It looks like Wake County will have to wait until May 2018 — at the earliest– to vote on a $1.98 billion school bond referendum.
Still, not having the go-ahead from taxpayers is not stopping County Commissioners from moving forward with nearly $ 400 million in school construction projects.
How is this possible? On Monday evening Wake County Commissioners passed an ordinance that would provide $397 million in limited obligation bonding, an amount that does not require a property tax increase. Limited obligation bonds do not require voter approval.
Clearly the sense of Commissioners is to move forward with $2 building in school building projects using a mix of limited obligation and general obligation bonds – bonds that require voter approval.
Moving forward with multi-million dollar school projects without the public’s OK? How is that good?
You needn’t be Einstein to deduce the County Board doesn’t want to put a $2 billion school bond referendum on this fall’s ballot – especially when county voters will be asked to support raising the county sales tax a half-cent to support a $2.3 billion transit plan.
Sig Hutchinson told the News & Observer that waiting until 2018 will actually be better for the County. It will help it plan better. It will also give the school system time to finish the remaining projects from the current building program.
It’s a question of planning. Hutchinson said in an interview. You can only build so much over a period of time.”
I’m not buying it. If Wake County Schools are merely finishing up the remaining projects, why the need for an additional $397 million now?
I believe Wake County taxpayers will support a compelling case for additional schools. That Wake County of Board of Commissioners is parsing the bond referendum and delaying a public vote reflects a belief that the Commissioner’s case is far from compelling.
Moving ahead with million dollar school projects without public approval is bad public policy. And something taxpayers ought not forget.