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Originally published: 2014-05-20 17:12:34
Last modified: 2014-05-20 21:16:24

Boone budget workshops set for June

by Anna Oakes

The Boone Town Council on Monday tentatively scheduled workshops on the 2014-15 fiscal year budget for Monday, June 9, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and if needed, Tuesday, June 10, beginning at 3 p.m.


Council members agreed to place the schedule of budget workshops on the consent agenda for formal adoption at the Thursday, May 22, meeting of the council. Both workshops would be held at the Council Chambers at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.


"It's a difficult budget, just like it was last year," Town Manager Greg Young said.


Also placed on Thursday's consent agenda -- to be approved by the council with a slate of other items -- was a list of sidewalk construction priorities recommended by the town's Transportation Committee. A total of 47 projects are listed on the sidewalk priorities plan.


The top 10 sidewalk priorities recommended are, in descending order: N.C. 194 from U.S. 421 to New Market Boulevard; Perkinsville Drive and Grove Street from N.C. 194 to U.S. 421; State Farm Road from Sunnyside Drive to N.C. 105 Extension; Meadowview Drive from Greenway Road to Blowing Rock Road; N.C. 105 Extension from U.S. 321 to Azalea Drive; Poplar Grove Road from Water Street to the Poplar Grove Road Extension; U.S. 421 West from current sidewalks to the corporate limits; N.C. 105 Extension from Azalea Drive to U.S. 421; Greenway Road from Leola Street to Pride Drive; and Greenway Road from Wilson Drive to Deck Hill Road.


The council is also slated to OK a $17,000 proposal by Larry E. Phillips for an appraisal of Town Hall on King Street, the Public Works and Public Utilities building on King Street and the Boone Police Station and town offices on Blowing Rock Road. The town has been reserving funds to purchase land for a new Public Works and Public Utilities facility, and council members have discussed selling the town's current properties.


The council agreed to schedule a joint meeting with the Boone Tourism Development Authority board at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11, to discuss tourism-related expenditures in 2014-15.


During Monday's public comment period, Jon Tate of LMS Parking appeared before the council to discuss recent complaints about wheel-locking practices in downtown Boone, noting that his company was working with the Boone Police Department to more closely monitor interactions with vehicle operators. Brittany Johnson relayed her own experience with parking in an LMS-patrolled lot, noting that she was not contesting the wheel-locking violation itself but the "unpleasant" treatment from the parking attendant.


Johnson said when she warned someone else not to park in the lot after her vehicle was wheel-locked, the parking attendant yelled at her and threatened to have her arrested for trespassing.


"I don't think it's right that the parking attendant was that rude and aggressive," she said.


Also speaking during the public comment session was Steve Frank, vice president of the Watauga County Arts Council board. At issue is $208 the Arts Council says it is owed by the town from 2012, when the town paid half of the salary for the arts council's folklorist position.


The town council ended a 26-year relationship with the Arts Council in spring 2012, when it voted to create a new Cultural Resources Board and town department to manage the town's Jones House and cultural programs, a role previously contracted out to the Arts Council.


Arts Council Executive Director Cherry Johnson sent a letter to Town Manager Greg Young on April 10 seeking the remaining $208. Young responded in an April 23 letter and said the request would need to be made directly to the town council.


Frank said he was embarrassed as a town resident and taxpayer that the town had taken two years to pay $208.


"It's punitive, it's passive aggressive and it's wrong," Frank said.


Harvard Ayers of the new nonprofit Carbon Free Boone will appear before the council Thursday with a presentation proposing that Boone set a goal to become carbon free.


Standard at Boone, a proposed student apartment and commercial development to take the place of the Red Carpet and Scottish Inn properties, will appear before the council to request a water allocation for the project.


The council will meet in closed session Thursday to consider the handling or settlement of claims, discuss the acquisition of town property for the Appalachian Theatre and to discuss the acquisition of property in the town's extraterritorial jurisdiction.


The Thursday meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Under its new meeting schedule, the council meets every third Monday to consider agenda items for the full meeting, which follows on the subsequent Thursday.


To download and view the agenda and supporting materials, visit http://www.townofboone.net/notices/notices.php. For more information, call (828) 268-6200.