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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The proposed ballpark has gotten its fair share of attention lately. Tuesday night City Council unanimously voted to start negotiating with Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves. However, two Wilmington men are trying to stop it from going any further and taking the issue into the hands of the people. Ben McCoy and Joshua Fulton, who previously ran for City Coucil, started a petition to hopefully change how the city can pay for the ballpark.

“It doesn’t matter what your political ideology is or where you stand or what you believe in,” McCoy said. “Your taxes are going up so that Bobby Cox and friends can make money from your risk and your investment.”

“We don’t think they should be gambling with our money essentially,” Fulton said.

The two have organized a citizen-initiated ordinance.

“Citizens of Wilmington can basically introduce whatever ordinance they want if they have enough signatures,” Fulton said. “This powerful tool has not been used by any municipality in the state of North Carolina within the last five years, according to General Counsel for the State Board of Elections.”

They have started a petition to prevent City Council from enforcing a tax raise to pay for the ballpark. City Council has two decisions when handed the petition: they can approve it as-is or put it to a public vote. About 3,000 signatures from registered Wilmington voters are needed for the citizen ordinance to be successful.

“The challenge is getting the message out and reaching everyday people that are outside the normal circles,” McCoy said.

To do just that, the two set up the Facebook group “Stop Tax-Funded Stadium in Downtown Wilmington,” where there’s a link on the wall to sign the petition.

“People need to get involved, they need to wake up,” McCoy said. “They need to get off the couch, they need to determine this issue and see where they stand on it and take steps to support your position.”

Fulton and McCoy have also organized a protest for February 18th at noon behind the Convention Center where you can sign that petition. Copies of the initiatives will also be available for citizens to sign at Wilmington Commercial Realty at College and Oleander and at Hardwire Tattoo downtown.

We contacted several members of City Council, including Mayor Bill Saffo. None were available for comment.

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47 Comments on "Wilmington men organize citizen ordinance, petition to stop tax funded ballpark"

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Peyton Garrett
2016 years 2 months ago

There is no intent to Slander, Libel or anything else. My intent was to raise a question. I do not know what this project would cost. I have not seen any numbers, engineering, any factors at all. I now have asked a question of Mr. McCoy. Do You or do You not receive reimbursement from Government Agencies for your products? Also, it has been brought to the public’s attention, Do You own and or pay property tax in the City of Wilmington? Vehicles do not count. Those are my two questions.

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Johnm
2016 years 2 months ago

I don’t agree with idea of a taxpayer funded ballpark at all. While a ballpark would be a good idea if we had adequate space for it in its current location but in the space alloted it would be cramped and wouldn’t adequately accommodate the people the way it needs too. But that’s not the real reason the ball park should not be there and that’s it would be forcibly funded by the taxpayers. That is not right any way you look at. The purpose for taxes is to provide goods and services a community needs… Read more »

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Jayrover
2016 years 2 months ago

I am sure glad all of the Ben “Haters” are spouting out a legitimate argument here instead of trying to personally slander him.. Wow, (by the way.. sarcasm). Look, lets have the debate. I would love a baseball stadium in Wilmington. It would be cool. I could totally get behind a group who wanted to help raise funds voluntarily for it. As a lifelong baseball fan, who subscribes to MLB.tv to watch tons of games, along with catching a game whenever I go to New York, I would LOVE to see a stadium here. I might even buy season tickets…AS… Read more »

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Guest111
2016 years 2 months ago

I don’t care who gets the petition going just get it going in a way people have access to it. Sorta dropped the ball on day one. Plan this a bit better. Thanks

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Guest111
2016 years 2 months ago

I went by Wilmington Commercial Realty twice today to sign the petition. No one there either time and the second time another car was there for the same purpose. When you call the number there’s never an answer and the mail box is full. If you want people to sign the petition you need to put it somewhere that’s easy to get to, (this place on Oleander is not) and someone needs to be there to allow access to the papers. It needs to be moved so folks can get started on this.

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