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Laurels: Voters will have voice because of council action

Laurel to the Salisbury City Council for taking action toward creating a separate mayoral election in August.

The council approved an ordinance and a resolution that enabled the inclusion of a referendum question on last week’s ballot that asked whether voters preferred to elect their mayor separately from the council. For too long, voters left the decision of who would be mayor — the face of Salisbury — to members of the council. Tradition was that the top vote-getter was mayor, but it was not a requirement.

Perhaps all candidates and voters realized the top vote-getter would become mayor and that running for council was inherently a race for mayor, too, but that tradition only works if council members agree to stick with it. A candidate could, for example, serve multiple terms as mayor, come up short (second or worse) in a subsequent election and lobby fellow council members to stay in the position.

That’s just one of many reasons why it was important for the council to give voters the chance to speak on the matter.

And they spoke resoundingly, voting “yes” in the referendum by a count of 2,683 to 1,750 votes. That’s more than 60% of ballots cast in favor of the change.

Salisbury City Attorney Graham Corriher said in a story published Thursday (“Separate vote for mayor to begin in 2021 election”) there’s no more work for the council to do in order to ensure the separate election goes into effect. But the council members should make sure that’s the case when they are sworn in for their new terms in December.

By ensuring voters can directly choose their mayor, City Hall can now truly become the people’s house.

Laurel to the generosity of Pete Branblett, owner of Rockwell-based The Best Paint Co.

Branblett was driving past Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3006 on Brenner Avenue recently when he noticed a helicopter outside the building was in need of a paint job. He offered to give the chopper a makeover free of charge, which required about 7 gallons of paint.

Branblett and Best Paint Co. should be applauded for the donation of their time and resources.

Laurel to the news that there are now eight total traffic lanes open on Interstate 85 in southern Rowan County.

For too long, a trip south on I-85 has involved time in stop-and-go traffic. With population growth in the Charlotte region, particularly Cabarrus County, it made sense to add free lanes (none of that toll business) to ensure traffic could flow freely.

Elected officials and business leaders are energized about economic growth that may come as a result of the widened interstate and a new interchange.

For now, we’re just excited that traffic on I-85 won’t add 30 minutes or more to any trip.

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