Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Budget Ordinance is Final

June 17, 2008

The town property and business owners turned out in near record numbers to voice their opinions, oppositions and suggestions over the much debated budget ordinance. The crowds quickly swelled into the hall, out the door and around the building to listen to the meeting from outside of open windows.

The budget was initially approved for a 5 cent increase per $100 of property valuation. However, last week when the budget ordinance was prepared and submitted for approval by the town council, discussion among council members led to an apparent change of mind in at least one of the council members, which resulted in another vote to approve a 9 cent increase instead of 5. The meeting was scheduled to resume today to enable the town manager to revise the budget ordinance and resubmit it for approval.

Many telephone calls and emails to the council members, town manager, mayor and others made it apparent that most property owners were not convinced that a 16.4% increase in our taxes (9 cents over the 55 cents already in place) is necessary. In fact, Mayor Rick Owen made it very clear in the meeting today that an independent study done by a financial expert showed that the 5 cent increase will take care of all items needed to meet the new budget. The only difference for this year that an additonal 4 cents will make is a reduction in the debt for the new motor grader to be purchased. The public comment period revisted the property owners' concerns about assessing an additional 4 cents now when the economy, gas prices, grocery prices, etc. are being increased and other towns are holding taxes down well below the Beech Mountain rate, just to name a fraction of the reasons we should increase the taxes only as much as is needed now to meet budget needs. The council listened patiently to the overflowing audience but in the end, Mayor Owen again made a motion to hold the tax increase to 5 cents, Gil Adams seconded the motion but councilmen Randy Corn, Alan Holcombe and Pete Chamberlin voted against this motion. Randy Corn then made a motion to increase the taxes 9 cents, Alan Holcombe seconded the motion and Pete Chamberlin voted in favor of this motion while Gil Adams and Rick Owen voted against it. The motion to increase our taxes 9 cents per $100 of valuation for the next fiscal year was passed and the budget, as presented, was approved. Plans for the additional 4 cents are to apportion these taxes to debt reduction now and paving more roads in the future as well as other items. Unfortunately, we learned that we will be losing Genesis Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to the Eagle's Nest subdivision as it has not been able to get assistance from the town to help sustain it's existence on Beech Mountain. We will miss Leslie and her dedication to the animals of Beech Mountain and the surrounding area. It is such a unique cause and area to visit, as well as one in which many people living and visiting our mountain enjoyed. We hope the move will enable Leslie to do more for this worthy cause.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Discussion on the 2008-2009 Town Budget

June 12, 2008

Attn: Residents/Owners of Beech Mountain Properties:

If you have not heard about the proposed tax increase that the Town Council is currently considering, you may want to read the minutes of the last few meetings for the Town Council, the budget and call one or more of your Town Council members:

Rick Owen: 387-2466
Gil Adams: 387-2892
Randy Corn: 387-9468
Alan Holcombe: Days 387-4748, Evenings 387-4794
Pete Chamberlin: 387-2674

At this time it is not clear whether the tax increase will be 5 cents, 9 cents or 11 cents per each $100 of property value. This equates to less than a 10%, more than a 16% or more than a 20% increase in the Beech Mountain portion of the tax bill, respectively, if the appraised value remains the same.

To catch up on the information available online, click on the following links for agendas, budget, MountainEar and minutes which are available online at, and

There will be a Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 17th at 2:00 p.m. at Town Hall to continue the discussion of the budget, including the tax increase. If you cannot attend this meeting, please email the Town Manager, Michael Boaz, at prior to that date with your opinions, questions or thoughts.

