THE r miAkMif Ei'OK BINDERY 12/ ::i Our Twenty-ninth Year, Number 7 " C1W0 THE BRUNSWICK BEACON Thursday, December 20, 1990 40 Pages, 3 Sections 25c Per Copy ANNEXATION APPROVED Sunset Beach Extends Town Limits To Seaside BY DOUG Rll'ITER Sunset Bcach Town Administra Sunset Bcach will have its very tor Linda Fluegel said the annexa own mainland business district tion takes effect Dec. 31, which come New Year's Eve. That's when means the town can tax those areas annexation of a strip of property next year. that extends the town limits to the Town council had delayed a vote Seaside shopping area takes effect. on the annexation request at its Dec. Town council voted 4-1 in favor 3 meeting bccausc some board of annexation during a special meet- members had questions about what ing last Thursday. Owners of the an- annexation would cost the town and nexed property had asked to be how the town would benefit from it. brought into the town. Mrs. Fluegel said there wasn't The annexed area consists mainly much discussion during last week's of property owned by Sea Trail meeting after she informed council Corp., including a commercial strip members that the only immediate bordering Seaside Station along one cost to the town would be S811 per side of N.C. 179 and nine holes at year for sanitation. "We came, we Sea Trail Golf Links on the other conquered and we went home," she side. said. Also included in the annexed area Councilman A1 Odom cast the is a portion of the Long Bay Devel- only vote against annexauon. He opers Inc. property on N.C. 904 that had said during previous discus includes a shopping center. sions that annexation would not be in the best interest of the town. "We're being asked to fix some thing that's not broke," Odom said at the Dec. 3 meeting. "I'm against growth for the sake of growth." Councilman Ed Gore, who is a principal in Sea Trail Corp., said at the time that the only motive for the corporation seeking annexation was community spirit. "They want to be a part of Sunset Beach and will be a part whether accepted or not," Gore said. He characterized the annexation as the next logical step in the town's growth and unification. The town administrator said the only other possible expense to the town as a result of the annexation would be $8,000 for a part-time po lice officer to patrol the area. However, Police Chief J. B. Bucll said earlier that an extra full-time officer would be needed at least during the summer season if the an nexation was approved. Earlier this month. Mayor Mason Barber pointed out that annexation of the land would allow the town to extend its extraterritorial jurisdic tion farther up N'.C. 179 toward Ocean Isle Beach. Sunset Beach could enforce zon ing in that area as well as subdivi sion regulations and the state build ing code. The Sugar Sands development at Sea Trail Plantation was not includ ed in the area approved for annexa tion last week. But Barber said the residential area could be annexed in the future. Town council has already adopted a resolution of intent to bring the area into the town through the involun tary annexation process. County Won't Let Court Delay Water Authority Contract BY TERRY POPE A complicated deal worked oul between Brunswick County and the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority has county officials hap py. The agreement all but nullifies a state Supreme Court ruling on the matter which has been in the works since Apnl. A third revised contract negotiat ed with the authority will finally open the door for adding new cus tomers to the regional water supply. It will also repay Brunswick County its S6.2 million in bonds used to help build the system. "I think we are step by step by painful step realizing our goals in this matter," said Brunswick County Attorney David Clegg. "The bottom line is, we're getting what we want and requiring that they (authority) pay for it." The resolution Brunswick County Commissioners unanimously ap proved Monday contains several provisions. It requires that the au thority: a) release half of the 5250,000 the county posted for re pairs and maintenance to the system to help pay for expenses; b) offer the county a different rate structure for water than other easterners; c) issue replacement bonds to help re pay Brunswick County for its role in construction of the system; and d) share the cost of extending ser vices to new customers in the fu ture. "It contains all of the goodies that was in the amended contract," said Alfred Carlton Jr., consulting attor ney for Brunswick County, plus it adds a clause for helping the county pay its operation and maintenance expenses. The contract contains a separate agreement giving the coun ty a lower rate for raw water. Last year, the debate over lower rates entered the courts. Brunswick County filed a "friendly lawsuit" against the authority seeking a judg ment over whether the authority could refuse to charge a discrimina tory rate to a county government. A decision that went against Bruns wick County was appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court, Carlton said. "We are legally awaiting an an