County votes no on sales tax referendum, sports complex

Crump: City won’t try again

By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County voters soundly rejected the proposed quarter-cent sales tax, funds from which officials from the city of Rockingham and Richmond County planned to use to construct a destination sports complex.

election-results_image_1Whether it was an issue of a confusing ballot — the referendum language failed to mention anything about a sports complex — or a lack of connection for voters between the “Vote Yes” campaign signs posted throughout the county and the sales tax referendum is unknown. But nearly three out of every four county voters — 8,661, or 70.4 percent for to 3,638 against — said no thanks.

Commissioner Ben Moss, who voted on July 7 to put the issue to voters, said they have spoken. Moss was the second-highest vote-getter of six commissioner candidates Tuesday night, earning a second four-year term in office.

Should the county try again?

“In my opinion, the voters have spoken,” said Moss, 34. “I want to follow the will of the voter.”

Ledbetter resident Herbie Long, who earned one of four available seats to the county commission, said he is in general support of parks and recreation for county youth but was against the sales tax increase as proposed and presented to the public.

Long said he felt the town of Ellerbe and the city of Hamlet should have been brought to the table sooner to discuss the needs of those respective areas. They weren’t, and all indicators pointed towards deep dissatisfaction form those areas towards the city-managed project located off Old Aberdeen Road in Rockingham city limits.

Long said officials should consider bringing the referendum to voters in 2016.

“We’ll just have to see,” Long said. “I hope they do.”

Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump, however, said that’s unlikely. He said the city’s Plan B with the 108-acre site is to construct a significantly reduced version of the sports complex, projected to cost between $12 million and $15 million.


Filed in: Latest Headlines, Sports

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  • Daffy

    It was not confusion of a ballot or a non understanding of those signs. Stop making excuses. It was just a bad idea for several reasons. One that also promoted an unfair advantage to the city of Rockingham and the people knew that. So the people voted their opinion / decision on the matter. Looks like the great folks of Richmond County were paying attention and are not willing to be “sheeples” any longer. .

  • Just Me

    By omitting anything about a sports complex or connection for voters between the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign signs, it shows that not only would sales tax hike be permanent, it would also be unrestricted, meaning the money generated wouldn’t be required to be use for parks and rec. I’m sure this was very intentional.

  • Sunny

    The people of Richmond County knew exactly what they were voting for or against. Why would anyone think that they didn’t? The overall results of the elections this year should make it clear that people are informed. I think the majority made a wise decision. There are hundreds of things that would improve the lives of the citizens and would benefit the majority instead of a sports complex. If you have ever been to a Raider football game or any of the games played by teams through the parks and rec, it’s obvious that the citizens support sports in the county. People are just not willing to pay taxes on a sports complex while there are other things that are more beneficial to all of the people. Especially when people are struggling to survive the rising costs of food, medical and other necessities and unemployment is so high with few to no jobs available. Great job Richmond County on the selection of all the candidates that won. Congratulations to the Winners. The results speak loud and clear and I hope that the elected will take notice and make the voters proud.

  • Joey DeBerry

    IF they would have use it to clean up this County and Help the Schools and the Citizens here and would have trying to at the last Minute SHOVE IT DOWN OUR THROATS as they have done Everything Else here and Then Changed it for their Benefit as they have always here the 1/4 cent Tax Referendum would have passed if they could be trusted with it and we all know The citizens would have been forgotten as always. They have 2 Years to come up with a better Idea to use the money for and Maybe we will Vote For it but until they are Trusted and we do not have any trust in the Politicians here it will not happen.

