Election outcome won’t change
In the words of Sanford-Lee County Planning Director Bob Bridwell, it’s a good day to be a city planner.
Voters approved all four of the city of Sanford’s bond referendums, which totaled $14.5 million, during this week’s municipal primary.
“I am very excited to be working on (these projects) toward the end of my career,” said Bridwell, who is scheduled to retire next spring. “The city is able to make this leap forward, and a lot of people have been working on this project for a number of years.”
The provisional ballots have yet to be tallied — which will occur on canvassing day scheduled for Sept. 17 — but they will not sway the outcome of the election results, according to Lee County Elections Director Nancy Kimble.
“There are 14 provisional ballots, so not enough to change any of the results,” she said.
Three of the four bond referendum votes were decided by more than 100 votes, but the greenway bond received 45 more yay than nay votes.
How residents voted:
• The $6.5 million streetscape bond items, which will make streetscape improvements to downtown Sanford and Jonesboro, received 1,311 yes votes and 1,169 no votes.
• The $4 million greenway bond, which will extend the Endor Iron Furnace Greenway from Kiwanis Family Park to Central Carolina Hospital before looping back to downtown Sanford, received 1,256 yes votes and 1,211 no votes.
* The $2 million parks and recreational bond, which will create an interactive play area with water elements, received 1,395 yes votes and 1,090 no votes.
* The $2 million sidewalk bond item, which will expand and repair sidewalks within city limits, received 1,415 yes votes and 1,065 no votes.
Bridwell said a brief conversation was held with City Manager Hal Hegwer, Sanford Public Works Director Vic Czar and himself Wednesday to discuss potential timelines for the projects, and they will be holding formal meetings with the Sanford City Council to establish an implementation calendar.
“A lot of design work is done,” he said. “We want to make sure we do this right and do it the first time. … I sincerely hope the citizens of Sanford and this community feel the great benefit from these projects we have been talking about for several years.”
Despite strong opinions on both sides of the bond issues, voter turnout was reported at less than 17 percent for Tuesday’s primary.
“I don’t have a clue as to why it was so low,” Kimble said. “You’d have to ask the citizens of Sanford.”
Approximately 2,500 of the city’s 15,000 registered voters cast their ballots during the primary and two weeks of early voting.
The voting process went smoothly throughout the voting day, in part, thanks to the help of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County school system, according to Kimble.
“I don’t think we had any problems [with people voting while school was in session],” Kimble said.
Early voting and one-stop voting for the Nov. 6 municipal election begins in little over a month on Oct. 17. Republican Max Dolan and Democrat Norman “Chas” Post III, who won their respective party seats Tuesday, will campaign for the at-large district seat. Incumbent Samuel Gaskins, a Democrat, will face Republican challenger Bill Oberkirsch for the Ward 1 seat.