- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Things got tense at the Holden Beach commissioners’ Jan. 8 meeting when Dennis Harrington, the newest board member, asked to add two things to the agenda just after the meeting started.
Commissioners typically call town officials days before the meeting and ask that certain items be placed on the agenda.
One of the items was a request for the town to take tax money and pay for curbside recycling.
Seventy-five residents have signed up for curbside recycling, which costs $50 a year and has pick-up twice a month.
The board voted against the proposal with a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Sandy Miller and Don Glander voted against it and commissioners Harrington and Sheila Young voted for it. Because commissioner Ray Lehr was absent, Mayor Alan Holden cast the deciding vote.
“My problem is we made this a voluntary thing,” Miller said.
“It’s such a small amount of people,” Glander said. “To force this on the entire population is wrong.”
But Holden’s attention was on having the proposal put on the agenda without advance notice.
“It’s a bad thing for this not to be on the agenda (before the meeting),” Holden said. “If people had known it was going to affect their taxes, maybe more people would have been here.”
Harrington told Holden, “I think you’re out of line.”
Before the vote, Harrington said the town should encourage people to recycle more. “I would like to see us get rid of the dumpster back here (behind the water tower) and go to curbside recycling (with the town paying all expenses).”
Commissioners argued for 10 minutes about whether even to add the item to the agenda, and again Holden cast the deciding vote.
“I do feel ambushed,” Holden said. “It’s setting a bad tone for the start of the year.”
He voted to allow the request for taxes to fund curbside recycling and a request from the Holden Beach Property Owners Association to be added to the agenda after the meeting started.
He said he would not do that again.
Highlights of the annual audit by Alan Thompson from Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Co. of Whiteville:
“It’s a clean report,” Thompson said. “There were no significant audit findings except for three things that are not cost-effective to correct. All the funds were accounted for. We were very happy with your records.”
The town’s tax-collection rate was 96.94 percent.
“Seventy-five percent of your revenues comes from property taxes,” Thompson said.
Holden pointed out, “From 2011 to 2012, our liabilities are down, and our assets are up.”
Commissioners approved new policies and procedures for renting the Holden Beach Pavilion. The user fee is $75 a day (8 a.m.-10 p.m.).
A deposit fee can be refunded but not the user fee.
The price may be negotiated for smaller groups. The town reserves the right to accept or reject any use of the facility.
Town-sponsored events such as the Sunday night Concerts by the Sea series, Festival by the Sea and Day at the Docks are exempt.
Commissioners approved a request from Edward Gutknecht to place signs asking smokers to dispose of cigarette butts properly because they are litter.
The signs will be near the receptacle cans at the island’s 22 public-access walkways. Some portable ashtrays also will be handed out.
Lockwood Folly dredging
The local government match of $450,000 will be used for the Lockwood Folly entrance dredging project, town manager David Hewett reported.
The sidecaster dredge will be used the last week of February, the first week of March and also the second week in May, he said.
“In June, the new hopper dredge will be deployed,” Hewett said. “That’s what we want because it will put sand up on the beach instead of slinging it to the sides.”
Commissioners also approved a resolution asking the General Assembly to extend the maximum time allowed to collect dredging funds from five to 10 years. Dredging the entire canals usually has to be done every eight years.
Sub fire station
The sub fire station on Holden Beach, which has just undergone renovations, is ready for the fire department to take it back over, Hewett said.
Some work may still be done on the bathrooms.
Commissioners said they would accept a donation for playground equipment from the Holden Beach Property Owners Association, as requested by POA secretary Stephen Veenker.
The town collected two-dozen Christmas trees that will be used to help keep dunes from eroding, Hewett said.
Dropped from board
The board also talked about a parks and recreation board member’s future on the board.
“We have one parks and recreation board member who has what I consider excessive absences,” Harrington said. “I think that member should be asked to step down.”
“Couldn’t we ask her to resign instead of fire her?” Miller asked. “I mean, she’s one of our people.”
“The Holden Beach Library is in desperate need for someone for shelving books,” Miller said.
Glander said, “This is an incredible array of good books—a lot of hardbacks and best sellers.”
Of the nine feral cats placed on the island, only three are at their original locations.
“We don’t know where the other six went,” Amanda Wiggins said. “We have had reports some of them have been seen in other places on the island.”
The cats were brought in to help eradicate rats, and so far that is working, officials said.