June 8, 2018
TO THE EDITOR:
The proposed budget presentation by Beaufort’s town manager on Wednesday, June 6th, was well attended and became quite an eye opener to many new attendees at the meeting, especially those living in the Eastman Creek subdivision that pay approximately DOUBLE what town residents pay for their water/sewer bill, and it is going to increase again, with some families paying $300 a month for the utility services. Hopefully, the residents will get together and petition to come in town, thereby paying not only county taxes, but Beaufort’s also, which should be a lot less than the out of sight water/sewer bills. But that is their decision.
Those in attendance who live “in town” finally NOW acknowledge that Beaufort has done poorly in keeping up with its streets and sewer line repairs, etc., because of many “slights of hand” in allocating funds in past years. But the past is the past, and we have had at least 10 years to learn to live within our means and make sure that companies pay their rental fees on town property. Our new town manager recently found that some had not paid their rental fees in 10 years and no one noticed!
Additionally, Beaufort also has done poorly in getting our “fair share” of money from the county for certain projects. I have talked till I’m blue in the face to our town commissioners on why we don’t get any money back from our county tax dollars and I gave them the following comparison just on recreational improvements to other towns from 2006 to 2017: Atlantic Beach — $665,000. Emerald Isle — $733,125. Morehead City — $500,000. Newport — $143,454. Beaufort — zero!
Now Beaufort needs to replace its beautiful boardwalk and repair the bulkhead to the tune of $1.2 million, and it needs to raise town taxes approximately 10% to fund the project along with other needs.
Why don’t we get the county to pay at least half of the bill since we are “The coolest small town” and are the drawing card for many people to visit and spend money at all locations in the county?
Another fact: The amount of county property in the town of Beaufort is $73,871,139. That’s MILLIONS in lost revenue to the town because businesses and housing cannot be built on the property.
The only recourse I see if for the citizens of Beaufort and beyond to take action since our town board doesn’t seem to get anywhere with the county commissioners to protect this historic town’s tourist draw and replace all four Republican board members this November. The seven commissioners have been the total majority for too long with their “priorities” to developers. If they can do it to us for so long, your town may be next!