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County Asks State To
Levels At Sunset After
BY ERIC CARLSON
The N.C. Division of Environmental Man
agement has been asked to study pollution levels
in canals and estuaries around Sunset Beach to
determine whether overloaded septic systems
have made their waters unsafe for human contact.
Brunswick County Environmental Health
Supervisor Andrew Robinson told the county
health board Monday that he has asked the state
to sample the waters there after an engineering
firm's recent study indicated unacceptable levels
of fecal coliform bacteria in all five of the areas it
The samples were taken April 23 by Powell
and Associates of North Myrtle Beach, the engi
neering firm hired by Sunset Beach and Calabash
to help the two towns creatc a joint sewerage sys
Found in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded
animals, fecal coliform is a commonly used indi
cator of pollution caused by septic tank overload
and siormwaicr runoff.
Coliform levels as high as 5,700 parts per 100
milliliters of water?from a sample taken at the
canal between Marlin and Sailfish Streets?were
recorded. Other test sites showed level ranging
from 27 to 88 parts per 100 ml.
Robinson said waters are considered polluted
when a coliform level greater than 14 parts per
100 ml. is recorded.
"We need to sec if these waters arc safe for hu
man activity," Robinson told the board.
He plans to ask the state to conduct more ex
tensive testing. Water samples will be taken at
different tide levels before and after the peak
tourist season. Robinson hopes the first round of
sampling can be completed before the July 4
In a June 3 letter to Robinson, Sunset Beach
Mayor Mason Barber Jr. asked the county health
department to study the canal waters "and to ad
vise us of any actions necessary to protect our cit
izens and visitors." The letter outlines the results
of the Powell Associates sampling and asks that a
more thorough study be undertaken.
"The results of the testing have raised concerns
of some homeowners that swimming in the canals
may pose a health hazard to children and adults,"
the letter said, noting that the study "indicated a
presence of human waste in some of the canal
The test samples showed a coliform level of 88
in the estuary at the end of Inlet Avenue, 56 in the
canal between Sixth Street and Marlin Street, 32
in the estuary closest to 40th Street and 27 in the
estuary at its closest point to North Shore Drive.
"The comparison of esluarine test results ver
sus canal test results further confirms the island as
the origin of significant pollution, even during a
lime period of limited occupancy," said Powell
engineer James Billups in this transmittal letter
with the study.
Shallotte Board Backs
BY DOUG RUTTER
Shallotic Aldermen gave a vote of
confidencc to the town's 19 employ
ees this week after one board mem
ber questioned pay raises included
in next year's proposed budget.
Alderman Roncy Cheers said he
objected to giving $23,918 in pay
raises while the state is struggling to
increase salaries for its employees
and no raises are planned for county
"It appears that we have become a
mccca for raises," Cheers said dur
ing Monday night's three-hour
workshop on the 1993-94 budget.
However, other town board mem
bers said the employees deserve the
raises. Aldermen described many of
the employees as underpaid and loy
al people who arc working with out
dated equipment to help keep the tax
"I think they're worth every pen
ny that they ask for, and if it came to
a vote I'd vote for it," Alderman
Wilton Harrelson said. "I think the
salary scale is less than you'd expect
for most governing bodies."
Mayor Sarah Tripp and board
members Morris Hall and David
Gause also backed the proposed pay
raises, which would add an average
of SI,258 to each employee's annual
The pay raises are pan of a SI.28
million budget for die fiscal year
starting July 1. For the fifth straight
year, town officials plan to keep the
tax rate at 47 cents per SI00 of prop
At a public hearing on the budget
Tuesday night, Shallotic business
men Bcamon Hewctt and Dykes
Hewett also questioned the proposed
raises. They said merchants are
struggling to pay town taxes.
"What's going to happen when
people start closing up when they
can't pay the bill?" Beamon Hewett
asked. "It's tough out there and
we're paying the bill. You need to
By keeping the tax rate at 47
cents, Bcamon Hewett said the town
board, in effect, would be raising
taxes on business owners because
merchants must now pay for trash
pickup the town used to provide. If
salaries weren't increased, Hewctt
said the town could cut the lax rate.
Another merchant, Carson
Durham, supported the proposed
pay raises. "The town is going to sec
a lot of growth in the years to come
and we're going to need good peo
ple. If we don't pay them good
salaries we won't keep them."