I also received a letter from Jim Brooks who provided the following information:

"...Thanks for asking for participation at Tuesday’s meeting. These people should have participated in the previous budget meetings. I hope you can warn them not to gripe about the tax increase until they review the reasons for the tax increase:

Lake C(o)ffey Dam – Repair – Safety
Buckeye Dam - Repair - Safety
Water System Upgrades - 3-4 million now 22 million total
Fire Protection - Staffing
Equal protection for all water system
Sewer Pump Station Replacement – Safety- Could flow into reserves
Paving Greenbrier & Lakeledge Road
Planning and Engineering for Projects
Cash Purchase versus Increased Debt Load& Higher Taxes for a Motograder

Obviously our town has never planned for the future. All of these project should have been on the drawing board years ago and our taxes should have been increased gradually instead of all at once!! Most of us know the town engineer should have been replaced during the sewer moratorium and that should have been a wake up call. Our taxes are still low- I pay $1.18 per hundred in Greensboro down from $1.30 before. 95.3cents doesn’t sound bad to me (64 cents + 31.3 cents). Real estate will sell much easier when we get our town looking and living better. Call Randy Corn if you want to be informed for the meeting..."

Please be a part of our town by making sure your voices are heard! Call your Town Council members, research the budget, meeting minutes and ask questions. If you wait to get that information on Tuesday it may be too late.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hail Hits Hard

June 9, 2008

The skies began to turn gray and the winds picked up. A light rain began and then little by little small, pea-sized hail began to come down. Then the baseball hail fell...and fell...and fell. It hit cars, roofs, trees, plants - anything in its path. Reports right now of dented hoods and roofs as well as busted windshields and some flooding seem to be the extent of the damage.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Recycle Center Improvements

June 5, 2008

The Town of Beech Mountain continues to make improvements. In speaking with town manager, Michael Boaz, he advised "The Recycling Center is undergoing a series of major changes. First, we have hired Charlie Frisbee to work at the Center. We hope that folks will find Charlie helpful in getting items out of their vehicles and into the proper receptacle. Second, we are changing the entrance to the Center. The new entrance will be at the end of the center where the glass and can dumpster is now. We are also expanding the center by quite a bit. We will be closing off the existing entrance, removing the asphalt, and landscaping that area. There will be a new fence installed atop the new rock wall that is being built. We will also be constructing a new building for the attendant and the cardboard compactor. We will be installing dumpster for wood and metal products. Hopefully all of this change will help keep the center looking nice and be a service improvement for the citizens."

The changes are already beginning to form and look like it will be a much more aesthetic view from the street, as shown in the first picture. The second photo was taken from the utility department parking lot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Fawn Rescued

June 3, 2008

Going to work today, I was only a few yards from the house when one of our does was in the middle of the road looking very befuddled. She was pacing back and forth across the road, then stood in the middle of the road looking at me. I rolled the window down to talk to her (they seem to know our voices since they come to eat corn in the yard) and heard a bleating sound like a calf. I thought sure it must be a fawn since we have had so many pregnant does in the yard lately. Sure enough, on a closer look I caught a slight movement just off the road. When I went to investigate, I found there was a hole about three feet deep that was covered with vegetation and inside of the hole was a brand new fawn. I called Paul right away and he came down and rescued the little one. Mom had watched the entire thing and was hanging around so we assume they eventually got back together. The fawn ran across the road and into a small cave or den on the side of the road. We did not see her/him come out but on the way home I inspected it and it is empty. We are now looking for "Lucky" to reappear with mom safe and sound.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More Renovations on Beech Mountain

June 2, 2008

The Town of Beech Mountain is currently replacing water pipes for better flow to some of the areas around the downtown section, including Skiloft Road. Town Manager, Michael Boaz stated "The line that is currently being installed is a 12” water main. This main is replacing the existing 4” main. This work is being done for several reasons. First, we needed to provide fire protection on Ski Loft Rd. State law prohibits the installation of fire hydrants on lines smaller than 6”. In addition, we had some supply issues with this small main and therefore the upgrade will provide increased capacity to that part of the system. We will also be installing two pressure reducing stations which help control water pressure. One of these will be on the corner of Pine Ridge and Grassy Gap Loop and the other will be alongside the 18th green. Finally, we will be installing a generator at the water plant to insure that we can continue to provide safe drinking water during a power outage."