Waynesboro Referendum Update

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

It's been more than a month since Waynesboro residents voted on projects as part of a bond referendum. Monday night, the city council took steps to validate the referendum after a legal SNAFU stalled the projects.

"At least ten days prior to an election, notice of the election shall be published in the local newspaper," says Chris Kulp, city council's referendum counsel. "For whatever reason, that did not get published."

Waynesboro City Council thought the vote went smoothly, but now residents are upset. They say some people weren't aware of the referendum.

"People are apathetic and they don't vote," says councilman Frank Lucente. "Eleven thousand voters, and only 3,200 of them turned up. The fire station passed by 300. I think a lot of the people who didn't vote probably were against the fire station, but they didn't vote."

Lucente and other council members learned they have a choice to make: pass the referendum with votes, validate the election, or hold another referendum vote. If they chose to pass the election, Kulp says they'd need a super majority.

"If a 4/5 vote at any time is obtained, you don't have to go through the referendum process," says Kulp. "If you go through the referendum process, then a simple majority is all that is required."

Four out of five nods of approval was hard to get before the referendum, though Lucente says that probably won't be a problem this time around.

"Some of the projects passed, some of them failed. So it was a compromise decision. So nobody really had it right on the council," says Lucente, who's ready to set his sights on the projects down the road. "I work for the voters, and the voters voted for this. So I'm going to do what the voters want me to do."

The city council has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, January 14, for issuing bonds to the fire substation project, library improvement project, and the stormwater management improvements. They plan to vote after receiving the community's feedback.


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