www.rhinotimes.com | Thursday, August 4, 2016 | RHINO TIMES 7
On The Ballot
by John Hammer
The bonds are now up to the
The Greensboro City Council at
its regular meeting in the Council
Chambers on Monday, August 1,
voted to put four bonds on the ballot
on Nov. 8 that total $126 million. None
of the bonds passed by unanimous
votes and two passed by the slimmest
of margins, 4 to 3.
Abuzuaiter was absent. Although she
did participate in a closed session
earlier in the meeting by phone, she
did not participate in any of the public
portion. Councilmember Yvonne
Johnson participated in the closed
session, the special-called meeting
on the museum and a portion of the
regular meeting by phone, but not the
bond portion. Councilmember Nancy
Hoffmann participated by phone
the entire meeting, which began at
3 p.m., with the special meeting on
the museum, and ended at 11 p.m.
That’s one long phone call.
The $25 million in housing bonds
passed on a 4-to-3 vote, with Mayor
Nancy Vaughan and Councilmembers
Sharon Hightower, Justin Outling
and Hoffmann voting yes and
Councilmembers Mike Barber, Jamal
Fox and Tony Wilkins voting no.
The $32.5 million parks and
recreation bond passed 4 to 3, with
Vaughan, Barber, Hoffmann and
Outling voting yes and Hightower, Fox
and Wilkins voting no.
The $38.5 community and economic
development bond and the $30 million
transportation bond both passed 5 to
2, with Vaughan, Barber, Hightower,
Hoffmann and Outling voting yes and
Fox and Wilkins voting no.
If you are a student of the City
Council, there are some strange
coalitions in those votes. It is unusual
for Fox and Wilkins to be on the same
side of a split vote, but they voted
against all four bonds.
Fox made it clear that he was
not satisfi ed with the entire bond
process. He asked City Manager
Jim Westmoreland how bonds had
been handled in 2006 and 2008.
Westmoreland said that normally a
bond is discussed in the fall and then
voted on by the council in the spring.
He said a committee independent
of the council is formed to support
the bonds, usually about six to nine
months before Election Day.
Fox said that he thought a number
of items in the bond package could
be taken care of in the regular
budget and that he was concerned
because of the lack of outreach to the
community and stakeholders.
Fox suggested that instead of
putting the bonds on the ballot in
November, the council wait and put
them on the ballot in November 2017,
after more community involvement.
Vaughan said that the bonds had
been under discussion since October,
which means they must have been
discussed in the secret meetings that
this City Council likes to have. Those
secret meetings were held to discuss
the bonds after the January council
retreat, but evidently they started
Fox noted that the proposed tax
increase of 3.35 cents had not been
discussed with the community and
that the total for the bond package
had been all over the place before the
council settled at $126.
Fox was not at the meeting when
the total package was reduced from
$178.7 million to $126 million. One
of the projects that was cut from $8.5
million to $2 million was combining
the Windsor Recreation Center and
the Vance-Chavis branch library into
one facility. This was a project that
Fox had backed to put on the bond.
At an earlier meeting Fox complained
that $25 million was too much for
downtown Greensboro and asked
that it be reduced to $20 million. He
was unable to get a vote on reducing
the amount for the downtown and it
remained at $25 million.
Barber has spoken against the
housing bonds at every public
meeting the City Council has had.
Monday night he pointed out that
Winston-Salem passed a $144 million
bond with $10 million in housing
bonds, and San Antonio, Texas, had
(continued on page 11)
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