Harris Brothers @ Broyhill Park 5-7 PM Tonight

Summer Concert Series TODAY

TODAY Broyhill Park 5:00-7:00 PM

Free entry and parking at Broyhill Park.
Harris Brothers at Broyhill Park
173 Lakeside Dr

BRCA Survey Closes June 15th

The annual BRCA Priorities Survey will close on June 15th.  Responses have been strong so if you haven’t, please complete our survey.  The lead priority dominates the results, we will publish the complete results after the survey closes.

Horseshow Dates:
Hunter/Jumper I Division: July 23-28
Hunter/Jumper II Division: July 31-August 4

A Message from BRCA to Town Council June 11,2024
From Vice Chair: Janie Sellers

I am the Vice Chair of the Blowing Rock Civic Association and am here tonight to offer some comments on behalf of our organization on the proposed town budget.
BRCA provides an important voice for Blowing Rock homeowners who, as property taxpayers and utility customers, provide 60% of the Town’s spendable revenue shown in the proposed budget.  Homeowners are invested, quite literally, in the Town and care a great deal about the quality of life we experience here, the services we receive from the Town, the nature and condition of the Town’s infrastructure and amenities and what we pay for all that.  BRCA also supports the proposed special 10% pay increases for the Town’s police and fire departments.  We support the use of this market-driven tool to fill the 5 public safety vacancies and help to retain the current employees in whom the town has invested, at least for a reasonable period of time. I would appreciate the help of anyone hearing me tonight in making the correct information about BRCA’s position known.
Regarding the budget overall, BRCA agrees with Mr. Fox’s statement that the town needs a balanced budget that is fiscally responsible and takes a conservative approach.  As expected, personnel costs are a substantial portion of the Town’s total expenses.  Given current levels of inflation and generally available information about 2024 raises, the proposed 2.5% COLA increase seems consistent with a fiscally responsible and conservative approach, especially when taking into account that last year’s COLA increase was 5% and most employees received another 4% salary increase at the first of this calendar year under the incentive program that was in effect last year. We ask that the Town continue to gather and use comparative data from neighboring jurisdictions and statewide reports on local government compensation as a check on whether what is being done here is appropriate. We also encourage continued transparency in responding to requests from BRCA when we seek to understand and share information with our constituents about these matters.
We are interested to see how things develop regarding the Town’s unusual subsidized childcare benefit. We understand the need, particularly in our geography where options are limited, for childcare when the parents of young children are in the workforce.  We hope it helps the Town recruit and retain employees, particularly in public safety where the hiring market is so competitive. We do believe it will be fiscally responsible to continue to evaluate the cost and benefits of this program as it matures.
Our other main comment on the proposed budget is that we are pleased that the property tax increase was kept to a minimum. We liked the Mayor’s version of no increase even better, but the 1 cent increase from 39 to 40 cents is about the equivalent of the 2.5% cost of living increase that is going into Town employees’ pay.
However, there is more to remember on this subject – the tax rate summary chart on page 3 of the budget message makes it look like property taxes are less of a burden now than they were in 2022 because of the rates being lower. But, in fact, the 2022 revaluation by Watauga County substantially increased taxes paid by us homeowners over what we were paying before that.  The owner of an average home in Blowing Rock will likely have experienced a 25% increase in their tax bill over the 3 years leading into the proposed 24-25 budget.  Unfortunately, a revaluation doesn’t put any more money into the homeowner’s pocket to pay those tax bills.  Homeowners also are going to experience the monthly increase in their water bill – and that increase is not much less than the property tax increase from a wallet perspective. Many of Blowing Rock’s homeowners are older and not moving into their peak earning years or they are retired and living on fixed incomes and retirement savings. But they are also the Town’s narrators, the ones who provide and preserve its charm and traditions for their neighbors, as well as newcomers and visitors. We don’t want to see them, or any other taxpayers, driven away by increasing and recurring expenses that they can only cover by selling their property.
In conclusion, on behalf of BRCA, I urge the Town to focus on fiscal responsibility and be conservative about expense increases. Make sure that our visitors bear their fair share of what it costs to have the kind of town that they and we enjoy.  Do what is necessary to preserve public safety and maintain our quality of life here, but don’t go overboard and help all of us see that you are not doing that.
Thank you.

Downtown Code & Development Subcommittee

The subcommittee met yesterday from 1:00-3:30. During this session we measured setbacks and building height.  We looked at setbacks on East Main, West Main, and Sunset.   The next meeting will take place in approximately two weeks.

Public Notice on Green Hill Communication Pole Public Hearing

There will be a Public Hearing on this topic during the regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting on June 20th at 5:30 PM.  The meeting is at Town Hall.  The official notice was distributed last week.  It is available on the Town’s website.

Information on Proposed New Revenue Bonds

Link here:

The “budget message” is now available as an attachment to the agenda for the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 11 (pages 26 to 41).  There is also information about the new revenue bonds that are proposed to be issued to pay for the work at the Mayview lift station and some of the other repairs and replacements to the water and sewer facilities. It is the last few pages of the attachment to the agenda on the Town’s website.

On behalf of all of us at BRCA we sincerely appreciate your financial support and your ongoing engagement.  Thank you for following us.  We also want to welcome our new members; we welcome you to BRCA.  We will see you next TONIGHT from 5-7 PM with cart and cooler at Broyhill Park!

Make it a great weekend!

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