    • Hall Rick

      Joey, this was our dear montys dream blown out of the water, like the sub shop idea ,a few love to go up to moore county and visit the sub shop there and thought wow wouldnt it be nice if I didnt have to drive that far for good food. Back a few years , Gene McLarin came to my door ,with Edith hawkins ask for my vote for him as first time Mayor. We had just had a bad election and RW got control of the city council, though his players in the council he only needed to add one more. Hee came to see me as well about the owner of Wendys ,and RW told me ,Mike he is one of our own. RW meant that Eddie came up on a cotton mill viliage hill ,same as my family who lived 5 houses from RW and his family on back street in cordova. I worked like a dog and Eddie was elected and fisrt act was to fire Monty as city manager because his choice of a new girlfriend didnt set well in RWs church. I begged Gene to re-hire Monty, if he won the mayors job. He said mike ,monty is a great guy and you are right. 4 years passed ,Monty came back to richmond ,after gene won and assumed city managers job again. At that time we lived on bryan street ,behind the mission and shelter, we had many problems with the winos and drunks and prostitutes in our neighborhood, My wife managed the days Inn and each morning as she went out to work, she was met with catcalls, and nasty remarks from those leaving the shelter after breakfast headed to the store at the tracks to get drunk once again . after it got so bad, my wife called Montys office to make a complaint,he listened for about 5 minutes and then said ,maam,you are simply a hysterial female. He hung up on her. She call the rockingham PD ,and each morning capt Mcquage would be parked at the top of the hill to watch her get to her car. I can nevewr thank the capt for that. Soon chief martin got involved after we had a standing room only meeting and many neighbors showed up.
      Monty has allowed power to get in his way of common sense. He no longer serves the needs of the people , he trys to rule . Sometimes power tends to do that to a person. Mrs Covington, like our president and our AG ,are showing just how racist they have become,over these past 6 years. We can never find peace among the races ,as long as there are always those who so willingly stir the pot so to speak. Mrs Covington , seems to forget ,that the back pop in our county is at 38 percent, she needs more than the black vote , she needs everyones ,vote. cheating and getting around the law seems to have become the normal ,in the liberals self benefit is at the forefront over and beyond everything else. I so enoy your honesty and your thoughts joey, you would make a great public servant . Maybe I should start a draft Joey movement , lol what do you think?

      • Joey DeBerry

        ,You know rick there has to be times i have said things you have to disagree with and my Ranting Raving but thats just my way to vent on this mess that should not be this way ,we all are brothers and sisters all over this World we live in, and if people would learn to respect one another we would not have to fight with people to make our lives better and people like Rob Roy Me You and the others have got to do it and I think we all helped make a Difference to let our Citizens know not to be Scared any more and they have the same right to Vote as anyone does and As Far as Monty I still Say its time to clean House on everyone and we can and will over time and Last night we all showed we want our County back it is ours and they work for us and the Bullying has got to go. The Race Card Playing has got to be thrown out the window from all Races and most Religions in this day and time ,we all have the same rights to set goals in life and be able to for fill them as any one is no better than another . We need to ban together as one to make this America again as it was in the 60s and 70s for me. Rick I have enjoyed our talks and replies we shared maybe we helped some with our talks that Im sure I have Made A Few Mad Or Glad but My Intentions is to Let these Folks Know it is not like it was when they were young and was told How to Vote and Who For but it is not that way as long as we Will Not Let It Be that way again my Friend. I do not think I would want to be a Politician here With all the problems they have created over the years my Luck it all would be Blamed on Me LOL. Have a Good Night

  • Bud

    It would be interesting to know how the citizens of Rockingham voted on the sale tax increase.

    • unscrupulous

      It was an overwhelming no across the board except for Beaver Dam #1.
      Here’s a link with the final results.

      • Bud

        So it appears that in R’ham 1,2,&3 the vote was about 3:1 AGAINST the tax, can’t tell how many more voted against it in early/absentee voting. The city needs to take this into account: we citizens of the town don’t want to have to pay for a $12 million dollar complex either. Don’t go raising our taxes to do it.

  • william english

    I dont understand people for the life of me. This was a good project, for a lot of reasons. And the tax in question was negligble. Honestly, the tax was tiny. You have in Richmond County a very forward thinking board of Commisssioners, and likewise modern thinking city manager and council in Rockingham. You should be patting yourself on the back for such good selections. The city of Rockingham looks better downtown than It has in my lifetime. This issue reminds me so much of another situation that arose in the early 1970’s. The county needed a new highschool….it owened four decrepit schools that was bleeding the county dry. To build this new school, it was proposed that a bond issue be put on the ballot to pay for it. Just like the naysayers of today, some claimed the tax would bankrupt them. But the people of Richmond County were more progressive thinking then than they are now, and the bond issue passed. And no one was bankrupted! The only bond issue defeated that day was for the construction of a state of the art auditorium for the new school. Its now over 40 years later, and there is still no auditorium. It was a bad decision then, and its still a bad decision today. Just like this sports complex today. Bad decision today that we will regret tommorrow.

