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CAROLINA SHORES—Mayor Stephen Selby says the town has not tried to hide discussions and meetings about doing away with its two voting districts.
Last week, Village at Calabash resident and former mayoral candidate Walter Goodenough claimed the town was “sneaky” and failed to notify residents about meetings on the issue.
A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Monday, May 5, when residents will have a chance to speak about the matter before commissioners take it to a vote.
The proposal is to do away with the town’s District 1, consisting of the Village at Calabash, and District 2, consisting of the rest of the town. If approved, Carolina Shores elections would consist of at-large voting for all commissioners’ seats on the five-member board.
Goodenough and other Village residents say they oppose the proposal, which would eliminate the District 1 seat that has always guaranteed their community representation since it was involuntarily annexed by the town in 2003.
Selby said he objects to Goodenough’s accusations, published in last week’s Beacon, that the town has tried to keep Village residents in the dark about what’s going on, including scheduling next week’s hearing when their POA meets. Selby could not be reached for comment on last week’s story before press time.
“We object to his comment we did anything sneakily or behind closed doors,” Selby said. “We obviously didn’t do that.”
Since being elected last November, Selby said one of his promises was the town would do nothing behind closed doors.
He said the town also was unaware the hearing was scheduled the same evening the Village POA planned to meet.
“The hearing requires us to do it within a certain number of days,” he said. Next Monday, he said, was the only day available within the requirements of state statutes.
Town administrator Linda Herncane said commissioners have been discussing the possibility of abolishing its districts since last December.
“We provided copies of minutes where [commissioner] Jack Csernecky first brought it up,” Selby said.
Selby said the information was recently given to Village POA member Dolores Galiano.
Selby said POA members have not communicated with District 1 commissioner Tom Puls, nor have they invited him to their meetings. He questioned whether Goodenough should speak for the POA.
Selby said he thinks Goodenough is still disappointed he lost the mayor’s race and later was not appointed to one of the vacant seats on the town’s planning and zoning board.
“A lot of it has to do with the way he conveys himself, a person who’s disgruntled,” Selby said. “He never has come in and sat down to talk with me.”
Puls, who recently said he favors doing away with the districts, said only one person in his community—Village POA president Bill Brennan—has called him about his stance on the issue.
Puls believes the districts, established via N.C. House Bill 742, have outlived their usefulness and that residents don’t care where candidates live.
He said the POA seems to be returning to the same mentality pitting themselves against the town.
“That’s what I’m trying to get away from,” he said.