'Horn' assistance riding on county-town sales tax solution
by Anna Oakes
The town of Boone will not provide financial assistance to help open "Horn in the West" this year if the county's decision to alter sales tax revenue distribution is not reversed by April 30.
The Boone Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to match $10,000 in community donations the Southern Appalachian Historical Association has raised this spring, but the assistance is contingent upon a change in the county's decision to change the local sales tax distribution method, which could cost the town an estimated $2 million next fiscal year.
The Republican-led commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to change the distribution method from a per capita method to an ad valorem method Tuesday in response to Boone's recent enactment of new multi-family housing standards, which commission chairman Nathan Miller said jeopardizes the county's pending sale of the old Watauga High School property to Templeton Properties.
The county manager said he would not submit the change to the state Department of Revenue until April 30, which could allow time for negotiations between the county and town. The council this week repeated an offer to meet with commissioners in a private mediation.
SAHA, a nonprofit that leases the town-owned Daniel Boone Park on Horn in the West Drive to produce the outdoor drama, said it needs financial assistance from the town to help pay staff before "Horn" ticket revenues come in this summer. The drama suffered from a high number of rained-out shows last season and reduced grant funding, board members said.
Scottish Inn property under contract
Jill Atfield Patel, representing AMP Enterprises, told the Boone Town Council the Scottish Inn property on Blowing Rock Road is under contract and that the prospective buyer is in a due diligence period that will include a flood study.
"Hopefully we will close by the end of November," she said.
The council voted to extend a deadline to repair or demolish the structure until Dec. 31.
In May 2011, the Scottish Inn on Blowing Rock Road was condemned under state statutory authority, and AMP Enterprises was issued a town code violation for multiple disrepair, health and safety issues there.
The council affirmed the condemnation in April 2012 and at that time ordered AMP Enterprises to repair or demolish the building by April 2013.