RALEIGH — Last week voters overwhelmingly approved millions of dollars’ worth of bonds in communities across the state. While Charlotte elected a new mayor in Democrat Vi Lyles, voters also approved $922 million in bonds for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools “to address pressing capital needs.” The money is slated for 10 new schools, replacement buildings for seven existing ones and renovations and additions for 12 more. Voters in Mecklenburg County and neighboring Iredell County also approved a parks and recreation bond and a greenway bond for their communities.
Apex voters in Wake County gave a 76 percent approval for a parks and recreation bond. The bond amount is up to $48 million for the town’s development of parks and recreation amenities. Among the projects planned is expansion of the Beaver Creek Greenway, the Middle Creek Greenway, expansion of the town’s senior center and new athletic facilities at Apex’s Pleasant Park. The town says a property tax increase will be necessary to repay the bond debt.
In the Cabarrus County town of Harrisburg, near Charlotte, voters approved $25 million in a transportation bond and a parks and recreation bond. The transportation money will go toward safety improvements, replacement of traffic signals, expansion of sidewalks and road paving. The bond referendum for parks would be $21 million for acquiring land, developing parks and building a new community center.
In addition to bonds, voters across the state were offered local referendums on their ballots in the 2017 election. In Holden Beach, a referendum passed by 68 percent that would lengthen and stagger terms for the town’s Board of Commissioners seats. Currently, the commissioners run for five seats at-large. Now, the new plan is for them to alternate seats, three and two, up for re-election every four years.
Meanwhile in the west, 75 percent of Asheville voters said “no” to a measure that would have amended their city’s charter, creating six new single-member City Council districts, rather than the current at-large system where all six members of City Council are elected city-wide.
Towns across the state also weighed whether to permit on- and off-premises sales of malt beverages, wine and mixed alcoholic drinks. Hope Mills voters elected to allow on-premises sales of beer and wine, as did voters in Dublin in Bladen County, Garland in Sampson County, Earl in Cleveland County, Spindale in Rutherford County, and Bryson City in Swain County. In Duplin County’s Beulaville, voters cast their support for sales of unfortified wine. Maiden voters in Catawba County voted to allow sales of mixed alcoholic beverages by 61 percent. Burke County voters elected to allow beer, wine and mixed drink sales along with local operation of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission stores.
In the communities of Grifton in Pitt and Lenoir counties and Rhodhiss in Burke and Caldwell counties, voters turned down the option of allowing beer, wine and alcoholic beverage sales.