BY TERRY POPE
In a surprise move Monday, Brunswick County
Commissioners voted unanimously not to charge coun
ty residents a fee for garbage disposal.
The decision clears the way for the printing and
mailing of property tax bills, which arc running about
a month behind schedule.
Tax Administrator Boyd Williamson said a Cary
firm will print the bills this week. They will be mailed
no later than Sept. 1, which is the state deadline, he
Commissioners have studied the parcel fee bill
closely since it passed the N.C. General Assembly in
July, but they didn't like what they saw.
'This bill would nol have been fair," said
Commission Chairman Kelly Holdcn.
A large number of mobile home owners and renters
would legally avoid paying a fee, said Holdcn.
House Bill 86 would have given the county authori
ty to charge each of its 29,000 improved parcels, or
lots with a dwelling or structure on them, an equal fee
to raise the SI. 8 million the county will pay this year
for garbage disposal and recycling.
A person owning a mobile home park or apartment
complex would pay the same fee as a person with a
single home on several acres of land. Individuals in the
mobile home park, or renters that also generate trash,
would not have to pay.
"It's noi what we asked for," said Holdcn.
Brunswick County had asked the General Assembly
lor a bill that would allow the county to charge a one
time fee for all property owners in the county, not just
for improved lots. The lee would have ranged from
S15 to $20. It had asked that the bill expire before the
next budget session.
County Manager David Clegg said other counties
jumped on Brunswick County's proposal and it be
came open game. To charge improved parcels and to
raise the SI. 8 million, the fee would now be close to
$60, he said.
Holdcn said he did not know if there is a county in
the suite dial got what it actually wanted w ith the re
vised parcel fee bill. Hie item was a hot topic at the
N.C. Association of County Commissioners' conven
tion in Winston-Salem this weekend, he added.
"I don't know of any county that's charging the fee,"
The county must now turn to other areas to fund the
solid waste department. A N.C. Supreme Court ruling
last week will return S25(),(KX) to the county from the
Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority that will
now be used to fund solid waste disposal, said Holden.
Clcgg said other funds will come from state sales
tax revenues, the capital reserve fund, budget cuts and
the county's fund balance.
(See COMMISSIONERS, Page 5-A)
Tiir nnp Bm
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Twenty-ninth Year, Number 4 em 1 TMf MO^SWXDC if AC ON Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursdoy, August 22, 1991
50<t Per Copy 42 Pages, 4 Sections Including Supplement, 2 Inserts
w*~- r m itff ~
STAf F PHOTO BY DOUG HUHM
BRUNSWICK COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR Cecil lagan (second
from left) searches the HoUien Beach surf for a drowning victim Sunday with fireman Ronnie Rabon
(left) and rescue squad member Robert Mcleod.
FIFTH DROWNING THIS SEASON
Holden Surf Claims Another Victim
HY DOUG RUTTER
A young man vacationing at
Holdcn Beach drowned in the surf
Sunday while swimming in rough
seas churned up by Hurricane Bob.
The body of John Gateau, 22, of
Momingsidc, Md., was recovered
nearly 24 hours later about 200
yards from where he first entered
Gateau was the fifth person to
drown off Holdcn Beach sincc May
in swimming- or boating-related in
cidents, and the sccond to drown in
the surf near the west end of the is
The local drowning was one of
three deaths attributed to Hurricane
Bob, which skirted the North
Carolina coast over the weekend be
fore making landfall in the
Another swimmer drowned in
heavy surf Saturday night at Myrtle
Beach., S.C., and an assistant train
conductor was killed Monday near
New York City when a tree
smashed into the front of a com
Brunswick County Emergency
Management Coordinator Cecil
Logan said Gateau and a friend
were body surfing in the ocean ad
jaccnt to 1200 Ocean Blvd. Wcsl
just before noon Sunday.
Gateau was out beyond the
breakers, and the friend was walk
ing out toward him. The friend re
ported that Gateau disappeared be
hind one of the waves and he never
saw him again.
The Brunswick County Sheriff's
Department was notified of the pos
sible drowning at 11:43 a.m. Logan
said Holden Beach Policc, Tri
Beach Volunteer Fire Department
and Coastline Volunteer Rescue
Squad responded immediately.
Logan and other emergency per
sonnel searched for the man from
the beach for several hours Sunday
afternoon. Ocean Isle Beach's water
rescue team circled the area where
Gateau had been swimming in their
Fire and rescue personnel re
mained on the strand until dark, and
police continued to drive a vehicle
up and down the beach until they
were forced off by the rising tide.
