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GOP panel seeks jail referendum

Published 5:27pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Beaufort County Republican Party’s Executive Committee is seeking a referendum related to building a new jail.

The committee adopted a resolution asking the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to conduct a referendum on any borrowing of money associated with building a new jail in the county. The committee contends a “citizen referenda” on major public borrowing is “a fundamental voting right.” The committee has taken notice that Wake County is seeking voter approval through a referendum on borrowing money for schools. The committee also believes that financing a new jail for Beaufort County could lead to substantial tax increases.

The resolution adopted by the committee calls on all commissioners elected as Republicans to support a referendum as  “the Republican Party has always believed in bottom up government which respects the rights, wishes, and perogatives of the taxpayers.’’

Should the board refuse the committee’s request, the resolution asks the county’s state legislators to “enact local legislation to require a referendum.”

In another resolution, the committee supports circulating a petition among county residents that demands a referendum on any borrowing of money to pay for a new jail. Several speakers at recent board meetings have asked for the commissioners to support conducting a referendum on a new jail.

The commissioners have taken two votes concerning a referendum on a new jail. Both motions to conduct such a referendum were defeated by a 4-3 vote, with board Chairman Jerry Langley, Al Klemm, Robert Belcher and Ed Booth voting against conducting a referendum. With the exception of Klemm, a Republican, those voting against the motion are Democrats. Republicans Hood Richardson, Gary Brinn and Stan Deatherage voted for conducting a referendum.

The first vote came in September; the second vote came Oct. 7. After the Oct. 7 vote, the board voted 4-3 to prevent the referendum issue being brought up again for six months.

 

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