Blowing Rock Candidates Roundtable Sponsored by BRCA and Blowing Rock News – A brief synopsis

 

Friends – The subject event directed by BRCA Board member Karyn Herterich was very well attended and excellent. Karyn, BRCA member Judge Bob Burroughs and Blowing Rock News Editor David Rogers put a lot of very effective hard work into this program to make it an outstanding success. The film of last night’s program is available now on our website www.brcivic.org. The following are some highlights from the program:1. When questioned about the Town’s 32.1% increase in property taxes and 23.9% increase in water and sewer fees, and more than 70% increase in general budget expenses over the past four years Council Candidate Doug Matheson said tax increases were necessary to repair badly worn Town infrastructure that had been neglected over a number of years. Mayoral Candidate Charlie Sellers said the Town needs to do a better job of controlling expenses. He also said that the Town must focus capital expenditures on the substantial needed repairs of roads, streets, sidewalks, water and sewer system problems and not be distracted by requested spending on lower priority optional projects.
2. When asked about the proposed Sunset Drive streetscape project Council Candidate Virginia Powell said she wants Blowing Rock to retain its unique village charm by using unobtrusive signage like that used by European villages. Mayoral Candidate Lawrence said he wants an entrance at Sunset and Highway 321 that will have a WOW!! effect on those passing by. Candidate Sellers said he favors doing needed street, sidewalk and water and sewer system repairs and attractive signage on Sunset. Sellers does not favor additional expensive cosmetic work on Sunset Drive that is being discussed. Candidate Matheson said he thinks that work that will be done by the NCDOT will minimize the need for Town expenses at the intersection of Sunset and Highway 321. Sellers said he liked the work that Virginia Tech did at no cost to the Town on the American Legion Building surrounding area. He said the Town should seek this kind of help with Sunset Drive and other Town areas. He also said Blowing Rock has many talented residents who can be consulted and used on Town projects and needs without expense to the Town.
3. In response to a question about downtown parking problems on busy weekends Candidate Lawrence who has served as Mayor for twenty years said parking problems are good problems to have. He said more parking places will be eliminated on Highway 221 when the sidewalk to Bass Lake is done. He said a parking building on Maple Street might be considered. Candidates Sellers and Sweeting agreed that severe parking problems exist downtown on busy weekends. Sellers suggested joint ventures with Rumple Presbyterian church and First Baptist Church on parking buildings.
4. In response to a question about a proposed new automated water meter system Candidate Pickett said he thinks it will be helpful to property owners in discovery of water leaks. Candidates Matheson and Sellers said they are opposed to forcing property owners to buy a new water meter.
5. In response to a question about changes you would make if elected Candidates Lawrence and Pickett had no changes to suggest. Candidate Matheson said he would put a shuttle service in effect on busy weekends. Candidate Sellers said we must develop a vision to take Blowing Rock to the next level using the great talents of our citizens. Candidate Sweeting says she will propose a memorial tree program for the Town.
6. All candidates now favor using a professional arborist to direct tree maintenance and planting activity in Memorial Park. No one explained why many recommendations over the years from BRAAC and others to use an arborist had been ignored leading to current serious tree problems in the park.

 

These are my impressions of some of the discussion at last night’s meeting. For more information and for far more accurate detail please take a look at the film of the meeting at brcivic.org

 

Best regards,

George

Major Items from Blowing Rock Council Meeting Last Night

Wednesday October 11, 2017

 

Friends – The following are important matters covered by the Blowing Rock Town Council at last night’s meeting:

1. There is reason to believe that at long last Blowing Rock will be the location for a county emergency ambulance and crew, at least part time. Watauga County Commission Chairman John Welch was present for the meeting to verify that this issue will be decided at the county commission meeting in Boone next Tuesday evening 10/17/2017. Meeting starts at 5:30 P.M. at Commissioners Board Room at 814 W. King St. in Boone.
2. An excellent plan by Virginia Tech for development of grounds adjacent to the American Legion Building was adopted by the council in order to initiate the process of obtaining grants to fund recommended improvements including establishing an attractive pedestrian walk on Park Avenue.
3. An excellent top of the line landscaping plan was presented by experts from the North Carolina Department of Transportation for Valley Blvd. (the widened highway 321 through Blowing Rock). This plan, designated by the NCDOT as their Landmark Plan, was approved by the council. Work on this plan will begin immediately.Estimated completion date for the landscaping is early 2019. The town will take over maintenance responsibility for the landscaping in 2020 at an estimated cost of $ 2500 to $ 3000/month. The NCDOT will bear all expenses of the landscaping done and a year of maintenance before turning it over to the town.

 

Please be sure to attend Thursday night’s community meeting with candidates for Blowing Rock mayor and council starting at 5:30 P.M. at the American Legion Building 333 Wallingford St. in downtown.

 

Best regards,

George Wilcox

 

Blowing Rock Civic Association

Tax Increases in the Town of Blowing Rock

Wilcpen (wilcpen@aol.com)To:you Details
Financials of Blowing Rock Pas…pdf (237 KB)

 

 

To Friends and Members of Blowing Rock Civic Association

Blowing Rock Civic Association has added over 200 members in just the 2 months of June and July, 2017.  Thanks to all of you who understand our mission to Protect and Enhance life in Blowing Rock.
We have just updated our website.  So visit us at brcivic.org.  Enjoy the roving pictures of Blowing Rock and the news and events.  Note the membership tab.  We hope you will become a member.

 

Did you get your tax bill?  Was the combined increase for the Town of Blowing Rock and Watauga County 22%?  Mine was 21.5%  DO YOU THINK THIS PERCENT IS SUSTAINABLE?

 

The property tax increase of 21.5% increase in just one year along with the increased spending in the Town of Blowing Rock over the past 4 years shows an alarming trend (This chart is attached)  This is very burdensome on lower income families who know and love Blowing Rock and want to live in Blowing Rock.  Plus any tax increase that can be passed on makes everything more expensive for homeowners, renters, tourist, and businesses.  Probably no business will take a tax increase without trying to revamp their costs.  So all products go up also.  Tax increases spirals on every level.

 

If you are concerned,  email your mayor and elected council members as well as the chair of Watauga County and their elected commissioners.

 

The Town of Blowing Rock

 

Mayor – J. B. Lawrence   jb.lawrence.br@me.com

Mayor Pro Tem – Albert Yount  albertyount@gmail.com
Jim Steele – jfsteele88@att.net
Doug Matheson – dtheboss@bellsouth.net  – Up for reelection 2017
Ray Pickett – raybrinn@gmail.com – Up for reelection 2017
Sue Sweeting – sweetingsue75@yahoo.com – Up for reelection 2017

 

Watauga County Commissioners

 

Chair – John Welch  John.Welch@watgov.org
Vice Chair – Billy Kennedy  Billy.Kennedy@watgov.org
Jimmy Hodges – Jimmy.Hodges@watgov.org
Larry Turnbow – Larry.Turnbow@watgov.org
Perry Yates – Perry.Yates@watgov.org

 

ALSO REMEMBER YOUR VOTE COUNTS

 

Betsy Wilcox
Blowing Rock Civic Association