Darrel Williams appointed chair for sales tax referendum committee

The former county commissioner and community leader will serve as chair of Partnership for a Better Mecklenburg, a group supporting the Mecklenburg County sales tax referendum voters will see on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Darrel Williams, a local architect and former Mecklenburg County commissioner, will serve as chair of Partnership for a Better Mecklenburg. He will lead efforts supporting the Mecklenburg County sales tax referendum voters will see on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Williams is a founding partner in Neighboring Concepts, a prominent Charlotte architectural firm that has been involved in the design of Romare Bearden Park, Revolution Park Sports Academy and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. He served four consecutive terms as a county commissioner from 1994 to 2002.

Along with Williams, three political consultants will come on board to help get the “yes” vote:

  • Aisha Dew, president of The Dew Group, led Vi Lyles’ 2017 mayoral campaign. She’s also former chair of the Mecklenburg County Democrats and former first-vice chair of the state party.
  • Patrick Sebastian is a Republican strategist with Majority Strategies. He served as state director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and has been a longtime advisor to former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory.
  • Brad Crone, president of Campaign Connections, is an independent consultant with experience working on more than 400 local and regional campaigns.

“We are going to run a grassroots campaign sharing our message with communities across the county, explaining the critical need to support this effort and detailing how this referendum will improve the quality of life of all residents,” Williams said in a statement.

How did we get here?

Last month, county commissioners voted to put a sales tax referendum on the November ballot. If voters approve, the county’s sales tax would rise from 7.25% to 7.5%. (You’d pay $10.75 for a $10 item.)

Where would the quarter-cent tax money go?

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The tax would raise an estimated $50 million each year. According to the Charlotte Observer, $22.5 million would support arts and cultural groups across the county; $17 million would go to county-operated parks and greenways; $8 million to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers; and $2.5 million to arts and culture projects and parks in the county’s small towns.

Last month, the Arts & Science Council launched its “Culture for All” podcast to inform voters about the referendum and encourage support.

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