Hotwire to host barbecue Saturday to inform, meet voters

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 4, 2018

SALISBURY — With the last day to vote in the Fibrant-Hotwire referendum fast approaching, Jonathan Bullock said he thought it would be a good time to gather as a community around a shared love — barbecue.

“Barbecues are a part of North Carolina culture and are one of the things I missed most about North Carolina,” said Bullock, vice president of corporate development and government for Hotwire Communications and a former North Carolinian. “It will give people a chance to get to know Hotwire over food, which is how communities get together.”

Bullock said some Hotwire colleagues from Raleigh and Philadelphia will travel to Salisbury to talk and eat with voters at a Saturday barbecue hosted by the company.

Bullock is cooking the barbecue himself — something he said he’s done “many times” before.

“My wife is a minister, and barbecues for the church are a constant thing. They do a lot of fundraisers,” Bullock said. “It’s something that I’ve done for a long time.”

Bullock said he will be cooking for 5,000 people because he heard that is the maximum capacity of Bell Tower Green, where the barbecue will be held.

“And if we have extra, I think Rowan Helping Ministries might be interested,” Bullock said. “So it’ll go to a good cause either way.”

In addition to barbecue, hot dogs and hamburgers will be served.

The barbecue will run from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Local bands will be playing for “the whole time.”

“People can come and stay for as long as they’d like,” Bullock said.

Bullock recommends that people bring blankets and lawn chairs.

The barbecue is free and open to the public.

The Fibrant-Hotwire lease agreement, which would lease the city’s Fibrant broadband system to Hotwire for a minimum of 20 years, has been approved by the City Council. But because of state law, the deal must also be approved by Salisbury voters in a referendum.

The referendum is part of Tuesday’s primary ballot. Early voting began April 19 and ends Saturday. Salisbury voters can cast ballots in the referendum, as well as in other primary contests, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Rowan County Board of Elections Office in West End Plaza, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W.

Bullock said he feels that the community response to the lease deal has been “very positive.”

“I think people getting to know Hotwire and more about the deal was critical. And I think everyone I’ve talked to who has had questions has had them answered and is excited about the deal,” Bullock said.

Bullock said he continues to get two questions: Will prices go up, and are there minimum rent requirements?

Bullock said prices will not go up: “They will go down or stay the same.”

He said there would be minimum rent targets that would gradually increase each year of the lease, growing from $944,400 of total rent payment in 2019 to $1.28 million in 2037.

Bullock said voters who have questions about the lease can reach out to him via email at jbullock@hotwirecommunication.com.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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