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Carolina Shores can pursue single voting district

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

CAROLINA SHORES—The town has been advised it can proceed with abolishing its two voting districts.

The news came at a town commissioners workshop March 27, with commissioner Jack Csernecky citing a recent letter from town attorney Holt Moore.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved the change.

Moore wrote that in his opinion, it is “entirely legal and appropriate” for the town to adopt a resolution, hold a public hearing and pass an ordinance to amend the town charter.

The measure would establish one at-large district.

“I have consulted with the Brunswick County Board of Elections, and have been informed that the use of this process would not pose any concerns to the Board,” Moore wrote.

“They simply need to be informed if the Town does change to an at-large setup so that they can properly prepare for the next election.”

“It seems like everything is in place,” Csernecky said. “I’d rather get it over and done with rather than spending money on an attorney again.”

Tuesday, Csernecky said the amendment to the town charter would stipulate the two candidates receiving the most votes in the next town commissioners’ non-partisan election in 2009 would be named winners to at-large, four-year terms.

In 2012, the three highest, at-large vote-getters will serve four-year terms in accordance with commission seats that will be up for election.

Town commissioner Tom Puls said he has taken flak from District 1 voters in his subdivision, the Village at Calabash, who are not happy about the idea.

“I was one of the people that was involved in House Bill 742,” Puls said, citing the state legislative measure that established District 1 after the Village was involuntarily annexed into the town in 2003.

He said some people feel he should vote against the amendment to ensure the Village always has a seat on the commission.

“My feeling on this is I was elected by the town of Carolina Shores,” Puls said. “Based on the number of votes I received, I would tend to feel that I probably got more votes from the town of Carolina Shores than I did from the Village at Calabash.”

He added, “I think what we need to do is get rid of this ‘us against them’ mentality. We need to get together as one town. I hope they understand I am not going against where I live, but in all good conscience I think this bill has outlived its usefulness.”

Puls said the town now consists of six subdivisions, three of which are represented on the commission, including himself, Mayor Stephen Selby who lives in Beacon Townes, and Joseph Przywara, who lives in the Farm at Brunswick.

“I think people of Carolina Shores are smart enough to think about who they’re going to vote for, the best person to vote for,” Puls said. “I’m sorry if people in the Village do not agree with that.”

Selby said he agreed.

“It’s time the town of Carolina Shores was one town, that we speak for all of us as a town and not as an individual subdivision of that town,” he said.

BCSO recognized

Tuesday, the town also awarded a proclamation to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office for its assistance March 17 in nabbing a cat burglar suspected of numerous break-ins and home invasions.

Selby recognized Lt. Sam Davis, detectives Chris Barbour and Ed Carter, and Brunswick County Coroner and interim sheriff Greg White, who also attended the meeting.

White quickly clarified he was not involved in the case, but the other men were.

“They’re just an example of the quality of staff that’s on board at the sheriff’s department,” he said. “Especially as acting sheriff during these difficult times, it’s because of the commitment of these gentlemen and throughout the department that makes my job as easy as possible during this transition.”

Senator speaks

North Carolina Sen. R.C. Soles also attended the meeting. He spoke about the upcoming “short session” of the state legislature that starts May 13 and will continue 30-60 days.

Economic development, education and efforts to prevent drop-outs, and infrastructure, especially transportation, are expected to be among foremost issues, Soles said.

He cited the 21st Century Transportation Committee involving a proposed $1.8 billion transportation bond package that would be voted on by citizens.

Soles said the new port is going to have dramatic impact on the state, and “it’s really going to hit home in Brunswick County.”

“Before we fund that port, we have equal needs to look and see if we can address the stress and other transportation needs in the area and not ruin the quality of life in Brunswick County,” he said.