Extinguished: ‘Fire bond’ struck down in landslide vote
by Joshua Sharpe
jsharpe@cherokeetribune.com
March 20, 2013 12:00 AM | 1992 views | 4 4 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Precinct manager Jane Shelnutt gives Sue Ann Taylor a voter ID card to vote on the fire bond referendum Tuesday at Canton City Hall. <br>Staff/Samantha M. Shal
Precinct manager Jane Shelnutt gives Sue Ann Taylor a voter ID card to vote on the fire bond referendum Tuesday at Canton City Hall.
Staff/Samantha M. Shal
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Shelnutt adjusts a sign in Canton City Hall to inform voters of their polling locations. Canton voters doused a proposed $6 million fire bond referendum Tuesday in a landslide defeat with 518, or 71 percent, of the votes cast against the plan and 213, or 29 percent, voting in favor.
Shelnutt adjusts a sign in Canton City Hall to inform voters of their polling locations. Canton voters doused a proposed $6 million fire bond referendum Tuesday in a landslide defeat with 518, or 71 percent, of the votes cast against the plan and 213, or 29 percent, voting in favor.
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City of Canton voters doused a proposed $6 million fire bond referendum Tuesday in a landslide defeat with 518, or 71 percent, of the votes cast against the plan and 213, or 29 percent, voting in favor.

Turnout was light, with a total of 732, or 6.3 percent, of the city’s 11,683 registered voters going to the polls to voice their opinion on the issue, despite heated debate in the weeks leading up to the election.

The majority of Canton City Council members supported the proposal with Mayor Gene Hobgood and Councilman Glen Cummins remaining technically neutral on the plan but speaking out on the potential long term costs of the bond, which was set to have a 20-year term and hoped to construct three new fire stations in Canton.

Councilman John Beresford, who stood at the forefront of the charge to pass the plan, said Tuesday night that he was “naturally disappointed” with the outcome.

“I hope they are happy and I hope they plan to put on the fire helmet and fire boots,” Beresford said of citizens who led what he has called the “anonymous” movement against the bond.

Beresford said he was also disappointed with the low turnout for the election.

“The populous did not speak,” he said.

After learning of the result, Hobgood said, even though the numbers were low, the citizens who turned out to vote have spoken loudly and clearly.

“The important thing is that every single voter in the city had the opportunity to make a decision,” he said.

When asked how the city could now solve the problem of the need for more fire protection, Hobgood said he’d like to explore all other options.

“The main thing I would like to see is for us go back and examine every alternative,” said Hobgood, who has in the past recommended consolidating Canton fire services with Cherokee County. “That simply was not done in this case.”

Hobgood also said that he thought Canton still has the opportunity to build one of the three proposed stations. This station would be in the area which most have agreed is in the most need, the Laurel Canyon community on the northwestern edge of the city.

Janet Munda, Cherokee County Supervisor of Elections and Registration said Tuesday that the city of Canton will foot the bill for the election, which she estimates will cost between $10,000 to $12,000. That comes to roughly $20 per vote cast.

Comments
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fairly new here
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March 20, 2013
I'm pretty tapped out by the City of Canton. I would have been much more in favor of this proposal if I hadn't watched how much ridiculous money was just spent redoing downtown. I think the city needs to rethink how they spend their existing funds. Next time, build a fire station instead of pretty sidewalks.
Research More
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March 25, 2013
Those sidewalks were paid for by grant funding. I would research before making unfounded comments.
GangofFive
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March 20, 2013
I guess we will have to go back to the drawing board. We should have done a better job researching and presenting our master plan. I guess the good guys won again.
Delta Grand
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March 20, 2013
I am just glad this did not pass. Cantonians have stood their ground against the politician and BIG GOVERNMENT on this one. We must protect the county from city encroachment. Thank you again Citizens of Canton!!!

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