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Local News

  • Sunset Beach officials speak about rift with mayor

    Fifteen months after being sworn into office, Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato is still at odds with other town officials.

    Since his November 2011 election and subsequent December 2011 swearing-in, the outspoken citizen-turned-mayor continues to rankle council members and town staff alike.

    Cerrato has said he intends to serve as advocate and representative of the people. He said he believes in open government and wants the town to be open with citizens as well.

    Often, however, his viewpoint hasn’t jibed with council and staff members.

  • Brunswick County reduces tax obligation for developer

    Brunswick County has released a 2010 tax obligation on 550 parcels of property owned by Mark Saunders and his Coastal Companies development company.

    The action is part of a consent agenda approved by county commissioners at their March 4 meeting.

    The tax reduction on Saunders’ properties is a result of a North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in January that the county had unlawfully reappraised the tax value of more than 100 lots in Ocean Palms, one of Saunders’ developments near Ocean Isle Beach, county tax administrator Ken Perry confirmed Tuesday.

  • Carolina Shores sets sights on celebration

    CAROLINA SHORES—The town is pursuing having its own celebration.

    Town commissioner Joyce Dunn, speaking at the town board of commissioners’ monthly meeting March 7, said the idea is for the town to have a 15th-anniversary party next September.

    With efforts already under way for a community “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program, Dunn said it would bring people together.

  • Carolina Shores Arbor Day celebration set for March 22

    The town of Carolina Shores will have its fifth annual Arbor Day Celebration at 9 a.m. Friday, March 22, at town hall.

    Highlights include presentation of a Tree City USA Award by the North Carolina Forestry Service and a tree-planting ceremony with Ms. Parton’s second-grade class from Jesse Mae Monroe Elementary School.

    The Calabash Fire Department will bring a fire engine, and there will be refreshments. The public is invited.

    For more information, call 575-4877.

  • Overtime on top of sheriff’s list to address in next fiscal year

    BOLIVIA—Overtime is an issue Sheriff John Ingram wants to address in the next fiscal year.

    “An area that consumes overtime is the courthouse,” Ingram told county commissioners during last week’s budget workshop.

    Ingram said an additional need in the courthouse is another bailiff due to the increase in court activity.

    The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has seven full-time deputies who work the courthouse, but they still worked 1,297 hours of overtime in 2012 at a cost of $41,600.

  • Salary study doesn’t impress some county commissioners

    BOLIVIA—A newly released salary study says county employees are paid 8 percent less than those in comparative markets.

    But restructuring suggestions don’t have the full support of county commissioners.

    County officials contracted Evergreen Solutions to review employee job classifications and salary ranges last year. They received the results at their budget retreat Feb. 28.

    The review received support of only three commissioners—chairman Phil Norris, Scott Phillips and Frank Williams.

  • Parks and Rec expect squeeze play on ball fields for travel teams

    BOLIVIA—Commissioners may have to decide who’s on first at county baseball fields.

    At the county budget retreat last Wednesday, parks and recreation director Jim Pryor said an issue is arising at county parks where travel baseball teams want more field access.

    He said he began to see travel teams becoming an issue five years ago, but it appeared to be squashed due to the economy.

    “The economy must be picking up because (the issue is back),” Pryor said.

  • County approves school fund agreement for two more years

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County commissioners’ first decision on the 2013-14 budget continues its fund agreement with the Brunswick School system.

    The county board had its annual budget workshop Feb. 27-28, but didn’t wait until June to make a commitment to fund the school system.

  • Proposed fire tax could replace fire fees

    BOLIVIA—County commissioners are looking for a better way to finance fire departments.

    At the county’s annual budget workshop Feb. 27, the county board mulled options to end fire fees that are paid to fund fire departments.

    “I’ve discovered over the years the disparity of funding,” chairman Phil Norris said.

    Norris emphasized commissioners are in the early stages of looking at the issue and don’t intend to make a change in the next fiscal year without deliberation.

  • County considers broadcasting meetings, hiring public information officer

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick officials plan to reach a broader audience in 2013.

    County administrators told county commissioners during the budget workshop Feb. 27 their goals for the next fiscal year include televising public meetings and potentially hiring a public information officer.

    County manager Marty Lawing said the staff has researched online streaming meetings.

    “I can tell you from our research, 52 of 100 counties (in North Carolina) have their meeting videos on their website,” he said.