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Local News

  • County budget talks lead to look at financing for park projects

    BOLIVIA — The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has decided to review its pay-as-you-go plan for capital improvements.

    The discussion about a shift in recent policy came at the April 8 budget workshop when the costs of park improvements came up.

    The county proposed making $4.5 million in renovations at Smithville Park in Southport in October 2014.

    At the budget workshop, the administrative staff revised the amount proposed to spend to $2.4 million, cutting out infrastructure and parking upgrades in fiscal year 2015-16.

  • County could increase taxes to maintain revenues

    BOLIVIA — To maintain the same amount of revenues after property revaluation, Brunswick County would have to implement a higher tax rate of 48.50 cents for 2015-16.

    County Manager Ann Hardy didn’t propose a tax increase, just provided the numbers to the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners during a two-day budget workshop April 8-9.

    The 2014-15 ad valorem tax rate is 44.25 cents.

    The property tax revaluation decreased property value by $359 million from $24,907,383,670 to $22,920,451,666.

  • Investigation leads to Leland traffic stop, two arrests and drug confiscation

    Two Wilmington men have been arrested after a months-long drug investigation by three law enforcement agencies led to a traffic stop near Leland on Monday afternoon, April 13.

  • Magazine names Sunset Beach top retirement destination

    Sunset Beach is one of eight coastal Carolina towns chosen as a top retirement destination by Where to Retire magazine.

    The Brunswick County beach town is featured in the latest May-June issue of the magazine in an article, “8 Coastal Camelots in the Carolinas.”

    Other North Carolina towns featured are Southport, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, and Wilmington. South Carolina coastal communities are Murrells Inlet, Georgetown and Beaufort.

  • WBHS guidance counselor Mary Blackburn dies after two-year cancer battle

    Mary Blackburn, career development and special populations coordinator at West Brunswick High School, has died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Blackburn, 68, died peacefully at her North Myrtle Beach, S.C., home surrounded by family Monday, April 13.

    In an interview with the Beacon in December 2013, Blackburn said the cancer was discovered after a colleague noticed she seemed to be losing weight.

    In April 2013, doctors diagnosed Blackburn with inoperable stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and her life was turned upside down.

  • Rabon's animal welfare bill calls for hotline

    Proposed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport veterinarian, calls for establishing a hotline to report animal cruelty.

    Rabon is one of three primary sponsors of Senate Bill 209, titled “Responsible Breeding/Prevent Cruelty.”

    The other two sponsors are state Sens. Trudy Wade, who is also a veterinarian, and Andrew Brock.

    The bill, introduced March 10, passed first reading March 11 and has been referred to the senate committee on rules and operations.

  • Beaver bounty considered for 2015-16 budget

    BOLIVIA — The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has been asked to consider a beaver bounty for Brunswick County.

    Stephanie Lewis, director of operation services, proposed putting $10,000 into a pilot program to remove beavers and clear their dams that cause trouble throughout the county.

    Lewis said the county has paid $4,000 a year for the past few years to participate in the Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP), a federal program that provided participating counties with an agency to call for beaver problems.

  • Fire departments ask county to make up difference from collected fire fees

    BOLIVIA — Brunswick County fire fee payments to fire departments could be restructured for a second consecutive year.

    At an April 9 budget workshop, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners discussed a request presented by Fire Marshal Scott Garner from some of the departments to receive 100 percent of the assessed fire fee rates, with the county making up the difference from fees that can’t be collected.

  • Unemployment rate down to 7.5 percent in February

    Brunswick County’s unemployment rate decreased in February to 7.5 percent after soaring to 8 percent in January.

    The rate had fallen to 6.3 percent in December 2014.

    The county had an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in February 2014.

    Unemployment numbers are released through the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division, which reported the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in February, down from 5.9 percent in January.

  • Brunswick County debt rating raised

    Brunswick County’s general obligation debt rating has been raised from AA to AA+ and its appropriation-backed debt rating raised from AA- to AA in Standard & Poor’s Ratings released this week.

    Brunswick County’s series 2015A and 2015B limited obligation bonds were also given a rating of AA by Standard & Poor’s, and a rating of Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Services this week.