  • Joey DeBerry

    ROCKINGHAM — With the failure of a proposed sales taxincrease to help fund the construction of a recreation complex , the question is: What now?

    Mayor Steve Morris said the city will have to go back to the drawing board.

    The idea for the complex has been in the works for several years, with drawings on the city’s website dating back to 2009.

    During a presentation to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners in October, Keith Parsons — chairman of the Committee to Promote Economic Growth and Development in Richmond County — said, “One of seven recommendations included in the 2004 Richmond County Civic Index was to ‘establish a venue for regional, statewide and Southeastern United States youth sports tournaments.’”

    Plans for the $10 million to $12 million complex include baseball, softball and soccer fields along with a walking trail, playground, dog park and disc golf course.

    Original drawings also included two playgrounds, a carousel, small water park and a miniature train.

    Morris said since the city already owns the land off Old Aberdeen Road, something will be done, but plans will now have to be scaled back.

    “The only way to do what we wanted to do was with the sales tax money,” he said. “Now there’s no way to do that.”

    At the October meeting, Rockingham City Council members all expressed support for the tax hike and complex during their closing statements.

    County leaders also publicly supported the project, saying it would be good for economic development and the quality of life.

    Despite fliers, signs, billboards — in addition to backing from the Chamber of Commerce and Rockingham Downtown Corp. — the ballot measure was staunchly defeated with 70 percent of voters saying “No.”

    The quarter-cent tax increase — which would have raised the sales tax to 7 percent and brought in around $600,000 annually to the county’s coffers — was to be used to help fund the complex and go toward other economic development projects.

    In only one precinct, Beaver Dam No. 1, did the referendum pass.

    According to the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal, 66 counties have rejected similar increases since 2007, while 27 have been approved.

    Morris said Thursday that he wasn’t sure if discussion on the complex would be on the agenda for the city’s next meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening

  • Joey DeBerry

    Just to Show how Bad These Politicians here in The City are Sore Losers here is a Response from The So Called Mayor we have here thinks he owns the Property they wanted to Build the Sports Complex on do, all these Politicians not understand It was Voted AGAINST and IT Means Against it but they do not UNDERSTAND What NO Means when they Lose an Election as they did on the Complex and it is Their Fault it was not Voted For and 70 Percent Against it Should have got their Attention. All the Tax Payers Money used to Buy This Waste Land and all the Money Wasted on this STUPID IDEA FOR JOBS AND GROWTH and Invested it in the Improvement of this City and County and our Teachers and Schools and Look at Broad St from The Huddle House to Wal Mart at all the Empty Buildings that Keep Closing and Building a New Bank in a Economic Dilapidated Run Down City and County should be the First Thing You Would think Would be a Main Concern to invest in to the Cleaning up and making Rockingham Inviting to the Travelers and Visitors that Would Spend more time and Money Here instead of Waiting until they get to another City to Eat and Shop And the WAY THEY TREATED THE HOMELESS Here Was and is a good enough reason not to SUPPORT THEM AT ALL . The Money they Wasted on this Complex that is Mainly outside the City Limits by about 85 percent of it is in the County.The City Limits Run up Old Aberdeen Rd on this Property from around 200 ft up to Richmond Rd to about a 100 Ft and all the Rest is in the County and who pays and receive the Tax Revenue on this 118 Acre Track of Land. We won the Fight and now we have got to Win the War on These Crooks to show them IT IS NOT GOING TO BE WHAT THEY WANT ANY LONGER WE LIVE IN A NEW DAY AND TIME And They work for us or Get out or get Voted out Because the Majority of The Citizens Here Have Had Enough and 2016 will their Demise unless they start doing the Job as They are There to Do .

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