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Public’s agenda for city’s next mayor: jobs, taxes

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Charlotteans have definite ideas about what they want to see on the next mayor’s to-do list.

They want job creation to get highest priority. They are concerned about their taxes and schools. And they believe the city should keep control of its airport.

Those were among the key findings in a poll the Observer commissioned early this month in preparation for Tuesday’s public forum featuring all of Charlotte’s past living mayors.

The poll, conducted May 1-6, asked 650 residents which issue they would make their highest priority if they were mayor.

With Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate at 8.8 percent, job creation ranked highest of the seven issues presented in the poll; 34 percent of respondents gave it top priority. Nineteen percent chose education, and 18 percent picked taxes.

Thirty-seven percent gave city leaders an A or B grade for their efforts to grow jobs; 38 percent gave a C, while 20 percent graded it D or F. The rest weren’t sure.

Rene Moore, 57, a part-time language arts instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, was among those listing job creation as her biggest concern.

The south Charlotte resident has struggled to find full-time work; her three adult children have had a hard time, too.

One moved to Ohio to find work.

“There’s got to be something to help with the job situation,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do if I were mayor, but it would be in my ‘in’ basket.”

The poll touched on a variety of other local issues. Among the findings:

• Sixty-four percent oppose Charlotte spending tax dollars to help the Carolina Panthers renovate Bank of America Stadium.

• Sixty-six percent rated local race relations good or very good, while 30 percent said they were not very good or poor.

• Sixty-two percent said the mayor’s post should be a full-time job instead of part-time, as it is now.

On some major issues, voters seem conflicted.

Sixty-four percent said Charlotte’s investment in its uptown has been good for the entire city. But 51 percent said elected officials take taxpayers in the suburbs for granted.

Asked which they’d pick if given a choice between lower taxes and improved city services, 53 percent selected lower taxes, while 42 percent picked improved services and 5 percent weren’t sure.

Asked which part of Charlotte gets the most resources, 31 percent said uptown, while 28 percent said the south side of town. (Twenty percent weren’t sure; other sections registered in the single digits).

Asked which part of town gets the least city resources, 29 percent said the west side and 24 percent said the east, while 22 percent weren’t sure. The rest registered single digits.

One thing most respondents seem to agree on was their love of Charlotte. Seventy-two percent said they’d recommend a friend move to the city.

Frazier: 704-358-5145; @ericfraz on Twitter
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