Name as it appears on the ballot: Vicki Scroggins-Johnson
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: vicki4morrisville.com
Occupation & employer: Project Management Consultant. Self Employed.
Years lived in Morrisville: 17
1) In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the town council do differently or better over the course of your term?
I am an innovative, collaborative, and practical leader. Since I was first elected to the Morrisville Town Council in 2013, I have been a champion for better roads / transit; strong schools / continued education; parks; and sustainability. I believe that by working together we get the best results.
I have supported innovative ways to maximize local dollars through grants and competitive funding sources. Morrisville now has a farmer’s market, educational garden, expanded greenways, new roadways, community library, nationally recognized municipal cricket field, a beautiful natatorium, and an innovative annual event, S’Morrisville. The Hatcher Creek Greenway is now connected to the Crabtree Greenway allowing people access to Cedar Fork District Park and Lake Crabtree. The road network has improved with the completion of the McCrimmon Parkway Extension (NC-54 bypass).
Morrisville is a vibrant, welcoming, small town with one of the most diverse populations in the state of North Carolina. I am a certified Project Manager with international business experience. I have led many teams with members across Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.
In my next term, I will seek to improve transportation, create a vibrant downtown, advocate for proximate schools, increase sustainability, and acquire new park land for future generations.
2) Given the direction of Morrisville government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
I do believe things are on the right course. Morrisville is interdependent with other government agencies for schools, water, roads, and human services. And more recently, emergency services.
During my years on the Town Council, I have seen the relationship with Wake County Schools improve. Morrisville now has more proximate school seats. As Western Wake County continues to grow, it is important now more than ever that we seek opportunities to add more K-12 schools and partner with Wake Tech.
The Town has been successful in receiving funding and prioritization for over $100 million in road projects. Future projects include the completion of Morrisville-Carpenter road widening, Aviation road widening, Airport Boulevard extension, and McCrimmon Parkway flyover.
Our police, fire rescue, and public works are all nationally accredited which in turn provides Morrisville residents with a better insurance score and lower rates. To improve service response times and coverage, Morrisville now coordinates 9-1-1 emergency services with Cary and Apex.
3) What are three of the most pressing issues the town currently faces? How would you propose to address them? Please be specific.
Morrisville is at a crossroad and nearing buildout. The three most pressing issues are: infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, parks, schools); sense of place; and housing. The Morrisville Land Use and Transportation Plans provide strategic vision for the town. I will continue to look for opportunities to align projects to fulfill the vision and close gaps.
Specifically, Morrisville needs a new fire station to improve coverage to Breckenridge, Providence Place, Kitts Creek, and other nearby neighborhoods. Morrisvile does not have enough parks. I would like to see the Town acquire more land for parks for both passive and active recreation.
Morrisville needs a sense of place. When you see a picture of Morrisville, do you see the Town Hall? A park? It would be nice to have a downtown that offers current and future residents a destination. A place to gather. A place to play. A place where local businesses thrive.
And finally, I would like to find ways to lower barriers and provide more options for housing. I would like to continue to work with Wake County and regional partners to explore opportunities.
4) What’s the best or most important thing the town council has done in the past year? Alternatively, name a decision you believe the council got wrong or an issue you believe the town should have handled differently. Please explain your answer.
Morrisville has navigated the pandemic well. Recent investments in a new central ERP system and regional 9-1-1 service provided for work flexibility, coordination, and communication.
The Town’s ERP system supported digital submissions of development applications, inspections, and related work. Without the need for paper documents, the planning department continued to work efficiently and effectively without needing to be in a physical office. Coordinated 9-1-1 service with Cary and Apex allowed for seamless emergency coverage when quarantines and restrictions affected staff.
Two-Way communication continues to be a challenge for Morrisville. Getting key information out quickly is not easy. Getting feedback has been more of a challenge with COVID restrictions. I support the Town’s efforts using social media, website, surveys, and pop-up information sessions to exchange information. However, more listening tours are needed to get first hand feedback from our residents and businesses.
