City Council OKs resolution opposing city election bill

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 08:56 AM

City Council approved a resolution stating its opposition to a state bill that would change the city election to a partisan race Tuesday night.

In a 5-to-1 vote, council rejected a proposed bill filed Monday by N.C. Rep. Mike Stone because of the potential cost of a primary election to the city residents and because it "serves no benefit to the citizenry."

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said she planned to attend a 1 p.m. committee meeting today in Raleigh to present the resolution and the council's dissatisfaction with the bill and highlight the lack of communication between the board and Stone.

Council member Charles Taylor said he voted against the resolution because "the council acted in haste."

"We needed to be more carefully thought out," he said after the meeting. "We could have drafted some of these talking points on (Monday), but they went off the top of their head."

Council member Rebecca Wyhof, who proposed the resolution, said she didn't want to see partisan politics enter city business.

"I am not sure how this benefits the citizens," she said. "As a council, we do not deal with partisan issues. I don't think potholes are partisan."

Olive asked all the council members if they were contacted by Stone about the bill and none indicated they were solicited for input.

Sanford Attorney Susan Patterson said she attempted to reach Stone Monday and Tuesday, but her phone calls were not returned.

Of the nearly 500 North Carolina towns and cities, only seven have partisan elections, according to information given to Patterson by the N.C. League of Municipalities.

The proposed bill would also change the Lee County Board of Education election to a partisan race.

In other matters, Council:

* Approved a community garden policy that allows interested residents to lease a city-owned lot for the purpose of creating a community garden. People interested can contact Sanford Public Works Administrator Laura Spivey at (919) 777-1116.

* Voted to temporarily close streets for the East Sanford Cleanup and Block Party scheduled for April 13.

* Voted to rezone three sets of property, per the Sanford-Lee County Planning Board's recommendation. Roughly more than one acre of land at 2215 Dalrymple St. was rezoned from residential to general commercial for a potential retail business by Sixto Alvarez Mendoza. Six acres at 3007 Beechtree Drive were rezoned from highway commercial to general commercial for the purpose of relocating New Hope Baptist Church to the area. More than 12 acres were rezoned from residential to a conditional zoning district designed specifically for Sanford Solar LLC to place a solar farm at the intersection of Washington Avenue and West Garden Street.