Now that he is mayor-elect of Charlotte, Richard Vinroot says some big changes are in order, including a renewed push for consolidation with surrounding Mecklenburg county and an emphasis on regional cooperation.
"I intend for it to be a revolutionary period if I can have my way," said Mr. Vinroot, a Republican.
"I want to fix the criminal justice system: I want to consolidate our governments," the mayor-elect continued. "I want to develop regional working relationships" with nearby counties.
The mayor-elect also has vowed to avoid increasing property texas, but has called for more users' fees and a regional taxing authority for transportation. Mr. Vinroot pushed hard for consolidation during his campaign, arguing that it will save the city millions of dollars by improving the efficiency of metropolitan government. His opponent, Democrat Al Rousso, had opposed consolidation.
Despite Mr. Vinroot's vow to put consolidation on the front burner, however, some key city council Democrafts remain opposed to the idea. They include Ann Hammond, who said she thinks the idea of a consolidation is outdated.
"Political consolidation does not make sense to me at this point, we've gone beyond that," she said. "The kind of issues we've talked about need a broader base that is regional in nature."
Another council member, Dan Clodfelter, also said the city should shelve any plans to consolidate with the county and plan on regional consolidation.
The mayor-elect, however, can probably count on continuing broad citizen support for most types of bond issues. In the Nov. 5 election, voters continued a 10-year tradition of support for general obligation bond referendums by approving a total of $161.3 million in new bonds for schools, sewers, parks, and historic building renovation.
The $86 million school bond authorization was approved by more than a 2-to-1 margin, as was $64.1 million of sewer water and drainage bonds. But the $10.2 million of parkland bonds and $1 million of historical properties bonds were passed by somewhat less than a two-to-one vote.
But another Republican winner on Nov. 5, Don Reid, has promised to push for closer examination of city bond issues. Mr. Reid, as president of advocacy group Citizens for Effective Government, opposed a $160 million lease-purchase financing that Charlotte officials had planned to help fund construction of a downtown convention center.
Although the offering originally was scheduled for December 1990, it was postponed for several months after the group threatened to sue to force a voters' referendum on the borrowing.