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July 29, 2014

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Originally published: 2014-04-11 08:36:14
Last modified: 2014-04-11 08:36:59

Town urges county to keep ad valorem tax distribution

The Blowing Rock Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to keep in place a county tax distribution method that would give the town approximately $200,000 in additional sales tax revenue for the next fiscal year.

The vote urges the Watauga County commissioners to maintain the ad valorem sales tax distribution approach for fiscal year 2015, which begins on July 1.
 
“The fiscal needs of Blowing Rock are substantial, and the ad valorem distribution approach reallocates much needed funding, which helps support the many services required by our visitors and seasonal residents who are not accounted for when considering the full-time resident number of 1,176 that would have been used under the per capita tax distribution approach this fiscal year,” said Scott Fogleman, Blowing Rock town manager.

According to Fogleman, the county used the ad valorem method until 1987 when it was changed to per capita until the current fiscal year.

The per capita method sales tax approach gives more money to Boone and less to the towns of Blowing Rock and Seven Devils.

Watauga County commissioners will decide the sales tax distribution method for fiscal year 2015 sometime in April.

The Blowing Rock commissioners also voted unanimously to:

- Approve a document of understanding documenting the $400 cost of the High Country Council of Governments’ intergovernmental retreat scheduled for 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesday, July 29.
 
- Approve Joe Papa to fill a vacant seat on the Blowing Rock Board of Adjustment. Mark Klein resigned from the board effective May 1.

- Approve appropriating restricted asset forfeiture funds already received for the purchase of new equipment for the Blowing Rock Police Department.

During the past four years, seized funds from prosecutions have accumulated to $2,413.

The funds are restricted for the use of law enforcement purposes only.

 It was recommended that the funds be used for the purchase of three additional patrol rifles.

- Approve funding for the repair of Quail Hollow Road, which suffered damage due to the heavy rains in July 2013.

The council had previously appropriated $70,000 for repairs, with $52,500 coming from Federal Emergency Management Agency funding and $17,500 coming from North Carolina Department of Public Safety funding.

The commissioners approved an additional funding of $8,100.

- Approve an amendment extending the completion date of a Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation substation. The substation is located off  Little Springs Road, behind the Food Lion Shopping Center. It was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, but was delayed due to delays in the widening of U.S. 321. Dr. Adam Hill asked where the new underground electrical cables would go. Hill’s dentistry business is located across Little Springs Road from the Food Lion shopping center. Mike Hind of BREMCO said that the exact path of the underground cables had not been determined, but that the company was looking to place it along the back row of parking spaces in the parking lot in front of Food Lion, but an easement had not yet been granted.

- Approve the date of Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, for the Blood, Sweat and Gears bicycle ride.

According to ride organizer Scott Nelson, the ride would begin next to the Blowing Rock American Legion Hall, parade down Main Street, travel to Collettsville, N.C., and then return to Blowing Rock.

Nelson said that the race would have a positive economic impact on Blowing Rock. “Each rider typically stays two nights and brings two people with them to the race site,” Nelson said. “Last year we donated more than $100,000 to local charities.”

- Approve a proposal for Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation to build a new gazebo in Blowing Rock Memorial Park that would be approximately twice the size in diameter of the existing gazebo. The recreation department has received offers of $10,000 from the Watauga County Community Band and up to $30,000 from the Blowing Rock Rotary Club for the project. According the Steve Frank, director of the Watauga County Community Band, the money they are offering for construction of a new gazebo is the result of a bequest on behalf of a band member who died.

- Approve a request to looking into changing the way it decorates the blue spruce, located in front of Blowing Rock Town Hall, each Christmas season. Previously, white lights have been strung on the tree, costing approximately $1,700 in staff time and materials. The new proposal would utilize spotlights lighting the tree from below.
 
The recommendation from the Blowing Rock Appearance Advisory Commission   suggests that any savings be directed to having an arborist evaluate the health of the tree and having it pruned and maintained.

The next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council will take place at town hall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13.
 
 
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.


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