City Council splits over fair advertising and earmarking

City Council splits over fair advertising and earmarking
February 22
04:00 2018

The City Council had split votes involving Dixie Classic Fair advertising after the top bidder was found to have no minority employees and also on earmarking money for The Strollway.

Local advertising firm Wildfire, LLC, which has done advertising services for the fair for the last six years, had the highest scored bid and was recommended by the Finance Committee for a contract of $230,000 a year. City Council members and staff expressed discomfort that none of Wildfire’s 32 employees were minorities, a particular concern since they’d like to increase the amount of minorities attracted to the fair.

Wildfire regularly places advertising for the fair in newspapers including The Chronicle, whose owners include City Council Members Derwin Montgomery and James Taylor. To avoid a conflict of interest that would’ve prevented them from voting, Montgomery declared The Chronicle would not be taking money for any advertising involved in this contract after Wildfire listed the paper as a sub-contractor it would be using for advertising. Montgomery then proposed that the bid be rejected and that city staff would instead do the fair advertising.

City Council Member John Larson proposed that instead of voting for it on the spot, they should send it back to committee and so they could hear a presentation from staff about how they’d do the advertising and how much it’d cost. This caused a very rare tie vote on the council as Montgomery, Taylor, Vivian Burke and D.D. Adams voted against it and Larson, Robert Clark, Jeff MacIntosh and Dan Besse voted for it.  Mayor Allen Joines, who only votes if there’s a tie, sided with those that wanted to send it back to committee.

There was also another split vote over the NCDOT’s purchase of land on the downtown Strollway for the incoming renovations on Business 40. Larson proposed earmarking the $106,793.83 for improvements to the Strollway

“We’re monetizing an asset that’s on the Strollway itself that will be impacted by the sale of this property and because of that, at the end of the day, we’re going to need to make improvements to the Strollway,” said Larson.

Besse said it wasn’t unprecedented for funds from property purchases to be designated for a particular use, but said they should be cautious about earmarking continuous funds.

The resolution passed with Clark, Adams, and Burke voting against it, citing concerns about earmarking funds for particular wards at the expense of others.

“I think we’re very fair at budget time when we try to look at everybody and be fair with it, but I think to start this earmarking, first thing you know we’re going to have a thousand designated funds for it,” said Clark, who chairs the finance committee.

Also during the meeting:

*A $1 million construction contract was approved for Creative Design & Construction, Inc. to build a new park on 2.9 acres of land at 2615 Bethabara Road. This project from the 2014 bonds will feature a dog park, playground, picnic shelters and have amenities accessible to those with disabilities like wheelchair swings.

*The City Council accepted a truck from the Winston-Salem Police Foundation that’ll be used by police officers as an ice cream truck and book mobile for youth outreach.  It’s tentatively scheduled to be unveiled on June 8 of this year.

*The city’s mold ordinance was amended to address conditions in foundations and plumbing that cause mold, giving inspectors another tool to address the problem.

About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors