Town of Calabash approves public hearing for 2008-2009 budget plans

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

CALABASH—The town is readying its upcoming budget, as commissioners approved Tuesday night a June 10 public hearing for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

Town commissioner Forrest King, acting as finance officer, said the tax rate should remain at 7 cents per $100 of valuation for the projected $1,022,950 budget that takes effect July 1.

The overview includes $193,000 from ad valorem taxes from real and personal property, based on the town’s current 94 percent collection rate.

Commissioners also anticipate $81,500 in state-allocated Powell Bill funding for roads, which is based on population and road mileage.

The town also has appropriated $800,000 to transfer into a sewer fund.

“The mayor and board have seen fit to try and help this project and try to lessen the impact on folks,” King said.

One significant change in administration for the upcoming budget year has to do with hiring a new town administrator. The town is in the process of advertising in various publications for the current vacancy and adding to salary lines to accommodate the position.

Another significant increase is in the street department. The town plans to combine the beautification, animal control and community services departments.

King said a copy of the budget is at town hall during regular business hours for anyone who would like to stop by and review it.

The June 10 public hearing will take place at 7 p.m.

Commissioners also welcomed the town’s new clerical reporter, Judy Andricak of Ocean Isle Beach, who was introduced by Clemmons.

Commissioners also heard from Bob Taylor of the Calabash Fishing Fleet, who complained a competitor has been stealing business from other fishing boat operators on the town waterfront.

“I just feel like it needs to be brought to your attention,” Taylor said. “It’s not only hurting my family and business, but it’s also hurting the town of Calabash.”

Calabash Mayor Anthony Clemmons said the town cannot get into such issues.

“But we can explore if any town ordinance is being violated,” he said. “We’re not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone. We will look into this situation.”

King said Taylor may find “a bit of recourse with the chamber of commerce also.”

On another matter, the town rejected on a 3-2 vote, with Clemmons breaking a tie, local businessman Igor Moldavsky’s request to offer U-Haul rentals at a Citgo service station on Beach Drive.

Moldavsky had requested the business as a conditional use in the central business district. Commissioner John Melahn said the town planning and zoning board had already nixed the proposal because that type of business is not allowed in the district.

Commissioners King and Bill Dixon said they didn’t see anything wrong with the proposal to have, on a conditional basis, two rental trailers and trucks that would be set back from the road by 300 feet. They said such a service is otherwise not available in the Calabash area.

“All he’s asking for is a chance,” Dixon said. “Let’s give him a chance.”

But commissioner Emily DiStasio said she doesn’t feel it’s right to allow it when it’s not included in central business stipulations.

Clemmons said the business already is in violation because it is already operating on the premises without the proper permit.

“It appears you provided the gentleman a license in violation of the ordinance,” Clemmons said. “I don’t even know if you came by the town. Sir, you’re now in violation of our ordinance.”

Commissioner Cecelia Herman was absent.

Clemmons also instructed town building/code enforcement officer Stanley Dills to take appropriate action against any violation in the central business district.

Commissioners also approved reducing the permit fee for water and sewer connections from $50 to $25.

Town clerk Kelley Southward said work continues on both water and sewer efforts for the town.