5) What prior experience will make you an effective member of the town council and advocate of the issues listed above? Please note any endorsements you have received that you consider significant.
Community service: Morrisville Town Council (2013- present); Morrisville Mayor Pro Tem (2017-2019); Morrisville Alternate, North Carolina Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (NC CAMPO) (2013-2015, 2020-present); Executive Board, North Carolina Women in Municipal Government (NC WIMG) (2017- present); CORE Delegate, Triangle J Council of Governments (2013-present); Morrisville Delegate, Triangle J Council of Governments (2017-2019); Chair, Morrisville Public Safety Advisory Committee (2008-2013); President, Savannah HOA (2009-2013).
Satish Garimella, Morrisville Town Council
Chris Heagarty – Wake County Board of Education (District 7)
Lindsay Mahaey – Vice-Chair, Wake County Board of Education (District 8)
Sig Hutchinson – Wake County Board of Commissioners (District 1)
Matt Calabria – Chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners (District 2), Vickie Adamson – Vice-Chair, Wake County Board of Eduction (District 7)
Wiley Nickel, North Carolina Senator (District 16)
Wake County Democratic Party, Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, which has been discussing more inclusive, affordable, and diverse housing options
Triangle Apartment Association, which has been discussing a more diverse, and affordable range of housing options
6) Morrisville recently altered its zoning laws to allow for denser development. Do you agree with this decision? Given the rate of growth in Morrisville, how will you ensure that growth is well managed and enhances the town rather than detracts from it? Where does density and height fit in in planning decisions, if it does? How do you intend to balance growth with sustainability?
Morrisville’s land use plan was recently updated to allow for more dense development in the specific regions: the future Town Center, the future Transportation Overlay District (TOD), and along the new McCrimmon corridor. These regions will be vibrant areas to live, work, and play. Building height restrictions are in alignment with RDU and Federal Aviation standards. The entire Town Council supported this plan. I would like to see more housing options in these areas to allow for individuals at all stages of their lives to live there.
Sustainability can be achieved in many ways. The physical buildings can be designed with energy efficiencies, such as solar panels. Electric vehicle charging stations can be added throughout these areas. Transit coverage will allow for less vehicles on the roadways. And finally, stormwater can be managed more efficiently when planning for a larger area instead of several individual systems.
7) As with most places in the Triangle, Morrisville is grappling with issues related to affordable housing. How would you like to see the town approach affordability issues over the next few years? Should it promote apartment living, duplexes, and/or triplexes? Encourage density in single family housing? What do you believe the town is doing right? What could it do better?
In 2017, I served on the Wake County Affordable Housing Steering Committee which was tasked to create a strategic plan. The Steering Committee was comprised of Wake County staff, Wake County non-profits, developers, and municipal officials. I was one of two elected officials on the committee. Morrisville was one of the few towns in the region that did not have an affordable housing policy or project at that time.
After the committee report was complete, I worked with the Morrisville Town Council and Town staff to develop an Affordable Housing Policy that focused on “workforce” housing. This policy was passed by the Town Council in February 2021 and it is designed to help support home ownership for those families less than 80% area median income (AMI).
Land in Morrisville is very expensive and creates a barrier to affordability. Prior to the Morrisville policy adoption, several apartment developers volunteered to offer 5% of their units at a reduced cost for those 80% AMI. Wake County will help with the coordination of the leasing agreements and Morrisville will provide oversight.
There is more work to be done. However, these steps do provide some relief to our huge challenge of affordability in Morrisville.
8) Morrisville has three bond referendum questions on the ballot this election that, if all pass, will incur a 3-cent property tax rate increase on the $37 million total. Please state whether you support the following bonds and explain why or not.
I support the proposed Morrisville 2021 Bonds.
