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Calabash Adopts Tax Rate Cut;
Budget Includes Administrator
BY ERIC CARLSON
Responding to a tongue-lashing from local residents
at a public hearing last week, the Calabash Board of
Commissioners cut $137362 from its proposed 1994-95
budget and approved a spending package calling for a
one-cent reduction in the town's property tax rate
The new tax rate is 8.5 cents per Si 00 property valua
tion as opposed to 9.5 cents for the budget year ending
But because of a significant rise in local appraisal values
brought by the recent county-wide property revaluation,
most Calabash residents are still likely to see an increase
in their tax bills.
Passage of the budget will set in motion the hiring of
a town administrator to oversee the day-to-day business
of Calabash. The board cut about half of the allocation
for the manager after recognizing that he or she is not
likely to be hired (or paid a salary) until early 1995.
The budget also includes funding for a quarterly town
newsletter to be published by the Calabash Planning and
Removed from the budget was a $100,000 line item
to provide start-up capita! for the proposed purchase of
Carolina Blythe Utility Co. Gere Dale, chairman of the
committee that recommended the purchase, told the
board last week that the deal includes a "$200,000 bank
account that the town will inherit" if it buys the sewer
Breaking from tradition, the board did not vote on in
dividual budget expenditures line-by-line, as has been
STAFF PHOTO IV HOC CAftUON
A CROWD of about 250 people packed the Calabash fire house last week to hear Commissioner Jon
Sanborn (standing at right) explain the board's spending plans as outlined in its draft 1994-95 budget.
done in past years. Instead, finance committee chairman Conversation centered around a controversial propos
Commissioner Jon Sanbom explained the changes made al to spend $62,500 to study the feasibility of dredging
to the budget since the public hearing. After about 45 the Calabash River. Strong opposition to the idea was
minutes of discussion, the budget passed unanimously. voiced at the public hearing by Carolina Shores resi
dents who complained that project would not benefit
Sanborn announced that N.C. Representative David
Redwine had recently informed him that the state legis
lature "is 99.999 percent sure" to pick up half the cost of
the study. He also explained how state and federal grants >
are likely to pay for most, if not all of the $780,000 pro
Once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the
river for the initial dredging, it will continue to maintain
the channel indefinitely. Among the benefits expectcd
from the project is increase riverfront development,
which will result in a corresponding rise in property tax
rfvfnij^ Sanborn "id
"With the completion of a sewer system and dredging I
to allow more boats to use the river, property owners ?
will be able to capitalize on what they have down there," ?
Commissioner Keith Hardee noted that a preliminary
study by the Corps of Engineers suggested that the bene
fits of the dredging project would outweigh the costs,
"and they only counted the commercial boats." He said a
secure channel would also increase the river's use by
pleasure boaters, bringing even more benefits to the
Although commissioners Teddy Altreuter and Bob
Noe voted to approve the budget as written ? including
money for the dredging study ? both board members
voted against the $17,000 special appropriation from
this year's fund balance needed to go ahead with the
Ocean Isle Beach Sets 1 7- Cent Tax
n l Aii
Srief riearinp Tuesday
BY SUSAN USHER
Following a hearing at which only
one taxpayer spoke, questioning
why the town's airport isn't user
supported, Ocean Isle Beach Com
missioners Tuesday quietly adopted
a 17-cent tax rate for 1994-95.
After settling on the budget and
tax rate, commissioners met in exec
utive session briefly to discuss sev
eral personnel matters, taking no ac
The tax rate of 17 cents per SI 00
in property valuation is a 3-cent
drop from the current rate. It is still
expected to generate S650.000 in in
come next year, the largest single
source of revenue in the $1.05 mil
lion general fund budget.
Other funds include $458,000.
water, and $613,000, sewer, two en
tcrprisc funds that arc self-support
ing; airport. $27,500, including a
$25,000 contribution from Bruns
wick County; accommodations tax.
$425,000, reflecting anticipated oc
cupancy tax receipts of $375,000
during the coming year; and
$235,000 toward reserve accounts to
meet future needs.
"The budget addresses the specif
ic projects we have and the neces
sary services we need to provide
during the coming year," said Mayor
It includes cost-of-living pay in
creases for employees, new posi
tions in the administration and water
departments; new vehicles for the
police, water and sewer depart
ments; a 40 IK retirement program
for all employees; hand-held meter
"The budget addresses the
specific projects we have and the
necessary services we need to
provide during the corning year. "
? Mayor Betty Williamson
reading units; addition of a police charge anyone for," but that could
department wing to the town hall; change, the mayor told part-time
expansion of the utility building; resident Paul Folsom.
and renovation of the town's cmcr- Folsom asked about the town not
gency "command post" near the air- charging fliers for use of the airport,
port for use as an ambulance base. which produces no revenue but is
Traditionally Ocean Isle Airport partly supported by and owned by
hasn't offered "any services to the town.
Shallotte Tax Rate Is Cut To 32.5 Cents
BY DOUG RUTTER
It took nine special work sessions
and countless hours crunching num
bers, but Shallotte officials say they
ended up with a budget large enough
to serve the taxpayers without over
taxing the taxpayers.
Aldermen concluded perhaps the
most exhaustive budget process in
town history Tuesday with adoption
of a Si .38 million spending plan for
the 1994-95 fiscal year.
"It's been hard to swallow it all in
one year," Mayor Sarah Tripp said
Tuesday night of the calculations
and re-calculations that have been
made over the last two months.