swer," Carlton said. "Practically speaking, what has happened since then has answered the problem." The ease was heard in April, but no decision has yet been handed down from the court. Meanwhile, the authority has agreed to issue a separate agreement with the county for reduced water rates that won't be included in the contracts for new customers, a deal that neutralizes the court's impending decision. (See COUNTY, Page 2-A) Ocean Isle Realtor Cleared In Seizure Of Three Condos HY TKRRY POPE A local real estate agent whose Occan Isle Beach condominium was seized by federal marshals last week was described Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's officc as an "inno ccnt victim" in the incident. Three Occan Isle condominiums, two at Starboard By The Sea and one at 504 Occan Point, were seized last week and placed under a seal by FBI agents. They were alleged to have been purchased by Victor S. Black wcll of Saddlcvicw Court, Charlotte, with money gained through illegal activity, said U.S. Attorney Tom Ashcraft, of the western North Carolina district officc. Blackwcll was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Charlotte on 35 counts of mail fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and con spiracy in conncction with a S21 mil lion investment and insurance scam that left more than 1,300 families with no health insurance coverage. Blackwcll had purchased a share in the two Starboard By The Sea condominiums from John Cooke of Cooke Realty at Ocean Isle Beach. The men had an agreement on the purchase of the Ocean Point condo but no financial transactions had ev er taken place from that agreement, Cooke said. "Mr. Cooke has never been a tar get of this investigation," Ashcraft said from his Charlotte office Tues day. "Our understanding is that he was a victim of the same sort of scam that this office investigated." Ashcraft said his office will be reviewing documents forwarded by Cooke regarding the status of the Occan Point condo and expects the department to "lake prompt action" in returning ihe property. "Wc have no reason to doubt his (Cooke's) innocence," Ashcraft add ed. Cooke said he had no argument with ihc seizure of the Starboard By The Sea condos sincc Blackwcll still owed money for his share of the units. Blackwcll had wanted to buy the Ocean Point unit, Cooke said, but "there had never been any transfer of ownership." The Ocean Point unit remained under seal Tuesday. Cooke said he is willing lo patiently wail for the condo to be returned to his family through the proper channels with federal authorities. Cooke said he had been told that the property would be returned following an in vestigation. All six men indicted by the grand jury in the insurance scam lived outside of Brunswick County. Some property was also reportedly seized at Cherry Grove, S.C. In all, seven homes, 26 vehicles and numerous business and personal bank ac counts of the six men involved were seized under civil action. The prop erty was worth about S3 million. Civil action allows agents lo seize personal property that is "traced as the proceeds of, facilitated by, or in volved in money laundering," Ash craft said. Court documents alleged that the two Starboard By The Sea condos at Ocean Isle were associated with Blackwcll, he added. The investigation that led to the seizures and indictments was part of an effort coordinated by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and insur (See OCEAN ISLK. Page 2-A> School Board Finally Adopts 1990-91 Budget BY DOUG RUTTKR ends June 30, 1991. The Brunswick Counly Board of A question regarding how much Education this week adopted an op- money the school system had in its crating budget for the 1990-91 fis- fund balancc kept the board from cal year?even though the year is adopting a budget before the fiscal nearly half over. year started. School board members voted Since then, more finance-related unanimously at their meeting Mon- questions have been raised concern day night in Southport to accept the ing expense accounts of some top $40 million budget as presented by administrators and former employ thc school system's finance officer, ccs receiving health insurance bene Rudi Fallon. fits after they stopped working for Brunswick County Schools had the school system. been operating under an interim Although the audit report for last budget since the beginning of the fiscal year is still not finished, Ms. fiscal year, which started July 1 and (See SCHOOL, Page 2-A) STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG HUTTIt Caroling Crew Of Sailors This crew of high-spirited sailors ushered in the holiday season at Holden Heach Sunday night by cruising the waterway in a decorated boat and singing Christmas carols. The sailboat stopped at the entrance of the main canals at llolden Heach and finished its voyage at Captain Pete's Seafood, where about 50 people gathered to join in the singing. Pictured, from left, are Susan dibble, William Williamson, Ann Williamson, Linda llasque, Elizabeth Dameron, Wanda Veldt, Banks llasque, Martin Feldt, Allan Dameron as Santa Clous and Tim Gibble operating the boat.