With 62 of 63 precincts counted Tuesday night, Durham voters approved a $20 million bond referendum to resurface ailing city streets, and also re-elected incumbent Sheriff Worth Hill to his fifth term.
With 60 of 62 precincts counted, more than 56 percent of voters supported street resurfacing bonds, which will bump property taxes to repair 150 miles of the city’s worst streets. City officials have said the projects approved for this bond will be completed by 2012, a much quicker turnaround time than residents have seen with previous bond-funded work.
In the night’s other notable result, Durham Sheriff Worth Hill scooped up almost 80 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s election, defeating Republican contender Roy Taylor. The election was the first contested race for the incumbent sheriff in years, and demonstrated vast public support despite incidents of embezzlement and other gaffes under Hill’s watch, to which his opponent had fired criticisms. Hill could not immediately be reached for comment on his victory Tuesday night.
The race between Taylor and Hill was bitter, with supporters of both candidates levying accusations of corruption at the other through battles on websites such as Facebook and YouTube. The tension spiked last Friday when three of Taylor’s campaign workers accused Capt. Rickey Padgett of verbally harassing them outside the Durham Board of Elections Office. Those charges are still being investigated. Padgett is one of Hill’s command staff and also secretary of the N.C. Sheriff Police Alliance, which endorsed Hill in the race.
Padgett is among one of many supporters who have publicly criticized Taylor for not living in Durham a consecutive year as required by state election law. Taylor said that based on the state constitution, he need only to have lived in Durham for 30 days. Had Taylor prevailed, the Durham Board of Elections would have held a hearing on Taylor’s eligibility to serve on Nov. 11. But with Taylor coming up short, the hearing, which was prompted by an More than 47 percent of registered voters turned out for the elections, as compared to 39 percent in the last mid-term congressional elections in 2006.
More than 47 percent of registered voters turned out for the elections, as compared to 39 percent in the last mid-term congressional elections in 2006.