The Fayetteville Observer reports the city has cancelled a February special election during which voters would decide on a $45 million parks referendum. As we’ve seen with other local governments, Fayetteville was planning to spend a boatload on an “educational” campaign. These “educational” campaigns have become a source of concern since they use tax dollars to convince voters of the need for bonds/services/projects. The localities, of course, say they are simply “educating” the public. But other than specifically advocating for a “yes” vote, these campaigns clearly try to convince voters to approve projects. Those who oppose the projects simply can’t compete.
“Consistent with the action taken by Fayetteville City Council, city staff has ceased the educational campaign and is prevented from taking further action to place the capital projects bond proposal on the ballot,” a city news release said.
“Effective immediately, efforts taken in pursuit of the planned Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, bond referendum have been halted,” the release said.
The city was planning to hold at least a dozen public forums over the next three months and sponsor an advertising blitz in local media, on TV and on billboards designed to educate the public about the bond package. The city’s campaign budget was about $77,000. The special election would have cost the city about $100,000.
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