FIRST ON 3: Ballpark petition has enough signatures, could go on November Ballot

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Submitted: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 3:23am
Updated: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 3:03pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Board of Elections says it has verified enough signatures on a petition against a tax-funded baseball stadium in Wilmington.

Elections Director Marvin McFayden said late this afternoon, his office verified 74 signatures today. That brings the total to 2,848.

The results are in. There are now enough signatures on the petition against a tax-funded ballpark to take the next step.

It will now go to Wilmington City Council, which must either adopt it or put it up for a public vote.

“I can’t speak for council as a whole, but I don’t think that anyone thought that they wouldn’t come up with the number,” says City Councilman Neil Anderson.

Organizers submitted about 4,000 petition signatures to the board of elections last month, which was about 1,200 more than required. However, twice the board found there weren’t enough verified signatures. Finally on Tuesday, the petition was complete.

“Our victory is in it going into a public vote, not the outcome of the vote,” said Ben McCoy, one of the petition organizers. “Our victory is in getting it on the ballot.”

“The jury is out for us until we know exactly what we’re going to vote to adopt or to put on the ballot,” Anderson says.

McCoy guesses if left up to voters the ordinance would be a home run.

“It will be an eight to one vote in favor of our ordinance is my prediction,” he says.

Anderson says if they decide to put the ordinance to public vote, the city could possibly put a bond referendum on the ballot that would be an alternative to voters.

WWAY tried contacting Mayor Bill Saffo, but were not able to reach him for comment. Councilman Kevin O’Grady says he believes council will put the ordinance to a public vote and was confident citizens will vote against it because of its ambiguous language.

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70 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: Ballpark petition has enough signatures, could go on November Ballot"

2015 years 8 months ago

perhaps you don’t understand the time value of money?

Even more simply, when you borrow $100K for your house for your mortgage you actually end up paying around $300-$400K over 30 years depending on your interest rate. Also add into that the value of that money at today’s value vs. what that money is worth 30 years from now and the actual “cost” grows even greater.

Just because it’s the baseball field is something you want doesn’t make the laws of finance suddenly not apply.

2015 years 8 months ago

The Sharks are amateur, unpaid athletes. The company that runs the team is a professional sports organization.
I don’t believe they would be affected.

Concert and other events would go to the convention center which I believe would have first choice on local events of this nature (Goolsby may propose state legislation to force this issue on behalf of the Wilmington Home builders association – this is another story altogether.)

This petition seems innocuous and don’t forget that this probably could be changed in the future. Don’t forget Hammerhead supporters can also get a petition going to allow for an exemption for the Hammerheads if need be.
However like any other citizen driven ordinance it has not been challenged legally and you cannot expect the citizenry to know the letter of the law as it applies to ordinances.

The convention center is still in its infancy and can’t be called a success yet. It was and is paid for using room tax on hotels which was approved by the STATE legislature. This does not affect Wilmington taxpayers for the bulk of the cost. In other words the Wilmington taxpayer risk was limited. The stadium is different. It appears to be single purpose and funded by local taxpayer dollars for the majority of the cost……….
Getting it approved by the voters is probably prudent. It’s also politically expedient as it allows for Saffo and company to go with the flow…….

Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

Yes,40-42 million pays stadium costs

another chuck
2015 years 8 months ago

Baseball is NOT the important issue. The important issue and the reason there even IS a petition is: the people who are currently holding office are blatantly disregarding what is best for the city and the people that inhabit it in lieu of their own interests or biases. Let me rephrase that to say “most” because the “other” elected officials are obviously lacking intelligence or foresight if they assume this venture will not harm the average taxpayer even if only slightly. The fanatical segments of the population are those who actually support this venture at this time.

I can think of many diverse things that could help and enrich this community but a taxpayer funded baseball stadium is not one that is needed at this time. I might not be so opposed if the economic outlook was quite different but it does not look good regardless of political persuasion.

Political hijacking is what has been done by proponents of this stadium. And a special note for MrT: Keeping idiots in check is what democracy is all about!

2015 years 8 months ago

Guest 2020.
Correct me if I’m wrong here.
New Hanover High school teams would not be affected as they are NOT professional sports teams.
I believe the Wilmington Sharks are a collegiate summer baseball league and are also not considered professional. (This is vague to me as some teams appear to be paid???)
The only team this may affect is the Hammerheads but this situation may be grandfathered as their agreement for stadium use is already in place.

Best Regards