Mayor Tripp said Monday night
that the efforts of the town employ
ees have helped keep the tax rate
down. "They're working with ma
chinery held together with bubble
gum and bailing wire."
With few exceptions, Harrelson
said employees are still using the
same equipment they were using
when he was first elected to the
town board 10 yeais ago. "They
have MacGyvered it to death."
Aldermen said many town em
ployees earn less than other govern
ment workers in the area. Board
members also praised the quick re
sponse of maintenance workers to
water and sewer problems.
Gause said health insurance is go
ing up 17 percent for town employ
ees this year and they'll need the
raises to keep pace. "You've got to
consider things like that too," he
No new positions have been pro
posed in next year's budget, but
Tripp said Albert Hughes will need
an assistant soon. Hughes is building
inspector, sewer plant supervisor
and public works director for the
"If he makes it through this year,
he's going to have to be a miracle
worker," the mayor said.
Aldermen will hold a second
workshop on the proposed budget
next Tuesday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m.
The town board plans to adopt the
budget at a special meeting June 29.
New Computer Nixed
While most board members
agreed the proposed pay raises are
warranted, they voiced some con
cern Monday night over the fire de
partment's budget for next year.
Officials said they don't think the
department needs a computer, which
had been included in the proposed
budget as part of the S6.300 depart
mental supplies fund.
"I'm not against the department,
but some of this stuff is a little
ridiculous," Gausc said. Officials
said the department could use a
computer in town hall if it needs
Mayor Tripp also said the town
needs more control over fire depart
ment spending. Firefighters can
spend up to S500 without town
board approval, and there is no limit
on how often S500 can be spent.
Time For Change?
Aldermen also decided Monday
to reconsider which bank the town
uses. Shallotle currently keeps its
money at Southern National Bank,
but will invite proposals from
United Carolina Bank and
Town board members said
Southern National gave the town a
great deal when it switched from
UCB about four years ago.
Aldermen want to see if the town is
still getting the most return on its
Cheers raised the issue Monday
night and questioned whether the
town should continue allowing the
bank to keep interest generated by a
S28.000 certificate of deposit in re
turn for services.
"No one bank has discussed this
one iom with me," Cheers said. "I
slick my hand on a stack of Bibles
Harrelson said letting ail three
banks make proposals would be fair.
"We changed to Southern National
because they offered the best deal at
the time. I don't sec anything wrong
with seeing who can give us the best
Shallottc keeps about S4(X),000 in
the bank. The town had earned
about S5.700 in interest through
three quarters of the fiscal year, ac
cording to Town Clerk Mary Etta
Aldermen accepted the resigna
tion of veteran planning board mem
ber Conrad Pigott Tuesday night.
Rebecca Hawcs was appointed to
serve the rest of Pigott's term, which
expires Feb. 4, 1994. Pigott had
served on the planning board since
its inception in 1974.
Aldermen also voted Tuesday to
ask the N.C. Department of
Transportation to update the town's
thoroughfare plan, as recommended
by the planning board.
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STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHtt
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Holden Eyes Water Rate Hike
Holdcn Bcach Commissioners arc Parker said the water rate increase
looking to increase water rates to is needed to cover the 10-cent rate
keep pace with an anticipated jump hike being proposed by the county,
in the rale the town pays to Holdcn Beach also is proposing a
Brunswick County. one-cent increase in the tax rate as
Town Manager Gary Parker said part of the 1993-94 budget. A public
board members are considering in- hearing on the SI.28 million spend
creasing the rate from SI.50 per ing plan will be held Wednesday,
1,000 gallons to S1.65 as part of June 23, at 7 p.m.
next years budget. Commissioners have held six
The proposed rate increase bud j sincc ^ ^ f
wouldn t affect cus omcrs who use ^ ^ Mother one planned
less than 2,000 gallons per month. ... . ? ? y
. c->? Wednesday morning.
They would continue to pay S36 per J "
quarter. "We're about finished," Parker
Customers who use more than said Tuesday. "We've gone over
2,000 gallons per month would pay most of the expenses and revenues
an extra 15 cents per 1,000 gallons and just have a few details to wrap
under the current plan. up."
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