Bonds: The ballot item where elected officials have to listen

by Jim Longworth

On Nov. 7, none of us can vote for a new president or governor, and that’s a shame.

But those of us in Forsyth and Guilford counties will at least have an opportunity to vote for a variety of bond issues which will allow us to determine how our tax dollars are spent.

In Greensboro you need Cliff’s Notes to help you wade through the myriad of bonds and their import. I will highlight just a few of the proposals.

New fire stations are a no-brainer, and a bargain at $24.5 million.

I am also a big fan of public parks. We are destroying our natural spaces with too many subdivisions, so this bond to construct recreational areas is well worth $5 million.

The International Civil Rights Museum in its present form may never get off the ground no matter how much money is raised. That’s because it is subject to flooding and faces serious structural problems. One solution is to memorialize the historic site, restore the facade and present window displays, then relocate the museum to safe ground. Unless this or some other viable plan is put forth, I oppose spending tax money on the Woolworth Water Works.

Speaking of water, I also oppose bonds that would finance construction of a swimming center. And, I am against spending money to renovate War Memorial Auditorium. Then there’s the $5.5 million proposed for sprucing up War Memorial Stadium. If the city can identify a list of tenants and projected rental earnings that can go back into the coffers, then I’m OK with it. Otherwise, no.

And I am opposed to spending $10 million for economic development infrastructure. We’ve given away enough freebies to corporations. It’s time they step up to the plate and start paying for the necessities of relocation.

Over in Forsyth, there are two big bonds up for consideration, and while I have personal ties to both, that doesn’t make my opinions without merit. Forsyth Tech needs $25 million for a host of reasons, including new facilities and equipment for the training of some 5,000 firefighters each year.

Meanwhile, the public school system needs $235 million for new construction and much needed renovations. Dilapidated classrooms and sterile trailers are not conducive to learning.

I urge citizens to support both of these education bonds.

I also urge everyone to study all of the bonds in detail before you vote. This is your chance to tell elected officials what’s important to you and your family, and this time, they will have to listen.

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on UPN 48 (cable channel 14).