Republican Edwin Peacock, who formally announced his mayoral campaign Wednesday, said he opposes the streetcar extension and the city’s proposed budget.
“We don’t have a way to pay for this project that has many questions around it,” Peacock said about the contentious streetcar issue.
The City Council voted 7-4 Tuesday to set aside $63 million for the 2.5-mile streetcar extension, which would run from Johnson C. Smith University to the Elizabeth neighborhood.
Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, a Democrat who announced last week he’ll run for mayor, had been against the streetcar because it was funded by a property tax increase. But Cannon voted for the project Tuesday after City Manager Ron Carlee created a plan in which no property taxes would be used.
In an interview Wednesday, Peacock said he also opposes a proposed $816 million capital plan, which would be paid for with a 7.25 percent property tax increase. The capital program, which would run through 2020, would build roads, bridges, sidewalks, affordable housing and police stations, among other improvements.
Peacock said that “people are still hurting” and that council members shouldn’t be spending money so freely. He said the Republicans – who only have two seats on the 11-member City Council – need to come up with an alternative.
Peacock, 43, a former two-term council member, also referred to two hot issues: public financing for Bank of America Stadium improvements and a proposed authority to manage Charlotte’s airport.
He said public money should not be discussed behind closed doors and that he opposed the city requesting an increase in the prepared-food tax to pay for the stadium upgrades.
He also said he’s against a proposed airport authority to run Charlotte Douglas International, saying the mayor and council have been “essentially leapfrogged by our state government.”
Peacock, the owner of Pomfret Financial Co. Inc., is a Charlotte native and a graduate of Charlotte Country Day. After graduating from the University of Georgia, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work in business.
Peacock decided to return to Charlotte in 2007, when he served two terms on City Council. In an upset, he lost his bid for re-election in 2011 when four Democrats swept all at-large seats. He also made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in the 9th Congressional District.
“He was able to work across the party line,” Peacock campaign manager Russell Peck said of the candidate’s work on City Council. “He is able to work with Democrats. He is able to work with Republicans.”
Peacock said there is a seven-point “Peacock Plan” in the works. Charlotte’s economic future, the regional transit plan and improved public safety will be critical elements.
Cannon, the first Democrat to announce, is the council’s longest-serving member.
Whoever is the Republican nominee for mayor will face a challenge because of the city’s changing demographics, which favor Democratic candidates. Peacock said he thinks the 2013 mayor’s race will be more favorable to Republicans because he doesn’t think the campaign infrastructure from President Barack Obama’s North Carolina campaign is still operating.
Staff writer Steve Harrison contributed.
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