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Board steps in at town hall

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

CALABASH—Who’s in charge at town hall?

Since the firing of former town administrator Donna Prince on Feb. 20, town commissioners have been pitching in to oversee business.

Last week, they also appointed deputy clerk Kelley Southward to serve as interim town clerk but have not indicated when or if a replacement for Prince will be hired.

Monday, just inside the entry to town hall on Persimmon Road, a sign on a glass window marked the darkened former administrator’s office where Southward will now be working.

Southward has been gone because of a recent death in her family.

Town employees who were on duty had no comment, referring a reporter’s questions to Mayor Anthony Clemmons. He could not be reached for comment.

Town commissioner Cecelia Herman said Tuesday that Clemmons has been busy tending to town business.

As for how things are going, Herman responded, “I would say smoothly; things are moving along.”

She said she has been taking turns with fellow commissioners in helping the staff in Southward’s absence.

“We’re looking forward to her getting back, because we know she can handle whatever comes the town’s way,” Herman said.

In the midst of the transition, Herman said she also took minutes at Monday night’s town planning and zoning board meeting.

She also said a lot is going on, including plans to move ahead with creating a packet of information for new businesspeople.

For people who want to start a business, “instead of coming back two or three times, we’re going to work on developing a packet for new businesses and new residents,” she said.

She said that would include a “welcome to Calabash” message, a voter registration form and other information about the area.

Whether it’s business or residential, “half the time you don’t even know the questions to ask,” she said. “We’re going to provide the answers before they ask the questions.”

She said commissioners also are working on two major projects, sewer and annexation.

“We’re ready to go on everything,” Herman said. “We’re ready for professionals to give us the information, annexation letters are ready to go.”

Annexation

Town commissioners have begun eyeing prime property along Beach Drive, on the opposite side of the Calabash River, for future annexation.

Vagn Hansen, chief planner for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, said at a Feb. 20 meeting the 174.4-acre tract meets the criteria for annexation should the town choose to pursue it.

He cited annexation area land use maps outlining the boundaries of the area extending from the south side of the Calabash River encompassing residential areas along Calabash, Bonaparte, Oak Ridge Plantation and Landing drives.

According to an annexation report prepared by Hansen, the proposed effective date for the annexation is July 1, 2009, if the town passes an annexation ordinance proposed for June 10 of this year.

Herman said commissioners are now awaiting a clearer legal description in preparation for a resolution of intent.

“So we’re really ahead of the curve,” she said. “It’s going really well. The board is functioning really well together.”

Commissioners’ next meeting is at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, March 11.