Voters stick with familiar

ajames@newsobserver.comNovember 8, 2013 

Wallicia Lane-Sandaire took her three children, Alana, Quincy and Tyler Sandaire, with her to vote on Tuesday.

AMANDA JAMES — ajames@newsobserver.com

— The Town Council will remain the same after voters on Tuesday stuck with the three incumbents who were on the ballot.

Councilmen Michael Grannis, Art Holder and Bob Satterfield were the top three finishers in the race for three seats on the council. They were relatively easy winners over political newcomers Bobby Bunn, Eboni Harrell and John McFadden.

Grannis received 590 votes, Holder 548 and Satterfield 520. Bunn got 339, McFadden garnered 272 and Harrell won 268.

Grannis said he doesn’t know what made the difference on Tuesday. But the incumbents’ comfortable victory margins suggest Clayton taxpayers are relatively happy with what the council has been doing, he said.

“It seems that they feel we are doing a good job,” Grannis said. “They may have an issue or two, but they think we overall do a good job.”

He said Clayton has been blessed to make it through the economic downturn in a strong financial position, and that shows good management and leadership.

Bunn, Harrell and McFadden ran on fairly similar platforms. All said they’d like to make it easier for small businesses to thrive, to make the council more diverse and to bring resources to areas of town that have been overlooked, including northern Clayton.

McFadden said he’s disappointed he didn’t win but supports the current council.

“There are tweaks I wanted to make with how’s it’s run, but overall I think Clayton is a great place to live,” he said.

McFadden said he would like to run again and was encouraged that all of the challengers won a fairly sizable number of votes, suggesting voters were open to change.

School, college bonds

Both bond issues on Tuesday’s ballot passed with strong support. The $57 million for the county’s public schools passed with 75.66 percent of the vote, while $7 million for Johnston Community College won 76.33 percent.

“I am very proud to work in a county that sees the importance of a strong education system and continues to support its growth and achievements,” Superintendent Ed Croom said in a written statement.

The public schools will use the money to build two new campuses, convert a middle school to an elementary school and expand many of the county’s other schools. The money will help the school system handle the roughly 700 new students it expects each year.

“These bonds will help us start addressing our facility upgrades,” JCC president David Johnson said, also in a written statement. “And we are so grateful for all the volunteers who helped us promote our needs and the voters who recognized the importance of 21st century learning environments for our public schools and our community college.”

The money will become available as bonds are sold in early 2014, County Manager Rick Hester said.

Around the county

In Archer Lodge, councilmen Carlton Vinson and Mark B. Wilson were unopposed in their bids for re-election to the town council.

In Wilson’s Mills, incumbent Philip Wright ran unopposed and will continue as the town’s mayor. Incumbent Town Council member Kenneth Jones won re-election. Newcomers Fleta Byrd and Randy Jernigan will fill the other two open seats.

James: 919-553-7234

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