road.
Miltich says he plans to “actively support” Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam in his plans to run for mayor this year. Mayor Travis has not stated whether he will run again.
It takes a unique person to want to not just run for public office these days—look at all the scrutiny and anger—let alone serve.
Miltich says he has town-related business meetings two or three nights a week, sometimes four. “And there are the occasional events on the weekends such as those put on by the PARC Department or grand openings,” Miltich, 64, says. “So there is a time commitment, which I anticipated. That is the reason I didn’t run for public office until I could afford the time required away from the office.”
Miltich says he is a better listener than talker. “What I do as a doctor is I listen first and then I treat.”
His “Cornelius Conversations” are one way he listens. The open meetings over Italian food and drinks at Brooklyn South are a way to find out what residents are concerned about, as well as how they would fix problems, “which I can take to Town Hall.”
He is the alternate delegate to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, the critical—and Charlotte-centric—regional transportation committee, as well as the new North Mecklenburg Alliance, a committee that discusses mutual transportation issues in Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson, and the Land Development Code Advisory Board.
“So transportation and land use are my main areas,” the surgeon says, comparing the roads and highways around Cornelius to human arteries, albeit with a “profound lack of connectivity.”
He says the CRTPO is “convoluted and bizarre.” For one thing, it’s virtually impossible to get our way on a local issue if Charlotte’s representative disagrees. “It’s a political beast and political beasts don’t always follow common sense,” Miltich says.
Commissioners expect there to be a large slate of candidates this November. Denis Bilodeau, a candidate in 2015, has retained a political consultant; another name mentioned is WidenI-77 founder Kurt Naas, who also lives in The Peninsula.
Miltich says he will file for re-election. “It takes more than one term to be effective,” he declares.