Twin City voters to consider bond package

by Daniel Schere

Voters in Winston-Salem will vote on five bond issuestotaling $139.2 million in the fall. At their meeting on Monday night, membersof the Winston-Salem City Council unanimously voted to put the items on theNovember ballot, which include $42.3 million for street and sidewalk repairs,$31 million for public safety, $30.85 million for parks and recreation, $10 millionfor housing and $25 million for economic development.

The meeting included a public hearing on each of the items,and many residents spoke out on both sides of the sidewalks bond. ResidentsCarolyn Highsmith and Robert Leak showed the council photos of streets in theirrespective neighborhoods that need to be repaired. Highsmith, a member of theNew South Community Coalition, said there are three roundabouts on WestClemmonsville Road that have not been landscaped.

A few residents said they felt that their voices had notbeen heard in the past and wanted to make sure their communities would benefit.Jack Fisher, who lives in Pfafftown, said half of his community has beenannexed by the city of Winston-Salem but the other half is unincorporated. Thisconcept even extends to Yadkinville Road, which has been annexed on only oneside. Fisher said as a result he has not received basic services like sidewalksand streetlights despite paying taxes to the city of Winston-Salem.

“Everything I see spent seems to be spent downtown,” hesaid. “We are supposed to be a part of this city. Please pay attention to thisarea.”

Joanne Allen said she will not support the streets andsidewalks bond because she feels council members are not representing the willof the people, and there is too much red tape.

“You’re going to come back in three more years and tell usagain with a new set of repairs that are needed in Winston Salem,” she said.”Maybe you all have forgotten when you were elected legally or illegally, thatyou are representing the people of Winston-Salem, not yourselves.”

Councilman Robert Clark said he understands the frustrationof those who have not received repairs to streets and sidewalks in theirneighborhoods, but said it is important to be realistic in deciding which roadsshould receive priority.

“We’re not going to fix every pothole, but what we need is astep change,” he said.

Clark noted that 60 percent of city roads have sidewalks andjoked that most roads have two sides, when laying out the cost ofputting sidewalks on streets.