The search resumed Monday
morning around 6:30 a.m.
Emergency personnel used the
Brunswick County Emergency
Management, Coastline VRS and
Southport Volunteer Rescue Squad
boats lo search for ihc btxly.
Logan said the Sally I. a local
charlcr fishing boat, and the
Brunswick County Sheriff's
Department airplane also assisted in
The body was found at 11:15
a.m. Monday just beyond the break
ers. Logan said the victim was
found about 200 yards east of where
he had entered the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard station at
Oak Island was busy preparing for
the hurricane and never sent a boat
to help with the rescue effort, Logan
Gateau was visiting the beach
with his family, girlfriend and sev
eral friends. "The family was really
upset," said Logan.
With Hurricane Bob within 300
miles of the beach, Logan said the
ocean was very rough Sunday. The
storm created waves up to 12 feet
high at Holden Beach.
Given those conditions, Logan
said the man probably shouldn't
have been swimming.
"1 didn't question the family, but
I question it myself," he said.
"People come down on vacation. I
reckon they think they can go in the
(See HOLDEN, Page 2-A)
Beaches Escape Damage
From Passing Hurricane
BY THE NEWS STAFF
Brunswick County bcachcs es
caped ihc first threat of the 1991
hurricane season with little or no
damage to sand dunes and coastal
But Shallotte Point meteorologist
Jackson Canady hopes Hurricane
Bob taught area residents a lesson
as it skirted the North Carolina
coast Sunday and headed north.
"I hope people look the warning
seriously because we had a real
threat," Canady said Tuesday. "We
were fortunate it did not material
The drowning of a swimmer at
Holden Beach Sunday was attribut
ed to the hurricane. But otherwise,
local beach officials said the storm
caused very lew problems.
Canady says people should use
the experience to evaluate how pre
pared they arc for the rest of hurri
cane season, which peaks next
"1 hope they don't think the cry
of a wolf," Canady said. "Where we
live sooner or later it will be our
turn. We need not take it lightly."
The hurricane kicked up rough
seas and large waves, but there were
no reports of major erosion or
Hooding in the South Brunswick
Canady said the Shallotte area re
ceived about two-thirds of an inch
of rain as the storm passed offshore.
That came on top of the 16 inches
of rain the area has received in the
Bob, the second tropical storm of
the season, formed last Friday cast
of the Bahamas and grew quickly. It
was upgraded to a hurricane
Saturday, when a warning was is
sued for the entire North Carolina
The hurricane crossed the Outer
Banks late Sunday packing 115 mph
winds before swirling up the East
Coast and causing damage in New
Besides the hurricane warning,
Brunswick County also was under a
tomado watch most of Saturday and
Sunday. The National Weather
Service had no reports of tornadoes
in the area.
South Brunswick Island beach
towns tracked the storm closely and
prepared for possible evacuations
STAff PHOTO BY OOUC lUItll
A SURFER enjoys a huge wave Sunday near //olden Reach
Fishing Pier. Waves up to 12 feet high shook the pier as they broke,
spraying those at the end of the span.
by chccking emergency equipment
and pulling employees and volun
teers on stand-by.
Holdcn Beach Town Manager
Gary Parker said the town was as
prepared as it could have been on
such short notice.
"This thing just formed in the
Bahamas Friday and we were laced
with it the next day," he said. "If we
have any more, 1 hope it gives us
more notice than that one did."
Building Inspector Dwight
Carroll said the rough seas and large
waves fueled by the storm caused
very liule bcach erosion. He said
the high tides during a new moon
two weeks ago caused more dam
Carroll posted two oceanfront
homes on Hillside Drive as unin
habitable Monday, one because ero
sion had exposed a septic tank and
another because pilings supporting
the structure were undermined.
"They were not a direct result of
Bob, although it did help it along a
little bit," the building inspector
A third house on Hillside thai
hasn't been inhabited since
Hurricane Hugo two years ago is
leaning toward the ocean. Carroll
said he is working with the owner
and insurance company to get the
There was no beach erosion or
property damage at Ocean Isle
Beach, said Building Inspector
"We've had more problems with
the rain over the past month than we
did with this storm," he said.
Roberson, who rode the entire
beach Monday morning, said waves
lapped at the base of the dunes at
the east end of the beach.
Property elsewhere didn't even
get wet. "We didn't lose a single
garbage can, and we didn't lose any
beach accesses," he said.
