News: CJ Exclusives

Mayor recall, alcohol referendums highlight local ballot measures

Taxes, bonds, county commission makeup featured on other local ballots

While voters in a number of North Carolina localities will have alcohol, tax increase, and bond referendums on their minds, citizens in the Forsyth County village of Tobaccoville will be deciding whether to recall their mayor.

On Jan. 7, Tobaccoville Mayor Billy McHone resigned his office, but rescinded the offer before the Village Council could meet to accept it. This summer, the General Assembly passed a bill allowing the residents to petition for a recall of their mayor or village council member. To place a recall measure on the ballot, the petition needed the signatures of at least 20 percent of the registered voters in the village.

The petition needed 343 verified signatures and it received nearly 400.

McHone’s resignation and reversal came during the council’s discussion of two proposed ordinances. One would have restricted the discharge of firearms within 1,000 feet of an occupied building. The other would have banned the use of exploding targets, which explode when hit by high-velocity bullets. McHone backed the ordinances, but then submitted his resignation after property owners, speaking at the meeting, pushed back.

McHone did not respond to a request to comment on the ballot issue.

Voters in North Carolina’s two largest counties — Mecklenburg and Wake —also will decide local ballot measures on Nov. 8.

Mecklenburg County voters will decide three bond referendums — a $148.4 million transportation bond, a $15 million housing bond, and a $55 million neighborhood improvement bond. Among the uses permitted for the transportation bonds are street construction and improvements, streetscape and pedestrian improvements, parking lots, and bicycle paths. The housing bonds are for low- and moderate-income housing projects. The neighborhood improvement bonds would pay for infrastructure for curbs, gutters, storm drainage, sidewalks, and pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Wake County voters will consider a 0.5 cent local sales and use tax on the ballot. If approved, proceeds would be used for public transportation systems.

Voters in 13 counties — Bladen, Carteret, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Henderson, Jones, Mitchell, Pasquotank, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, and Swain — will vote whether to increase the local sales and use tax rate by 0.25 cent.

Two other counties — Gates and Halifax — have local school supplement tax referendums on the ballot.

Voters in 15 localities will decide alcohol referendums:

  • Alexander County voters will decide whether to allow countywide malt beverage and unfortified wine sales, along with ABC stores and mixed beverages.
  • Taylorsville citizens (Alexander County) will vote on two alcohol referendums. One would permit the on-premises sale of malt beverages. The other would allow for mixed drinks in the town.
  • Bertie County voters will decide on whether to permit countywide mixed beverages.
  • Glen Alpine voters (Burke County) will vote on allowing ABC stores.
  • Waco voters (Cleveland County) will decide whether to approve the off-premises sale of malt beverages. They also decide a similar measure for unfortified wine.
  • Also in Cleveland County, Casar voters will decide two alcohol ballot measures. They’ll be deciding on-premises and off-premises sale of both malt beverages and unfortified wine.
  • Davidson County voters will decide four alcohol measures: Permitting the on-premises and off-premises sale of malt beverages, permitting the on-premises and off-premises sale of unfortified wine, permitting ABC stores, and permitting mixed beverage sales.
  • Davie County voters will vote on ABC stores.
  • Stanley voters (Gaston County) will decide three measures: ABC stores, on-premises sale of malt beverages, and on-premises sale of unfortified wine.
  • Haywood County residents will have five alcohol measures: the off-premises sale of malt beverages, the on-premises sale of malt beverages, the on-premises and off-premises sale of unfortified wine, the on-premises sale only of unfortified wine, and the off-premises sale only of unfortified wine.
  • Johnston County voters will decide by the on-premises and off-premises sale of malt beverages and the on-premises and off-premises sale of unfortified wine.
  • Clayton voters (Johnston County) will have two alcohol referendums: the on-premises and off-premises sale of malt beverages, and the on-premises and off-premises sale of unfortified wine.
  • Grantsboro voters (Pamlico County) will decide a mixed drink referendum.
  • Badin voters, in Stanly County, will decide a mixed drink referendum.
  • Vance County voters will also decide a mixed beverage referendum.

Along with Mecklenburg County, 10 other North Carolina localities will decide bond referendums:

  • Brunswick County voters will decide a $152 million school bond measure.
  • Asheville voters will decide three bond measures. One is a $32 million transportation bond for streets, streetscape and pedestrian improvements, and bicycle paths. Another is a $25 million bond for low- and moderate-income housing. The third is a $17 million parks and recreation bond package.
  • Woodfin voters (Buncombe County) will decide a $4.5 million parks and recreation bond package.
  • Durham County residents will decide four bond measures: Nearly $20.2 million for community colleges, $44.7 million for library facilities, $14.2 million for museums, and nearly $90.9 million for schools.
  • Forsyth County voters will decide three bond measures — a $350 million school bond, a $65 million community college bond, and a $15 million parks and recreation bond.
  • Guilford County voters will decide four bond measures — a $25 million low- and moderate-income housing bond measure, $38.5 million for community and economic development, $34.5 million parks and recreation bonds, and $28 million transportation bonds.
  • Wilmington voters will decide a parks and recreation bond package totaling nearly $30.5 million.
  • Orange County voters will decide two bond measures — $120 million for schools, and $5 million for low- and moderate-income housing.
  • Union County voters will decide three bond measures — $40.2 million for community colleges, $10.1 million for libraries, and $54 million for schools.
  • Goldsboro voters will decide two bond measures — $3 million for parks and recreation facilities, and $7 million for infrastructure, including sidewalks and streetscapes.

In addition, voters in Onslow and Polk counties will decide whether to approve changes in the makeup of their board of county commissioners.