Commentary: Support the 2018 City Bond Referendum

Commentary: Support the 2018 City  Bond Referendum
November 01
12:00 2018

By April Adams-Ruffin

As a long-time resident of Winston-Salem, I am invested in making sure my city remains competitive with our neighbors. To do this we must make a commitment to regular public improvements and stay current on necessary maintenance. As we embark on the early voting period and enter into the midterm elections, I am urging all Winston-Salem residents to support the 2018 City Bond Referendum.

The $122 million proposed bond project will address five focus areas: parks and recreation, housing, economic development, streets and sidewalks and public safety facilities. 

As a member of the Citizens’ Capital Needs Committee, I worked along with my colleagues to identify and prioritize projects, from an extensive initial proposal worth over $755 million, to indicate the areas we felt demanded completion and projects that will have the most impact on all of the city’s residents. This bond package is a part of a continuous effort by the City of Winston-Salem to be proactive in addressing public improvement needs. In order to maintain the momentum of the 2014 bond referendum, we must have ongoing efforts to maintain city infrastructure. While some remaining funds from the 2014 bond referendum are still being spent on the final 82 projects, we need to make certain that there is no lapse in the overall betterment tasks and that we are prepared for the next round of maintenance needs.

Opponents of the Bond package claim the proposed allocations do not provide enough money to east Winston Salem. In fact, 46 percent of the proposed budget is directed to the Southeast, Northeast, and East wards, totaling nearly $35 million of the overall bond package. The money not directed to specific wards, an additional $49,200,000, will go to economic development sites and infrastructure, a public safety radio communication system (our current one is so old parts are ordered from Ebay), park land acquisition and development, neighborhood revitalization, and Business 40 corridor improvement projects. The aforementioned projects will benefit all of the citizens of Winston-Salem.

The 2018 Bond referendum focuses on creating livable neighborhoods, promoting economic vitality and diversity, and will ensure our community remains safe and secure. All of these items are the responsibility of the city government. The city government is not responsible for schools or libraries.  Those duties fall under the auspices of county government. Continuity in public improvements is not unlike the regular maintenance we do on our homes or cars. We have to both prioritize areas of concern and address pressing needs.

However, this vital work will not be accomplished without your support and, most importantly, your votes.  Please join me in helping Winston-Salem reach its full potential. 

High Five the Bonds! 

April Ruffin-Adams, Ph.D., M.S.W. is a resident of Winston-Salem and a visiting assistant professor at UNC-Greensboro. 

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