With Morrisville quickly approaching buildout and land prices increasing, now is the time to invest in a new fire station, new parks, and improved road network. Together, we will add value for the long term. Morrisville has a triple AAA financial rating. So, debt financing must be exercised with solid rationale while keeping a healthy fund balance. Voter approved bonds are the preferred approach.
$8 million Public Safety Improvements
A 3rd fire station is needed to provide better service to the Breckenridge, Kitts Creek, Providence Place, and adjacent neighborhoods and RTP. With improved coverage, our fire service rating is high and insurance costs are lower for all residents and businesses.
$17.3 million Parks, Recreations, and Public Amenities Improvements
More parks are needed to support Morrisville’s growing population. Both active and passive recreation opportunities are requested. This bond will allow for the option to purchase more land, provide matching funds for grants, and complete improvements to the current park system.
$11.7 million Streets, Sidewalks, and Connectivity Improvements
The standard 20% matching funds for road projects is no longer sufficient to be competitive. Morrisville will have to increase the amount contributed to get improvements at NC-54, Airport, McCrimmon, and Davis. Morrisville needs to improve pedestrian and driver mobility by connecting orphan sidewalks, addressing safety, and improving the road network.
8) Morrisville is about to get its first public transit system with the launch of a free new on-demand shuttle. How else should the town grow its public transit system? How should it work to alleviate traffic congestion?
Morrisville launched its smart shuttle service with 15 nodes across the town. The shuttle could be expanded to more nodes based on ridership. To reduce traffic congestion, a “park and ride” option could be evaluated.
9) What infrastructure needs does Morrisville currently have? How should the city address these needs and pay for them?
Critical needs within Morrisville include a 3rd fire station, a new public works facility, more park land, and improved road network. Resident support is very important. A voter bond referendum is requested to allow for the most efficient financing possible.
10) Morrisville was one of several municipalities in joining Wake County in reimplementing a mask mandate recently with the resurgence of the COVID-19 Delta variant. Was this the right decision? How do you feel Wake County and Wake School Board officials have handled the COVID-19 pandemic? If you don’t think the pandemic was handled well, what should have been done differently?
On August 20th, 2021 the Morrisville Town Council joined Wake County on a mandatory indoor mask requirement due to a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant. This was not an easy decision. Despite a widely available vaccine, hospitals were filling up with patients. The goal was to reduce the rate of spread.
I believe Wake County and the Wake County School Board are making the best decisions with the available information at the time. The pandemic continues to evolve. I believe everyone needs to continue to be flexible and reassess policies to align with the current CDC recommendations and the local environment.
11) In what ways should Morrisville promote economic development? How do plans for a downtown corridor factor into those ways (if so)?
Morrisville is a vibrant town with a diverse, educated workforce, and residents from around the world. We are focused on innovation and improving the quality of life for all people. Specialized industries include information technology, healthcare, finance, education, and distribution services.
The Morrisville Chamber of Commerce has a contract with the Town to support economic development and bring proposed projects to the Town Council for consideration. I would continue this partnership as it has brought many jobs from a variety of industries to Morrisville.
The new Morrisville Downtown will focus on bringing people together to explore ideas over coffee, visit the library at story time, visit shops offering local products and services, obtain fresh food at the farmer’s market, and to celebrate the community on the town greenspace.
12) Morrisville residents love their parks and greenways. How should the town work to preserve, improve, or expand them?
Morrisville needs to continue its work to connect sections of sidewalks and greenways to allow for better mobility across the town. The Town Council has worked with residents and staff to create a sidewalk prioritization. This listing is used by staff to submit for grants. Those projects that are not eligible for grants must be funded 100% by the town. The Town Council has appropriated a budget allocation each year for sidewalk improvement projects.
13) If there is anything else you would like to address please do so here.
I am an innovative, collaborative, and practical leader. With input from residents and businesses, I am a strong advocate for Morrisville and I get things done. I believe Morrisville is the best town in North Carolina, and in the United States.
Thank you for your consideration.