"I hope next year, because we
sweated it out this year, won't be so
hard," Tripp said.
The new budget takes effect
Friday and features a tax rate of 32.5
cents per $100 of property. The new
rate is 31 percent lower than last
year's rate of 47 cents.
"We put a lot of time on this bud
get," Alderman David Gause said
prior to its adoption. "Will 32.5
cents take care of it? You don't want
to put it so low that we need to come
bade here in a year or two and raise
Alderman Roney Cheers, who has
voted against adoption of the last
two town budgets because he dis
agreed with some salaries, made the
motion Tuesday to pass the budget
and the lower tut rate.
"I just hope we have been realis
tic enough that this will come to
fruition," Cheers said.
"We've made a lot of changes this
year, but I don't think we've created
any problems," said board member
The lower tax rate doesn't neces
sarily mean that everyone in
Shallotte will receive smaller bills
this yew. Revaluation increased the
town's tax base about 46 percent to
nearly $107 million.
Town officials expect to collect
about $330,000 in town taxes next
year. Other anticipated revenues in
the $715,326 general fund include
$128,000 in sales tax and $67,300 in
utility franchise tax.
General fund expenses include
$292,422 for police, $144,660 for
streets, $10S,663 for administration.
$49,500 for sanitation and $46,049
for the fire department.
The water and sewer fund totals
$666,380, and the fund includes
$167,000 for a planned expansion of
the sewer system.
Town residents and business own
ers will see an increase in their wa
ter and sewer bills starting next
month. The minimum monthly fee
will jump from $19.02 to $21.27.
Customers with more than 6,000
gallons of water and sewer usage per
month will start paying $6.09 for
each additional 1,000 gallons in
stead of the current rate of $5.34.
Town officials increased the rate
to offset an anticipated rate increase
by the county, which sells water to
In other business Tuesday, alder
? Voted 3-2 to spend approxi
mately $330 for a drop ceiling in
Shallotte Volunteer Fire Depart
ment's office. Gause and Cheers
voted against the project. Although
the money was included in the
1993-94 budget, town officials said
they were upset that the work was
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started without department officers
first getting approval for a purchase
? Adopted a joint resolution with
the Shallotte ABC Board opposing
the Brunswick County ABC Board's
plans to open a new store in the Ash
area. Town officials say the store
would cut into the Shallotte store's
profits. The county liquor store at
Holden Biach has significantly re
duced Shallotte 's ABC store profits
in the last few years.
? Accepted a comprehensive in
surance proposal from Coastal
Insurance & Realty of Shallotte. The
package will cost S 26, 496 for the
year and include insurance for the
town and fire department. Coastal's
bid was about $2,400 less than a
comparable proposal from the N.C.
League of Municipalities.
? Met briefly with engineer Street
Lee of McKim & Creed to discuss
the possibility of the town providing
sewer service to The Brunswick
Hospital. Lee, who is designing the
expansion of Shallotte's sewer plant,
estimates it would cost the hospital
about $620,000 to hook on to the
town system. Town officials arc
wailing for the hospital to respond.
? Voted to ask Town Attorney
Mark Lewis to draft an ordinance
that would prohibit or control busi
nesses that set up for a day or two
along the streets of Shailotte.
Durham raised the issue in reference
to a furniture company that came to
town l*st weekend. He said the town
has a responsibility to look out for
local merchants who pay taxes and
are being undercut by other busi
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The town receives an annus! air
port contribution from Brunswick
County and periodic matching
grants from the state transportation
department, but no adjacent towns
contribute to the cost of operating
Folsom said Ocean Isle Airport is
the only airport he knows that is not
"Ninety-nine percent of the peo
ple in this town don'l have an air
plane. Why should we pay for it?,"
he asked. Later Folsom continued,
"If I had an airplane I'd be glad to
pay to land here."
Williamson said the airport is an
amenity for the town and for use by
everyone at this end of the county.
Steady improvement in facilities
has been made over the past three
years, and tie-downs were added this
With the renovation of the adja
cent town "command post" into an
ambulance base, said Commissioner
Debbie Fox, the town could be lay
ing the groundwork for change
should it decide in the future to go to
a fixed-based operator.
But she and most other commis
sioners don't think airport activity
warrants a new tee.
"I don't think it would be worth it
now," said Commissioner Bill
Benton. "It wouldr 't cover the cost
of collecting the fees."
With support from Commissioner
Ken Proctor, Folsom suggested the
town consider issuing, for a fee, a
sticker for airplanes to land similar
to that provided property owners for
re-entry onto the island after a disas
Folsom also questioned the
town's new water billing schedule,
in which hills are sent out the first of
the month and payable on the 15th,
with a late penalty charged there
"It's an unreasonable period of
time," he said, given turnaround
time in the mail system and other
Commissioners said they intend
the water committee to take a sec
ond look at billing along with the
rate schedule. The town had just set
tled on new water rates when
Brunswick County announced it
would increase its wholesale charge.
Among other changes, the town
will extend the disconnect notice
from seven to 10 days to comply
with state law.
The billing schedule was tight
ened in an attempt to keep billings,
collections and disconnections all
W luiiu iuc miiic 'uuliiig tjruc fut ac
counting purposes, said Town Clerk
Daisy Ivey, and to reduce the num
ber of past-due accounts.
"It's helped a lot," she said.
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