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Local News

  • Funding for multimedia equipment steers school system away from TVs

    BOLIVA—The Brunswick County school system is moving away from the use of TVs in the classrooms.

    Instead, computers will soon be able to function as TVs, eliminating the need for any future TV purchases.

  • Staggered school start times could save system $500,000

    The bells may ring at different times next year at Brunswick County schools.

    In an effort to reduce a $6 million budget deficit, Superintendent Edward Pruden has proposed staggered start times for elementary, middle and high schools.

    “We’re having to take a look at everything very carefully, and we’re trying to identify ways that we could save substantial amounts of money without impacting the classroom,” Pruden said Monday afternoon.

  • Warren a no-show at censure hearing

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County Commissioner Charles Warren was a no-show at his censure hearing Monday evening.

    But, as they say, the show must go on, and commissioners unanimously approved censuring Warren.

    The censure hearing was to determine if Warren was in violation of the county’s code of ethics—which they determined that he was—for not stepping down as chairman of the county’s Department of Social Services Board.

  • County administration looks to cut costs to balance $6 million-plus budget shortfall

    BOLIVIA—Could a four-day workweek be in Brunswick County employees’ future for the upcoming fiscal year?

    Though Brunswick County Manager Marty Lawing called the proposal “pretty radical,” commissioners seemed to like the cost-saving measure when Lawing presented the measure at commissioners’ two-day budget retreat last week.

    Lawing said converting to a four-day workweek would save the county in energy costs, and employees on rising fuel costs.

  • Countywide curbside recycling up in the air

    Countywide curbside recycling in Brunswick County is still up in the air.

    Brunswick County officials had hoped one of the county’s legislative delegates would have introduced a local bill allowing the county to levy a solid waste and recycling fee by Wednesday, March 30, the deadline to enter a local bill in the General Assembly.

  • Commissioners discuss reduction in force, employee compensation

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County Commissioners have begun to discuss a less-than-desirable method to balance the county’s budget—employee layoffs.

    For the past several budget years, the county has employed a reduction of force through attrition policy, meaning most positions are not filled once someone retires or resigns. Many vacant positions have been eliminated, but the county has been able to avoid active layoffs, Brunswick County Manager Marty Lawing said at Friday’s budget retreat.

  • County considers changing to self-insured

    In an effort to combat rising healthcare costs and to take advantage of the county’s wellness program, Brunswick County Commissioners are considering switching to a self-insured plan for employee healthcare coverage.

    Brunswick County Human Resources Director Debbie Barnes told commissioners at their two-day budget retreat last week to keep their current plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the county would have to absorb an $860,000 or 9.3 percent increase.

  • DSS members ask for, but refuse to participate in, meeting with commissioners

    BOLIVIA—First, they asked for the meeting with county commissioners.

    But now, members of the Brunswick County Board of Social Services refuse to attend the meeting they requested—unless, that is, they can bring their terminated attorney Gary Shipman to the meeting.

    Assistant county manager Steve Stone, who serves as the county’s liaison between the DSS board and the county administration, said Shipman could attend the public meeting, but commissioners would not entertain Shipman being part of the meeting.

  • Value of Sunset Beach park property goes up more than 50 percent

    SUNSET BEACH—While most property values went down, county valuation of a 5.22-acre waterway site being eyed for a future park by town officials has increased by more than half.

    Just across the street, the value of a 1.1-acre waterway site where the town’s future boat ramp is be built went down, from $1.5 million to $1.4 million, according to county tax records.

  • Sunset Beach to consider public records policy, request form

    SUNSET BEACH—Town council is scheduled to consider a proposed public records request policy, including a “request form” that is not required by state statutes, at its upcoming monthly meeting Monday, April 4.

    A proposed policy up for consideration was “tweaked” in conjunction with the town attorney from a policy “in another local government in North Carolina” and is based on state statutes, according to information prepared by town administrator Gary Parker.