County firm: Meeting, not mediation
Watauga County stood its ground Thursday in response to the town of Boone's continued offer for mediation on several recent issues.
In a letter Thursday from County Manager Deron Geouque, the county stuck to its earlier position, applauding a meeting but refusing to meet behind closed doors.
"The county has and is still committed to meeting with the town to amicably resolve the issues at hand," Geouque wrote. "However, the Board of Commissioners are unwavering in the necessity of the meeting to include both the full boards and be open to the public."
Geouque proposed meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Watauga County Administration Building.
The Boone Town Council re-extended its offer for mediation in a letter Wednesday, asserting that state law would allow the boards to meet in simultaneous closed sessions.
The town offered several optional meeting dates.
The second offer for mediation occurred simultaneously with a 3-2 vote Tuesday by Watauga County commissioners to change the sales tax distribution method. Boone is expected to lose about $2 million in revenue from the switch to a hybrid ad valorem system.
The sales tax change was a response to the Boone Town Council's new multi-family housing regulations, which the town asserted were designed to increase the amount of affordable housing available to the workforce.
Commissioners Chairman Nathan Miller and others said the regulations had jeopardized the sale of the former Watauga High School to Templeton Properties and permanently devalued the land.
Read the complete letters at the top right of this article.