Order/Invocation/Pledge of Allegiance
Belhaven Town Council met in a Special Called Session on
Monday, December 19, 2005 at 7:00 P.M. at the Boyette
Civic Center. Mayor Adam W. O’Neal called the meeting
to order with the following Council members present:
Albert Baker, Steve W. Carawan, George R. Ebron, Jr.,
Mayor Pro-Tem; Cynthia M. Heath and James B. Hodges.
Town Manager Tim M. Johnson, Town Attorney Keith B.
Mason and Town Clerk Marie J. Adams were also present.
Mayor O’Neal asked Councilman Carawan to give the
invocation. Following the invocation, Mayor O’Neal
asked Councilman Hodges to lead the pledge of
Comments of Utility Bills
O’Neal recognized the following citizens who spoke
briefly concerning the utility bills:
Arthur Bonner stated that this concern was a
personal issue and stated that he understood that
the town was going to reduce utility bills, form a
committee to study rates, and assist citizens with
bills. Mayor O’Neal stated that a utility committee
Bob Holz stated that recent newspaper articles
reported the increase for electric rates throughout
towns/cities in the area. Mr. Holz questioned how
the council anticipated dealing with the increase.
Councilman Carawan stated that a committee needed to
be formed to investigate all avenues possible.
Councilwoman Heath asked Town Manager Johnson if the
town had received official notification of the
electric rate increase. Town Manager Johnson stated
that no official notice had been received but his
conversations had indicated a 10% increase will be
passed on to the town in January. Town Manager
Johnson stated that this increase is a direct result
of increased gas, coal and natural gas costs. Town
Manager Johnson stated that after his review of the
increase the smallest possible increase would be
brought back to the Council. Town Manager Johnson
stated further that the transfers of funds from the
electric fund had been decreased significantly over
the past several years.
were no further comments concerning utility.
Appointment of Citizen Utility Advisory Committee
O’Neal stated that the proposed electric rate increase
could not be controlled. Mayor O’Neal stated that with
the appointment of a Utility Advisory Committee that
rate increases could be reviewed in depth also the water
and sewer departments would be reviewed to see if they
could be any prospective cost savings in those rates.
Mayor O’Neal also stated another function of the
advisory board would be to compare rates of other towns
our size and see how their rates are figured.
O’Neal recognized the following citizens who spoke
briefly on the advisory committee issue.
Mr. Ben Johnson, owner of Farms Boys Restaurant, who
stated that his deposit was figured on a year’s
average and it was $2,400 which was a lot of money
to have in a utility deposit with no refund until
the business ceases. Mayor O’Neal stated that the
advisory board could review deposits also.
Town Manager Johnson stated that other alternatives
were given to business owners for their deposits.
Mr. Johnson stated that a bond could be placed in
lieu of the deposit.
Town Manager Johnson explained the billing process
and stated that before someone is cut off for
non-payment 2 ½ months debt is already incurred.
Mr. Johnson explained that the utility deposits for
residential customers are $360 maximum and $100
minimum with a co-signer. Mayor O’Neal asked that
written polices be given to the Council by the next
Ms. Bonnie Gouch, former utility customer, stated
that the cut-off policy is not fair because if you
go to cut-off you couldn’t pay one bill much less
both bills. Town Manager Johnson stated that he
could not be held responsible for non-payment of the
utility customers’ bills. Mayor O’Neal told Town
Manager Johnson not to speak to customers in that
O’Neal read the resolution authorizing the Appointment
of a Citizen Advisory Committee.
resolved, that the Town of Belhaven hereby creates a
utility advisory board to study all matters appertaining
to the rates and charges of the various utility services
in the Town of Belhaven.
utility advisory board is charted to present its
findings and recommendations to the Belhaven Town
Council in a timely manner.
utility advisory board is created for a period of two
years and shall consist of: Linda Barrow, William
Brewington, Betsy DeLuca, Guinn Leverett, Les Porter,
Mabel Satterthwaite and Donetta Metcalf.
of this resolution, the Town Manager and Town Staff are
directed to assist and co-operate with the utility
advisory board in every way possible.
Councilman Carawan made the motion to adopt the
resolution, as read, forming a utility advisory
committee. Mayor O’Neal called for a second to the
motion. There was no second, the motion failed.
O’Neal stated that he would appoint a Mayoral Committee
as utility advisory committee to the Mayor.
Attorney Mason explained that the Mayor can appoint a
committee for his use but that committee would not have
the same guidelines as a committee appointed by the Town
Council. The committee would not have to meet the open
meeting laws and could not get information as easily
because of not being a council appointed committee.
They could also not utilize Town staff or assets.