Ocean Isle was in its "first stage
alert" over the weekend. Employees
reported to work Saturday to check
equipment, and they were on stand
by until the hurricanc passed
(See BEACHES, Page 2-A)
COUNTY FINANCES $7 MILLION PROJECT
Water Tankers Ordered For Shallotfe Point
BY TERRY POPE
Some Shallottc Point residents with dry or
contaminated wells may be getting temporary
help soon from the county.
Brunswick County Commissioners Monday
instructed County Manager David Clcgg to see if
water tankers can be pulled to the Point to serve
The board also voted unanimously to borrow
up to S10 million in certificates of participation
to finance the county's Phase III and III-A capital
improvements project that will route new water
lines to the Seaside and Shallottc Point commu
The project, expected to cost up to $7 million,
is in the design stage with actual construction to
begin next year.
Shallottc Point, a community south of
Shallottc plagued with water problems, has been
asking the county for water several years.
"A number of wells have dried up," said Com
missioner Kelly Holden. "It's getting critical."
Several Shallottc Point residents attended the
commissioners' meeting Monday but did not
speak. They have met individually with commis
sioners to ask for emergency help.
"We went to see what they could do for us,"
said Joyce Land of Shallottc Point. "The tankers
are one of the things we had asked for."
Holden said some residents believe their wells
are tainted with gasoline. Others have watched
ihcir wells go dry in rcccnt months, he said.
"Even with all of the rain we've had recently,
it's getting critical," said Ms. Land.
She knows of three families whose wells have
"I'm sure the rest of them need help, too," she
said. "It's going to help quite a few people out."
Commissioner Jerry Jones said Shallotte Point
has reached the same emergency situation as the
Jennifer subdivision near Lcland. A number of
families there cannot use their wells because of
For more than a year, the county has supplied
water to Jennifer subdivision residents with a
tanker that must be routinely filled by county
employees. A line from the tanker feeds into the
The tanker is on loan from the Du Pont com
pany in Lcland. The county has recently ap
proved the construction of a water line from the
Malmo treatment plant to that subdivision.
On the Shallotte Point problem, Jones added,
"We want to do what we can to assist those peo
ple. If we can get tankers in there it should help."
Commissioners voted unanimously to seek up
to S10 million in certificates of participation to
finance the projects to Seaside and Shallotte
Point. State law allows counties to finance pro
jects up to S10 million without a referendum.
The county will sell certificates to investors
and pay the money back with interest from cus
tomer fees and water assessments. The county
will only borrow as much as it needs to finance
the estimated S7 million project.
No one spoke at a public hearing held at the
start of the meeting Monday to receive input v,.i
the county's plan to borrow money for the water
The project will route a new main line from
Shallottc and join an existing line on N.C. 179 at
Seaside to relieve an increasing demand for
county water in the Sunset Beach and Calabash
areas. That new line will travel down U.S. 17 to
Grisscltown, then along N.C. 904 to Seaside.
A second phase will carry lines from N.C. 179
south of Shallottc to the Point community.
Spccial assessment districts will connect Point
residents to the main lines.
By a 3-2 vote on Aug. 5, the board fired
Houston and Associates of Shallottc, engineers
for the Phase III and Ill-A projects.
Commissioners cited unnecessary delays in the
design work as the reason for breaking its con
tract with the firm.
Upon Clcgg's recommendation Monday, the
board voted 3-2 to negotiate a contract with
Camp, Dresser and McKcc of Raleigh to com
plete the project. Commissioners Donald Shaw
and Jones voted no.
The mouon will allow Holden to sign a con
tract agreement with the new engineers without a
vote of the board.
Offers Fewest Changes
BY TERRY POPE
The county's 1983 and 1991 electoral redisricting maps have a lot in
Of the five options presented to Brunswick County Commissioners
Monday, the one they chose represents the fewest line changes, said
Chairman Kelly Holden.
Voters will decide Nov. 5 if the plan commissioners want is also the
one that residents want.
It was previously thought the vote would be non-binding, but County
Manager David Clegg said the plan must be approved by a majority of
voters, or else another referendum will be necessary.
A local bill (H. B. 630) is expected to pass the General Assembly next
year giving the county authority to rcdislncl in the future without a bind
The county's five districts must be redrawn to reflect the county's
growth since the 1980 U.S. Census, from 35,777 to 50,985 residents, or
about 43 percent.
(See REDISTRICTING, Page 2-A)
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