Volume 16, Number 2
To the editor:
In response to the 9/27 Gazette article, “Jones, Thompson discuss town’s challenges” a Concerned Citizen said, “Just a note that most people don’t realize . . . Jim is the one who has been able to vote for or against development and transportation projects while he’s been commissioner. The Mayor is only able to provide influence.” Commissioner Brian Pate responded to this post, “Actually, the Mayor cast the deciding vote for Wake Forest’s participation in the transportation plan. One of the commissioners was absent for that vote.”
Both the Concerned Citizen and Commissioner Pate are correct. The mayor only votes to break a tie, and that can only occur if a commissioner is absent for a vote on a controversial issue. It is interesting that I have only voted, I believe six times, in my tenure as mayor and two of those votes occurred on June 20 of this year when I cast the deciding vote for Wake Forest’s participation in the transportation plan.
Several agreements have been developed and approved by all the municipalities in Wake County having to do with the implementation of the Wake Transit Plan. The Wake Transit Plan was approved by the majority of Wake County citizens. Because so many jurisdictions are involved, it was decided that we should have interlocal agreements to specify who was in charge of what and to outline the steps we would take for implementation. The Wake Forest Town Board had approved all of those interlocal agreements up to this point.
In June the final agreement was presented and it simply outlines that we will be involved in the planning, designing, funding and implementation of the plan. If we do not sign this agreement, we will NOT be involved in the planning, designing, funding and implementation of the plan. That means that Wake Forest will NOT benefit from the plan at all. In other words, we will pay the taxes imposed and we will not have the possibility to expand our bus service or have commuter rail.
When the agreement came before the Town Board in June, Commissioner Pate was absent. Commissioners Reeve and Harrington voted in favor. Commissioners Stinnett and Thompson voted against. It was my responsibility to break the tie. I have been and I will continue to support the implementation of the Wake Transit Plan as voted for by the citizens. This agreement allows Wake Forest to be involved in the planning and implementation of the plan and to receive funding for which we are paying. Voting “no” would not take away the obligation to pay but it would take away the ability for Wake Forest to benefit.
Mayor Vivian Jones
(After receiving this letter the Gazette editor asked Thompson if he would like to explain his no vote for inclusion in this week’s issue. He answered, “I appreciate the opportunity, unfortunately, I still have to finish your article for this week.” Later he asked if he could submit a letter next week and was assured he could.)