Comments on Tidal Flooding
O’Neal stated that the tidal flooding issue had been
discussed meeting after meeting to no resolve. Mayor
O’Neal stated that the $2 million estimate to deter the
flooding was fictitious and “passing the buck” was
taking place. Mayor O’Neal estimated that the tidal
flooding could be rectified at an estimated $25,000 or
O’Neal recognized the following citizens who spoke
briefly on the tidal flooding issue.
Mac Pigott, stated that a tidal flooding advisory
committee was proposed and he would like to serve as
chairman of that committee. Mr. Pigott stated that the
tidal flooding did not hinder his business as it was a
wholesale business but it did hinder some of the retail
businesses such as Fish Hooks Cafe’. Mayor O’Neal read
the resolution concerning the appointment of a Tidal
Flooding Advisory Committee.
Tidal Flooding Advisory
it resolved that the Town of Belhaven Council hereby
appoints a Tidal Flooding Advisory Committee. The
purpose of this committee shall be to actively study
and investigate any and all methods to alleviate and
remedy the chronic tidal flooding that continues to
plague the Town of Belhaven. This committee shall
consist of at least seven members who will serve
until a viable solution is found and is
implemented. This committee shall receive
cooperation from all town entities. The charter
members of this committee shall be: Mac Pigott,
Chairman; Vic Cox, Roy O’Neal, R. D. Ray, Harvey
Raynor, Andrew Fisher and Rosanna Swindell.
Councilman Carawan made a motion to adopt the
resolution, as read, forming a Tidal Flooding
Advisory Committee. Mayor O’Neal called for a
second to the motion. There being no second to the
motion, the motion failed. Mayor O’Neal stated that
the Town Council saw no need to form a tidal
advisory committee. Mayor O’Neal stated that he
would form a mayoral committee.
Girls Club – Teen Basketball
O’Neal stated that the Boys and Girls Club, Belhaven
Chapter wanted to start a teen basketball program.
Mayor O’Neal recognized Mr. Redden Leggett, Executive
Director of the Beaufort County Boys and Girls Club.
Mr. Leggett stated that the Boys and Girls Club in
Washington had teen basketball and the Belhaven Chapter
would also like to start this program. Mr. Leggett
stated that a local businessman had agreed to purchase
break-away rims for the goals, if the program was
approved. Councilman Hodges asked for an age limit.
Mr. Leggett stated fifteen would be the age limit.
Councilman Baker noted that the Multi-Purpose Building
(gym area) was not regulation size and felt it was too
small for that age of participant. Councilman Baker
also stated that the officials whether certified or not,
needed to be fully informed of rules. Mr. Leggett
stated that the Club hoped to utilize certified
officials and that businesses would be needed to sponsor
teams monetarily which would pay for the officials and
team shirts. Mr. Leggett further outlined the proposed
program by stating that they would have ten member teams
and they would be chaperoned by two employees of the
Boys and Girls Club, two coaches and two officials. Mr.
Leggett stated that games would be two nights per week
and that they would work around the leagues already in
place through the Belhaven Recreation Department. Mayor
O’Neal stated that police visibility would be nice to
come by during game time. Mayor O’Neal stated that the
last team playing would clean up the gym area after
use. Mayor O’Neal recognized Mr. Mac Pigott who stated
that one child may benefit from the program as to keep
them out of trouble. Councilwoman Heath asked about the
liability. Mr. Leggett stated that the Boys and Girls
Club carried liability insurance. Councilwoman Heath
questioned if members of the club would participate in
the program. Mr. Leggett stated yes, the participants
would be club members and would be covered by the
insurance. Councilman Ebron asked if the Board of
Directors of the Boys and Girls Club supported the
program. Mr. Leggett stated yes, the Board of Directors
gave their full support. Town Manager Johnson stated
that Pungo Christian Academy had a full sized gymnasium,
if a rental agreement could be worked out, that would be
more suitable because of its’ size.
O’Neal asked for a motion supporting the Boys and Girls
Club, Belhaven Chapter sponsoring Teen Basketball in the
Multi-Purpose Building. Councilman Carawan made the
motion to support and permit Teen Basketball in the
Multi-Purpose building. Councilman Hodges seconded.
Mayor O’Neal called for a vote. Councilmen Carawan and
Hodges voted in favor of the motion. There were no nay
votes. Council members Baker, Ebron and Heath did not
vote, therefore the lack of voting were affirmative
votes. The motion carried.
Commission Board – Town Representative Appointment
O’Neal stated that Mid East Commission had contacted him
concerning appointment of a representative of the Town
to their board for a two year term beginning January
2006. Councilman Hodges made the motion to reappoint
Albert Baker, Councilman as the representative for the
Town. Councilman Carawan seconded the motion which
being no further business, Mayor O’Neal declared the
meeting adjourned at 8:05 P.M.