Bond Busters: Bond goes to voters

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.thiscenturysucks.com/images/voting_machine_joke.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The mega-bond is heading to the May ballot, thanks to your County Commissioners. But there were some surprises last night at the County Board meeting.

Eastern Guilford H.S., which is massively rebuilding its campus, will get its own separate place on the ballot. Commissioners voted to split off EGHS from the half-a-billion bond package and gave then their own spot, $45 million worth, making the rest of the bond package $412 million.

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.co.guilford.nc.us/images/commissioners/arnold.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. This was a request from Commissioner Steve Arnold (R). High Point Enterprise excerpt:

Republican Commissioner Steve Arnold of High Point offered the idea to fund the Eastern construction separately and to cut the remainder of the list.
“We have a commitment for Eastern,” Arnold said. “It is unfair and unwise to tie the other proj­ects to it.”

As for the other projects, lots of wrangling took place last night, and both lame duck Supt. Terry Grier (who, by the way, may find out today if he’s going to San Diego or not) and GCS Board Chair Alan Duncan looked visibly uncomfortable and weak in asking commissioners for the ballot question).

News & Record excerpt:

Now, supporters of the school bond referendum must convince voters that Guilford County needs $412 million for new classrooms and renovations — but those advocates won’t have the supporting argument that some of that money will go to rebuild Eastern.

What doesn’t change, though, is that school supporters will have a big job to sell the bonds to the public.

“I will talk to a lot of people,” said Margaret Arbukle, director of the Guilford Education Alliance. “If there are signs, I will have one in my yard.”

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.triadblogs.com/uploads/avatars/972_8168.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Probably the biggest surprise came from Commissioner Skip Alston (D). He was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the schools last night and and ironic champion of the taxpayers.

Despite the cat-calls from Grier asking Alston not to “sell the citizens short,” Alston made a failed substitute motion to knock off half of the main bond (to $295 million–a somewhat better figure, but still high), expressing his displeasure of the amount of money, along with teachers buying supplies out of their own pocketbooks, the high suspension rates and not enough textbooks for our children.

HPE excerpt:

Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston failed to win support to reduce the package to $295 million.
“We have to tighten our belts,” Alston said. “This is a tax burden that people will have to pay year after year.”

*************************

Getting back to Arnold’s move to separate EGHS from the ballot (Doug Clark is blogging about this today at the N&R)… I, too, want to see a new school, fully-funded, for the EGHS family. As such, I never thought it was a good idea at all to tie EGHS to a bond.

Arnold’s move was both maverick and smart and bold. Will I vote for it? I could vote for an EGHS standalone bond, and vote no on everything else. It still does not stop my displeasure for this entire package.

But like everyone said last night, it is now up to the voters. It is up to you.

Vote smart.

E.C. 🙂

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3 Responses

  1. Their timing on these bonds couldn’t be worse. There is talk in D.C. about a coming recession and the need for an economic stimulus, and do they really think in that economic climate that people are going to purposely increase their property taxes? My feeling is that these bonds are dead on arrival, and the commissioners know it. By separating out Eastern, they hope that the voters will approve that one, rather than letting it go down with the rest. Actually, they would be wise to postpone any vote on bonds right now, until the economic outlook improves.

  2. They do know it, Stormy, I agree. And as silly as they act at their meetings, they’re not stupid. They know what’s going on and they know GCS has issues. I honestly can’t wait to see just how the spin machine takes off.

    They’ll have theirs, and we’ll have ours.

  3. I hope everyone gets out and votes NO on all of these property tax increases in this difficult economic time. We already pay property taxes out the wazoo along with state and federal income tax, gas tax, and a sale tax. Even if you currently rent, that increase in cost WILL be passed onto you eventually as well. If they were as frugal with our money as most private companies are with their’s, we’d most likely be able to have a tax cut, not increase.

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