FIRST ON 3: Wilmington City Manager hugely exaggerating baseball stadium petition ballot cost


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Submitted: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 9:13pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tuesday night, members of the Wilmington City Council will talk baseball once again. One item on the agenda is how much it will cost to put Ben McCoy and Josh Fulton’s anti-tax based baseball stadium petition on the general election ballot.

In his proposal to the council, Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham writes, “Additionally, funding in the amount of $40,000 is also being included to cover the cost of putting the stadium question on the ballot in the general election as dictated by the petition in FY 2013, if the Council so desires.”

However, New Hanover County Board of Elections Director Marvin McFadyen says if the city wants to put the petition on the November general election ballot, it would cost more like $1,000.

28 Comments

  • Citizen of the Republic says:

    City Manager runs the city and finances.

    Board Of Elections runs elections and produces ballots.

    Neither could do the others job well.

    So, if I had to choose which one actually knows how much it would cost to put something on a ballot, I think it would BOE.

  • kimmy says:

    doesnt anyone care that this stadium wiil take up half of downtown.this is a small town and i like it like that.i think something that big is going to dwarf our downtown our only large building is the ppd.

  • Guesttoo says:

    Why is WWAY saying the City Manager exaggerated yet takes the BOE Directors word as gospel?

    My guess is that the real cost is somewhere in between.

    Then again, presenting it this way makes a much better headline!

  • MrT says:

    Fundamental reporting requires both sides of a story. What did Mr. Cheatham have to say concerning the matter? You should have at the least said Mr. Cheathem didnt return your call!

  • Scott Pickey says:

    Mr. Cheatham put his side of the story in the proposal / request to city council.

    sp

    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • Rick Wilson says:

    I wonder who they were planning to give the other $39,000.00 to. It is time for a complete and total AUDIT of the city government. I wonder how many more millions can be found?????

  • 1981duke says:

    Going on the ballott.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    They turned in the additional signatures required before the deadline. Additionally, many of the signatures that were not verified initially could have been verified if further investigation was done by the BOE.

    Why are you people so fearful of democracy? This is going to a vote by the city residents, and if they have any brains at all, they will say “No.”

    Governmnet has no busines blowing tax revenue on sports.

  • Old Man says:

    The only way the petition met the required number of signatures was by cheating…the usual way for losers to try to pull one off.

  • 1981duke says:

    No need to stop the varification at this point,as when the People know all the facts,they will clearly see the value of this to our community.

  • Guest111 says:

    You idiot! Damn! Keep up here. I would like to see it in the news regularly that the request for 40,000. was put in to put this on the ballot and actually it only cost 1,000.

  • 1981duke says:

    At least daily till November election.

  • Guest? says:

    Sorry i seemed to upset you to the point of name calling. Does your mommy and daddy know you are on the computer? As for this 40,000 i don’t feel ive heard the wole story. I think It’s irresponsible and wway did not check all sides of the story their response was “its in the ordinance. ” well i read the ordinance and i saw an estimate of what the city figured it would cost. I wish wway could have at least taken the time to ask how did they come up with that figure? Maybe the county sent them an estimate? Maybe there are other factors. But instead you ran half an article which leaves me with more questions. It almost sounds like ben and Jerry arepart of your staff now.

  • Guest111 says:

    WWAY Please put this on your newscasts for two or three days.

  • Guest? says:

    I don’t hear enough about baseball stadiums and ben and jerry or whatever their names are. I want to hear about it every single night!

  • Robert Green says:

    Sterling CHEATham’s career in Wilmington hinges on King Billy and his Court’s ability to maintain power.Once the majority of disengaged voters sit up and pay attention to the irresponsible financial pursuits of these clowns, Sterling will be on his way out.This ballpark will possibly be the one issue that seals the fate of King Billy and his Court politically.I had an interaction with Mr. CHEATham once through an e-mail, that was full of grammatical errors and misspelled words.This was my first impression of the man.This is why the City of Wilmington has to hire high dollar consultants.He may possibly be incompetent.Mr.CHEATham needs to explain to the news media the 39,000 differential? Maybe we need to cut his salary by $40,000 until he can show the citizens he can make decisions with city staff, without hiring consultants.Tony Caudle will need to brush up his resume’ likewise.You have been a biased cheerleader of this initiative with your closed door meetings.You then show up with your dog and pony show (public meetings) knowing full well the deal is being hammered out privately.

  • Guester says:

    Didn’t get our way? You sound rather bitter.

  • Guester says:

    Then why has it cost the city $70,000 in past years for elections? It’s in their budget.

  • GuestNineOneOne says:

    $70,000 is what it costs to have an election. But we’re already having an election in November, not holding an election for nothing but a vote on the petition. The petition will just get tagged onto the existing ballot.
    I would have expected the City Manager to know that. If he was aware of it, but threw out that $40,000 figure anyway, well, I guess that would make him dishonest. I wouldn’t want to think that of him so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s ignorant, instead.

  • Guester says:

    Why wouldn’t the county have told the city this? Sounds like there’s a disconnect somewhere. If the city has paid $70K for the elections every other year to have something on the ballot and to have votes counted, $1,000 seems like a real deal. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, I think the City Manager should jump on this and get it in writing. Sounds like a steal!

  • Guestdave says:

    If this is just being “tagged onto the existing ballot,” WHY Does it cost anything at all? Certainly the votes aren’t counted by hand? What is the county charging for?

  • Guest2020 says:

    Everything involving the government has some price on it. Candidates have to pay a fee to get put on the ballot, so I would think that this fee is somewhat similar to a filing fee.

  • MrT says:

    ask him to support his projection?
    It doesn’t seem so!!

  • Robert Green says:

    What else has the city manager manipulated in his duties during his tenure? May be time for an audit. This seriously brings into question his integrity.

  • City_of_Wilmington says:

    Info from City of Wilm provided for clarification:
    In an effort to publically identity upfront potential costs associated with a possible ballball-related question on a ballot in the general election, any costs that could be anticipated were included in the ordinance for City Council consideration. This includes not only a possible reference on the general election ballot and related state legal public notification requirements, but also legal counsel that will be needed to help frame the language of any such question or questions on the ballot in the event that occurs. It is also not known at this time if a separate ballot would be needed or required, or what question or questions would be needed to meet state statutes.

    Because so many issues have not been finalized to this point, the estimate was made based on one-half the cost charged to the city for the last special election, taking into account the items above. (We also pay the county for municipal elections, which generally cost the city between $60-$70,000).

  • Guest333 says:

    I agree, Integerty, Trust, Respect is gone… He is of no use to Us…

  • Carol Kramer says:

    Try to keep ahead of these guys. The baseball advocates are now asking for an additional 6 months to consider the baseball stadium. Stringing out the timeline 6 more months gets us to December, noting that this is AFTER the November general election. Is Sterling Cheatham throwing out this $40,000 for additional funding because the decision is going to be “necessarily” delayed (and he knows it), which would cause a $40,000 expense for a special election? I’m thinking that they will try to keep the vote OFF of the general election ballot and then get everyone up in arms about having to spend so much money for another election (which would have very low turnout.)

  • Guest2020 says:

    The negotiations should not affect the timing of the referendum. If I remember correctly, the way the petition process works is that the petition must contain a certain percentage of voters’ signatures. If they petition has the correct percentage, and it does, then the city council either votes to approve it, or they have to put it to a vote. The petitioners met their requirements and I believe the council did not approve it, so it goes to a vote. This should be placed on the ballot regardless of any other action involving the stadium.

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